“My King” by Maïwenn (2015)

Tribute to Maïwenn (1/3)

My KingGood script, dialogues, humor, images, music, gender content and message
Excellent personages, direction and expression

A movie about passion and the pains of love, a love story full of surprises
Vincent Cassell in one of his best performances

Rotten Tomatoes Critics 6,7
Metascore 6,8
Roger Ebert 8,8
Rotten Tomatoes Audience 7,4
IMDB 7,1
Average critics 7,4
Average public 7,3

Original Title: Mon Roi

Cast: Vincent Cassel, Emmanuelle Bercot, Louis Garrel
Director: Maïwenn
Writers: Etienne Comar (screenplay), Maïwenn (screenplay)
Music by Stephen Warbeck
Cinematography by Claire Mathon
Film Editing by Simon Jacquet

“Live Twice Love Once” by Maria Ripoll (2019)

Tribute to Maria Ripoll (3/3)

Live Twice Love OnceGood personages, humor, direction and images
Excellent script

An excellent script in which all aspects, even the most insignificant ones, play their role
Good performances

Rotten Tomatoes Critics 5,4
Metascore —
Roger Ebert —
Rotten Tomatoes Audience 8,0
IMDB 7,2
Average critics 5,4
Average public 7,6

Cast: Oscar Martínez, Inma Cuesta, Mafalda Carbonell
Director: Maria Ripoll
Writer: María Mínguez
Music by Arnau Bataller
Cinematography by Núria Roldos
Film Editing by Nacho Ruiz Capillas

“Tortilla Soup” by Maria Ripoll (2001)

Tribute to Maria Ripoll (2/3)

tortilla soupGood … almost everything
Excellent direction

Great remake of Ang Lee’s Eat Drink Man Woman (1994)
Just like in the original, cooking food is predominant and it looks really fantastic… With Maria Ripoll, the Taiwanese restraint has been transformed into Latino expressivity, warmth, \and great music

Rotten Tomatoes Critics 6,4
Metascore 5,8
Roger Ebert 7,5
Rotten Tomatoes Audience 7,4
IMDB 6,7
Average critics 6,6
Average public 7,1

Cast: Hector Elizondo, Elizabeth Pena, Paul Rodriguez, Tamara Mello, Raquel Welch, Jacqueline Obradors
Directed by Maria Ripoll
Written by Hui-Ling Wang, Ramon Menendez, Tom Musca, Vera Blasi, James Schamus, Ang Lee
Music by Bill Conti
Cinematography by Xavier Grobet
Film Editing by Andy Blumentha

“The Man With Rain In His Shoes” (Twice Upon A Yesterday) by Maria Ripoll (1998)

Tribute to Maria Ripoll (1/3)

The Man With Rain In His ShoesGood direction

A charming romantic comedy about a man who gets the chance to revisit the past to get rid of his ghosts… Some hiccups in the realization but good acting

Rotten Tomatoes Critics 4,8
Metascore —
Roger Ebert 3,8
Rotten Tomatoes Audience 6,8
IMDB 6,2
Average critics 4,3
Average public 6,5

Cast: Douglas Henshall, Lena Headey, Penelope Cruz, Elizabeth McGovern, Mark Strong
Directed by Maria Ripoll
Written by Rafa Russo
Music by Bernardo Fuster, Ángel Illarramendi, Luis Mendo
Cinematography by Javier Salmones
Film Editing by Nacho Ruiz Capillas

“I Used To Go Here” by Kris Rey (2020)

2 uneven movies

I Used to Go HereWeak dialogues and expression
Poor script and message

An infantile (with all due respect to the children among us) story… and a very uninspired presence by Gillian Jacobs

Rotten Tomatoes Critics 6,8
Metascore 6,8
Roger Ebert 7,5
Rotten Tomatoes Audience 6,0
IMDB 5,6
Average critics 7,0
Average public 5,8

Cast: Gillian Jacobs, Jemaine Clement, Josh Wiggins
Director: Kris Rey
Writer: Kris Rey
Music by Curtis Heath
Cinematography by Nate Hurtsellers
Film Editing by Zach Clark

“Unexpected” by Kris Rey (2015)

2 uneven movies

UnexpectedGood script and message
Excellent gender content
Top minority representation

A fine and too heavy movie about the choices and decisions a pregnant woman has to make between her career and motherhood. The movie brings also the disadvantages African-Amerocans face into perspective, disadvantages that even their (caucasian) teacher has difficulty to fathom.

Rotten Tomatoes Critics 6,6
Metascore 6,5
Roger Ebert 7,5
Rotten Tomatoes Audience 6,4
IMDB 5,9
Average critics 6,9
Average public 6,2

Cast: Cobie Smulders, Anders Holm, Gail Bean
Director: Kris Rey
Writers: Megan Mercier, Kris Rey (as Kris Swanberg)
Music by Keegan DeWitt
Cinematography by Dagmar Weaver-Madsen
Film Editing by Zach Clark

“Places In Cities” by Angela Schanelec (1998)

2 uneven movies

Place In CitiesWeak dialogues, humor, direction and content
Terrible script

Could have been part of Dogme 95 with its (beautiful) expresssionist images, natural light, and diegetic music
But the long and empty takes, the absence of action, the fact that personages speak but do not talk to each other take their toll

IMDB 7,1

Original title: Plätze in Städten

Cast: Sophie Aigner, Vincent Branchet, Katharina Eckerfeld
Director: Angela Schanelec
Writer: Angela Schanelec
Cinematography by Reinhold Vorschneider
Film Editing by Bettina Böhler, Angela Schanelec

“Passing Summer” by Angela Schanelec (2001)

2 uneven movies

Passing SummerGood direction (8)

A story with more chewing material and stronger moments than her preceding movie… maybe I’m just getting used to her style
Still, the script brings very ‘little depth into the personages, and it’s handy to be able at times to fast forward…
Loneliness was the main theme of the previous movie, boredom is the theme of this one

IMDB 6,6

Original Title: Mein Langsames Leben

Cast: Ursina Lardi, Andreas Patton, Anne Tismer
Director: Angela Schanelec
Writer: Angela Schanelec
Cinematography by Reinhold Vorschneider
Film Editing by Bettina Böhler, Angela Schanelec

“She Dies Tomorrow” by Amy Seimetz (2020)

2 uneven movies

she dies tomorrowWeak script, personages
Undecipherable message

A woman who wants to die after a break-up spreads her obsession to others… As obscure as a David Lynch…
Some original filming in the way the senses are represented – hearing, touching, breathing, seeing – but it does not involve those of the viewer, unfortunately
On the tracks of her previous film, but much less convincing

Rotten Tomatoes Critics 7,2
Metascore 8,0
Roger Ebert 8,8
Rotten Tomatoes Audience —
IMDB 5,2
Average critics 8,0
Average public 5,2

Cast: Kate Lyn Sheil, Jane Adams, Kentucker Audley, Katie Aselton
Director: Amy Seimetz
Writer: Amy Seimetz
Cinematographer: Jay Keitel
Editor: Kate Brokaw
Composer: Mondo Boys

“Sun Don’t Shine” by Amy Seimetz (2012)

2 uneven movies

First Feature

sun don't shineGood personages, dialogues, images, music and gender content
Excellent direction

An abstract thriller with a somewhat run-of-the-mill story, but very original in the way it’s filmed and edited, with action, images and sounds at times loose from each other.
Great acting by Kate Lyn Sheil

Rotten Tomatoes Critics 7,2
Metascore 7,0
Roger Ebert —
Rotten Tomatoes Audience 6,4
IMDB 6,2
Average critics 7,1
Average public 6,3

Cast: Kate Lyn Sheil, Kentucker Audley, AJ Bowen
Director: Amy Seimetz
Writer: Amy Seimetz
Music by Ben Lovett
Cinematography by Jay Keitel
Film Editing by David Lowery, Amy Seimetz

“Little Miss Sunshine” by Valerie Faris and Jonathan Dayton (2006)

A weekend treat!Little Miss Sunshine

Good script, personages, humor, direction, images, minority representation and message

An ‘existential’ comedy over an extended dysfunctional family, set as representing the ‘natural state’ and put in contrast with the fake and illusionary surrounding world that is imposed as representing normalilty

Rotten Tomatoes Critics 7,7
Metascore 8,0
Roger Ebert 8,8
Rotten Tomatoes Audience 8,6
IMDB 7,8
Average critics 8,2
Average public 8,2

Cast: Steve Carell, Toni Collette, Greg Kinnear
Directors: Jonathan Dayton, Valerie Faris
Writer: Michael Arndt
Music by Mychael Danna, DeVotchKa
Cinematography by Tim Suhrstedt
Film Editing by Pamela Martin

“More Beautiful For Having Been Broken” by Nicole Conn (2019)

More Beautiful for Having Been BrokenGood personages, direction, images and music
Excellent dialogues, gender content, minority presence and emotional charge

Some far-fetched twists take the attention away from a beautiful story.

IMDB 5,9

Cast: Zoe Ventoura, Kayla Radomski, Cale Ferrin
Director: Nicole Conn
Writer: Nicole Conn
Music by Nami Melumad
Cinematography by Seth Wessel-Estes
Film Editing by Nicole Conn, David C. Eichhorn

“Mr. Roosevelt” by Noel Wells (2017)

First Feature

mr. rooseveltGreat personages and music
Excellent humor

Welcome in the chaotic world of Emily Marin… although it could have been worse

Rotten Tomatoes Critics 7,2
Metascore 7,3
Roger Ebert 7,5
Rotten Tomatoes Audience 7,0
IMDB 6,2
Average critics 7,3
Average public 6,6

Cast: Noel Wells, Nick Thune, Britt Lower, Daniella Pineda
Director: Noel Wells
Writer: Noel Wells
Cinematographer: Dagmar Weaver-Madsen
Editor: Terel Gibson
Composer: Ryan Miller

“What We Wanted” by Ulrike Kofler (2020)

First Feature

What We WantedGood personages and dialogues

A couple has tried everything to have a child, without success. He and she try to cope with the situation together, but cannot avoid to respond differently to it

IMDB 5,8

Original title: Was Wir Wollten

Cast: Lavinia Wilson, Elyas M’Barek, Anna Unterberger
Director: Ulrike Kofler
Writers: Sandra Bohle, Ulrike Kofler
Cinematography by Robert Oberrainer
Film Editing by Marie Kreutzer

“Float Like A Butterfly” by Carmel Winters (2018)

float like a butterflyGood personages and music
Excellent gender content
Top minority representation

A look at the macho and patriarchal world of a ‘tinker’ community in post-Second World War Ireland

Rotten Tomatoes Critics 5,8
Metascore —
Roger Ebert —
Rotten Tomatoes Audience 7,0
IMDB 5,7
Average critics 5,8
Average public 6,4

Cast: Hazel Doupe, Dara Devaney, Johnny Collins
Director: Carmel Winters
Writer: Carmel Winters
Cinematography by Michael Lavelle
Film Editing by Julian Ulrichs

“House Of Hummingbird” by Bora Kim (2018)

First Feature

House of HummingbirdGood script, personages, dialogues and gender content
Excellent message

A look at the world of a Koreanse teenage girl in search for love at home and at school, and how difficult for her it is to make any sense of what she experiences
A delicate, very slow-paced first feature
Loved by critics

Rotten Tomatoes Critics 8,4
Metascore 8,8
Roger Ebert 10,0
Rotten Tomatoes Audience 7,4
IMDB 7,4
Average critics 9,1
Average public 7,4

Cast: Ji-hu Park, Sae-byeok Kim, Seung-Yun Lee
Director: Bora Kim
Writer: Bora Kim
Music by Matija Strnisa
Cinematography by Guk-hyun Kang
Film Editing by Zoe Sua Cho

“A Million Little Pieces” by Sam Taylor-Johnson (2018)

A Million Little Pieces

A good vehicle for the lead personage played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson (husband of director), a rebellious and unpredictable character in a that does not deliver on its promises…

Rotten Tomatoes Critics 5,0
Metascore 4,5
Roger Ebert 3,8
Rotten Tomatoes Audience 6,1
IMDB 6,1
Average critics 4,4
Average public 6,1

Cast: Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Billy Bob Thornton, Odessa Young, Giovanni Ribisi
Director: Sam Taylor-Johnson
Screenplay: Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Sam Taylor-Johnson
Author: James Frey
Director of Photography: Jeff Cronenweth
Editor: Martin Pensa

“Nowhere Boy” by Sam Taylor-Wood (2009)

First Feature

Nowhere boyGood personages, dialogues, direction and music (8)
Excellent script (9)

A good movie on the ‘formative’ years of John Lennon in Liverpool
Strong acting, especially the two mothers

Rotten Tomatoes Critics 6,9
Metascore 6,7
Roger Ebert 8,8
Rotten Tomatoes Audience 7,4
IMDB 7,1
Average critics 7,5
Average public 7,3

Cast: Aaron Johnson, Kristin Scott Thomas, Anne-Marie Duff, David Threlfall, Thomas Brodie Sangster
Written by Matt Greenhalgh
Directed by Sam Taylor-Wood
Music by Alison Goldfrapp, Will Gregory
Cinematography by Seamus McGarvey
Film Editing by Lisa Gunning

“Happiest Season” by Clea DuVall (2020)

happies seasonGood gender content

How difficult it is to tell your parents you’re gay!
This movie is filled with cliches, but its message is said unsubtly loud and clear.
Anyway, in the end everyone is happy for having tried their best… without succeeding.

Rotten Tomatoes Critics 6,9
Metascore 7,2
Roger Ebert 3,8
Rotten Tomatoes Audience 8,8
IMDB 7,0
Average critics 6,0
Average public 7,9

Cast: Kristen Stewart, Mackenzie Davis, Mary Steenburgen
Director: Clea DuVall
Writers: Clea DuVall
Music by Amie Doherty
Cinematography by John Guleserian
Film Editing by Melissa Bretherton

“The Intervention” by Clea DuVall (2016)

First Feature

The InterventionGood personages and direction

A dominant woman imposes her fears (of marriage, of having children) to her friends
Interesting subject but the handling lacks nuances

Rotten Tomatoes Critics 6,4
Metascore 5,7
Roger Ebert 5,0
Rotten Tomatoes Audience 6,4
IMDB 6,0
Average critics 5,7
Average public 6,2

Cast: Melanie Lynskey, Jason Ritter, Skylar Bernon
Director: Clea DuVall
Writer: Clea DuVall
Music by Sara Quin
Cinematography by Polly Morgan
Film Editing by Tamara Meem

“I Am Woman” by Unjoo Moon (2019)

A week of first features (4/4)

I Am WomanGood script, personages, images and music
Excellent direction
Top gender content and message

The 1960’s setting puts patriarchy in plain sight right from the start.
The movie shows the continuous struggle a female artist, Helen Reddy, has to go through to fulfill her ambition and escape a seemingly ineluctable domestic role.
A biopic with music leading the story. Nicely done!

Rotten Tomatoes Critics 6,0
Metascore 5,4
Roger Ebert 3,8
Rotten Tomatoes Audience 8,2
IMDB 6,1
Average critics 5,1
Average public 7,2

Cast: Evan Peters, Chris Parnell, Danielle Macdonald
Director: Unjoo Moon
Writer: Emma Jensen
Music by Rafael May
Cinematography by Dion Beebe
Film Editing by Dany Cooper

“The Forty-Year-Old Version” by Radha Blank (2020)

A week of first features (3/4)

The Forty-Year-Old VersionGood humor
Excellent personages, dialogues, images, music and gender content
Top script, direction, minority presence and message

A topper as cinema-vérité goes: not only is everyone and everything in the right place, but that you can’t imagine it any other way
A two-level movie: in one, an artist tries to stay true to her art and fails; in the other, she makes a movie that is itself the realization of an artistic expression unspoiled by compromises. The way Radha Blank succeeds in merging the two facets of a same message is an exceptional achievement.
Great scenes of rap battles.

Rotten Tomatoes Critics 8,1
Metascore 8,0
Roger Ebert 8,8
Rotten Tomatoes Audience 6,6
IMDB 7,1
Average critics 8,3
Average public 6,9

Cast: Radha Blank, Oswin Benjamin, Peter Kim
Director: Radha Blank
Writer: Radha Blank
Cinematography by Eric Branco
Film Editing by Robert Grigsby Wilson

“Aniara” by Pella Kagerman, Hugo Lilja (2019)

A week of first features (2/4)

Aniara

Original premises, but these get lost in the vast hopelessness its universe describes

Rotten Tomatoes Critics 6,9
Metascore 6,1
Roger Ebert 7,5
Rotten Tomatoes Audience 7,0
IMDB 6,3
Average critics 6,8
Average public 6,7

Cast: Emelie Jonsson, Arvin Kananian, Bianca Cruzeiro, Anneli Martini
Director: Pella Kågerman, Hugo Lilja
Writer (poem): Harry Martinson
Writer: Hugo Lilja, Pella Kågerman
Cinematographer: Sophie Winqvist
Editor: Pella Kågerman, Björn Kessler
Michał Leszczyłowski
Composer: Alexander Berg

“The Broken Hearts Gallery” by Natalie Krinsky (2020)

A week of first features (1/4)

The broken hearts galleryGood script, personages, direction, images, music and minority presence
Excellent dialogues, humor and gender content

Original romance setup with excellent dialogues
Somewhere disappointing because the movie eventually falls into the trap of the inevitable and too obvious romance

Rotten Tomatoes Critics 6,6
Metascore 5,7
Roger Ebert 6,3
Rotten Tomatoes Audience 8,4
IMDB 6,1
Average critics 6,2
Average public 7,3

Cast: Geraldine Viswanathan, Dacre Montgomery, Utkarsh Ambudkar
Director: Natalie Krinsky
Writer: Natalie Krinsky (screenplay)
Music by Genevieve Vincent
Cinematography by Alar Kivilo
Film Editing by Shawn Paper

“On The Rocks” by Sofia Coppola (2020)

A Weekend Treat!

On the rocksGood personages, music, gender content, minority representation and message
Excellent humor, direction and images

Suspecting that her husband cheats on her, a woman in her late thirties asks the help of her father (Bill Murray gives a fantastic dimension to his personage), a macho womanizer who takes advantage of the situation to try to take his daughter away from her husband
A bitter-sweet comedy on the theme of ‘no matter what, your heart belongs to daddy” in which the mixture of jealousy and guilt though is depicted with much finesse
Sofia Coppola’s eye for detail and care for veracity create a context with a very real texture to the wealth of these high-class New Yorkers…
Fun

Rotten Tomatoes Critics 7,3
Metascore 7,3
Roger Ebert 8,8
Rotten Tomatoes Audience 6,2
IMDB 6,5
Average critics 7,8
Average public 6,4

Cast: Bill Murray, Rashida Jones, Marlon Wayans
Director: Sofia Coppola
Writer: Sofia Coppola
Music by Phoenix
Cinematography by Philippe Le Sourd
Film Editing by
Sarah Flack

“The Craft: Legacy” by Zoe Lister-Jones (2020)

The craft LegacyGood music

A chaos of a script that scatters bits and pieces everywhere, what makes the story inconsistent.
Another high-school movie, but with a twist, approaching subjects as being black without black friends or being bi-sexual for a man, etc. Unfortunately, the movie does not go anywhere deep in…
Interesting musical score by Heather Christian… as chaotic as the script 🙂

Rotten Tomatoes Critics 5,6
Metascore 5,7
Roger Ebert 5,0
Rotten Tomatoes Audience 6,2
IMDB 4,2
Average critics 5,4
Average public 5,2

Cast: Cailee Spaeny, Zoey Luna, Lovie Simone
Director: Zoe Lister-Jones
Writers: Zoe Lister-Jones, Peter Filardi
Music by Heather Christian
Cinematography by Hillary Spera
Film Editing by Libby Cuenin

“Unlovable” by Suzi Yoonessi (2018)

UnlovableGood script, personages, dialogues, and music (8)
Excellent content (9)

A movie about how people who did not learn how to receive and give love can’t build any (realistic) relationship
A young female sex addict and a man with mental health issues help each other out
A movie that entertains while providing content; a movie I was thankful to have seen

Rotten Tomatoes Critics 7,8
Metascore 7,7
Roger Ebert —
Rotten Tomatoes Audience 7,8
IMDB 5,7
Average critics 7,8
Average public 6,8

Cast: Charlene deGuzman, John Hawkes, Melissa Leo
Director: Suzi Yoonessi
Writers: Charlene deGuzman, Sarah Adina Smith, Mark Duplass
Music by Christopher French
Cinematography by Moira Morel
Film Editing by Kai Davies

“Luxor” by Zeina Durra (2020)

luxor 2Good script, direction and images

In the end we’d like to know more about this secretive personage… but you will have to fill it in yourself for not much of an explanation is given
That fits perfectly the setting, the continuous intermingling of the past with the present in Luxor also haunting Hana (Andrea Riseborough)… beautiful and rich surroundings that impregnate you without you being aware…
A contemplative movie that sets lots of thoughts in motion…

Rotten Tomatoes Critics 6,8
Metascore 0,0
Roger Ebert 8,8
Rotten Tomatoes Audience 5,6
IMDB 5,3
Average critics 5,2
Average public 5,5

Cast: Andrea Riseborough, Michael Landes, Shirin Redha
Director: Zeina Durra
Writer: Zeina Durra
Music by Nascuy Linares
Cinematography by Zelmira Gainza
Film Editing by Andrea Chignoli, Matyas Fekete

“The Sky Is Pink” by Shonali Bose (2019)

The Sky Is Pink
Good personages, humor and gender content
Excellent script, dialogues, direction and message

After one hour, you wonder what is still to be said in the second hour of the movie, but surprise, it gives you the best part, bringing the personages and their relationship closer
Some insipid songs make the score most annoying
A movie that has been well liked by the public, but not so by critics

Rotten Tomatoes Critics 6,1
Metascore 5,5
Roger Ebert 0,0
Rotten Tomatoes Audience 8,8
IMDB 7,5
Average critics 3,9
Average public 8,2

Cast: Priyanka Chopra, Farhan Akhtar, Zaira Wasim
Director: Shonali Bose
Writers: Shonali Bose, Juhi Chaturvedi (hindi dialogue) | 1 more credit »
Music by Mikey McCleary
Cinematography by Andrew Alderslade, Nick Cooke, Kartik Vijay
Film Editing by Manas Mittal

“Cuties” by Maima Doucouré (2020)

First Feature

CutiesGood personages, dialogues, music, gender content,
minority presence and message

Excellent direction

An 11-year-old girl is caught between the African traditions of her family and the modern-day world, between the childhood that she leaves behind and the unknown of becoming a woman and discovering her sexualized body
Note the enormous discrepancy between public and critics’ score!

Rotten Tomatoes Critics 7,0
Metascore 6,7
Roger Ebert 10
Rotten Tomatoes Audience 2,4
IMDB 3,0
Average critics 7,9
Average public 2,7

Original title: Mignonnes

Cast: Fathia Youssouf, Médina El Aidi-Azouni, Esther Gohourou
Directors: Maïmouna Doucouré, Denny Shoopman
Writer: Maïmouna Doucouré (screenplay)
Music by Nicolas Nocchi
Cinematography by Yann Maritaud
Film Editing by Stéphane Mazalaigue, Mathilde Van de Moortel

“The Preacher’s Wife” by Penny Marshall (1996)

A Weekend Treat!

The Preacher's WifeGood minority representation
Excellent music

“It’s A Wonderful Life” transposed in the 1970s in an African-American community
Great singing by Whitney Houston in an entertaining movie that reminds too much of the original but, even though heavily sexualized, pales beside it.

Rotten Tomatoes Critics 5,9
Metascore —
Roger Ebert 7,5
Rotten Tomatoes Audience 6,8
IMDB 5,6
Average critics 6,7
Average public 6,2

Cast: Denzel Washington, Whitney Houston, Courtney B. Vance
Director: Penny Marshall
Writers: Robert Nathan (novel), Robert E. Sherwood, Leonardo Bercovici
Music by Hans Zimmer
Cinematography by Miroslav Ondrícek
Film Editing by George Bowers, Stephen A. Rotter

“The Etruscan Smile” by Mihal Brezis and Oded Binnun (2018)

First Feature

The Etruscan SmileGreat direction and images

Predictable but pleasant story of a Scotsman in San Francisco where his
estranged son and grandson live

Rotten Tomatoes Critics 5,9
Metascore 5,4
Roger Ebert —
Rotten Tomatoes Audience 7,4
IMDB 6,8
Average critics 5,7
Average public 7,1

Cast: Thora Birch, Brian Cox, Tim Matheson, Rosanna Arquette
Directors: Mihal Brezis & Oded Binnun
Writers: Michael McGowan, Michal Lali Kagan, Sarah Bellwood
Music by Haim Frank Ilfman
Cinematography by Javier Aguirresarobe
Film Editing by Roberto Silvi

“Lingua Franca” by Isabel Sandoval (2019)

Lingua FrancaGood images, gender content, minority representation and message

A world where people speak Russian, Tagalog, Cebuano… and English
A world in which you has to pay a man to get married (for a green card), a world of transsexuals… The open end makes you wonder….

Rotten Tomatoes Critics 7,2
Metascore 6,1
Roger Ebert 7,5
Rotten Tomatoes Audience 6,4
IMDB 6,1
Average critics 6,9
Average public 6,3

Cast: Eamon Farren, Lynn Cohen, Mark Nelson
Director: Isabel Sandoval
Writer: Isabel Sandoval
Music by Teresa Barrozo
Cinematography by Isaac Banks

“South Mountain” by Hilary Brougher (2019)

south mountainGreat meassage
Excellent personages

Mixed feelings about this movie, first of all, because it’s annoying the way the music and a few twist put the spectator on the wrong track, until one realizes that there’s nothing going on at all…  BUT I liked the message for it shows that a relationship is built through time, and that love evolves and changes even though conventions tell that love has to go away (after a divorce, for example). In the end, worth watching…

Rotten Tomatoes Critics 7,8
Metascore 7,9
Roger Ebert —
Rotten Tomatoes Audience —
IMDB 5,2
Average critics 7,9
Average public 5,2

Cast: Talia Balsam, Scott Cohen, Andrus Nichols
Director: Hilary Brougher
Writer: Hilary Brougher
Music by Herdís Stefánsdóttir
Cinematography by Ethan Mass
Film Editing by Maria Rosenblum

“Greatland” by Dana Ziyasheva (2020)

GreatlandGood dialogues, images and minority representation

Describes a colorful and complex world, but in the end I got lost in the plot

IMDB 6,2

Cast: Shannon Briggs, Nhya Cedon, Ellen Clifford
Director: Dana Ziyasheva
Writer: Dana Ziyasheva
Music by Matthew Chilelli
Cinematography by Charles Schner
Film Editing by
Brad McLaughlin, Michael Palmerio

“12 Hour Shift” by Brea Grant (2020)

First Feature

12 Hour ShiftGreat humor and music

Absurd and fun, certainly inspired by the Coen brothers’ movies
Very special music score

Rotten Tomatoes Critics 6,7
Metascore 6,3
Roger Ebert 3,8
Rotten Tomatoes Audience —
IMDB 5,3
Average critics 5,6
Average public 5,3

Cast: Angela Bettis, David Arquette, Chloe Farnworth
Director: Brea Grant
Writer: Brea Grant
Music by Matt Glass
Cinematography by Matt Glass

“Huis-Clos” (No Exit) by Jacqueline Audry (1954)

Tribute to Jacqueline Audry

A weekend treat!

Huis-closGood music and minority presence
Excellent personages, humor, direction and images
Top script, dialogues, gender content and message

In hell, an openly lesbian woman shares her space with a man who is a traitor and a coward, and another woman who is vain, adulterous and has committed infanticide. An extraordinary play (by Jean-Paul Sartre, 1944) that grounded existentialism, and an impressive direction by pioneer Jacqueline Audry

Rotten Tomatoes Audience 6,4
IMDB 6,8

Cast: Arletty, Frank Villard, Gaby Sylvia
Director: Jacqueline Audry
Writers: Pierre Laroche, Jean-Paul Sartre (play)
Music by Joseph Kosma
Cinematography by Robert Juillard
Film Editing by Marguerite Beaugé

“Olivia” by Jacqueline Audry (1951)

Tribute to Jacqueline Audry

OliviaGood script and dialogues
Excellent direction and gender content

The cross-currents of passion in the autonomous world of a female boarding school: exquisitely ambiguous
“a very early piece of queer cinema history” [Beatrice Loayza]

Rotten Tomatoes Critics 8,0
IMDB 7,1

Cast: Edwige Feuillère, Simone Simon, Marie-Claire Olivia
Director: Jacqueline Audry
Writers: Colette Audry, Dorothy Bussy (novel)
Music by Pierre Sancan
Cinematography by Christian Matras
Film Editing by Marguerite Beaugé

“Le Secret du Chevalier d’Eon” by Jacqueline Audry (1959)

Tribute to Jacqueline Audry

Le secret du chevalier d'eonGood humor, images and gender content
Excellent dialogues

Le chevalier d’Eon was a woman who got in the army disguised as a man
Some interesting moments when women show their attraction to this ‘man,’ but nothing like that on the men’s side. As she has shown in Olivia, Jacqueline Audry is interested in lesbian expressions of love.

IMDB 5,6

Cast: Andrée Debar, Isa Miranda, Gabriele Ferzetti
Director: Jacqueline Audry
Writers: Ennio De Concini, Pierre Laroche
Music by Carlo Rustichelli
Cinematography by Henri Alekan, Marcel Grignon
Film Editing by Yvonne Martin, Dolores Tamburini

“Good Sam” by Kate Melville (2019)

Good SamPoor personages

Entertaining even though the story has too few surprises

Rotten Tomatoes Critics 5,8
Metascore —
Roger Ebert —
Rotten Tomatoes Audience 7,8
IMDB 5,7
Average critics 5,8
Average public 6,8

Cast: Tiya Sircar, Chad Connell, Marco Grazzini
Director: Kate Melville
Writers: Dete Meserve (based on the novel by), Teena Booth
Music by Mario Sévigny

“Picture Day” by Kate Melville (2012)

Picture DayGood script, personages, dialogues, direction, gender content and minority presence
Excellent message

A movie that penetrates you slowly while it builds its personages up thoroughly
A coming of age story that reaches deeper and goes further because it avoids superficiality and cliches
A movie that shows that intimacy is not a consequence of sex but of knowing each other

Rotten Tomatoes Critics 6,1
Metascore —
Roger Ebert —
Rotten Tomatoes Audience 7,0
IMDB 6,3
Average critics 6,1
Average public 6,7

Cast: Tatiana Maslany, Spencer Van Wyck, Steven McCarthy
Director: Kate Melville
Writer: Kate Melville
Cinematography by Celiana Cárdenas
Film Editing by Dev Singh

“Elisa and Marcela” by Isabel Coixet (2019)

Elisa y Marcela Good images and music
Top gender content

Early 20th century in a remote province of Catholic Spain, two young women fall in love with each other at first sight.
A beautifully pictured (black and white) movie with an abrupt end
A small parallel can be made with The Secret Life Of Words in the short but intense moment when the suffering of Marcella is revealed

Rotten Tomatoes Critics 5,7
Metascore 3,3
Roger Ebert —
Rotten Tomatoes Audience —
IMDB 6,5
Average critics 4,5
Average public 6,5

Cast: Natalia de Molina, Greta Fernández, Sara Casasnovas
Director: Isabel Coixet
Writers: Isabel Coixet (screenplay by), Narciso de Gabriel (based on the literary essay by)
Music by Sofia Oriana Infante
Cinematography by Jennifer Cox
Film Editing by Bernat Aragonés

“The Secret Life of Words” by Isabel Coixet (2005)

A weekend treat!

The Secret Life of WordsGood personages, dialogues, music and message
Excellent script and images
Top direction and gender content

Beautiful but painful movie in which a man and a woman share their deepest secrets. Sharing brings them a form of redemption, an opening to escape the past, and a possible future. An unforgettable movie!

Rotten Tomatoes Critics 6,2
Metascore 6,8
Roger Ebert —
Rotten Tomatoes Audience 8,2
IMDB 7,5
Average critics 4,3
Average public 7,9

Cast: Sarah Polley, Tim Robbins, Sverre Anker Ousdal
Director: Isabel Coixet
Writer: Isabel Coixet
Cinematography by Jean-Claude Larrieu
Film Editing by Irene Blecua

“The Seven Days” by Ronit and Shlomi Elkabetz (2008)

The Seven DaysGood images

A large orthodox Jewish family mourns one of their brothers. The numerous personages make it difficult to discern who’s who. This story gets a follow-up in Gett.

IMDB 6,9

Cast: Ronit Elkabetz, Moshe Ivgy, Yaël Abecassis
Directors: Ronit Elkabetz, Shlomi Elkabetz
Writers: Ronit Elkabetz, Shlomi Elkabetz
Music by Michel Korb, Sergio Leonardi
Cinematography by Yaron Scharf
Film Editing by Joel Alexis

“Village Rockstars” by Rima Das (2017)

Village RockstarsGood script, personages, images, content
Excellent direction

The life of a young girl who dreams of having a guitar
A serene movie in which children possess the rural Indian landscape
interesting scene when the girl gets her first menstruation
A movie predominantly made by Rima Das and her family, and if you’re patient enough to get to the end of the credits, you’ll see how extended her family is 🙂

Rotten Tomatoes Critics 8,0
Metascore —
Roger Ebert —
Rotten Tomatoes Audience 9,3
IMDB 7,2
Average critics 8,0
Average public 8,3

Cast: Bhanita Das, Basanti Das, Boloram Das
Director: Rima Das
Writer: Rima Das
Music by Preetom Dutta
Cinematography by Rima Das
Film Editing by Rima Das

“Papicha” by Mounia Meddour (2019)

First Feature

PapichaGreat personages
Excellent gender content and message

Sometimes, it’s good to be reminded to which extreme religious orthodoxy can lead, for the type of civil war that is described here could happen anywhere 😦
It also helps us cherish the freedom we have, for we cannot take it for granted

Rotten Tomatoes Critics 7,3
Metascore 6,8
Roger Ebert 7,5
Rotten Tomatoes Audience 9,0
IMDB 7,0
Average critics 7,2
Average public 8,0

Cast: Lyna Khoudr, Yasin Houicha, Nadia Kaci, Shirine Boutella, Amira Hilda Douaouda
Director: Mounia Meddour
Writer: Mounia Meddour. Fadette Drouard
Cinematographer: Léo Lefèvre
Editor: Damien Keyeux
Composer: Robin Coudert

“Mouthpiece” by Patricia Rozema (2018)

Mouthpiece 2Good dialogues, direction and images
Excellent script and gender content
Top personages and message

A moving eulogy to mothers… but also more than that: the daughter is played by two actresses, not for a split-personality touch but to forge a mirror to the rich and complex person that was their mother… An emotionally rich movie

Rotten Tomatoes Critics 8,0
Metascore 7,3
Roger Ebert 8,8
Rotten Tomatoes Audience 7,6
IMDB 6,2
Average critics 8,0
Average public 6,9

Cast: Amy Nostbakken, Norah Sadava, Maev Beaty
Director: Patricia Rozema
Writers: Amy Nostbakken, Patricia Rozema
Music by Amy Nostbakken
Cinematography by Catherine Lutes
Film Editing by Lara Johnston

“System Crasher” by Nora Fingscheidt (2019)

First Feature

system crasherGood script, images and gender content
Excellent personages, dialogues and direction
Top message

The movie follows a 9-year-old girl (extraordinarily acted by Helena Zengel who knows how to continuously surprise the viewer) who has suffered such heavy traumas at a younger age that no one can handle her… A girl who is not responsible but who will pay all her life for the trauma of her youth (probably due to the ‘inadequacies’ of her mother).
Don’t be deceived by her angelic face, she’s extremely dangerous. But if you expect an horror movie, you’ll be disappointed: it’s much worse because so much more real.

Rotten Tomatoes Critics 7,7
Metascore 9,0
Roger Ebert —
Rotten Tomatoes Audience —
IMDB 7,8
Average critics 8,4
Average public 7,8

Original title: Systemsprenger

Cast: Helena Zengel, Albrecht Schuch, Gabriela Maria Schmeide
Director: Nora Fingscheidt
Writer: Nora Fingscheidt
Music by John Gürtler
Cinematography by Yunus Roy Imer
Film Editing by Stephan Bechinger, Julia Kovalenko

“The Seduction of Mimi” by Lina Wertmüller (1972)

A weekend treat!

The Seduction of MimiGood dialogues, humor, images, music and minority presence
Excellent direction

A chaotic and talkative script in which the political message is drowned in an individual love and sex story, but a dynamic direction that surprises the viewer every step of the way
Women are depicted as victims of men who are only guided by sex and honor
Fantastic final ‘sex’ scene

IMDB 7,4

Original title: Mimì metallurgico ferito nell’onore

Cast: Giancarlo Giannini, Mariangela Melato, Agostina Belli
Director: Lina Wertmüller
Writers: Lina Wertmüller
Music by Piero Piccioni
Cinematography by Dario Di Palma
Film Editing by Franco Fraticelli

“Manto” by Nandita Das (2018)

mantoGood script, personages, direction, music and message
Excellent dialogues and minority representation

IMDB 7,4

Cast: Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Rasika Dugal, Tahir Raj Bhasin
Director: Nandita Das
Writer: Nandita Das
Music by Babli Haque, Sneha Khanwalkar, Raftaar
Cinematography by Kartik Vijay
Film Editing by A. Sreekar Prasad

“My Happy Family” by Nana Ekvtimishvili and Simon Gross (2017)

My happy familyGood message
Excellent script, personages, direction and gender content
Top music

A very simple story: her children being grown-ups, a woman in her fifties decides to stop playing the various roles her family (and society) imposes on her (mother, daughter, wife, sister…), and decides to leave her family for no other reason than wanting to be on her own.
Intelligent direction and exceptional (Georgian) music

Rotten Tomatoes Critics —
Metascore 8,6
Roger Ebert 10,0
Rotten Tomatoes Audience —
IMDB 7,4
Average critics 9,3
Average public 7,4

Original title: Chemi Bednieri Ojakhi

Cast: Ia Shugliashvili, Merab Ninidze, Berta Khapava, Tsisia Qumsashvili
Director: Nana Ekvtimishvili, Simon Groß
Writer: Nana Ekvtimishvili
Cinematographer: Tudor Vladimir Panduru
Editor: Stefan Stabenow

“For Sale” by Laetitia Masson (1998)

For SaleGood minority presence
Excellent gender content

A movie about love, being something that you learn giving by first receiving it
A movie with an interesting female personage who does not know how to differentiate love from sex and sex from desire and desire from money… mysterious but the end leaves us wanting…

IMDB 6,6

Original title: A Vendre

Cast: Sandrine Kiberlain, Sergio Castellitto, Jean-François Stévenin
Director: Laetitia Masson
Writer: Laetitia Masson
Music by Siegfried
Cinematography by Antoine Héberlé
Film Editing by Aïlo Auguste-Judith

“Radius” by Caroline Labrèche and Steeve Léonard (2017)

radiusWeak humor, direction, minority presence and message

Warning: spoiler ahead! 
The scenario of Radius, gives you science-fiction, gives you a thriller, gives you a guy with extraordinary powers, gives you mystery, and involves a twin-sister and a serial killer on top of it… not to forget a spark of romance…
But that doesn’t guarantee a good movie, especially when it’s all told in flashbacks that break the pulse of the thriller… A pity for an intersting story: a man and a woman cannot be too far from each other physically otherwise everyone who stands between them dies..

Rotten Tomatoes Critics 7,3
Metascore —
Roger Ebert —
Rotten Tomatoes Audience 6,8
IMDB 6,2
Average critics 7,3
Average public 6,5

Cast: Diego Klattenhoff, Charlotte Sullivan, Brett Donahue
Directors: Caroline Labrèche, Steeve Léonard
Writers: Caroline Labrèche, Caroline Labrèche | 2 more credits »
Music by Benoît Charest
Cinematography by Simon Villeneuve
Film Editing by Steeve Léonard

“Someone Great” by Jennifer Robinson (2019)

2019 was a good year!

First Feature

someone greatGood humor
Excellent dialogues, gender content and minority presence

In a highly sexualized world 3 girlfriends break up the relationships they are in. The story of three young adults coming of age, with a lot of immaturity… I wonder if they will ever come out of it!
Messy direction and weak male characters but a very diverse cast and upbeat dialogues

Rotten Tomatoes Critics 6,0
Metascore 6,3
Roger Ebert 7,5
Rotten Tomatoes Audience 7,2
IMDB 6,2
Average critics 6,6
Average public 6,7

Cast: Gina Rodriguez, LaKeith Stanfield, Brittany Snow
Director: Jennifer Kaytin Robinson
Writer: Jennifer Kaytin Robinson
Music by Germaine Franco
Cinematography by Autumn Eakin
Film Editing by Mollie Goldstein, Jeffrey Wolf

“Unstrung Heroes” by Diane Keaton (1995)

A week of (US) first features
(a week-end treat)

Unstrung Heroes

In Diane Keaton’s only attempt at directing a feature movie, the too many different threads illustrate the chief beginner’s mistake, namely that of wanting to force too many ideas into one’s work….  There’s enough material in Unstrung Heroes for 5 movies (the relationship crazy uncles-boy, the science versus religion aspect, the boy who loses his mother and has to deal with his father, Uncle Arthur’s message that we’re all stuck in a role, etc.)

Rotten Tomatoes Critics 6,2
Metascore 7,0
Roger Ebert 8,8
Rotten Tomatoes Audience 7,4
IMDB 6,7
Average critics 7,3
Average public 7,1

Cast: Maury Chaykin, John Turturro, Andie MacDowell, Michael Richards
Directed by Diane Keaton
Written by Richard Lagravanese
Music by Thomas Newman
Cinematography by Phedon Papamichael
Film Editing by Lisa Zeno Churgin

“Burning Kentucky” by Bethany Brooke Anderson (2019)

A week of (US) first features

burning kentucky

Some good things in this movie, but too many guns around.
Not as bad as IMDB users rate it

IMDB 4,0

Cast: John Pyper-Ferguson, Nick McCallum, Nathan Sutton
Director: Bethany Brooke Anderson
Writer: Bethany Brooke Anderson
Music by Michael Thomas Regina
Cinematography by Matt Clegg, Ian S. Takahashi
Film Editing by Spencer Showalter

“Share” by Pippa Bianco (2019)

A week of (US) first features

ShareGreat minority presence and message
Excellent gender content

The quest for the truth of a sixteen-year old girl who wants to find out what happened at the party where she got raped.
The movie takes you through the silent meander of the girl’s survival trajectory.
The director systematically avoids ‘sharing’ with the public what keeps the action moving (which, at times, is a bit frustrating), but instead concentrates on the internal struggles of the girl.

The movie has a great ending.

Rotten Tomatoes Critics 7,2
Metascore 7,3
Roger Ebert 10,0
Rotten Tomatoes Audience 5,4
IMDB 5,6
Average critics 8,2
Average public 5,5

Cast: Rhianne Barreto, Charlie Plummer, Poorna Jagannathan, Lovie Simone
Director: Pippa Bianco
Screenplay: Pippa Bianco
Director of Photography: Ava Berkofsky
Editor: Shelby Siegel
Original Music Composer: Shlohmo

“Braid” by Mitzi Peirone (2018)

A week of (US) first features

braidGood images, music and gender content

Three girlfriends share a common madness
Interesting camera work, but not much substance

Rotten Tomatoes Critics 7,6
Metascore 6,0
Roger Ebert 8,8
Rotten Tomatoes Audience 7,2
IMDB 5,3
Average critics 7,5
Average public 6,3

Cast: Madeline Brewer, Imogen Waterhouse, Sarah Hay, Scott Cohen
Director: Mitzi Peirone
Writer: Mitzi Peirone
Director of Photography: Todd Banhazl
Editor: David Gutnik
Original Music Composer: Michael Gatt

“Speak Now” by Melissa Vitello (2016)

A week of (US) first features

Speak NowGood story and music
Excellent gender content

The thousand-and-one nuances and colors of the world of ‘bitches’
Another coming of age in which young adults try to grow out their high school past

IMDB 6,7

Cast: Melody Melendez, Camila Banus, Nicole Bilderback, Molly Evensen
Director: Melissa Vitello
Writers: Melissa Vitello, Bryan Ricke
Cinematography by Bryan Ricke
Film Editing by Bryan Ricke

“Pili” by Leanne Welham (2017)

A week of (US) first features

PiliGood script and message
Excellent gender content and minority representation

A young single mother of two is too proud to tell that she’s HIV positive and has to struggle to gather the money she needs to start a business
Although the movie leaves behind the idea that it was made as a vehicle to convince African women with HIV to come out of their isolation, it also illustrates the harsh reality of the life these women have, and the role the community plays in their life

IMDB 6,7

Cast: Bello Rashid, Nkwabi Elias Ng’angasamala, Sesilia Florian Kilimila
Director: Leanne Welham
Writers: Sophie Harman, Leanne Welham
Music by Tim Morrish
Cinematography by Craig Dean Devine
Film Editing by Kant Pan

“The Secret Garden” by Agnieszka Holland (1993)

The work of Agnieszka Holland (3/3)

A Weekend Treat!

The Secret GardenGood dialogues and direction

A children tale

Rotten Tomatoes Critics 7,9
Metascore 7,4
Roger Ebert 10,0
Rotten Tomatoes Audience 8,0
IMDB 7,3
Average critics 8,4
Average public 7,7

Cast: Kate Maberly, Heydon Prowse, Andrew Knott, Laura Crossley, Maggie Smith
Director: Agnieszka Holland
Writers: Frances Hodgson Burnett (book), Caroline Thompson (screenplay)
Music by Zbigniew Preisner
Cinematography by Roger Deakins
Film Editing by Isabelle Lorente

“In Darkness” by Agnieszka Holland (2011)

The work of Agnieszka Holland (2/3)

In DarknessGood script, direction, gender content and message
Excellent personages and minority representation
Top images

A movie that shows, without Hollywood artifacts, the slow transformation of a man who takes advantage of the war to make money on the black market by selling the valuables left behind by the Jews, to become a more conscious and engaged person who, without really wanting to, will go to extreme length to hide 11 Jews from the Nazis.
Nominated for an oscar

Rotten Tomatoes Critics 7,6
Metascore 7,4
Roger Ebert 6,3
Rotten Tomatoes Audience 7,8
IMDB 7,3
Average critics 7,1
Average public 7,6

Cast: Robert Wieckiewicz, Benno Fürmann, Agnieszka Grochowska
Director: Agnieszka Holland
Writers: Robert Marshall (book), David F. Shamoon
Music by Antoni Lazarkiewicz
Cinematography by Jolanta Dylewska
Film Editing by Michal Czarnecki

“Mr. Jones” by Agnieszka Holland (2019)

The work of Agnieszka Holland (1/3)

Mr. JonesGood script, images and message
Excellent minority representation

The true story of a Welsh journalist during the big famine of the 1930s in Ukraine, the Soviet propaganda, and the Western world abiding to it, intertwined with George Orwell writing Animal Farm. Quite a challenge but realistically brought to an end

Rotten Tomatoes Critics 6,7
Metascore 6,7
Roger Ebert 7,5
Rotten Tomatoes Audience —
IMDB 6,8
Average critics 7,0
Average public 6,8

Cast: James Norton, Vanessa Kirby, Peter Sarsgaard, Joseph Mawle, Fenella Woolgar, Kenneth Cranham
Director: Agnieszka Holland
Writer: Andrea Chalupa
Cinematographer: Tomasz Naumiuk
Editor: Michał Czarnecki
Composer: Antoni Lazarkiewicz

“Hala” by Minhal Baig (2019)

Facets of Patriarchy

HalaGood script, images, music and minority representation
Excellent personages, dialogues, direction and message
Top gender content

You may think it will be just another movie about a Muslim girl who is stuck between the traditions of her family and the Western mores in which she has grown up. But the script will surprise you…
A movie that (once again) shows that men are the guardians of the traditions while women move ahead – quite understandably when you think that most religions and honor codes were developed by and are in the hands of men…
I especially liked the focus on Hala: although she doesn’t say much, you are with her every step of the way
A very good movie about integration

Rotten Tomatoes Critics 7,6
Metascore 7,5
Roger Ebert 7,5
Rotten Tomatoes Audience 6,2
IMDB 5,7
Average critics 7,5
Average public 6,0

Cast: Geraldine Viswanathan, Jack Kilmer, Gabriel Luna, Purbi Joshi, Hatta Azad Khan, Anna Chlumsky
Director: Minhal Baig
Writer: Minhal Baig
Director of Photography: Carolina Costa
Original Music Composer: Mandy Hoffman

“In Bloom” by Nana Ekvtimishvili and Simon Gross (2013)

Facets of Patriarchy

First Feature

In BloomGood script, personages, direction and images
Top gender content and message

A world of women in which men are either away at war or drunk.
The story of two girls who have just gone through puberty and are obliged to play their adult female social role without having the possibility of a “coming of age”
A good account of how the rich life of girls is transformed into a life of slavery as they become women, and a good representation of
patriarchal rule in all its non-sense

Rotten Tomatoes Critics 7,2
Metascore 7,2
Roger Ebert —
Rotten Tomatoes Audience 7,6
IMDB 7,6
Average critics 7,2
Average public 7,6

Cast: Lika Babluani, Mariam Bokeria, Zurab Gogaladze
Directors: Nana Ekvtimishvili, Simon Groß (as Simon Gross)
Writer: Nana Ekvtimishvili
Cinematography by Oleg Mutu
Film Editing by Stefan Stabenow

“Sand Storm” by Elite Zexer (2016)

Facets of Patriarchy

First Feature

sand storm2Excellent script, personages, dialogues, direction and images
Top gender content, minority presence and message

A movie that shows the gender divide in a Bedouin village where men “have to” obey the rules and codes of honor that they have themselves elaborated and that deprive them of any possible empathy on one side, and women on the other side, emphatic but enslaved, who have to obey the rules imposed on them and are deprived of all weapons that could help them fight back
A movie that shows the absurdity of patriarchy, here set in the Bedouin culture but that can be found in most contexts dominated by the religions of the Book, whatever which ‘Book’ it is.
Excellent acting by Rub Blal.

Rotten Tomatoes Critics 7,2
Metascore 7,4
Roger Ebert 6,3
Rotten Tomatoes Audience 7,6
IMDB 6,8
Average critics 7,0
Average public 7,2

Cast: Lamis Ammar, Ruba Blal, Hitham Omari
Director: Elite Zexer
Writer: Elite Zexer (screenplay)
Music by Ran Bagno
Cinematography by Shai Peleg
Film Editing by Ronit Porat

“Zero Dark Thirty” by Kathryn Bigelow (2012)

A weekend treat!

Zero Dark ThirtyGood personages, humor, images and music
Excellent script, dialogues and gender content
Top direction

As often before, Kathryn Bigelow has made a sober film of dramatic events that could have givem way to much more exuberance in emotional situations as in historical perspective(s)

Rotten Tomatoes Critics 8,6
Metascore 9,5
Roger Ebert 7,5
Rotten Tomatoes Audience 8,0
IMDB 7,4
Average critics 8,5
Average public 7,7

Cast: Jessica Chastain, Joel Edgerton, Chris Pratt
Director: Kathryn Bigelow
Writer: Mark Boal
Music by Alexandre Desplat
Cinematography by Greig Fraser
Film Editing by William Goldenberg, Dylan Tichenor

“Mulan” by Niki Caro (2020)

Facets of (Confucian) Patriarchy

Mulan

A positive aspect of the movie is to bring clearly forward a patriarchal society whose chief (Confucian) value is honor. Unfortunately, the message – honor your father – is hammered in a nauseating way. That Disney had to please Xi Jing Ping is no surprise. But that Nikki Caro (The Zookeeper’s wife, North Country, Whale rider…) agreed to direct this is baffling

Rotten Tomatoes Critics 6,8
Metascore 6,6
Roger Ebert 8,8
Rotten Tomatoes Audience 6,0
IMDB 5,4
Average critics 7,4
Average public 5,7

Cast: Yifei Liu, Donnie Yen, Li Gong
Director: Niki Caro
Writers: Rick Jaffa, Amanda Silver
Music by Harry Gregson-Williams
Cinematography by Mandy Walker
Film Editing by David Coulson

“Fagara” by Heiward Mak (2019)

Facets of (Confucian) Patriarchy

fagaraGood dialogues

Could have been a nice movie about finding out where one belongs, if it wasn’t a movie that reenacts the core Confucian values of patriarchy with an omnipresent father who, beyond death, binds the whole network of women related to him (a wife and three daughters). Even his son in law and the restaurant staff seem to exist only because of him. Honor your father! is the message
The end confirms the emotional and dependent status of women (according to Confucianism).

Rotten Tomatoes Critics 8,3
Metascore —
Roger Ebert —
Rotten Tomatoes Audience 7,8
IMDB 6,7
Average critics 8,3
Average public 7,3

Cast: Sammi Cheng, Megan Lai, Xiaofeng Li
Director: Heiward Mak
Writer: Heiward Mak
Cinematography by S.K. Yip
Film Editing by Siu-Hong Chung, Heiward Mak

“Sworn Virgin” by Laura Bispuri (2015)

Facets of Patriarchy

First Feature

sworn virginExcellent gender content and minority presence

Interesting debut feature that tells the story of two women who escape “the gender-imposed hardships of their native culture,” [Godfrey Cheshire] one by fleeing an imposed marriage, the other by becoming a ‘sworn virgin,’ status that allows her to live her life like if she was a man, except for the fact that she may not have sex.

Rotten Tomatoes Critics 7,2
Metascore 7,0
Roger Ebert 5,0
Rotten Tomatoes Audience 7,0
IMDB 6,2
Average critics 6,4
Average public 6,6

Original title: Vergine Giurata

Cast: Alba Rohrwacher, Emily Ferratello, Lars Eidinger, Flonja Kodheli, Luan Jaha, Bruno Shllaku, Ilire Vinca Celaj
Director: Laura Bispuri
Writer: Elvira Dones
Writer: Laura Bispuri, Francesca Manieri
Cinematographer: Vladan Radovic
Editor: Carlotta Cristiani, Jacopo Quadri

“Unpregnant” by Rachel Lee Goldenberg (2020)

Facets of Patriarchy

UnpregnantGood minority presence
Top gender content and message

A movie with lots of clichés (in the story and personages, but also in the way it’s filmed) but it uses the clichés to make its point loud and clear

Rotten Tomatoes Critics 6,9
Metascore 6,1
Roger Ebert 7,5
Rotten Tomatoes Audience 5,0
IMDB 6,1
Average critics 6,8
Average public 5,6

Cast: Haley Lu Richardson, Barbie Ferreira, Giancarlo Esposito
Director: Rachel Lee Goldenberg
Writers: Jenni Hendriks, Rachel Lee Goldenberg
Cinematography by Doug Emmett
Film Editing by Julia Wong

“Yes, God, Yes” by Karen Maine (2019)

Facets of Patriarchy

First Feature

Yes God YesGood humor and direction
Excellent gender content and message

Everyone is doing it but no one admits it!
A teenage girl tries to understand why she’s being rekected as a weirdo-psycho pervert for wanting to discover sex while she sees everyone around her doing it… Fortunaltely, sex is lately a bit more libertated, but hypocrisy still prevails
Interesting ending scene between the girl and the priest

Rotten Tomatoes Critics 7,2
Metascore 7,1
Roger Ebert 7,5
Rotten Tomatoes Audience 7,6
IMDB 6,0
Average critics 7,3
Average public 6,8

Cast: Natalia Dyer, Francesca Reale, Alisha Boe
Director: Karen Maine
Writer: Karen Maine
Music by Ian Hultquist
Cinematography by Todd Antonio Somodevilla
Film Editing by Jennifer Lee

“Radioactive” by Marjane Satrapi (2019)

The work of Marjane Satrapi

RadioactiveGood gender content

In this movie, Marie Curie spends more time affirming herself against male dominance than unveiling what her real genius consisted of.

Rotten Tomatoes Critics 6,0
Metascore 5,6
Roger Ebert 5,0
Rotten Tomatoes Audience 6,6
IMDB 6,1
Average critics 5,5
Average public 6,4

Cast: Rosamund Pike, Sam Riley, Aneurin Barnard, Anya Taylor-Joy, Simon Russell Beale
Director: Marjane Satrapi
Based on the book by Lauren Redniss
Writer: Jack Thorne
Cinematographer: Anthony Dod Mantle
Editor: Stéphane Roche
Composer: Evgueni Galperine, Sacha Galperine

“The Voices” by Marjane Satrapi (2014)

The work of Marjane Satrapi

the voicesGood script and direction
Excellent images

An original script and, as usually with Marjane Satrapi, strong visual expression
Good performance by Ryan Reynolds

Rotten Tomatoes Critics 6,6
Metascore 5,8
Roger Ebert 7,5
Rotten Tomatoes Audience 6,6
IMDB 6,4
Average critics 6,6
Average public 6,5

Cast: Ryan Reynolds, Gemma Arterton, Anna Kendrick, Jacki Weaver
Director: Marjane Satrapi
Screenplay: Michael R. Perry
Director of Photography: Maxime Alexandre
Editor: Stéphane Roche

“Chicken With Plums” by Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud (2011)

The work of Marjane Satrapi

Chicken With PlumsGood direction and music
Excellent images

A man in a loveless marriage decides to die when his wife breaks his violin… Various styles happily mixed, with lots of surprising images
Strong visual expression

Rotten Tomatoes Critics 6,8
Metascore 6,9
Roger Ebert 10,0
Rotten Tomatoes Audience 7,2
IMDB 7,0
Average critics 7,9
Average public 7,1

Cast: Golshifteh Farahani, Mathieu Amalric, Isabella Rossellini, Maria de Medeiros
Directors: Marjane Satrapi, Vincent Paronnaud,
Writers: Marjane Satrapi, Vincent Paronnaud
Music by Olivier Bernet
Cinematography by Christophe Beaucarne
Film Editing by Stéphane Roche

“The Whistleblower” by Xiaolu Xue (2019)

The work of Xiaolu Xue

WhistleblowerExcellent direction and images

An over-the-top story is saved by great direction and special effects
A patriarchal superhero and a snake woman: not really gender-friendly!

Rotten Tomatoes Critics 3,9
Metascore —
Roger Ebert —
Rotten Tomatoes Audience —
IMDB 5,6

Cast: Jiayin Lei, Wei Tang, Xi Qi
Director: Xiaolu Xue
Writer: Xiaolu Xue
Music by David Hirschfelder
Cinematography by Marc Spicer
Film Editing by Andy Canny, Sean Courtney Lewis

“Finding Mr. Right” by Xiaolu Xue (2013)

The work of Xiaolu Xue

FInding Mr. RIghtWeak personages

Despite Wei Tang strong performance, weak personages, especially the absolutely insipid Xiubo Wu, + weak story + uninstpired direction
A disappointing follow-up to Oceah Heaven!
One thing both movies have in common, however, is the unusually dedicated father role attributed to the male lead.

Cast: Wei Tang, Xiubo Wu, Hai-Qing
Director: Xiaolu Xue
Writer: Xiaolu Xue
Music by Peter Kam
Cinematography by Chi-Ying Chan
Film Editing by Ka-Fai Cheung

“Ocean Heaven” by Xiaolu Xue (2010)

The work of Xiaolu Xue

First Feature

Ocean HeavenGood script and images
Excellent personages and direction
Top score: minorities

This movie makes the world a very human place, with people understanding and sharing the pain suffered by others!
One of the best movie over father-son relationship
Despite the subject – a terminally ill father must find a way for his autistic son to survive without him, – the only sentimentality comes from the music.
Excellent first feature!

Cast: Jet Li, Zhang Wen, Lun-Mei Kwei
Director: Xiaolu Xue
Writer: Xiaolu Xue
Music by Joe Hisaishi
Cinematography by Christopher Doyle
Film Editing by William Chang, Hongyu Yang

“A League of Their Own” by Penny Marshall (1992)

War movies directed by women

A weekend treat!

A League of Their OwnGood personages, dialogues, humor, images and gender content
Excellent direction

Could have been a bit shorter but really worth watching

Rotten Tomatoes Critics 6,8
Metascore 6,7
Roger Ebert 7,5
Rotten Tomatoes Audience 8,2
IMDB 7,3
Average critics 7,0
Average public 7,8

Cast: Geena Davis, Lori Petty, Madonna, Tom Hanks
Directed by Penny Marshall
Written by Lowell Ganz, Babaloo Mandel
Based On A Story by Kim Wilson
Photographed by Miroslav Ondricek
Music by Hans Zimmer

“In Darkness” by Agnieszka Holland (2011)

War movies directed by women

In DarknessGood script, direction, gender content and message
Excellent personages and minority representation
Top images

A movie that shows, without Hollywood artifacts, the slow transformation of a man who takes advantage of the war to make money on the black market by selling the valuables left behind by the Jews, to become a more conscious and engaged person who, without really wanting to, will go to extreme length to hide 11 Jews from the Nazis.
Nominated for an oscar

Rotten Tomatoes Critics 7,6
Metascore 7,4
Roger Ebert 6,3
Rotten Tomatoes Audience 7,8
IMDB 7,3
Average critics 7,1
Average public 7,6

Cast: Robert Wieckiewicz, Benno Fürmann, Agnieszka Grochowska
Director: Agnieszka Holland
Writers: Robert Marshall (book), David F. Shamoon
Music by Antoni Lazarkiewicz
Cinematography by Jolanta Dylewska
Film Editing by Michal Czarnecki

“Cider With Rosie” by Philippa Lowthorpe (2015)

War movies directed by women

Cider with RosieWeak direction and message

Some interesting personages and situations but the whole doesn’t get anywhere.
The choice to use the deep, almost broken voice of a veteran smoker as voice-off for Laurie Lee is difficult to link to the main personage of the film whom we only see as a boy and in his teens.

IMDB 6,4

Cast: Timothy Spall, Samantha Morton, Georgie Smith
Director: Philippa Lowthorpe
Writers:Ben Vanstone, Laurie Lee (based on the book by)
Music by Peter Salem
Cinematography by Julian Court
Film Editing by David Thrasher

“The Night Porter” by Liliana Cavani (1974)

War movies directed by women

the night porterWeak personages and message
Low gender content

An unusual side of postwar Austria: ex-Nazis are chasing survivors who can testify against them
The female lead has not more than 3 words to say and, 15 years after the end of the war, is still totally manipulated by the one who raped and tortured her. A case of Stockholm syndrome? This ‘magical’ attraction is reflected in the use of Mozart’s opera The Magic Flute
A movie that has caused many allergic reactions

Rotten Tomatoes Critics 5,6
Metascore —
Roger Ebert 2,5
Rotten Tomatoes Audience 7,4
IMDB 6,7
Average critics 4,1
Average public 7,1

Original title: Il Portiere di Notte

Cast: Dirk Bogarde, Charlotte Rampling, Philippe Leroy
Director: Liliana Cavani
Writers: Liliana Cavani, Italo Moscati
Music by Daniele Paris
Cinematography by Alfio Contini
Film Editing by Franco Arcalli

“A Call To Spy” by Lydia Dean Pilcher (2020)

War movies directed by women

a call to spyGood personages and message
Excellent minority presence

A good story but chaotic and clumsy direction
heavy-handed musical score

Rotten Tomatoes Critics 6,5
Metascore 6,7
Roger Ebert 8,8
Rotten Tomatoes Audience 9,2
IMDB 5,6
Average critics 7,3
Average public 7,4

Cast: Sarah Megan Thomas, Stana Katic, Radhika Apte
Director: Lydia Dean Pilcher
Writer: Sarah Megan Thomas
Music by Lillie Rebecca McDonough
Cinematography by Robby Baumgartner, Miles Goodall
Film Editing by Paul Tothill

“Unbroken” by Angelina Jolie (2014)

War movies directed by women

unbrokenGood images

A story describing a world in which it seemed easy to differentiate the good guys from the bad guys
Angelina Jolie could have made it a bit less black and white (by more humanizing the Japanese, for example)

Movie appreciated by the public, less by the critics

Rotten Tomatoes Critics 6,0
Metascore 5,9
Roger Ebert 6,3
Rotten Tomatoes Audience 7,4
IMDB 7,2
Average critics 6,1
Average public 7,3

Cast: Jack O’Connell, Miyavi, Domhnall Gleeson
Director: Angelina Jolie
Writers: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
Book by Laura Hillenbrand
Music by Alexandre Desplat
Cinematography by Roger Deakins
Film Editing by William Goldenberg, Tim Squyres

“The Olive Tree” by Icíar Bollaín (2016)

The Work of Iciar Bollain (5)

the olive treeGood script, personages, dialogues and images
Excellent humor and direction

Nice story by Paul Laverty

Rotten Tomatoes Critics 6,6
Metascore —
Roger Ebert —
Rotten Tomatoes Audience 7,2
IMDB 6,8
Average critics 6,6
Average public 7,0

Original title: El Olivo

Cast: Anna Castillo, Javier Gutiérrez, Pep Ambròs
Director: Icíar Bollaín
Writer: Paul Laverty
Music by Pascal Gaigne
Cinematography by Sergi Gallardo
Film Editing by Nacho Ruiz Capillas

“Crshd” by Emily Cohn (2019)

2019 was a good year!

First Feature

crshdGood images and minority representation
Excellent gender content

The innovative direction (images and editing) is worth watching although it does not compensate for the flat and simplistic story

Rotten Tomatoes Critics 6,4
Metascore 6,4
Roger Ebert —
Rotten Tomatoes Audience —
IMDB 5,4
Average critics 6,4
Average public 5,4

Cast: Isabelle Barbier, Deeksha Ketkar, Sadie Scott
Director: Emily Cohn
Writer: Emily Cohn
Music by Matthew Liam Nicholson
Cinematography by Saaniya Zaveri
Film Editing by Michelle Botticelli , Emily Cohn

“The Farewell Party” by Tal Granit & Sharon Maymon (2014)

Good script, personages, dialogues and direction
Excellent humor and message

Lots of humor in a serious comedy over the right to die
The weak minority presence is certainly a pity!

Rotten Tomatoes Critics 7,2
Metascore 7,1
Roger Ebert 8,8
Rotten Tomatoes Audience 7,2
IMDB 7,1
Average critics 7,7
Average public 7,2

Original title: Mita Tove

Cast: Ze’ev Revach, Levana Finkelstein, Alisa Rozen, Ilan Da, Rafael Tabor
Director: Tal Granit, Sharon Maymon
Writer: Tal Granit, Sharon Maymon
Music by Avi Belleli
Cinematography by Tobias Hochstein
Film Editing by Einat Glaser-Zarhin

“Girlfriends” by Claudia Weill (1978)

First Feature

Great personages, dialogues, direction, images and gender content

A movie made with little means but that reaches its goal

Rotten Tomatoes Critics 6,7
Metascore —
Roger Ebert —
Rotten Tomatoes Audience 7,4
IMDB 7,1
Average critics 6,7
Average public 7,3

Cast: Melanie Mayron, Eli Wallach, Adam Cohen
Director: Claudia Weill
Writers: Claudia Weill, Vicki Polon
Music by Michael Small
Cinematography by Fred Murphy
Film Editing by Suzanne Pettit

“Love Under New Management: The Miki Howard Story” by Christine Swanson (2016)

Good direction, images, music, gender content and message

A bit too linear to my taste

IMDB 7,4

Cast: Teyonah Parris, Gary Dourdan, Darius McCrary
Director: Christine Swanson
Writers: Rhonda Baraka, Christine Swanson
Music by Kurt Farquhar
Cinematography by Tommy Maddox-Upshaw
Film Editing by Grisha Alasadi

“Blood 13” by Candy Li (2018)

First Feature

Good message

Notwithstanding the fact that I have to rely on subtitles and that mine were kind of… incomprehensible, this movie, probably made on a tight budget, and an amateurish aura. However, it is surprising for any movie, and even more for a Chinese one, to talk very openly not only about prostitutes and the prejudices around their trade, but also about another heavily prejudiced item, menstruation.

IMDB 7,2

Original title: Xue shi san

Cast: Lu Huang, Gang Xie, Bo Qian
Director: Candy Li
Writer: Tu Hu
Music by Pantawit Kiangsiri
Cinematography by Hiroyuki Haga
Film Editing by Takashi Uchida

First Feature

Good message

Notwithstanding the fact that I have to rely on subtitles and that mine were kind of… incomprehensible, this movie, probably made on a tight budget, and an amateurish aura. However, it is surprising for any movie, and even more for a Chinese one, to talk very openly not only about prostitutes and the prejudices around their trade, but also about another heavily prejudiced item, menstruation.

IMDB 7,2

Original title: Xue shi san

Cast: Lu Huang, Gang Xie, Bo Qian
Director: Candy Li
Writer: Tu Hu
Music by Pantawit Kiangsiri
Cinematography by Hiroyuki Haga
Film Editing by Takashi Uchida

“Eve’s Bayou” by Kasi Lemmons (1997)

A weekend treat!

First Feature

Eve's BayouGood dialogues, music and minorities presence
Excellent script, personages, direction, images,
gender content and message

The complex story of two sisters (14 and 10) who have put their father on a pedestal and cannot accept the fact that he is but just a man.

Rotten Tomatoes Critics 7,5
Metascore 7,8
Roger Ebert 10,0
Rotten Tomatoes Audience 8,6
IMDB 7,3
Average critics 8,4
Average public 8,0

Cast: Samuel L. Jackson, Jurnee Smollett, Meagan Good
Director: Kasi Lemmons
Writer: Kasi Lemmons
Music by Terence Blanchard
Cinematography by Amy Vincent
Film Editing by Terilyn A. Shropshire

“Talk To Me” by Kasi Lemmons (2007)

Talk to meGood dialogues, humor, images and music
Excellent personages, direction and minority presence

The story of a friendship, with its complementary motivation and inevitable disappointments

Rotten Tomatoes Critics 6,9
Metascore 6,9
Roger Ebert 8,8
Rotten Tomatoes Audience 8,0
IMDB 7,3
Average critics 7,5
Average public 7,7

Cast: Don Cheadle, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Bruce McFee
Director: Kasi Lemmons
Writers: Michael Genet, Rick Famuyiwa
Music by Terence Blanchard
Cinematography by Stéphane Fontaine
Film Editing by Terilyn A. Shropshire

“Harriet” by Kasi Lemmons (2019)

2019 was a good year!

harrietGood music and gender content
Top minorities representation and message

The story of a great woman that could have been told less straightforwardly

Rotten Tomatoes Critics 6.6
Metascore 6,6
Roger Ebert 7,5
Rotten Tomatoes Audience 9,4
IMDB 6,5
Average critics 4,7
Average public 8,0

Cast: Cynthia Erivo, Janelle Monáe, Leslie Odom Jr., Joe Alwyn
Director: Kasi Lemmons
Story by Gregory Allen Howard
Writer: Gregory Allen Howard, Kasi Lemmons
Cinematographer: John Toll
Editor: Wyatt Smith
Composer: Terence Blanchard

“An Accidental Soldier” by Rachel Ward (2013)

An Accidental SoldierPoor direction, weak script

A weak scenario, a direction without surprises, a boring musical score
However, some positive aspects: a younger man falls in love with an older woman / a bilingual movie (she speaks French, he speaks English)
Rachel Ward has made more interesting movies (Beautiful Kate, Palm Beach)

IMDB 6,9

Cast: Marie Bunel, Dan Spielman, Julia Zemiro
Director: Rachel Ward
Writer: Blake Ayshford
Cinematography by Germain McMicking
Film Editing by Leanne Cole

“Honey” by Valeria Golino (2013)

First Feature

Great script, personages, music, minority presence and message

A good story and a mysterious lead personage who only gets partially revealed

Rotten Tomatoes Critics 7,5
Metascore 7,5
Roger Ebert 6,3
Rotten Tomatoes Audience 7,0
IMDB 6,7
Average critics 7,1
Average public 6,9

Cast: Jasmine Trinca, Carlo Cecchi, Libero De Rienzo, Vinicio Marchioni, Iaia Forte
Director: Valeria Golino
Novel: Angela Del Fabbro
Screenplay: Valeria Golino, Francesca Marciano, Valia Santella
Music by Christian Rainer
Cinematography by Gergely Pohárnok
Film Editing by Giogiò Franchini

“Sand Storm” by Elite Zexer (2016)

First Feature

sand storm2Excellent script, personages, dialogues, direction and images
Top gender content, minority presence and message

A movie that shows the gender divide in a Bedouin village where men “have to” obey the rules and codes of honor that they have themselves elaborated and that deprive them of any possible empathy on one side, and women on the other side, emphatic but enslaved, who have to obey the rules imposed on them and are deprived of all weapons that could help them fight back
A movie that shows the absurdity of patriarchy, here set in the Bedouin culture but that can be found in most contexts dominated by the religions of the Book, whatever which ‘Book’ it is.
Excellent acting by Rub Blal.

Rotten Tomatoes Critics 7,2
Metascore 7,4
Roger Ebert 6,3
Rotten Tomatoes Audience 7,6
IMDB 6,8
Average critics 7,0
Average public 7,2

Cast: Lamis Ammar, Ruba Blal, Hitham Omari
Director: Elite Zexer
Writer: Elite Zexer (screenplay)
Music by Ran Bagno
Cinematography by Shai Peleg
Film Editing by Ronit Porat

“Grand Central” by Rebecca Zlotowski (2013)

The work of Rebecca Zlotowski (3/3)

A weekend treat!

grand centralGood personages, images and gender content
Excellent direction and music

Using a nuclear plant as background provides added tension and insecurity to a love story that is born out of the attraction between two bodies

Rotten Tomatoes Critics 6,5
Metascore 7,3
Roger Ebert —
Rotten Tomatoes Audience 6,4
IMDB 6,2
Average critics 6,9
Average public 6,3

Cast: Tahar Rahim, Léa Seydoux, Olivier Gourmet
Director: Rebecca Zlotowski
Writers: Gaëlle Macé, Rebecca Zlotowski |
Music by Robin Coudert
Cinematography by Georges Lechaptois
Film Editing by Julien Lacheray

“Planetarium” by Rebecca Zlotowski (2016)

The work of Rebecca Zlotowski (2/3)

planetariumGood script, personages, dialogues and music
Excellent direction

Fascinating movie, although I can’t really put the finger on why I couldn’t stop watching… Maybe it’s just because, as it is said in the end, it suggests expectations that you better not have, but that you should never losing hope.
Nice musical score

Rotten Tomatoes Critics 4,8
Metascore 4,4
Roger Ebert 5,0
Rotten Tomatoes Audience 4,8
IMDB 4,6
Average critics 4,7
Average public 4,7

Cast: Natalie Portman, Lily-Rose Depp, Emmanuel Salinger
Director: Rebecca Zlotowski
Writers: Rebecca Zlotowski, Robin Campillo
Music by Robin Coudert
Cinematography by Georges Lechaptois
Film Editing by Julien Lacheray

“An Easy Girl” by Rebecca Zlotowski (2019)

The work of Rebecca Zlotowski (1/3)

2019 was a good year!

an easy girlGood script, direction, gender content and message

A ‘light’ and sunny movie in which each and every one takes from and gives to others

Rotten Tomatoes Critics 7,5
Metascore 7,8
Roger Ebert —
Rotten Tomatoes Audience 6,0
IMDB 5,6
Average critics 7,7
Average public 5,8

Cast: Mina Farid, Zahia Dehar, Benoît Magimel
Director: Rebecca Zlotowski
Writers: Teddy Lussi-Modeste, Rebecca Zlotowski
Cinematography by Georges Lechaptois
Film Editing by Géraldine Mangenot

“Work It” by Laura Terruso (2020)

The work of Laura Terruso (3/3)

2020, a turbulent year!

work itWeak script and personages
Good minority presence
Excellent music

Some good choreography and dance, but a weak and predictable story
With a similar context as her preceding movie “Good Girls Get High” but much less inspired on all fronts

Rotten Tomatoes Critics 6,1
Metascore 5,8
Roger Ebert 6,3
Rotten Tomatoes Audience —
IMDB 6,3
Average critics 6,1
Average public 6,3

Cast: Sabrina Carpenter, Liza Koshy, Jordan Fisher, Drew Tanner
Director: Laura Terruso
Writer: Alison Peck
Cinematographer: Rogier Stoffers
Composer: Germaine Franco

“Good Girls Get High” by Laura Terruso (2018)

The work of Laura Terruso (2/3)

Good Girls Get HighGood humor, direction and gender content

Two high school nerdy girlfriends decide to ditch their “good girls” reputation before leaving high school.
A movie that keeps surprising you

Metascore 6,3
IMDB 6,0

Cast: Chanté Adams, Jenica Bergere, Matt Besser
Director: Laura Terruso
Writers: Jennifer Nashorn Blankenship, Laura Terruso
Music by Jay Israelson
Cinematography by Benjamin Rutkowski
Film Editing by Stacey Schroeder, John Wesley Whitton

“Fits And Starts” by Laura Terruso (2017)

The work of Laura Terruso (1/3)

First Feature

Fits and StartsGood personages, direction, music, diversity and message
Excellent gender content

An ironic view on the world of writers (the successful ones and the others) in New York
At times a bit compelled (isn’t that inherent to irony?) but lots of surprising moments

IMDB 6,0

Cast: Wyatt Cenac, Greta Lee, Maria Dizzia
Director: Laura Terruso
Writer: Laura Terruso
Music by Jay Israelson
Cinematography by Benjamin Rutkowski
Film Editing by Robert Grigsby Wilson

“Bandits” by Katja von Garnier (1997)

A German week

The work of Katja von Garnier (4/4)

First Feature

Bandits (1997)

Good script and images
Excellent personages, direction, music and message
Top humor and gender content

A classic jail break + pursuit story… of four female detainees who accumulates surprise after surprise!
First of all, there are only 2 male roles: a cop and an hostage. The cop thinks and acts as a man to whom things are due and that no one can resist. The hostage is attractive (that’s why he’s taken hostage, of course) and can be used for sex. He enjoys the female attention he gets until the women get tired of him and let him lose. He becomes angry, because, just like the cop, he thought he had everything under control 🙂
But this movie goes further and beyond these simple gender stereotypes, for it shows how differently these female escapees think and react from the way men react in the classic jail escape and pursuit movies. A real treat!
Besides a wink to Godard, I also had to think of Sergio Leone but you would have then to replace “the good,  the bad, and the ugly” by “the hysterical, the nun, the mother, and the whore”. Enjoy!

Rotten Tomatoes Critics 7,0
Metascore 5,3
Roger Ebert —
Rotten Tomatoes Audience 8,2
IMDB 6,5
Average critics 6,2
Average public 7,4

Cast: Katja Riemann, Jasmin Tabatabai, Nicolette Krebitz
Director: Katja von Garnier
Writers: Uwe Wilhelm, Katja von Garnier
Music by Udo Arndt, Volker Griepenstroh, Peter Weihe
Cinematography by Torsten Breuer
Film Editing by Hans Funck

“Iron Jawed Angels” by Katja von Garnier (2004)

A German week

The work of Katja von Garnier (3/4)

Iron Jawed AngelsGood script, personages, direction, images and message
Excellent dialogues
Top gender content

Good tv movie, with a surprising musical choice

Rotten Tomatoes Critics —
Metascore —
Roger Ebert —
Rotten Tomatoes Audience 6,4
IMDB 7,5
Average critics —
Average public 7,0

Cast: Hilary Swank, Margo Martindale, Anjelica Huston
Director: Katja von Garnier
Writers: Jennifer Friedes (story), Sally Robinson (teleplay)
Music by Reinhold Heil, Johnny Klimek
Cinematography by Robbie Greenberg
Film Editing by Hans Funck

“Stormwind 2” by Katja von Garnier (2015)

A German week

The work of Katja von Garnier (2/4)

Stormwind 2Good personages and humor

The ‘feel’ of this sequel is not to the level of the first one but still some good moments… and much more humor! Aesthetic sometimes primes at the wrong moment.
See the discriminatory disclaimer in the review of the first Stormwind.

IMDB 6.5

Original title: Ostwind 2

Cast: Hanna Binke, Jannis Niewöhner, Marvin Linke
Director: Katja von Garnier
Writers: Kristina Magdalena Henn, Lea Schmidbauer
Music by Annette Focks
Cinematography by Torsten Breuer
Film Editing by Tobias Haas

“Stormwind” by  Katja von Garnier (2013)

A German week

The work of Katja von Garnier (1/4)

Stormwind

Good script and dialogues

DISCRIMATION ALERT! The bad guy is called ‘the Hungarian.’ My first reaction was that it was awfully discrimatory, especially for a German film. However, Katja von Garnier might have thought of Viktor Orban when chosing this name. As a reminder, Viktor Orban with his racist platform has been prime minister since 2010. In both Stormwind 1 and 2 is the Hungarian (we never see his face) the bad guy. SPOILER ALERT: He get caught at the end of Stormwind 2, so who’s gonna be the bad guy in Stormwind 3? I’m curious 🙂

A good film with some weak aspects – music, personages that are too stereotyped, images that intentionally blurred and no one knows why… However, the relationship between the girl and the horse is truthfully represented, and Hanna Binke (and the horse) make it happen.
Not to forget that the movie is German and dares to go beyond the framework imposed by Hollywood

IMDB 6,8

Original title: Ostwind

Cast: Hanna Binke, Marvin Linke, Cornelia Froboess
Director: Katja von Garnier
Writers: Kristina Magdalena Henn, Lea Schmidbauer
Music by Annette Focks
Cinematography by Torsten Breuer
Film Editing by Dirk Grau

“A Year Ago in Winter” by Caroline Link (2008)

A German week

A Year Ago in WinterGood dialogues, music and gender content
Excellent script, personages, images and message
Top direction

A boy in his late teen kills himself without leaving a note. His mother loses a son, his sister a brother, but as she once says, they both lost much more than a son/brother.. A powerful movie that shows without any superficiality how grieving is such a personal process

IMDB 7,2

Original title: Im Winter ein Jahr

Cast: Karoline Herfurth, Josef Bierbichler, Corinna Harfouch
Director: Caroline Link
Writers: Caroline Link (screenplay), Scott Campbell (novel)
Music by Niki Reiser
Cinematography by Bella Halben
Film Editing by Patricia Rommel

“Aurora Borealis” by Marta Meszaros (2017)

A Weekend Treat!

aurora borealisGreat personages, images, music, minority presence and message
Excellent script, direction and gender content

A movie that shows you how the past cannot be untangled.
Moving without any false note, leaves you wandering what if it had happened to you… for even if it was another time, it’s still happening at this very moment somewhere in the world

IMDB 7,3

Original title: Északi fény

Cast: Mari Töröcsik, Ildikó Tóth, Franciska Töröcsik
Director: Márta Mészáros
Writers: Zoltán Jancsó, Márta Mészáros
Cinematography by Piotr Sobocinski Jr.
Film Editing by Annamaria Szanto

“The Photograph” by Stella Meghie (2020)

2020, a turbulent year!

the photographGood music, gender content and message

A double love story one generation apart in which one sacrifices the relationship to fulfill their self-realization
A movie about how difficult we find it to say what we mean, sometimes just saying the opposite of what we wanted to express
A movie with many facets – some barely sketched, like the photographic aspect – that could have been more condensed (like 20 minutes shorter…)

Rotten Tomatoes Critics 6,6
Metascore 6,2
Roger Ebert 7,5
Rotten Tomatoes Audience 8,4
IMDB 5,9
Average critics 6,8
Average public 7,2

Cast: Issa Rae, Chanté Adams, LaKeith Stanfield
Director:  Stella Meghie
Writer: Stella Meghie
Cinematographer: Mark Schwartzbard
Editor: Shannon Baker Davis
Composer: Robert Glasper

“DieRy” by Jennifer Gelfer (2020)

2020, a turbulent year!

DieRyWeak message

Some well-carved personages, but a story that does not get us anywhere

IMDB 6,5

Cast: Claudia Maree Mailer, Ciaran Byrne, James Sutorius
Director: Jennifer Gelfer
Writer: John Buffalo Mailer
Music by Greg Camp
Cinematography by Julia Swain
Film Editing by Jim Mol

“The Lost Husband” by Vicky Wight (2020)

2020, a turbulent year!

the lost husbandGood personages, images and message
Top minority representation

Although script and direction are at times a bit clumsy, the movie has lots of good things and a good feeling about it
A very diversified cast, from beginning to end
As for the title, a mysterious choice…

Rotten Tomatoes Critics 6,1
Metascore 4,9
Roger Ebert 6,3
Rotten Tomatoes Audience 9,4
IMDB 5,6
Average critics 5,8
Average public 7,5

Cast: Leslie Bibb, Josh Duhamel, Sharon Lawrence, Kevin Alejandro, Georgia King
Director: Vicky Wight
Writer (novel): Katherine Center
Writer: Vicky Wight
Cinematographer: Aaron Kovalchik
Editor: Suzanne Spangler
Composer: Sherri Chung

“I Will Make You Mine” by Lynn Chen (2020)

2020, a turbulent year!

First Feature

I Will Make You Mine
Good music and minority representation

After a difficult start, the story gets going… but in the end one doesn’t get much insight into what it was all about
Original score played by the actors

Rotten Tomatoes Critics 7,0
Metascore 7,0
Roger Ebert —
Rotten Tomatoes Audience —
IMDB 5,6
Average critics 7,0
Average public 5,6

Cast: Lynn Chen, Yea-Ming Chen, Goh Nakamura
Director: Lynn Chen
Writer: Lynn Chen
Music by Yea-Ming Chen, Goh Nakamura
Cinematography by Carl Nenzén Lovén, Bill Otto
Film Editing by Abe Forman-Greenwald

“Lost Girls” by Liz Garbus (2020)

2020, a turbulent year!

First Feature

lost girlsGood personages
Excellent minority representation
Top gender content and message

Great performance by Amy Ryan, but above all a story with a strong message bringing the right perspective on gender and minorities

Rotten Tomatoes Critics 6,0
Metascore 6,7
Roger Ebert 7,5
Rotten Tomatoes Audience —
IMDB 6,1
Average critics 6,7
Average public 6,1

Cast: Amy Ryan, Thomasin McKenzie, Lola Kirke, Gabriel Byrne. Oona Laurence
Director: Liz Garbus
Screenplay: Michael Werwie
Book: Robert Kolker
Director of Photography: Igor Martinović

“The Japanese Wife” by Aparna Sen (2010)

A Weekend Treat!

The Japanese WifeGood script and minority representation

A good story
I am tempted to summarize the movie as having a weak and manipulated man stuck between three women as its main character… but I don’t think Aparna Sen would approve 🙂

IMDB 7,6

Cast: Rahul Bose, Chigusa Takaku, Raima Sen
Director: Aparna Sen
Writers: Aparna Sen, based on the story by Kunal Basu
Music by Sagar Desai
Cinematography by Anay Goswami
Film Editing by Rabiranjan Maitra

“The High Note” by Nisha Ganatra (2020)

2020, a turbulent year!

The High NoteGreat personages, dialogues and direction / Excellent music / Top minority presence

A good message that gets diluted in the story, but a wide array of actors from  various American minorities and melted altogether in a very natural way in the story
And then the lead: a woman, an artist, African-American, older than 40. What are her chances, she asks, of making a come back?
Nisha Ganatra uses the same premises as her successful Late Night to tackle another aspect of the music business. A few twists near the end of the movie are a bit overdone but they are quickly forgotten

Rotten Tomatoes Critics 6,1
Metascore 5,8
Roger Ebert 6,3
Rotten Tomatoes Audience 8,0
IMDB 5,5
Average critics 6,1
Average public 6,8

Cast: Dakota Johnson, Tracee Ellis Ross, Kelvin Harrison Jr., Ice Cube
Director: Nisha Ganatra
Writer: Flora Greeson
Cinematography: Jason McCormick
Editor: Wendy Greene Bricmont
Composer: Amie Doherty

“The Roads Not Taken” by Sally Potter (2020)

2020, a turbulent year!

the road not takenWeak script

The broken life of a broken man broken into pieces
The story of a man who has lost track of time and who amalgamates the obsessive parts of his life at three different places (Greece, Mexico, New York)
Sally Potter didn’t succeed in letting us share this man’s painful journey, partially because of the continuous presence of his daughter: unable to follow what her father goes through, she takes the viewer away from him…

Rotten Tomatoes Critics 4,7
Metascore 3,9
Roger Ebert 5,0
Rotten Tomatoes Audience —
IMDB 4,8
Average critics 4,5
Average public 4,8

Cast: Javier Bardem, Elle Fanning, Salma Hayek, Laura Linney,, Chris Rock, Branka Katić
Director: Sally Potter
Writer: Sally Potter
Original Music Composer: Sally Potter
Cinematographer: Robbie Ryan
Editor: Emilie Orsini. Sally Potter, Jason Rayton
Composer: Sally Potter

“Stargirl” by Julia Hart (2020)

2020, a turbulent year!

StargirlGood minority presence

A script that could have been developed into a powerful movie but that remains superficial and bland – although good screen presence by Grace VanderWaal

Rotten Tomatoes Critics 6,3
Metascore 6,0
Roger Ebert 5,0
Rotten Tomatoes Audience 8,0
IMDB 6,2
Average critics 5,8
Average public 7,1

Cast: Grace VanderWaal, Graham Verchere, Giancarlo Esposito, Karan Brar
Director: Julia Hart
Writer (novel): Jerry Spinelli
Writer: Kristin Hahn, Jordan Horowitz, Jerry Spinelli
Cinematographer: Bryce Fortner
Editor: Shayar Bhansali, Tracey Wadmore-Smith
Composer: Rob Simonsen

“The Old Guard” by Gina Prince-Bythewood (2020)

2020, a turbulent year!

The Old GuardGood gender content, diversity and message / Excellent script

A story with lots of potential that has been turned into a run-of-the-mill superhero action-movie.

Rotten Tomatoes Critics 6,5
Metascore 7,0
Roger Ebert 8,8
Rotten Tomatoes Audience 7,6
IMDB 6,7
Average critics 7,4
Average public 7,2

Cast: Charlize Theron, KiKi Layne, Matthias Schoenaerts, Marwan Kenzari, Luca Marinelli, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Harry Melling
Director: Gina Prince-Bythewood
Writer: Greg Rucka, Leandro Fernandez,
Cinematographer: Barry Ackroyd, Tami Reiker
Editor: Terilyn A. Shropshire
Composer: Volker Bertelmann, Dustin O’Halloran

“Valley Girl” by Rachel Goldenberg (2020)

2020, a turbulent year!

First Feature

Valley GirlWeak personages

Another Romeo & Juliet / West Side Story story
Choreography and music are not too bad in the first half but loose their sharp edges when Hollywood decides to merge punk and pop
Remake of Martha Coolidge’s Valley Girl (1983)

Rotten Tomatoes Critics 5,8
Metascore 5,4
Roger Ebert 3,8
Rotten Tomatoes Audience 9,2
IMDB 5,3
Average critics 5,0
Average public 7,3

Cast: Jessica Rothe, Josh Whitehouse, Ashleigh Murray, Chloe Bennet, Peyton List, Mae Whitman, Jessie Ennis, Logan Paul, Allyn Rachel
Director: Rachel Goldenberg
Writer (story by): Andrew Lane, Wayne Crawford
Writer: Amy Talkington
Cinematographer: Adam Silver
Editor: Julia Wong
Composer: Roger Neill

“Tengri: Blue Heavens” by Marie-Jaoul de Poncheville (2008)

My Year’s Favorites (Aug. 2019-July 2020)

First Feature

Tengri
Good script
Excellent personages, dialogues, humor and message
Top direction, images, music, gender content and minority presence

An isolated village in the Kyrgyz mountains: while men drink, women suffer daily abuse but still poetically fantasize about love
One of them, married to a religious but violent soldier falls in love with a stranger. They run away…
Extraordinary landscapes and traditional music

IMDB 6,4

Original title: Tengri: Le Bleu Du Ciel

Cast: Albina Imasheva, Elim Kalmouratov, Hélène Patarot
Director: Marie-Jaoul de Poncheville
Writers: Jean-François Goyet, Azamat Kadyraliev, Marie-Jaoul de Poncheville
Music by Birgit Løkke, Nikolai Marousitch
Cinematography by Sylvie Carcedo, Assan Imanaliev
Film Editing by Catherine Quesemand

“Saints Rest” by Noga Ashkenazi (2018)

My Year’s Favorites (Aug. 2019-July 2020)

First Feature

saint restGood script
Excellent dialogues, humor, direction, images and gender content
Top personages, music and message

A simple story, directed with insight and finesse + a treasure of a cast + beautiful songs that belong to the personages and to their story. A real treat!

IMDB 4,7

Cast: Hani Furstenberg, Allie Trimm, Dana Ivgy
Director: Noga Ashkenazi
Writers: Noga Ashkenazi, Tyson Stock
Music by Naama Or, Eliya Scemama
Cinematography by Matthias Grunsky
Film Editing by Nili Feller

“Strange Days” by Kathryn Bigelow (1995)

My Year’s Favorites (Aug. 2019-July 2020)

Strange DaysGood humor and gender content
Excellent script, dialogues, direction and music
Top personages, images and minority presence

A ‘tour de force’ is this collaboration between James Cameron, who wrote the story and participated to the editing, and Kathryn Bigelow who masterly directed it.
Spoiler ahead!
However, this disturbing movie could have delivered a much more abrasive message, was it not for the over-the-top ending that leaves us with a very traditional Hollywood fare. According to Roger Ebert, Bigelow forgot that there was a riot going on prior to the moment when the cops’ boss – an older white male! – intervenes to punish the villains and reward the virtuous. But this ending does not fit the movie – not only the intervention of the man puts an end and even contradicts the fact that Mace – a black woman – has been leading the action during the whole movie (she has in fact to stay on the ground to allow this man to save her), but also because, as Roger Ebert remarked, the crowd who was rioting suddenly has fun celebrating the New Year countdown….
Could this all-is-well-in-the-patriarchy-ending have been imposed by the big studios? Just wondering…it wouldn’t be the first time, would it?

Metascore 6,6
Roger Ebert 10,0
Rotten Tomatoes Audience 7,4
IMDB 7,2
Average critics 7,6
Average public 7,3

Cast: Ralph Fiennes,  Angela Bassett, Juliette Lewis, Tom Sizemore
Directed by Kathryn Bigelow
Written by James Cameron, Jay Cocks
Music by Graeme Revell
Cinematography by Matthew F. Leonetti
Film Editing by Howard E. Smith, James Cameron

“The Farewell” by Lulu Wang (2019)

My Year’s Favorites (Aug. 2019-July 2020)

The Farewell
Good dialogues, humor, gender content and minority presence
Excellent script, images and music
Top personages, direction and message

Thirteen minutes into the movie, the plot is clearly established, and we are emotionally involved
Emotions are very soberly displayed / no false notes in the characters /  good editing and photography, and a very interesting musical score… An amazing feat!
All this within the profound humility of an homage made by a grand-daughter to her grandma
This second feature is a strong follow-up to her first movie Posthumus.

Rotten Tomatoes Critics 8,5
Metascore 8,9
Roger Ebert 10,0
Rotten Tomatoes Audience 8,6
IMDB 7,6
Average critics 9,1
Average public 8,1

Cast: Awkwafina, Tzi Ma, Diana Lin, Zhao Shuzhen, Lu Hong, Jiang Yongbo
Director: Lulu Wang
Screenplay: Lulu Wang
Director of Photography: Anna Franquesa Solano
Editor: Michael Taylor

“An Inspector Calls” by Aisling Walsh (2015)

My Year’s Favorites (Aug. 2019-July 2020)

An Inspector Calls

Good humor and images
Excellent personages and direction
Top script + content

An excellent adaptation of J.B. Priestley’s classic play about class, responsibility, guilt, honesty, and…
A world that will need a most terrible war to (almost) disappear

Rotten Tomatoes Critics 8,0
Metascore —
Roger Ebert —
Rotten Tomatoes Audience 8,2
IMDB 7,7
Average critics 8,0
Average public 8,0

Cast: Sophie Rundle, Lucy Chappell, Miranda Richardson
Director: Aisling Walsh
Writers: J.B. Priestley (based on the play by), Helen Edmundson (adapted by)
Music by Dominik Scherrer
Cinematography by Martin Fuhrer
Film Editing by Alex Mackie

“Gully Boy” by Zoya Akhtar (2019)

My Year’s Favorites (Aug. 2019-July 2020)

Gully BoyGood personages, humor and images
Excellent dialogues, direction and content
Top script and music

A movie that shows the struggles that young people in India endure to change the deeply anchored traditions of their parents
Great story and great music!

Rotten Tomatoes Critics 7,4
Metascore 6,5
Roger Ebert 0,0
Rotten Tomatoes Audience 8,6
IMDB 8,2
Average critics 4,6
Average public 8,4

Cast: Ranveer Singh, Alia Bhatt, Siddhant Chaturvedi
Director: Zoya Akhtar
Writers: Zoya Akhtar, Reema Kagti
Music by ishQ Bector, Karsh Kale, Jasleen Royal
Cinematography by Jay Oza
Film Editing by Nitin Baid