Katusha Jin 56 posts

Currently Browsing: Katusha Jin

‘To Kid or Not To Kid’ opens up conversations on completely serious topic of reproductive choice

Maxine Trump takes on multiple roles as the Director, Writer, and Cinematographer of documentary To Kid or Not To Kid. With many official selections already under its belt, the film is a brave attempt to open up conversations about reproductive choice. In a world where freedom of choice is increasingly important, why should people still feel afraid to talk about not having children? (KIZJ: 4/5)

CONTINUE READING

Damaged psyche behind bullying and being bullied resonate in ‘Better Days’

Wing-Sum Lam, Yuan Li, and Yimeng Xue team up to write the screenplay for “Better Days”, a movie with a realistic take on how far bullying can go. Set in Anqiao city in 2011, Derek Tsang directs a piece that marries the stresses of China’s rigorous academic system with the traumatic experiences of bullying at school. What starts off as a bullying story with a teenage friendship, quickly becomes a deep dive that inspects the damaged psyche of these teenagers through heartfelt emotion. (KIZJ: 4/5)

CONTINUE READING

‘The Elephant Queen’ leads her majestic family across the African savannah for survival

Victoria Stone and Mark Deeble direct The Elephant Queen—a documentary that closely observes an elephant herd and the delicate ecosystem they live in. As the dry season begins, the family has no choice but to journey across the African savannah and seek refuge. Academy award nominee Chiwetel Ejiofor narrates this touching portrayal of the friendly majestic creatures. (KIZJ: 4/5)

CONTINUE READING

‘Another Day of Life’ transforms written memories of war into a graphic visual story

Directors Raúl de la Fuente and Damian Nenow create a hybrid narrative animation and documentary film—“Another Day of Life”. Written by the two directors together with Amaia Remirez, Niall Johnson, and David Weber, the ambitious piece is based on Ryszard “Ricardo” Kapuscinski’s novel that delves into the Angolan civil war in 1975. It is an official Cannes selection, and winner of multiple awards globally. (KIZJ: 4.5/5)

CONTINUE READING

A complex world of love, writing, and muses in Vita & Virginia

Chanya Button directs and co-writes Vita & Virginia with Dame Eileen Atkins. The adaptation is a glimpse into the affair between Virginia Woolf and Vita Sackville-West starring Isabella Rossellini and Gemma Arterton respectively. Based on a 1992 play of the same name, the film swirls us into the complex relationships surrounding these two women, their writing, and their muses. (KIZJ: 3/5)

CONTINUE READING

Art house documentary ‘Los Reyes’ shows fresh perspective on stories of the youth

Long time collaborating Chilean directors Bettina Perut and Ivan Osnovikoff bring an fresh approach in the form of an art house film to the global documentary scene with their new piece Los Reyes. (KIZJ: 3.5/5)

CONTINUE READING

A dip into the painfully realistic issues of the modern Wild West in ‘Little Woods’

Written and Directed by Nia DaCosta, Little Woods is set in North Dakota—a fracking boomtown that was supposed to lead America to a better future. Tessa Thompson and Lily James star as stepsisters with a dysfunctional relationship, both drowning in their own desperate situations. Boasting four wins and three nominations, the film looks at societal pressures and complex family dynamics—what choice do good people make when left with scant options, where even the best of which are unlawful? (KIZJ: 4/5)

CONTINUE READING

FIVE FEET APART (2019): Review by FF2 Media

Saccharine, sappy, and sentimental, Five Feet Apart is a tale of love in the time of cystic fibrosis. While I am not the kind of person typically targeted by romantic comedies and therefore need to give both rom-coms and YA movies a certain benefit of the doubt in this review, I still have to say […]

CONTINUE READING

‘The Unicorn’ brings courage and hope through the sound of music

Isabelle Dupuis and Tim Geraghty co-direct The Unicorn, a documentary about Peter Grudzien—the creator of the first openly gay country album. Dupuis and Geraghty’s film is not for the faint-hearted; it digs deep into a family wrought with mental disturbances where the musician finds his sole escape in the world of his music. (KIZJ: 3.5/5)

CONTINUE READING

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)

CONTINUE READING

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)

CONTINUE READING

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)

CONTINUE READING

San Francisco journalist takes on alien: ‘Venom’

Kelly Marcel co-writes superhero flick Venom with Jeff Pinkner and Scott Rosenberg. Directed by Ruben Fleischer, the film hails actors Tom Hardy, Michelle Williams, and Riz Ahmed. A troubled journalist’s life becomes entangled with a parasite-like alien, “Venom”. The two must act as one, as they take on a dangerous organization threatening the lives of […]

CONTINUE READING

Stand-up comedian searches for freedom from her past

Eva Vives writes and directs All About Nina—an intimate and personal story about a troubled rising comedian. The comedy stage gives Nina a platform to be truthful, when her reality is built up upon lies. (KIZJ: 4/5)

CONTINUE READING

‘Colette’ another female historical figure worth remembering

Rebecca Lenkiewicz, Wash Westmoreland, and Richard Glatzer co-write Colette—a biopic starring Keira Knightley and Dominic West. Director Westmoreland’s period piece tells the tale of a French novelist, “Colette”, whose hunger for life pushes past gender norms. It shows how a girl from the countryside transforms into a pioneering feminist woman of the world. (KIZJ: 5/5)

CONTINUE READING

‘The Oslo Diaries’ reveal disturbing secrets

Director Mor Loushy’s new documentary The Oslo Diaries explicitly describes the horrific happenings of the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. Using real footage as described in excerpts of true diary entries, The Oslo Diaries brings to attention the severity of the never-ending conflict between two nations. (SYJ: 3.5/5)

CONTINUE READING

Asian cast dazzles the screen in lovable rom-com ‘Crazy Rich Asians’

Crazy Rich Asians is a romantic comedy based on the 2013 novel by Kevin Kwan. Adele Lim and Peter Chiarelli co-write the screenplay, and collaborate with director Jon M. Chu for this long-awaited screen adaptation. Constance Wu stars as Rachel, a young professor of economics, who follows her boyfriend, “Nick Young” (Henry Golding), to Singapore for his best friend’s wedding. Nick is eager to introduce his girlfriend to his family, but throws Rachel into the deep end when he fails to mention his family’s wealth and reputation. (KIZJ: 5/5)

CONTINUE READING

‘The Swan’ reveals life as it is

Ása Helga Hjörleifsdótirr writes and directs her debut featureThe Swan. Based on a novel by Guðbergur Bergsson, the movie has won 3 awards and has been nominated for 8. The serene, yet haunting, coming-of-age film shows how a child comes to the realization that life is not as simple as it seems. (SYJ: 4/5)

CONTINUE READING

‘The Miseducation of Cameron Post’ is a lesson in acceptance

Desiree Akhavan’s direction of a Sundance Film Festival winner, “The Miseducation of Cameron Post”, shows confused teenagers, forbidden romances, and praising the Lord. The movie showcases another ploy to try and ‘cure’ homosexuality. The film is based on Emily M. Danforth’s novel of the same name. Its story explores the misinformation given to teenagers that being gay is a sin. (SYJ: 3.5/5)

CONTINUE READING

‘The Row’—a sorority horror with a detective father and a serial killer

Sorority sisters, a serial killer, and a hidden past—Sarah Scougal writes a new addition to the traditional sorority horror genre. Directed by Matty Beckerman, “The Row” stars Lala Kent as a newly initiated sorority girl, and Randy Couture as the father-detective. With a killer loose on the college campus, members of a sorority club find themselves victims to a series of violent murders. (KIZJ: 2.5/5)

CONTINUE READING

The need to fit in has devastating effects on a mother and daughter in ‘Pin Cushion’

Fitting in is hard. In Director-Writer Deborah Haywood’s movie, “Pin Cushion”, Joanna Scanlan and Lily Newmark star as a mother and daughter who start out as loving best friends. However, their move to an unwelcoming town drives a divide between the two. Now, without each other’s support, they are left as alone as ever to face the wrath of a town of ‘mean girls’. Haywood forces the audience to see the ugly and extreme effects that bullying can have for both children and adults alike. (KIZJ: 4/5)

CONTINUE READING

‘The Devil’s Doorway’ leads priests to question sins and secrets

Aislinn Clarke directs and co-writes a chilling horror movie set inside a haunted house in Ireland. “The Devil’s Doorway” is presented through the eyes of two priests, sent by the Vatican, who conduct an investigation into a miraculous occurrence at the dwelling. But the excitement and skepticism of the pair soon turns into fear, as their search for the truth uncovers layer upon layer of unexplainable events. Getting more than what they bargained for, their assigned investigation reveals the dark and ugly secrets at this home for “fallen women”. (KIZJ: 4/5)

CONTINUE READING

‘Marlina the Murderer in Four Acts’ is a quirky Western redemption story

Garnering five wins and twelve nominations, Director Mouly Surya brings to the screen Marlina the Murderer in Four Acts. Marsha Timothy dominates the screen as “Marlina”, a grieving widow who is pushed from vengeance and empowerment after being attacked in her own home. Set in the desert-like hills of an Indonesian island, Surya’s film is an unusual, quirky Western. This is a tale guided by women as they journey through rape, murder, and birth, in search of justice and redemption. (KIZJ: 4.5/5)

CONTINUE READING

‘Nancy’ creates intriguing balance between ingenuity and fraud

Christina Choe writes and directs Nancy, her feature debut. Andrea Riseborough stars as a lonely and estranged woman in her mid-thirties, who lives with her mother in upstate New York. Set against a bleak and gloomy backdrop, Choe explores the basic human need for connection, familial love, and acceptance. (KIZJ: 3.5/5)

CONTINUE READING

IN DARKNESS (2018): Review by Katusha Jin

Actress and writer Natalie Dormer stars in mystery thriller In Darkness. Co-written by herself and director Anthony Byrne, Dormer plays a blind pianist who is dragged into the dangerous criminal world when her upstairs neighbor commits what is suspected to be a suicide. (KIZJ: 3.5/5)

CONTINUE READING

BOOK CLUB (2018): Review by Katusha Jin

Erin Simms partners with Bill Holderman to co-write “Book Club”, a light-hearted film about the lives and loves of four lifelong friends. The film boasts an impressive cast, starring: Diane Keaton, Jane Fonda, Candice Bergen, and Mary Steenburgen. Book Club is a comedic take on how the “Fifty Shades of Grey” book series pushes these Californian friends to not “stop living before [they] stop living”. (KIZJ: 4/5)

CONTINUE READING

THE LAST HORSEMEN OF NEW YORK (2018): Review by Katusha Jin

Director and Cinematographer Mary Haverstick captures the two years of shaming, shunning, and controversy in her feature documentary, The Last Horsemen of New York. Through the horse carriage controversy, Haverstick educates the audiences about the sobering reality of how influential money is in today’s politics. Christina Hansen and Stephen Malone represent the community of working class carriage drivers, who fight a battle where ignorance is used, sympathy is ignored, and opinions can be bought. (KIZJ: 3/5)

CONTINUE READING

EVERYTHING ELSE (2016): Review by Katusha Jin

Natalia Almada writes and directs Everything Else (Todo Lo Demás), a close up observation of a life plagued with isolation. The movie stars Academy Award Nominee Adriana Barraza as Doña Flor—a recluse who leads a monotonous life filled with rules and regulations. In this simple, yet painfully empty lifestyle, she sees no reason for change, until she loses the one creature she cares for. (KIZJ: 3/5)

CONTINUE READING

DUCK BUTTER (2018): Review by Katusha Jin

Duck Butter is a romantic dramedy about two young women fed up of being inhibited by the dishonesty and misogyny of relationships around them. Starting the night as strangers, the two women plunge each other into the fast-forwarded deep end of a relationship by committing the entirety of twenty-four hours to exploring one another. But can expedited physical intimacy replace the emotional connections that are built over time and shared experiences? (KIZJ: 4/5)

CONTINUE READING

GRACE JONES – BLOODLIGHT AND BAMI (2017): Review by Katusha Jin

Grace Beverly Jones is the electric, eye-catching, and uniquely bold subject of Sophie Fiennes’ documentary, Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami. Fiennes accompanies the multitalented artist-entrepreneur for five years and showcases some of the most vulnerable, naked, and unknown dimensions of the star, famous for her fierce personality. (KIZJ: 3.5/5)

CONTINUE READING