Currently Browsing: Reviews: H-J

HALA (2019): Review by FF2 Media

Muslim teenager Hala copes with the unraveling of her family as she comes into her own. Hala opens 11/22 and streams on Apple TV+ Dec. 6. FF2 review coming soon! Read our interview with writer-director Minhal Baig here.

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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): Review by FF2 Media

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 (2018): Review by FF2 Media

From IMDb: Harry Rosenmerck, an Ashkenazi Jewish American cardiologist, left everything to become a pig farmer in the Holy Land. Holy Lands opens 6/21. FF2 review coming soon!

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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 (2018): Review by FF2 Media

From IMDb: A young woman named Savannah Knoop spends six years pretending to be the celebrated author JT LeRoy, the made-up literary persona of her sister-in-law. JT LeRoy opens 4/26. FF2 review coming soon!

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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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‘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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‘Here and Now’ peers into a woman’s crippling mind

Directed by Fabien Constant and written by Laura Eason, Here and Now follows the day Vivienne (Sarah Jessica Parker), a famous jazz singer, finds out devastating news that will change her life forever. She finds herself having to question her relationships with her family, friends, and even her random Lyft driver as she grapples with […]

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‘The Hate U Give’ a moving force of nature on the humanity that lies beneath political controversy

When 16-year-old “Starr Carter” (Amandla Stenberg) witnesses the unjust, fatal shooting of her friend at the hands of a police officer, her life is changed forever. Already caught between the worlds of her mostly black neighborhood and her mostly white prep school, Starr must overcome the pressures around her to find her own voice. Based […]

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‘Hell Fest’ a fun start to Halloween season

From screenwriter Blair Butler (one of five credited writers) and director Gregory Plotkin, Hell Fest is a typical teen slasher film that’s refreshingly free of demonic possession, but also free of originality. (BKP: 3.5/5) Review by Managing Editor Brigid K. Presecky Childhood friends Brooke (Reign Edwards) and Natalie (Amy Forsyth) reunite for Halloween to attend […]

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‘Jane Fonda in Five Acts’ is a triumph for women

Directed by Susan Lacey, Jane Fonda in Five Acts explores Jane Fonda’s life to date divided into five movements: her childhood, her three marriages, and finally herself. Emotional, honest and strikingly brave, this film is a masterpiece. (JRL: 4.5/5) In Jane Fonda in Five Acts, Jane Fonda recounts her life experiences in five distinct parts. […]

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‘A Happening of Monumental Proportions’ is anything but monumental

In just one day, a dead body is found, a man loses his job, an affair ends, a crime is committed, and hearts are broken. In her directorial debut, director Judy Greer attempts to weave together the vignettes of many characters but fails to create a cohesive, compelling, or funny narrative. The star-studded cast is […]

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‘Intelligent Lives’ demonstrates amazing ability of the disabled

Intelligent Lives (directed by Dan Habib and co-written by Jody Becker) is an inspiring and informative documentary about three intellectually disabled young adults making their way in the world despite the myriad of challenges that face them every day. (DLH: 4/5) Review by FF2 Intern Dayna Hagewood Intelligent Lives begins with actor Chris Cooper discussing […]

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‘Hale County’ a graceful portrait of small-town Alabama

Hale County This Morning, This Evening is a delicate portrait of a way of life. Shot in director RaMell Ross’s hometown, Hale County, Alabama, this film contains the beauty and the darkness of passing time. (KAC: 4/5) Review by FF2 Intern Katharine Cutler Written by Ross and Maya Krinsky, Hale County is not a typical […]

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