WILDCAT – Review by Diane Carson

Presenting a writer’s life in a captivating, engrossing way has eluded many directors. All the more credit, then, to Ethan Hawke who takes on prolific Southern Gothic author Flannery O’Connor in Wildcat, starring his daughter Maya. Not only does Ethan present Flannery’s physically and emotionally difficult life, he also integrates throughout the film dramatized vignettes from her semi-autobiographical short stories. The film is a dynamic interplay between the real and the imagined. Maya Hawke is Flannery and Laura Linney her mother Regina, but both play six roles (the actual and invented) inviting rich insights into both Flannery’s creativity and her troubled existence.

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WILDCAT – Review by Justina Walford

Ethan Hawke has taken it upon himself to explore Flannery O’Connor cinematically. I understand the allure. O’Connor’s turn of phrase and rich Southern Gothic style begs to be on screen. Along with her stories, Flannery O’Connor was an iconic woman and a character in and of herself. Many novelists (Ethan Hawke being one himself) see pieces of ourselves in her life. And history definitely has pieces of her era in our era. The racial conflict and civil rights upheaval of the 50’s has a certain spark that we mirror in this very moment of time.

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LEAVE THE WORLD BEHIND – Review by Susan Granger

Leave the World Behind is a paranoid, tension-filled, futuristic nightmare. The story begins in a Park Slope, Brooklyn apartment, where early-rising advertising executive Amanda Sandford (Julia Roberts) awakens her professor husband Clay (Ethan Hawke) and teenage children – Rose (Farrah Mackenzie) and Archie (Charlie Evans) – with a surprise: she’s rented a luxurious Airbnb on Long Island for the weekend.

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RAYMOND & RAY (TIFF 2022) – Review by Ulkar Alakbarova

Shows how little we know about our parents, especially how little Raymond and Ray know; if their father had a chance, he would probably impregnate every woman he ever dated! Even though the brothers have nothing good to say about him, it’s their father’s friends and acquaintances who are fond of him. Maybe their father was a better friend, a good lover, but never a good parent. It’s something the brothers must explore in order to find a way to cure themselves from the hatred they have buried in their heart and begin their new life with a new chapter.

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THE LAST MOVIE STARS – Review by Susan Granger

Ethan Hawke’s searing six-part HBO Max documentary, The Last Movie Stars, delving into the tumultuous marriage of Joanne Woodward and Paul Newman. The Last Movie Stars not only examines the complexity of the Newmans’ marriage but also shows how the trajectory of their individual careers influenced, affected and challenged their bond.

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THE BLACK PHONE – Review by T. J. Callahan

Set in 1978 Denver, an abducted teenager uses an unplugged wall phone in a sound proof basement crypt to communicate with a sadistic killer’s previous victims in hopes of saving his own life. The Black Phone is a perplexing puzzle that won’t leave you hanging…up. It won’t necessarily have you on the edge of your seat either, but that’s only because The Black Phone is more creepy than it is frightening. It’s more like watching a crime drama with jump scares.

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THE NORTHMAN – Review by T.J. Callahan

This film is barbaric, black and white and bloody. It’s vicious Viking vengeance that very well could make you vomit. The Northman is brutal on many levels with one being it’s 2 hour and 16 minute run time. There’s pillaging, conjuring, screaming, grunting and howling like wolves. The Northman is a turn of the 10th century soap opera that was expertly and artfully filmed for the big screen and will have fans of the medieval genre on the edge of their seats cheering. As for me, when the heads rolled, so did my eyes.

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THE NORTHMAN – Review by Susan Granger

If you like brawling, bloody brutality, head for The Northman, Robert Eggers’ intense Nordic nightmare. Eggers’ previous films – The Witch (2015) and The Lighthouse (2019) – blurred the boundary between fantasy and reality, so it’s not surprising that this Viking revenge saga follows suit. The dialogue is banal – apparently, Vikings weren’t very articulate – so Eggers and his DP Jarin Blaschke concentrate on violent, medieval mayhem.

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TESLA – Review by Martha K. Baker

This film biography begins with a man stroking a cat’s back, producing a spark. The petting also produces a question from the man: “Is nature a gigantic cat, and, if so, who scratches its back?” The questioner is Nikola Tesla, an inventor finally getting credit and, that, courtesy of a car bearing his name.

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