Currently Browsing: September 2014

MISUNDERSTOOD

Misunderstood is a fantastic cinematic memoir based on director Asia Argento’s childhood as the daughter of a famous filmmaker. Primarily known as an actress in French films (like Catherine Breillat’s The Last Mistress), Argento collaborated with Italian writer Barbara Alberti to tell the story of her upbringing from the perspective of her nine-year-old self. Is it […]

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ADVANCED STYLE

Review of Advanced Style by Associate Editor Brigid K. Presecky “People always ask me, ‘How old are you?’ and I usually tell them I’m between 50 and death.” – Lona Smithkin Lina Plioplyte’s charming documentary Advanced Style shows an array of older New York City women who have turned fashion into an art form. Although […]

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THE BOXTROLLS

Review of The Boxtrolls by Associate Editor Brigid K. Presecky The Boxtrolls is the intricately animated adventure of a young boy raised by a group of box-clothed creatures in a dystopian, Gothic, and whimsical world. Although marketed to young children, this animated film is more for the world of Tim Burton lovers than any bubbly, […]

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THE LITTLE BEDROOM

The Little Bedroom is a Swiss film directed by Stéphanie Chuat and Véronique Reymond about elderly “Edmond” (Michel Bouquet) forming an unlikely friendship with his nurse “Rose” (Florence Loiret Caille). What begins as a well-intentioned, realistic film about love and loss unfortunately falls apart and loses most of its credibility by Act Three. (JLH: 3.5/5) […]

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THIS AIN’T NO MOUSE MUSIC

Fabulous doc about Chris Strachwitz–the founder of Arhoolie Records–and his passionate love for American Roots Music. Combines classic performance footage with great interviews plus snippets of youngsters bringing these old traditions to new generations. FYI, co-director Chris Simon is the widow of Les Blank (to whom film is dedicated) & this helps account for the […]

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20,000 DAYS ON EARTH

Opens tomorrow in NYC. Review coming soon.

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ART & CRAFT

At a pivotal point in the film Lawrence of Arabia, which even after all these years continues to be my all time favorite film, there’s a conversation between two people. One is Jackson Bentley, a journalist modeled on Lowell Thomas, and the other Mr. Dryden, a diplomat played by Claude Rains. Bentley is trying to […]

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BRUSH WITH DANGER

Filled with youthful energy and enthusiasm, Brush with Danger is more enjoyable as a milestone in the development of its creator than for its current reality. A national karate champion, Livi Zheng not only stars, she produced, directed, and co-wrote the screenplay with her brother Ken as her co-star and writing partner. You Go, Girl! (JLH: 3.5/5) […]

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FORT BLISS

(JLH: 3/5) Click HERE for our FF2 Haiku. Fort Bliss, a new film written and directed by Claudia Myers, tells the typical story of a female soldier returning from Afghanistan. In the very first scene of Fort Bliss, we see “Maggie Swann” (Michelle Monaghan) in a Helmand province, riding down a road with a number […]

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HECTOR & THE SEARCH FOR HAPPINESS

Hector and the Search for Happiness, the Peter Chelsom-directed comedy about a psychiatrist who uproots his mundane life to find adventure, turns tedious quickly. This predictable tale of a man-child wavers despite a promising first act. (JLH: 3.5/5) Click HERE for our FF2 Haiku. The screenplay, co-written by Maria von Heland, finds “Hector” (Simon Pegg) […]

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PUMP

(JLH: 3/5) Pump is a new documentary in the same family tree as Fed Up, the recent film produced and narrated by Katie Couric that I wrote about a couple weeks ago. The stories these documentaries tell are compelling and forceful, aiming to get citizenry engaged in important problems and encouraging them to do something […]

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SPACE STATION 76

Review of Space Station 76 by Associate Editor Brigid K. Presecky  Space Station 76 is the intergalactic future as imagined in the 1970s. The science-fiction parody about dysfunctional couples on a spaceship has a terrific cast and some enjoyable moments, but unfortunately lacks an overall narrative. The story focuses on unhappy couples and unhappy singles […]

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SWIM LITTLE FISH SWIM

Review of Swim Little Fish Swim by Associate Editor Brigid K. Presecky French writer-directors Lola Bessis and Ruben Amar tell the story about a struggling couple, an aspiring musician “Leeward,” (Dustin Guy Defa) and a nurse “Mary,” (Brooke Bloom) and their young daughter. While hippie, artsy Leeward thinks he’s going to make it as a […]

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THE BLUE ROOM

(JLH: 3/5) Click HERE for our FF2 Haiku. The Blue Room is a wicked little piece of neo-Hitchcock written, directed, and starring Mathieu Amalric. Co-written by Stéphanie Cléau, Amalric’s real life partner, the film has a Hitchock-like tone similar to The Birds, ominous and pristine-looking with everything placed just right and put together beautifully. Every […]

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ARCHAEOLOGY OF A WOMAN

Archaeology of a Woman starts strong with good intentions, but deteriorates so badly that by the end I was screaming for mercy and desperate to leave the theater.  (JLH: 2/5) Click HERE for our FF2 Haiku. The story begins with “Margaret” (Sally Kirkland) coming out of a grocery store in a suburban shopping center, unable […]

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HONEYMOON

Review of Honeymoon by Associate Editor Brigid K. Presecky Remind me to scratch off “cabin in the middle of nowhere” for possible honeymoon destinations. Leigh Janiak’s new horror film Honeymoon is a disturbing tale of New York City newlyweds “Paul” (Harry Treadaway) and “Bea” (Rose Leslie) who are torn from married bliss to bloody chaos […]

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I AM 11

Opens today in NYC. Review coming soon.

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NO GOOD DEED

Review of No Good Deed by Associate Editor Brigid K. Presecky  No Good Deed is a B-movie thriller earning top dollars from all the social media hype.  The film, written by Aimee Lagos and directed by Sam Miller, tells the story of “Colin” (Idris Elba) a murderer denied parole who terrorizes the home of former […]

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BUT ALWAYS

What do women want? Turns out that sometimes it’s a melodramatic “Guilty Pleasure” from China. Who knew?!? But Always is an epic story of star-crossed Beijing lovers played by lead actress Yuanyuan Gao (as “Anran”) and lead actor Nicholas Tse (as “Yongyuan”). Gorgeous! Heart-breaking!! Set to a soundtrack showcasing a thousand and one strings!!! Kudos to writer/director […]

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GRINGO TRAILS

Profound new documentary by NYU Anthropology Professor Pegi Vail is ostensibly about the impact of backpacker tourists on once distant climes and cultures, but it implies even more about the way our now dominant “Western Mentality” has overrun our fragile planet and potentially brought it to the breaking point. Quests made popular by films like Lawrence of […]

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INNOCENCE

The long-awaited release of Hilary Brougher’s third film Innocence is anticlimactic, telling the tired story of preparatory schoolgirl “Beckett Warner” (Sophie Curtis) and the elite book club on the prowl for her precious virgin blood.

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KELLY & CAL

(JLH: 2/5) Click HERE for our FF2 Haiku. Kelly & Cal is Jen McGowan’s first feature film after doing several highly regarded short films. Amy Lowe Starbin’s screenplay begins with new mother “Kelly,” (Juliette Lewis) visiting the gynecologist for her six-week examination after the birth of her son Jackson. The doctor gives Kelly the all […]

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LAST DAYS IN VIETNAM

Opens tomorrow in NYC. Review coming soon…

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WETLANDS

Although the filmmakers do a great job of keeping the tone light and the lead actress (Carla Juri) is extremely charismatic, the surface of this startling German coming-of-age film is gross and the core is filled with incredible pain. Bottom Line: Difficult to actually watch but rewards those who do. (JLH: 4/5) Click HERE for […]

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ROCKS IN MY POCKET

Latvian animator Signe Baumane (with a long list of shorts to her credit) releases her first feature length film–a chronicle of mental illness played out against 20th Century Latvian history including economic booms/busts, invasions by Nazis/Russians, & life in the former Soviet Union. Female relatives fall in love & get pregnant, then succumb to depression […]

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SHADOWS FROM MY PAST

Wishing does not make it so. Over 70 years after Gita Weinrauch Kaufman escaped from Austria, she returns to Vienna with her Archival Photos and Family Letters to interview Austrian and Jewish Luminaries… But we have now have access to so much about the Holocaust that this primitive film–no matter how sincere–begs more questions than it answers. […]

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