ONE NIGHT IN MIAMI – Review by Susan Wloszczyna

Regina King seems to have the Midas touch whenever awards season comes around. She has amassed quite a load of gold in the form of an Oscar, four Emmys, a Golden Globe and a SAG ensemble honor in her career. But this year, she might just win gold with her debut behind the camera, One Night in Miami. King has been in training to be a director for a while by helming TV episodes of This Is Us, Insecure and Scandal.

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MA RAINEY’S BLACK BOTTOM – Review by Susan Wloszczyna

Viola Davis more than deserves her first lead actress Oscar nomination for her knock-out performance. But it is Chadwick Bosman’s nervy and brave performance that will linger on your mind. It’s nearly assured his legacy will be honored with a posthumous lead actor spot on ballot. Bless the makers of this showbiz tale for such a spectacular showcase of this actor’s artistry and talent.

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MODERN PERSUASION – Review by Susan Wloszczyna

If you like your Jane Austen movies updated to current times, you might find some enjoyment in Modern Persuasion, which manages to blend the author’s Regency-era vision with such Millennial fixations as social media, romantic hook-ups and party-hardy attitudes with a 21st-Century version of working gal tropes

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WILD MOUNTAIN THYME – Review by Susan Wloszczyna

When the trailer for Wild Mountain Thyme first landed, Irish folk grabbed their verbal shalaylees and cried foul over what they condemned as dodgy Emerald Isle accents and corny “Erin Go Bragh” clichés. Having now seen the film myself, those impressions aren’t totally wrong.

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FAREWELL AMOR – Review by Susan Wloszczyna

Farewell Amor is an intimate soap opera blessed with an engaging small cast and an intriguing premise: What happens when Esther (Zainab Jah), an Angolan woman, and Sylvia (Jayme Lawson), her teen-age daughter, finally reunite with their husband and father after spending 17 years apart? Writer-director Ekwa Msangi could have chosen to look back at the woes that these immigrants have suffered in the past. But, instead, the trio is more concerned about whether they will be able to get over the awkwardness of their situation and be able to share a future together as a family.

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SPOTLIGHT December 2020: Eda Reiss Merin, Actress, Activist and inspiration for AWFJ’s EDA Awards

The Alliance of Women Film Journalists’ EDA Awards, presented annually during awards season and at various festivals during the year, are currently in their 14th year, and are well known to the film industry for categories honoring female filmmakers, along with the more general award categories that are presented by the Academy and other movie awards organizations. The EDA Awards are well known, but many industry people — including some who’ve received them — don’t know much about their name. Why EDA? Since December sees AWFJ in full awards season activism, this is a good time to share the EDA story. Hence our December SPOTLIGHT is focused on actress and activist Eda Reiss Merin.

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LUXOR – Review by Susan Wloszczyna

London-born Arab writer-director Zeina Durra’s Luxor is sort of a meditative throwback to the ‘60s era of art-house cinema when movies were allowed to not always fill in the plot blanks for audiences. That opened the door for viewers to insert their assumptions as to what is going on with the main character. In this case that would be Hana (never-not-watchable Andrea Riseborough).

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HILLBILLY ELEGY – Review by Susan Wloszczyna

When J.D. Vance’s 2016 memoir, Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis, landed on best-seller lists just months before Donald J. Trump would become our 45th president, it was treated like portal into the mind set of those in the disenfranchised white underclass who supported him.

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ANTIGONE – Review by Susan Wloszczyna

From Canada comes a fresh take on the woes that face desperate immigrants who flee violence and upheaval in their homelands. What gives this particular interpretation added depth? It’s based on a 2,500-year-old Greek tragedy — namely Sophocles’ Antigone. Set in Quebec, we meet an Algerian family that consists of two sisters, Antigone and Ismene, and, two brothers, wise-guy Polynice and ace soccer player Eteocle, who have fled their country with their grandmother after their parents are found slain.

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CODED BIAS – Review by Susan Wloszczyna

In Coded Bias, the charismatic Joy Buolamwini, a student at MIT, calls out the lack of legislation and oversight over the use of such invasive facial recognition and other algorithmic tools and how governments use such tech to unfairly judge people. For instance, Amazon employed an algorithm to select a first cut of job applicants, only to find it picked only white males. That reflects the culture of Silicon Valley, which is controlled by primarily white males.

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