Currently Browsing: October 2018

Shevaun Mizrahi’s debut film ‘Distant Constellation’ is a simple kind of sorrow

Shevaun Mizrahi’s debut film Distant Constellation is a nonlinear documentary that paints portraits of seniors living in a retirement facility as they go about their daily lives, while the neighborhood around them is being torn apart and redeveloped. (BV: 3.5/5)

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Nutty ‘Nutcracker’ not quite a Christmas classic

Screenwriter Ashleigh Powell creates a whimsical world in Disney’s The Nutcracker and the Four Realms, a disjointed but entertaining ride through a magical kingdom kids can only dream of. But along with flowers, sweets and snow (what three of the four realms are made up of) comes a lingering evil, which Powell and directors Joe […]

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‘Searching for Ingmar Bergman’ is another take on an overexposed personal history

Searching for Ingmar Bergman by German directors Margarethe von Trotta and Felix Moeller is another attempt to understand the real person behind the legendary name Ingmar Bergman. The Swedish arthouse director is one of the greatest influences on filmmaking to this day, and in light of this, Searching for Ingmar Bergman sets out to interview […]

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‘Border’, a mystical Scandinavian modern fantasy

Based on a short story in a collection of Swedish horror by John Ajvide Lindqvist with the screenplay written by Lindqvist, Isabella Eklöf and director Ali Abbasi, Border (or Gräns in the original Swedish) follows the tale of an unattractive, reclusive woman investigating a crime, in the process discovering who she really is and undergoing […]

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DOVLATOV (2018): Review by FF2 Media

Yulia Tupikina writes a story about one of the Soviet Union’s most popular writers in Dovlatov. The film is in Russian and spent impressive amounts of time and money on production design, so Dovlatov is probably about as close as you can get to how it looked and felt to live in the USSR. However, […]

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‘London Fields’ hardly worth the five-year wait

Writer Roberta Hanley’s adaptation of Martin Amis’ book of the same name falls prey to both the fictional story and the real-life drama behind the scenes. Starring Amber Heard and Billy Bob Thornton (and Johnny Depp — dating itself immensely as production began in fall 2013), this hodgepodge of a mystery thriller is one to skip. (BKP: 2/5)

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In ‘The Long Shadow’, Frances Causey Attempts to Right the Wrongs of her Slave-Owning Ancestors

Written and directed by Frances Causey, The Long Shadow traces the repercussions of America’s “original sin”: slavery. In the film, Causey explores the lesser-known stories and details of the country’s racial history, demonstrating how slavery has cast a “long shadow” over the whole matter. The Long Shadow provides valuable information and a fairly comprehensive review […]

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‘Shirkers’ reconstructs a lost film into an excellent documentary

Shirkers, written and directed by Sandi Tan, is a wonderfully stitched together documentary both recounting and discovering what happened to her film made in Singapore in the early 90s that was stolen by her mentor, Georges Cardona. (DLH: 4.5/5) Review by FF2 Intern Dayna Hagewood *This Review contains a spoiler!* Shirkers is an incredible taking back of […]

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‘Silencio’ stumbles its way through the sci-fi desert

From writer-director Lorena Villarreal, Silencio is a science fiction thriller imbued with an emotional family story, making for a somewhat-unbalanced approach to what could otherwise be an exciting genre film. (GEP: 3.5/5) Review by Contributing Editor Georgiana E. Presecky The repercussions of time travel, mysterious meteorites and old legends are at the center of Villarreal’s […]

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‘Viper Club’ is intimate, informative, and intensely anxiety inducing

Written and directed by Maryam Keshavarz, Viper Club is an intimate look into the life of Helen (Susan Sarandon), a mother struggling to stay positive while waiting for news of her son’s safety in the Middle East. Keshavarz manages to keep the mundanity of life engaging as the anxiety bubbles underneath Helen’s calm facade. Edie Falco and Matt Bomer co-star as members of The Viper Club, an organization determined to bring journalists home safely, no matter the cost. Keshavarz crafts a well-thought-out narrative that depicts the complexity of global policy, journalism, and grief. (MTP: 4.5/5)

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‘Weed the People’ uncovers myths about cannabis

In director Abby Epstein’s documentary Weed the People, she brings an already contentious topic to light—should medicinal cannabis be legalized? It’s fascinating how this age-old plant can still create such controversy in the modern day. (SYJ: 4.5/5) Review by FF2 Media Intern Sophia Y. Jin One of the most upsetting images known to man is the […]

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‘Can You Ever Forgive Me?’ a buzzy showcase for McCarthy

In a dramatic turn for Melissa McCarthy (not the first, but lauded as so), Can You Ever Forgive Me? tells the story of fledgling author Lee Israel and the illegal lengths she went to for extra cash and a sense of purpose. The Marielle Heller-directed drama based on Israel’s memoir of the same name is a no-makeup-Oscar-buzz-generator showcase for McCarthy, but its anti-hero protagonist isn’t much of a protagonist at all. (BKP: 3.5/5)

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New mysterious neighbor brings back memories of old secrets

Change in the Air is a quaint neighborhood drama directed by Dianne Dreyer and written by Audra Gorman. Rachel Brosnahan stars as a secretive lady who moves in to a community of retired elderlies. After an accident occurs, rumours spread about this new neighbor and the mysteries begin to unravel. (KIZJ: 3/5)

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CHARM CITY (2018): Review by FF2 Media

From IMDb: During three years of unparalleled violence in Baltimore, Charm City delivers an unexpectedly candid, observational portrait of those left on the front lines. Opens 10/19 in NYC. FF2 review coming soon!

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ON HER SHOULDERS (2018): Review by Katharine Cutler

On Her Shoulders is a powerful look into the day to day life of Nadia Murad, an activist who fights for her people by sharing her deeply personal and traumatic story. (KAC: 4.5/5) Review by FF2 Intern Katharine Cutler Nadia Murad Basee Taha is one of the strongest women you’ll ever see. Despite being captured […]

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REACH (2018): Review by Giorgi Plys-Garzotto

Director Maria Capp presents a John Hughes influenced high school romp in Reach, but her portrayal of high school students and millennial culture shows that she has no idea what’s up with the kids these days. As someone not (that) long out of high school, I cringed many more times than I laughed while watching […]

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THE WALDHEIM WALTZ (2018): Review by FF2 Media

From IMDb: A biographical drama film about Kurt Josef Waldheim, former UN Secretary General and the controversy of his participation and role in the Nazi regime during WWII. The Waldheim Waltz opens 10/19 in NYC. FF2 review coming soon!

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‘What They Had’ is a Masterful Family Drama

Created by first-time writer and director Elizabeth Chomko, What They Had is a heart-wrenching family drama about the family of a woman with Alzheimer’s. With a raw and emotional storyline portrayed by excellent actors, What they Had is certainly a successful first film for Chomko. (JRL: 4 / 5) ‘What They Had’ is a Masterful Family […]

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WILDLIFE (2018): Review by FF2 Media

Paul Dano’s superb directorial debut is Wildlife, a portrait of a small town American family struggling to stay whole amidst economic hardship and personal turmoils. Beautifully and compassionately made, it is an affecting story of familial love. (HRM 5/5) Review by FF2 Intern Hannah Mayo Fourteen-year-old Joe (Ed Oxenbould) just moved with his parents to […]

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White and Monroe make believable pair in honest love story ‘After Everything’

Co-writers and co-directors Hannah Marks and Joey Power tell an honest, raw love story of two people who prematurely deal with the hardships adulthood. When Elliot is diagnosed with cancer after only one date with Mia, the couple is thrust into the role of patient/caregiver in the midst of a passionate, burgeoning relationship. (BKP: 4.5/5)

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The Kindergarten Teacher astounds in its psychosis

Written and directed by Sara Colangelo, The Kindergarten Teacher follows middle-aged Lisa Spinelli’s developing psychotic obsession with a five-year-old prodigy and his poems in a beautifully slow and muted film that is sure to leave you with more questions than answers. (DLH: 5/5) Review by FF2 Intern Dayna Hagewood Though Lisa Spinelli (Maggie Gyllenhaal)’s life […]

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‘Liyana’ and the autonomy that storytelling gives

At a home for orphans in Swaziland, five children become storytellers as they use their own experiences to tell the tale of one girl’s incredible journey. Directors Aaron and Amanda Kopp take the documentary genre and turn it on its head as they utilize fiction as a means for both exploring reality and teaching these […]

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‘Over the Limit’ awakens its audience to the tenacity it takes to be an athlete

Outstanding rhythmic gymnast Margarita Mamun needs to be the best in order to make it to the Olympic Games. Can she do it? In her gripping documentary Over the Limit, director Marta Prus shines a light on the competitive and intense world of the Russian rhythmic gymnastics team through the eyes of Mamun. MTP: ⅘ […]

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‘Sadie’ a thrilling coming of age story

Sadie tells the story of a young girl coming of age while faced with the challenges of a modern American military family. Realist and simple on the surface, it explores these issues from an intriguing psychological perspective, resulting in a dark and affecting drama. (HRM: 4/5) Review by FF2 Intern Hannah Mayo Adolescent Sadie (Sophia […]

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A family gathers to bid farewell to a beloved pet in the wise & winsome ‘Stella’s Last Weekend’

Stella’s Last Weekend reflects the importance of being young and not knowing what to do. Set around the impending death of their family dog, Stella, two brothers learn that they have mistakenly fallen for the same girl and discover that nothing in life is as easy it seems. (KAC: 4/5) Review by FF2 Intern Katharine […]

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18Oct05: The FF2 Week in Review by Jan Lisa Huttner

From Jan Lisa Huttner (Editor-in-Chief of FF2 Media) Eight films either written &/or directed by women filmmakers opened in Manhattan theatres this week: Above and Beyond: NASA’s Journey to Tomorrow Bill Coors: The Will to Live The Hate U Give Living In the Future’s Past Moynihan Private Life Trouble Venom Four of these films — […]

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‘Above and Beyond’ is a love letter to NASA

Directed by Rory Kennedy, Above and Beyond showcases NASA’s 60-year history. It documents NASA’s many important milestones and mystifying discoveries, then brings it all back to our own planet that we must now save. Above and Beyond is not only a beautiful exposé’ of our universe, but an invigorating push to restore the Earth. (JRL: […]

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‘Bill Coors – The Will to Live’ inspires positivity

Kerry David co-writes and directs a multi-award winning documentary Bill Coors: The Will to Live. Bill Coors, or William Kistler “Bill” Coors, shares an incredibly detailed history of his life. Although he is known as a giant of the brewing industry, this film delves into the intricacies of his home life as well as his mental […]

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‘The Hate U Give’ a moving force of nature on the humanity that lies beneath political controversy

When 16-year-old “Starr Carter” (Amandla Stenberg) witnesses the unjust, fatal shooting of her friend at the hands of a police officer, her life is changed forever. Already caught between the worlds of her mostly black neighborhood and her mostly white prep school, Starr must overcome the pressures around her to find her own voice. Based […]

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Living in the Future’s Past fails to make an impact

Living in the Future’s Past attempts to document our past, present, and future state of affairs environmentally, philosophically, economically, scientifically, and even politically. Directed by Susan Kucera and narrated by Jeff Bridges, the film ultimately tackles too much in an hour and a half and falls short of becoming the kind of tight and timely […]

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