Elevate Difference


Peepli Live

The women of Peepli… well, there are no women in Peepli. Yes, there are daughters and mothers and wives, and to them Natha is purportedly “son and brother.” Natha is in dire straits; he has taken a loan from the bank and now cannot repay it.

Knight and Day

I’ve read almost universally bad reviews for Knight and Day, and I read most of them before I saw the movie. I don’t usually read reviews of a movie before I see it, because I don’t want my opinion to be tainted; in this case, they might’ve been, because I went into the movie with hyper-low expectations.


Every year, one of my nieces comes to visit my husband and I for a week over the summer. This year we took her to a couple of art museums, a jazz concert, and her first comic book store. We also did fun things at home like painting our nails and playing video games. On the last day of our visit, we decided to see a movie, and she wanted to see Grown-Ups. I did too, as a matter of fact. I’m happy to report that I genuinely liked the movie.

The Twilight Saga: Eclipse

Bella Swan has never been a character I’ve related to. She’s frustratingly timid, overwhelmingly insecure, and apparently has no interests or hobbies aside from her obsession with Edward Cullen. Sure, she’s had her redeeming moments, and yes, it was Bella who saved Edward from exposing himself to the Volturi in New Moon.

No One Dies in Lily Dale

Spiritualism as a religion began in the 1840s in the "Burned-Over District" of Upstate New York. Taking elements of Christianity and shamanism, the religion is focused around mediums speaking to spirits that spiritualists believe continue to exist after one's physical death. The religion became a trend in the United States and Europe after thousands of young soldiers died in World War I. Looking for closure, families turned to mediums.

If You Like It Then You Should Be Able to Put A Ring On It

Adorable, DIY-style animation and quirky music start off this excellent and important film about marriage equality in Ireland. Cara Holmes and Ciara Kennedy cut and paste stories, images, protests, and facts into a clever, witty, and purposeful narrative. Voice-overs and interviews are illustrated and screened, intercut or overlaid upon footage from rallies, photo montages, and title cards (which have a very on-trend hand-drawn look). These touches make the film more accessible and adhere to the filmmakers’ established aesthetic.

Fish Out of Water

In Fish Out of Water, Ky Dickens recalls her effort to reconcile her devout, Christian faith with her homosexuality. She claims she feels like a “fish out of water,” because, after coming out during her senior year of college at Vanderbilt, she was ostracized from her academic community, but, at the same time, didn’t quit feel an affinity to the gay community at large.

I Am Love

The story is simple—and familiar, at least to feminists: years after being plucked from her home, stripped of her individuality, and thrust into a loveless marriage, a woman is shocked back to life and inspired to flee. But from A Doll's House to Titanic, it's not so much about the story itself as it is about how it's told.

Tea on the Axis of Evil

After two years of providing security intelligence about the activities of Al Qaeda to the United States government in the wake of 9/11, the Bush Administration publicly dubbed Syria a threat to democracy by including it in the so-called Axis of Evil. Knowing very little about the secular republic, filmmaker Jean Marie Offenbacher decided to spend a year in Damascus in order to offer a look at everyday citizens of Syria and combat stereotypical depictions put forth in the mainstream media. Though the U.S.

Lizzy the Lezzy

To celebrate Gay and Lesbian Pride Month, the Sundance Channel has released five digitally animated Lizzy the Lezzy short films featuring the irreverent stand up comedy and musical humor of their title character. Who is this Lizzy the Lezzy – besides an Internet and television phenom who’s been featured on AfterEllen.com and Logo TV’s Alien Boot Camp?

Bye Bi Love

Bye Bi Love is a short film about a woman named Vera who receives a wedding invitation from her ex, and has a decision to make. Ticking this box is answering the most loaded question ever, and the reasons for this become clear as Vera’s story unfolds in a series of flashbacks depicting scenes with her current and former partners, all in the same apartment. Stylistically, it’s a rondo, which is really nice to see executed on film so sophisticatedly.


Henna is a visceral cinematic experience that functions as an exercise in patience. Drawing from reflections on his own childhood growing up in a rapidly developing Abu Dhabi, Saleh Karama created the character of Henna (A’aesha Hamad), a curious eight-year-old girl through whose perspective we are invited to see the world. Henna lives in a fishing village in an unnamed Arab country.

And Then Came Lola

Based loosely on the art-house classic Run Lola Run, And Then Came Lola shows photographer Lola’s desperate attempt to get to a crucial meeting on time, with her girlfriend’s career and their relationship on the line if she fails.

Entre Nos

Mariana and her children, Gabriel and Andrea, are stranded in New York City. Two weeks after her husband Antonio asked them to leave their native Colombia and join him in Queens after a lengthy separation, he left $50 in an envelope, headed for Miami, and stopped answering his phone. A family friend tells Mariana that he isn’t coming home. Undocumented and completely broke, Mariana tries to sell homemade empanadas on the streets while also accepting random jobs as they come.

Happiness Runs

I sat through this eighty-eight minute monstrosity two and half times. And the question that I’m still asking myself is, “What the fuck?” Set sometimes during the eighties, Happiness Runs is the semi-autobiographical story of its tyro director. Happiness Runs centers on Victor (Mark L.

For My Father

Centering on the chaste love affair between a Palestinian and an Israeli, For My Father offers the viewer a Middle Eastern re-telling of Romeo and Juliet while trying to spell out the complexities of post-intifada Israel. The film opens up on Tarek (Shredi Jabarin), a Palestinian who has decided to act as suicide bomber.

Le Tigre: On Tour

“What’s the status of Le Tigre?” an eager—albeit slightly angst-ridden—fan asks Kathleen Hanna during the Q&A session after the screening of Le Tigre: On Tour. I, too, had been wondering the same question—because this band, who has proven so formative to women young and old everywhere, seems to exist only in our collective lesbo-feminist consciousness at the moment.

See What I'm Saying: The Deaf Entertainers Documentary

See What I'm Saying is an irreverent yet important introduction between Deaf performers and a mainstream hearing audience. The film, which is open captioned, follows a year in the lives of four performers who make up a cross-section of the Deaf community in terms of art form, race, gender, and sexuality.

The Karate Kid

Age has always been a dicey variable in the Karate Kid universe. In The Karate Kid, Part III — perhaps the most preposterous entry in the series — the twenty-eight-year-old Ralph Macchio passed himself off as a “kid” abandoning college, with his character dating the seventeen-year-old Robyn Lively (thus lending a creepy and statutory quality to the relationship). This time around, the “kid” is truly a kid — even if the “karate” is kung fu and not karate.


The wait for a high-octane, all-engrossing drama just became longer. But that doesn't mean we don't have a decent watch in hand with Raajneeti. The setup is certainly complex and intriguing, and there are a couple of sly and conniving twists, no doubt.

Get Him to the Greek

Aldous Snow (Russell Brand)—the uber-sexual, tongue-in-cheek (and anywhere else you’ll let him stick it) Brit-rocker introduced to audiences in 2008’s Forgetting Sarah Marshall—is back in the latest film from yet another member of the Apatow Film Club for Boys.

Made in Pakistan

These days, political analysts on both sides of the aisle are calling Pakistan a failed state. While the “most dangerous place in the world” does face profound political and social turmoil, such sweeping commentary fails to capture the more personal intricacies of the lives of ordinary people living inside the country’s borders. Pakistan is more than the Taliban fighters implementing Sharia law in the Swat Valley, and it’s more than the frequent bombings of embassies and hotels from Islamabad to Karachi.

Le Code a Changé

The French comedy of manners conjures up for me, an Anglophone, a bitchy Restoration drama rather than Molière. Jean Renoir’s heavy 1939 film The Rules of the Game, the iconic update of the genre, greatly dilutes the comic elements. Now, Le Code a Changé (Change of Plans) offers a lighter brew with only a dash of melancholy.

The Killer Inside Me

The song "He Hit Me (And It Felt Like a Kiss)" sums up all Jim Thompson’s oeuvre. When he wrote his novels (mostly in the '50s) they were rightly regarded as violent misogynist twaddle.

The Japanese Wife

Here’s what I can muster for Aparna Sen’s film The Japanese Wife: I still don’t quite get it. The Japanese Wife is not as simple as Madame Butterfly, but I think a similar analysis applies.

Survival of the Dead

Pop films that take on politics tend to do so as an add-on and go all over the place. Since I have come late to zombie films and director George Romero, perhaps I am being unfair to Romero and his Survival of the Dead, the latest of his zombie films, in expecting consistent politics from a gore fest, but perhaps dystopia deserves its due.


Sometimes you stumble upon really small, obscure films that leave such an impact that you just want as many people to see it as possible. Desigirls by Ishita Srivastava is one such film. Filmed as a graduate thesis project at New York University, this twenty-minute documentary explores a refreshingly new topic—the South Asian lesbian community in New York City. I had the opportunity to watch the film and speak to the director afterward.

Troubled Water

Last night, I watched a really great film by Norwegian director Erik Poppe: Troubled Water. I don't really like movies and I don't watch them a lot. And now I know why. The simple reason is that very few movies are as good as this one. This is definitely not one of those sad Hollywood monstrosities that aim to prevent you from having a single thought by any means possible.

The Red Riding Trilogy

Movies about rape, murder, and child abuse should not be photographed this beautifully. Channel Four Film’s Red Riding Trilogy, shown as a miniseries in the UK but as three movies in the U.S., is one larger story connected by characters, place and the unrepentant horror of Yorkshire, in the northern England. In the north, as the characters say, they do what they want. The three films are set in three years, 1974, 1980, and 1983, respectively.

Women Without Men

The story of director Shirin Neshat is almost as compelling as her first feature. Born in religiously conservative Qazvin, Iran, Neshat has been using visual art to explore gender relations under Islam for nearly two decades, traveling back and forth between the States and Iran to enrich her perspective. But because her work has been so politically outspoken, Neshat has been exiled from her native country since 1996.