THE LIE: THE MURDER OF GRACE MILLANE – Review by T.J. Callahan

21 year old British backpacker Grace Millane was murdered while traveling alone in Auckland, New Zealand in December of 2018. The only suspect in the case, her date Jesse Shane Kempson, used the “rough sex” defense when arrested. This documentary, from director Helena Coan, not only chillingly recounts the details leading to the death of the young and vibrant Grace, but also is meant to hold a mirror up to a society with a problem of violence towards women.

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WE WERE DANGEROUS (SXSW2024) – Review by Valerie Kalfrin

We Were Dangerous, the feature directing debut from Josephine Stewart-Te Whiu, takes place in a New Zealand reform school for girls in the 1950s, reclaimed from a former leper colony. “If it can contain leprosy, it can probably manage a few girls in heat,” says a bureaucrat assigning a matron to the task. Designed for “incorrigible and delinquent girls,” the school takes in runaways, pregnant teens, and others labeled as sexual deviants, such as Lou, whose doctor father sends her there once he catches her making out with her female math tutor.

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I AM MOTHER – Review by Susan Granger

Sci-fi movies about AI and robotics can be terrifying or tortuous – I Am Mother falls into the latter category. Set in a massive, automated, underground laboratory, the story begins with an angular, one-eyed android – embodied by Luke Hawker (who supervised its manufacture at New Zealand’s Weta Workshop) and softly voiced by Rose Byrne. Calling itself Mother, it chooses one test-tube embryo out of thousands in cryogenic stasis to begin the job of repopulating humanity after a horrific global extinction event.

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