Currently Browsing: Reviews: N-P

‘Nancy’ creates intriguing balance between ingenuity and fraud

Christina Choe writes and directs Nancy, her feature debut. Andrea Riseborough stars as a lonely and estranged woman in her mid-thirties, who lives with her mother in upstate New York. Set against a bleak and gloomy backdrop, Choe explores the basic human need for connection, familial love, and acceptance. (KIZJ: 3.5/5)

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All-star cast can’t save underwhelming heist in ‘Ocean’s 8’

Ocean’s 8 boasts a powerhouse cast of award-winning actresses as a ragtag group that attempts to rob the annual Met Gala, led by con artist Debbie Ocean (Sandra Bullock). Written by director Gary Ross and Olivia Milch, this excellent cast saves the story from just going through the typical heist-movie motions. (BKP: 3.5/5)  Review by […]

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NANA (2016): Review by Eliana Levenson

Despite a powerful & impressive centerpiece for her story, Serena Dykman’s Nana documentary fails to add a new voice to the cannon of Holocaust documentaries and finds itself struggling to break free of a school project type feel. (EML: 3.5/5)

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OUTSIDE IN (2018): Review by Katharine Cutler

Directed by Lynn Shelton and co-written with Jay Duplass, Outside In tells the unlikely love story of a man released after 20 years in prison and his high school teacher, the only person to stick by him. The film follows the inner workings of their minds and never loses the audience for a second. (KAC: 4.5/5)

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PACIFIC RIM – UPRISING (2018): Review by Amelie Lasker

Pacific Rim: Uprising has memorable characters and a satisfyingly complex story, and for lovers of action, it comes highly recommended. (AEL: 3.5/5)

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PARADOX (2018): Review by Katusha Jin

Paradox is definitely anything but your usual film. The film defies the rules of storytelling in cinema and takes on more of an experimental performance style. Daryl Hannah directs and writes this experiential film starring musician Neil Young. (KIZJ: 1.5/5)

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NO LIGHT & NO LAND ANYWHERE (2016): Review by Farah Elattar

Written and directed by Amber Sealey, No Light and No Land Anywhere tells the story of a young woman who boards a plane from the UK to Los Angeles in search of the father who abandoned her during her childhood. Once in LA, she encounters many new people during her stay – some she will […]

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OUR BLOOD IS WINE (2018): Review by Katusha Jin

Director Emily Railsback and award-winning sommelier Jeremy Quinn embark on the historical journey of wine in Our Blood is Wine. Their documentary looks into the roots of winemaking and vine-growing in the Republic of Georgia. (KIZJ: 2.5/5) 

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OH LUCY! (2017): Review by Brigid K. Presecky

Written and directed by Atsuko Hirayanagi, Oh Lucy! follows Setsuko Kawashima (Shinobu Terajima) a Japanese office worker who finds a new lease on life through her American alter ego. Based on Hirayanagi’s 2014 short film of the same name, the writer-director uses one woman’s life as a bizarre-but-funny vessel for humans’ capacity for change. (BKP: […]

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THE PARTY (2017): Review by Eliana M. Levenson

With quippy dialogue and an classic movie directorial style, Sally Potter’s The Party feels like a brilliant short film forced to drag itself along for an extra twenty minutes. (EML: 3.5/5)

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ON BODY AND SOUL (2017): Review by Amelie Lasker

Written and directed by Hungarian filmmaker Ildikó Envedi, On Body and Soul is a strange and meditative love story of sorts between two managerial workers in a cattle slaughterhouse. (AEL: 4/5)

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THE OPERA HOUSE (2017): Review by Amelie Lasker

In documentary The Opera House, writer and director Susan Froemke tells the story of the Met Opera and the people who built it and love it. In this unexpectedly personal account, we get charming insights into opera stars’, house managers’ and executives’, and architects’ experiences. Froemke has created a fascinating picture of how art and humanity survive across time and place. (AEL: 4/5)

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PITCH PERFECT 3 (2017): Review by Amelie Lasker

In Pitch Perfect 3, co-written by Kay Cannon and directed by Trish Sie, former members of college a cappella group “the Bellas” reunite for a USO tour. Pitch Perfect 3’s main appeal is its fun music and dancing, supported by nostalgia for the first two movies in the trilogy. (AEL: 3/5)

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PITCH PERFECT 3 (2017): Review by Eliana Levenson

Lacking the authenticity of the first film and missing the quick humor of the second film, Pitch Perfect 3, directed by Trish Sie, struggles to find its narrative footing and falls flat comedically, ending as by far the weakest film in the trilogy. (EML: 3.5/5)

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THE POST (2017): Review by Brigid K. Presecky

With a top director and seasoned cast to flesh out a solid script, there was little to no way The Post could fail – and it doesn’t. (BKP: 4.5/5)

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PERMANENT (2017): Review by Brigid K. Presecky

Both bizarre and charming, the sincerity of Permanent is refreshingly sweet and a timeless take on coming-of-age. (BKP: 4.5/5)

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ON WINGS OF EAGLES (2016): Review by Lindsy M. Bissonnette

With chaos raining down, all hope seems lost for those at The Courtyard of the Happy Way, a POW camp in China, until one man’s strength and faith helps unite them. (LMB: 3.5/5)

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NO DRESS CODE REQUIRED (ETIQUETA NO RIGUROSA, 2017): Review by Katusha Jin

Director-screenwriter-producer Cristina Herrera Borquez documents Victor and Fernando’s battle to becoming a legally married gay couple in her film No Dress Code Required. Originally titled Etiqueta No Rigurosa, this documentary spans over a few years where the couple’s love and hope for a licensed recognition, turns into despair and disappointment, which then becomes a mission and duty. (KIZJ: 4/5)

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NOVITIATE (2017): Review by Amelie Lasker

A debut narrative feature from writer and director Margaret Betts, Novitiate explores the secret world of nuns and would-be nuns, and of what motivates their choice to stay in convents their entire adult lives. The movie is set in the the 1960s, when convents were dealing with the changes issued from the Pope, collectively called […]

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NEVER HERE (2017): Review by Amelie Lasker

Never Here is an ambitious debut narrative feature from writer and director Camille Thoman. While the execution could have been more graceful, Thoman’s illustration of an artist’s trajectory is compelling, and definitely worth a watch. (AEL: 4/5)

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ONE OF US (2017): Review by Rachel Kastner

One of Us, a new Netflix documentary by Rachel Grady and Heidi Ewing tells the heart-breaking stories of individuals leaving the Hasidic lifestyle. This documentary empathetically shows the real anger and communal hatred towards these individuals by their former friends and family, and shows how difficult of a decision it is for these people to leave […]

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PROFESSOR MARSTON & THE WONDER WOMEN (2017): Review by Malin Jornvi

Professor Marston and the Wonder Woman is the fictional behind-the-scenes flick about the creators of the comic book heroine Wonder Woman. Director and writer Angela Robinson’s story is as visceral and multifaceted as its muse, if given the open-minded attention it deserves. MJJ: 4/5

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THE PATHOLOGICAL OPTIMIST (2017): Review by Amelie Lasker

Directed by Miranda Bailey, The Pathological Optimist is a documentary on the fascinating and disturbing case of Andrew Wakefield, the British researcher responsible for the anti-vaccination movement. (AEL: 3.5/5)

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NOBODY’S WATCHING (2017): Review by Giorgi Plys-Garzotto

Director Julia Solomonoft’s latest feature tells a story of isolation and struggle as a young actor from Argentina tries to make it in America without a visa. While the plotting is a bit loose, it is still affecting. (GPG: 3.5/5)

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POLINA (2017): Review by Amelie Lasker

Written and co-directed by Valérie Müller, Polina is an incredible work of multi-media storytelling, with a soundtrack by Philip Glass and dances choreographed by the acclaimed Angelin Preljoçaj supporting an already masterful screenplay. (AEL: 5/5)

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PLANETARIUM (2016): Review by Giorgi Plys-Garzotto

Directed by Rebecca Zlotowski and starring Natalie Portman and Lily-Rose Depp, Planetarium follows two American sisters in pre-war France who make their living performing as mediums. They are hired by a French movie studio head who wants to document their abilities, and who becomes increasingly obsessed with them. (GPG: 3.5/5)

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OUR TIME WILL COME (2017): Review by Peier Tracy Shen

Ann Hui’s latest film, Our Time Will Come, is a woman’s take on what has been a guy’s subject—war. It is so easy to imagine another movie: set in the same Japanese-occupied Hong Kong during World War II, the story somehow pivots towards more familiar figures (traditionally male roles) like a hero with roguish charms, […]

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POP AYE (2017): Review By Katusha Jin

A nostalgic road trip movie, Pop Aye, follows the relationship between an unusual pair—architect and elephant—as they encounter a diverse range of people on their journey. Having received many international awards for her previous short films, writer-director Kristen Tan brings to the screen her heartwarming and down-to-earth debut feature. (KIZJ: 4.5/5)

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PRAY FOR RAIN (2017): Review by Stephanie Taylor

Feisty New York fashion reporter “Emma” (Annabelle Stephenson) returns to gang-infested Central Valley, California after her mother “Olivia” (Jane Seymour) delivers the news of her father’s death. Determined to find out more details on his passing and the town’s severe drought, Emma begins her detailed investigation. Writers Christina Moore and Gloria Musca fill their story […]

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PAINT IT BLACK (2016): Review by Giorgi Plys-Garzotto

Paint it Black is a tour de force showcasing the brilliant work of three women: director Amber Tamblyn, and actresses Alia Shawkat and Janet McTeer. With Tamblyn’s visionary guidance, Shawkat and McTeer give performances that will by turns make you laugh, cringe, and shudder. I highly recommend this emotional thriller about men with mommy issues, […]

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