Currently Browsing: 2013

THE INVISIBLE WOMAN

Ralph Fiennes and Felicity Jones star as secret lovers Charles Dickens and Nelly Ternan in the film adaptation of Claire Tomalin’s bestselling biography. The slowly-paced love story allows Jones to shine in her emotionally complex role as an infatuated, frustrated young woman in love with an older man. (BKP: 4/5) Review by Associate Editor Brigid […]

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ALL THE LIGHT IN THE SKY

In which Jane Adams plays a character much like the person she appears to be in her many Indie film & TV roles: a sweet-faced, awkward, girlish actress who is now middle-aged but has never quite grown up. (Examples: The original “Joy Jordan” in Todd Solondz’ ironically named film Happiness, & “Tanya Skagle” the fumbling pimp […]

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MERRY CHRISTMAS

Frightful mess written & directed by Anna Condo about a New York matriarch (Alexandra Stewart) who lures her family to a rural B&B in Pennsylvania to “celebrate” the Christmas holiday. Once there, they don awful costumes every night & play a murder mystery game set in the Disco Era, while in daylight they bicker & […]

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THE SELFISH GIANT

Another female-helmed Indie–like FISH TANK–that turns a few young people in an English backwater into radiant archetypes who glow with inner life despite their bleak circumstances. Front & center are Arbor (Connor Chapman) & Swifty (Shaun Thomas), neighborhood boys on the brink of adolescence. But their home turf of Bradford (West Yorkshire) is definitely a […]

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BRAVE MISS WORLD

Jan’s JCC Manhattan Sneak Peak Linor Abargil was a candidate for “Miss World” when she was brutally raped by someone she thought was a colleague. The Italians would do nothing, but the Israelis arrested him when they both got home. Excellent doc by Cecilia Peck focuses on Linor’s attempt to recover from her trauma by […]

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THE CRASH REEL

Kevin Pearce is a snowboard star who suffered critical injuries in 2009 while training for the Vancouver Winter Olympics. In this superlative doc, filmmaker Lucy Walker takes us thru Pearce’s astonishing rise & crippling fall, all the while gently questioning the sponsors & fans who have turned X-Sports from joyous competition into blood lust. Another […]

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BREAKFAST WITH CURTIS

Micro-budget film written & directed by Laura Colella is set in a ramshackle abode in Providence RI (affectionately called The Purple Citadel) that houses a multi-generational assortment of academics, intellectuals & other free spirits. “Curtis” (Jonah Parker) is the nerd next door, a teen who finds his inner artist when “Syd-the-Bookseller” (Theo Green) asks him to shoot some promotional […]

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THE HOBBIT #2

THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG A fifth trip to J.R.R. Tolkien’s magic realm with the Oscar-winning team of director Peter Jackson & his screenplay collaborators Fran Walsh & Philippa Boyens (this time with a boost from Special Effects master Guillermo del Toro). I actually liked this outing more than most others because it is […]

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SAVING MR. BANKS

Slamming Saving Mr. Banks & ranting about Philomena… While noting–with a big sigh–that neither of these films supposedly “about women” pass the Bechdel Test 🙁 Saving Mr. Banks Poor Ginty: Her handsome Dad (Colin Farrell) is a hopeless drunk. But somehow, after his early death, young Ginty (Annie Rose Buckley) morphs into crusty “P.L. Travers” the author […]

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TRICKED

Critically important topic of teenage prostitution in the USA is handled with maximum commitment but minimal skill. Co-directors John Keith Wasson & Jane Wells have a lot of great footage showing that vulnerable teens–mostly but not all girls–are lured into relationships with charismatic hustlers, then turned out on the street. But without focus, Wasson & […]

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EXPECTING

Good intentions are no guarantee 🙁 Despite claims that she wanted to portray “real friendships” between women, writer/director Jessie McCormack has created such a mess that it serves as the epitome of the term “chick flick” when used as a pejorative. The plot—such as it is—revolves around pregnancy… (JLH: 2/5) Click HERE to read our FF2 […]

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Marvin Hamlisch WHDFL

Marvin Hamlisch: What He Did for Love opens this week in NYC. Review coming soon…

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BLACK NATIVITY

Holiday musical by filmmaker Kasi Lemmons is loosely-based on the great Gospel Oratorio of Langston Hughes, gloriously brought to life by a perfect cast anchored by Jennifer Hudson. Hudson plays “Naima,” a single mother who sends her teenage son (Jacob Latimore) to stay with her parents–who he has never met–when she finds herself cash-strapped. Angela Bassett & […]

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FROZEN

This delightful animated feature–co-directed by Chris Buck & Jennifer Lee–is very loosely based on the Hans Christian Anderson tale THE SNOW QUEEN. In this Disney version, two sisters battle fate when the elder (voiced by Idina Menzel) is cursed with an unwanted, evil power that freezes everything she touches. Can her younger sister (voiced by […]

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THE PUNK SINGER

BioDoc by Sini Anderson about the life of ground-breaking musician Kathleen Hanna (a key figure in the Riot Grrl movement). For me this is a superlative doc & I saw it twice, whereas my husband Rich wanted more “Follow the Money” info (e.g., Did Hanna’s 1st group Bikini Kill sell any albums? If so, what […]

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Spirit Noms 2014

Congratulations to the ten women filmmakers nominated today for Independent Spirit Awards for the work they did in 2013: Julie Delpy: Best Screenplay Before Midnight Nicole Holofcener: Best Screenplay Enough Said Stacie Passon: Best First Feature Concussion Lucy Mulloy: Best First Feature Una Noche   Haifaa Al Mansour: Best First Feature Wadjda Lake Bell: Best First […]

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DETROIT UNLEADED

11/27 Update: Read Rola’s great new post on Melissa Silverstein’s wonderful blog “Women & Hollywood”! After his father is murdered, “Sami” (E.J. Assi) must put his own plans on hold to care for his mother & manage the family gas station/convenience store. But one day, after endless hours in the cage, Sami is right where […]

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Oh, Jennifer :-(

About The Hunger Games: Catching Fire… Technically, given the rules of this site, I don’t have to say anything about The Hunger Games: Catching Fire… Why? Because it was directed by Francis Lawrence (a man) & the screenplay was written by two men. But since Katniss Everdine has become a role model for so many young women, […]

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INHERITANCE

Directing debut of Hiam Abbass (first Palestinian actress to win the Best Actress award from the Israel Film Academy & one of the greatest actresses in the 21st Century worldwide). Click HERE to read about Lemon Tree (the film for which Abbass won her Ophir Award). Click HERE to read my ’05 chat with Abbass (which […]

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SJC 40th

St. John’s College 40th Reunion for Class of ’73.

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BLUE IS THE WARMEST COLOR

Coming soon…

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Doris Lessing RIP

FF2 Tribute to Doris Lessing FF2 Media dedicates this day to the memory of Doris Lessing, one of the great women of the 20th Century. In 2007, Lessing received the Nobel Prize for Literature making her the 11th woman to be so honored. Lessing died Sunday (11/17/13) at the age of 94. I first read […]

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ILYA AND EMILIA KABAKOV

Ilya & Emilia Kabakov: Enter Here Fascinating visual portrait of Russian-Jewish artist Ilya Kabakov & his wife/collaborator Emilia. I was totally unfamiliar with Kabakov’s work & it’s mesmerizing. Filmmaker Amei Wallach tells the story of his difficult life in Russia (& the heroic sacrifices Kabakov’s mother made to keep him in art school) as her camera lingers […]

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A CASE OF YOU

Sam (Justin Long) is a hack writer & Birdie (Evan Rachel Wood) is his barista. When Sam decides Birdie is his ideal woman, he courts her by chasing after all the “Likes” on her Facebook page. Oy 🙁 This mess–co-written by Long & directed by Kat Coiro–attempts to distract us with famous faces in bit parts. Look! […]

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SUNLIGHT JR.

Despite her hard upbringing with an alcoholic mother (Tess Harper) and the crippling injury of her boyfriend (Matt Dillon), “Melissa” (Naomi Watts) remains upbeat and determined to live a full life. But bit-by-bit she is worn down by the petty tyranny of a life so financially strained that even a rainstorm has dire consequences. Another terrific […]

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ASS BACKWARDS

Ditzy “road trip” movie in which 2 women who met as kids on the beauty pageant circuit finally face up reality. Screenplay based on award-winning June Diane Raphael/Casey Wilson comedy sketches casts Alicia Silverstone as their nemesis. Not to be seen sober, but if lubricated there are many laughs along the way. (JLH: 3/5) Directed […]

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HOW I LIVE NOW

Riveting drama set in the near future, after a terrorist attack on London throws ordinary citizens back into the State of Nature. We follow characters we really care for with baited breath as the apocalyptic intensity builds. Saoirse Ronan excels as an American girl in the middle who grows up fast. (JLH: 4.5/5) Directed by […]

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An Elizabeth Bishop Moment

“The still explosions on the rocks, the lichens, grow by spreading, gray, concentric shocks. They have arranged to meet the rings around the moon, although within our memories they have not changed.   And since the heavens will attend as long on us, you’ve been, dear friend, precipitate and pragmatical; and look what happens. For […]

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Swedish Brouhaha

Sweden set off a firestorm today by announcing the introduction of a new rating system to combat gender bias: “To get an A rating, a movie must pass the so-called Bechdel Test, which means it must have at least two named female characters who talk to each other about something other than a man.” This […]

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DALLAS BUYERS CLUB

BioPic about Ron Woodroof (Matthew McConaughey), a hard-living Texas rodeo guy who smacks into the homophobia of his world–including his own–when it turns out he is HIV+. Brilliant first act reminds us of life in the late 80s, but then the power dissipates. Conventional characters & hyped-up confrontations abound & no one–not even Woodroof–gets a […]

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