Before the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision paved the way for legal abortion in the United States, many American women had to pay harassed criminals exorbitant sums for life-threatening, quasi-medical procedures. . Beginning in the late 1960s, a Chicago-based underground network attempted to connect women with real doctors, while charging what patients could afford. The organization disbanded when their services were no longer needed, but the bonds they formed helped lay the foundations of the women’s movement of the 1970s.
The timely documentary “The Janes” – co-directed by Tia Lessin and Emma Pildes – tells the story of this group, which advertised in counterculture periodicals and on bulletin boards at hippie hangouts, advising women in difficulty to “call JANE”. The surviving members of Jane, now elderly, tell the filmmakers how they came together, how their process of circumventing the law worked, and why what they did matters.
“The Janes” is filled with alternately heartbreaking and darkly funny anecdotes, covering everything from the charts that recorded relevant patient details to the legend of the adept amateur abortionist who posed as a licensed professional. But what really resonates are the memories of women helping women by speaking openly about specific economic and health issues that the male-dominated establishment typically ignored. JANE’s supportive atmosphere was eye-opening, showing the possibility of a world where everyone, regardless of social status, could be seen and heard.
“The Janes. » TV-MA, for violence, adult content and adult language. 1h41. Available on HBO Max
Actor Mark O’Brien wrote, directed and starred in his feature debut “The Righteous,” a slow-burning black-and-white psychodrama that echoes Ingmar Bergman and Gothic ghost stories. O’Brien plays Aaron, a mysterious stranger who shows up outside the home of Frederic (Henry Czerny) one night and Ethel (Mimi Kuzyk), an elderly couple mourning the accidental death of their adopted daughter. Aaron appears to be a wanderer at first, but as he talks with Frederic, he seems to know a lot about his host: that he was a priest, that he violated his vows decades ago, and that he prayed to God for deliverance.
O’Brien tells Frederic’s story – covering both his dark past and dark present – through a series of provocative conversations that have the intensity and conviction of great theatre. These characters tackle the big issues. Should sins always be punished? Can two wrongs make a good? Is the unimaginable tragedy God’s twisted way of demanding justice? Viewers with no interest in theology may find these concerns a bit esoteric and may wish O’Brien had spent more time on the mystery of who Aaron is and why he appears to have supernatural powers. But this film is a must for anyone who enjoys seeing terrific actors given the space to explore their characters’ pain – and spin compelling moments from rich words and subtle moods.
‘The Just.’ Unclassified. 1h36. Available on Arrow
Although the execution is clunky, the subject matter and scope of historical drama “The Walk” are generally compelling enough to make up for it. Directed by Daniel Adams and co-written by Adams and George Powell, the film is based on the memories of Boston men around 1974, when courts ordered the public school system to integrate by transporting children from black neighborhoods to white schools and vice versa. . The story mainly centers on a white cop, Bill Coughlin (Justin Chitin), who is in charge of escorting black students to class.
“The Walk” also follows a black teenager, Wendy Robinson (Lovie Simone), whose father (Terrence Howard) is afraid to put her on the bus; and it explains how Coughlin’s roots in South Boston’s Irish-American gangs make him fearful for the future of his own daughter, who is as racist as her friends and neighbors. The dialogue is brutal and the plot is too centered on white heroism; but the period detail is well observed and the filmmakers show a real understanding of the attitudes and ingrained anxieties that make moments of social progress so difficult.
‘The walk.’ R, for language throughout, including racial slurs and some violence. 1h45. Available in select theaters and on VOD
“The Policeman’s Lineage”
Baby-faced “Parasite” star Choi Woo-shik puts his candid vibe to good use again in “The Policeman’s Lineage,” a twisted crime drama about the moral compromises some cops accept in their pursuit of bad guys. Choi plays Choi Min-jae, a third-generation police detective whose reputation for honesty gets him assigned by Internal Affairs to a reputedly corrupt drug task force. As Choi begins to gather evidence against his new boss Park Kang-yoon (Cho Jin-woong), he begins to see the veteran’s policing methods as perhaps more effective than illegal – and he also discovers his deceased father. during an undercover mission. Directed by Lee Kyoo-man from a screenplay by Bae Young-ik (adapted from a novel by Joh Sasaki), the film’s exploration of crime-fighting gray areas is familiar; but solid performances, a certain stylistic flair and down-to-earth tone give “The Policeman’s Lineage” a ring of truth.
“The policeman’s bloodline.” In Korean with English subtitles. Unclassified. 1 hour 59 minutes. Available on VOD
The horror-comedy “Keeping Company” strikes a sometimes difficult balance between its two genres, as director and co-writer Josh Wallace opts for barbed satire over thrills. Devin Das (who also co-wrote the screenplay) and Ahmed Bharoocha play door-to-door salespeople for a sleazy insurance company, who cross paths with a family of serial killers and discover that their customers can be as predatory as their bosses. Wallace and Das pack a lot into a short amount of time, including a subplot about a disgruntled plaintiff threatening to expose the company’s exploitative practices and another about a political candidate whose policies of cracking down on violence. crime add another layer of commentary about cynicism and hypocrisy to the film. Between all the characters and the plot, there’s not as much room as there should be for shocks and jokes. Still, it’s rare for a film like this to be criticized for having too many ideas. While it doesn’t quite add up, “Keeping Company” is never straightforward or predictable.
‘Keep company.’ Unclassified. 1 hour, 22 minutes. Available on VOD
The lively and joyful documentary “A Sexplanation” deals with a rather serious subject: the deplorable state of sex education in the United States and the number of people who trust rumors, religion, politicians and pornography to determine what are “normal” sexual desires. Director and on-screen animator Alex Liu talks to friends, family and clinical experts, looking for common examples of how Americans learn about sex — and the things they do in their lives. room they are still too ashamed to discuss openly. The film’s structure is too loose and scattered, and overall it’s geared more toward anecdotes and personal observations than hard data. (A segment that covers what men and women watch most on the Pornhub site is more telling than hearing one of Liu’s friends talk about masturbation, for example.) But overall, it’s an entertaining movie. with admirable intentions, causing audiences to rethink their presumptions about pleasure.
“A sexplanation.” Unclassified. 1 hour, 16 minutes. Available on VOD
“Hustle” is the latest dramatic effort from comedian Adam Sandler, who has a knack for such roles. In this audience-pleasing underdog sports story, Sandler plays a professional basketball scout who aspires to be a coach and sees his ticket to the big time in a talented Spanish hoop (Juancho Hernangómez) with a troublesome past. Available on Netflix
Available now on DVD and Blu-ray
“The Nordic” is a thrilling, elegant and bloody Viking action epic from “The Witch” writer-director Robert Eggers that roughly combines the psychologically complex plot of “Hamlet” with the macho swagger of a Mel Gibson picture. Alexander Skarsgård plays an exiled prince with a great sword and a vengeful streak, who makes life miserable for his scheming mother (Nicole Kidman) and new husband (Claes Bang). Focus/Universal (also available on Peacock)
“The place promised to our beginnings”, “5 centimeters per second” and “The children who hunt the lost voices” are three debut films by acclaimed Japanese animation writer-director Makoto Shinkai, whose most recent films “Your Name” and “Weathering with You” have caused worldwide sensation. These three feature-rich special-edition Blu-rays are a godsend for new Shinkai fans, drawn to the way it blends sci-fi and fantasy in stories about real-life concerns of young people. GKIDS/Cry! Factory
This story originally appeared in the Los Angeles Times.