MOVIE OF THE WEEK February 25, 2022: FAMILY SQUARES

In a pandemic-weary world where pretty much everyone is suffering from Zoom fatigue, it’s notable that Stephanie Laing’s Family Squares makes the experience of watching people interact via little boxes on one another’s computer screens both entertaining and genuinely engaging. It helps, of course, that they’re played by the likes of Ann Dowd, June Squibb, Henry Winkler, Margo Martindale, and Judy Greer — if only all virtual gatherings could be so star-studded!

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FAMILY SQUARES – Review by Susan Wloszczyna

For writer-director Stephanie Laing, her wry comedy Family Squares, is highly personal since it was inspired by the loss of her mother back in 2019. It’s also a love letter to her family that is stacked with an outstanding ensemble cast who use Zoom to communicate with one another while occupying virtual cubicles.

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FAMILY SQUARES – Review by Leslie Combemale

It is Stephanie Laing’s sophomore film as director, but much of the power of Family Squares is in the story. She co-wrote the screenplay, which was conceived as a COVID film, channeling experience from loss in her own life. It was originally called Spring Hope, after the small town near her family farm, and was based on a farm visit with her kids to say goodbye to her dying grandmother. Cut to a few years later when she was sitting down to Thanksgiving dinner in New York. She got a call from LA that her mother was dying, and had to said goodbye over FaceTime. These elements came together during the pandemic. Laing was considering the fact that over 200,000 Americans had died without being able to spend the last moments with each other in person, and found a way to tell all these emotional stories while keeping it real and funny and relatable.

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FAMILY SQUARES – Review by Liz Whittemore

Family Squares resonated with me on a very personal level. Everything from the weeping to inside jokes about which family members didn’t know how to locate the mute button made me smile. Writer-director Stephanie Laing understands the complexities that exist within a family unit. This massive all-star cast includes Henry Winkler, June Squibb, Ann Dowd, Judy Greer, Margo Martindale, Elsie Fisher, Casey Wilson, Bill Magnussen, Scott MacArthur, Sam Richardson, Zoe Chao, Timothy Simons, Jessica Miesel, and Maclaren Laing. Four generations of actors come together for one joyous and funny film.

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HALLOWEEN KILLS – Review by Rachel West

One thing Halloween Kills gets right is showing Michael Myers as a brutal, sadistic killing machine. He is utterly relentless when it comes to butchering people in gruesome and blood-soaked ways that will make slasher fans squeal with delight. The first half of the film features some of the franchise’s more-inventive kills before the story gets muddled with too many unmemorable characters, side plots, and drama.

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LADY OF THE MANOR – Review by Susan Granger

Since filmmaking brothers Justin and Christian Long are from Fairfield, Connecticut, friends and neighbors have expressed interest in their wannabe buddy comedy, set in Savannah, Georgia. The story ostensibly revolves around Hannah (Melanie Lynskey), a crass, weed-smoking slacker who drops a drug delivery in the wrong residence, a house that’s been set to trap a child-molester.

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RATCHED – Review by Diane Carson

Every frame of Ratched communicates the off-kilter nightmare realm. The art direction, including lighting, gives an expressionistic twist to its bizarre, hermetically sealed setting. The cinematography intensifies the garish greens, antiseptic whites, shimmering blues, and rainbow of psychedelic colors, complemented by red lipstick, so bright it all but jumps off the women’s lips that look more like wounds.

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HALLOWEEN (2018) – Review by Brandy McDonnell

The imminently watchable Curtis (“True Lies,” “A Fish Called Wanda”) got her big break playing Laurie Strode, a teenage babysitter who manages to survive the rampage of stoic masked serial killer Michael Myers, in John Carpenter’s original “Halloween.” A direct sequel to the first film, the new “Halloween” smartly ignores the plethora of dull and convoluted entries in between and picks up 40 years later.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK September 14, 2018: A HAPPENING OF MONUMENTAL PROPORTIONS

Judy Greer is no slouch at making people laugh; as an actress.. A Happening of Monumental Proportions marks her debut behind the camera, directing others as they go about the serious business of creating humor. The result is a quirky, charming comedy about several Los Angelenos whose lives intersect over the course of a single day.

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