Nora Lee Mandel

Nora Lee Mandel
Tomatometer-approved critic

Movie Reviews Only

T-Meter Title | Year
8/10 No Score Yet Thirst for Justice (2019) Follows women in U.S., on native lands, Flint,MI...with direct experience of health impacts of government lies about safety of their family's drinking water, onto protests. - Maven's Nest EDIT
Read More | Posted Feb 7, 2020
6/10 100% We Are The Radical Monarchs (2019) To cut through their repetitive, heavily jargoned, local rhetorical flourishes...follows a new Oakland girls troop with a curriculum to combine diversity with social action. - Maven's Nest EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 31, 2020
7/10 No Score Yet True Justice: Bryan Stevenson's Fight for Equality (2019) Come across as almost impossibly noble...but this is suitable for educational use...as he updates historical perspective... and expands his fight against racism in justice. - Maven's Nest EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 31, 2020
7/10 100% Slay the Dragon (2020) Angry enough to figure out gerrymandering...then learning on-the-job how to organize a state ballot race is a roller coaster of excitement and confusing legal challenges. - Maven's Nest EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 31, 2020
8/10 73% Harriet (2019) Takes populist educational approach to Tubman's own agency to comfortably be shown in schools and general public Black History Month commemorations. Erivo is charismatic. - Maven's Nest EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 31, 2020
7/10 100% Changing the Game (2019) Intimately profiles tumultuous year in lives of 3 teen athletes...Parents of competitors are vicious vs. these emotionally fragile kids. Lofty rhetoric won't convince them. - Maven's Nest EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 31, 2020
7/10 No Score Yet American Muslim (2019) Interviewing five charismatic Muslims in Brooklyn and Queens, NY and following them cinema verité style...to raise awareness...and help make interfaith outreach possible. - Maven's Nest EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 31, 2020
9/10 84% Always in Season (2019) Extraordinary integration of contextualizing the contemporary violence against African-American men within a long American tradition. Vividly brings past and present to life. - Maven's Nest EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 31, 2020
7/10 80% The All-Americans (2019) Not a sports documentary...seeing what it takes for these Latino boys to get on the East L.A. football field is much more involving than the limited playing time on screen. - Maven's Nest EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 31, 2020
6/10 57% All Rise (2020) For student from stable, middle class Harlem family...this is extreme application of unjustified perception of black males by law enforcement...leading to mass incarceration. - Maven's Nest EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 31, 2020
7/10 94% Citizen K (2019) Gibney does a very good job of driving a complex story that lays bare just how much Putin sneers at democracy. ..traced through the singular career of Mikhail Khodorkovsky. - Maven's Nest EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 12, 2020
7/10 86% Earth (Erde) (2019) Geyrhalter brings fresh eye to 7 big digs and conversational knack to diverse workers. Big machines are cool to watch until you are forced to think about the damage they do. - Maven's Nest EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 9, 2020
8/10 93% Invisible Life (A vida invisível de Eurídice Gusmão) (2019) Colorfully emotive portrait of 2 sisters resentfully trapped by the conservative and limited expectations for women in 1950's Rio. Gorgeously heartrending cinematic tribute. - Maven's Nest EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 8, 2020
8/10 90% Leaving Home, Coming Home: A Portrait of Robert Frank (2019) In 2004, Fox interviewed Frank while they visited the past and present, through locales and then 80-year-old's extensive personal archives...Brings his art to new eyes. - Maven's Nest EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 1, 2020
8/10 94% Private Life (2018) A wry, very humanistic drama that's full of the laughter of life, embodied by a wonderful ensemble who intersect across different stages of New York life in unexpected ways. - Maven's Nest EDIT
Read More | Posted Jan 1, 2020
7/10 94% Ask Dr. Ruth (2019) Will answer most of your questions about former Karola Ruth Siegel...through a spirited tour of much of what she has experienced and done during her long and remarkable life. - Maven's Nest EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 31, 2019
7/10 53% Woman Walks Ahead (2018) Impressively skirts usual awkwardness of white privilege amidst suffering minorities...Sitting Bull (charismatic Michael Greyeyes)...in beautiful scenes of gorgeous West. - Maven's Nest EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 31, 2019
8/10 85% Song of Granite (2017) Using an impressionistic, avant-garde style...its beauty and heartbreaking sense of lost connection to the past expresses much more than the usual corny sentimentalism. - Maven's Nest EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 30, 2019
8/10 96% One of Us (2017) Goes farther into observing Hasidic ultra-Orthodox Jewish community in US than any nonfiction film...Emotional pain of those trying to leave its control tugs at the heart. - Maven's Nest EDIT
Read More | Posted Dec 30, 2019
9/10 77% Frozen II (2019) Not a make-cash sequel but a glorious "Part 2" of full story of the two sisters beloved since '13 by devoted fans of all ages, places, and genders. None will be disappointed. - Maven's Nest EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 26, 2019
5/10 86% Synonyms (Synonymes) (2019) Some will be relieved to find a reason for Yoav's behavior. Others will either be unconvinced, or content to watch Mercier move on screen, at least until his next roles. - Maven's Nest EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 13, 2019
5/10 84% Ad Astra (2019) While richly imagines practical and interpersonal aspects of settlement on the moon and beyond, the insights on human nature are on the simplistic level of pop psychology. - Film-Forward.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 27, 2019
6/10 79% Marianne & Leonard: Words of Love (2019) Documentary demonstrates that Cohen, like so many male artists ... fit a pattern of an archetypal Jewish men's fantasy fulfillment. His muse was a blonde gentile goddess. - Maven's Nest EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 8, 2019
7/10 98% Fiddler: A Miracle of Miracles (2019) A convincing theme of this informative and emotional documentary is that the 1964 musical "Fiddler on the Roof" is a "female empowerment piece".... with feminist portrayals. - Maven's Nest EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 8, 2019
7/10 87% What You Gonna Do When the World's on Fire? (2019) Close trust between director and residents gives viewers unusually revealing experience of stressful #BlackLivesMatter summer...Finds hope and optimism against enormous. - Film-Forward.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 16, 2019
6/10 44% After the Wedding (2019) Saved from cloying melodrama by the heartfelt anguish seeping through grown-up dialogue spoken by fine actors, gorgeous scenery photographed by cinematographer Julio Macat. - Film-Forward.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 8, 2019
7/10 88% The Great Hack (2019) Individuals profiled are involving guides to some of legal, ethical, social, and individual ramifications on theme: personal data is now a commodity more valuable than oil. - Film-Forward.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 2, 2019
6/10 89% Tel Aviv on Fire (2019) Incendiary title plays with the one subject both have in common: the love of soap operas...Zoabi achieves his goal: films with Palestinians & Israelis together can be funny. - Film-Forward.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 2, 2019
5/10 94% Mike Wallace Is Here (2019) Superficially reveals how he stayed on top and the impact of his aggressive tactics on television journalism. Some hints was really the investigative producers' show. - Film-Forward.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 26, 2019
7/10 28% Into the Ashes (2019) Even when dialogue sometimes slips into noir predictability, the charismatic cast, dark ambiance, and strong motivations propel involvement in the conflicted characters. - Maven's Nest EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 20, 2019
6/10 92% David Crosby: Remember My Name (2019) Another tale of sex, drugs & rock 'n' roll, told in terms of 12-steps admission of guilt and music by a founding member of boomer-faves...Musical memories are of most value. - Film-Forward.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 19, 2019
8/10 97% The Reports on Sarah and Saleem (2019) Serious and grimly realistic take on romance between Israelis and Palestinians...Risks of private human folly...contrasts privilege, class, bitter politics in stark relief. - Film-Forward.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 17, 2019
5/10 53% The Lion King (2019) New VR version of 1994 classic for the video gaming generation, but won't that audience want a faster pace and more action than this slow, over-long preening of technology? - Maven's Nest EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 17, 2019
8/10 56% The Sweet Requiem (Kyoyang ngarmo) (2019) In docu-drama...heartbreaking composites of Tibetans in exile...[go] beyond political resistance and physical hardship...to the second generation's anguish. - FF2 Media EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 2, 2019
8/10 98% One Child Nation (2019) Personal impacts from China's ruthlessly enforced "one child policy"...Interviews reveal... females "missing" since 1979...amidst pervasive propaganda. ..and negative forces. - FF2 Media EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 2, 2019
6/10 No Score Yet Born in Evin (2019) Emotionally searches to fill in blanks from birth in prison. ..and finds touching stories of solidarity...from Iranian exiles...to see beyond herself...to all women survivors - FF2 Media EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 2, 2019
7/10 100% Advocate (2020) Admiring bio-doc of only lawyer defending Palestinians in Israel. With interviews and cinéma vérité, goes inside halls and offices to closely follow wrenching legal cases. - Maven's Nest EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 2, 2019
6/10 44% Back to the Fatherland (2019) Looks sympathetically but superficially to past and present of internal family dynamics for Israeli 3rd generation in Germany/Austria from Holocaust survivor grandparents . - Film-Forward.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 28, 2019
6/10 92% Wild Rose (2019) Social realism dissipates into a fantasy lifted by Jessie Buckley's charisma...bursting with a force that outshines a familiar story, puts across any country song with verve - Film-Forward.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 23, 2019
8/10 100% Barbara Rubin & the Exploding NY Underground (2019) Reanimates the young Jewish woman who challenged men's alt-culture...with her vulva images, charisma, and artistic matchmaking...Imperfectly integrates her disparate lives. - Maven's Nest EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 21, 2019
8/10 82% High Life (2019) Confined setting for the space crew to explore their primal physical and emotional needs...Tensions escalate...but images that stick are...warmth...of tender paternal love. - Film-Forward.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 21, 2019
6/10 50% The Outsider (2019) Ultra-violent, ahistorical Western revenge flick...is intriguing mash-up of genres...Really captivating Jon Foo's...devastating use of formidable martial arts skills. - Maven's Nest EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 16, 2019
6/10 57% Aladdin (2019) Frenetically whizzes around bland actors with flat American accents busy singing & dancing old & new songs through effects to keep child's attention during over-long scenes. - Maven's Nest EDIT
Read More | Posted May 22, 2019
8/10 100% Shoah: Four Sisters (2018) Lanzmann's original intent was to step-by-step document the Final Solution, so female survivors were seen only briefly. This is a timely response to Holocaust denial. - Film-Forward.com EDIT
Read More | Posted May 15, 2019
7/10 88% Chasing Portraits (2019) More about her feelings...audience viscerally shares her whirligig of emotions during her search; she's especially sensitive in not pushing her father on difficult memories. - Maven's Nest EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 17, 2019
7/10 80% Super Deluxe (2019) Like in entertaining Apatow movies, within madcap and even life-threatening situations, each character learns to work on primary relationships, thanks to forgiving females. - Maven's Nest EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 5, 2019
6/10 47% Dumbo (2019) Lumbers too much, with too little charm. Just barely saved by a few elements: DeVito, Eva Green, production design, and the digital elephants, especially one that flies. - Maven's Nest EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 4, 2019
8/10 100% Penguin Highway (2019) Charming anime children's story that also celebrates science education...Follows the child scientist doing careful scientific observation... though writing is un-translated. - Maven's Nest EDIT
Read More | Posted Apr 4, 2019
7/10 75% Sobibor (2018) Grimly strives to make up for the fact that for almost 60 years, Soviet/Russian leaders downplayed Jews were targeted by the Nazis...The Jews needed military organization. - Film-Forward.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 29, 2019
8/10 85% The Brink (2019) Observes Bannon as a fly on his wall while he enthusiastically sought a wider international impact by guiding far-right parties...Tantalizing glimpses of financial backers. - Film-Forward.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 29, 2019