Review: The Lost Daughter

Year: 2021 Runtime: 124 minutes Writer/Director: Maggie Gyllenhaal Actors: Olivia Colman, Dakota Johnson, Jessie Buckley, Ed Harris, Peter Sarsgaard, Paul Mescal By Nicole Ackman A fair number of actors make the jump to the director’s chair and there are certainly skills they have that contribute to being a talented director, not the least of which is a strong understanding of how to work with actors. … Continue reading Review: The Lost Daughter

NATASHA ROMANOFF, Katniss Everdeen, and Characterization through Sisterhood

By Nicole Ackman This article contains spoilers for “Black Widow” and “The Hunger Games.”  Natasha Romanoff is a character that we’ve seen many times before in the Marvel Cinematic Universe since she first appeared in “Iron Man 2” (2010) over ten years ago. But in “Black Widow” (2021), we see her for the first time not as a spy, an Avenger, or a friend, but … Continue reading NATASHA ROMANOFF, Katniss Everdeen, and Characterization through Sisterhood

Review: Rebel Hearts

Year: 2021 Runtime: 103 minutes Director: Pedro Kos By Nicole Ackman I certainly didn’t expect a documentary about nuns to start with one asking, “Can you smell the pot?” And yet, it’s very fitting for the story of the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, located in Los Angeles, who were anything but conventional. This documentary by Pedro Kos tells the story of how … Continue reading Review: Rebel Hearts

Review: Before/During/After

Year: 2021 Runtime: 83 minutes Directors: Stephen Kunken and Jack Lewars Writer: Finnerty Steeves Stars: Finnerty Steeves, Jeremy Davidson By Nicole Ackman Stories about relationships falling apart can often be much more interesting than those about two people getting together. Looking at how a couple can attempt to make things work and ultimately fail often allows for more nuance than a more straightforward romance film … Continue reading Review: Before/During/After

Review: The Last Right

Year: 2021 Runtime: 106 minutes Director/Writer: Aoife Crehan Stars: Michael Huisman, Samuel Bottomley, Niamh Algar By Nicole Ackman The only thing better than a road trip movie is a road trip movie set in beautiful Ireland. And that’s exactly what “The Last Right”(2021) is, with gorgeous scenery and good performances. It is writer and director Aoife Crehan’s first film and an impressively well-made directorial debut. … Continue reading Review: The Last Right

Review: Beanpole

Perhaps it goes without saying that the Russian historical drama “Beanpole” (2019) is bleak. Directed by Kantemir Balagov, it’s a look at Leningrad after World War II as soldiers trickle back in from the front and people try to put their lives back together after the trauma of war. However, nothing could have prepared me for how twisted and depressing the film is. Continue reading Review: Beanpole

Review: Supernova

Year: 2021 Runtime: 94 minutes Writer/Director: Harry Macqueen Stars: Colin Firth, Stanley Tucci  By Nicole Ackman This year has not only one, but two poignant films about dementia between “The Father”(2021) and Harry Macqueen’s “Supernova“(2021). While the former is more focused on the experience of having dementia, Macqueen’s film examines the way that it puts strain on even the most solid of relationships as a … Continue reading Review: Supernova

Review: Ammonite

Year: 2020 Runtime: 120 minutes Writer/Director: Francis Lee Stars: Kate Winslet, Saoirse Ronan, Gemma Jones, James McArdle, Fiona Shaw  By Nicole Ackman With a starry cast and a fascinating premise, “Ammonite” has garnered much attention from the moment it was announced. The period drama is written and directed by Francis Lee and loosely inspired by the life of British paleontologist Mary Anning. The film revolves … Continue reading Review: Ammonite

Retrospective Review: Girlhood (2014)

In honor of Céline Sciamma’s birthday earlier in November, I decided to take a look back at her film “Girlhood.” The French coming-of-age drama, both written and directed by Sciamma, was released in 2014. It’s interesting to reflect on Sciamma’s previous films after the success of her “Portrait of a Lady on Fire” last year amongst critics and film fans. While many saw “Portrait” after seeing Sciamma’s other work, I had the opposite experience and this was a first time viewing for me.  Continue reading Retrospective Review: Girlhood (2014)

#WomeninAction Retrospective Review: Hanna

Action films aren’t exactly what you think of when you hear director Joe Wright or actress Saoirse Ronan’s names. They probably conjure thoughts of period dramas, like the 2007 “Atonement” that they worked on together. And yet, in 2011, Wright directed Ronan in “Hanna,” an action film that has been compared to the Bourne movies, and did remarkably good job. Continue reading #WomeninAction Retrospective Review: Hanna