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Eliana M. Levenson 22 posts

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In the canon of World War II films, ‘Where Hands Touch’ is one to skip

Review of Where Hands Touch by Eliana Levenson While Amma Asante’s desire to tell a story of a group whose struggle is often lost in the atrocities of Nazi Germany isn’t inherently a bad thing, Where Hands Touch delivers an incredibly tone-deaf narrative that fails in almost every way. (EML: 2/5) Review by FF2 Associate […]

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Dog Days isn’t much to bark about

Dog Days falls prey to its own multi-protagonist structure with poor character development, hanging storylines, and flimsy inter-story connectivity. But hey, at least there are some cute dogs! 

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‘Night Comes On’ provides a distinctly female perspective on sisterhood and revenge

There’s a quiet confidence and a profoundly female perspective to Jordana Spiro’s Night Comes On that sucks the audience into the raw, emotional exploration of a broken family, revenge, and sisterhood. (EML: 4/5)

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‘Boundaries’ is an engaging but underwhelming father-daughter film

Despite some clever dialogue and interesting characters, Shana Feste’s Boundaries falls short of delivering anything more than your classic indie road trip movie. (EML: 3.5/5)

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WHAT HAUNTS US (2018): Review by Elly Levenson

Director Paige Goldberg Tolmach provides a clear overview of the case that rattled her alma-mater, Porter-Gaud, but fails to add anything new to the twenty-year-old narrative or deliver on promises of an examination of the psychological toll the case has had on the alumni and community. (EML: 3.5/5)

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ANGELS WEAR WHITE (2017): Review by Elly Levenson

Writer/director Vivian Qu creates a sparse but powerful narrative with Angels Wear White, a film that focuses on an almost entirely female cast to explore the rape of two young girls in a small Chinese seaside town. (EML: 4/5)

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NANA (2016): Review by Eliana Levenson

Despite a powerful & impressive centerpiece for her story, Serena Dykman’s Nana documentary fails to add a new voice to the cannon of Holocaust documentaries and finds itself struggling to break free of a school project type feel. (EML: 3.5/5)

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BLOCKERS (2018): Review by Elly Levenson

With non-stop laugh-out-loud humor and a truly authentic core, Blockers, written by Brian & Jim Kehoe and directed by the Pitch Perfect trilogy’s Kay Cannon, stands out as one of the funniest comedy blockbusters of the past few years.  (EML: 4/5)

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ALL I WISH (2017): Review by Elly Levenson

Susan Walters’ All I Wish struggles to find its footing with uneven performances, choppy transitions, and a cliche storyline. Still, as a voice for middle-aged women, struggling to find their way, Walters has opened the door.

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A BAG OF MARBLES (2017): Review by Elly Levenson

There’s a dull ache in your chest and the push of tears at the back of your eyes the whole time while watching Christian Duguay’s masterful remaking of A Bag of Marbles, the true story of Joseph Joffo’s survival as a young Jewish boy in France during the Nazi occupation of World War II. (EML: 5/5)

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DEAR DICTATOR (2018): Review by Eliana Levenson

Though the premise and cast promise a clever satire, Dear Dictator from writer/directors Lisa Addario & Joe Syracuse falls short of delivering anything more than an ambling high school comedy knockoff. (EML: 3/5)

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THE PARTY (2017): Review by Eliana M. Levenson

With quippy dialogue and an classic movie directorial style, Sally Potter’s The Party feels like a brilliant short film forced to drag itself along for an extra twenty minutes. (EML: 3.5/5)

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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 TIGER HUNTER (2017): Review by Eliana M. Levenson

Set against the backdrop of the 1970s, Lena Khan’s Tiger Hunter is an endearing and charming look at the American dream through the eyes of a young Indian immigrant hoping to live up to his father’s reputation by achieving greatness in the land of opportunity. (EML: 4/5)

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RANCHER, FARMER, FISHERMAN (2017): Review by Eliana M. Levenson

Based on the novel of the same name by author Miriam Horn, Rancher, Farmer, Fisherman directed by Susan Froemke and John Hoffman and co-directed by Beth Aala, explores the environmental impact of the ranching, farming, and fishing communities in a way that feels more like an educational piece than an impactful, theatrical documentary. (EML: 3/5)

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SWIM TEAM (2016): Review by Elly Levenson

Lara Stolman’s Swim Team is an inspirational and emotional look at the Jersey Hammerheads, a Special Olympics swim team made up of team members on the spectrum. (EML: 4/5) Review by FF2 Associate Eliana M. Levenson When Maria & her husband, Michael, learned that their son, Mikey, was autistic, the doctors told them that he […]

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MAUDIE (2016): Review by Elly Levenson

In this understated BioPic, director Aisling Walsh and screenwriter Sherry White explore the dark circumstances that served as the starting point for the paintings of Maud Lewis. Though not well-known [yet] in the USA, Lewis –who lived her entire life in Nova Scotia — is one of Canada’s most beloved regional artists. (EML: 3.5/5) Review by […]

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BAND AID (2017): Review by Eliana Levenson

In her directorial debut, director, writer, and star, Zoe Lister-Jones explores the complexities of gender dynamics and expectations in relationships through a couple struggling to hold their marriage together. (EML: 4.5/5) Review by FF2 Associate Eliana M. Levenson A dripping faucet. A sink full of dirty dishes. “Anna” (Zoe Lister-Jones) and her husband, “Ben” (Adam […]

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STEFAN ZWEIG – FAREWELL TO EUROPE (2016): Review by Elly Levenson

Artistry takes priority over substance in Maria Schrader’s biographical film, Stefan Zweig: Farewell to Europe, which follows the life of German-Jewish author Stefan Zweig during his exile from Germany during World War II. (EML: 3/5) Review by FF2 Associate Eliana M. Levenson The film opens with a long, still shot of a floral arrangement. As […]

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3 GENERATIONS (2015): Review by Eliana Levenson

While not always successful, Gaby Dellal’s 3 Generations seeks to give a voice to the complexity of being transgendered through this family driven drama that follows the struggles of a transgender teen seeking to undergo hormone replacement therapy. (EML: 3.5/5) Review by FF2 Associate Eliana M. Levenson “Ray” (Elle Fanning) has never been normal. Born […]

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P.S. JERUSALEM (2015): Review by Eliana Levenson

Filmmaker Danae Elon confronts the Israeli/Palestinian conflict of Jerusalem in a quiet, family driven, home movie style documentary. (EML: 2.5/5) Review by FF2 Associate Eliana M. Levenson Shot very much like a home movie, P.S. Jerusalem explores a leftist Jewish perspective on the Israeli/Palestinian relationships in the Israeli capital of Jerusalem. The daughter of an […]

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SPEED SISTERS

In this fast-paced documentary, director Amber Fares gets up close and personal with the members of the Speed Sisters, the first all female car racing team in the Arab world, as they struggle with their identities as women, Muslims, athletes, and Palestinians. (EML: 3/5) Review by FF2 Associate Eliana M. Levenson Meet the Speed Sisters, […]

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