Currently Browsing: Reviews: T

‘This Is the Sea’ is a fascinating glimpse at Ireland in the late 1990s

TCM will feature films from 12 decades— representing 44 countries—totaling 100 classic and current titles, all created by women. Read more about this here!  McGuckian’s This Is the Sea has been largely forgotten over time. Still, it shares a forbidden love story between a Protestant girl and a Catholic boy in Northern Ireland during the […]

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Wendy Toye’s fast-paced ‘The Teckman Mystery’ stimulates conversation on film censorship in old British cinema

A successful writer is asked by his publisher to write a biography on a man who recently died in a plane crash. Initially reticent, the writer finds himself drawn to the story as he begins to uncover the case’s details. But some would rather this mystery remain unsolved, and the situation soon becomes dangerous for all innocent – and seemingly innocent – characters involved. Despite facing censorship from the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC), Wendy Toye delivers a fast-paced story whose unraveling compels us to continue watching in The Teckman Mystery (1954). (RMM: 3/5)

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Exploring a cruel, misogynistic practice, and finding hope, in ‘The Day I Will Never Forget’

Through this critical look at the arguments around the practice, the film presents a compelling discussion of women’s needs, concerns, and dreams. (AEL: 4/5)

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Three stages of womanhood in Marzieh Makhamalbaf’s triptych ‘The Day I Became a Woman’

Writer and director Marzieh Makhamalbaf explores womanhood in Iran, complete with its yearnings and losses.

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Liliana Cavani’s 1974 film ‘The Night Porter’ is strangely obsessed with the past

Liliana Cavani’s 1974 film ‘The Night Porter’ is set in Vienna in 1957, twelve years after World War II. Set in Hotel Zur Oper, it is busy and bustling with guests, some of whom hold dark secrets. (SYJ: 4.5/5)

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A film pioneer’s guide to ‘The Birth, the Life and the Death of Christ’

In Alice Guy-Blaché’s 1906 film The Birth, the Life and the Death of Christ, the infamous stories of Jesus Christ are told in 25 scenes. We see the early developments of film and cinema through these pictures and how stories unfold through gestures and body language rather than dialogue. (SYJ: 4/5)

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Though steeped in patriotic pathos and historical context, ‘Tomka and His Friends’ sustains the lighthearted energy of a children’s adventure

When occupying Nazis set up camp on their soccer field after the withdrawal of Mussolini’s Italian forces, a group of boys vows to defend it. Together with the partisan resistance, they fight for freedom from fascism – and have quite a bit of fun in the process. Xhanfize Keko’s Tomka and His Friends (1977) offers a unique spin on a sub-genre of child adventures, grounding it in history while infusing it with patriotic pathos. (RMM: 4/5)

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Marie-Louise Iribe takes us into a frightful escape from ‘The Erl King’

In director and actress Marie-Louise Iribe’s 1931 film Le Roi des Aulnes (The Erl King), a young boy (Raymond Lapon) is dying in his father’s (Otto Gebühr) arms while riding through the woods. Desperately, the father clings to his son, keeping him warm and reassuring him everything will be okay. (SYJ: 4/5)

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Director Larisa Shepitko takes us into the human psychologies of people during the war in ‘The Ascent’

Larisa Shepitko directed and co-wrote The Ascent. The film is a haunting drama set during the Great Patriotic War in World War II, with its story based on Vasil Bykaŭ’s novel, Sotnikov. Boris Plotnikov and Vladimir Gostyukhin star as two partisans who fight for survival physically and emotionally amidst the brutal winter in 1942. (KIZJ: 4.5/5)

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The importance of the female gaze in Radioactive and The Dancer

A much-needed phenomenon occurs in films made by women that feature strong female leads, and that is the faithful portrayal of issues that women often have to face when breaking away from traditional roles. By FF2 Associate Farah Elattar This concept is brilliantly portrayed in Radioactive (Dir. Marjane Satrapi, 2019), and The Dancer (Dir. Stephanie […]

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Mothers and daughters of “The Joy Luck Club” share their immigrant stories

Based on a novel written by Amy Tan, the 1993 film The Joy Luck Club follows women of four Chinese immigrant families who share their stories about life and hardship. Things don’t come easily to them. (SYJ: 4/5)

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Lana Wilson’s Taylor Swift doc feels like home, somehow

Director Lana Wilson builds a mosaic-like documentary around Taylor Swift and her 15-year journey of navigating intense spotlight and scrutiny. Juxtaposing footage from her sold-out stadium concerts to intimate, close-up conversations about her eating disorder, Miss Americana allows people into the world of a poetic singer/songwriter who, at 29, found her true voice. (BKP: 5/5) […]

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THE TRAITOR (2019): Review by FF2 Media

The real life of Tommaso Buscetta the so called “boss of the two worlds,” first mafia informant in Sicily 1980s. The Traitor opens 1/31. FF2 review coming soon.

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‘The Turning’ won’t turn you into a horror fan

The Turning (directed by Floria Sigismondi and written by Carey Hayes, Chad Hayes, and based on The Turn of the Screw by Henry James) is an unfortunately standard and underwhelming horror film about a young woman who becomes the live-in nanny for two orphaned children in a large spooky mansion in the middle of nowhere. […]

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‘To Kid or Not To Kid’ opens up conversations on completely serious topic of reproductive choice

Maxine Trump takes on multiple roles as the Director, Writer, and Cinematographer of documentary To Kid or Not To Kid. With many official selections already under its belt, the film is a brave attempt to open up conversations about reproductive choice. In a world where freedom of choice is increasingly important, why should people still feel afraid to talk about not having children? (KIZJ: 4/5)

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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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