UNPREGNANT

“It plays like a very special episode of Sam & Kat in which Sam needs an abortion, and the massive mismatch between tone and content made me think of that scene in Natural Born Killers when Rodney Dangerfield viciously abuses his sitcom family to canned laughter and applause from a studio audience. The whiplash dissonance is obscene.” – North Shore Movies, 09/12/2020

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THE HOLE

“Tsai Ming-Liang’s playful pandemic romance is a story of lonely hearts in quarantine, longing for love amid the day-to-day drudgery of life during lockdown. It’s a deadpan musical about seeking a friend for the end of the world, following two characters who seldom speak but fall for one another through a hole in the ceiling. I love this movie.” – WBUR’s The ARTery, 09/11/2020

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CUTIES

“A serious film that inspires conversations we really should be having right now about the world in which our young girls are growing up. It’s refreshingly frank about class, religion and burgeoning sexuality in ways mainstream American movies would never dare. And who can blame them, given all that’s happened to this one over the past couple weeks?” – WBUR’s The ARTery, 09/08/2020

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CRITICAL THINKING

“A shrewd deployment of two formulas for which I am a total sucker, combining the underdog sports movie with the inspirational teacher saga to tell the true story of a misfit Miami high school that became the first inner-city team to win a national chess championship. You won’t find many surprises here, but these tropes are so familiar because they work.” – North Shore Movies, 09/08/2020

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I’M THINKING OF ENDING THINGS

“The film’s centerpiece is a dazzlingly discomfiting visit with Plemons’ parents. It’s a sequence for anybody who ever wished the chicken dinner scene in Eraserhead had gone on for an hour, full of ominous portents, offhanded insults and boisterous belly laughs that act as pressure release valves for an almost unbearable tension.” – WBUR’s The ARTery, 09/03/2020

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LINGUA FRANCA

“It’s a sometimes startlingly sexy movie, but even the eroticism is tinged with unease. Or maybe I’m just being a little overprotective of Olivia, as despite her tough, exterior shell I haven’t feared for a fictional character like this in some time. Sandoval’s eyes offer fleeting glimpses of subjects she would rather not talk about right now, thank you very much.” – WBUR’s The ARTery, 08/26/2020

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HARD KILL

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“Another anonymous widget from the assembly line of direct-to-video thrillers during which Bruce Willis sits around sulking. He’s made more than a dozen of these in the past five years alone, here moping his way through his umpteenth single-location action picture surrounded by terrorists and unable to disguise his contempt for the material. Can’t say that I blame him.” – North Shore Movies, 08/22/2020

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TESLA

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Tesla kills biopics dead. Interrupting itself for fact-checks and inserting playful anachronisms throughout, this portrait of the perpetually thwarted 19th-century inventor implores us to think beyond facile reproductions of what the subject did and instead meditate on what Nikola Tesla means. It’s the most radical deconstruction of the genre since I’m Not There.” – WBUR’s The ARTery, 08/20/2020

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AN EASY GIRL

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“A work of great sumptuousness and visual sophistication. Few films in recent years have depicted class alienation so acutely, with Naïma and Sofia always on the ends of withering glares from servers and the hired help. The screenplay constantly complicates these characters’ loyalties to provocative ends. There’s nothing easy about it at all.“ – North Shore Movies, 08/18/2020

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SKIN: A HISTORY OF NUDITY IN THE MOVIES

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“Wolf’s interviews with actresses are so good you wind up wishing he’d narrowed the focus of the overcrowded film entirely onto them. From Mamie Van Doren to Shannon Elizabeth, he’s got generations of ingenues telling tales of exploitation and empowerment, and for every rightfully embittered Linda Blair there’s a proud Pam Grier.” – North Shore Movies, 08/18/2020

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