BOOK CLUB: THE NEXT CHAPTER – Review by Susan Granger

Club: The Next Chapter – lazy screenwriting undercuts the best intentions of a quartet of highly competent actresses who have – collectively – earned four Oscars, six Emmys and 13 Golden Globes. This sequel to the 2018 Book Club comedy reunites Jane Fonda, Diane Keaton, Candice Bergen and Mary Steenburgen as lifelong friends who decide to celebrate the end of their zoom calls during the pandemic quarantine with a fun-filled trip to Tuscany. These talented sightseers deserve better than this briefly anecdotal fluff, filled with clichéd PG-13 double entendres.

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BOOK CLUB: THE NEXT CHAPTER – Review by Nadine Whitney

The overall romanticism of the film will work for some audiences, and where the comedy is obvious there are moments that are generally delightful. Director Bill Holderman and Erin Simms’ original script for Book Club wasn’t groundbreaking, but it was something that really cared about giving older women some form of empowerment. Their work on Book Club: The Next Chapter seems more focused on cashing in on the success of the first film than really investigating the lives of the women they had the audience invest in the first time around. Beautiful scenery and accomplished actors pulls Book Club: The Next Chapter over the line, and it will charm a certain demographic, but it is a disappointing sequel to Book Club and its by-the-numbers approach really doesn’t do anyone any favors.

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STILL WORKING 9 TO 5 – Review by Jennifer Green

It’s been just over 40 years since the comedy 9 to 5 premiered to unexpected success in the US. Meanwhile, this year marks the 100th anniversary of the first introduction of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) bill to Congress. A new documentary ties these two milestones together in an engaging exploration of the making of that pioneering film and its connection to the women’s rights movement of the 1970s through today. Though there were 20 million women in the workforce in those days, the documentary notes, stories about female office workers were rare in popular culture. The time was ripe for the project, which cast its leads before it was even written.

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MOVING ON – Review by T. J. Callahan

Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin are obviously NOT Moving On. They’re back on the big screen again, in a little over a month, co-starring with a smarmy Malcolm McDowell and a suave Richard Roundtree in a rated R for revenge comedy that’s more Grace and Frankie than 80 for Brady. Moving On tells the story of long time friends, Claire and Evelyn, who reunite at the funeral of their college bestie, Joyce. Claire (Fonda) is there for retribution. To right a wrong. To go Dirty Harriet on Joyce’s grieving husband played by McDowell. Evelyn (Tomlin) returns to reveal a long kept secret and act as Claire’s sidekick. Tomlin is Ethel to Fonda’s Lucy, but she ends up with all the laughs.

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MOVING ON – Review by Lois Alter Mark

Moving On, brings Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin back together in a that could almost be called ‘Promising Older Woman.’ This dark comedy uses black humor to shine a light on an important and timely subject – and, thanks to Fonda and Tomlin, it mostly works. The story revolves around Claire (Fonda) and Evelyn (Tomlin), former college roommates who reunite at the funeral of a mutual friend. When we first meet Claire, she’s walking over to the widower (Malcolm McDowell) to inform him, “I’m going to kill you.” She’s not kidding. Underneath the humor, there’s a vital message that needs to be internalized: actions have consequences and moving on can take a lifetime – and, sometimes, a life.

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MOVING ON – Review by Valerie Kalfrin

A good friend knows your rhythms, your flaws, and your secrets, no matter how long it’s been since you’ve seen each other. The droll comedy Moving On knows this in its bones, balancing an on-the-fly murder plot with genuine depth about growing older and cherishing the people who matter. It’s fun all the way through, made even more delightful by the lived-in, playful chemistry of stars Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK February 3, 2023: BODY PARTS

“Penises are pornography; tits are art.” This pithy summary of the double standard when it comes to nudity in movies comes courtesy of delightfully frank trans actress Alexandra Billings about halfway through director Kristy Guevara-Flanagan’s engaging documentary Body Parts. Billings is one of a host of smart, thoughtful actors and filmmakers interviewed about the history of sexualizing female bodies on the screen — and the impact that’s had on the industry and the culture both on screen and off.

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80 FOR BRADY – Review by T.J. Callahan

At least Tom Brady has something to look forward to this February. Welcome to AARP Theater. When the median age of the four female stars of a movie is 84, expect a lot of old timer jokes along with flirting, fumbling and finally inspiration. That’s exactly what you get if your game plan includes 80 For Brady, the inspired by true events story of four New England Patriot fans who decide to go to Super Bowl 51 in Houston to see their beloved Tom Brady play in person.

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80 FOR BRADY – Review by Susan Kamyab

80 For Brady plays out about as well as Tom Brady did in his last game against the Cowboys. It’s a major fumble in almost every aspect. 80 for Brady is loosely based on the true story of a group of best friends who are Tom Brady superfans. In the film, they take a life-changing trip to the Superbowl to see their hero play. The journey to get to the game has a few of bumps along the way, including lost tickets, health scares, and an accidental drugging. And through all that, you might chuckle a few times, but a lot of the comedy is forced and rushed.

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BODY PARTS – Review by Leslie Combemale

Body Parts is eye-opening and fascinating in showing not only where the film industry has been in terms of portraying sex onscreen, but where the industry can go when guided by advocates with integrity and genuine concern. Certainly many female film fans and feminists already know change is needed, now through this documentary, many more out there will be made aware of why it’s needed, and how that can happen.

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