Currently Browsing: 2018

Muddled ‘Destroyer’ a showcase for Kidman

  From director Karyn Kusama and screenwriters Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi, Destroyer is a muddled showcase for Nicole Kidman’s ever-growing acting range. She stars as Erin Bell, a disheveled police detective whose painful backstory as an undercover officer is slowly unraveled over 121 minutes. (GEP: 3.5/5) Kidman appeared in several films this year, from […]

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On the Basis of Sex is a feat of historical drama

On the Basis of Sex (directed by Mimi Leder and written by Daniel Stiepleman) is a historical drama that recounts the early beginnings of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg’s legal career with stunning clarity, intensity, and nuance. (DLH: 4.5/5) Review by FF2 Intern Dayna Hagewood The first scene in On the Basis of Sex shows a […]

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‘Between Worlds’ a bizarre, supernatural flop

Between Worlds (written and directed by Maria Pulera) follows truck driver Joe through a series of twisted and poorly executed attempts to face his past while living in a hollow and complicated shell of the present. (DLH: 1.5/5) Review by FF2 Intern Dayna Hagewood In the first few shots of Between Worlds, the heavily drinking […]

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‘Bird Box’, the Christmas released post-apocalyptic thriller that everyone’s been watching

Netflix’s Christmas hit Bird Box, directed by Susanne Bier, is a post-apocalyptic thriller that follows the hardened Malorie as she and her children brave a dangerous journey in order to escape the supernatural force that’s killed off most of the human population—the “creature”.  (BV 4.0/5.0) Review by Intern Beatrice Viri Bird Box opens by establishing […]

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Christina Hodson’s ‘Bumblebee’ gets nostalgia right

Christina Hodson’s take on the Transformers story focuses more on human emotion than the well-known Michael Bay franchise. With Hailee Steinfeld impressively leading the action blockbuster, this new telling of an old tale is a refreshing change. (BKP: 4/5)

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‘Second Act’ surprises with its entertaining and uplifting story

When a warehouse employee makes a wish that her street smarts were valued as much as book smarts, she doesn’t expect her wish to come true. Suddenly gifted with a new identity complete with fake Harvard degree and impressive resume, she is given a second chance at a stellar career. Director Peter Segal and writers […]

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Living in a fantasy—WELCOME TO MARWEN

In Caroline Thompson’s new screenplay Welcome to Marwen, Steve Carell stars in a story based on true events—a biographical film about how a man finds solace in making beautiful stories out of his dolls and photographs after a brutal attack. (SYJ: 4/5) Review written by FF2 Media Intern Sophia Y. Jin A brutal gang attack […]

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Documentary ‘Bathtubs Over Broadway’ Provides Touching Insight Into Industrial Theater

Documentary Bathtubs over Broadway follows the Late Night With David Letterman writer Steve Young as his unique interest in old records takes him on an adventure through the behind the scenes art of corporate America. (4.5/5)   Review by FF2 Intern Anika Guttormson   Dava Whisenant makes her directorial debut in documentary Bathtubs Over Broadway […]

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CAPERNAUM (2018): Review by Katharine Cutler

Written by Nadine Labaki, Jihad Hojeily, and Michelle Keserwany, Capernaum is a film that works to reframe poor children in a way that doesn’t exploit them or pity them. While powerful and moving, the film moves beyond those terms and creates something that doesn’t beg for attention. (KAC: 5/5) Review by FF2 Intern Katharine Cutler […]

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‘Mortal Engines’, a steampunk fantasy by the producers of LOTR

Mortal Engines, written by Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens and Peter Jackson, is a steampunk fantasy in which the protagonists must team up to prevent the “Anti-Tractionist” land from being destroyed and imperialized. (BV 3.5/5.0) Review by Intern Beatrice Viri Following a tragedy known as the “Sixty Minute War,”, humanity has been split into two leagues: […]

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‘That Way Madness Lies’ showcases America’s broken mental health system

Filmmaker Sandra Luckow must navigate America’s mental health system in order to help her brother, who has been hospitalized for schizophrenia. Duanne’s initial hospitalization leads to Sandra acting as his primary conservator for years afterward, while his symptoms become more aggressive and antisocial and her patience wears increasingly thin (GPG: 3/5).

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Dark family drama “Back Roads” shows aftermath of loving the wrong way

Written by Tawni O’Dell and Adrian Lyne, Back Roads is a directorial debut from director-actor Alex Pettyfer about a young man who is left to take care of his crumbling family. Based on the novel of the same name by O’Dell, a mother goes to jail for killing her husband, leaving her son to make a living and care for his three younger sisters. (KIZJ: 4/5)

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‘Bernie the Dolphin’ gives life lessons for audiences under 10

Bernie the Dolphin takes the viewer to St. Augustine, Florida as two children uncover a plot to destroy their beloved marine hangout—and must conspire to preserve the environment and the dolphins they’ve befriended. (BV: 2.5/5)

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Psychological thriller ‘The Charmer’ frontlines fear, desperation of immigrants

The Charmer is a psychological thriller that centers Iranian immigrant Esmail as he searches for a girlfriend that can help him stay in Denmark. He finds himself in trouble along the way as he encounters trials from his past. (3.5/5)

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DIVIDE AND CONQUER – THE STORY OF ROGER AILES (2018): Review by FF2 Media

Director Alexis Bloom chooses a Roman battle tactic as the title for Divide and Conquer, her documentary on Fox News’s Caligula. They say sunlight is the best disinfectant, though this film made me wonder if anything can cleanse America’s political palate after Roger Ailes’s career. (GPG: 5/5) Review by FF2 Contributor Giorgi Plys-Garzotto Like his […]

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Star, producer Aniston returns to comedy gold in ‘Dumplin'”

“As Dolly would say, ‘It’s hard being a diamond in a rhinestone world,’” Willowdean Dixon’s Aunt Lucy tells her in the opening sequence of Dumplin’. The popular Netflix feature directed by Anne Fletcher, written by Kristin Hahn and starring Danielle Macdonald is exactly that – a diamond in a world of rhinestone movies that try and fail to preach body positivity. Adapted from the novel by Julie Murphy, Dumplin’ is an inspiring comedy for bigger girls everywhere, who haven’t really had a protagonist they can count on – until now. (BKP: 4/5)

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‘Mary Queen of Scots’ is a fiery drama about love, war and feminine power

Directed by Josie Rourke, Mary Queen of Scots is a historical drama about Mary Stuart, Queen of Scotland, and Elizabeth I, Queen of England, and their fiery rivalry for the throne. Though the plot unfolds a bit too quickly and important details seem rushed, Saoirse Ronan and Margot Robbie positively shine as the queens, and […]

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Alex O Eaton’s ‘Mountain Rest’ tells story of family reconciliation

In Alex O Eaton’s directorial and writing debut, award winning Mountain Rest brings an aging actress and estranged daughter and granddaughter together to reconcile. (SYJ: 2.5/5)

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‘Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle’ another retelling of classic origin story

Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle is a visually impressive live-action film that retells the story of The Jungle Book from the point of view of Mowgli the “man cub.” Rudyard Kipling’s century-old story has been retold several times, from the well-known 1967 Disney animated film to Jon Favreau’s 2016 adaptation. From first-time screenwriter Callie Kloves and director Andy Serkis (a motion capture expert), Netflix’s Mowgli is an origin story that’s biggest failing is being told too many times. (BKP: 3.5/5)

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ON MY SKIN (2018): Review by Katharine Cutler

Based on a true story, On My Skin is the haunting death of Stefano Cucchi, killed after being arrested for a minor crime. The film explores the week he spent in custody and attempts to give an explanation of his psyche before his tragic death. (KAC: 4.5/5) Review by FF2 Intern Katharine Cutler Directed by […]

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THE PARTY’S JUST BEGINNING (2018) Review by Giorgi Plys-Garzotto

Karen Gillan makes her directorial debut with The Party’s Just Beginning, a movie that—while it has its problems—has punchy dialogue, vivid characters, and a lot to say about life as a millennial. Gillan’s direction gives the film a frenetic electronic score and some vital, real performances that make up for any failings in the script. […]

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Modern Christmas fable ‘Elliot: The Littlest Reindeer’ preaches dreaming big

Writer-director Jennifer Westcott’s Elliot: The Littlest Reindeer is spunky, cluttered holiday fun for kids. With help from voice talent like Josh Hutcherson, Samantha Bee and John Cleese, this somewhat-spastic narrative is more of a stocking stuffer than a whole-hearted gift. (GEP: 3.5/5) Review by Contributing Editor Georgiana E. Presecky Elliot: The Littlest Reindeer would have […]

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THE FAVOURITE (2018): Review by Giorgi Plys-Garzotto

Co-writer Deborah Davis and (ahem) three-way stars Emma Stone, Rachel Weisz, and Olivia Coleman serve up a stylish tale of intrigue in the court of Queen Anne, played by Coleman. Both the humor and the power-grabs are brutal in this exceptional period drama. (GPG: 5/5) Review by FF2 Contributor Giorgi Plys-Garzotto Two cousins fight for […]

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HAPPY AS LAZZARO (2018): Review by FF2 Media

Happy As Lazzaro is a metaphorical journey about a group of Italian peasants who are being exploited as sharecroppers by a tobacco producer. One young man, Lazzaro, is extremely kind, and lives a life of miracles and misfortune because of it. Director Alice Rohrwacher delivers a slightly absurd but meditative and aesthetically pleasing story about […]

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‘Head Full of Honey’ a light-hearted story about a heavy disease

Written by Hilly Martinek and Til Schweiger, Head Full of Honey is the story of a young girl who takes her grandfather with Alzheimer’s on a trip to Venice, where he first fell in love with his late wife. Both funny and heartbreaking, this film is a refreshing and honest story of family love in […]

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‘United Skates’ shows historical influence of hobby

Directed, written and produced by Dyana Winkler and Tina Brown, United Skates is a eye-opening documentary that explores a seemingly cult hobby and its influence both historically and musically. (BV: 4.5/5) Review by Intern Beatrice Viri Opening with factoids about how roller rinks are surprisingly an influential breeding ground for talent, United Skates explores how […]

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‘Becoming Astrid’ a travel between worlds

Becoming Astrid is a powerful rendering of the early years shaping the world-renowned children’s book author Astrid Lindgren. The film is about the person behind the beloved stories and depicts her youth pregnancy and unsteady existence as she travels between her childhood hamlet Vimmerby, her secretary school in Stockholm and her son’s foster home in […]

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Documentary dispels falsehoods about Hillbillies

Hillbilly is a documentary feature made to explore and dispel the traditional stereotype of who American “Hillbillies” are. With 4 awards and 1 nomination in the bag, Ashley York co-directs with Sally Rubin and co-writes with Rubin and Silas House this politically and culturally charged investigative piece. (KIZJ: 4.5/5)

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INVISIBLE HANDS (2018): Review by Giorgi Plys-Garzotto

Documentarian Shraysi Tandon illuminates the horrific condition of child laborers in developing countries. It will be hard for the audience to go back to their lifestyles of cheaply-manufactured clothing and plastic goods after Invisible Hands shows them about how those products got to the marketplace in the Western world. The ending of this film takes […]

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LAS SANDINISTAS! (2018): Review by FF2 Media

From IMDb: Las Sandinistas! uncovers a watershed moment in history when a group of Nicaraguan women shattered barriers to lead rebel troops in battle and reshape their country with landmark social reforms during 1979’s Sandinista Revolution and the ensuing US-backed Contra War – only to face renewed marginalization by their male peers once the wars ended. Las […]

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