EXPATS – Review by Susan Granger

Set in the summer/fall of 2014, Expats follows three expat American women: Margaret Woo (Nicole Kidman), Hilary Starr (Sarayu Blue) and Mercy Kim (Ji-young Yoo) whose lives become inexorably interconnected through trauma and tragedy. Beijing-born director Lulu Wang led an all-female writers’ room, interweaving and detailing each woman’s melodramatic anguish as she unburdens herself, delving deeply into family dynamics as she reveals her loneliness and shameful secrets. Clarifying the context and complexity of class division, Wang notes that wealthy, upwardly mobile expats live extravagant, privileged lives, sheltered from the impact of political changes in Hong Kong – but they are not immune to tragedy.

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FARAWAY DOWNS – Review by Susan Granger

Do you recall a 2008 Baz Luhrmann film called Australia? Starring Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman, I found it an exciting, epic adventure but – at the box-office – it went nowhere, perhaps because it touched too superficially on that country’s notorious Aboriginal race issue. So resourceful Luhrmann recently re-edited it into a six-episode limited series called Faraway Downs, telling a compelling tale as viewed through the eyes of Nullah (Brandon Walters), an enchanting half-Aboriginal outcast child – and adding nearly an hour of never-before-seen footage.

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WEEK IN WOMEN: Laysla De Oliveira joins Zoe Saldaña in Taylor Sheridan’s LIONESS -Brandy McDonnell reports

Laysla De Oliveira is starring opposite Zoe Saldaña in the upcoming Paramount+ original series Lioness, from Academy Award nominee Taylor Sheridan.
Saldaña also is serving as executive producer alongside Academy Award winner Nicole Kidman and her production company, Blossom Films. Lioness is based on a real-life CIA program and follows Cruz Manuelos (De Oliveira), a rough-around-the-edges but passionate young Marine recruited to join the CIA’s Lioness Engagement Team to help bring down a terrorist organization from within.

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THE NORTHMAN – Review by T.J. Callahan

This film is barbaric, black and white and bloody. It’s vicious Viking vengeance that very well could make you vomit. The Northman is brutal on many levels with one being it’s 2 hour and 16 minute run time. There’s pillaging, conjuring, screaming, grunting and howling like wolves. The Northman is a turn of the 10th century soap opera that was expertly and artfully filmed for the big screen and will have fans of the medieval genre on the edge of their seats cheering. As for me, when the heads rolled, so did my eyes.

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THE NORTHMAN – Review by Susan Granger

If you like brawling, bloody brutality, head for The Northman, Robert Eggers’ intense Nordic nightmare. Eggers’ previous films – The Witch (2015) and The Lighthouse (2019) – blurred the boundary between fantasy and reality, so it’s not surprising that this Viking revenge saga follows suit. The dialogue is banal – apparently, Vikings weren’t very articulate – so Eggers and his DP Jarin Blaschke concentrate on violent, medieval mayhem.

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BEING THE RICARDOS – Review by Martha K Baker

Being the Ricardos proves especially hard to watch for any one of 60 million viewers who saved Monday evenings for I Love Lucy. We know what those actors looked like in those roles; we know the plots. Heck, even folks who have watched the iconic television situation comedy in re-runs know. Unfortunately, this look behind the scenes in 1960 is terribly uneven.

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NINE PERFECT STRANGERS – Review by Susan Granger

When production in Australia began on this new Hulu series, Nicole Kidman refused to meet the rest of the cast until she was in character as beatific Masha Dmitrichenko, the mysteriously serene leader of a holistic wellness center who uses questionable treatments and experimental practices on her clients.

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THE PROM – Review by Martha K Baker

The operative word is “fun.” F. U. N. fun. From the perspective of Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland’s “let’s-put-on-a-show” fun. And where those old teens of the Forties added a skosh of patriotism to their hi- and lo-jinks, “The Prom” promotes sexual politics, for the theme depends from intolerance toward homosexuality.

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