ON THE BASIS OF SEX – Review by Susan Wloszczyna

As biopics go, On the Basis of Sex can seem almost as old school as some of the laws that its worthy subject spent her career objecting to and sought to correct. That would be Ruth Bader Ginsberg, as the film is meant to celebrate her 25th year as the second female Supreme Court Justice. But as we watch RBG blossom into the notorious crusader against gender bias that she was born to be, one wishes that the film took a few more chances in its approach to such an incredibly brave and smart woman whose super power was her cogent ability to state her arguments – a skill she eventually perfects in Sex just before the credits roll.

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CAPERNAUM – Rreview by Susan Wloszczyna

Capernaum is part Oliver Twist, part Slumdog Millionaire, but with only a modicum of a fairy-tale ending. Much like last year’s The Florida Project, children pay a high price when their impoverished circumstances are the result of selfish adults who lead careless lives. The difference is that Zain (played by Zain Al Rafeea), the streetwise 12-year-old Lebanese boy who barely has room to sleep amongst his countless siblings, is playing a real-life version of himself.

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WHAT THEY HAD – Review by Susan Wloszczyna

“Grandma drank the holy water,” says Taissa Farmiga’s moody college student. “At least she’s hydrated,” says Michael Shannon as her uncle who laughs mostly to keep him and the audience from crying. That first-time filmmaker Elizabeth Chomko can pull off this sort of humor in a movie that revolves around the evil disease that is dementia is a feat achieved primarily based on the strength of her casting choices.

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CAN YOU EVER FORGIVE ME? – Review by Susan Wloszczyna

The arrival of Can You Ever Forgive Me? is more than enough evidence that McCarthy is the real deal as she closes off her usual buoyant avenues of emoting for a darker, morose and complex persona – one paved in frustration and failed opportunity that is uniquely female in nature. Her usual brassy bravado is tucked away beneath a frumpy veneer of bitterness, disappointment and deeply seated resentment over anyone else’s success.

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THE WIFE — Review by Susan Wloszczyna

I was somewhat distracted by a nagging voice in my head as I was savoring the sight of Glenn Close slaying it in The Wife as a devoted yet increasingly fed-up spouse of a self-described “narcissistic bastard” of an acclaimed novelist. “How does she not have an Oscar yet,” it kept saying every time she took her modulated slow-burn performance to the next level of perfectly expressed pique. Yes, it is often annoying when a critic makes awards predictions before the season starts. But with six losses under Close’s belt for career-defining and culturally significant roles – making her the living actress with the most nominations without a win – such speculation is hard to resist.

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THE BOOKSHOP — Review by Susan Wloszczyna

Emily Mortimer, Bill Nighy and Patricia Clarkson in one movie? That is a dream team right there. Despite such a quality cast, however, The Bookshop will likely test the patience of those who require peppier pacing and more compelling drama, even in a well-meaning film set in a British seaside village in 1959. Director Isabel Coixet’s screenplay, based on Penelope Fitzgerald’s novel, focuses on Florence, a young widow (Mortimer) who decides to open a book store in an old damp house in the heart of the community.

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