MOVIE OF THE WEEK January 14, 2022 – WHO WE ARE: A CHRONICLE OF RACISM IN AMERICA

Once more, for those in the back: The United States is a racist country. As lawyer Jeffrey Robinson, the deputy legal director and director of the Trone Center for Justice & Equality at the ACLU, clearly and eloquently reminds viewers in Sarah Kunstler and Emily Kunstler’s must-see documentary Who We Are: A Chronicle of Racism in America, the U.S. was founded by White men who enslaved Black people, and that legacy has had an impact on everything that has come since.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK December 24, 2021: PARALLEL MOTHERS

Pedro Almodovar is no stranger to telling compelling stories about complex women, from Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown to All About My Mother to Volver and more. His streak continues with Parallel Mothers, an emotional drama about connection, coincidence, and the ties that bind us. Penelope Cruz and Milena Smit star as two women whose lives are irrevocably entwined after they give birth in the same hospital on the same day.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK December 3, 2021: THE POWER OF THE DOG

It has been 12 years since film titan Jane Campion released a feature film. Now, with The Power of the Dog, the New Zealand director shows she has lost not a step. Her adaptation of Thomas Savage’s 1967 Western novel offers the vivid landscapes and hothouse emotions reminiscent of the film that put her on the world map, The Piano (1993). A piano even serves as an important plot point.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK October 29, 2021: PASSING

Based on Nella Larsen’s same-named novella, Rebecca Hall’s powerful 1920s-set directorial debut, Passing, tells the story of two friends — Irene (Tessa Thompson) and Clare (Ruth Negga) — who unexpectedly reunite after a long separation, only to discover that their lives have taken very different trajectories. As it reveals what happens after their paths re-cross, the film examines complex issues related to race, identity, marriage, motherhood, and more.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK October 22, 2021: WOMEN IS LOSERS

The patriarchy is far from dead, but every woman lucky enough to come of age in the United Stats in a post-RBG, post-Roe v. Wade world is likely to find Lissette Feliciano’s earnest, scrappy ’60-set drama Women Is Losers an eye-opening reminder of how much harder things used to be. It also serves as a powerful argument for why it’s so important not to lose the progress we’ve gained.

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Horror Movies and Kids: A Scary Combination — Betsy Bozdech, Brandy McDonnell, Jennifer Merin, Nell Minow and Liz Whittemore comment

Research shows that, on average, kids see horror movies as young as 7 years old. And we’ve all noticed members of the PG crowd at decidedly R-rated movies — in fact, when my daughter was in the second grade, she had multiple classmates who’d seen “It.” It’s not realistic to expect that we can shield kids from scary or gory content forever. And, in fact, it can be counterproductive to prevent children from seeing any kind of conflict, loss, or trauma on screen. Far better to use these moments, when they come, as opportunities to help them through hard stuff in a safe place.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK October 8, 2021: ASCENSION

A study in contrasts, director Jessica Kingdon’s observational documentary Ascension (her first feature) is a fascinating look at contemporary China, a country driven by both consumption and service, tradition and innovation. Kingdon’s camera captures a wide swathe of modern Chinese society — from phalanxes of factory workers to nouveau riche executives. Her remarkable level of access supports a fly-on-the-wall filmmaking style that lends itself to a truly intimate cinematic experience.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK October 1, 2021: STOP AND GO

Time has moved differently since March 2020, often slowing to a glacial crawl. For that reason, the charming road comedy Stop and Go — which is set during the early days of Covid-19 — already feels quaintly nostalgic. Remember when we doused everything in Lysol? And changed clothes after coming back from the store? And were terrified our loved ones would catch Covid and die? (Hmm. Maybe things haven’t changed so much since lockdown started after all.)

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK September 17, 2021: I’M YOUR MAN

If Westworld had been a romcom instead of a gory sci-fi parable, it might have ended up looking something like Maria Schrader‘s winsome I’m Your Man, which follows a skeptical academic who agrees to test a “perfect partner” android in exchange for research funding support. Determined to poke the concept full of holes, she reluctantly finds herself drawn to her manufactured soulmate — and does a fair bit of self-analysis along the way.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK September 10, 2021: LANGUAGE LESSONS

After the last year and a half, it would be understandable if someone read the quick summary of Natalie Morales’ Language Lessons — two very different people bond through a series of online chats and messages — and thought “A Zoom movie? No way!” But this intimate, heartfelt dramedy is so much more than that. It’s a carefully observed character study about friendship, privilege, and the power of a genuine connection, whether it’s virtual or IRL.

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