MOVIE OF THE WEEK June 28, 2024: DADDIO

Two strangers make an unexpectedly meaningful connection in writer-director Christy Hall’s feature debut, Daddio. Play-like in the simplicity of its setting and focus on dialogue, this “two hander” drama is a fascinating character study that features nuanced, memorable performances by stars Sean Penn and Dakota Johnson as, respectively, a brash New York City cabbie and the pensive passenger he picks up at JFK airport to drive into Manhattan.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK June 14, 2024: GHOSTLIGHT

The crushing weight of grief and the healing power of theater are explored with touching authenticity in Kelly O’Sullivan and Alex Thompson’s poignant dramedy Ghostlight. As it gradually reveals the heartbreaking loss at the center of its main characters’ lives, the film shows how the impact of that loss has left them all reeling, unable to move forward until one of Shakespeare’s most iconic plays helps them find a way to process it together.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK June 7, 2024: LATE BLOOMERS

An unlikely friendship with a woman three times her age leads to personal growth for a struggling twentysomething in director Lisa Steen’s charming feature directorial debut, Late Bloomers. Starring Karen Gillan as floundering 28-year-old would-be musician Louise and Margaret Sophie Stein (aka Malgorzata Zajaczkowska in her native Poland) as Antonina, the testy Polish woman Louise unexpectedly finds herself spending time with and caring for, the film is a thoughtful take on what it really means to grow up.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK May 31, 2024: THE COMMANDANT’S SHADOW

At a time when some U.S. public schools are shutting down lesson plans that run the risk of making White American children feel bad about the country’s history of enslavement and oppression, The Commandant’s Shadow is an especially timely reminder of the dangers of willfully turning a blind eye to history. Daniela Volker’s documentary about coming to terms with both personal and societal legacies is a compelling addition to the catalog of films about World War II and the Holocaust.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK May 24, 2024: QUEEN OF THE DEUCE

If Chelly Wilson were a fictional character, odds are she’d be deemed “hard to believe” or “too over the top.” But the business-savvy, chain-smoking mom and grandma who came to the United States from Greece in 1939 and operated a string of adult movie theaters in some of the seediest parts of New York City in the 1960s and ’70s is 100 percent real. And, as chronicled in Valerie Kontakos’ documentary Queen of the Deuce, her story is fascinating.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK May 17, 2024 – BABES

Pamela Adlon may be a Gen Xer herself, but she proves that she genuinely understands Millennials in her feature directorial debut, Babes. With its sometimes crude, sometimes sweet script co-written by uber-Millennial comedian Ilana Glazer (who also co-stars), Adlon’s New York City-set comedy follows main characters Eden (Glazer) and Dawn (Michelle Buteau) as they authentically navigate the messy glory of adult life, from motherhood and marriage to friendship and self care.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK May 10, 2024: THE IDEA OF YOU

If you can suspend your disbelief about the fact that anyone would wonder why a straight man in his 20s would find Anne Hathaway attractive, The Idea of You is a sweet, thoughtful romantic comedy about seizing your joy where you’re lucky enough to find it and ignoring the haters. And the film is undeniably Hathaway’s, thanks to her appealing performance as a 40-year-old divorced mom who’s scared to believe in her own happy ending.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK May 3, 2024: CATCHING FIRE: THE STORY OF ANITA PALLENBERG

Blending frank interviews with a treasure trove of archival images and their subject’s own words, filmmakers Alexis Bloom and Svetlana Zill paint an incredibly intimate portrait of a 1960s and ’70s icon in Catching Fire: The Story of Anita Pallenberg. As a model, actress, mother, muse, and more, Pallenberg lived a life that was turned up to 11 as she became an integral part of the group surrounding the Rolling Stones in their heyday but was never anything less than her own woman.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK April 26, 2024: IRENA’S VOW

There’s no denying the fact that humans are capable of terrible cruelty; everything from the history books to the headlines of today’s newspapers makes that sadly, abundantly clear. But people are also capable of acts of tremendous courage and character. Such is the case in director Louise Archambault’s moving drama Irena’s Vow, which tells the story of Irena Gut Opdyke, a Catholic Polish woman who risked herself repeatedly to hide a group of Jews during the Holocaust.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK April 19, 2024: WE GROWN NOW

Growing up can be a fraught experience in the best of circumstances, and life in the deteriorating Cabrini-Green public housing project in early 1990s Chicago is far from the best of circumstances. But, in Chicago native Minhal Baig’s moving drama We Grown Now, it’s also a place where friendship and community thrive — until tragic violence attracts the attention of the forces of “law and order,” and everything changes for best friends Malik and Eric.

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