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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A documentary about a Kansas City woman is making waves nationally. Shawn and Russ weigh in!

1) BIG SONIA (Not rated)

Inflatable Film


92-year-old KC resident Sonia Warshawski is a Holocaust survivor whose tailor shop was the last one standing at the old Metcalf South Shopping Center. She’s the focus of the documentary “Big Sonia,” directed by her granddaughter, Leah Warshawski, and Leah’s husband Todd Soliday.


Sonia who is the focus of the documentary is a rock story.  And the filmmakers do her Megawatt personality justice with this we’ll produce and we’ll told story that makes for one terrific and moving documentary that’s equal parts educational and entertaining.


In spite of the story’s dark elements, it’s often very funny and inspiring. The filmmakers smart use of animation to illustrate Sonia’s experiences during WWII. “Big Sonia” is a moving and loving portrait of a woman who faced challenges most of us cannot begin to fathom.


I loved the fact that the documentary is layered and connects generations with Sonia’s story which includes reaching out to young convicts who have been incarcerated. It’s all powerful stuff. But Sonia is the reason to watch. She’s a special person who has one heck of a story to tell.

RUSS: 4 Popcorn Bags

SHAWN: 4 Popcorn Bags



Sony Pictures


Denzel Washington puts on yet another acting clinic in “Roman J. Israel, Esquire,” a drama about an activist LA defense lawyer who, upon the death of this law partner, makes some reckless moral compromises.


Yes, Denzel Washington is fine but the story is a complete mess. The message about the judicial system is somewhat on point. But the story is agonizingly flawed.


It has some interesting moments but together they don’t quite add up to a fully satisfying whole.


I actually got a bit tired of Denzel’s character. I never quite bought in and never really fully understood the principle motivation. And that title? Seriously? Moving on…

RUSS: 3 Popcorn Bags

SHAWN: 2 Popcorn Bags



Magnolia Pictures


The Swedish film “The Square” was the winner of the top prize at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. It’s a satirical comic drama about a museum curator who faces a personal crisis after his cell phone is stolen.

It’s overlong, very slow and its reach exceeds its grasp, but “The Square” is an often smart and often funny examination of contemporary social morality.

RUSS: 3 Popcorn Bags


ALSO OPENING THIS WEEK:  “The Breadwinner” is an animated film based on the best-selling novel that takes place in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan. It tells the tale of a girl who must dress as a boy so that she can work to support her mother and sister.


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