MICKEY AND THE BEAR – Review by Carol Cling

There are times when this coming-of-age drama — about an often-overwhelmed teen struggling to deal with her father, a troubled Iraq War veteran — plays like an inadvertent variation on 2018’s powerful Leave No Trace. Yet this feature debut from writer-director Annabelle Attanasio, fresh from the festival circuit, overcomes a somewhat derivative storyline to forge its own strong identity.

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JOJO RABBIT – Review by Brandy McDonnell

Set in Germany during the waning days of WWII, the New Zealand filmmaker’s adaptation of Christine Leunen’s novel “Caging Skies” follows 10-year-old Jojo (wonderful newcomer Roman Griffin Davis), a new Hitler Youth recruit who so fancies himself a Nazi zealot that his imaginary friend is a clownish version of Adolf Hitler (Waititi, brilliantly eccentric).

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THE ETRUSCAN SMILE – Review by Roxana Hadadi

Some lessons about life never change: do what you love, surrounded by people you love, before it’s too late. That’s a simple but reassuring series of messages that are the through line for the sometimes satisfying but fundamentally patronizing The Etruscan Smile, director Oded Binnun and Mihal Brezis’s adaptation of the bestselling 1985 novel La Sonrisa Etrusca.

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PAIN AND GLORY – Review by Brandy McDonnell

The Spanish auteur (“Talk to Her,” “The Skin I Live In”) wisely turned to his frequent collaborator Antonio Banderas to star in his autobiographical drama. Banderas earns his best actor prize from Frances’ Cannes Film Festival – and seems to be a shoo-in for an Oscar nod – with his magnetic turn as Salvador Mallo, celebrated filmmaker plagued with a cavalcade of physical maladies.

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ATLANTICS – Review by Loren King

What a stunning, original, visually striking feature debut from Mati Diop. Senegal’s entry for Best International Film Oscar consideration,Atlantics made history and generated wide interest when it won the Grand Prix at Cannes. Not just that, but Diop, who is of African and French heritage, became the first black woman to direct a film featured in the Festival’s Competition section.

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ATLANTICS – Review by Sheila Roberts

Mati Diop’s highly original film is a magical and mysterious tale told from the female-centric perspective of those left behind. It’s filled with ghostly apparitions that capture both the plight of the migrant crisis and the life altering impact of genuine love. Ada’s dreams, nightmares and memories are central to her African identity. They are omens that remind her of who she is, what she can become, and how the future belongs to her.

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