Currently Browsing: 2017

PITCH PERFECT 3 (2017): Review by Amelie Lasker

In Pitch Perfect 3, co-written by Kay Cannon and directed by Trish Sie, former members of college a cappella group “the Bellas” reunite for a USO tour. Pitch Perfect 3’s main appeal is its fun music and dancing, supported by nostalgia for the first two movies in the trilogy. (AEL: 3/5)

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THE GREATEST SHOWMAN (2017): Review by Roza Melkumyan

The Greatest Showman loosely follows the real-life story of “P. T. Barnum” (Hugh Jackman) and his rise from poverty to success. Director Michael Gracey and writer Jenny Bicks spin the life and achievements of P. T. Barnum into an over-produced, family-oriented spectacle that entertains but fails to impress. (RMM 2.5/5) 

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PITCH PERFECT 3 (2017): Review by Eliana Levenson

Lacking the authenticity of the first film and missing the quick humor of the second film, Pitch Perfect 3, directed by Trish Sie, struggles to find its narrative footing and falls flat comedically, ending as by far the weakest film in the trilogy. (EML: 3.5/5)

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THE POST (2017): Review by Brigid K. Presecky

With a top director and seasoned cast to flesh out a solid script, there was little to no way The Post could fail – and it doesn’t. (BKP: 4.5/5)

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Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story (2017)

Written and directed by Alexandra Dean, Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story recounts the mesmerizing life of the glamorous Hollywood superstar, Hedy Lamarr, who was also a brilliant woman only recently credited for the invention of the technological basis for Bluetooth as early as the 1940s. (FEA: 5/5)

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DRAWING HOME (2016): Review by Katusha Jin

Directed by Markus Rupprecht and co-written with Donna Logan, Drawing Home is a movie set amidst stunning, picturesque landscapes that is the Canadian Rocky Mountains. A young female artist, “Catherine Robb” (Julie Lynn Mortensen), from Boston in the 1920s, has a promising relationship with “John D. Rockerfeller III” (Jeff Gladstone). But her mother’s plan to climb the social ladder begins to go astray when her daughter meets the young painter “Peter Whyte” (Juan Riedinger). (KIZJ: 2.5/5)

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KILLING FOR LOVE (2016): Review by Amelie E. Lasker

In crime documentary Killing for Love, filmmakers bring out the full story of the killing of the Haysoms and those convicted in the years since, and finally make a call for a more just re-examination of events. (AEL: 4/5)

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MISS KIET’S CHILDREN (2016): Review by Lindsy M. Bissonnette

Writer/director Petra Lataster-Czisch, through complete neutrality, shows us Kiet Engel’s strict but never cruel methods of teaching children who have just escaped a war-torn country in the documentary MISS KIET’S CHILDREN (De Kinderen van juf Kiet) (LMB: 4.5/5)

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PERMANENT (2017): Review by Brigid K. Presecky

Both bizarre and charming, the sincerity of Permanent is refreshingly sweet and a timeless take on coming-of-age. (BKP: 4.5/5)

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THE RAPE OF RECY TAYLOR (2017): Review by Stephanie A. Taylor

Nancy Buirski’s documentary, The Rape of Recy Taylor, tells the story of Recy Taylor and how Black women helped revolutionize the Civil Rights Movement.

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ARTHUR MILLER: WRITER (2017): Review by Roza Melkumyan

Arthur Miller has given America, and the world, an impressive canon of work. However, Rebecca Miller’s documentary, Arthur Miller: Writer, is more than just a chronicle of the life and times of her father and the late playwright: it captures both the brilliance and the ordinariness that does away with the icon and leaves the man. (RMM: 4.5/5)

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I AM EVIDENCE (2017): Review by Malin Jornvi

I Am Evidence is the timely exposure of a justice system that continually prioritizes other cases above the violation of women’s bodies. Horrifying and captivating, this documentary will keep you continuously engaged. (MJJ: 4.5/5)

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BILL FRISELL: A PORTRAIT (2017): Review by Amelie Lasker

Written and directed by Emma Franz, Bill Frisell: A Portrait shows us the work of guitarist and prolific composer Bill Frisell and of the friends and fellow great musicians who surround him. (AEL: 3/5)

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THE SHAPE OF WATER (2017): Review by Brigid Presecky

Vanessa Taylor and Guillermo del Toro tell a science fiction romance in Cold War America, with mute Elisa Esposito (Sally Hawkins) working as a night janitor in a high-security government laboratory, when she discovers one of their hidden projects – an amphibious, fish-like creature. (BKP: 3/5)

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DAISY WINTERS (2017): Review by Giorgi Plys-Garzotto

Written and directed by Beth LaMure, Daisy Winters is adorable, despite its poor plotting and sometimes wooden writing. Even though there are a lot of issues, the cuteness factor makes up for them enough that it can still be a fun experience. (GPG: 2.5/5) Review by FF2 Contributor Giorgi Plys-Garzotto “Daisy” (Sterling Jerins) is a […]

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32 PILLS: MY SISTER’S SUICIDE (2017): Review by Malin Jornvi

32 Pills: My Sister’s Suicide is Hope Litoff’s directorial debut and depicts her experience of coming to terms with her sister, New York artist, Ruth Litoff’s suicide seven years earlier. Unfortunately, the film is hampered by an unfinished storyline and overlooked details. (MJJ: 3/5)

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THE DANCER (2016): Review by Brigid Presecky

Stéphanie Di Giust’s The Dancer tells the story of real-life ‘Serpentine Dance’ inventor Loïe Fuller. Artistically executed in its cinematography, Dancer is a poetic biopic of a young woman at the turn of the 20th Century. (BKP: 3/5)

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KEPLER’S DREAM (2017): Review by Katusha Jin

Directed and co-written by Amy Glazer, Kepler’s Dream is an adaptation of a novel of the same name by Juliet Bell. It stars Isabella Blake-Thomas as the young girl “Ella”, who is forced to stay at “Broken Family Camp” with her strict grandmother, “Violet von Stern” (Holland Taylor). The theft of a valuable book from Violet’s collection is blamed on an innocent, and Ella is determined to find the real thief. Her findings, unexpectedly lead her to learn new things about her own family. (KIZJ: 3/5)

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LOVE BEATS RHYMES (2017): Review by Roza Melkumyan

An aspiring rapper enrolls in a poetry class thinking it will be easy, but her professor challenges her to write with meaning. Director RZA and writer Nicole Jefferson Asher deliver a film that fails to reach its full potential, and leaves the audience wanting something more hard-hitting. (RMM: 3/5)

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THE TRIBES OF PALOS VERDES (2017): Review by Amelie Lasker

Written by Karen Croner, The Tribes of Palos Verdes tells the story of the Mason family’s unraveling from the perspective of teenaged “Medina” (Maika Monroe). All Medina wants is for everyone in what she calls her “tribe” to be okay, but of course, the situation is much too complicated for that. (AEL: 3.5/5)

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THE MAN WHO INVENTED CHRISTMAS (2017): Review by Amelie Lasker

Written by Susan Coyne based on a book by Les Standiford, The Man Who Invented Christmas re-imagines the classic novel A Christmas Carol. Though not as full of fantasy and pathos as the original story of A Christmas Carol, Dickens’s personal journey makes for a charming Christmas movie. (AEL: 3.5/5)

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MR. ROOSEVELT (2017): Review by Elyse Thaler

Mr. Roosevelt, written, directed, and starring Noël Wells, is a quirky comedy that follows struggling comedian, “Emily Martin.” Brought back to her hometown by the death of her cat, Mr. Roosevelt, Emily discovers everything has changed while she is still the same person she was. (EBT: 4/5)

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BIG SONIA (2016): Review by Rachel Kastner

Big Sonia, produced by Leah Warshawski, is a heartfelt documentary that chronicles Holocaust survivor Sonia Warshawski’s life. Complete with interviews of family and adoring friends and colorful animation, Big Sonia is a poignant documentary that capturing a story everyone should hear. (RAK: 5/5)

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REBELS ON POINTE (2017): Review by Katusha Jin

Bobbi Jo Hart writes, directs, and films the intimate feature documentary, Rebels on Pointe. Following her previous award-winning work, this film is a gem that celebrates the male, drag ballet company, Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo. Hart creates an in-depth look at ballet from a very different perspective. (KIZJ: 4.5/5)

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ATOMIC HOMEFRONT (2017): Review by Malin Jornvi

Director Rebecca Cammisa’s documentary is a testament to the minimizing and denying by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of the danger that exists in North County, and how the sacrifice of war is always  the greatest in communities furthest from the decision-makers in Washington D.C. (MJJ: 4.5/5).

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COOK OFF! (2007): Review by Amelie Lasker

In the ensemble-mockumentary vein of 2000’s Best In Show, Cook Off! is a comedy about a cooking contest, in which a group of finalists compete for the million dollar prize. For a movie that depends on light wit, it doesn’t help that many of the jokes fall flat. (AEL: 2.5/5)

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THE BREADWINNER (2017): Review by Georgiana E. Presecky

From writer Anita Doron and director Nora Twomey, The Breadwinner is a stunning portrait of a child’s plight in early-2000s Afghanistan. Superb animation and endearing dialogue set apart this heartbreaking piece of modern historical fiction. (GEP: 4.5/5)

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MUDBOUND (2017): Review by Lindsy Bissonnette

Mudbound, written/directed by Dee Rees, is set in Mississippi after WWII, and takes us through racism and sexism, and is a haunting metaphor: we all come from mud in some way or another, we are sculpted by the places and events around us, and are all destined to return to it when we finally meet our maker.  (4.5/5)

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SONG OF GRANITE (2017): Review by Brigid K. Presecky

The Irish biographical drama written and directed by Pat Collins (and co-written by Eoghan Mac Giolla Bhride and Sharon Whooley) tells the story of legendary “old-style” singer Joe Heaney. (BKP: 3.5/5)

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BITCH (2017): Review by Katusha Jin

Bitch is the fourth feature from Marianna Palka. Her film is a brave, modern-day satire that attempts to give an eccentric scream against patriarchal privileges, set in a suburban American family with a philandering husband and unappreciative children. (KIZJ: 2.5/5)

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