MOVIE OF THE WEEK October 7, 2022: TO LESLIE

Andrea Riseborough adds yet another memorable performance to her impressive filmography in director Michael Morris’ wrenching drama To Leslie. She’s heartbreakingly vulnerable as a West Texas woman who gets one last chance to turn her life around after she squanders a $190,00 lottery win and her drinking spirals out of control. At stake is her self-respect, any hope of happiness, and her relationship with her son.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK Sept 30, 2022: MONA LISA AND THE BLOOD MOON

To the pulsing beat of an EDM soundtrack, a young woman desperate for agency and connection makes her way through the chaotic streets of New Orleans in Ana Lily Amirpour’s compelling Mona Lisa and the Blood Moon. The fact that she’s just escaped from the asylum where she’s been kept under lock and key for years due to her ability to control others with her mind means that she should play it safe — but it turns out that safe is not her strong suit.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK Sept 2, 2022: HONK FOR JESUS. SAVE YOUR SOUL.

Sharp satire and lived experience come together with style and flair in Adamma Ebo’s Honk for Jesus. Save Your Soul., which explores the messy truth behind the showy facade of a Southern Baptist megachurch. Starring Regina Hall and Sterling K. Brown as Trinitie and Lee-Curtis Childs — the first couple of the fictional Greater Paths church in Atlanta, GA — the movie is a memorable feature debut for talented writer-director Adamma Ebo.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK August 19, 2022: THE LEGEND OF MOLLY JOHNSON

Race, feminism, marriage, motherhood, and colonialism are the potent ingredients in Leah Purcell’s grim but powerful Australian drama The Legend of Molly Johnson. Based on Henry Lawson’s 1892 short story The Drover’s Wife, the film tells the story of the titular Molly (Purcell), a strong, independent woman who wants nothing more than to be able to raise her children in peace and safety. But life in the late-19th century outback makes that a very unlikely wish.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK August 12, 2022: EMILY THE CRIMINAL

Aubrey Plaza commands the screen in John Patton Ford’s taut thriller/character study Emily the Criminal, which explores the idea of finding empowerment in operating outside the law. Plaza has always been a charismatic performer, whether she’s angling for laughs or going for menace by leaning into her innate intensity, and she turns the story of a frustrated woman who discovers a talent for credit card fraud into a gripping viewing experience.

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Movie of the Week: FREE PUPPIES!

“Adopt, don’t shop.” It’s a pet-rescue mantra we’ve probably all heard, and it comes to vivid life in Christina Thomas and Samantha Wishman’s poignant, informative documentary (or should that be “dogumentary”?) Free Puppies!. As they follow a group of tireless volunteers who work on many fronts to help control the prolific pet population in largely unregulated Southern states, the co-directors shine an empathetic light on both the animals and those who want to help them find happy forever homes.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK July 29, 2022: ALI & AVA

Two lonely, good-hearted people yearning for companionship and affection find each other in writer/director Clio Barnard’s sweet, understated, music-infused romantic drama Ali & Ava. As their relationship progresses from acquaintanceship to friendship to love, Ali (Adeel Akhtar) and Ava (Claire Rushbrook) must acknowledge and move past their personal history and circumstances that make them hesitant to believe in and embrace the happiness they’ve discovered in being together.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK July 22, 2022: SKIES OF LEBANON

Quirky and poignant, creative and heartfelt, Chloe Mazlo’s drama Skies of Lebanon is a singular achievement in inventive filmmaking. As she tells the story of Alice (Alba Rohrwacher) — a young Swiss woman who leaves home in the 1950s and makes her way to Beirut, where she falls in love, marries, and raises a family — Mazlo serves up a unique mix of tone and style that’s likely to both charm and move viewers.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK July 15, 2022: GABBY GIFFORDS WON’T BACK DOWN

In a time when “thoughts and prayers” are all that too many politicians can offer in the face of tragic mass shootings like the ones in Buffalo and Uvalde, Gabby Giffords’ tireless advocacy for smart gun control is more meaningful than ever — especially when you know that every word she says on the subject is a hard-fought victory over the lasting impact of the brain injuries she sustained when she was shot in the head in 2011.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK June 17, 2022: GOOD LUCK TO YOU, LEO GRANDE

“Brave” is a word that gets thrown around a lot when it comes to acting, often when a performer — particularly a woman — dares to look unattractive on screen. Think Charlize Theron in Monster, Jennifer Aniston in Cake, and even Renee Zellweger in Bridget Jones. Well, those ladies are all cowards compared to Emma Thompson, who boldly bares it all, literally and lovingly, in Sophie Hyde’s intimate drama Good Luck to You, Leo Grande.

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