MOVIE OF THE WEEK May 31, 2024: THE COMMANDANT’S SHADOW

At a time when some U.S. public schools are shutting down lesson plans that run the risk of making White American children feel bad about the country’s history of enslavement and oppression, The Commandant’s Shadow is an especially timely reminder of the dangers of willfully turning a blind eye to history. Daniela Volker’s documentary about coming to terms with both personal and societal legacies is a compelling addition to the catalog of films about World War II and the Holocaust.

Read more

MOVIE OF THE WEEK May 24, 2024: QUEEN OF THE DEUCE

If Chelly Wilson were a fictional character, odds are she’d be deemed “hard to believe” or “too over the top.” But the business-savvy, chain-smoking mom and grandma who came to the United States from Greece in 1939 and operated a string of adult movie theaters in some of the seediest parts of New York City in the 1960s and ’70s is 100 percent real. And, as chronicled in Valerie Kontakos’ documentary Queen of the Deuce, her story is fascinating.

Read more

MOVIE OF THE WEEK May 17, 2024 – BABES

Pamela Adlon may be a Gen Xer herself, but she proves that she genuinely understands Millennials in her feature directorial debut, Babes. With its sometimes crude, sometimes sweet script co-written by uber-Millennial comedian Ilana Glazer (who also co-stars), Adlon’s New York City-set comedy follows main characters Eden (Glazer) and Dawn (Michelle Buteau) as they authentically navigate the messy glory of adult life, from motherhood and marriage to friendship and self care.

Read more

MOVIE OF THE WEEK May 10, 2024: THE IDEA OF YOU

If you can suspend your disbelief about the fact that anyone would wonder why a straight man in his 20s would find Anne Hathaway attractive, The Idea of You is a sweet, thoughtful romantic comedy about seizing your joy where you’re lucky enough to find it and ignoring the haters. And the film is undeniably Hathaway’s, thanks to her appealing performance as a 40-year-old divorced mom who’s scared to believe in her own happy ending.

Read more

MOVIE OF THE WEEK May 3, 2024: CATCHING FIRE: THE STORY OF ANITA PALLENBERG

Blending frank interviews with a treasure trove of archival images and their subject’s own words, filmmakers Alexis Bloom and Svetlana Zill paint an incredibly intimate portrait of a 1960s and ’70s icon in Catching Fire: The Story of Anita Pallenberg. As a model, actress, mother, muse, and more, Pallenberg lived a life that was turned up to 11 as she became an integral part of the group surrounding the Rolling Stones in their heyday but was never anything less than her own woman.

Read more

MOVIE OF THE WEEK April 26, 2024: IRENA’S VOW

There’s no denying the fact that humans are capable of terrible cruelty; everything from the history books to the headlines of today’s newspapers makes that sadly, abundantly clear. But people are also capable of acts of tremendous courage and character. Such is the case in director Louise Archambault’s moving drama Irena’s Vow, which tells the story of Irena Gut Opdyke, a Catholic Polish woman who risked herself repeatedly to hide a group of Jews during the Holocaust.

Read more

MOVIE OF THE WEEK April 19, 2024: WE GROWN NOW

Growing up can be a fraught experience in the best of circumstances, and life in the deteriorating Cabrini-Green public housing project in early 1990s Chicago is far from the best of circumstances. But, in Chicago native Minhal Baig’s moving drama We Grown Now, it’s also a place where friendship and community thrive — until tragic violence attracts the attention of the forces of “law and order,” and everything changes for best friends Malik and Eric.

Read more

MOVIE OF THE WEEK April 12, 2024: SWEET DREAMS

Writer-director Ena Sendijarević’s strange, sumptuous critique of Dutch colonialism Indonesia during the early 1900s is rich with beautifully composed shots but the lacerating tragic tone is mixed with sardonic wit. From the opening shot of a boy killing a tiger that is then carted through the cane fields on the shoulders of Indonesian natives, sugar will be the undoing of everything and everyone by murder or suicide. Central to the action is Siti, the Indonesian housekeeper for plantation owner Jan and his bored wife Agathe. Their days of oppressive rule are quickly wilting in the torrid heat. There is unrest among the exploited indigenous workers; one of whom suggests that Siti poison their overseers. But Jan, we soon learn, is the father of Siti’s young son Karel who is treated as his heir and identifies with the colonizers. It’s Karel, the product of patriarchy, exploitation and greed, who is left with the spoils but at what cost? Full of eerie, surreal beauty and a touch of madness, Sendijarević’s twisted, tragic tale is a stunning film.

Read more

MOVIE OF THE WEEK April 5, 2024: PARACHUTE

Launching into adulthood and finding her place in the world is a messy, challenging process for Riley (Courtney Eaton of the show Yellowjackets) in actor-turned-director Brittany Snow’s thoughtful feature debut, Parachute. As she stumbles toward real maturity after going through rehab for eating and body image disorders, Riley isn’t always easy to like, but Snow and Eaton work together to make you want to root for her to succeed.

Read more

MOVIE OF THE WEEK March 29, 2024: LA CHIMERA

Love and contentment are as elusive as an undisturbed Etruscan tomb in Alice Rohrwacher’s piquant dramedy La Chimera. As it tells the story of a merry group of Italian grave robbers — known as tombaroli — and the inscrutable Englishman who leads them to the caches of objects they happily sell to the highest bidder, the film examines the allure of pursuing something that always seems just beyond your grasp.

Read more