AND JUST LIKE THAT: SEASON 1 – Review by Susan Granger

Six sassy seasons and two movies later, Sex and the City is back, streaming on HBO Max in its new incarnation: And Just Like That. Yes, Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker), Miranda Hobbs (Cynthia Nixon) and Charlotte York-Goldenblatt (Kristin Davis) have remained close friends.

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BELFAST – Review by Susan Granger

Filmmaker Kenneth Branagh’s poignant cinematic memoir of his childhood in Northern Ireland in 1969 recalls a turbulent period when Catholics and Protestants were at war with one another. His semi-autobiographical story revolves around nine year-old Buddy, who lives with his older brother, parents and grandparents. They’re Protestants in a working-class neighborhood that’s also filled with Catholic families. Then the sectarian riots begin, the barricades go up and British soldiers arrive. Chaos reigns as bewildered Buddy watches his idyllic street become an unruly battleground. During one skirmish, Buddy’s Ma rescues him using a trash can lid as a shield.

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THE EYES OF TAMMY FAYE – Review by Susan Granger

Almost unrecognizable in spidery mascara, prosthetic cheeks and garish wigs, Jessica Chastain is irresistible as camp icon Tammy Faye Bakker who – with her husband, preacher Jim Bakker (Andrew Garfield) – built a Christian empire, Including Heritage USA, a Jesus-themed amusement park.

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HOUSE OF GUCCI – Review by Susan Granger

Ridley Scott’s extravagant melodrama House of Gucci delves into what led to the 1995 murder of Maurizio Gucci, scion of the Milan-based fashion family.

This sordid saga of love, backstabbing and betrayal begins as Patrizia Reggiani (Lady Gaga), an accountant at her father’s trucking company, sets her sights on bespectacled Maurizio Gucci (Adam Driver), whom she meets at a disco party. Although he’s smitten, his suave, snobbish father Rodolfo (Jeremy Irons) spots her as a crass, social-climbing gold-digger.

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KING RICHARD – Review by Susan Granger

Will Smith has been nominated twice for Oscars. Now his persuasive performance as King Richard should earn him a third nod and, perhaps, first win. Smith plays stubborn, outspoken Richard Williams, the demanding yet loving father of tennis stars Venus and Serena Williams. “You gonna be the greatest of all time,” Richard tells the girls. “You know how I know? Because I planned for it.”

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LAMB – Review by Susan Granger

Iceland’s Lamb is a contemporary folkloric tale from Norse mythology. When a pregnant ewe delivers a strange lamb/human hybrid, astonished Maria swaddles the mysterious creature and Ingvar builds a crib so it can sleep in their bedroom. Lovingly bottle-fed, it’s named Ada. As Ada grows, they protectively treat her as the child they never had.

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MASS – Review by Susan Granger

Make no mistake. This is a difficult psychological drama to watch, as first-time writer/director Fran Kranz delves into the grief of two sets of parents whose children were involved in a high-school shooting. How do people cope with this kind of tragedy? And how do they ever move on? During the uninterrupted conversation, questions abound as resentment leads to understanding. Eventually, each character experiences a personal epiphany in trying to make sense of a senseless tragedy.

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THE POWER OF THE DOG – Review by Susan Granger

Utilizing myriad metaphors, writer/director Jane Campion (Oscar-winner for 1993’s The Piano) subtly crafts a kinky, compelling thriller, working with cinematographer Ari Wegner, who transforms New Zealand’s barren South Island into stark, sparsely populated Montana in 1925. Tt’s visually stunning with a spine-chilling score by Radiohead, Jonny Greenwood.

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RED NOTICE – Review by Susan Granger

Billed as a globe-trotting, comedic action/adventure, Red Notice is a total waste of time and talent. There’s a mystery surrounding three exquisite bejeweled eggs given to Cleopatra by Mark Antony on their wedding day. Problem is: clumsy screenwriter/director Rawson Marshall Thurber hasn’t a clue how to delineate characters, write dialogue, and propel the incoherent mystery/action plot in order to set up this future franchise.

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