THE LAST BLACK MAN IN SAN FRANCISCO – Brandy McDonnell reviews

In a cinematic era when so many movies seem to drown in exposition, “The Last Black Man in San Francisco” addresses a myriad of deep and timely issues – gentrification and displacement, drug addiction and broken homes, toxic masculinity and gun violence – all without ever talking about them directly. Although the storytelling could be tightened up a bit, the film is a stunning feature debut for both its director and star as well as one of the best films of the year.

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STUBER – Review by Susan Granger

Kumail Nanjiani and Dave Bautista team up in the latest entry in the odd couple/buddy action-comedy genre. For months, Vic (Bautista), an LAPD narcotics detective, has been tracking his former partner’s killer Teijo (Iko Uwais), a major link in the local heroin chain. Unfortunately, the day he gets a tip on Teijo’s next big drop, he’s just had Lasik surgery, meaning his eyes are unable to focus.

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THE PORTRAIT OF A LADY – Retroview by Martha P Nochimson

In revising Henry James’s novel as no man would or could, Jane Campion demonstrates more than the changes that have taken place since 1881; she demonstrates the changes that have not taken place. In thoroughly missing the organic relationship of Isabel’s fantasy life to the plot, earlier critics just assumed Campion was flamboyantly showing off her directorial chops, or sensationalizing James. We failed to see that she was giving the audience a piercing, feminist insight into what happens, at least in some cases, on the road to gender equality.

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THE IGUANA WITH A TONGUE OF FIRE – Review by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas

Even by giallo standards, The Iguana with the Tongue of Fire is noteworthy for the extremity of its violence, participating in an ongoing spirit of ‘upping the ante’ that would peak in giallo’s classic era with outright nasty efforts such as Mario Landi’s near indescribably brutal Giallo in Venice at the end of the decade (a challenging watch for even the most dedicated giallo loyalists).

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THE FIFTH CORD – Review by Marina Antunes

There’s much to love about The Fifth Cord. One of multiple Oscar-winning cinematographer Vittorio Storaro’s early works, the movie looks amazing and Storaro’s camera work is mesmerizing. From the first-person camera shots to the amazing framing and cinematography of the cityscapes, every frame of The Fifth Cord offers something new and interesting. Ennio Morricone’s unmistakable score adds flare. And Franco Nero, embodying the proto-typical 70’s macho-man who does things his way and even when he’s wrong, is perfectly cast in the lead.

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FORBIDDEN PHOTOS OF A LADY ABOVE SUSPICION – Review by Maitland McDonagh

Forbidden Photos of A Lady Above Suspicion is a thriller that takes on a whole new significance in our era of, to be honest, frightening biotechnology, in addition addressing—however indirectly—still hot-button issues related to agency, consent and larger social constructs that define a woman’s right to say, “Hell no.”

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ROSIE – Review by Loren King

Rosie blends human heartbreak and social realism. Anyone living even remotely close to the edge likely understands that homelessness isn’t a moral failing but a widespread social problem created by economics and greed. But scripter Doyle and director Breathnach don’t preach or moralize; they’ve told a complicated story with elegant simplicity.

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STUBER – Review by Lana Wilson-Combs

Kumail Nanjiani and Dave Bautista make a dynamic duo in the funny new buddy comedy, Stuber from director Michael Dowse. Nanjiani plays a mild-mannered Uber driver named Stu who is working to make a few extra bucks to impress the girl of his dreams. But when a buffed and brash LAPD Detective recruits Stu to track down a drug lord, Stu is in for the wildest ride of his life.

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THE BIGGEST LITTLE FARM – Brandy McDonnell reviews

The film started out as a collection of Oprah Winfrey’s Super Soul Shorts about the farm’s animals, including the Daytime Emmy-winning Saving Emma, about their pregnant pig, which gave birth to an astonishing litter of 17 piglets and developed a potentially fatal infection. The feature-length documentary doesn’t stint on the gorgeously lit footage of precious piglets, shaggy calves and fluffy puppies, with heartwarming tales.

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