Currently Browsing: Reviews: B-D

BACK TO THE FATHERLAND (2017): Review by FF2 Media

From IMDb: A documentary film that tells the story of young people leaving their home country to try their luck somewhere else. Back to the Fatherland opens 6/14. FF2 review coming soon!

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‘Back to the Fatherland’ a muddled portrayal of Israeli expatriates

Documentary filmmakers Gil Levanon and Kat Rohrer explore the current state of Israel and its connection to the outside world in their film Back to the Fatherland. Their honest efforts fall short as the story gets muddled within a poorly constructed structure and moments of questionable politics. (AG: 1/5 stars). Review by FF2 Intern Anika […]

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BEING FRANK (2018): Review by FF2 Media

From IMDb: A normal father’s family life is turned upside down when his son discovers he has another family. Being Frank opens 6/14. FF2 review coming soon!

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Spring break goes terribly wrong in ‘Being Frank’

Being Frank, directed by Miranda Bailey, is a feel-good comedy about college-bound Philip, who, fed up by his strict, emotionally distant father, sneaks out during spring break with his friend Lewis and accidentally discovers his father’s biggest secret. Shocked and conflicted by his father’s second family, Pat becomes an unwitting accomplice to the lie. Will […]

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‘Blue Note Records: Beyond the Notes’ certainly goes above and beyond

Blue Note Records: Beyond the Notes, directed by Sophie Huber, showcases the history of Blue Note Records, home of many groundbreaking jazz musicians like Miles Davis, John Coltrane and Thelonious Monk. Filled with clips and photos of the artists at work and underscored by their electrifying music, this film is a worthy tribute to the iconic […]

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‘Booksmart’ girls know how to party

In director Olivia Wilde’s new film Booksmart, all hell breaks loose for the two high school geeks on the night before their graduation. The two academic superstars realize perfect grades are not the be all and end all. (SYJ: 3.5/5)       Review written by FF2 Media Intern Sophia Y. Jin A meditation tape […]

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‘A Dog’s Journey’ is sweet but overly heartbreaking

Directed by Gail Mancuso, A Dog’s Journey is the sequel to A Dog’s Purpose, a hit feature in 2017. Part 2 continues the story of Bailey, a dog who reincarnates as many different breeds to save a girl’s lost soul. While the film has a heartwarming conclusion, it gets there through a series of tragic […]

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‘Charlie Says’ a sympathetic study of Manson family cult victims

Synopsis: Mary Harron, director of American Psycho and I Shot Andy Warhol, has just released her newest true crime film Charlie Says (2019). Headlining stars such as Matt Smith, this film asks its viewer to recontextualize the myth of the Manson family cult to become more understanding of the women who were trapped in his […]

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BARDO BLUES (2017): Review by FF2 Media

From IMDb: Story of a mentally ill young man attempting to come to grips with his haunting past by seeking solace and understanding in the unfamiliar Eastern culture of Thailand. Bardo Blues opens 5/3 in NYC. FF2 review coming soon!

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DECADE OF FIRE (2019): Review by FF2 Media

During the 70’s and early 80’s, the Bronx was burning. The documentary, Decade of Fire, explores the history of this chaotic time, delving deeper and uncovering the many factors that have put the Bronx at risk. (KAC: 4/5) Review by FF2 Intern Katharine Cutler Vivian Vázquez Irizarry is a Bronx native. As a child, she […]

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BE NATURAL – THE UNTOLD STORY OF ALICE GUY-BLACHE (2018): Review by FF2 Media

From IMDb: Pamela B. Green’s energetic film about pioneer filmmaker Alice Guy-Blaché is both a tribute and a detective story, tracing the circumstances by which this extraordinary artist faded from memory and the path toward her reclamation. Be Natural opens 4/26. FF2 review coming soon!

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Nostalgic ‘Body at Brighton Rock’ leaves rookie park ranger stranded

Roxanne Benjamin’s Body at Brighton Rock tells the story of a rookie park ranger who gets stranded in a mountainous forest with a dead cell phone battery – and a dead body. Karina Fontes carries the indie thriller with her portrayal of a young woman dependent on her own wit and strength to battle fear, […]

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CHASING PORTRAITS (2018): Review by FF2 Media

From IMDb: One man’s art. One woman’s unexpected path to healing. An American woman’s emotional quest to find the art of her Polish-Jewish great-grandfather, lost during World War II. Chasing Portraits opens 4/26. FF2 review coming soon!

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Metz and Grace make ‘Breakthrough’ a universal uplift

Director Roxann Dawson’s Breakthrough recreates the miraculous true story of a Missouri boy’s traumatic accident and the unfailing faith of his devoted mother. With This Is Us star Chrissy Metz leading a strong cast, the film is a tactful reimagining of what could have easily been turned into Christian-skewed camp. (BKP: 4/5) Review by Vice […]

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THE CURSE OF LA LLORONA (2019): Review by FF2 Media

Written by Mikki Daughtry and Tobias Iaconis, and directed by Michael Chaves, Curse de La Llorona is a horror film based on the Mexican legendary ghost of La Llorona — a woman who drowned her children and now cries while looking for them in the river, and goes after others who cross her path. (FEA […]

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THE CURSE OF LA LLORONA (2019): Review by FF2 Media

From IMDb: Ignoring the eerie warning of a troubled mother suspected of child endangerment, a social worker and her own small kids are soon drawn into a frightening supernatural realm. The Curse of La Llorona opens 4/19. FF2 review coming soon!

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‘Blowin’ Up’ an insightful look at broken criminal justice system

Stephanie Wang-Breal’s documentary, Blowin’ Up, speaks of a unique judicial system that helps female victims of sex trafficking (mostly Black an Asian) get back on track with their lives. It’s not only inspiring but insightful. Judge Toko Serita is dedicated to helping women get a second chance at life in a Queens courtroom. One of […]

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CATCHING SIGHT OF THELMA & LOUISE (2017): Review by Brigid K. Presecky

Following the 1991 release of Thelma & Louise, director Jennifer Townsend conducted a questionnaire as a research project: did other people share a similar, visceral reaction to the film? After sorting through handwritten letters and cassette-tape voicemails, Townsend follows up with her responders two decades later. This uniquely touching documentary shows how impactful art can […]

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CATCHING SIGHT OF THELMA & LOUISE (2017): Review by Amelie Lasker

In Catching Sight of Thelma and Louise, fans and members of the original cast and crew share their experiences with the iconic film. Documentarian Jennifer Townsend enlists a group of fans to explore the film’s funniest and most difficult moments, and to appreciate the cultural significance the film retains. (AEL: 4/5)

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The Brink reveals Bannon’s true character through cinéma vérité

The Brink, directed by Alison Klayman, documents former White House Chief Strategist Stephen Bannon’s efforts to align with far-right world leaders and spread his nationalist agenda around the world. The film is expertly nuanced in position, and although it might appear to give Bannon the attention he loves, it succeeds in undermining him at every […]

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BUDDY (2018): Review by Katharine Cutler

Directed by Heddy Honigmann, Buddy is more than just a movie about dogs; its emotional depth and respect for the subjects propels it miles above its peers. Buddy takes a long look at the special relationship that people have with their dogs. (KC: 4.5/5) Review by FF2 Intern Katharine Cutler Buddy is an emotionally intense […]

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‘Captive State’ another gloomy envisioning of dystopian America

Erica Beeney co-writes with director Rupert Wyatt, creating a sci-fi thriller with the help of a stellar cast, including John Goodman as William Mulligan, a Chicago police officer tasked with fighting an invading alien force. For fans of the impending-doom genre or those willing to dissect the political commentary, Captive State could be captivating. For […]

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‘Captain Marvel’ saves the day

Brie Larson stars in the new award-winning Marvel movie, Captain Marvel, co-directed by Anna Boden. Available in 4Dx, the immersive experience gives the action movie an extra punch. Based on the infamous Stan Lee comics, “Carol Danvers” (Brie Larson) saves the world from terror using the only power needed: girl power. (SYJ: 5/5) Review written […]

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‘The Competition’ exposes troubling inner workings of France’s Elite Film Institute

The Competition (2016) follows the application process of France’s premier film institute La Fémis. Claire Simon’s observational style delivers moments of insight and honesty that are enough to keep any viewer thoroughly engaged. Even so, there are times when this documentary film feels, perhaps unintentionally, directionless and obscured. (AG: 3.5/5) Review by FF2 Intern Anika […]

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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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‘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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‘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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‘Daughter of Mine’ delivers moving look into the trials of motherhood

A withdrawn ten year old named Vittoria is confronted with the reality of her past when her biological mother attempts to come back into her life. (AG: 3/5 stars)    Review by FF2 Intern Anika Guttormson Daughter of Mine (2018) is an Italian film by director Laura Bispuri, and co-written by Francesca Manieri and Laura […]

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‘A Dog’s Way Home’ is more bizarre than cute

  Writer Cathryn Michon’s A Dog’s Way Home is probably enjoyable for children, but it’s definitely not one of those kid’s movies (like those in Pixar canon) that people of all ages will like. The animals are cute, but the plot and characters are wooden in the extreme, and the film makes a bizarre attempt […]

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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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