Currently Browsing: Jan Lisa Huttner

A STREET CAT NAMED BOB

A heartbreaking portrayal of drug addiction and homelessness, writers Maria Nation and Tim John’s cinematic rendition of the true story and bestselling novel,  A Street Cat Named Bob, forces audiences to stare the horrors of these issues in the face with bluntness and honesty. (EML: 4/5) Review by FF2 Associate Eliana M. Levenson The film […]

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DAUGHTERS OF THE DUST (2016)

25 years after its world theatrical premiere at NYC’s Film Forum, Julie Dash’s groundbreaking Daughters of the Dust (originally released in 1991) returns in a stunning new restoration. The Peazant family is divided by tradition and the modern times of 1902 in Daughters of the Dust, a riveting film about the Gullahs (descendants of African slaves […]

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THE EDGE OF SEVENTEEN

Written and directed by Kelly Fremon Craig, The Edge of Seventeen is being called an “instant teen classic,” compared to the likes of Clueless, Mean Girls and Juno. What was promoted as a comedic, heartwarming depiction of teen angst feels more like a missed opportunity. The relatable message of The Edge of Seventeen unfortunately gets […]

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FANTASTIC BEASTS & WTFT

Full Title = Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them For those of us nostalgic for the Harry Potter days, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them marks the highly anticipated return to the wizarding world. If you’re looking for pure entertainment, to be transported to a new, yet familiar, magical world, then Fantastic Beasts […]

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MAGNUS

Magnus Carlsen, deemed the Mozart of chess, is a prodigy who works his way to India’s 2013 World Chess Championship, facing five-time defender Viswanathan Anand. Written by Linn-Jeanethe Kyed, Magnus is a documentary 10 years in the making (from 2004 to 2014). While the movie was interesting and intense at times, it was a bit […]

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MARATHON: PATRIOT’S DAY BOMBING

Writer/Directors Ricki Stern and Anne Sundberg’s Marathon: The Patriots Day Bombing takes viewers back to Boylston Street, documenting the lives of the families who were impacted by a moment of terror that forever changed the city of Boston, the country and the world. (BKP: 4.5/5) Review by Managing Editor Brigid K. Presecky April 15, 2013: […]

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THE RED TURTLE

The Red Turtle (screenplay by French writer Pascale Ferran) is an animated story of a washed up man on a seemingly deserted island, whose only inhabitants are crabs, birds, and of course, turtles. His prospects of survival seem hopeless until one day his path crosses with a beautiful red turtle. (EBT: 4.5/5) Review by FF2 […]

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THE LOVE WITCH

Written, produced and directed by Anna Biller, The Love Witch is aptly titled. It follows a witch…looking for love… And that’s about as in-depth as it gets, aside from Biller’s attempt to make a kitschy noir that feels like it’s from a different era. The entire film tries so hard to be novel and strange […]

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NATIONAL BIRD

This documentary follows the stories of three whistleblowers who were a part of the U.S. drone program. The film follows these veterans closely through the aftermath of their actions, and provides an inside look on the effects of the drone war, which has been kept hidden from the public eye. Daring, fearless, and chilling, Director Sonia […]

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SHUT IN

Unlike its marketing campaign as a spooky horror film, Christina Hodson’s thriller tells the disturbing story of a mother caring for her paralyzed son in an isolated, snow-covered mansion. Shut In’s the stellar cast of Naomi Watts, Oliver Platt and Jacob Tremblay strengthen a questionable, less-than-thrilling plot that leaves you with questions and very little […]

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DON’T CALL ME SON

Writer/Director Anna Muylaert brings to life the absolute and utter chaos that one family endures in her film Mãe Só Há Uma also known as Don’t Call Me Son. The film is about what happens when two kids suddenly discover they are not their mother’s children. It deals with the struggle to accept ones new […]

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THE AMBASSADOR’S WIFE

This short feature from Israel–playing this week in the Chicago Festival of Israeli Cinema–is a poignant and beautifully acted drama directed by Dina Zvi-Riklis, working once again with her frequent collaborator Alma Ganihar (who also wrote the screenplays for The Fifth Heaven and Three Mothers). Ester Rada stars as the wife of the Eritrean Ambassador to […]

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BY SIDNEY LUMET

Director Sydney Lumet released his first feature film, Twelve Angry Men, in 1957. He released his last feature film, Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead, in 2007. That’s fifty years! Furthermore, for all those years, he released a new film almost every year, films filled to the brim with some of the greatest actors in cinema history!! […]

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NEW LIFE

New Life, co-written by Erin Bethea and Candice Irion, attempts to capture the complicated relationship of two childhood sweethearts as they learn to deal with long distance, and the pay-off of sticking together through thick and thin. Unfortunately, with overly dramatic writing and unsupported melodramatic performances, the film has trouble relaying the beautiful nature of […]

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PORTRAIT OF A GARDEN

From Rosie Stapel, Portrait of a Garden is a slow-moving Dutch documentary about two gardeners doing expert work as they move through the seasons. We see them in the greenhouse picking grapes and tending to the trees outside, their passion for what they do evident in their faces and their extensive knowledge of cultivation. Their […]

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CREEPY

Based on the novel by Yutaka Maekawa and co-written by Chihiro Ikeda and Director Kiyoshi Kurosawa, Creepy will absolutely give you the creeps. It’s brilliant cinematography and near-perfect casting lead to a final product that will have audiences wincing. That being said, the story line drags and isn’t as fleshed out as a 2 hour movie should be. (RAK: […]

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THE HANDMAIDEN

Ever since Oldboy (2003), Park Chan-wook has been one of the most exciting filmmakers out there. And with the recent release of The Handmaiden, adapted from Sarah Waters’s Fingersmith, he has proved yet again he is able to reinvent the thriller genre. Set in Japanese-occupied Korea in the 1930s, The Handmaiden revolves around a bright-eyed […]

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I’M NOT ASHAMED

From screenwriters Robin Hanley and Philipa A. Booyens comes I’m Not Ashamed, a Christian – but predominantly human – story about the first victim of the 1999 Columbine High School shooting. Rachel Scott’s story is breathtaking and heartbreaking in its simplicity – a child of divorce and a lover of God, a giver of joy […]

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IT HAD TO BE YOU

With careful consideration given to the score, writer/director Sasha Gordon delivers a quirky, yet thought-provoking, romantic comedy about a young woman who is not ready to settle down, always dreaming of making her mark in the world. When her boyfriend proposes, her hesitance to say results in an ultimatum, forcing “Sonia” (Cristin Milioti) to decide […]

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THE UNCONDEMNED

The Uncondemned, written and directed by Michele Mitchell, takes an inside look at the first trial of rape as a war crime in history. The documentary follows the lives of lawyers and activists that charged Mayor Akeyesu with crimes against humanity, and shows interviews with the women who were brave enough to speak out against […]

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THE WHOLE TRUTH

Director Courtney Hunt’s thriller stars Keanu Reeves as a defense attorney for a high school senior accused of murdering his father. Although the courtroom drama feels like an extended version of a Law and Order episode, the performances and twisty script keep you in 93-minute-long suspense. (BKP: 4/5) Review by Managing Editor Brigid K. Presecky […]

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100 YEARS: OWFFJ

Full Title = 100 Years: One Woman’s Fight for Justice  100 Years, One Woman’s Fight for Justice is an absolute must see. Writer/director Melinda Janko follows Elouise Cobell, a Native American and banker, who fights for her people when the U.S. government refuses to give 300,000 Native Americans fair pay and compensation for using and […]

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CERTAIN WOMEN (2016)

Kelly Reichardt’s new film braids together the lives of three women living in and around a town in central Montana, not exactly the middle of nowhere… but close enough. This time, Reichardt-the-Writer has created a screenplay based on stories by award-winning author Maile Meloy, but Reichardt-the-Director has used many of her usual crew members (notably cinematographer Christopher Blauvelt and […]

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THE DAVID DANCE

From director April Winney and writer-star Don Scime, The David Dance is a well-meaning, thought-provoking film about the host of a gay radio talk show who uses his medium to help those struggling with their sexuality. Despite its sweet premise and important message, the film struggles to decide what it wants to be – the […]

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MISS HOKUSAI

Directed by Keiichi Hara and written by Miho Maruo and Hanako Sugiura, Miss Hokusai is an animated dramatization of the life of iconic Japanese artist, Katsushika Hokusai. However, the film’s true focus is on Hokusai’s daughter, “O-Ei” (Erica Lindbeck), and her exploration of her own art and the conflicts she faced in her familial life. […]

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13th (2016)

Ava DuVernay’s documentary 13th is one of the most masterful documentaries released this year. It compels its viewers to sit upright, and pay close attention to every percentage, statistic and fact handed to them in this in-depth look at the American prison system, and its inextricable ties to racial inequality in the United States. 13th is […]

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37 (Kitty Genovese)

Writer/Director Puk Grasten retells the infamous story of Kitty Genovese, the 28-year-old woman stabbed to death as 37 bystanders watched, listened and failed to intervene. Focusing on a handful of fictional characters, Grasten captures the eerie, stomach-churning atmosphere of the Kew Gardens (Queens) apartment complex on March 13, 1964. (BKP: 4/5) Review By Managing Editor […]

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ALL IN TIME

Co-written and directed by Marina Donahue, All in Time is the story of a banker named “Charlie” (Sean Modica) who quits his well-paying New York City job, moves back home, and follows his dream of managing a rock band. But when things begin to fall apart, he is forced to make the difficult decision of […]

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BEING 17

From IMDb: Damien lives with his mother Marianne, a doctor, while his father is on a tour of duty abroad. He is bullied by Thomas, whose mother is ill. The boys find themselves living together when Marianne invites Thomas to come and stay with them. Opened 10/7/16 in NYC, but we missed it. Review coming […]

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THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN

Adapted for the screen by Erin Cressida Wilson, The Girl on the Train—based on the international-bestseller by author Paula Hawkins—is slow moving at its onset, but once it get’s going, the film catapults you into the mystery of a missing woman, and all of the whispers and lies that come along with her disappearance. A […]

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