Reviews

New Directors/New Films April 20–May 1

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A major international hotel chain some years ago positioned its appeal to travelers as “the best surprise is no surprise.” The premise was that most vacationers want the predictability of home wherever they go. That line didn’t play well in Manhattan, where surprise is the order of every day. Most of us moved here to… Read more »

“Hi, Mom” and “Mama”: Dedicated to Every Ordinary but Great Mother

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In his short story collection “Puck of Pook’s Hill,” Rudyard Kipling said, “God could not be everywhere, and therefore he made mothers.” There are many stories around the world that revolve around mothers. The Korean film “Wedding Dress,” the British film “Philomena,” and the American horror movie “Mama” are all stories with themes of mothers protecting and loving… Read more »

two women lying in bed.

New Year, New Queer: Am I OK?

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Courtney Gardner reviews Tig Notaros directorial debut,  “Am I OK?,” with a focus on how the friendship between Lucy (Dakota Johnson) and Jane (Sonoya Mizuno) changes after Lucy comes out in her thirties.

How “The Fallout” Does Mental Health Right

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“The Fallout” (2021), Megan Park’s feature directorial debut, explores the emotional impact of a school shooting on high schoolers and how their trauma responses differ from one another. Jenna Ortega plays the leading role, a 16-year-old named Vada, and gives a heart-wrenching performance. While at first this movie may sound like an overdone school shooting… Read more »

Woman with sunglasses close up

Seeing Agnes: Chase Joynt Reframes an Iconic Folk Hero

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“Framing Agnes” (2022), Chase Joynt’s directorial feature debut, offers the audience a critique of the media’s portrayal of transgender and gender-nonconforming communities. Joynt’s movie is the result of a collaborative process, one that was recognized by two NEXT awards at Sundance.

A scene from the courtroom at Nurenberg

The New York Jewish Film Festival Jan. 12-25

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Senior Film Critic Kurt Brokaw picks his virtual favorites from the 2022 New York Jewish Film Festival. Selections include documentaries on the history of a film about the Nuremburg Trials, artist Lily Renée Phillips, ehtnomusicologist Moisei Beregovsky, a musical about Bernie Madoff  and a short about a bar mitzvah in the middle of an arial bombing.