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BABY REINDEER – Review by Susan Granger

Without question, Baby Reindeer is one of the more bizarre series ever to capture worldwide attention. Allegedly based on true events, its seven episodes chronicle the creepy relationship of a Scottish comedian and his stalker. According to Netflix, in the four weeks since it debuted, it’s been viewed more than 56 million times, spawning endless discussion and a cadre of amateur sleuths trying to discover the real identities of various characters.

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THE COMMANDANT’S SHADOW – Review by Loren King

By focusing on the specific stories of several individuals, director Daniela Volker’s The Commandant’s Shadow explores universal issues about generational trauma related to the Holocaust. It’s a moving and profound journey that we take with the son, daughter, and grandson of notorious Auschwitz commander Rudolf Hoss, the Nazi responsible for the systematic murder of millions and the subject of Jonathan Glazer’s Oscar-winning film The Zone of Interest.

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MASTER GARDENER – Review by Susan Granger

If you’re a Paul Schrader fan, perhaps you missed the dramatic thriller Master Gardener the third in his God’s Lonely Man trilogy that started with First Reformed (2022) and continued with The Card Counter (2021). Using the metaphor of gardening – how it calms the mind and mends the soul -Schrader centers this character-driven film once again on a tormented man in turmoil, writing “The seeds of love grow like the seeds of hate” in his journal, trying in vain not to allow the secreted skulls and swastikas to surface.

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THE COMMANDANT’S SHADOW – Review by Jennifer Merin

In the revelatory Holocaust documentary, The Commandant’s Shadow, filmmaker Daniela Volker investigates life after Auschwitz. More specifically, she focuses on Auschwitz Commandant Rudolf Hoss’ son and daughter and grandson, delving into how they’ve come to terms with knowing that their beloved forebear was the mass murderer of more human beings than any other human in history. Hoss’ wife is also questioned about her husband’s ‘work,’ efficiently executing Adolf Hitler’s dictates for the death camp.

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BRIDGERTON Season 3 – Review by Susan Granger

Gentle reader, if you have not seen the first two seasons of the Regency-era melodrama “Bridgerton,” you’ve missed some truly delightful television. Producer Shonda Rhimes’ Shondaland series is now heavily into Season 3 with a cliffhanger concluding Part 1 – and Part 2 scheduled to commence on June 13. Re-imaging a diverse 19th century England, it focuses on aristocratic families finding proper husbands for their ‘eligible’ daughters while seeking favor from Black royalty: “We were two separate societies, divided by color, until King George fell in love with one of us,” explained influential Lady Danbury (Adjoa Andoh) in Season 2.

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THE COMMANDANT’S SHADOW – Review by Leslie Combemale

Documentarian Daniela Völker’s film follows Hans Höss, the son of Rudolf Höss, who was not only the commandant of Auschwitz, but one of the architects of its design, especially as it related to the extermination of prisoners there. A man who had a personal hand in killing over a million Jews, it was his life that was fictionalized in The Zone of Interest. While young son, Hans, played in his back yard, blissfully unaware of what was happening over the wall mere feet away, one prisoner, young cellist Anita Lasker-Wallfisch, was playing for her life. She was part of the orchestra that serenaded victims and Nazi soldiers alike, while selection of who would live and who would be sent directly to the gas chambers was being done.

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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.

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Opening May 20 – 26, 2024 – Margaret Barton-Fumo reports

The Alliance of Women Film Journalists highlights movies made by and about women. With a vigilant eye toward current releases, we maintain an interactive record of films that are pertinent to our interests. Be they female-made or female-centric productions, they are films that represent a wide range of women’s stories and present complex female characters. As such, they are movies that will most likely be reviewed on AWFJ.org and will qualify for consideration for our annual EDA Awards, celebrating exceptional women working in film behind and in front of the camera.

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IF – Review by T.J. Callahan

IF was conceived by John Krasinski (of The Office fame) as a lasting reminder to his daughters that life doesn’t always have to be fun, but it shouldn’t stop us from trying. He also took on the roles of director and co-star as well as the task of amassing a who’s who of live and voiceover cast and crew including fellow Office mate Steve Carell as Blue, the big purple IF.

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IN OUR DAY – Review by Diane Carson

In Our Day captures real, unadorned, but noteworthy lives. The prolific South Korean writer/director Hong Sang-soo never fails to surprise and educate with his unique technical and thematic choices, a pattern that holds true in his recent film, In Our Day. As usual, he begins by dropping into the middle of conversations, here eavesdropping on popular actress Sangwon, in her forties, living with friend Jungsoo.

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