THE VIRTUOSO – Review by Susan Granger

What a shame that – after winning the 2021 Best Actor Academy Award for The Father – Anthony Hopkins’ new neo-noir thriller is such a dud! The titular character (Anson Mount) is a nameless contract killer, a methodical mercenary, who shows no remorse about the way he earns a living…until a woman, an innocent bystander, is burned to death in front of her young child. He knows it’s “collateral damage,” but the horror awakens his conscience.

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THE NEVERS – Review by Susan Granger

Set in London in 1896 during the last years of Queen Victoria’s reign, this new HBO six-episode, sci-fi series revolves around ‘Touched’ people – mostly women – who suddenly manifest an astonishing variety of abnormal abilities. The phenomenon begins with a spectral glow in the overcast sky as glittering particles fall to Earth. Suddenly, young women, many from the lower classes, demonstrate mysterious capabilities – so extraordinary that they’re considered threatening by wealthy, aristocratic men.

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THE MARKSMAN – Review by Susan Granger

Having established himself as the screen’s most reliable, older action hero, Liam Neeson comes to the rescue again in this action-thriller, set in Naco, Arizona along the Mexican border. Neeson plays rancher Jim Henson, a decorated Vietnam War sharpshooter who’s still grieving over the death of his beloved wife from cancer a year ago. Behind on his mortgage payments and facing eviction, his only friends are his faithful dog Jackson and his step-daughter Sarah (Katheryn Winnick), a border patrol agent.

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THE PERFECT CANDIDATE – Review by Susan Wloszczyna

In 2012, Haifaa al-Mansour took a rather giant leap for womankind by becoming the first Saudi woman to direct a feature film and the first set in her homeland. Back then, Wadjda focused on a 10-year-old girl and her desire to be allowed to own and ride a bicycle. This time out, The Perfect Candidate, her latest title set in her patriarchy-oppressed homeland pivots on, of all things, something near and dear to Joe Biden’s heart – infrastructure.

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TOM CLANCY’S WITHOUT REMORSE – Review by Susan Granger

In his 1993 best-seller Without Remorse, novelist Tom Clancy introduced Navy SEAL John Kelly, a character in the Jack Ryan series who has been previously been played on-screen by Liev Schreiber and Willem Dafoe . Now it’s Michael B. Jordan’s turn. As this espionage thriller begins, Kelly’s head emerges from underwater in full scuba gear. He’s on a mission to extract an ‘asset’ out of Aleppo in Syria, where he and his men must unexpectedly battle Russian soldiers instead of the mercenaries that his CIA boss said would be guarding the hostage.

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THE PERFECT CANDIDATE – Review by Jennifer Merin

The Perfect Candidate is Saudi filmmaker Haifaa Al-Mansour’s compelling drama about a woman physician’s plight to get the impassable dirt road leading to the local hospital paved so that patients can get to the emergency ward in time for their lives to be saved. Because her appeals to the authorities are consistently denied — or worse yet, ignored — Dr. Maryam Alsafan (Mila Al Zahrani) decides that she will campaign for election to the town council with road repair as the sole issue presented on her platform. 

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK May 7, 2021: KNOTS: A FORCED MARRIAGE STORY

Ultra-conservative religious sects. Girls prevented from getting an education and learning practical skills. Forced marriage between teen girls and abusive men far older than their reluctant brides. No, this isn’t The Handmaid’s Tale; it’s daily life in the United States right now for thousands of underage girls forced into marriages they aren’t ready for and don’t want. And as Kate Brewer’s Knots: A Forced Marriage Story makes abundantly clear, it needs to stop now.

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IN OUR MOTHERS’ GARDENS – Review by Leslie Combemale

In Our Mothers’ Gardens is a fearless, confessionalist record, from inside personal histories, of Black mothers and grandmothers, and it is steeped in Black love and culture. It can open the eyes of people who have no true understanding of the strength of family and matriarchy in Black communities. It is a celebration that reflects, through a wide diversity of real stories by Black women, the power, importance, influence, and, above all, the perspective, of Black matriarchy

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