‘Julia’: An enjoyable, breezy, and well-prepared doc

“Julia” (2021) – “Don’t be afraid of failure.” – Julia Child Good advice! Julia Child – television’s premiere cooking personality, who paved the way for hundreds (or is it thousands or tens of thousands?) of local, national, and worldwide on-air chefs – took her advice.  Naturally, she was speaking about culinary gymnastics, but directors Julie Cohen and Betsy West – the dynamic documentary-duo behind “RBG” (2018) and “My Name is Pauli Murray” (2021) – clearly reveal that Ms. Child applied those same principles outside the kitchen as well.  Cohen and…

‘Passing’: Don’t pass on experiencing this delicate, complex friendship

“Passing” (2021) – Irene (Tessa Thompson) and Clare (Ruth Negga) were high school friends.  Not close comrades, but dear enough to actively reach out if a future encounter ever occurs. At least 12 years after school, that day arrives for the two ladies during an ordinary afternoon at The Drayton Hotel, an upscale spot in New York City.  Irene and Clare both sit alone at small, circular tables with white linen covers, and bright daylight illuminates every inch of a large, open sunroom with 30-foot high ceilings.  They catch each…

‘Beans’: Kiawentiio delivers a grown-up performance about growing up under perilous happenings

“Beans” (2021) – “Growing up is losing some illusions in order to acquire others.” – Virginia Woolf Beans (Kiawentiio), 12, enjoys a content, supportive existence with her mom (Rainbow Dickerson), dad (Joel Montgrand), and younger sister, Ruby (Violah Beauvais), while living outside of Montreal.  She’s a happy kid, and the year is 1990, a time when parents drew distinct, discernable lines between themselves and their children, and Beans and Ruby respect their mother and father’s firm lead.  At the moment, Lily (Dickerson) and Kania’Tarilo (Montgrand) push Beans to pursue a…