Movie Review: LANGUAGE LESSONS

Movie Review: LANGUAGE LESSONS

Language Lessons is a pandemic inspired two-character, two-location, two-screen, zoom-tech, dramedy born of the pandemic and imposed isolation, and produced during the lockdown. It is a film that reflects many of the personal issues brought on by the pandemic, but it is not about the pandemic per se — and that makes it a very special and utterly engaging entertainment.

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BRING YOUR OWN BRIGADE – Documentary Review

BRING YOUR OWN BRIGADE – Documentary Review

Bring Your Own Brigade is filmmaker Lucy Walker’s courageous and compelling documentary about an extremely hot topic: the ongoing inferno of wildfires in Southern California and elsewhere on the West Coast and, by extension, across the nation. Walker’s eye witness camera captures close up images of the uncontrolled fires cutting through affluent communities in wide paths of devastating destruction. She follows local residents who are fleeing their homes on car-congested bands of blacktop cutting through raging flames and she records up close and personal accounts of survivors whose property was miraculously spared and others who lost all of their worldly goods to the to the rampaging blaze.

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REBEL HEARTS – Documentary Review

REBEL HEARTS – Documentary Review

Rebel Hearts is a compelling from-the-heart documentary that follows The Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, a sisterhood of devoted nuns who bravely stood up to the demeaning and oppressive patriarchy of the Catholic Church to fight for the right to be treated as equals, especially with regard to education and the expression of their credo through art, particularly the controversial graphics of Sister Mary Corita Kent.

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GROOMED – Movie Review

GROOMED – Movie Review

Groomed is an intensely personal documentary in which the filmmaker chronicles her own journey to discover the truth about her childhood encounter with a predatory sexual abuser and to recover from the long lasting impact his abuse has had on her life as an adult. Gwen van de Pas, now living in San Francisco with a wonderfully understanding and supportive man, is beset by nightmares and panic attacks and sets out to investigate the cause of them.

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Movie Review: LUCKY GRANDMA

Movie Review: LUCKY GRANDMA

Filmmaker Sasie Sealy’s Lucky Grandma is a darkly comedic drama and unexpectedly poignant action/thriller romp through the intrigued-filled world of an elderly Chinese nainai whose assertive risk-all Atlantic City gambling habit lands her in the middle of a violent gang war in NYC’s Chinatown.

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Documentary Review: CODED BIAS

Documentary Review: CODED BIAS

We might all be in need of and very keen on watching escapist comedies during the ongoing pandemic social restrictions, but this compelling documentary is an important and timely film. Knowledge is power, and Coded Bias delivers knowledge that can help us to resist/reverse the further deterioration of democracy and of human civilization as we know it.

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INTERVIEW – Miranda de Pencier on THE GRIZZLIES

INTERVIEW – Miranda de Pencier on THE GRIZZLIES

Canadian filmmaker Miranda de Pencier is an award-winning actress, producer and director. She’s the founder of Northwood Entertainment. The Grizzlies, which premiered at TIFF and for which she won the DGC Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement, is her feature film directorial debut. She discusses making the film, the need for authenticity and the current status of women in film.

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Movie Review: THE GRIZZLIES

Movie Review: THE GRIZZLIES

Canadian filmmaker Miranda de Pencier’s The Grizzlies, a truth-based sports narrative set in the Canadian arctic, is a story centered around the experiences of a recently graduated White teacher, Russ, working his first job as a high school history teacher in the isolated Inuit town of Kuluktuk, where the hardships of life far exceed its joys.

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FOR SAMA – Documentary Review

FOR SAMA – Documentary Review

For Sama a harrowing first person documentary in which the filmmaker, Waad Al-Khateab, a Syrian woman journalist, chronicles her daily life and struggles to survive during the Battle of Aleppo. It is a reality-based horror film, a truly painful reminder that we humans create unbearable hardship and agony for each other. For Sama For Sama is absolutely essential viewing.

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Documentary Review: ASK DR. Ruth

Documentary Review: ASK DR. Ruth

Ryan White’s Ask Dr. Ruth is a thoroughly charming and entertaining biodoc about Dr. Ruth Westheimer, America’s famously beloved sex therapist. She has been a public figure for decades, but her personal story is actually full of surprises.

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DARK MONEY — Documentary Review

DARK MONEY — Documentary Review

Kimberly Reed’s well-researched and compelling documentary is an explosive expose about the tremendous threat the influence of concealed corporate funding of political campaigns poses to the democratic process and the legitimacy of our elections. Dark Money is a political thriller, a cautionary tale that shows how independent candidates for public office are targeted and defeated by special interest groups hiding behind nonprofit organizations that are funded by wealthy and influential individuals and/or corporations — the Koch brothers, for example — who are basically buying elections and gaining the control necessary to guide the making future laws and to determine policies of the United States regarding everything from land use to diplomacy and alliances with foreign nations.

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