Sweet, earnest, perfectly-crafted first feature from actor Chris Messina about an LA family in transition. The delicate plot is graced with wonderful performances in all major and minor roles. Low-key and luminous. Directed by Chris Messina. Screenplay by Jessica Goldberg, Katie Nehra, and Justin Shilton. Not yet seen by Rich. (JLH: 4/5) ************************* “Roger” (Don… Continue reading ALEX OF VENICE


Beneath the Helmet: From High School to the Home Front is fascinating look at five young men undergoing rigorous paratrooper training in the IDF (Israeli Defense Force). Barely 18 years old and just out of high school, they are at a transformative moment in their lives. Who they meet along the way and how they… Continue reading BENEATH THE HELMET


Review of The Human Experiment by Associate Editor Brigid K. Presecky Dana Nachman’s documentary studies the correlation between chemicals in everyday products and the increasing health defects infiltrating America. The film intimately follows three women and their stories of infertility, autism, and painful skin conditions, along with other environmental issues lobbied for lawmakers to change.… Continue reading THE HUMAN EXPERIMENT


From IMDb: Tunisia, before the revolution. A man on a motorbike, razor blade in hand, prowls the streets of Tunis slashing women’s buttocks. They call him The Challat, aka “The Blade”, and the mere mention of his name provokes fascination and terror. Is he a lone criminal, an urban legend, or could he be the creation… Continue reading LE CHALLAT DE TUNIS


Weighing in across the generations: Our respect for Oscar-winning screenwriter & beloved actress Emma Thompson is so great that we have written two review of her new film Effie Gray. Spoiler Alert: WE BOTH LOVE IT! Click HERE for Jan’s review (with a “Real-to-Reel” bonus section). Brigid’s review is below. ************************* Review of Effie Gray by… Continue reading EFFIE GRAY (BKP)


Review of It Happened Here by Associate Editor Brigid K. Presecky  Lisa F. Jackson’s timely documentary It Happened Here follows five young women as they share their testimonies of surviving sexual assault. Through intimate interviews, the film documents harrowing first-hand accounts of rape on America’s college campuses. (BKP: 5/5) ************************************ Angie Epifano. Kylie Angell. Sarah O’Brien. Carolyn… Continue reading IT HAPPENED HERE


Well-intentioned but ultimately unsuccessful dramatization of a true story about Mormon missionaries caught in the middle of the Liberian Civil War. Directed by Garrett Batty who wrote the screenplay with Melissa Leilani Larson. NOT YET SEEN BY RICH. (JLH: 3/5) ************************* At great personal risk, a Liberian man named “Phillip Abubakar” (Henry Adofo) agrees to drive… Continue reading FREETOWN


Well-intentioned by ultimately confusing muddle about a group of guys who tromp around the woods of Western Oregon pretending they are “on patrol” in Vietnam. Co-Directed by Mike Attie and Meghan O’Hara. Not yet seen by Rich. (JLH: 3/5) ************************* Full-Disclosure: I am a member of the Vietnam War Generation. I fought about about the War in Vietnam… Continue reading IN COUNTRY


Review of The Sisterhood of the Night by Associate Editor Brigid K. Presecky Caryn Waechter’s witch-hunt drama ventures outside of Salem and into a modern American high school. The bizarre film, based on Steven Millhauser’s short story Sisterhood, follows goth-like “Mary Warren” (Georgie Henley) as she unplugs from social media and discretely takes her posse take… Continue reading THE SISTERHOOD OF NIGHT

Subscribe, Comment and Like: Documenting the real-girls of YouTube

By Associate Editor Brigid K. Presecky Aside from crime-fighting heroines in dystopian worlds or century-old Disney princesses –  strong, relatable girl characters are almost nonexistent in the multiplex. Young girls are looking elsewhere for relatable entertainment: their phones, their tablets, and their laptops. YouTube has more than one billion users. Every minute, 300 hours of video… Continue reading Subscribe, Comment and Like: Documenting the real-girls of YouTube


Lovingly-crafted new BioPic stars Dakota Fanning as yet another “notorious” 19th Century woman heretofore robbed by history of her own POV. Credit the sumptuous visuals to director Richard Laxton, but the essence of Effie Gray is in the screenplay by Emma Thompson, who also cast herself in the critical role of mentor. (JLH 4/5) ************************* On… Continue reading EFFIE GRAY (JLH)


Weighing in across the generations: Our respect for Oscar-winning screenwriter & beloved actress Emma Thompson is so great that we have written two review of her new film Effie Gray. Spoiler Alert: WE BOTH LOVE IT!  Click HERE for Brigid’s review. Jan’s review (with a “Real-to-Reel” bonus section) is below. ************************* Lovingly-crafted new BioPic stars Dakota… Continue reading EFFIE GRAY (JLH)


Review of The Forecaster by Associate Editor Brigid K. Presecky The one-sided documentary takes a close-up look at Martin Armstrong, the financial advisor who used pi to “forecast” America’s economic turning points and ended up in prison. The film’s grouchy protagonist takes viewers through his journey of market manipulation, his sentence to jail, and his… Continue reading THE FORECASTER

Crawlin’ in Chelsea

Huge thanks to Nicole Casamento for organizing a second annual “gallery crawl” in honor of International SWAN Day. Last year (2014), we hit three galleries on the Upper East Side. This year (2015), we hit three galleries in Chelsea (on Manhattan’s West Side). We started at the Jack Shainman Gallery (on West 20th Street), where we saw… Continue reading Crawlin’ in Chelsea

CGC: Hayv Kahraman

Our first stop on the Chelsea Gallery Crawl was the Jack Shainman Gallery where we saw an astonishing new exhibit called “How Iraqi Are You?” by Hayv Kahraman! HAYV KAHRAMAN – HOW IRAQI ARE YOU?, February 27 – April 4, 2015 (from the Jack Shainman Gallery website): Jack Shainman Gallery is pleased to announce Hayv Kahraman’s second solo exhibition at… Continue reading CGC: Hayv Kahraman

CGC: Alice Neel

Our second stop on the Chelsea Gallery Crawl was the David Zwirner Gallery where we saw a restrospective of work by American painter Alice Neel (1/28/00 – 10/13/84). From Phoebe Hoban’s biography Alice Neel: The Art of Not Sitting Pretty (2010) Alice Neel liked to say that she was the century and in many ways she was. She was born into… Continue reading CGC: Alice Neel

CGC: Ann Agee

Our third stop on the Chelsea Gallery Crawl was the P.P.O.W. Gallery where we saw work by Ann Agee… and had a surprise meeting with the artist herself! Click HERE to learn more about Ann Agee.   Top Photo: Agee MFG Co. Guidebooks 2015, silkscreen on Japanese paper, linen thread and welded steel rack with… Continue reading CGC: Ann Agee

Meet Activist Kylie Angell

Exclusive Interview with University of Connecticut Alumna and Activist Kylie Angell by FF2 Associate Editor Brigid K. Presecky ************************* BKP: How did you get involved with It Happened Here? KA: I started working with fellow activists at the end of my fifth year at UConn on the Title IX complaint and we were asked if we… Continue reading Meet Activist Kylie Angell

Chelsea Gallery Crawl

NYC Shout-Out: Join us on Saturday (3/28) for our second annual International SWAN Day Gallery Crawl coordinated–once again–by fabulous Nicole Casamento! Last year, we went to three different galleries on the Upper East Side. This year we are heading southwest to Chelsea. Meet-up is 11:45 AM at the Jack Shainman Gallery (513 W 20th St). Reservations are… Continue reading Chelsea Gallery Crawl


A view from two generations … Review of The Riot Club by Managing Editor Jan Lisa Huttner Tiny group of “posh” young men–all students at Oxford University–try to live up to legacy of privileged debauchery, but alas, they live in the wrong era. Directed by Lone Scherfig. Screenplay by Laura Wade based on her own play Posh. (JLH: 4/5)… Continue reading THE RIOT CLUB


New drama directed by Oscar-winning Danish director Susanne Bier stars Jennifer Lawrence & Bradley Cooper. Serena is based on a best-selling novel by Ron Rash, but in this case screenwriter Christopher Kyle has emphasized the most melodramatic aspects of the novel’s plot, turning Serena from a Lady Macbeth character–someone who urges her husband to commit ever greater… Continue reading SERENA

3/29: NYC eVite

NYC SHOUT-OUT: Please join us at Quad Cinema on Sunday March 29th for a special International SWAN Day screening of Lisa F. Jackson’s important new documentary It Happened Here. CLICK HERE TO ORDER TICKETS ONLINE! ************************* In her compelling new documentary, It Happened Here, director Lisa F. Jackson explores the issue of sexual assault on America’s… Continue reading 3/29: NYC eVite


Elderly Jewish woman living in Jaffa with her married daughter remembers her childhood in Morocco. Poignant dramedy seasoned with a dash of magical realism. Written and directed by beloved Israeli actress Hanna Azoulay Hasfari. Hebrew Title = Anashim Ketumim (JLH: 4/5) 2015 Sephardi Film Festival: Spotlight Morocco A poignant journey contrasting the lives of four generations of Jewish women through… Continue reading ORANGE PEOPLE


Soporific account of a famous Double Suicide in 1811. With Europe in upheaval, a poet looks for a partner to end it all on his chosen schedule. Written & directed by Jessica Hausner (JLH: 2/5) ************************* Contemporary retelling of the suicide pact that lead to the deaths of Heinrich von Kleist and Henrietta Vogel in 1811.… Continue reading AMOUR FOU