WHAT SHE SAID: THE ART OF PAULINE KAEL – Review by MaryAnn Johanson

I don’t know whether to be heartened or depressed by What She Said, a terrific documentary about the life and work of legendary film critic Pauline Kael. We hear how challenging it was to make a living as a critic, the abuse she took from readers, and just the general awfulness of men, in her personal life as well as professionally.

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HALA -Review by Loren King

Writer-director Minhal Baig’s feature debut is anchored by a heroine unique enough to catch attention and complex and engaging enough to hold it. Hala (Geraldine Viswanathan) is a 17-year-old high senior in the Chicago suburbs going through the usual coming of age tribulations: there’s college, sex, love, identity and breaking away from strict parental control. But as a Pakistani American Muslim who wears her hijab while skateboarding and appreciates literature such as Ibsen’s “A Doll’s House” with a clear and understated eloquence, Hala is a character we’ve rarely seen on screen.

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AMERICAN SON – Review by Lynnette Nicholas

American Son focuses not only on implicit bias, white privilege, the dynamics of power, wealthy Blacks and the “illusion of safety,” and the experience of wealthy Black boys at predominantly white institutions, but it also depicts a smart, beautiful interracial couple who genuinely love one another and just can’t seem to take the pressure of the presumptions placed on them by society and racial constructs.

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DILILI IN PARIS – Review by Jennifer Merin

Michel Ocelot’s distinctive style of animation and exposition has a simplicity and fluidity that allows for a beautifully rendered tour of Paris’ well known tourist spots, as well as the introduction of the leading cultural figures of the day and a surprising roster of other cultural references. And, all the while, there’s the mystery of the Male Masters, whose political leanings and agenda are, we learn, threateningly right wing and anti-female.

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ANTHROPOCENE: THE HUMAN EPOCH – Review by Susan Wloszczyna

Sometimes, Anthropocene: The Human Epoch feels like a loftier, artier and much more sobering Transformers sequel, what with its fixation on the monstrously huge machines that chomp into the planet and unsettle our ailing ecosystem for the sake of commerce.

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PERVERSION STORY – Review by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas

Next to Mario Bava and Dario Argento, Lucio Fulci is unarguably one of the giants of Italian horror. His extraordinary Gates of Hell trilogy – City of the Living Dead, The House By the Cemetery and The Beyond – are still as simultaneously beautiful and terrifying as they were on their first release in the early 1980s, The Beyond alone undeniably one of the greatest horror films of that decade full stop.

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THE HATE U GIVE – Review by Roxana Hadadi

The Hate U Give is an important film and a weighty film, one that raises questions about what we as a society will accept — from our community members, from our leaders, from the politicians who are supposed to represent us, from the police who are supposed to protect us. The movie, based on the novel by Angie Thomas, considers a tragedy that feels simultaneously ripped from the headlines and quite commonplace: the killing of an unarmed black teenager by a white police officer.

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