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‘Tigers Are Not Afraid’ is as real as it is magical

Tigers Are Not Afraid (“Vuelven,” written and directed by Issa López) is an intense fantasy-infused drama that follows young Estrella and her cohort of orphaned friends as they struggle to survive the violence and persecution of Mexican cartels. While Tigers Are Not Afraid excels in balancing the fantastical with the harsh reality of the kids’ […]

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‘Them That Follow’ holds onto every breath

Wild Appalachia country holds its secrets. Writer-directors Britt Poulton and Dan Madison Savage dig at those secrets in Them That Follow, a captivating story of a young pastor’s daughter living in the mountains. Mara (Alice Englert) was raised by her father (Walton Goggins) to be faithful, subservient, and modest. She is all of those things, […]

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‘Toy Story 4’ goes beyond infinity

The story of Woody, Buzz and the gang continues in Toy Story 4, directed by Josh Cooley and co-written by Andrew Stanton and Stephany Folsom. When his owner Bonnie makes a new favorite plaything out of a discarded spork and pipe cleaners, Woody (Tom Hanks) must teach Forky (Tony Hale) what it really means be […]

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‘Too Late to Die Young’ a subtly impactful coming-of-age drama

The first female filmmaker to win the Leopard Award in the Locarno Film Festival’s 71-year history, Dominga Sotomayor creates a subtly impactful coming-of-age drama in Too Late to Die Young. Based on her adolescence in 1990 Chile, Sotomayor tells a story of family, loss and transition through the poignant lens of 16-year-old Sofía (Demian Hernandez). […]

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‘The Third Wife’: A critique on the patriarchy set in ancient Vietnam

The Third Wife, Ash Mayfair’s ambitious directorial debut, is a tale of female resilience in male-dominated ancient Vietnam, where a 14-year old girl becomes a wealthy landowner’s third wife. (4.0/5.0) Review by Intern Beatrice Viri Transported down the river in ceremonial canoe, inexperienced and baby-faced May (Nguyễn Phương Trà My) becomes the third wife of […]

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‘That Way Madness Lies’ showcases America’s broken mental health system

Filmmaker Sandra Luckow must navigate America’s mental health system in order to help her brother, who has been hospitalized for schizophrenia. Duanne’s initial hospitalization leads to Sandra acting as his primary conservator for years afterward, while his symptoms become more aggressive and antisocial and her patience wears increasingly thin (GPG: 3/5).

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‘Trouble’ lacks cohesion but has lots of heart

Written and directed by Theresa Rebeck, Trouble is a heartfelt comedy about a brother and sister in a heated feud over property rights. (JRL: 3/5) Review by FF2 Media Intern Julia Lasker Maggie (Anjelica Huston) lives on a large plot of land in Vermont, spending her days gardening and taking in the view from her front porch. […]

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‘The Texture of Falling’ riddled with poor logic and half-assembled relationships

Written and directed by Maria Allred, The Texture of Falling is an attempted dramatic thriller detailing the confusing and muddled life of Louisa, an aspiring filmmaker, who also struggles with the personal relationships in her life. (DLH:1.5/5) Review by FF2 Intern Dayna Hagewood While it is clear that The Texture of Falling — written and directed […]

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TULLY (2018): Review by Roza Melkumyan

An exhausted mother of three hires a “night nanny” to take care of her newborn daughter. The two women forge a close relationship while reflecting on their lives and exploring their notions of youth and motherhood. Jason Reitman and Diablo Cody  – the director and screenwriter duo responsible for 2007’s Juno  – deliver a film […]

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TRUTH OR DARE (2018): Review by Brigid Presecky

From director Jeff Wadlow and three co-writers including Jillian Jacobs, Blumhouse’s Truth or Dare is a basic teen horror movie without many thrills. Despite its occasional scares and attempted commentary on the danger of both secrecy and blatant honesty, there’s nothing truthful or daring about this cringe-worthy film. (BKP: 2.5/5) Review by Managing Editor Brigid […]

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THIS IS HOME – A REFUGEE STORY (2018): Review by Amelie Lasker

In This Is Home: A Refugee Story, filmmakers follow four Syrian families in their first months as refugees in Baltimore, Maryland. Their story is sweet and sensitive, but not at all easy. (AEL: 4.5/5)

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TOMB RAIDER (2018): Review by Amelie Lasker

“Lara Croft” (Alicia Vikander) leaves her home in London in search of the island off the coast of Japan where her father disappeared seven years ago. In an ensuing action-adventure story that soon expands far beyond her family, Lara’s bravery and stubbornness are tested over and over again. (AEL: 3/5)

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TEHRAN TABOO (2017): Review by Roza Melkumyan

In Tehran Taboo, four young people struggle as they feel the weight of Iran’s restrictive Islamic society in matters of sex, money, and lifestyle. Director Ali Soozandeh and writer Grit Kienzlen deliver stark yet beautiful images while revealing and criticizing taboos that govern the Iranian people. (RMM: 4.5/5)

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THE TRIBES OF PALOS VERDES (2017): Review by Amelie Lasker

Written by Karen Croner, The Tribes of Palos Verdes tells the story of the Mason family’s unraveling from the perspective of teenaged “Medina” (Maika Monroe). All Medina wants is for everyone in what she calls her “tribe” to be okay, but of course, the situation is much too complicated for that. (AEL: 3.5/5)

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THE DEPARTURE (2017): Review by Roza Melkumyan

In her documentary, director and writer Lana Wilson quietly captures the pain and profundity in the struggle between life and death via an unconventional Buddhist priest. (RMM: 4/5)

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TAKE EVERY WAVE: THE LIFE OF LAIRD HAMILTON (2017): Review by Elyse Thaler

Take Every Wave: The Life of Laird Hamilton explores the infamous daredevil, Laird Hamilton, in an attempt to unlock the secret behind Laird’s insatiable appetite for the ocean and the dangerous waves it creates.Take Every Wave: The Life of Laird Hamilton explores the infamous daredevil, Laird Hamilton, in an attempt to unlock the secret behind Laird’s insatiable appetite for the ocean and the dangerous waves it creates.Take Every Wave: The Life of Laird Hamilton explores the infamous daredevil, Laird Hamilton, in an attempt to unlock the secret behind Laird’s insatiable appetite for the ocean and the dangerous waves it creates. (EBT: 5/5)

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Take My Nose…Please! (2017)

Director Joan Kron digs deep in this close-to-home doc about the good, bad, and the ugly moments of living in the limelight. Regardless of your understanding and involvement in show business, this is not to be missed! (LMB: 4.5/5) 

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THE TIGER HUNTER (2017): Review by Eliana M. Levenson

Set against the backdrop of the 1970s, Lena Khan’s Tiger Hunter is an endearing and charming look at the American dream through the eyes of a young Indian immigrant hoping to live up to his father’s reputation by achieving greatness in the land of opportunity. (EML: 4/5)

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TROPHY (2017): Review by Amelie Lasker

Big game hunting may seem niche, but it’s an industry worth tens of billions of dollars, and it is rife with moral questions. Hunters argue that the revenue they produce helps to conserve habitats, and local anti-poaching officials add that the money the hunters spend helps to keep poachers from killing the same animals in […]

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TULIP FEVER (2017): Review by Giorgi Plys-Garzotto

Penned by Deborah Moggach, Tulip Fever is a tragic tale of love and greed in 17th century Amsterdam. A beautiful period piece, with good performances, if not good writing. (GPG: 3/5)

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THIS TIME TOMORROW (2016): Review by Brigid Presecky

Writer-director Lina Rodriguez follows the life of a single family living in Colombia’s capital city in This Time Tomorrow (Manana a esta hora). Her straightforward direction and simplistic storytelling create a moving look at the minutiae of everyday life, but makes for an ultimately slow moving-going experience. (BKP: 4/5) Review by Managing Editor Brigid K. […]

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TO THE BONE (2017): Review by Brigid Presecky

Marti Noxon’s Netflix dark comedy finds Lily Collins in an unconventional group home for addicts, as the 20-year-old fights the grip of anorexia. In the same vein as the “YA” genre so massively popular in novels, theaters and streaming services, To the Bone caters to a youthful, angst-filled audience battling demons of their own. (BKP: […]

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TRACKTOWN (2016): Review by Katusha Jin

Olympic athlete Alexi Pappas stars in, co-writes, and co-directs the semi-autobiographical feature Tracktown, with Jeremy Teicher. “Plumb” (Alexi Pappas), is a quirky, young Olympic hopeful, who must juggle newfound adult responsibilities whilst training for her Olympic trials. In this coming-of-age drama, the blend of fiction and reality sheds light on the often-ignored side of being an athlete, where mental strength is just as important as physical strength. (KIZJ: 3.5/5)

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TOMORROW EVER AFTER (2016): Review by Jan Lisa Huttner

Shaina is a visitor from the future trapped in a hostile world and longing for home. Like ET, she has powers beyond our own, but she still needs ordinary humans to assist her with “activities of daily living.” Filmmaker Ela Thier wrote a screenplay with a perceptive take on our era (which she calls “The Great Despair”), but director […]

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TOMORROW

The world is not coming to an end. With news like the budget cut at the Environmental Protection Agency and the US’s withdrawal from the Paris Agreement, Tomorrow (Demain), directed by Cyril Dion and Mélanie Laurent, is a welcomed feel-good documentary. Instead of dwelling on the gravity of eco problems, the film takes a rare […]

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TOMMY’S HONOUR (2016): Review by Katusha Jin

Set in the lush green landscapes of Scotland during the 19th century, Tommy’s Honour is a biopic based on a true story about a father and his son, both known as pioneers of golf. Director Jason Connery works with writers Pamela Marin and Kevin Cook to explore the professional and familial conflicts that are born out of a passion for golf. (KIZJ: 3.5/5)

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THEIR FINEST (2016): Review by Brigid Presecky

Screenwriter Gaby Chiappe adapts Lissa Evans novel Their Finest Hour and a Half into the finest hour and a half of cinema so far this year. A period piece in 1940s London, a romantic dramedy with an underlying feminist message and an utterly enjoyable cinematic experience. (BKP: 5/5) Review by Managing Editor Brigid K. Presecky […]

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THE TICKET (2016): Review by Giorgi Plys-Garzotto

The Ticket is a modern-day fable about a blind man who regains his sight, only to become obsessed with appearances. His newfound superficiality leads him to dismantle his happy but unglamorous life for flashy luxuries, like expensive clothes and a penthouse apartment. Penned by screenwriting newcomer Sharon Mashihi, the story is heavyhanded at times, but […]

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TICKLING GIANTS (2016): Review by Georgi Presecky

Written and directed by The Daily Show producer Sara Taksler, documentary Tickling Giants accounts the life of an Egyptian doctor who challenged authority with humor on his own popular TV show. Bassem Youssef’s journey from Internet sensation to wildly popular commentator is entertaining and eye-opening. His transformation from surgeon to “Egypt’s Jon Stewart” is a […]

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THIS IS EVERYTHING: GIGI GORGEOUS

Renowned documentarian Barbara Kopple teams up with Youtube star Gigi Gorgeous to bring Gigi’s gender transition to the screen. From her Youtube channel’s beginnings in makeup tutorial videos, we follow her through surgery and down runways as she seeks to find, and be, herself. (GPG: 3.5/5) Review by FF2 Contributor Giorgi Plys-Garzotto (with Two Cents […]

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