2019, Warner Bros., 101 min, Germany, Dir: Katja Benrath

This crowd-pleaser from director Katja Benrath follows an 11-year protagonist whose unshakeable optimism and non-conformist spirit make good on the film’s title. Rocca (Luna Maxeiner, adorable in her first film role) is practically an orphan for much of the year, while her astronaut father is away on an orbiting space station. Her parentless lifestyle is hardly an obstacle, however, as she navigates school and bullies with ease and has a positive effect on every person (and squirrel) that crosses her path. Featuring Fahri Yardim as a tender homeless man named Caspar, the film took home the Outstanding Children Award from the German Film Awards and is guaranteed fun for the whole family.

1989, 90 min, Dir: Fabrizio De Angelis

Italy in the 1970s and ’80s was a paradise of ambitious cheapo knock-offs like KILLER CROCODILE, which fits squarely in the post-JAWS, giant animal amok rip-off subgenre, yet it is so much more. Written and directed by Lucio Fulci’s longtime producer Fabrizio De Angelis, the film tells the story of a crocodile grown to unnatural proportions (by way of toxic chemical dumping) that wreaks havoc on a river community. Shot back-to-back with its sequel, KILLER CROCODILE 2, the film stars Richard Anthony Crenna (son of RAMBO franchise icon Richard Crenna). The scenic authenticity of its Dominican Republic locations mixes deliriously with its rubbery croc gore to provide a one-of-a-kind cinematic feast.

1932, Universal, 80 min, USA, Dir: Josef Von Sternberg

“It took more than one man to change my name to Shanghai Lily.” Fallen woman Marlene Dietrich just happens to run into her former boyfriend, British army captain Clive Brook, on a train hurtling through wartime China, in what many consider the high point of the Dietrich/Von Sternberg cycle. Along for the ride are some of Hollywood’s greatest supporting players of the day: lovely Anna May Wong, bullfrog-voiced Eugene Pallette and Warner Oland (doing a sinister spin on his Far East Charlie Chan persona).

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