WHERE’D YOU GO, BERNADETTE – Review by Susan Granger

Richard Linklater’s adaptation of Maria Semple’s 2012 best-seller doesn’t make a smooth transition to the screen.
Semple’s anarchic, non-linear story revolves around an affluent, if eccentric, middle-aged woman who submerges her identity with that of her family, losing her sense of self. On paper, her daughter’s inner thoughts propel the narrative. On-film, this doesn’t work.

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GOOD BOYS – Review by Susan Granger

As a critic, I judge a movie by how well it accomplishes what it sets out to do. If it’s a comedy, it should be funny. So despite my misgivings about preteens’ spewing raunchy vulgarities, Gene Stupinsky’s coming-of-age story seems to amuse audiences, particularly in this era of sensitivity towards topics like sexual identity, bullying and objectification of women.

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SCARY STORIES TO TELL IN THE DARK – Review by Susan Granger

Producer Guillermo del Toto (Pan’s Labyrinth) has created a socially conscious, surprisingly grim, ‘gateway horror’ anthology that’s PG-13, geared toward younger viewers, connecting Alvin Schwartz’s tales, grotesquely illustrated by Stephen Grammell, revolving around six teenagers in 1968, just before Richard Nixon’s election.

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BRIAN BANKS – Review by Susan Granger

Timing is everything – and, unfortunately, the release of this redemption story coincides occurs at a time when #MeToo and documented incidents of sexual assault dominate the news feed. At Polytechnic High School in Long Beach in 2002, teenage Brian Banks (Aldis Hodge) was a linebacker on the prestigious Jackrabbit team with an assured scholarship to the University of Southern California.

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THE FAREWELL – Review by Susan Granger

Written and directed by Lulu Wang, based on her own experiences, this intergenerational-bonding comic drama revolves around a Chinese-American artist, Billi (Awkwafina), living in Brooklyn, who returns to her hometown in northeastern China when she learns that her adored Nai-Nai – grandmother in Mandarin- has Stage IV lung cancer.

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HOBBS & SHAW – Review by Susan Granger

After 18 years and eight feature films in the Fast and Furious franchise, this macho-men fantasia has become known for its goofy bickering banter, explosive car chases and gratuitous violence. Not surprisingly, screenwriters Chris Morgan and Drew Pearce and director David Leitch continue the lunacy, noting Shaw’s short “Hobbit legs” and Hobbs’ looking like “a giant tattooed baby.”

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DEAD SEA DIVING RESORT – Review by Susan Granger

The entertainment world has changed so much that often a movie that’s streamed into your TV set offers more exciting entertainment than what’s playing at the multiplex. That’s true of this action-adventure about a courageous group of Israeli intelligence officers and Ethiopian freedom fighters who safely smuggled thousands of Ethiopian-Jewish refugees out of Sudan and into Israel in the 1980s.

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