Currently Browsing: Reviews: H-J

Mineworkers and their families fight joyfully in Harlan County, USA

Full of conversations from the center of action at organizers’ meetings and on picket lines, the documentary gives a vivid picture of the mineworkers’ lives and dreams. (AEL: 4.5/5)

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Maria João Ganga’s Hollow City takes us into the midst of life during Angola’s civil war

Maria João Ganga directs Hollow City (2002), a narrative feature set in Luanda during the Angolan civil war in 1991. Originally titled Na Cidade Vazia, (translated as In the Empty City), this film portrays the effects of a civil war on its people through the eyes of a 12-year-old boy. KIZJ (3.5/5)

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The monotony of modern life in Je Tu Il Elle

A modern classic, Chantal Ackerman’s debut Je Tu Il Elle is both an ambiguous and precise film that deals with the cycles of desire, deprivation, and gratification that come with living in the modern world. (FEA: 5/5).

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“Judy & Punch” a comedy, horror, and satire in one

In a town ruled by ignorance and public stonings, a married couple works to bring their locally successful puppet show to the big stage. When the husband’s blinding ambition leads to tragedy, the wife seeks vengeance. Horror, comedy, and satire prove an interesting and entertaining – though not always compelling – mix in Mirrah Foulkes’ […]

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Refreshingly honest ‘Hooking Up’ is an atypical road trip rom-com

Brittany Snow and Sam Richardson star in the refreshing and unique romantic comedy Hooking Up, on digital and on demand March 20.  Darla (Snow) is a sex-crazed columnist for a fading magazine who has one last chance to prove her worth to her boss. When she meets Bailey (Richardson), a testicular cancer patient who has […]

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INTRIGO – DEATH OF AN AUTHOR (2018): Review by FF2 Media

Intrigo: Death of an Author confuses the viewer both with its plot and with the mere fact of its having been made in the first place. Writer Birgitta Bongenhielm really has some explaining to do on this one, or maybe that should fall to Hakan Nesser, the author of the original novel. (GPG: 1/5) Review […]

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IP MAN 4 – THE FINALE (2019): Review by FF2 Media

IP Man 4: The Finale is the final part in an epic part-fiction-part-biopic series centering around the famous martial arts instructor Ip Man. In this finale, Ip Man travels to San Francisco to catch up with former student Bruce Lee and find a school for his son to attend. In America, Ip Man is met […]

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‘The Invisible Life’: a tragedy of two separated sisters in a toxic patriarchy

The Invisible Life, based on the The Invisible Life of Euridice Gusmão by Martha Batalha, is a Brazillian-German film directed by Karim Aïnouz and written with Inés Bortagaray and Murilo Hauser. The movie follows two sisters that are kept apart due to a lie told by their father, and their differing lives connected by persisting […]

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Family and tradition unravel in ‘Hala’

In writer and director Minhal Baig’s new film Hala, a seventeen-year-old Muslim American teenager “Hala” (Geraldine Viswanathan) struggles to find a balance between her family and cultural values. (SYJ: 4/5)

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‘Honey Boy’ is an autobiographical treat

Twelve-year-old Otis (Noah Jupe) is becoming a Hollywood star. His dad is a substance-abusing ex-clown with a mean temper. Twenty-two-year-old Otis (Lucas Hedges) has landed himself in rehab after years of excessive alcoholism and anger management issues. This is the biopic of Shia LaBeouf, the kid star of early 2000’s Even Stevens and Transformers fame. […]

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HARRIET (2019): What Twitter and History Have To Say About The Long Awaited Biopic

In the midst of controversy over historical accuracy and the lead actress’s politics, director Kasi Lemmons gives the conductor of the Underground Railroad a long-awaited biopic in Harriet. Her slave master is weirdly humanized while a black bounty hunter is thrown into the story for seemingly no reason; at the same time, acting from luminaries […]

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‘Immortal Hero’ advocates to spread love — but ends up very insensitve

Immortal Hero, screenplay by Sayaka Okawa, is a film about a man determined to spread his gospel of love. Makoto Mioya is a successful author who owns a publishing company, and seemingly has a perfect life — but soon, faces a life-threatening, near death experience that causes him to reevaluate his priorities.  (BV: 2.0/5.0) Review […]

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‘High Strung Free Dance’: High Stakes only with its dance

High Strung Free Dance, directed by Michael Damian and written with Janeen Damian, is centered on two struggling artists, a dancer and a pianist, who are casted in a highly-anticipated Broadway show by a zealous, perfectionist choreographer. (BV: 3.0/5.0) Review by Junior Associate Beatrice Viri High Strung Free Dance is all about the hustle and […]

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‘Hustlers’ is a powerhouse of social critique and female friendship

Hustlers (written and directed by Lorene Scafaria) is a whirlwind look into the exclusive world of high-class strippers as they struggle to stay on top of an ever-shifting industry. Based on a true story, Hustlers beautifully demonstrates the highs, lows, friendships, catastrophes, and subversive truths of the lives of multiple women that work in the […]

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‘Jacob’s Ladder’ is a thriller that falls flat

Written by Sarah Thorpe and Jeff Buhler, the remake of 1990’s film Jacob’s Ladder tells the story of a veteran at home from war who suffers from hallucinations of hauntings by his dead brother. Having served as a trauma surgeon overseas, Jacob begins treatment for PTSD once he returns home. He begins taking a drug […]

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JAWLINE (2019): Review by FF2 Media

Created by Liza Mandelup, Jawline is about a 16-year-old boy who dreams of escaping his small life in rural Tennessee by becoming rich and famous using social media. Jawline is a fascinating, if uncomfortable to watch, testament to the rising world of internet fame and what it demonstrates about the world of social media in […]

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‘Honeyland’ is stunning, heartbreaking, and bee-wildering

Directed by Tamara Kotevska and Ljubomir Stefanov, Honeyland is an observational documentary that brilliantly follows the solitary indigenous life of Hatizde Muratova, the “last female beehunter in Europe,” as she attempts to maintain her bee colonies and care for her ill mother. (DLH: 5/5) Review by FF2 Associate Dayna Hagewood Honeyland is the most visually […]

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‘Holy Lands’ a confused attempt to chronicle family’s connection

Amanda Sther’s Holy Lands tells the story of a family dispersed across the world, their personal stories, and disconnected relationships. While potent with compassion, the story gets buried by an unsuccessful attempt to translate novel into film . (HRM: 2/5) Review by FF2 Media’s Hannah Mayo Holy Lands starts with the story of “Harry Rosenmerck” […]

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How to perfect ‘The Hustle’

In Chris Addison’s new movie, co-written by Jac Schaeffer, The Hustle depicts two very contrasting characters involved in a comedic endeavour in which they try and scam billionaires. Using dumb humor, the audience sees the differences in upper and lower class organized crimes. (SYJ: 2/5)       Review written by FF2 Media Intern Sophia […]

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Preserving modern art with ‘If the Dancer Dances’

If the Dancer Dances is a documentary directed by Maia Weschler and produced by Lise Friedman, focused on the Stephen Petronio Company’s reconstruction of Merce Cunningham’s “The Rainforest.”. (BV: 3.5/5) Review by Intern Beatrice Viri To celebrate the deceased choreographer Mercier “Merce” Cunningham’s impact on modern dance, the Stephen Petronio Company honors his legacy by […]

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JT LeRoy a captivating story about art and identity

Based on the memoir written by Savannah Knoop, JT LeRoy is about an author who has found success writing under an alternate identity and who petitions her boyfriend’s sister, Savannah, to embody him. Kristen Stewart and Laura Dern are electric in this fascinating story. (JRL: 4 / 5)  Looking to start a new life, Savannah […]

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“Hail Satan?”: Satanists fight not for Lucifer, but social justice?

Hail Satan?, directed by Penny Lane, is a documentary centering on Satanism and The Satanic Temple, a movement focused on upholding religious liberty, bodily autonomy, and free expression. (BV 4.0/5.0) Review by Intern Beatrice Viri Compiling a series of interviews, protest displays and archival footage, Hail Satan? focuses on  The Satanic Temple figure-headed by “Lucien Greaves”, […]

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Claire Denis achieves great heights in High Life

Written and directed by Claire Denis, High Life tackles a space journey gone horribly wrong and follows a crew of death row criminals on their quest to research black holes. High Life is Denis’ next expert foray into exploring sexuality, human interaction, and the meaning of living—this time in space. (DLH: 4.5/5) Review by FF2 […]

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Alcohol abuse takes its toll in compelling drama ‘I’m Not Here’

Written and directed by Michelle Schumacher, I’m Not Here is a film about an old man reflecting on his past, working through trauma and learning to find peace with his life’s biggest regret through vivid flashbacks of an earlier time. Though it has issues with the substance of its narrative, I’m Not Here demonstrates real talent […]

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Thoughtful satire ‘Isn’t It Romantic’ is a guaranteed laugh

Written by Erin Cardillo, Dana Fox and Katie Silberman, Isn’t It Romantic is a satire about an Australian architect who is knocked out and wakes up in her own romantic comedy. Though its purpose in satirizing the genre of rom-coms is somewhat unclear, the satirical recreation of wildly unrealistic rom-com tropes is pretty much guaranteed […]

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‘The Invisibles’ falls short of emotional satisfaction

A documentary-drama hybrid, The Invisibles tells the realities of four young Jewish men and women attempting to live under the nose of the Gestapo in Nazi-occupied Berlin, Germany. Though packed with the intensity expected of a World War II documentary, it fails to go further in bringing the audience closer to the events and characters. […]

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HAPPY AS LAZZARO (2018): Review by FF2 Media

Happy As Lazzaro is a metaphorical journey about a group of Italian peasants who are being exploited as sharecroppers by a tobacco producer. One young man, Lazzaro, is extremely kind, and lives a life of miracles and misfortune because of it. Director Alice Rohrwacher delivers a slightly absurd but meditative and aesthetically pleasing story about […]

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‘Head Full of Honey’ a light-hearted story about a heavy disease

Written by Hilly Martinek and Til Schweiger, Head Full of Honey is the story of a young girl who takes her grandfather with Alzheimer’s on a trip to Venice, where he first fell in love with his late wife. Both funny and heartbreaking, this film is a refreshing and honest story of family love 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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INVISIBLE HANDS (2018): Review by Giorgi Plys-Garzotto

Documentarian Shraysi Tandon illuminates the horrific condition of child laborers in developing countries. It will be hard for the audience to go back to their lifestyles of cheaply-manufactured clothing and plastic goods after Invisible Hands shows them about how those products got to the marketplace in the Western world. The ending of this film takes […]

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