Roza Melkumyan 49 posts

Currently Browsing: Roza Melkumyan

‘Adam’ a charming and celebratory exploration of the trans and lesbian community

An awkward teen in his last summer of high school decides to spend the long break in New York City with his older sister, who fully embraces the city’s trans and lesbian activist community. The siblings, along with their friends, stumble their way through love, friendship, and pain. Based on Ariel Schrag’s novel of the […]

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A missed opportunity, “Renegade Dreamers” is all heart but little substance

An interweaving of the past and the present, Karen Kramer’s documentary invokes the voices of the Beat generation to paint a picture of today’s atmosphere of political activism through poetry and song. While its heart is in the right place, Renegade Dreamers lacks the substance needed to make for an inspirational yet informative documentary, leaving […]

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‘The Wandering Soap Opera’ both confounds and enlightens

Through the efforts of his wife and co-director Valeria Sarmiento, the final film of the late Chilean filmmaker Raoul Ruiz has finally made it to the public. The Wandering Soap Opera (in Spanish, La telenovela errante) presents Chilean life as an ensemble of soap operas, exploring their tropes while infusing each scene with its own […]

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‘Girls of the Sun’ is the harrowing narrative of women tried by war

Inspired by the real female Yazidi warriors fighting ISIS, a female battalion fights for the liberation of their town from extremists in the name of a free Kurdistan. A french journalist dedicated to chronicling the truth stands witness to their story. Director Eva Husson’s Girls of the Sun (in French, Les filles de soleil) sacrifices […]

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‘Birds of Passage’ is a frightening, striking masterpiece

During the 1960s marijuana craze in Colombia, an indigenous family finds itself further and further entrenched in a lucrative yet dangerously corrupt drug business. Directors Cristina Gallego and Ciro Guerra deliver the frightening yet startlingly beautiful masterpiece, Birds of Passage (in Spanish, Pájaros de verano) that chronicles this family’s rise and destruction. (RMM: 5/5) Review […]

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‘Who Will Write Our History?’ tells the inspiring, heartbreaking history of the Warsaw Ghetto and the Oyneg Shabes Archive

During WWII, Polish Jews were locked away and left to die in the infamous Warsaw Ghetto. Through the work of daring souls like Emanuel Ringelblum, Hersz Wasser, and Rachel Auerbach, their accounts of life and death were written down and preserved in the Oyneg Shabes Archive. Based on the book of the same name by […]

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‘Second Act’ surprises with its entertaining and uplifting story

When a warehouse employee makes a wish that her street smarts were valued as much as book smarts, she doesn’t expect her wish to come true. Suddenly gifted with a new identity complete with fake Harvard degree and impressive resume, she is given a second chance at a stellar career. Director Peter Segal and writers […]

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‘Heart, Baby’ full of heart but lacking in execution

Boxing gives an incarcerated man the chance at freedom. He chooses love instead. Based on a true story, Heart, Baby depicts life in the Central Tennessee State Penitentiary in the 80s, where men and transgender women of all backgrounds and beliefs struggle to coexist within an unjust prison system and its highly homophobic atmosphere. Writer […]

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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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‘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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‘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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‘Golden Job’; not quite golden, but still manages to entertain

A group of adoptive brothers and partners in crime plan one last heist to steal vital medication for children in Africa. However, a most unexpected betrayal will change their lives forever. Director and writer Kar Lok Chin along with writers Susan Chan, Chi-Yin Cheung, Kin Lok-Kwok, Erica Li, and Heiward Mak deliver an action-packed viewing […]

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Niederpruem’s ‘Little Women’ lacks authenticity and believability

A modern retelling of Louisa May Alcott’s beloved classic, Little Women follows the lives of the March sisters as they overcome hardships and follow their dreams. With good intentions, director and writer Clare Niederpruem and writer Kristi Shimek deliver a Hallmark card of a film dripping in sentimentality and lacking authenticity. (RMM: 2.5/5) Review by […]

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‘A Happening of Monumental Proportions’ is anything but monumental

In just one day, a dead body is found, a man loses his job, an affair ends, a crime is committed, and hearts are broken. In her directorial debut, director Judy Greer attempts to weave together the vignettes of many characters but fails to create a cohesive, compelling, or funny narrative. The star-studded cast is […]

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‘The Land of Steady Habits’ paints a painfully resonant image of conventional suburban life

Feeling suffocated by the conventionality of his job and his family life, a man retires and leaves his wife in an attempt to feel alive again. However, after befriending the troubled teenage son of his wife’s best friend, he finds that everything he does is met with the disapproval of his community. Based on the […]

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‘Kusama: Infinity’ honors the life and work of artist Yayoi Kusama, a Japanese woman in an American man’s world

Artist Yayoi Kusama has spent a lifetime creating original work that pushes the boundaries of contemporary art. In both the U.S. and Japan, she has fought for her place in a conservative artistic community that has refused to acknowledge her brilliance. In her documentary, director and writer Heather Lenz – along with writer Keita Ideno […]

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‘Mile 22’ is just another American spy movie

An elite CIA task force is entrusted with the delivery of a high-priority asset to an extraction point 22 miles from home base while being chased by terrorists. Writers Lea Carpenter and Graham Roland and director Peter Berg add another unoriginal, action-packed spy movie into the collection. (RMM: 2/5) Review by FF2 Associate Roza M. […]

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‘Milla’ is a visually striking, languidly paced portrait of life, loss, and endurance

A young, reckless couple makes a home out of an abandoned house by the sea as they await their first child. Valérie Massadian’s Milla languidly follows its characters through their everyday tasks, offering an unassuming yet honest portrait of life and loss. (RMM: 4/5) Review by FF2 Associate Roza M. Melkumyan Inside the backseat of […]

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A visual wonder, Mari Okada’s ‘Maquia’ is rooted in the emotional human experience

In a richly rendered medieval fantasy world, the members of an ancient clan live for centuries weaving the cloth of life. When this village is destroyed, a young girl ventures into the world with a baby boy in her arms, ready to face the hardships her new life will bring. Mari Okada shines in her […]

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‘Westwood’ is a love letter to the iconic designer’s audacity and individualistic style

In this documentary, director Lorna Tucker preserves the integrity of Vivienne Westwood both the person and the brand by telling the story that Westwood herself wants told, keeping the focus on the designer’s artistic and political visions as well as her fierce energy. (RMM: 4.5/5)

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THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO ANDRE (2017): Review by Roza Melkumyan

A documentary directed by Kate Novack, The Gospel According to André details André’s story while exploring his social impact as well as capturing his signature flamboyance. (RMM: 4/5)

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LU OVER THE WALL (2017): Review by Roza Melkumyan

Co-written by Reiko Yoshida and Masaaki Yuasa and directed by the latter, Lu Over the Wall (Yoake tsugeru Rû no utain Japanese) is infused with vivid imagination but falls flat on its character development and plot. (RMM: 3/5)

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TULLY (2018): Review by Roza Melkumyan

An exhausted mother of three hires a “night nanny” to take care of her newborn daughter. The two women forge a close relationship while reflecting on their lives and exploring their notions of youth and motherhood. Jason Reitman and Diablo Cody  – the director and screenwriter duo responsible for 2007’s Juno  – deliver a film […]

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AVA (2017): Review by Roza Melkumyan

When a teenage girl in Iran is caught going against her mother’s orders, familial tensions rise and school life is disrupted. Long-standing suspicions intensify, breeding distrust and humiliation, and making the lives of these characters a living hell. Writer and director Sadaf Foroughi delivers a film that is both beautifully shot and scathingly critical of […]

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ISMAEL’S GHOSTS (2017): Review by Roza Melkumyan

A man’s life is sent into turmoil when his wife comes back after 20 years of absence. Ismael’s Ghosts (in French, Les fantômes d’Ismaël) is a total mess, both in plot and in style. Director Arnaud Desplechin, along with co-writers Léa Mysius and Julie Peyr, indulges in ill-used melodrama and a spliced-together, muddy narrative. (RMM: […]

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FURLOUGH (2018): Review by Roza Melkumyan

When an inmate in a New York state prison is granted a compassionate leave to visit her dying mother, a young corrections officer who is looking to prove herself must do whatever it takes to escort her prisoner downstate and then bring her back on time. With Furlough, director Laurie Collyer and screenwriter Barry Strugatz deliver […]

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TEHRAN TABOO (2017): Review by Roza Melkumyan

In Tehran Taboo, four young people struggle as they feel the weight of Iran’s restrictive Islamic society in matters of sex, money, and lifestyle. Director Ali Soozandeh and writer Grit Kienzlen deliver stark yet beautiful images while revealing and criticizing taboos that govern the Iranian people. (RMM: 4.5/5)

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THE FEMALE BRAIN (2017): Review by Roza Melkumyan

In The Female Brain, a recently-divorced neurologist explores the inner workings of the male and female brain in regard to romance. Director and star Whitney Cummings succeeds in producing a film that is witty, sincere, and relevant. (RMM: 4/5)

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THE MUSIC OF SILENCE (2017): Review by Roza Melkumyan

Inspired by Andrea Bocelli, The Music of Silence follows a blind man with a gift for singing. Director Michael Radford and writer Anna Pavignano meander through the less than substantive plot with beautifully recorded operatic numbers that are meant to channel Bocelli’s voice but add little to the film. (RMM: 2/5)

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FREAK SHOW (2017): Review by Roza Melkumyan

When Billy Bloom moves in with his estranged father, he has no idea just how tough winning over this new crowd will be in FREAK SHOW. (RMM: 2.5/5)

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