Currently Browsing: Reviews: B-D

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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Shevaun Mizrahi’s debut film ‘Distant Constellation’ is a simple kind of sorrow

Shevaun Mizrahi’s debut film Distant Constellation is a nonlinear documentary that paints portraits of seniors living in a retirement facility as they go about their daily lives, while the neighborhood around them is being torn apart and redeveloped. (BV: 3.5/5)

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‘Border’, a mystical Scandinavian modern fantasy

Based on a short story in a collection of Swedish horror by John Ajvide Lindqvist with the screenplay written by Lindqvist, Isabella Eklöf and director Ali Abbasi, Border (or Gräns in the original Swedish) follows the tale of an unattractive, reclusive woman investigating a crime, in the process discovering who she really is and undergoing […]

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DOVLATOV (2018): Review by FF2 Media

Yulia Tupikina writes a story about one of the Soviet Union’s most popular writers in Dovlatov. The film is in Russian and spent impressive amounts of time and money on production design, so Dovlatov is probably about as close as you can get to how it looked and felt to live in the USSR. However, […]

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‘Can You Ever Forgive Me?’ a buzzy showcase for McCarthy

In a dramatic turn for Melissa McCarthy (not the first, but lauded as so), Can You Ever Forgive Me? tells the story of fledgling author Lee Israel and the illegal lengths she went to for extra cash and a sense of purpose. The Marielle Heller-directed drama based on Israel’s memoir of the same name is a no-makeup-Oscar-buzz-generator showcase for McCarthy, but its anti-hero protagonist isn’t much of a protagonist at all. (BKP: 3.5/5)

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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)

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‘Charm City’ Sheds Light on Gun Violence in Baltimore

Dedicated to discussing crime and gun violence in Baltimore, Charm City tackles the issue from various sides. Director Marilyn Ness includes the voices of police officers, politicians, and the residents themselves as she explores the causes, effects, and potential solutions to a problem that, at times, seems unsolvable. Honest, informative, and thought-provoking, this documentary does […]

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‘Bill Coors – The Will to Live’ inspires positivity

Kerry David co-writes and directs a multi-award winning documentary Bill Coors: The Will to Live. Bill Coors, or William Kistler “Bill” Coors, shares an incredibly detailed history of his life. Although he is known as a giant of the brewing industry, this film delves into the intricacies of his home life as well as his mental […]

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‘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)

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Tender performances stand out in narrative biopic ‘Blaze’

Based on the biography by Sybil Rosen, Blaze recounts the life and death of an unknown legend in Texas music history. Gentle and loving, this biopic celebrates the complexities that made up Blaze Foley’s life. (KAC: 5/5) Review by FF2 Intern Katharine Cutler Directed by Ethan Hawke, Blaze is a story of love and loss […]

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‘The Bookshop’ is aesthetically beautiful but unfortunately boring

In a small East Anglian town in 1959, Florence Green (Emily Mortimer) is determined to open a bookshop despite resistance from elite members of the town. Florence befriends the outcasts of the town in order to find solace amongst the opposition. Based on Penelope Fitzgerald’s renowned novel and directed by Isabel Coixet (known for features […]

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Alison McAlpine’s ‘Cielo’ reminds us to look up

From director Alison McAlpine, Cielo is a breathtaking documentary tribute to a simple beauty we take for granted – the night sky. (BKP: 4/5)

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‘Breaking & Exiting’ fails to surpass romantic comedy tropes

Breaking & Exiting (directed by Peter Facinelli and written by leading lady Jordan Hinson) is a saturated romantic comedy about a relationship that blossoms after a suave house thief interrupts a suicide attempt. (DLH: 2.5/5)

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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)

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Dog Days isn’t much to bark about

Dog Days falls prey to its own multi-protagonist structure with poor character development, hanging storylines, and flimsy inter-story connectivity. But hey, at least there are some cute dogs! 

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‘Christopher Robin’ delightfully revives the world of Winnie the Pooh

Filled with all of the same love, kindness and charm of the books that inspired it, Christopher Robin is an absolute delight. (JRL: 5/5)

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A children’s world in ‘The Darkest Minds’

The Darkest Minds is light-hearted and intended for younger audiences, and it is enjoyable, but it misses potentially deeper tonalities. (FEA: 3.5/5)

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‘The Bleeding Edge’ is unafraid, unforgiving, and absolutely unbelievable

In their eye-opening documentary, The Bleeding Edge, critically acclaimed writer/director Kirby Dick and co-writer Amy Ziering shed an important light on America’s corrupt medical industry and the loopholes the FDA will find in order to comply with industry interests. (MTP: 5/5)

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Political doc ‘Dark Money’ a thrilling, sobering look at corruption

Director Kimberly Reed’s political thriller documentary pulls back the curtain on corrupt American politics, examining the illegal coordination between big-money corporations and elected government officials. By following investigative journalist John Adams through the state of Montana, Dark Money exposes the real-life consequences of political fraud and its threat to democracy. (4.5/5)

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‘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)

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‘Robin Williams: Come Inside My Mind’ gets personal

Through an expansive collection of archived videos, photos, and audio from the infamous comedian’s life, Robin Williams: Come Inside My Mind (directed by Marina Zenovich) gives an intimate look into Williams’ life and legacy. Be prepared to laugh, cry, and binge all your favorite Robin Williams films after watching this. (4.5/5) If you are a […]

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‘Bleeding Steel’ is weighed down by bad jokes

Sometimes a movie is “so-bad-that-it’s-good,” but Bleeding Steel, weighed down by bad jokes and cheesy special effects, never reaches that threshold. (HM: 2/5) Review by FF2 Intern Hannah Mayo I hated Bleeding Steel just as much as I enjoyed it. A spoof of old sci-fi and action movies, writers Erica Xia-Hou and Siwei Cui and director […]

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Constructing Albert succeeds in aesthetic, fails with interiority

Constructing Albert (directed by Laura Collado and Jim Loomis) examines the current hardships and successes of Chef Albert Adrià and his multi-restaurant ownership, and features some of the most visually exquisite cuisine to hit the big screen. (DLH: 2.5/5) Review by FF2 Intern Dayna Hagewood While it is certainly a pleasure to see Adrià’s impressive food […]

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‘Dark River’ a modern take on the classic Greek tragedy

Directed by Clio Barnard and written by Clio Barnard, Lila Rawlings, and Rose Tremain, Dark River follows a young woman who returns to her home village in North Yorkshire after her estranged father’s death in order to claim the family farm. Low-key and minimalist in its production, Dark River is a beautifully tragic family drama […]

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‘Boundaries’ is an engaging but underwhelming father-daughter film

Despite some clever dialogue and interesting characters, Shana Feste’s Boundaries falls short of delivering anything more than your classic indie road trip movie. (EML: 3.5/5)

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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)

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‘Boom for Real’ transports you into the world of Basquiat

In Boom for Real: The Late Teenage Years of Jean-Michel Basquiat, director Sara Driver captures the raw creativity of the world renowned artist Jean-Michel Basquiat before his height of commercial success. Through interviews and period film footage, music, and pictures from the time, Driver paints a portrait of Basquiat pre-fame and before anyone was driven […]

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