Currently Browsing: FF2 Media

JENNIFER’S BODY

Rock band decides to sacrifice a virgin in hopes of getting the devil invested in their career prospects. But they pick the wrong girl, and gruesome, gory, utterly hilarious consequences ensue. You can almost hear director Karyn Kusama (Girlfight) screenwriter Diablo Cody (Juno) laughing on the soundtrack—baiting their audience with kissing babes and gallons of […]

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JULIE & JULIA

Blogger Julie Powell had a lot of hard days and long weeks in 2001. In her book, Julie & Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously, she tells us she worked in a cubicle in an office overlooking Ground Zero, and the 9/11 tragedy was an omnipresent fact of her life. But instead of wallowing, she […]

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YOO HOO, MRS. GOLDBERG

Tillie Edelstein was the creator of “Molly Goldberg,” one of the most beloved matriarchs in the history of American popular culture. Reinventing herself as “Gertrude Berg,” Tillie won an Emmy and a Tony, sold a cookbook and an autobiography, and ended her professional life as one of television’s best-paid variety show guests. Award-winning director Aviva […]

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THE HURT LOCKER

Date: Summer 2004. Place: Iraq. Army Specialist Owen Eldridge (Brian Geraghty), Staff Sergeant William James (Jeremy Renner), and Sergeant J.T. Sanborn (Anthony Mackie) are members of an American EOD squad (“Explosive Ordinance Disposal”). Day after day after day, they crisscross the streets of Baghdad in their humvee, responding to calls from military patrols that have […]

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THE SOLOIST

Always on the prowl for human interest stories, reporter “Steve Lopez” (played by Robert Downey, Jr.) meets a homeless man named “Nathaniel Ayers” (played by Jamie Foxx). Although the relationship begins on a professional level, Steve finds himself inexorably drawn into the grim details of Nathaniel’s troubled life. Jamie Foxx conveys a wide range of […]

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LEMON TREE

“Salma Zidane” is a Palestinian widow living in a small house on the eastern edge of the Green Line. Her life is immediately impacted when an Israeli woman named “Mira Navon” becomes her new neighbor. As they watch each other, day after day, from windows on opposite sides of the fence running through Salma’s lemon […]

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SUNSHINE CLEANING

News flash – houses don’t clean themselves! Although Sunshine Cleaning resembles 2007 Oscar-winner Little Miss Sunshine in several superficial ways, don’t let the coincidental “sunshine” reference blind you. Writer Megan Holley built her original screenplay around a story she heard eight years ago on National Public Radio—two women describing the trials and tribulations of running […]

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SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE: Review by Jan Lisa Huttner

Slumdog Millionaire is the first great film of the new “flat world.” “Jamal” (Dev Patel), the hero of Slumdog Millionaire, is a Mumbai teenager who becomes a contestant on the Indian version of the TV game show “Who Wants to be a Millionaire”. The plot is as simple as can be: every time “Millionaire’s” host asks […]

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THE WOMEN

Fortysomething years of frenetic activity come to a screeching halt one day when “Mary Haines” (Meg Ryan) inadvertently learns that her husband Stephen is having an affair.  Retreating from men, Mary reaches out to an already large and rapidly expanding support network.  Old friends offer advice, and new friends provide consolation, but in the end […]

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TWO LIVES PLUS ONE

Éliane Weiss (Emmanuelle Devos) is the French-born daughter of Polish Holocaust survivors. She’s always been “a good girl,” stable, reliable, and dedicated to her family, but her father’s recent death has caused her to turn inward. One day she receives unexpected encouragement from a surprising source, and she proceeds to make big changes that upset […]

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ELEGY (2008): Review by Jan Lisa Huttner

New adaptation of Philip Roth’s novel “The Dying Animal” (helmed by Isbale Coixet & scripted by Nicholas Meyer) succeeds in capturing the author’s humanity.  Excellent cast is headlined by Ben Kinsley as “David Kepesh” (a serial seducer who becomes obsessed with a beautiful young woman) and Penelope Cruz as “Consuela” (someone longing for safe harbor after […]

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ELEGY

New adaptation of Philip Roth’s novel The Dying Animal succeeds in capturing the author’s humanity.  Excellent cast is headlined by Ben Kingsley as “David Kepesh” (a serial seducer who becomes obsessed with a beautiful young woman) and Penelope Cruz as “Consuela” (someone longing for safe harbor after disappointments of her own).  Dennis Hopper is cast […]

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7/21/08: AAUW-Illinois Honors WITASWAN!

On July 21, 2008, Linda Henning Cohen, the new President of AAUW-Illinois, sent me a letter concluding as follows: “The AAUW-Illinois Board thanks you for your years of developing and promoting WITASWAN and wishes to acknowledge your outstanding accomplishments with the enclosed proclamation.” THANK YOU, AAUW-ILLINOIS!!! You will always be credited as the original incubator […]

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FROZEN RIVER

Two women, one white (Melissa Leo) and one Native American (Misty Upham), form an unlikely bond in perilous circumstances, smuggling illegal immigrants across the frozen St. Lawrence River in the dead of winter.  Filmmaker Courtney Hunt’s first feature won the Grand Jury Prize at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival.  The Hot Pink Pen agrees: Frozen […]

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Chatting about BRICK LANE

Brick Lane is a beautiful film that could have been even better. Based on a well-regarded novel of the same name by Monica Ali, Sarah Gavron’s film is about a young Bangladeshi woman named “Nazneen,” who is sent to London as a teenager to marry a man she has never met… (JLH: 4/5) Click here […]

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BRICK LANE

A haunting evocation of immigrant life, tenderly delineating the slow steps by which a Bangladeshi woman (Tannishtha Chatterjee) makes a home for her daughters in London so different in every way from the one she herself knew as a girl. The Hot Pink Pen applauds the filmmakers’ intentions, but one huge casting decision undermines their […]

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SHUT UP & SING

The Dixie Chicks run afoul of their country music fan base when lead singer Natalie Maines publicly mocks President Bush in the early days of the War in Iraq. Almost everyone & everything in this documentary was new to us, but the directors stitch together a highly compelling narrative for both novices & aficionados. (JLH: 4.5/5.) Click […]

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THE NANNY DIARIES

Fantasy and reality collide when Annie, a working class girl fresh out of college (Scarlett Johansson), starts working as a nanny for the upscale Mrs. X (Laura Linney). Many critics are comparing The Nanny Diaries to The Devil Wears Prada which featured another spirited young woman making her way in New York’s upper ranks. The Hot […]

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THE NAMESAKE

The Namesake is the rare case in which both book and film are equally strong and their differences actually complement each other. The voice of the novelist and the eye of the filmmaker are in perfect sync, and the casting is perfect. Whereas Lahiri’s novel focuses on American-born Gogol, Nair embeds Gogol’s story within a […]

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LOOK BOTH WAYS

Australian drama Look Both Ways is a down-under version of American Oscar-winner Crash, but its polar opposite in every way–subtle where Crash is bombastic, true to the little moments of real people’s lives where Crash manufactures big moments of melodramatic overstatement. Yes, disease and death are the elements around which writer/director Sarah Watt builds her […]

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BLUE CRUSH (2002): Review by Jan Lisa Huttner

BLUE CRUSH Directed by John Stockwell/Screenplay by Stockwell & Lizzy Weiss Key Performances: Kate Bosworth with Matthew Davis & Michelle Rodriguez Set-Up: Anne Marie (Kate Bosworth), Eden (Michelle Rodriguez) and Lena (Sanoe Lake) live to surf. They share a small house on Oahu and work as housekeepers in one of the local luxury hotels so that […]

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TWO DAYS IN PARIS

Two Days in Paris follows a New York couple, French photographer Marion (Julie Delpy) and American interior designer, Jack (Adam Goldberg) as they try to reinfuse their relationship with romance on a European vacation.  Julie Delpy wrote, directed, and starred in this hilarious film which was nominated for Cesar, Independent Spirit and European Film Awards, […]

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