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Staff & contributors

An old friend shows up on the doorstep of a happy family home and brings a whirlwind of trouble with him. Charles Burnett’s startling parable is tinged with magic and creeping danger. It digs into the tensions between African American folklore of the rural South and the assimilated middle-class lifestyle out West. 

This rift takes the form of Harry, whose disquieting presence throws his old friend Gideon’s Los Angeles home into disarray. Danny Glover is captivating as the devilish visitor, delivering each line with playful ease and simmering menace. Burnett’s sly narrative doesn’t boil down to good and evil but instead offers a layered and enigmatic exploration of identity.

Genre: Drama

Actor: Carl Lumbly, Cory Curtis, Danny Glover, Davis Roberts, DeForest Covan, DeVaughn Nixon, Ethel Ayler, Jimmy Witherspoon, Julius Harris, Mary Alice, Paul Butler, Paula Bellamy, Reina King, Richard Brooks, Sheryl Lee Ralph, Sy Richardson, Vonetta McGee, Wonderful Smith

Director: Charles Burnett

Fighting with My Family manages to pull off a respectable pro wrestling movie with a lighthearted teen drama slant — a nice change of pace and a victory in itself. Saraya (Florence Pugh) and her family paint the movie with dorky crass jokes, but the film doesn’t seem to tread that line masterfully enough to where we look past her family’s obnoxiousness and find it purely charming instead. But there is more to like here than not: Vince Vaughn as levelheaded NXT coach Hutch Morgan, Dwayne Johnson as himself, and even the blonde girls posse were a little more than just clichés and added a sense of maturity to the portrayal of modern WWE.

Genre: Comedy

Actor: Adam Maxted, Aqueela Zoll, Ashley Darkwood, Bobbi Tyler, Brendon Burns, Charlie Sterling, Chloe Csengery, Christine Ozanne, Chuey Okoye, Ciaran Dowd, David Minton, Dwayne Johnson, Ellie Gonsalves, Elroy Powell, Florence Pugh, Hannah Dodd, Hannah Rae, Jack Gouldbourne, Jack Lowden, James Burrows, Jerome Fleisch, Jerry Lawler, John Cena, John Layfield, Jonathan Jules, Josh Myers, Julia Davis, Julia Hamer-Bevis, Justin Sysum, Kim Matula, Leah Harvey, Lena Headey, Michael Coulthard, Mike Mizanin, Mohammad Amiri, Nick Frost, Olivia Bernstone, Paul Robinson, Paul Wight, Rishi Ghosh, Rod Zapata, Roy Bevis, Samantha Allen, Samantha Alleyne, Saraya-Jade Bevis, Simon Kippen, Simon Musk, Stephen Farrelly, Stephen Merchant, Thea Trinidad, Thomas Whilley, Tori Ellen Ross, Vince Vaughn

Director: Stephen Merchant

Rating: PG-13

Education isn’t always a guarantee, especially in less privileged areas that are underfunded, overlooked, and underprioritized, in the belief that these kids wouldn’t amount to much in the end. That being said, sometimes, what changes that fate is having a teacher that believed in his students and encouraged them to learn more than what they were expected. Stand and Deliver is a dramatization of the real life Jaime Escalante, who transformed a math program in an east LA high school to the point where his entire class ace California’s calculus test. The film definitely takes some dramatic liberties, but it does capture a sense of his quiet determination, the personality that pushed him to believe in and connect with students differently. While Escalante’s program eventually ended due to admin changes and staff in-fighting, Stand and Deliver is a reminder of the importance of nurturing ganas, or desire, in the classroom.

Genre: Drama

Actor: Andy Garcia, Betty Carvalho, Bodie Olmos, Carmen Argenziano, Edward James Olmos, Estelle Harris, Ingrid Oliu, Irene Olga López, Karla Montana, Lou Diamond Phillips, Manuel Benitez, Mark Phelan, Rosanna DeSoto, Vanessa Marquez, Virginia Paris

Director: Ramón Menéndez

Rating: PG