Superb film directed by Sarah Gavron with a screenplay by Abi Morgan. Women from London’s East End risk their lives so that women in England will win the right to vote. Brava! (JLH: 4.5/5) Review by Managing Editor Jan Lisa Huttner On June 14, 1913, thousands of women wearing purple flowers accompanied the casket of… Continue reading SUFFRAGETTE

THE KEEPING ROOM: Review by Brigid Presecky

The Keeping Room, a film that has been deemed the “the feminist Western” is an engaging look at an untold part of history. Brit Marling leads the trio of women–two sisters and their former slave–as they encounter the threats, dangers and hardships during the final days of America’s Civil War. Directed by Daniel Barber with… Continue reading THE KEEPING ROOM: Review by Brigid Presecky

SPLit Preview by Jan Lisa Huttner

In her stunning new film, writer/director Deborah Kampmeier uses familiar images from her prior films (e.g., the naked women in the lake in VIRGIN, the snakes in HOUNDDOG, etc) to go in daring new directions that are even deeper, darker & more rewarding. Amy Ferguson is very good as “Inanna” (an actress piecing together a career in… Continue reading SPLit Preview by Jan Lisa Huttner

ZIPPER (2015): Review by Jan Lisa Huttner

Zipper is a tense, riveting film about “male privilege.” Patrick Wilson plays a prosecutor who has risen to the top of his local queue and is now under consideration for high political office. But when a new witness in an ongoing investigation offers him a peek into the world of high-priced “escorts,” his well-ordered world… Continue reading ZIPPER (2015): Review by Jan Lisa Huttner


The Great Man is a great movie–one of the best I have seen so far in 2015. Two young men from very different parts of the world meet and bond in the French Foreign Legion. When they are ambushed in Afghanistan, one makes great sacrifices to save the other, but once separated, their paths diverge.… Continue reading THE GREAT MAN


Filmmakers Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini throw a lot of love–and an excellent cast–at Eleanor Henderson’s novel Ten Thousand Saints, but success eludes them. Unfortunately, their adaptation is a bit of a “paint by numbers” exercise that never manages to fully engage. (JLH: 3/5) Review by Managing Editor Jan Lisa Huttner (with additional two cents… Continue reading TEN THOUSAND SAINTS


Canadian filmmaker Sophie Deraspe has made a stunning docudrama about a French woman caught up in an online scam during the early days of The Arab Spring. Is this effective filmmaking? Definitely! Is this ethical filmmaking? I’m not quite sure. (JLH: 3.5/5) Review by Managing Editor Jan Lisa Huttner A filmmaker’s quandary: If you really believe in the… Continue reading A GAY GIRL IN DAMASCUS


Comedienne Amy Schumer is feisty and adorable in her first staring role, but the film–which she wrote–was directed by Judd Apatow. And Apatow, as the reigning master of mainstream comedy, succeeds in softening all of Schumer’s edges. There are some laugh-out-loud moments, especially in the first half, but the long, slow slide into a predicable finale weighs the whole film… Continue reading TRAINWRECK (JLH)


Strangerland, a high-profile new release from Australia, promises more than it can deliver. Excellent performances from Nicole Kidman, Joseph Fiennes, and Hugo Weaving are undone by a weak screenplay–by Michael Kinirons and Fiona Seres–which totally collapses in the third act. Director Kim Farrant shows great promise, but she needs to keep a tighter reign on her screenwriters in future. (JLH: 3/5) *************************… Continue reading STRANGERLAND


Debra Granik made the great film Winter’s Bone a few years back, so I was eager to see her follow-up. Alas, Stray Dog is so dull I could barely stay awake. While Ron Hall seems to have lived a paradigmatic Middle American life, Granik’s “fly on the wall” approach fails to illuminate any of it.… Continue reading STRAY DOG


Full Title = Hippocrates: Diary of a French Doctor Two Interns–one a fresh faced newby and the other an Algerian immigrant–test the limits of patient care from inside the hierarchy of a beleagured French public hospital. Terrific performances by Vincent Lacoste and Reda Kateb. Excellent, low-key direction by Thomas Lilti who collaborated with a screenwriting team consisting of Pierre… Continue reading HIPPOCRATES


1978: A mother with two young daughters copes as best she can with decisions made in more innocent times. Her husband is suffering from BiPolar Disorder, and “living on love” is no longer an option… First-time filmmaker Maya Forbes has written and directed a beautiful tribute to her extraordinary parents who–despite it all–managed to steer both her… Continue reading INFINITELY POLAR BEAR


Stultifying. That’s the only word to describe this latest adaptation of Gustave Flaubert’s classic about a woman suffering from “ennui” in 19th Century France. Mia Wasikowska as Emma Bovary drowns in molasses, bringing the whole cast down with her. Written and directed by Sophie Barthes with co-writer Felipe Marino, credited under the name “Rose Barreneche.” (JLH: 2/5) Review by Managing… Continue reading MADAME BOVARY (2014)


A middle-aged French baker believes his new English neighbor is a literary archetype come to life, and falls head over heels in love with his own fantasy. What looks to be a period comedy slowly reveals itself as an erudite and insightful modern tragedy. Gemma Bovery is a “Personal Best” for French director Anne Fontaine. The screenplay–which Fontaine co-wrote with… Continue reading GEMMA BOVERY


Jennifer Connelly is so compelling as a struggling single mother in Claudia Llosa’s new film that narrative details like whys and wherefores pale next to the need to find her again after she disappears. (JLH: 4/5) Review by FF2 Managing Editor Jan Lisa Huttner Aloft is a strange and mysterious new film written and directed by… Continue reading ALOFT


Superlative documentary about the life work of Behavioral Economist Dan Ariely blends lecture footage with first-person interviews and great graphics to tell us who we really are and how we really make the “rational” decisions that determine our personal, professional, and political lives. Must See film directed by Yael Melamede. Highly recommended by both me & Rich!… Continue reading (DIS)HONESTY


Jewish Humor walks the razor’s edge between comedy and tragedy in this mordant “laugh through your tears” dramedy co-written & co-directed by  Tal Granit and Sharon Maymon. (JLH: 4.5/5) Review by Managing Editor Jan Lisa Huttner Since the time of Sholem Aleichem, Jewish Humor has been said to walk the razor’s edge between comedy and tragedy,… Continue reading THE FAREWELL PARTY


Am I never satisfied? Here is a film with prominent actresses like Elizabeth Banks, Dakota Fanning, and Diane Lane carrying a woman-centered film, plus award-winning female filmmakers behind-the-camera. (Amy Berg is the director while Nicole Holofcener wrote the screenplay.) It passes the Bechdel Test with no if, ands, or buts, so am I satisfied? Not I… Continue reading EVERY SECRET THING

ONE CUT, ONE LIFE (2014): Review by Jan Lisa Huttner

Filmmaker Lucia Small tracks the final days of her colleague and friend Ed Pincus. The goal is to tell a first-person documentary from two equal points of view (Ed’s POV and Lucia’s POV), but unfortunately Small has bitten off more than she can chew. Although there are a few memorable sequences, most of the the film… Continue reading ONE CUT, ONE LIFE (2014): Review by Jan Lisa Huttner


Lovely “road trip” movie from India follows all the genre conventions, but still manages to take us to places both old and new. Directed by Shoojit Sircar. Screenplay by Juhi Chaturvedi. (JLH: 4/5) ************************* “Piku” (Deenika Padukone) is a very modern young woman–independent, assertive, career-oriented, and always in control… Well that’s what she would like… Continue reading PIKU

RIDE (2014)

Oscar-winning actress Helen Hunt wrote, directed, and stars in this lovely dramedy about a brash New York editor facing her “Empty Nest Summer”–that turning point in life when her only son “Angelo” (Brenton Thwaites) has finished high school and is about to start college. I laughed; I cried; I had a great time! (JLH: 4/5)… Continue reading RIDE (2014)


Shira Piven directs this “Dark Comedy” about a mentally ill woman who wins the lottery and decides to use her sudden wealth to produce her own Oprah-esque TV show. Screenplay by Eliot Laurence. (JLH: 3/5) ************************* “Alice Klieg” (Kristen Wiig) is a very troubled lady. Diagnosed as mentally ill sometime in her teens, Alice has now entered… Continue reading WELCOME TO ME


On April 23rd, I attended a fascinating program at Anthology Film Archives on 2nd Ave. Michael Bowen, adjunct film professor at FIT and curator of AFA’s “Beyond Cassavetes” film series, spoke at length about Doris Wishman (who is the subject of his doctoral dissertation) and then showed Wishman’s 1965 film Bad Girls Go to Hell. As Bowen… Continue reading BAD GIRLS GO TO HELL


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


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)


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


After years as an apprentice, Alice finally has a chance to prove herself as a mechanic. But can she succeed as the only woman working on an all male crew? Directed by Lucie Borleteau. Screenplay by Borleteau in collaboration with Clara Bourreau. (JLH: 4.5/5) Rendez Vous with French Cinema (NYC 2015) “Alice” (Ariane Labed) has… Continue reading FIDELIO, ALICE’S ODYSSEY


Lovesick Frenchman arrives in NYC. Is he pursuing a real woman or his own version of the American dream? Irritating, exhausting, & poignantly metaphysical. Directed by Armel Hostiou who co-wrote screenplay with Léa Inès Cohen and Vincent Macaigne. (JLH: 4/5) Rendez Vous with French Cinema (NYC 2015) “Vincent” (Vincent Macaigne) loves “Barbara” (Kate Moran), but… Continue reading STUBBORN