PIG – Review by Susan Granger

Nicolas Cage delivers a heartfelt, realistic performance as shaggy, grizzled Robin ‘Rob’ Feld, a mysterious truffle-hunter who lives alone in a cabin deep in the Oregon wilderness with his beloved pig. One night, when his rustic hut is invaded, Rob is badly beaten and his prized pig is stolen. Determined to find and rescue his treasured friend, anguished Rob takes a road trip into Portland, where he’s forced to confront his past.

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CODA – Review by Susan Granger

Set in coastal Gloucester, Massachusetts, Coda chronicles the reaction of a close-knit deaf family – played by three deaf actors (Marlee Matlin, Troy Kotsur, Daniel Durant) – to the desire of their hearing daughter (Emilia Jones) to go away to music school. Shy 17 year-old high school senior Ruby Rossi (Jones) has always loved to sing but when she attends choir audition – she panics. As the lone hearing person in her family of fishermen, she’s served as their interpreter in all social/business interactions.

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THE SUICIDE SQUAD – Review by Susan Granger

The action/adventure/comedy The Suicide Squad is perhaps a quasi-sequel to 2016’s Suicide Squad, as writer/director James Gunn ventures into the DC Extended Universe, totally re-envisioning the super-villain franchise. Problem is: with little exposition and no character development, there’s no emotional resonance, making it more of a grotesque, R-rated comic-book-turned-video game than a movie.

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PHYSICAL – Review by Susan Granger

I’m stunned that this Apple TV+ half-hour comedy-drama series was renewed for a second season. Set in the 1980s, it revolves around troubled Sheila Rubin (Rose Byrne), a svelte housewife/mom who has an inexplicably strange self-image, resulting in chronic bulimia, a serious eating disorder. This is manifested by her buying lots of fast-food, then taking it to a motel room, where she gorges and purges.

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ANNETTE – Review by Susan Granger

Annette is an eccentric, hallucinatory rock opera about love, passion and celebrity, set in Los Angeles. It begins as a voiceover cautions viewers not to “sing, laugh, clap, cry, yawn, boo or fart,” adding “breathing will not be tolerated during the show so, please, take a deep last breath right now.”

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REMINISCENCE – Review by Susan Granger

What went wrong on this South Beach jog down memory lane? Perhaps it’s because first time feature writer/director Lisa Joy, who co-created HBO’s Westworld with her husband, Jonathan Nolan, Christopher Nolan’s brother, wrote a clunky, cliché-filled, confusing script – plus, her predictably melodramatic pacing plods. Although Rebecca Ferguson and Hugh Jackman previously teamed in The Greatest Showman, there’s little on-screen chemistry with more talk than action.

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THE GREEN KNIGHT – Review by Susan Granger

Years ago, as an English major, I had to read a rather long, boring 14th century epic poem from the Arthurian legend called Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Now, visual storyteller David Lowery has revitalized and enhanced this chivalric romance. On the road to meet his destiny, Gawain must face a series of fearsome trials, tribulations and temptations as he gradually learns the true nature of chivalry.

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THE BIRTHDAY CAKE – Review by Susan Granger

Set in Brooklyn, this mob film begins with the 10th anniversary of Giovanni’s father’s death. Giovanni (Shiloh Fernandez) dutifully goes home and dons a suit to continue the family tradition of delivering the titular cake, baked by his widowed mother Sophia (Lorraine Bracco), to the home of his Uncle Angelo (Val Kilmer), the local Italian/American Mafia boss.

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JUNGLE CRUISE – Review by Susan Granger

Encouraged by the success of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, Disney launches this fantasy/adventure, based on the theme park attraction. It begins in 1916 London, where intrepid botanist/explorer Lily Houghton sneaks into a snobbish science society to steal an arrowhead thought to be the key to finding the Tears of the Moon, a sacred tree hidden in the Amazon jungle whose petals have miraculous healing powers.

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