JUDY – Review by Brandy McDonnell

Flashbacks to her adolescence at MGM Studios make it clear that show biz broke Garland early and often: The teenage Judy (the terrific Darci Shaw) is force-fed uppers to suppress her appetite and keep her working 18-hour days, denied sleep and meals for long stretches and deprived of any privacy or personal time. Her attempts to buck the system lead to soft-spoken spates of verbal abuse from intimidating studio head Louis B. Mayer (Richard Cordery, low-key terrifying).

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RAISE HELL: THE LIFE & TIMES OF MOLLY IVINS – Review by Martha K Baker

Really, all Janice Engel had to do was run as many old videos of the great Molly Ivins, journalist and iconoclast, to entertain her worshippers. Heaven knows, there is plenty of tape to unspool, bushels of quotes to regale, and heaps of one-liners to rehearse. But Engel does more than that in this classic biopic.

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VITA & VIRGINIA – Review by Cate Marquis

Vita & Virginia is a gorgeously-appointed historical drama based on the facts of the romantic affair between literary giant Virginia Woolf and fellow writer Vita Sackville-West. The drama is directed by Chanya Button, who co-wrote the screenplay with renowned British actor Eileen Atkins, who used the letters between Woolf and Sackville-West as the basis for the stage play on which the film is based. Filled with stunning 1920s costumes and wonderfully lush sets, the film’s visual beauty seems aimed to seduce us, as much as the lively, aristocratic Vita sets out seduce the aloof, intellectual Virginia Woolf.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK June 14, 2019: TONI MORRISON: THE PIECES I AM

Inspiring and intimate, Timothy Greenfield-Sanders’ documentary Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am is a revealing portrait of a true American icon. The Nobel Prize-winning author shares details of her life and work honestly and openly, while fellow luminaries — and enthusiastic fans — like Oprah Winfrey, Fran Lebowitz, Walter Mosley, and many more wax rhapsodic about Morrison’s talent and significance as a writer.

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WEEK IN WOMEN: Josie Rourke to Helm THIS NAN’S LIFE – Brandy McDonnell reports

Mary Queen Of Scots director Josie Rourke will helm This Nan’s Life, an origin story about British comedian Catherine Tate’s television character Nan. The feature film will explore the origins of the profanity-spewing pensioner Joannie “Nan” Taylor, played by Tate, who first appeared in BBC sketch series The Catherine Tate Show,.

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WHITE CROW – Review by Diane Carson

Tackling an iconic artist for a fictionalized biography would prove daunting under any circumstances. Choose Rudolf Nureyev, insist on casting a dancer who has not acted previously in film, shoot scenes in Russian, and the challenges are Herculean. Director/actor Ralph Fiennes embraces just such an incredibly difficult project in White Crow, the title taken from Nureyev’s nickname.

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FIGHTING WITH MY FAMILY – Review by Susan Granger

Since I don’t watch pro wrestling on TV, I was unfamiliar with World Wrestling Entertainment’s Diva champion Paige who inspired this shamelessly self-promoting real-life biopic. Saraya-Jade Bevis was raised by parents, Ricky (Nick Frost) and Julia (Lena Headley) Knight, who run a minor-league wrestling league in Norwich, England.

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THE BOY WHO HARNESSED THE WIND – Review by Diane Carson

Some rare, remarkable stories are the kind I wish were true, and fortunately The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind is. Actor Chiwetel Ejiofor knew its inspirational uniqueness as soon as he read William Kamkwamba’s 2016 book of the film’s title, chronicling the true story of thirteen-year-old William, loving school and science.

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