Currently Browsing: Bechdel-Wallace List

‘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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‘Fall in Love at First Kiss’ is a feel-good romantic comedy with cultural undertones

Fall in Love at First Kiss (Yi Wen Ding Qing in Mandarin), directed by Yu Shan Chen, is a charming romantic comedy about a ditzy and dedicated high school student named Yuan Xiang-Qin who sets her sights on Jiang Zhi-Shu (the most intelligent and popular boy in her school). (DLH: 3.5/5) Review by FF2 Intern […]

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‘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)

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‘Berlin, I Love You’ paints spectacularly horrid picture of Germany’s capital

Berlin, I Love You is a messy portrait of the capital of Germany that knits together ten short stories told from the perspective of ten different directors. (AG: 1/5 stars) Review by FF2 Intern Anika Guttormson Berlin, I Love You undertakes a difficult challenge in its compilation of ten different short stories but ultimately fails […]

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‘Untogether’ is a fresh take on romance from first-time director Emma Forrest

Created by first-time writer and director Emma Forrest, ‘Untogether’ is about two sisters navigating their uncertain identities, troubled pasts, and imperfect relationships with men who are grappling with the same things. Though it lacks substance and cohesion at points, ‘Untogether’ is certainly a fresh take on romance. (JRL: 3/5) ‘Untogether’ opens with a one-night stand […]

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‘What Men Want’ is predictable fun

What Men Want is a refreshing and hilarious comedy that celebrates women and people of color. While it follows the formula of  Hollywood blockbusters, it will make you laugh and warm your heart. (HRM: 3/5) Review by FF2 Intern Hannah Mayo   Career driven sports agent “Ali Davis” (Taraji P. Henson) is constantly struggling to […]

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‘Braid’ is a Daring and Disorienting Directorial Debut

Mitzi Pierone’s directorial debut Braid is a daringly original thriller that blurs the lines between make believe and reality. Fascinatingly beautiful and suspenseful, it disorients the viewer in the most pleasurable way possible. (HRM: 4/5) Review by FF2 Intern Hannah Mayo “Petula” (Imogen Waterhouse) and “Tilda” (Sarah Hay), two young fugitives on the run, decide […]

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‘Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa’ turns the boy-meets-girl trope on its head

Directed by Shelly Chopra Dhar, ‘Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa’ is a groundbreaking Bollywood film about a failing writer who meets a beautiful girl with a big secret. ‘Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa’ is colorful and entertaining, while at the same time never forgetting the seriousness of the issues it deals with. (JRL: […]

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Rodriguez stands out in messy ‘Miss Bala’

Directed by Catherine Hardwicke (Thirteen, Twilight, Miss You Already) and written by Gareth Dunnet-Alcocer, Miss Bala is an ambitious action drama set in Tijuana. Gina Rodriguez is a deserving lead despite the complicated, questionable plot following a California makeup artist who gets caught up in tense drug cartel drama near the Mexico border. (BKP: 3.5/5) […]

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Nuanced dramedy ‘Egg’ examines motherhood, female friendship

From director Marianna Palka and screenwriter Risa Mickenberg, Egg is a sharply-written feature about the diverging paths of college friends and their seemingly different approaches to adult life. (BKP: 4/5) Art school friends Tina (Alysia Reiner) and Karen (Christina Hendricks) lead entirely opposite lives – Tina lives in an artsy loft with her free-spirited husband; […]

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Astra Taylor documentary gives picture of what democracy could be

Filmmaker Astra Taylor reacts to the 2016 election and the debt crisis in Europe by taking us on a cross-continental and 3000-year journey investigating her titular question: What Is Democracy? This film brings in academics as well as ordinary citizens who are at the forefront of activism and social unrest, all weighing in to give […]

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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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‘Communion’ a fly-on-the-wall documentary about a troubled family in a critical time

Written and directed by Anna Zamecka, Komunia (Communion) is an award-winning Polish documentary revealing a critical time in the life of Ola Kaczanowski, a 14-year-old girl, who feels responsible for her dysfunctional family. (JA: 4/5) Review by FF2 Intern Joanne Abbassi The story of the Kaczanowski family has two plots. The physical and superficial one […]

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Muddled ‘Destroyer’ a showcase for Kidman

  From director Karyn Kusama and screenwriters Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi, Destroyer is a muddled showcase for Nicole Kidman’s ever-growing acting range. She stars as Erin Bell, a disheveled police detective whose painful backstory as an undercover officer is slowly unraveled over 121 minutes. (GEP: 3.5/5) Kidman appeared in several films this year, from […]

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On the Basis of Sex is a feat of historical drama

On the Basis of Sex (directed by Mimi Leder and written by Daniel Stiepleman) is a historical drama that recounts the early beginnings of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg’s legal career with stunning clarity, intensity, and nuance. (DLH: 4.5/5) Review by FF2 Intern Dayna Hagewood The first scene in On the Basis of Sex shows a […]

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‘Between Worlds’ a bizarre, supernatural flop

Between Worlds (written and directed by Maria Pulera) follows truck driver Joe through a series of twisted and poorly executed attempts to face his past while living in a hollow and complicated shell of the present. (DLH: 1.5/5) Review by FF2 Intern Dayna Hagewood In the first few shots of Between Worlds, the heavily drinking […]

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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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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)

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‘Bernie the Dolphin’ gives life lessons for audiences under 10

Bernie the Dolphin takes the viewer to St. Augustine, Florida as two children uncover a plot to destroy their beloved marine hangout—and must conspire to preserve the environment and the dolphins they’ve befriended. (BV: 2.5/5)

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Star, producer Aniston returns to comedy gold in ‘Dumplin'”

“As Dolly would say, ‘It’s hard being a diamond in a rhinestone world,’” Willowdean Dixon’s Aunt Lucy tells her in the opening sequence of Dumplin’. The popular Netflix feature directed by Anne Fletcher, written by Kristin Hahn and starring Danielle Macdonald is exactly that – a diamond in a world of rhinestone movies that try and fail to preach body positivity. Adapted from the novel by Julie Murphy, Dumplin’ is an inspiring comedy for bigger girls everywhere, who haven’t really had a protagonist they can count on – until now. (BKP: 4/5)

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‘Mary Queen of Scots’ is a fiery drama about love, war and feminine power

Directed by Josie Rourke, Mary Queen of Scots is a historical drama about Mary Stuart, Queen of Scotland, and Elizabeth I, Queen of England, and their fiery rivalry for the throne. Though the plot unfolds a bit too quickly and important details seem rushed, Saoirse Ronan and Margot Robbie positively shine as the queens, and […]

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Alex O Eaton’s ‘Mountain Rest’ tells story of family reconciliation

In Alex O Eaton’s directorial and writing debut, award winning Mountain Rest brings an aging actress and estranged daughter and granddaughter together to reconcile. (SYJ: 2.5/5)

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THE PARTY’S JUST BEGINNING (2018) Review by Giorgi Plys-Garzotto

Karen Gillan makes her directorial debut with The Party’s Just Beginning, a movie that—while it has its problems—has punchy dialogue, vivid characters, and a lot to say about life as a millennial. Gillan’s direction gives the film a frenetic electronic score and some vital, real performances that make up for any failings in the script. […]

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Modern Christmas fable ‘Elliot: The Littlest Reindeer’ preaches dreaming big

Writer-director Jennifer Westcott’s Elliot: The Littlest Reindeer is spunky, cluttered holiday fun for kids. With help from voice talent like Josh Hutcherson, Samantha Bee and John Cleese, this somewhat-spastic narrative is more of a stocking stuffer than a whole-hearted gift. (GEP: 3.5/5) Review by Contributing Editor Georgiana E. Presecky Elliot: The Littlest Reindeer would have […]

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THE FAVOURITE (2018): Review by Giorgi Plys-Garzotto

Co-writer Deborah Davis and (ahem) three-way stars Emma Stone, Rachel Weisz, and Olivia Coleman serve up a stylish tale of intrigue in the court of Queen Anne, played by Coleman. Both the humor and the power-grabs are brutal in this exceptional period drama. (GPG: 5/5) Review by FF2 Contributor Giorgi Plys-Garzotto Two cousins fight for […]

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‘United Skates’ shows historical influence of hobby

Directed, written and produced by Dyana Winkler and Tina Brown, United Skates is a eye-opening documentary that explores a seemingly cult hobby and its influence both historically and musically. (BV: 4.5/5) Review by Intern Beatrice Viri Opening with factoids about how roller rinks are surprisingly an influential breeding ground for talent, United Skates explores how […]

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‘Becoming Astrid’ a travel between worlds

Becoming Astrid is a powerful rendering of the early years shaping the world-renowned children’s book author Astrid Lindgren. The film is about the person behind the beloved stories and depicts her youth pregnancy and unsteady existence as she travels between her childhood hamlet Vimmerby, her secretary school in Stockholm and her son’s foster home in […]

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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)

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‘Ralph Breaks the Internet’ a clever, memorable Disney sequel

From co-screenwriter Pamela Ribon, Disney’s Ralph Breaks the Internet is a fun, thoughtful journey of two colorful arcade game character venturing into the world wide web. Undeniably imaginative and satirical without snark, this sequel to Wreck-It Ralph (2012) is a great addition to Disney’s ever-growing list of decent sequels. (BKP: 4.5/5) Review by Managing Editor […]

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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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