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 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 July 8, 2022: FIRE OF LOVE

Part romance, part breathtaking nature film, and wholly engrossing, Fire of Love tells the story of Katia and Maurice Krafft, two of the world’s foremost volcanologists. Their dedication to their calling — and each other — is captured deftly by director Sara Dosa, who mines extraordinary historic footage and pairs it with narration by Miranda July to produce a film that’s both quirky and a loving homage to two very passionate people.

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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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MOVIE OF THE WEEK June 10, 2022: OFFICIAL COMPETITION

As long as there have been movies, there have been movies about making movies. Some are serious, some are silly; some are dark, some are light. One thing most have in common is that they always seem to bring those involved that particularly satisfying form of glee that comes from casting a critical light on something you have a complex relationship with. All of that is in play in Mariano Cohn and Gastón Duprat’s sharp showbiz satire Official Competition.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK April 22, 2022: PETITE MAMAN

Quietly emotional and tenderly sincere, Petite Maman is a poignant tale about loss, connection, and growing up. Blending gentle fantasy elements with grounded, naturalistic performances, writer-director Céline Sciamma tells the story of 8-year-old Nelly, whose parents take her with them to clear out her mother’s childhood home after the death of her beloved grandmother. To her surprise, she finds much more waiting for her there than her mother’s old books and playthings.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK April 11, 2022: WE’RE ALL GOING TO THE WORLD’S FAIR

Eerie and melancholy, Jane Schoenbrun’s horror-tinged drama We’re All Going to the World’s Fair is both a coming-of-age story and an examination of teens’ use of media and technology. It’s not always easy to watch, but it’s also very hard to look away as main character Casey (Anna Cobb) gets caught up in a creepy online role-playing game whose boundaries and impact are problematic at best and extremely dangerous at worst.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK March 25, 2022: MOTHERING SUNDAY

Based on the same-named novel by Graham Swift, director Eva Husson’s lush, languid drama Mothering Sunday feels in some ways like the cinematic equivalent of reading another English writer’s work. Introspective, melancholy, and finely observed, it’s reminiscent of Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway and To the Lighthouse in the way it hones its focus on a very specific set of events and the way those events affect the people at the center of them.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK March 11, 2022: CALENDAR GIRL

The devil may wear Prada, but Ruth Finley — the spunky powerhouse behind the fashion industry-defining Fashion Calendar (who’s far more angelic than devilish, anyway) — isn’t really one to play favorites when it comes to haute couture. She’s always loved it all: The creativity, the pageantry, the gorgeous clothes. Her decades-long career at the heart of New York City’s fashion scene is the subject of director Christian D. Bruun’s affectionate documentary Calendar Girl.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK March 4, 2022: LUCY AND DESI

If watching Nicole Kidman and Javier Bardem in Being the Ricardos left you craving even more details about the lives of one of Hollywood’s most famous TV power couples, director Amy Poehler has you covered. Her documentary Lucy and Desi is simultaneously informative and intimate, telling the fascinating story of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz’s lifelong love for each other and how it was both fueled and frustrated by their shared passion for showbiz.

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