THE MAURITANIAN – Review by Leslie Combemale

So much star power should amount to a lot more than what audiences will get out of The Mauritanian. Thank the cinematic gods for Tahar Rahim, however, who is the film’s saving grace, bringing appropriate gravitas to his portrayal of Mohamedou Ould Slahi, the title role, around which all the mystery and tension of the story is centered. It is the story of his imprisonment in Guantanamo Bay, his years of torture and interrogation, and his fight to be freed. It is startling how much Rahim looks like his character’s real life counterpart, whose NY Times best-selling memoir, Guantanamo Diary, is the basis for the film.

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JUST DON’T THINK I’LL SCREAM – Review by Diane Carson

With text on screen before any image appears in Just Don’t Think I’ll Scream, writer/director Frank Beauvais writes, “I watched over 400 films between April and October 2016. This footage comes from them.” This information in no way prepares viewers for the overwhelming onslaught of thousands of shots, a mere few seconds each, that follows for seventy-five minutes in this impressionistic documentary..

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THE NEST – Review by Susan Granger

In the 1980s, one of the Ladies’ Home Journal’s most popular features was “Can This Marriage Be Saved?” drawing from the files of marital therapists and counselors. Following that model, writer/director Sean Durkin introduces hot-shot British commodities broker Rory O’Hara who leaves Wall Street to return to the U.K. with his American wife Allison, an avid equestrian, and two children: young Benjamin and his teenage half-sister Samantha.

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FALLING – Review by April Neale

In his directorial debut, Viggo Mortensen delivers a biographically tinged film that holds up a mirror to mortality. From the beginning, the film reminds us that we all will die, and that everyone’s journey to that end game is filled with beauty and sadness, abuse and adoration, and most of all—at least in Viggo’s case—an appreciation for your family, warts and all.

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GARBO THE SPY – Retroview by Jennifer Merin

This wonderfully entertaining and educating documentary is a real life spy thriller that profiles the mystery man, a double agent during World War II, who who changed the course of history. He was the most important, successful and daring spy of his day, an unidentified legend in his own time, the only one to receive distinguished service honors from both the British and Germans.

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MLK/FBI – Review by Martha K Baker

Sam Pollard’s excellent documentary, MLK/FBI,”principally covers the last five years of Martin Luther King’s life. None of its major points is really new: he worked under tremendous pressure, he was hounded by the FBI, he was profligate. What this film does reveal is how those details defined him.

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NEWS OF THE WORLD – Review by Susan Granger

Set five years after the Civil War, Tom Hanks stars in this elegiac Western as Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd, who travels from town-to-town, enthralling often-illiterate audiences with stories about what’s happening in this country and abroad, charging a dime per person. It’s 1870 and the tumultuous 15th Amendment has just been ratified, extending the right to vote to all men without regard to race or previous condition of servitude.

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THE WHITE TIGER – Review by Diane Carson

Tackling India’s repressive, inflexible caste system, The White Tiger chronicles Balram Halwai’s fawning deference, growing resentment, and eventual violent rejection of his submissive station. Adapted from Aravind Adiga’s 2008 Man Booker Prize winning novel, director Ramin Bahrani manages to create a quirky, even occasionally and unexpectedly amusing presentation of Balram’s abject subservience evolving into self-assured entitlement.

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MY LITTLE SISTER -Review by Valerie Kalfrin

My Little Sister, Switzerland’s entry for the foreign language Oscar category, ostensibly lets audiences peek inside the complex relationship between fraternal twins as one struggles with cancer. While that’s a poignant part of this tender drama, the film’s underlying story is more about how much the titular sister gives to everyone but herself.

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