“My Wonderful Wanda,” written by Bettina Oberli and Cooky Ziesche and directed by Oberli, is an absurdist comedy about class, family, and respect. We meet the Wanda of the title as she alights from a bus that has brought her from Poland to a picturesque village in the Swiss mountains. Wanda has been working three…

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“The Secrets of Whales,” a new four part documentary series by National Geographic on Disney+, is a well-intentioned failure. From the outset, let it be said that the artistry of internationally renowned whale photographer Brian Skerry is superb and is best appreciated with the soundtrack muted. Beginning with the somnolent narration by an almost unrecognizable…

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“Beate,” director Samad Zarmandili’s feature debut, is a fluffy shaggy dog story with appealing leads, an engaging story, and a fun, predictable ending. Billed as a comedy of nuns, factory workers, bras, and miracle workers it actually delivers on all of that with a dash of corrupt politicians and greedy priests to boot. Written by…

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“Hope,” written and directed by Maria Sødahl, is an exceptionally complex film reminiscent of the dark, thoughtful work of Ingmar Bergman. Norway’s submission for Oscar consideration it speaks of the depth of this year’s entries. Neither “Hope,” nor “Two of Us,” nor “Llorona” made the final cut. This, like the other two, deserves a wide…

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“Our Towns” is a thoughtful documentary based on the book Our Towns: A 100,000 Mile Journey into the Heart of America” by husband and wife journalists James and Deborah Fallows. Retracing some of the steps the Fallows took in their book, Steven Ascher and Jeanne Jordan directed this visually beautiful and thought-provoking film, co-written with…

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“Slalom,” written and directed by Charlène Favier in her feature debut, careens down the dangerous slope of adolescence, sexual awakening, abuse, passion, and more, all at breakneck speed with edges as sharp as the skis used in this sport. Lyz, 15, is a skiing prodigy seemingly plucked from nowhere to begin training at an elite…

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“An Ordinary Woman,” the Russian television series launching on the Topic Streaming Service, is a sly soaper that combines high drama with low life dilemmas and always with a wink and a nod. Marina, a Moscow housewife, leads a seemingly mundane existence. Her husband Artyom is a surgeon at the local hospital, teenage daughter Katya…

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“Six Minutes to Midnight,” directed by Andy Goddard and written by Goddard, Celyn Jones and Eddie Izzard, was an interesting idea that never quite jelled. Eddie Izzard, the star of this production, spent a great deal of time as a child in a small town on the south coast of England called Bexhill. Bexhill was…

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“Senior Moment,” directed by Giorgio Serafini and written by first timers Kurt Brungardt and Christopher Momenee, is not a terrible movie, it’s just not a good one. The story is as old as the protagonists. Seventy-something Victor Martin, retired test pilot, resides in Palm Springs and lives for his Porsche. Never married, Martin is narcissistic…

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“The Dam Busters” – A hit Part of Film Movement Classics Blu-Ray DVD launch, “The Dam Busters,” directed by Michael Anderson, known for a number of big features in the 50s and 60s (“Shoes of the Fisherman” “The Quiller Memorandum”), is a film that deserves a reissue. Originally released in 1955, the screenplay written by…

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“Ice Cold in Alex,” was directed by J. Lee Thompson at the beginning of a well-earned career rise that soon included “Cape Fear,” now considered a classic of the genre, two of the “Planet of the Apes” movies, and the action World War II film “The Guns of Navarone.” Based on the novel by Christopher…

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“Wojnarowicz,” the rest of whose title is unprintable but highly evocative, is a documentary about a long neglected artist. Directed by Chris McKim (“Out of Iraq”), “Wojnarowicz” chronicles the life and trials of “guerilla” artist David Wojnarowicz. Wojnarowicz’s very original artist’s voice and eye was comprehensive. He produced paintings, prints, photography, film, installations, as well…

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“Parlement” is a new political comedy centered in Brussels at the headquarters of the European Union. Written by an international host of writers based on an original idea by Noe Debre, “Parlement” is a humorous take on governmental dysfunction at a global European level. Naïve young Samy has just arrived from Paris to take up…

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“Crisis,” the thoughtful film directed and written by Nicholas Jarecki, is definitely worth your consideration. Timing, as has long been said, is everything and this film should have been blessed by the timing of the revelations into the OxyContin industry and the part played by Purdue Pharmaceuticals and the Sackler family. Instead it is damned…

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