Currently Browsing: Jan Lisa Huttner

ALOFT

Jennifer Connelly is so compelling as a struggling single mother in Claudia Llosa’s new film that narrative details like whys and wherefores pale next to the need to find her again after she disappears. (JLH: 4/5) Review by FF2 Managing Editor Jan Lisa Huttner Aloft is a strange and mysterious new film written and directed by […]

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(DIS)HONESTY

Superlative documentary about the life work of Behavioral Economist Dan Ariely blends lecture footage with first-person interviews and great graphics to tell us who we really are and how we really make the “rational” decisions that determine our personal, professional, and political lives. Must See film directed by Yael Melamede. Highly recommended by both me & Rich! […]

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THE FAREWELL PARTY

Jewish Humor walks the razor’s edge between comedy and tragedy in this mordant “laugh through your tears” dramedy co-written & co-directed by  Tal Granit and Sharon Maymon. (JLH: 4.5/5) Review by Managing Editor Jan Lisa Huttner Since the time of Sholem Aleichem, Jewish Humor has been said to walk the razor’s edge between comedy and tragedy, […]

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SEEDS OF TIME

Director Sandy McLeod packs a great deal of information in the 77-minute documentary about seed conservation. The film focuses on agricultural trailblazer Cary Fowler and highlights the impending dangers of climate change. Despite a few lulls, McLeod’s documentary is constructive, personal and extremely informative. (BKP: 4/5) Review by Associate Editor Brigid K. Presecky Seeds of Time […]

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SOMETHING BETTER TO COME

Written and directed by Hanna Polak, Something Better to Come tells the story of those forgotten by society, those who call The Svalka – an immense junkyard outside of Moscow – home. The film follows a young girl named Yula for 14 years, as she struggles to survive life inside The Svalka and clings to […]

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SUNSHINE SUPERMAN

Marah Strauch’s documentary debut tells the story of adventurous Carl Boenish and his team of adrenaline-seeking BASE jumpers. Beautiful, thrilling archival footage and detailed narrations string together a story about a man who lived life from one exhilarating moment to the next. (BKP: 4.5/5) Review by Associate Editor Brigid K. Presecky “One of my mottos […]

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DARK STAR

Opens in NYC on Fri (5/15). Review coming soon…

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EVERY SECRET THING

Am I never satisfied? Here is a film with prominent actresses like Elizabeth Banks, Dakota Fanning, and Diane Lane carrying a woman-centered film, plus award-winning female filmmakers behind-the-camera. (Amy Berg is the director while Nicole Holofcener wrote the screenplay.) It passes the Bechdel Test with no if, ands, or buts, so am I satisfied? Not I […]

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KNOW HOW

Review of Know How by Associate Editor Brigid K. Presecky Director Juan Carlos Piñeiro Escoriaza–collaborating with co-screenwriters Deshawn Brown, Niquana Clark, Michael Dew, Gabrielle Garcia, Gilbert Howard, Claribelle Pagan, and  Ebonee Simpson–creates a hybrid of documentary and fiction, having young men and women reenact true, horrific events during their life in the foster care system. […]

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PITCH PERFECT 2

Review of Pitch Perfect 2 by Associate Editor Brigid K. Presecky New song numbers and endearing new characters balance whatever charm is lost in the much-anticipated a cappella follow-up. Writer Kay Cannon and Director Elizabeth Banks bring the Bellas back to the big screen in a fun, if slightly less focused, sequel of the 2012 […]

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ONE CUT, ONE LIFE (2014): Review by Jan Lisa Huttner

Filmmaker Lucia Small tracks the final days of her colleague and friend Ed Pincus. The goal is to tell a first-person documentary from two equal points of view (Ed’s POV and Lucia’s POV), but unfortunately Small has bitten off more than she can chew. Although there are a few memorable sequences, most of the the film […]

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HOT PURSUIT

Review of Hot Pursuit by Associate Editor Brigid K. Presecky Reese Witherspoon and Sofia Vergara are both capable of turning good material into great material. Unfortunately, neither of them could save Hot Pursuit. With a weak plot and unoriginal dialogue, the script by David Feeney and John Quaintance is nothing we haven’t seen before. (BKP: […]

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PIKU

Lovely “road trip” movie from India follows all the genre conventions, but still manages to take us to places both old and new. Directed by Shoojit Sircar. Screenplay by Juhi Chaturvedi. (JLH: 4/5) ************************* “Piku” (Deenika Padukone) is a very modern young woman–independent, assertive, career-oriented, and always in control… Well that’s what she would like […]

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PREGGOLAND

  Review of Preggoland by Associate Editor Brigid K. Presecky Writer Sonja Bennett stars in the Canadian comedy about a woman who attempts to earn respect from friends and family by faking her own pregnancy. Despite its impractical premise and use of gender stereotypes, the story slowly finds its heart while providing a few laughs – […]

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Bye Bye Heidi

The 2015 revival of The Heidi Chronicles closed early on Sunday, May 3rd … A shame, but not a total surprise… “Although Sofonisba was praised in the seventeenth century as being a portraitist equal to Titian, and at least thirty of her painting remain known to us, there is no trace of her or any […]

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CAS & DYLAN

Review of Cas & Dylan by Associate Editor Brigid K. Presecky Tatiana Maslany and Richard Dreyfuss bring their talent, charm and chemistry to the heartfelt road trip film Cas & Dylan. Director Jason Priestley and screenwriter Jessie Gabe take the audience on the journey as two very different characters share a bond of friendship and […]

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HOMBRES A LA CARTA

Review of Hombres A La Carta by Associate Editor Brigid K. Presecky Screenwriter Solanny Valdelamar Correa tells the story of a 36-year-old woman in a race with her ticking biological clock. Bordering between relatable and implausible, Hombres A La Carta (“Men on Demand”) follows “Cecilia” (Chichila Navia) and her contemporary ways of finding a husband […]

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RIDE (2014)

Oscar-winning actress Helen Hunt wrote, directed, and stars in this lovely dramedy about a brash New York editor facing her “Empty Nest Summer”–that turning point in life when her only son “Angelo” (Brenton Thwaites) has finished high school and is about to start college. I laughed; I cried; I had a great time! (JLH: 4/5) […]

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WELCOME TO ME

Shira Piven directs this “Dark Comedy” about a mentally ill woman who wins the lottery and decides to use her sudden wealth to produce her own Oprah-esque TV show. Screenplay by Eliot Laurence. (JLH: 3/5) ************************* “Alice Klieg” (Kristen Wiig) is a very troubled lady. Diagnosed as mentally ill sometime in her teens, Alice has now entered […]

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BAD GIRLS GO TO HELL

On April 23rd, I attended a fascinating program at Anthology Film Archives on 2nd Ave. Michael Bowen, adjunct film professor at FIT and curator of AFA’s “Beyond Cassavetes” film series, spoke at length about Doris Wishman (who is the subject of his doctoral dissertation) and then showed Wishman’s 1965 film Bad Girls Go to Hell. As Bowen […]

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24 DAYS

The harrowing but critically important French film 24 Days opening today in selected theatres (including NYC & Chicago). Also available on iTunes. When the 2014 Jerusalem Film Festival gave 24 Days their Lia Award celebrating films dealing with Jewish Heritage, they wrote: “This suspenseful drama manages to avoid clichés and intricately presents the experience of anti-Jewish […]

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ADULT BEGINNERS

BONUS POST: 2 Reviews from 2 Points-of-View! Nick Kroll and Rose Byrne star in a film about a washed-up man living with his sister’s family, a well-intentioned project that relies on its talented cast to carry a middle-of-the-road plot. Directed by Ross Katz and co-written by Jeff Cox and Liz Flahive, Adult Beginners has just enough heart […]

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AFTER THE BALL

Directed by Sean Garrity and written by Jason Sherman and Kate Melville, After the Ball is a Cinderella story reimagined, as a light romantic comedy in the corporate fashion world. Fashion school graduate “Kate” (Portia Doubleday) starts her career working for her father “Lee” (Chris Noth) at his retail company Kassell. Kate, hoping to become […]

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ANITA B

Freida Lee Mock’s documentary Anita tells the story of Anita Hill, law professor and civil rights activist. While then-Judge Clarence Thomas was being considered to be a U.S. Supreme Court Justice, Hill spoke up about his sexual harassment of her when she worked for him. Since then, Hill has worked to spread awareness about sexual […]

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BODY & SOUL: THE STATE OF THE JEWISH NATION

Opens tomorrow in NYC. Review coming soon.

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HELICOPTER MOM

Review of Helicopter Mom by Associate Editor Brigid K. Presecky Nia Vardalos stars as “Maggie Cooper,” a trying-too-hard mother who can’t seem to let her son find his own identity. From its depiction of LGBT youth to the caricatures of women on the PTA, Helicopter Mom is inundated with stereotypes. However, the well-intentioned film has […]

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THE CENTRAL PARK FIVE: Review by FF2 Media

Around 9 PM on April 19, 1989, a twenty-eight year old investment banker entered Manhattan’s famous Central Park and began jogging up Park Drive North. Unbeknownst to her, police had already received reports about a youth gang in that general vicinity, and when she was found a few hours later—brutally raped, beaten, and left for […]

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ANNA KARENINA

Joe Wright’s new film Anna Karenina is based on a very long novel by Count Leo Tolstoy that has been adapted for the screen several times already, but never better. Set in Imperial Russia in 1874, Anna Karenina is about two women: Anna, a 27 year old woman married to a much older man, and […]

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SIMON AND THE OAKS

A young boy named “Simon” (Jonatan S. Wächter) makes a fateful choice on his first day in a new school, and his actions that day change the course of his life. Set in Sweden between 1939 and 1949 (the decade which surrounds World War II), Simon and the Oaks is a sweeping historical epic filled […]

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I DON’T KNOW HOW SHE DOES IT

Sarah Jessica Parker plays “Kate Reddy,” a bundle of nervous energy who is burning her candle at both ends and threatening to flame out. At home, Kate has a husband and two kids plus a nanny, a mother-in-law, and a row of empty little bags she must fill with birthday goodies. It’s a mostly female […]

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