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Sherilyn Connelly 

Film, Miss Sharon Jones!

Miss Sharon Jones!

With all due respect to Nuts! and Aferim!, no film this year has earned its exclamation point quite like famed documentarian Barbara Kopple's Miss Sharon Jones!. Miss Jones is a gifted soul singer who was marginalized for decades by a…
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Film, Vita Activa: The Spirit of Hannah Arendt

Vita Activa: The Spirit of Hannah Arendt

The phrase "the banality of evil" was coined by Hannah Arendt, the controversial subject of Ada Ushpiz's documentary Vita Activa: The Spirit of Hannah Arendt. She was inspired (for want of a better word) by the 1961 trial of Adolf…
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Film, Little Men

Little Men

At first glance, Ira Sachs' Little Men would appear to be geared toward those who thought his previous film Love Is Strange didn't spend nearly enough time on the travails of the straight teenage boy. Thankfully, it's playing on a…
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Film, Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You

Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You

The subject of Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady's documentary Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You is the legendary television producer. Still working at 93(!), Lear looks back on the highs and lows of his life — tracing his strong…
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Film, All of Me (Llévate Mis Amores)

All of Me (Llévate Mis Amores)

Based in the Mexican village of La Patrona, Arturo González Villaseñor's documentary All of Me (Llévate Mis Amores) is about a multigenerational group of women appropriately known as the Patronas. As freight trains pass by, carrying migrants heading to the…
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Film, Suicide Squad

Suicide Squad

Shenanigans! The bright colors and high energy the marketing for David Ayer's superhero film Suicide Squad promised fades in the first 20 minutes, and the movie remains mired in Zach Snyder's gray-on-gray DC Gloomiverse. Government agent Waller (Viola Davis, rising…
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Film, Tallulah

Tallulah

Perhaps unsurprisingly for the feature debut from a writer and producer on Orange is the New Black, Sian Heder's dramedy Tallulah might have worked better as a miniseries. Tallulah (Ellen Page) and Nico (Evan Jonigkeit) are free spirits roaming the…
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Film, The Witness

The Witness

Humans are capable of some astonishing inhumanity to one another, and they're also strangely eager to believe the worst about each other. Consider one of the most notorious tales of post-World War II apathy: the 1964 rape and murder of…
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Culture, The Exhibitionist Tales from the 2016 J-POP SUMMIT Festival: Space Toilets, Zombie Kitties, and the New Vocaloid in Town

Tales from the 2016 J-POP SUMMIT Festival: Space Toilets, Zombie Kitties, and the New Vocaloid in Town

The J-POP SUMMIT Festival is a celebration of all things related to Japanese pop culture – music, food, art, film, and many points between – and it's always my favorite weekend of the year. Held on July 23-24, this…
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Film, San Francisco Jewish Film Festival 36

San Francisco Jewish Film Festival 36

For its 36th year, the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival brings a week and a half of delicious cinematic noshes to the Castro Theatre and beyond. Highlights include Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You, a documentary about the legendary…
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Film, Breaking a Monster

Breaking a Monster

Depending on your point of view, Luke Meyer's fly-on-the-wall documentary Breaking a Monster is either about the breakthrough and rise of a heavy metal band, or about their capture and taming. The band in question is Unlocking the Truth, comprised…
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Film, The Blackout Experiments

The Blackout Experiments

The Blackout Haunted House is an "extreme immersive horror experience" in which all manner of degradation and torture is consensually committed upon the patron, who is given both a safeword and a waiver to sign beforehand promising not to sue…
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Music, All Shook Down J-POP Star Kyary Pamyu Pamyu on Her Music, Her Image, and Her Olympian Aspirations

J-POP Star Kyary Pamyu Pamyu on Her Music, Her Image, and Her Olympian Aspirations

Five years is a long career for anyone in the music business, particularly for women, but Japan’s pop princess Kyary Pamyu Pamyu has reached the half-decade mark and is still going strong. She just released her first compilation…
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Film, Seoul Searching

Seoul Searching

Benson Lee's Seoul Searching is a funny and often poignant meditation on both ethnic identity and drinking games. In 1986, a group of Korean teenagers born and raised abroad arrive at the Seoul Summer Camp, created by the Korean government…
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Film, Microbe & Gasoline

Microbe & Gasoline

Michel Gondry's Microbe & Gasoline is a teen buddy movie that's charming enough, though not up to Gondry's usual levels of inventiveness. Daniel (Ange Dargent), nicknamed Microbe due to his diminutive stature, is unhappy at both school and home, and…
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Film, From This Day Forward

From This Day Forward

One of the more positive cultural shifts in recent years is the increased visibility and acceptance of transgender youth. And that's important, but Sharon Shattuck's very personal From This Day Forward looks at her aging father, Trisha, who came out…
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Film, The Innocents

The Innocents

The famous 1961 film The Innocents is about a governess who comes to believe her charges are possessed by ghosts. Anne Fontaine's 2016 film of the same name also involves women, children, and the supernatural, but from a very different…
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Film, From Afar

From Afar

As its title suggests, Lorenzo Vigas's film is all about distances, both literal and less so. Armando (Alfredo Castro) is a well-to-do, middle-aged bachelor who hires young hustlers so he can masturbate to — though not with — them from…
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Film, Last Cab to Darwin

Last Cab to Darwin

Jeremy Sims' Last Cab to Darwin is a formulaic but still heart-tugging road movie. Rex (Michael Caton) is a taxi driver who's lived his entire life in the tiny Australian hamlet of Broken Hill. He knows everyone in town, but…
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Film, Cosmos

Cosmos

His first film in 15 years and the last before his recent death, Andrzej Zulawski's surreal whatsit Cosmos is very much a Zulawski picture, and you can't take that away from it. Witold (Jonathan Genet) is a failed lawyer and…
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