Currently Browsing: October 2014

New York SWAN Project (ESVB)

AAUW’s Empire State Virtual Branch (NY) kicked off its new SWAN Project at a program at the College of Mount Saint Vincent in Riverdale. Special guests included Enid Zentelis, who screened her film Bottled Up and then lead a Q&A session, and Ellen Tejle, creator of Sweden’s A-Rating campaign. Top Photo: Enid Zentelis Middle Photo: With Ellen […]

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CITIZENFOUR

Edward Snowden has been a shadow figure since he made the decision in 2013 to release evidence of illegal covert surveillance programs. In this remarkable doc, we not only listen to him explain himself, we also watch as he determines when, where & how to transform himself from a private citizen into the whistleblower who […]

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THE GREAT INVISIBLE

Review of The Great Invisible by Associate Editor Brigid K. Presecky Margaret Brown powerfully documents the people and places disastrously left in the aftermath of the 2010 BP oil spill. Sparing a political agenda, Brown perfectly captures the mishandling of events through interviews and extensive footage of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig. (BKP: 4.5/5) ********************************** […]

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LAGGIES

Review of Laggies by Associate Editor Brigid K. Presecky Lynn Shelton’s Laggies (a term for those slow to grow up) tells the story of a girl who is stuck in between her high school glory days and full-fledged adulthood. The film begins like a home movie, with footage of a group of high school friends […]

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OUIJA

Review of Ouija by Associate Editor Brigid K. Presecky The makers of Ouija accomplished exactly what they set out to do: produce a low-budget movie for teenage girls and make quadruple the return on investment (on opening weekend, no less). Unfortunately, that was the only successful element of the laughable, board game-inspired film. Screenwriters Juliet Snowden […]

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THE GOLDEN ERA

BioPic stars Wei Tang as Chinese writer Xiao Hong. Focusing on the turbulent 1930s, when left-wing intellectuals lived in the heightened exhilaration of internal upheaval & Japanese invasion, Xiao Hong somehow keeps publishing despite pregnancies & romantic complications. (JLH: 4/5) Suggestion for non-Chinese audiences: Read about Xiao Hong on Wikipedia before you go! Directed by […]

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THE HACKER WARS

Opens tomorrow in NYC. Review coming soon.

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PRIVATE VIOLENCE

Opens tomorrow in NYC. Review coming soon.

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WATCHERS OF THE SKY

Edet Belzberg’s documentary Watchers of the Sky is a testament both to the victims and survivors of genocide and to the people fighting against it internationally. It opens with an emotionally fraught animated sequence of trees, hills, and thin silhouettes. Overlayed are the words of Dr. Raphael Lemkin, the first person to use the word […]

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GETT

Full Title = Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem Searing Part 3 of a trilogy in which a woman from a large Moroccan-Israeli family must literally beg a Rabbinical Court to grant her a divorce–called a gett–from an over-bearing, oppressive, unyielding husband. Brutal indictment of the Israeli government, which still allows Rabbis to wield so much […]

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ADDICTED

Review of Addicted by Associate Editor Brigid K. Presecky Addicted is the painfully weak film about a sex-crazed mom losing control of her life. Based on Zane’s novel, the screenplay by Christina Welsh and Ernie Barbarash lacks narrative, realism, and any resemblance of substance. “Zoe Reynard” (Sharon Leal) can’t seem to find happiness in her […]

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BOTSO

Surprisingly dull doc about Wachtang Korisheli (nicknamed “Botso”) a man who has lived a very full life, but needs more adept storytellers to do it justice. Botso was born in the Republic of Georgia when it was under Soviet domination. His artistic parents fell afoul of Stalin, but he escaped & became a much-loved music […]

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WAITING FOR AUGUST

Dumb Jan: I thought I was watching a moving–albeit too tidy–feature about a Romanian family, but it turns out Waiting for August is a documentary! Now all my original objections are amplified. Seven kids stuck in a small apartment with no parents? “Fly-on-the-wall” doc suffers from Hawthorne Effect with heavily edited “heart-warming” footage. Sorry, but good intentions are […]

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YOU’RE NOT YOU

3-Hankie Weepie earns them by dealing honestly with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease). Excellent performances by Hilary Swank as the “perfect” woman stricken by a catastrophic diagnosis and Emmy Rossum as the rebellious college student who becomes her caregiver (and then grows to become more). Could have been awful, so kudos to director  George C. Wolfe plus […]

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DRIVE HARD

Absolutely awful “Action/Comedy” about a former race car driver–now the henpecked owner of a driving school in Australia–who gets tricked into serving as a “wheel-man” after a mysterious stranger pulls a heist at a bank. We hung on until the end, suffering embarrassment for two good actors–John Cusack (aka thief) & Thomas Jane (aka wheel-man)–who […]

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GONE GIRL

What begins as a thought-provoking examination of a made-in-heaven marriage undone by the Great Recession turns into a tedious, misogynist–& very long–riff on FATAL ATTRACTION. Bummer! Dickens is great in a big role & Sela Ward shines in a walk-on, but otherwise this latest Oscar Bait from Fincher reeks of desperation. Adapted by Gillian Flynn […]

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THE GOOD LIE

Somewhat didactic but ultimately very moving drama about how a small group of kids managed to survive the Sudanese Civil War, followed by years in a Kenyan refugee camp. Finally they arrive in the USA just before 9/11… where a new set of challenges awaits them. Kudos to Reese Witherspoon for adding her star power […]

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THE HERO OF COLOR CITY

Review of The Hero of Color City by Associate Editor Brigid K. Presecky The Hero of Color City uses bright, bold colors and A-list actor voices to entertain very young children by making animated crayons come to life. Unfortunately, anyone older than a Kindergartener might find it below average or even a knockoff of Pixar’s timeless […]

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MEN, WOMEN AND CHILDREN

Review of Men, Women, and Children by Associate Editor Brigid K. Presecky Jason Reitman’s outdated, extremist view on the evils of the Internet overshadows any redeeming qualities in Men, Women, and Children. Although there are truthful elements in each storyline, from extra-marital affairs and eating disorders to young love and helicopter parents, the film leans […]

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THE SUPREME PRICE

Opens today in NYC. Review coming soon.

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