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The Kansas City FilmFest starts April 13, so it's time to bone up on the latest flicks. Up To Date's indie, foreign and documentary film critics recommend these movies to get you started.

Cynthia Haines

Marguerite, R

  • A secretly-snickering audience pushes an off-pitch performer out of her personal bubble and into the limelight.

King Georges, unrated

Does the warm weather have you in a festive mood? Up to Date's indie, foreign and documentary film critics have a few ideas to celebrate with some current cinema offerings.

Cynthia Haines

Room, R

  • A young woman and her son are imprisoned in a shed.

Spotlight, R

  • Reporters working for the Boston Globe uncover evidence of the Catholic Church sex abuse scandal.

Rolling Papers, not rated (showing at Liberty Hall)

Cuddle up with your sweetheart, a box of chocolate and a good film this Valentine's Day weekend. Up to Date's indie, foreign and documentary film critics have a few ideas to fill your screen.

Cynthia Haines

Son of Saul, R

  • It has been nominated for best foreign film, and I would maybe put money on it (winning). This is (the director's) first feature film, which is absolutely incredible to realize. 

45 Years, R

Take a look into the brutality of the Holocaust through one man's eyes or glimpse the golden era of Hollywood. See how one man overcomes a stutter and another overcomes the challenges dealt to him by Agent Orange. Our indie, foreign and documentary film critics discussed all of these and more in this edition of Up to Date.

Here's a list of the films from the show:

If your weekend isn't consumed with conversation of the gridiron, Up to Date's indie, foreign and documentary film critics have some suggestions to make your weekend entertainment a touchdown.

Cynthia Haines

45 Years, R

  • Approaching their 45th anniversary, a couple confronts a secret from their past.

The Animated and Live Action Short Films nominated for Oscars

Spotlight, R

We're walking on sunshine with a warmer weekend ahead, but if you're not feeling outdoorsy, Up to Date's indie, foreign and documentary film critics have a few ideas to light your fire.

Cynthia Haines

The Animated, Live Action and Documentary Short Films nominated for Oscars

Theeb, not rated

  • During World War I, a Bedouin boy guides a British officer on a perilous journey across the desert

Spotlight, R

Find the joy in creating a new mop, and skate on the edge of the real estate bubble. Watch a few love stories not bound by traditional gender roles. Up to Date's indie, foreign and documentary film critics have a few ideas about this year's Oscar nominees and the films showing on area screens this week.

Lamb, not rated, AMC Studio 28, Town Center, Barrywoods

Kansas City is home to lots of refugee children and their families, who face trying transitions to new countries, a new language, new customs and new schools. On this edition of Up to Date, we examine their experiences and find out who helps them.

Guests:

Independent Lens

Last-minute preparations for the holidays can be exhausting. Take a break this weekend and go see an indie or documentary film. Up To Date's  film critics share their recommendations:

Cynthia Haines

Spotlight, R

  • Reporters working for the Boston Globe uncover evidence of the Catholic Church sex abuse scandal.

Brooklyn, PG-13

  • An young Irish immigrant is torn between her new home in Brooklyn and her life back in Ireland.

Room, R

spotlightthefilm.com

It's the most wonderful time of the year — for movie lovers, that is. Awards season is around the corner and many of the year's most-anticipated titles are arriving at area cinemas. You can enjoy the season too, by hitting the movie theaters this weekend. Here are Up To Date's film critics' suggestions from the crop of indie, foreign and documentary films playing now.

Cynthia Haines

Spotlight, R

Sex trafficking occurs in all fifty of the United States and too often the victims are our children. Steve Kraske examines sex trafficking with a Kansas City FBI agent and the filmmaker of a documentary that looks at the effects on the victims, their families and law enforcement.

Guests:

Stuffed with turkey and exhausted from shopping? Chill out the rest of your holiday weekend with these suggestions from Up to Date's indie, foreign and documentary film critics:

Cynthia Haines

Brooklyn, PG-13

Room, R

  • A young woman and her son are imprisoned in a shed. 

Spotlight, R

  • Reporters working for the Boston Globe uncover evidence of the Catholic Church sex abuse scandal.

Steve Walker

Lead the charge for women's right to vote or head up a different fight in 1950s Germany. This week, Up to Date's indie, foreign and documentary film critics have a selection of fiery movies to keep you warm as that November chill sets in.

Cynthia Haines

Labyrinth of Lies, R (German) 

  • During the 1950s, a German prosecutor pursues Nazi war criminals.

99 Homes, R

Courtesy Photo / Julia Barnett

Julia Barnett spent her childhood backstage at the theatre while her mother, Cathy, took center stage. She didn’t have any intention to carry on in the family business.

“I actually started college as a global studies and world religions major,” Julia says.

Despite her plans, show business eventually found its way back to her — though she is still most comfortable behind the scenes.

“It’s absolutely in my blood," Julia says.

In addition to her actress mother, Julia’s father, Dan Barnett, is a writer.

Whether you want to tackle life in China after the Cultural Revolution or sit back and take in a dark comedy about two friends going through a tough time, Up to Date's indie, foreign and documentary film critics have choices for you this weekend.

Cynthia Haines

The Second Mother, R (Portuguese with English subtitles)

  • Brazilian housekeeper's daughter moves in and causes havoc.

The Assassin, not rated (Mandarin)

Spin some satire about the class system  in Brazil or get a look behind the scenes of Dan Rather's downfall. Now that the baseball season is over, and you need something else to do, Up to Date's indie, foreign and documentary film critics have a wide variety of films to fill your fall weekend.

The House on Pine Street, not rated, Glenwood Arts (Kansas International Film Festival)

David Chancellor - kiosk

Cecil the Lion’s death at the hands of a trophy hunter made headlines around the world a few months ago but that type of hunting is common in Africa. Photographer David Chancellor documented the people who participate in the sport, along with the big game targets they kill in his documentary series, Hunters.

Shed some light on what it's like to twirl and leap for a major ballet company and see how a housekeeper's daughter brings chaos to the life of a family in Brazil. This week, Up to Date's indie, foreign and documentary film critics have a few treats — but no tricks — for your Halloween weekend.

Cynthia Haines

Coming Home, PG-13

  • The affect the Chinese Cultural Revolution has on a Chinese family

The Second Mother, R (Portuguese with English subtitles)

Tread carefully through China after the Cultural Revolution and learn how Malala became so brave. Up to Date's indie, foreign and documentary film critics are feeling an international vibe this week, and there's something for everyone on this list.

Cynthia Haines

Coming Home, PG-13 

  • The affect the Chinese Cultural Revolution has on a Chinese family 

He Named Me Malala, PG-13

Fifty years after US troops landed in Vietnam, a 24-year-old victim of Agent Orange and an American struggling with depression create a life-changing bond. 

Guests:

  • Elizabeth Van Meter, writer and producer of "Thao's Library."
  • Cynthia Haines, film critic for KCUR

Thao's Library is now showing at AMC Town Center 20. For movie showtimes, click here.

Discover how a library connects two people across international boundaries, and see what it's like when your parents want to arrange your marriage for you. Up to Date's indie, foreign and documentary film critics have a variety of choices to spruce up your weekend.

Cynthia Haines

Sicario, R

Search for a Spanish serial killer or shiver at the creepy tale of a mother who comes home very different after a surgery. If you're feeling adventurous or you're ready for a few chills before Halloween, Up to Date's indie, foreign and documentary film critics have just the thing for you.

Cynthia Haines

Marshland, not rated, (Spanish with English subtitles) 

  • Detectives pursue a serial killer in southern Spain.

Phoenix, PG-13

Get some vicarious adrenaline with a group of mountaineers and take a road trip with an unusual grandma in Up to Date's indie, foreign and documentary film critics' choices this weekend.

Cynthia Haines

Meru, R

  • It is visually stunning. It is incredibly intense, suspenseful— it’s got everything going for it. I would put Meru on the top of any list that has to do with mountaineering.

Phoenix, PG-13

An Irish dance hall stands for so much more, a group of mountaineers makes a hazardous trek and a woman confronts ghosts of her past in post-war Germany in Up to Date's indie, foreign and documentary film critics' choices this weekend.

Cynthia Haines

Meru, R

  • It is visually stunning. It is incredibly intense, suspenseful— it’s got everything going for it. I would put Meru on the top of any list that has to do with mountaineering.

Phoenix, PG-13

From a beautiful but treacherous mountaintop to post-World War II Germany to a contemporary senior home, Up to Date's indie, foreign and documentary film critics' choices will take you far and wide on your holiday weekend.

Cynthia Haines

Meru, R

  • It is visually stunning. It is incredibly intense, suspenseful— it’s got everything going for it. I would put Meru on the top of any list that has to do with mountaineering.

Phoenix, PG-13

It's that in-between time when the summer blockbusters are winding down, but the holiday movie machine hasn't fired up yet — and that makes the perfect opening for independent, foreign and documentary films to fill the theaters. Up to Date's critics have numerous suggestions from this glut of possibilities to cover your whole holiday weekend.

Meru, R, Glenwood Arts

Explore the world of David Foster Wallace. Find out if you really can tell someone's sexuality by their voice. Jump into the fiery rhetoric as it flies between Gore Vidal and William Buckley. Up to Date's indie, foreign and documentary critics have found a wide variety of options to spice up your weekend.

Cynthia Haines  

Listen To Me Marlon, not rated

The documentaries are thick on the ground this week, whether you want to explore of the life of Marlon Brando, take on the warring voices of Gore Vidal and William F. Buckley or watch a man confront the effects of a genocide. Or, if you're not in the mood for serious contemplation, Up to Date's indie, foreign and documentary critics also have a comedy in mind for you.

Cynthia Haines

Best of Enemies, R

The kids have gone back to school, and maybe it's time for you to go back to the movie theater. Up to Date's indie, foreign and documentary film critics have a few ideas to spruce up your weekend.

Cynthia Haines

Best of Enemies, R

  • The thing that’s quite amusing is the pompous attitudes of these men and their accents.

Mr. Holmes, PG

Whether it's a Buckley-Vidal debate that gets your blood pumping or an exploration of the late David Foster Wallace, Up to Date's indie, foreign and documentary film critics have given the verdict to help you select your weekend entertainment. Here are the films they discussed:

Best of Enemies, R, Tivoli

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