Opens tomorrow (9/25/15) in NYC. Review coming soon :-)

Posted in Reviews: K-M | Leave a comment


A Reason Movie PosterWritten and directed by Dominique Schilling, A Reason is a perfectly fine film about a dysfunctional family who all come together when their elderly aunt falls ill, solely to be present for the reading of her will. (JEP: 3/5)

Review by Contributing Editor Jessica E. Perry

After a long and monotonous opening sequence, “Serena” (Magda Apanowicz) and her brother “Nathan” (Nick Eversman) arrive at their elderly “Aunt Irene’s” (Marion Ross) home and are greeted by their half-brother’s wife “Bianca” (Madeleine Falk). The tension is palpable from the first moment, and the deep-rooted family drama is evident in the way they interact with one another.

Serena has recently been released from a mental facility after she attempted suicide. Bianca decides right away that this is a shameful act and must be kept a secret from Aunt Irene. So Serena pulls her sleeves down over her scarred wrists, and they all proceed inside.

Everyone has made the trip because Aunt Irene is has fallen ill and has called them all to her home for the reading of her will. When it is revealed that her estate will be split evenly between Serena, Nathan, their half-brother “Chris” (Ron Melendez), and his wife Bianca, Nathan begins to unravel, wanting what he believes to be rightfully his—Bianca’s share of the inheritance. Nathan begins to grow more and more unstable as he controls and manipulates Serena and everyone else around him in order to get what he wants.

Bianca, on the other hand, does not want Aunt Irene’s money because she believes it is being given as a bribe for her to have another child. Chris and Bianca’s marriage becomes ever more strained as he thinks she is making up stories about Aunt Irene’s behavior.

Serena, Nathan, and Chris’ absentee mother then pops into the film, out of literally nowhere, to attempt to fix her broken relationship with Aunt Irene. Needless to say, the reading of the will has brought out all the family drama and each character finds they have something to learn.

The soundtrack and shots immediately suggested A Reason to be a psychological thriller…but besides Nathan’s crazed personality, nothing scary or “thrilling” happens. Instead, Schilling has brought us a family drama that is riddled with unnecessary slow-mos, scenes with extensive silence, and random black and white sequences.

But even with all these unnecessary components, A Reason kept me entertained for its 112 minute run time. Yet it did not stay with me afterwards, as all good films should. The verdict? A Reason was simply a perfectly fine film ... nothing more and nothing less.

© Jessica E. Perry FF2 Media (9/23/15)Screen Shot 2015-09-23 at 5.23.47 PMTop Photo: Movie poster

Bottom Photo: Serena and Aunt Irene don't see eye to eye.

Photo Credits: Michael Sutter

Q: Does A Reason pass the Bechdel Test?RedA

 Yes, many times over.

In one instance, Serena and Bianca have a long conversation about life, what it means to be a mother, and their struggles.

Bianca and Serena both also share numerous conversations with Aunt Irene about how they’ve failed her in some way.

Posted in Bechdel List, Reviews: A | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


t_2014-07-27_26Olvidados (aka Forgotten) tells a complex flashback story of “General José Mendieta” (Damián Alcázar) and his work for Operation Condor, a CIA-supported operation to wipe out communists in 1970s Latin America. (BKP: 3/5)

Review by Associate Editor Brigid K. Presecky

Writer Carla Ortiz (with collaborators Mauricio D’Avis and Elia Petridis) begin the story in present day as elderly General Mendieta encounters one of his victims from Operation Condor. His overwhelming sense of guilt and inner turmoil leads to a massive heart attack, leaving him gravely ill on his deathbed.

But in order to die with a sense of peace, Mendieta writes a confessional letter to his son, “Pablo” (Bernardo Pena) to confess his deepest, darkest sins. What did he do in the 1970s? Why have his actions haunted him for four decades? The filmmakers answer those questions in bursts of flashbacks.

Where: Latin America; When: 1970s; What: Operation Condor

General José Mendieta and his partner Sanera (Rafael Ferro) carry out the CIA-backed plan to wipe out communists in the surrounding area. Although most of the film is a compilation of brief scenes strung together, Director Carlos Bolado elongates the violent scenes of the gruesome, gritty realities of the time. We witness the persecution of different victims as they are kidnapped, tortured and sent to prison.

Two, in particular, journalist “Marco” (Carloto Cotta) and his pregnant wife “Lucía” (the film’s writer/producer Carla Ortiz), transition into protagonists and become the heart of the story. These two characters provide the calmer, quiet moments of a film chock full of loud gunfire and physical abuse. It gives the audience a chance to pause and process who the characters are and what is happening around them.

With overlapping stories and flashbacks, the complexity Olvidados is somewhat difficult to navigate, with my attention span waning by the end of the first act. Although the English-subtitled film aims to be a good-vs-evil story of an anti-hero, the convoluted plot gets lost in a sea of violence and complications.

© Brigid K. Presecky FF2 Media (9/21/15)


Top Photo: “Marco” (Carloto Cotta) sits in prison with pregnant wife “Lucía” (Carla Ortiz)

Bottom Photo: “Lucía” (Carla Ortiz) with prison mate “Andrea” (Ana Calentano)

Photo Credits: Cinema Libre Studio

Q: Does Olvidados pass the Bechdel Test?

Actually, yes!RedA

The film’s most interesting character “Lucía,” (played by writer Carla Ortiz) shares a scene with her prison mate, “Andrea” (Ana Calentano). The two talk about democracy, socialism and the decisions of the left and right. Andrea powerfully tells Lucía, “We’re fighting for a democracy!” This particular scene is one of the highlights of Olvidados.

Posted in Bechdel List, Reviews: N-P | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


Opens tomorrow (9/18/15) in NYC. Review coming soon :-)

Posted in Reviews: N-P | Leave a comment


Opens tomorrow (9/11/15) in NYC. Review coming soon :-)

Posted in Reviews: E-G | Leave a comment


meet-the-patels-parentsDirector Geeta V. Patel follows her brother Ravi on his quest to fulfill his parents’ wish - finding a wife. A laugh-out-loud, real-life romantic comedy unfolds with heart and humor captured in every moment. The best documentary I have seen in 2015. Highly recommended! (BKP: 5/5)

To read FF2 Media's chat with the Patels, click HERE!

Review by Associate Editor Brigid K. Presecky

Ravi V. Patel had just broken up with his girlfriend of nearly two years. Instead of dating a traditional Indian woman with Patel ancestry, Ravi was in love with “Audrey,” a redhead from Connecticut. Fearing disapproval from his parents, Ravi kept his relationship a secret, leading his mother “Champa” and father “Vasant” to believe he had never had a girlfriend. Cue “Matchmaker, Matchmaker.”

On a family trip to India, Geeta (the film’s director, often heard but rarely seen) turns on her camera and records Ravi’s journey of finding love. Champa and Vasant, providing so much of the documentary’s humor, want - more than anything in the world - for their son to get married to a traditional Indian woman. Their mission to find Ravi a wife commences! An arranged marriage has worked for them for 35 years, so why wouldn’t it work for Ravi?

Soon enough, Ravi is sending out “bio datas,” (otherwise known as a dating resume) and starts speed-dating around the United States. He attends marriage conventions, gets set up on blind dates and struggles with his breakup with Audrey.

But the story goes much deeper than finding the perfect bride. Yes, it is a story of finding love, but it is also the story about familial love. The bond between brother and sister, father and son, and mother and son are all evident through each and every moment filmed on camera. Even if you are unfamiliar with Indian culture, the values and ideals of these “characters” feel universal.

With a unique editing style and perfect comedic timing, the documentary is strung together like a romantic comedy (the good kind). Geeta V. Patel captures uncomfortable encounters, hilariously awkward conversations and - ever so slyly - catches heartbreakingly real moments while her family thinks the camera is turned off.

Meet the Patels is a feel-good journey enhanced by humorous filmmakers and an incredible editing team. One of the best documentaries I have seen in a long time. Highly recommended.

© Brigid K. Presecky FF2 Media (9/11/15)


Top Photo: Parents Champa and Vasant Patel

Bottom Photo: Director Geeta V. Patel and the documentary’s subject, her brother Ravi V. Patel

Photo Credits: Alchemy

Q: Does Meet the Patels pass the Bechdel Test?


Posted in Reviews: K-M | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


set_sleeping_with_other_people_jason_sudeikis_alison_brie_300Written and directed by Leslye Headland, Sleeping With Other People is a fresh take on the rom come genre, following two self-admitted “sex addicts” who were each other’s first times. When they reconnect twelve years later, what starts as a rekindled friendship threatens to become something more when feelings can no longer be ignored. (JEP: 4/5)

Review by Contributing Editor Jessica E. Perry

“Lainey” (Alison Brie) and “Jake” (Jason Sudeikis) were each other’s first while at college together at Columbia University in New York. The two “late-bloomers” had one night on a shabby rooftop couch and then parted ways.

Flash forward to twelve years later…

Jake is a womanizer, charming and endearing, but a womanizer all the same. After sleeping with the best friend of the woman he is currently “seeing,” Jake agrees to go to a Sex Addicts Anonymous meeting to appease her.

Meanwhile, Lainey admits to her long time boyfriend “Sam” (Adam Brody) that she was only able to stay faithful to him for six months, and has been cheating on him ever since.

Lainey has cheated sixteen times to be exact. But all sixteen were with one person— “Matthew” (Adam Scott) the lackluster, mousey man she has been infatuated with since college. Matthew is now “Dr. Matthew Sovochek” a successful OBGYN, sporting a creep-stache.

Unable to stay away from him, and through presumed coaxing from her therapist, Lainey finds herself at a Sex Addicts Anonymous meeting. By happenstance, it is the same meeting Jake is attending.

After their chance encounter, Jake and Lainey reconnect over their similar sexual situations. Under the guise of staying “just friends” the two lean on each other for support. However, as their friendship grows and they help each other to connect with other people, Jake and Lainey struggle to resist their growing feelings towards one another.

Written and directed by Leslye Headland Sleeping With Other People was a perfectly cast, out of the box rom com. Headland stumbles a bit in the third act, dragging it out longer than necessary, but Brie and Sudeikis are so wonderful together that you readily forgive.

Adam Brody had one scene as Lainey’s long-time boyfriend and then disappears from the film. But he was so hysterical and spot on for that one scene, that I must applaud him here. Brie and Sudeikis both deliver stellar performances, and have a brilliant scene together in the third act that will give you all the feels.

Sleeping With Other People is a laugh out loud comedy with heart. The plot may sound like something you have heard before, but I ensure you, there are numerous small moments that elevate the film to a level beyond the stereotypical rom com.

© Jessica E. Perry FF2 Media (9/13/15)

Top Photo: Lainey and Jake dance (in a drug induced high) together at a child's birthday party.

Bottom Photo: Jake instructs Lainey on how to get exactly what she wants.

Photo Credits: Linda Kallerus

Q: Does Sleeping With Other People pass the Bechdel Test?

 I want to say yes, but unfortunately it is a “not really.”

Lainey and her friend “Kara” (Natasha Lyonne) meet up to girl-chat several times. Unfortunately, each topic that starts out as non-male related, circles back around to become such.

The same can be said about the two other prominent female characters in the film “Naomi” (Andrea Savage) and “Paula” (Amanda Peet).

Posted in Reviews: Q-S, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


1Chris Evans and Alice Eve star as two strangers who make an unexpected connection during an eventful night in New York City. Despite the contrivances, Before We Go is an interesting character study and realization of “two ships passing in the night.” (BKP: 4.5/5)

Review by Associate Editor Brigid K. Presecky

Imagine you’re a beautiful blonde woman walking down a darkened New York City street at night. A couple of thugs walk towards you. You don’t know what to do. Before you can even think, Captain America whips his arm around you, pulls you in tight and pretends he’s your boyfriend. Like magic, the thugs disappear.

That scenario is an example of what makes Before We Go a little too good to be true. Nonetheless, it is enjoyable watching said-Captain America (Chris Evans, also the film’s director) play broken-hearted trumpeter “Nick” opposite art critic “Brooke” (Alice Eve).

After Brooke’s purse is stolen and her cell phone dies, she wanders around Grand Central Station pondering her next move. Where is she going to stay? She doesn’t know anyone in the city. She can’t take a taxi or a bus; she has no cash.

Nick, avoiding an ex-girlfriend at a nearby wedding, kindly offers help to Brooke find her stolen purse and the two set off on their own adventure. As the night progresses, the two strangers bond over their commonalities and broken relationships by flirting, fighting and masquerading as a couple. Sound romantic? It certainly is. And the spark lit between Evans and Eve in the very first minutes lasts until the credits roll.

The briskly-paced screenplay (written by Jen Smolka, Ronald Bass, Chris Shafer and Paul Vicknair) focuses heavily on dialogue, giving its characters rich histories without ever using flashbacks or time-jumps. You feel as though you are the third wheel in this relationship, eavesdropping on Nick and Brooke’s private conversations and witnessing a blossoming romance. Despite the somewhat contrived situations they find themselves in, their nightlong journey is a joy to witness.  

© Brigid K. Presecky FF2 Media (9/07/15)


Photo: Director Chris Evans and Alice Eve as “Nick” and “Brooke”

Photo Credits: Radius

Q: Does Before We Go pass the Bechdel Test?


Posted in Reviews: B-D | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


Opens tomorrow (9/4/15) in NYC. Review coming soon.

Posted in Reviews: E-G | Leave a comment


Screen Shot 2015-09-08 at 4.19.51 PM“Phineas” (Joel Moody) has always dreamed of becoming a champion BMX dirt rider. When he gets into a highly coveted competition his long-awaited opportunity may be derailed when he befriends a troubled teen. Watch at your own risk. (JEP: 1/5)

Review by Contributing Editor Jessica E. Perry

Directed by Eric Bugbee Heroes of Dirt boasts ample BMX footage, so for fans of the sport it is an exciting release. Sad to say, that is all the film has going for it.

“Phineas Cooper” known to his friends as “Phin” (Joel Moody) eats, sleeps, and breathes BMX riding. However, his parents think he is wasting his potential, and they encourage him to go back to school or find a real job.

Instead, Phin gets an invitation (which he found in the trash since his parents threw it away) to a big competition—The Underground BMX Jumping Series. The competition becomes his main focus and he starts practicing his tricks on the street, against the warnings of his parole officer “Stacey” (Engelia McCullough).

Of course, doing illegal things will get you arrested, and that is precisely what happens. Phin gets caught riding where he is not suppose to be and spends the night in jail. He is sentenced to community service, where he is assigned to mentor a troubled teen named “Blue” (William Martinez).

Out of nowhere the narrative shifts, and what was once a film about a boy pursing his BMX dreams, becomes one about drug dealing and running from the cops. But don’t worry, the filmmakers throw the BMX storyline back in there at some point.

With six credited writers, including Jill Bugbee, one would think that the film would at least boast a solid narrative. Unfortunately, the writing was such a mess I could barely stand it.

Joel Moody gave it his all as Phin, but simply is not a strong enough actor to carry a feature. I found myself more invested in Blue’s storyline, and William Martinez delivered the only bearable acting in the entire film.

This is director Eric Bugbee’s first IMDB credit, let alone first feature, and his inexperience was painfully apparent. Heroes of Dirt felt like a bad student film, and that is putting it mildly.

The shots were all over the place, the soundtrack was an absolute mess—a slow song makes literally ZERO sense for a police chase, and the music video-like montage sequence thrown in the middle of the film was just laughable. The voice over that ran the entirety of the movie was pure exposition and absolutely unnecessary, making an already cring-worthy film something I just wanted to walk away from.

See the film at your own risk, but I simply cannot recommend it. If you love BMX riding, you might find Heroes of Dirt to be a bearable watch, but I can’t promise it even then.

© Jessica E. Perry FF2 Media (9/8/15)


Top Photo: The film poster.

Bottom Photo: Phin and Blue head out to ride.

Photo Credits: Blue Trial Entertainment

Q: Does Heroes of Dirt pass the Bechdel Test?

Absolutely not.

Posted in Reviews: H-J | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment