Reviews: B-D

A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD (2019): Review by FF2 Media

Based on the true story of a real-life friendship between Fred Rogers and journalist Tom Junod. A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood opens 11/22. FF2 review coming soon! Read our capsule review from the Toronto International Film Festival here.

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Bechdel-Wallace List Reviews: E-G

Stunning sequel ‘Frozen II’ will close out banner month for Disney

Directors Jennifer Lee (Walt Disney Animation’s first and only female director on an animated film) and Chris Buck take Elsa and Anna back to the big screen with Frozen II, a bigger, sometimes better sequel to the 2013 blockbuster – one that became the highest grossing animated film of all time in worldwide box office. […]

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Reviews: H-J

HALA (2019): Review by FF2 Media

Muslim teenager Hala copes with the unraveling of her family as she comes into her own. Hala opens 11/22 and streams on Apple TV+ Dec. 6. FF2 review coming soon! Read our interview with writer-director Minhal Baig here.

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Reviews: K-M

MR. TOILET – THE WORLD’S #2 MAN (2019): Review by FF2 Media

Jack Sim, aka “Mr. Toilet,” is a crusader for global sanitation. Born in the Singapore slums, Sim knows firsthand the agonies of not having a proper loo. Now he’s dedicating his life to a crisis no one dares talk about. Mr. Toilet is out 11/22. FF2 review coming soon! Read our interview with director Lily Zepeda here.

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Reviews: Q-S

SHOOTING THE MAFIA (2019): Review by FF2 Media

Italian photographer Letizia Battaglia spends her career documenting the life and crimes of the Mafia. Shooting the Mafia opens 11/22. FF2 review coming soon!

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Reviews: U-W

VARDA BY AGNES (2019): Review by FF2 Media

Agnès Varda, photographer, installation artist and pioneer of the Nouvelle Vague, is an institution of French cinema. Taking a seat on a theatre stage, she uses photos and film excerpts to provide an insight into her unorthodox oeuvre. Varda by Agnes opens 11/22. FF2 review coming soon!

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Reviews: B-D

CHARLIE’S ANGELS (2019): Review by FF2 Media

When a young systems engineer blows the whistle on a dangerous technology, Charlie’s Angels are called into action, putting their lives on the line to protect us all. Charlie’s Angels opens 11/15. FF2 review coming soon!

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Reviews: E-G

ERNIE & JOE: CRISIS COPS (2019): Review by FF2 Media

A pair of officers with the San Antonio Police Department mental health unit work to divert people away from jail and into mental health treatment. Ernie & Joe: Crisis Cops opens 11/15. FF2 review coming soon!

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Bechdel-Wallace List Reviews: T

‘To Kid or Not To Kid’ opens up conversations on completely serious topic of reproductive choice

Maxine Trump takes on multiple roles as the Director, Writer, and Cinematographer of documentary To Kid or Not To Kid. With many official selections already under its belt, the film is a brave attempt to open up conversations about reproductive choice. In a world where freedom of choice is increasingly important, why should people still feel afraid to talk about not having children? (KIZJ: 4/5)

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Reviews: K-M

Father-daughter story ‘Mickey and the Bear’ is enthralling, heart-wrenching

Written and Directed by Annabelle Attanasio, Mickey and the Bear is about a teenage girl who is navigating boys, college, and her future, all while dealing with her difficult father, who relies on her completely. Mickey and the Bear is enthralling, heart-wrenching, and absolutely worth watching (JRL: 4.5/5) Review by FF2 Intern Julia Lasker At […]

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Reviews: N-P

THE PORTAL (2019): Review by FF2 Media

What would happen if 7 billion people all meditated? Could it shift the trajectory of our planet? This experiential documentary approach follows six people (and a robot) who transform their lives using stillness and mindfulness. Supported by insights from three of the world’s foremost futurists and philosophers, The Portal takes people on a mindfulness journey. […]

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Reviews: Q-S

SEQUESTRADA (2019): Review by FF2 Media

Members of an indigenous tribe leave their reservation to protest a dam that will displace their people. Sequestrada tells the story of how these three lives intertwine in front of a backdrop of geopolitics and environmental disaster. Opens 11/15. FF2 review coming soon!

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Bechdel-Wallace List Reviews: U-W

‘The Warrior Queen of Jhansi’ tells a relevant woman’s story for our times

From first-time director Swati Bhise, The Warrior Queen of Jhansi is a historical period drama following the matriarch who fought the British East India Company and British troops in the mid-1800s. Written and directed by women and following a historical female protagonist with whom common audiences might not be familiar, Bhise’s directorial debut tells a […]

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Bechdel-Wallace List Reviews: B-D

Damaged psyche behind bullying and being bullied resonate in ‘Better Days’

Wing-Sum Lam, Yuan Li, and Yimeng Xue team up to write the screenplay for “Better Days”, a movie with a realistic take on how far bullying can go. Set in Anqiao city in 2011, Derek Tsang directs a piece that marries the stresses of China’s rigorous academic system with the traumatic experiences of bullying at school. What starts off as a bullying story with a teenage friendship, quickly becomes a deep dive that inspects the damaged psyche of these teenagers through heartfelt emotion. (KIZJ: 4/5)

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Reviews: H-J

‘Honey Boy’ is an autobiographical treat

Twelve-year-old Otis (Noah Jupe) is becoming a Hollywood star. His dad is a substance-abusing ex-clown with a mean temper. Twenty-two-year-old Otis (Lucas Hedges) has landed himself in rehab after years of excessive alcoholism and anger management issues. This is the biopic of Shia LaBeouf, the kid star of early 2000’s Even Stevens and Transformers fame. […]

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Reviews: K-M

‘The Kingmaker’: Imelda Marcos, the grandeur-obsessed wife of the Philippines’ infamous dictator

The Kingmaker, written and directed by Lauren Greenfield, is a portrayal of Imelda Marcos — the woman behind infamous dictator Ferdinand Marcos, who declared martial law in the Philippines from 1965-1982. (BV: 4.0/5.0) Review by Junior Associate Beatrice Viri The Kingmaker starts with Imelda Marcos being driven around urban Philippines. On the ride, kids stop […]

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Reviews: K-M

Well-meaning ‘Last Christmas’ weighed down with predictability

Co-written by Emma Thompson and Bryony Kimmings and directed by Paul Feig, Last Christmas is a hodgepodge of a romantic dramedy with its big twist given away in its marketing campaign. Despite its wildly unnecessary subplots and disjointed tone, the talented and overqualified Emilia Clarke shines brightly as the Christmas lights surrounding her. (BKP: 3.5/5) […]

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Reviews: K-M

In a world full of cruelty, ‘My Home India’ is a story of kindness

Written by Malgorzata Czausow and Anjali Bhushan and directed by Bhushan, My Home India is a documentary about a settlement for Polish refugees in India. Filled with joyous archival footage and interviews of Polish people who were saved by this settlement, My Home India is a heartwarming account of the kindness that can be extended […]

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Reviews: U-W

WATSON (2019): Review by FF2 Media

Lesley Chilcott’s documentary Watson is not a Sherlock Holmes adventure, but it is just as exciting and mysterious as you’d expect one to be. Instead, Chilcott is focusing on a man named Paul Watson who has spent over four decades fearlessly protecting sea life. This film is as educational as it is entertaining–discussing the morals, […]

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Reviews: Q-S

Janice Engel documents gumption of late Molly Ivins with ‘Raise Hell’

Whether you were an avid viewer of hers during the Bush era or (like me) spent most of the Bush era learning your multiplication tables, Janice Engel delivers an overview of Molly Ivins that will charm, tickle, and at times chill any blue-team resident of the year 2019. However, it seems like Ivins became a […]

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Reviews: E-G

Brian Cox anchors and illuminates ‘The Etruscan Smile’

The Etruscan Smile (directed by Mihal Brezis and Oded Binnun and written by Michael McGowan, Michal Lali Kagan, and Sarah Bellwood) is a familial drama that swirls around burly Scotsman Rory (played excellently by Brian Cox) as he travels to San Francisco to visit a doctor. (DLH: 3/5) Review by FF2 Associate Dayna Hagewood The […]

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Bechdel-Wallace List Reviews: H-J

HARRIET (2019): Review by FF2 Media

In the midst of controversy over historical accuracy and the lead actress’s politics, director Kasi Lemmons gives the conductor of the Underground Railroad a long-awaited biopic in Harriet. Her slave master is weirdly humanized while a black bounty hunter is thrown into the story for seemingly no reason; at the same time, acting from luminaries […]

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Reviews: Q-S

QUEEN OF HEARTS (2019): Review by FF2 Media

Written by Maren Louise Kaehne and May el-Toukhy and directed by el-Toukhy, Queen of Hearts is a chilling drama about a powerful and successful lawyer and mother whose life runs the risk of crumbling when she becomes involved with her stepson. This film is a masterfully crafted testament to the dark secrets lurking below what […]

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Bechdel-Wallace List Reviews: K-M

‘Making Waves: The Art of Cinematic Sound’ is something you haven’t heard before

‘Making Waves’ is a dynamic and informative documentary that covers the history of film sound from the invention of the phonograph to the advent of surround sound. (JRL: 3.5/5)

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Reviews: N-P

PARADISE HILLS (2019): Review by FF2 Media

  Alice Waddington displays the core evils of a capitalistic society through her direction and cowriting of the mesmerizing world shown in Paradise Hills–everything has a price, even loyalty. “Uma” (Emma Roberts) grew up wealthy, so her family requires her to marry a rich man (whom Uma despises). After putting up a fight about it, […]

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Reviews: E-G

‘The Elephant Queen’ leads her majestic family across the African savannah for survival

Victoria Stone and Mark Deeble direct The Elephant Queen—a documentary that closely observes an elephant herd and the delicate ecosystem they live in. As the dry season begins, the family has no choice but to journey across the African savannah and seek refuge. Academy award nominee Chiwetel Ejiofor narrates this touching portrayal of the friendly majestic creatures. (KIZJ: 4/5)

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Bechdel-Wallace List Reviews: E-G

‘#Female Pleasure’ should screen in classrooms worldwide

Featuring five remarkable women activists across four continents, #Female Pleasure continues the global conversations regarding women and sexuality. Director Barbara Miller’s documentary gives an informative update on the contemporary view of female bodies and reminds a progressive and feminist audience that though we have come a long way, there is still a long way to […]

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Bechdel-Wallace List Reviews: E-G

Old-time music is uncovered in ‘Fiddlin”

In Julie Simone’s new documentary Fiddlin’, the history of a hidden genre of music, Old Time music, is discovered. From fiddles to banjos, to flat-foot dancing, the community of Old Time music comes alive when enjoying the tunes of the past. (SYJ: ⅗)   Review written by FF2 Media Intern Sophia Y. Jin   The […]

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Reviews: E-G

GIFT (2018): Review by FF2 Media

Chronicling gift-based cultures around the world and challenging the logic of global capitalism, the film inspires the question: is life about getting or giving? Gift opens 10/18. FF2 review coming soon!

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Reviews: E-G

In ‘Greener Grass,’ it isn’t always better on the other side

Created by and starring Jocelyn DeBoer and Dawn Luebbe, Greener Grass might be described mostly simply as an absurdist satire of upper middle class suburban parenthood, but it really defies categorization, displaying by turns sitcom playfulness, body horror, and kitschy nostalgia. The film is set in a neighborhood so colorful it’s almost dystopian, and it […]

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