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  • Who We Are: A Chronicle of Racism in America

    Who We Are: A Chronicle of Racism in America

    ★★★★

    There's a segment early on in Who We Are when Jeffery Robinson tries to have a conversation with a man standing in front of a Confederate statue with a matching flag, and it goes about as well as it can: There's no profanity or violence, but also no visible movement. It's not exactly the film in miniature, but it does make one worry about how much two hours of even the most earnest, well- crafted talk on the subject can…

  • I Was a Simple Man

    I Was a Simple Man

    ★★★★

    Point a camera in any random direction in Hawaii, and odds are that you're going to get a great-looking movie, and though that is not entirely the direction Christopher Makoto Yogi takes with I Was a Simple Man, it is a major part of what makes the film work. Not so much the scenery, but the star, who often seems to embody his character to the point where everything more than taking him in is (entirely welcome) elaboration on a…

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  • The Booksellers

    The Booksellers

    ★★½

    Movies like The Booksellers don't exactly backfire when, halfway through, certain viewers find that this film meant to celebrate a rare and vanishing breed of person is instead providing examples of just how that breed rubs them the wrong way. A documentary doesn't necessarily need to be convincing to be worthy, but at times there is enough self-satisfaction evident in this one to visibly crowd out the more dynamic stories that filmmaker D.W. Young could be telling.

    You almost have…

  • The Kingmaker

    The Kingmaker

    ★★★★

    One of the ways you can tell how good Lauren Greenfield is at this sort of picture is that she's able to highlight how magnetic and seductive a subject like Imelda Marcos is while laying the groundwork for how tremendously destructive she can be. This could play like trucking the audience, but instead she's just bringing this thing out and cleaning off the surface until a more clear picture emerges.