THE WOMAN KING – Review by Sherin Nicole

It’s been a long time coming but The Woman King has arrived and, damn, it’s amazing. The story focuses on Nanisca (Viola Davis), the general of The Agojie under the reign of King Ghezo (John Boyega). Of course, something or someone has to shake things up. Say hello to Nawi (Thuso Mbedu), our POV character who is as young, brash, rash, and reckless as you want her to be. But she isn’t Nanisca’s only problem. How can a girlie win? Gina Prince-Bythewood’s epic is about to let us know if she can.

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HONK FOR JESUS. SAVE YOUR SOUL – Review by Sherin Nicole

In a thriller cleverly hidden within the satin robes of satire, writer/director Adamma Ebo questions morality, marriage, and the power of a message. Adamma Ebo is sharp with her pen and with the camera, taking the story of a disgraced megachurch pastor and his wife to the brink of absurdity but always with an edge of truth. Honk For Jesus. Save Your Soul. isn’t a morality play but the dissection of two characters who worship at the altar of fame but refuse to allow their labors to be more than vain.

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THE LEGEND OF MOLLY JOHNSON – Review by Sherin Nicole

The British Empire’s predisposition towards planting flags in other people’s living rooms fomented quite a few parallels in history. One of those lies in the colonization of the American Frontier and of the Australian Bush. The seizing of lands, the vilification of the Indigenous populations, and the culture of violence beneath a thin veneer of religion were wrought by men who called themselves pioneers. On paper, other than the accents, it is difficult to tell the two apart (this is sarcasm and yet it is also truth). These parallels are what make the Western such an apt genre for 1893 Australia, but when those wild “western” lands are pitched as a metaphor for Aboriginal Australians and untamed womanhood the genre takes a turn.

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AWFJ Presents: BURN BURN BURN – Review by Sherin Nicole

The sudden death of a loved one has a way of exposing our secrets—everything we’ve held on to comes pouring out. In grief, we are as vulnerable as when faced with our mortality and that need for healing makes us honest. Burn Burn Burn dissects human vanities and the dishonesties that block us from connecting, and it does it through an entirely preposterous pair of leading ladies, who only truly see themselves through the lens of their dead friend’s video messages.

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THE POWER OF THE DOG – Review by Sherin Nicole

You’ll keep waiting for the axe to fall…and it doesn’t…and it doesn’t…and the tension builds to the bursting point. Perfectly benign moments take on sinister hues in The Power of the Dog, you know something is deadly wrong, tensions hang over your head, and when the axe finally falls it’s a hell of a payoff.

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JULIA – Review by Sherin Nicole

Icon is a difficult word to wear but Julia Child steps into it easily. She was the first celebrity chef on television, she made Americans more adventurous with our food, and she did it with whimsical charisma, technical skill, and an indomitable business sense. Julia gives us a window into her many facets, in large part narrated by the grande dame herself, but also through footage going back to her early 20s, and through the remembrances of family, friends, and her celebrity chef scions.

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PASSING – Review by Sherin Nicole

There is a tension running through Passing that is mirrored in Tessa Thompson’s performance: the stiffness in her jaw, the tightness between her eyes, the rigidity of her spine. As the audience, we understand. It is the result of lies so brittle a whisper could break them apart. And if we are Black that tension goes beyond empathy, it is recognition. In the Rebecca Hall film, adapted from the lauded novel by Harlem Renaissance writer Nella Larsen, Tessa Thompson nd Ruth Negga are a pair of reunited friends. Both from uptown, both wives, both well-to-do; one white presenting and the other “passing” for white.

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THE BROKEN HEARTS GALLERY – Review by Sherin Nicole

The Broken Hearts Gallery has an adorable set up. We meet three best friends, in a high school bedroom, sorting through the remains of a dead relationship. The banter is witty and fresh. The actresses, Geraldine Viswanathan, Phillipa Soo, and Molly Gordon, sparkle. And the premise is inventive—built on a young woman who memorializes relationships via quirky keepsakes: retainers, used Solo cups, doorknobs, neckties, and a collection of chachkies that would impress several grandmas.

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