MOVIE OF THE WEEK May 27, 2022: SINCE I BEEN DOWN

Both infuriating and inspiring, Gilda Sheppard’s documentary Since I Been Down lays bare the fear and institutional racism that drive so much of the United States’ criminal justice system — but also shows how education and understanding can open minds and turn lives around. Focusing on the story of Kimonti Carter, a Black Tacoma, Wash., man who’s been incarcerated for murder since he was 18, it demands that viewers think critically about race, power, rehabilitation, and justice.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK May 20, 2022 – FANNY: THE RIGHT TO ROCK

If you heard that David Bowie told Rolling Stone in 1999 that a group popular in the 1970s was “one of the finest f–ing rock bands of their time,” who would you guess he was talking about? Led Zepplin? The Who? Deep Purple? Wrong, wrong, and wrong. He was heaping praise on Fanny, the groundbreaking all-female band formed by Filipina sisters Jean and June Millington, whose story is told in Bobbi Jo Hart’s rousing documentary Fanny: The Right to Rock.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK May 6, 2020: INBETWEEN GIRL

Relatable and honest, with a healthy dash of artistic quirk, InBetween Girl feels like the adaptation of a cool YA graphic novel — but it’s all direct from the brain of writer/director Mei Makino, making her feature debut alongside star Emma Galbraith. Together, these two talented women tell the coming-of-age story of Galveston high schooler Angie (Galbraith) as she navigates love, sex, friendship, high school, and her parents’ divorce.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK April 22, 2022: PETITE MAMAN

Quietly emotional and tenderly sincere, Petite Maman is a poignant tale about loss, connection, and growing up. Blending gentle fantasy elements with grounded, naturalistic performances, writer-director Céline Sciamma tells the story of 8-year-old Nelly, whose parents take her with them to clear out her mother’s childhood home after the death of her beloved grandmother. To her surprise, she finds much more waiting for her there than her mother’s old books and playthings.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK April 11, 2022: WE’RE ALL GOING TO THE WORLD’S FAIR

Eerie and melancholy, Jane Schoenbrun’s horror-tinged drama We’re All Going to the World’s Fair is both a coming-of-age story and an examination of teens’ use of media and technology. It’s not always easy to watch, but it’s also very hard to look away as main character Casey (Anna Cobb) gets caught up in a creepy online role-playing game whose boundaries and impact are problematic at best and extremely dangerous at worst.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK April 1, 2022: THE ROSE MAKER

This is a movie about renewal, the power of gentle cultivation, and finding strength in unexpected places. The cast is appealing, with Catherine Frot and Manel Omerta outstanding as Eve and Fred, who find in one another something that each has been missing — she, someone who appreciates her work and legacy, and he a parental figure who cares about him and his future. Nothing gets too thorny in this world of sun-kissed blooms, but if you’re looking for something sweet to brighten your day, The Rose Maker is a lovely “pick.”

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK March 25, 2022: MOTHERING SUNDAY

Based on the same-named novel by Graham Swift, director Eva Husson’s lush, languid drama Mothering Sunday feels in some ways like the cinematic equivalent of reading another English writer’s work. Introspective, melancholy, and finely observed, it’s reminiscent of Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway and To the Lighthouse in the way it hones its focus on a very specific set of events and the way those events affect the people at the center of them.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK March 18, 2022: THE HATER

In a world plagued by political polarization and ideological opposition, The Hater is a refreshing reminder of the power of empathy. The story of fiercely idealistic activist Dorothy (writer/director/star Joey Ally) and her crusade against her childhood-tormentor-turned-smarmy-politico Brent (Ian Harding) promotes understanding of both the dismayed outrage of liberal progressives and the staunch independence of born-and-bred conservatives. The resulting comedy is more likely to provoke thoughtful laughter than knee-slapping guffaws.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK February 18, 2022: THE AUTOMAT

Lisa Hurwitz’ affectionate documentary The Automat is the best kind of history lesson: informative, approachable, and as refreshing as a hot cup of coffee and a piece of apple pie. As it traces the rise and fall of iconic restaurant chain Horn & Hardart — which at one time served as many as 500,000 customers a day at its many locations in New York City and Philadelphia — the film offers a nostalgic look back at America during much of the 20th century.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK February 11, 2022: HERE BEFORE

Is it really possible for those we’ve loved and lost to return to us? That’s the question that grieving mother Laura (Andrea Riseborough) finds herself obsessed with in Irish filmmaker Stacey Gregg’s moody and compelling drama/thriller Here Before. Still mourning the tragic loss of her daughter, Josie, years before, Laura finds herself drawn to young Megan (Niamh Dornan) when the girl’s family moves in next door. Could Megan be more than she seems? The film seems determined to show that love, loss, and other big feelings are part of the everyday experience, for better or worse.

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