BRAZEN – Review by April Neale

When you turn on a radio station that you always listen to, you get a disorienting feeling if you discover that the station has swapped formats overnight. So it goes with Netflix, home to great true crime-inspired dramas like Unbelievable and Mind Hunter, to find out that they are wading into the Lifetime, Oxygen, or Hallmark Movies & Mysteries pool with films made for audiences who love turgid, dramatic, and soapy true crime takes that have been ripped from news headlines.

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AFTER LIFE Season Three – Review by Martha K Baker

This series has Ricky Gervais’ handprints all over it. That’s a good thing. After Life is that rare look at grief that does not shy away from searing pain or shocking humor. But, the third and final season is not so knife-sharp as the first two. It cannot be. The six episodes fly by with each episode as evanescent as water through reeds.

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GHOSTBUSTERS: AFTERLIFE – Review by Susan Granger

Ghostbusters: Afterlife, as a new generation battles the spirit world. Directed by Jason Reitman, son of Ivan Reitman who directed the first two 1980s movies, it’s a continuation of the story from Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters II, including original cast members, including Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Ernie Hudson, Annie Potts and Sigourney Weaver.

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AMERICAN UNDERDOG – Review by Brandy McDonnell

Adapted from Kurt Warner’s memoir All Things Possible: My Story of Faith, Football and the First Miracle Season, American Underdog chronicles the quarterback’s incredible true story as he goes from stocking shelves at a supermarket to playing arena football to emerging as a two-time NFL MVP, Super Bowl champion and hall of fame quarterback who played for 12 seasons between the St. Louis Rams and Arizona Cardinals.

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THE TRAGEDY OF MACBETH – Review by Susan Granger

As a first-time solo director, Joel Coen takes a sparse, stylized look at one of Shakespeare’s most compelling plays. Filming in austere black-and-white, he presents an abstract physical world that’s filled with deep, geometric shadows, sharp angles and bleak walls, focusing on an ambitious middle-aged couple, determined to usurp political power in medieval Scotland.

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CYRANO – Review by Susan Granger

It’s not about the nose! Director Joe Wright re-imagines Edmund Rostand’s 1897 poetic drama Cyrano de Bergerac about a swashbuckling poet/solider with self-esteem issues. In her musical adaptation of the French classic love story, Erika Schmidt discards the gigantic nose as an impediment and substitutes short stature. Cyrano is embodied by Peter Dinklage.

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C’MON C’MON – Review by Susan Granger

Writer/director Mike Mills’ turbulent new family melodrama delves into the trials and tribulations of parenthood, encompassing its inherent joys and overwhelming responsibilities, including choosing between self-interest and caring for a child. The bittersweet plot revolves around the transformation that happens when Johnny (Joaquin Phoenix), who’s single and has no children, steps into the avuncular role of substitute patent.

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STOP-ZEMLIA – Review by Susan Wloszczyna

When you’re in your adolescence, every step ypu take on the road to maturity is fraught with emotion and exploration, whether it involves sex, under-age drinking, the use of illegal drugs or flirting with both sexes while defining yourself as a person. In Stop-Zemlia, Ukrainian filmmaker Kateryna Gornostai, known for her documentary work, uses her tools to crack open what it’s like to be Sweet 16 and in high school in this Eastern Europe country.

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THE PINK CLOUD – Review by Leslie Combemale

At this point in the pandemic, most of us have become acutely aware of the relative saving graces and limitations of technology as a tool for communication and authentic interaction. We’ve learned isolation can birth intense loneliness and depression. There is no substitute for human physical interaction, and there likely never will be. This truth wound up particularly if unintentionally hitting home in the new Brazilian sci-fi character drama The Pink Cloud. That The Pink Cloud reflects this moment in history makes it heartbreaking and fascinating cinema.

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A.RTIFICIAL I.MMORTALITY – Review by Liz Braun

A.rtificial I.mmortality is an intriguing documentary from Ann Shin about the pursuit of everlasting life. What used to be the purview of religion is increasingly being handed off to the tech world in the 21st century. Can we live forever?

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