18½ – Review by April Neale

Looking backward and rewriting actual historical events are the order for director Dan Mirvish’s 18½. This film is a thriller laced with enough comedy to keep it off-kilter, as the premise toys with what might have happened back in 1974 when a White House transcriber named Connie (Willa Fitzgerald) with a GS2 clearance finds herself in the middle of the Watergate scandal. She has access to the “missing tape,” an 18½ minute gap in Nixon’s recorded tapes, but it conveniently disappeared. Co-writers Daniel Moya and Mirvish’s rendering of Watergate events manages to be both a fun watch, food for thought, and subtly comedically brilliant effort in its alt-historical premise.

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FIRST COW – Review by Susan Granger

Director/co-writer/editor Kelly Reichardt’s minimalist Western takes a while to get into…first, there’s a quotation from William Blake’s Proverbs of Hell: “The bird a nest, the spider a web, man friendship.” In the film’s prologue, a contemporary woman (Alia Shawkat) who is walking with her dog near a broad river discovers a pair of human skeletons. Then there’s a flashback…

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FIRST COW – Review by Diane Carson

First Cow is a thoroughly absorbing story of atypical, three-dimensional characters. Director and co-writer (along with Raymond) Kelly Reichardt shows again an extraordinary ability to capture the look and feel of nineteenth century America, as she did in Meek’s Cutoff. Moreover, Reichardt doesn’t flinch from presenting the dirt and squalor, the struggle for the basics of food and shelter, and the violence barely suppressed and ready to erupt at any moment.

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FIRST COW – Review by Karen Gordon

Some movies deal with the settling of the American West as mythic. And then there are films like writer/director Kelly Reichardt’s First Cow, which strips it down to its basics for a more human scale and poetic vision of the Western era. Minus winners and losers, villains and heroes, this is a sparsely settled, muddy world where some people seek fortunes, and others do what they need day-to-day to survive.

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