BAD RIVER – Review by Liz Braun

A handful of Indigenous environmentalists and land stewards are standing between the next Enbridge oil pipeline failure and the waters of Lake Superior. Bad River is a small but mighty documentary about the Lake Superior Ojibwe who live in Northern Wisconsin and are currently embroiled in a legal battle against Enbridge, hoping to evict the corporate behemoth from their land before an oil spill occurs. Director Mary Mazzio is careful to present the people, their history and their beautiful pristine land before getting into the legal battle with Enbridge and exactly what the Bad River residents now face. After two major flooding events and consequent soil erosion, a section of Enbridge pipeline sits fully exposed, hanging above the ground and very much at risk of rupture.

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ASTEROID CITY – Review by Diane Carson

A who’s who of over twenty fine actors contribute fabulous, droll interpretations to characters’ encounters and collisions. Deriving maximum comic effect from all this, director Wes Anderson presents his skewed humor as if nothing could be more natural or normal. Alexandre Desplat’s music interprets and complements the ambiance as the film shape shifts through topics: science and science fiction, musicals and heartfelt romance, existential drama and philosophical treatise. All this is embedded in an hour forty-five minutes of fabulous entertainment.

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GLASS ONION: A KNIVES OUT MYSTERY – Review by Susan Granger

It’s not exactly accurate that Rian Johnson’s follow-up Knives Out Mystery is called “-Glass Onion”- because the so-called ‘onion’ is actually a glass dome – with no layers and, essentially, hollow. Having relinquished his James Bond persona, Daniel Craig reprises the dapper Southern detective, Benoit Blanc, in this overly intricate Agatha Christie-like murder mystery set on a luxurious private island that’s populated by a motley assortment of colorful guests. Problem is: despite some intriguing cameos, none of the cast of characters in this whodunit is remotely likeable, so why should we care who murdered whom?

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GLASS ONION – Review by Martha K Baker

Gone are the cardigans and libraries. Gone the bookish air of a British mystery. Gone the cozy. In their familiar places are technology, a pandemic, wizardry, and glass galore. Writer/director Rian Johnson created a blockbuster with Knives Out, appealing to British mystery fans. He’s now created a much noisier, more intricate, more boisterous mystery but, nonetheless, an intriguing one.

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MOTHERLESS BROOKLYN – Review by Diane Carson

Motherless Brooklyn captures film noir style and story. As he acknowledged at the Telluride premiere for Motherless Brooklyn, actor/director Edward Norton loves film noir—narrative complexity, lighting keeping characters and motives in the dark, and a jazz score expressing and evoking strong emotions. Adding that he wanted to treat the characters “like Chandler detectives,” Norton revisits 1950s New York, that shadowy city of nefarious deeds and racist attitudes.

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AWFJ Movie of the Week, Oct. 13-19: BIRDMAN

Opening Oct. 17, AWFJ’s Movie of the Week is Birdman, which sees the welcome return of Michael Keaton as a washed up actor trying to reclaim past glories by staging a play on Broadway. Directed by Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, the hugely talented filmmaker behind the likes of Amores Perros, 21 Grams and Babel, and powered by a virtuoso performance from Keaton, Birdman is a knowing – and hugely entertaining – treatise on the fickle nature of fame.
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