Currently Browsing: Reviews: B-D

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

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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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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‘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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‘Bird Box’, the Christmas released post-apocalyptic thriller that everyone’s been watching

Netflix’s Christmas hit Bird Box, directed by Susanne Bier, is a post-apocalyptic thriller that follows the hardened Malorie as she and her children brave a dangerous journey in order to escape the supernatural force that’s killed off most of the human population—the “creature”.  (BV 4.0/5.0) Review by Intern Beatrice Viri Bird Box opens by establishing […]

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Christina Hodson’s ‘Bumblebee’ gets nostalgia right

Christina Hodson’s take on the Transformers story focuses more on human emotion than the well-known Michael Bay franchise. With Hailee Steinfeld impressively leading the action blockbuster, this new telling of an old tale is a refreshing change. (BKP: 4/5)

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Documentary ‘Bathtubs Over Broadway’ Provides Touching Insight Into Industrial Theater

Documentary Bathtubs over Broadway follows the Late Night With David Letterman writer Steve Young as his unique interest in old records takes him on an adventure through the behind the scenes art of corporate America. (4.5/5)   Review by FF2 Intern Anika Guttormson   Dava Whisenant makes her directorial debut in documentary Bathtubs Over Broadway […]

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CAPERNAUM (2018): Review by Katharine Cutler

Written by Nadine Labaki, Jihad Hojeily, and Michelle Keserwany, Capernaum is a film that works to reframe poor children in a way that doesn’t exploit them or pity them. While powerful and moving, the film moves beyond those terms and creates something that doesn’t beg for attention. (KAC: 5/5) Review by FF2 Intern Katharine Cutler […]

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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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Psychological thriller ‘The Charmer’ frontlines fear, desperation of immigrants

The Charmer is a psychological thriller that centers Iranian immigrant Esmail as he searches for a girlfriend that can help him stay in Denmark. He finds himself in trouble along the way as he encounters trials from his past. (3.5/5)

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DIVIDE AND CONQUER – THE STORY OF ROGER AILES (2018): Review by FF2 Media

Director Alexis Bloom chooses a Roman battle tactic as the title for Divide and Conquer, her documentary on Fox News’s Caligula. They say sunlight is the best disinfectant, though this film made me wonder if anything can cleanse America’s political palate after Roger Ailes’s career. (GPG: 5/5) Review by FF2 Contributor Giorgi Plys-Garzotto Like his […]

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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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‘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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Tradition and modernity fuse in ‘Bali: Beats of Paradise’

Bali: Beats of Paradise, directed by Livi Zheng, promotes the traditional Indonesian art of Gamelan music to the western world through the collaboration “Queen of the Hill” between The Voice’s Judith Hill and Nyoman Wenten, a famous Indonesian composer. (BV: 3.5/5) Review by Intern Beatrice Viri In Bali: Beats of Paradise, Judith Hill, the singer […]

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