MOVIE OF THE WEEK July 30, 2021: AILEY

Jamila Wignot’s captivating documentary Ailey is a welcome burst of celebration. This thoughtful chronicle of the life and work of groundbreaking, enormously talented dancer/choreographer Alvin Ailey centers Black pride, creativity, self-identity, empowerment, and achievement. And, of course, it captures the unforgettable performances that made Ailey and his company famous around the world.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK July 16, 2021: MAMA WEED

If necessity is the mother of invention, as the saying goes, then being short on cash must be the godfather — or, in this case, godmother — of trying your hand at a life of crime. Such is the situation in Jean-Paul Salomé’s Mama Weed, which stars Isabelle Huppert as Patience Portefeux, a police translator whose lack of funds leads her to seize a golden, albeit illegal, opportunity.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK June 11, 2021: HOLLER

The American Dream feels almost as far out of reach as the moon in Nicole Riegel’s compelling feature debut, Holler, which follows an enterprising teenager named Ruth (Jessica Barden) who would do just about anything to escape her inevitably bleak future in a dying Southern Ohio town. She’s smart, and college could be her ticket out, but paying for it means taking dangerous chances with a not-exactly-legal scrap-metal scavenging crew.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK May 28, 2021: AHEAD OF THE CURVE

Just as Curve has been more than simply a magazine for the lesbian community since it was founded by Franco Stevens in the early 1990s, Jen Rainin and Rivkah Beth Medow’s spirited documentary Ahead of the Curve is much more than simply a film about the history of that magazine. It’s an engaging look at the progress of the lesbian movement over the last 30 years — and where it’s headed in the future.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK May 21, 2021: WHEN HITLER STOLE PINK RABBIT

Based on the popular children’s book by Judith Kerr — which itself was based on her own experiences as a child — Caroline Link’s When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit is the story of the Kemper family, German Jews who fled Berlin in the early 1930s as Hitler was coming to power. Told primarily through the perspective of young Anna (Riva Krymalowski), it’s a compelling drama about family and finding your place in the world.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK May 7, 2021: KNOTS: A FORCED MARRIAGE STORY

Ultra-conservative religious sects. Girls prevented from getting an education and learning practical skills. Forced marriage between teen girls and abusive men far older than their reluctant brides. No, this isn’t The Handmaid’s Tale; it’s daily life in the United States right now for thousands of underage girls forced into marriages they aren’t ready for and don’t want. And as Kate Brewer’s Knots: A Forced Marriage Story makes abundantly clear, it needs to stop now.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK April 30, 2021: THE COUNTY

Don’t cry over spilled milk — get even. Or, rather, speak up, protest, organize, and take a stand against corruption. That’s the lesson at the heart of The County, writer/director Grímur Hákonarson’s subtly powerful drama about a grieving widow who takes a stand against the domineering co-op that rules the roost in her Icelandic farming community.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK April 23, 2021: TOGETHER TOGETHER

The romantic comedy gets a power up in Nikole Beckwith’s effortlessly charming Together Together. Ed Helms is surprisingly lovable and charming as Matt, a single 40-something ready to take the next step in his life: fatherhood. Rather than keep searching for the perfect someone, he opts to go at it alone with the help of a surrogate. Enter Anna, Patti Harrison, a young woman looking to get her life back on tack and she sees surrogacy as a way to get there. What begins as a transactional relationship soon turns into a beautiful and all too real story of friendship and sacrifice. Beckwith’s script is smart and often drifts into too-close-for-comfort reality and its gorgeously brought to life by Helms and Harrison.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK April 9, 2021: SLALOM

As challenging — and stark — as the mountains its main character hurtles down in the pursuit of athletic glory and personal validation, French filmmaker Charlène Favier’s debut feature Slalom is an unflinching look at the impact of what happens to a vulnerable teenage girl when an authority figure abuses his authority and position of power.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK March 26, 2021: GROOMED

Both heartbreaking and immensely informative, Gwen van de Pas’ documentary Groomed details the trauma inflicted on her as a child by a trusted adult who betrayed that trust in the most heinous way possible. Decades later, when the long-buried memories of the sexual abuse and rape she suffered resurface as nightmares and panic attacks, she uses filmmaking as a way to process the experience and figure out how to move on.

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