MAID – Review by Martha K Baker

The creator of Maid, Molly Smith Metzler, wrought fiction from Maid, a good book of facts about poverty in America. Although it’s best to remember that the television series is not the book (kind of like Nomadland“, the Netflix series sincerely studies poverty — especially its burden on women.

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WEEK IN WOMEN: Kerry Washington Lands Diane Cardwell surfing memoir ROCKAWAY – Brandy McDonnell reports

Primetime Emmy Award-winning performer Kerry Washington will star in and produce a feature film adaptation of Diane Cardwell’s memoir Rockaway for Netflix. The project will continue Washington’s burgeoning relationship with Netflix: She previously appeared in the musical adaptation The Prom and the drama American Son for the streamer, and she stars in the upcoming Netflix film The School For Good And Evil.

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BLOOD BROTHERS – Review by Martha K Baker

They were friends, these two men, friends and brothers by admiration and affection. But not for long. Director Marcus Clarke bases his fine double-bio-doc of Malcolm X and Muhammad Ali on Johnny Smith and Randy Roberts’ biography, Blood Brothers, and lifts it off the page. Blood Brothers, a compact filmic lesson in Black history, is shot through with compassion and insight.

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WORTH – Review by Martha K Baker

Worth succeeds on so many levels. Backed by the Obamas’ production company, the impressive feature film addresses the massacres that occurred on Sept. 11, 2001. It concentrates on compensating deaths and injuries to more than 3,000 victims, that is, on the work of two men, Ken Feinberg and Charles Wolf.

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WORTH – Review by Liz Braun

What is a human life worth? That’s something lawyer Ken Feinberg has spent his career figuring out. Feinberg was Special Master of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund. His job was to put a dollar value to every 9/11 victim to determine how much money each family would receive; it was a complex, unpleasant job that saw Feinberg work three years pro bono.

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Director Sara Colangelo on the Ensemble and the Moral Conundrum of WORTH – Leslie Combemale interviews

Based on the memoir What is Life Worthby Ken Feinburg, the lawyer in charge of the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund, Worth is a fictionalized behind-the-scenes look at how dollar values were assigned to relieve the personal tragedies suffered by those who lost loved ones in the Twin Tower calamity. Starring Michael Keaton as Feinberg, the film is the third feature for director Sara Colangelo, who speaks about its serious theme and brilliant stars.

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WEEK IN WOMEN: Jennifer Garner’s Netflix partnership includes YES DAY sequel – Brandy McDonnell reports

Netflix and Jennifer Garner will continue to work together through a new partnership across multiple new films for Garner to star in and produce. The deal builds on Netflix’s relationship with the four-time Primetime Emmy Award-nominated performer, who starred in and produced Yes Day, a family comedy also starring Edgar Ramirez and Jenna Ortega.

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THE WATER MAN – Review by Susan Granger

When actor-turned-director David Oyelowo was growing up, he missed the sense of magic and wonder that he yearned to experience on-screen and was acutely aware of the lack of mid-budget family films featuring performers of color. Set in the Pacific Northwest, this story revolves around inquisitive 11 year-old Gunnar Boone , whose mother is dying of leukemia and military father, recently returned from Japan, just moved the family to the small logging town of Pine Mills.

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THE CHAIR – Review by Susan Granger

This ‘Back to School’ month is the perfect time for Netflix’s new college-set series The Chair, starring Sandra Oh (Killing Eve, Grey’s Anatomy) as Dr. Ji-Yoon Kim, the first female head of the English department at (fictional) Pembroke University. A prestigious “lower-tier Ivy,” Pembroke has always favored its rich, white students and faculty, so the newly elected Chair faces not only gender prejudice but also racial bias. A single mother, she’s raising an adopted daughter, Ju-Ju (Everly Carganilla), with the help of her widowed, Korean-speaking father (Lee Ji-Yong).

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WEEK IN WOMEN: Sydney Freeland to helm basketball drama REZ BALL – Brandy McDonnell reports

Navajo director Sydney Freeland (Drunktown’s Finest) is helming the Native American basketball drama Rez Ball. The film follows the Chuska Warriors, a Native American high school basketball team from Chuska, New Mexico, that must band together after losing their star player if they want to keep their quest for a state championship alive. It’s an all-American underdog story about Navajo kids and coaches told from the inside-out.

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