Ren Jender

Ren Jender
Tomatometer-approved critic
Biography:
Queer, feminist writer-performer/producer making a film, freelances for Voice Media (which syndicates to LA Weekly, Miami New Times etc.) Slate, INTO, SYFY and the late lamented The Toast.

Movie Reviews Only

T-Meter Title | Year
87% Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice (2019) The film has Ronstadt's full cooperation, including her funny, charming narration throughout. - NPR EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 5, 2019
95% Pina (2011) [Pina] capture, in original and striking ways, the beauty and mystery of [Pina] Bausch's work by bringing us right inside of it. - Bitch Flicks EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 14, 2019
97% How to Survive a Plague (2012) One of the most moving scenes in the film is close to the end when we see the survivors in a series of long, silent close-ups, as they are now... jowls, grey hair and aging itself becomes a triumph, as it rarely is on American movie screens. - Bitch Flicks EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 14, 2019
89% Blue Is The Warmest Color (2013) Sitting through three hours in a movie theater and focusing on one woman's life (especially a queer woman's) was a relief and something I could use a lot more of. - Bitch Flicks EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 14, 2019
91% The Punk Singer (2013) Sini Anderson's The Punk Singer is all about music and politics: feminism and women, while focusing on one person, Kathleen Hanna, formerly of the bands Bikini Kill, Le Tigre and current front-woman of The Julie Ruin. - Bitch Flicks EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 14, 2019
92% Inside Llewyn Davis (2013) Perhaps the most infuriating thing about Inside Llewyn Davis is how rabidly (and anachronistically) apolitical it is. - Bitch Flicks EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 14, 2019
91% The Great Beauty (2013) The Great Beauty is about a bored, jaded man but doesn't leave its audience bored or jaded which is itself an achievement. - Bitch Flicks EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 14, 2019
90% Philomena (2013) Philomena is another Oscar-nominated film which features an older woman, and it left me frustrated... - Bitch Flicks EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 14, 2019
91% Nebraska (2013) I went into Nebraska, hopeful but cautious. But in this film [Alexander] Payne seems to be going not sideways, but backwards. - Bitch Flicks EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 14, 2019
99% 20 Feet From Stardom (2013) The Oscar-nominated documentary 20 Feet From Stardom attempts to right this injustice by focusing on [Merry] Clayton and a number of other backup singers whose voices we know, but whose names we often do not. - Bitch Flicks EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 14, 2019
94% Stranger by the Lake (2014) Distributors seem not to realize that an explicit film about male cruising has the potential to attract an audience beyond just gay men: many women, straight and queer, are curious about the type of anonymous, repercussion-free sex shown in the film. - Bitch Flicks EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 14, 2019
No Score Yet Moms Mabley: I Got Somethin' to Tell You (2013) The reason to see the film is not for the interviews with bleary-eyed Famous People Who Saw Mabley Perform Live or even the interviews with comedians whose work she influenced, but to see Mabley's work itself. - Bitch Flicks EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 13, 2019
78% Anita (2014) In spite of politicians and courts still explicitly or implicitly labeling women as liars when they seek justice against powerful men, we need to see at least one happy ending to give the rest of us the fortitude to continue fighting. - Bitch Flicks EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 13, 2019
92% In a World... (2013) Many of the contrivances seem like placeholders in the script, meant to be replaced with better thought out action later on, but the movie still contains some truths that don't make their way into films directed and written by men. - Bitch Flicks EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 13, 2019
98% Short Term 12 (2013) Short Term 12 gets right for much of the film, what so many other films about human services get wrong. - Bitch Flicks EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 13, 2019
99% Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me (2014) In the same way that disabled and older people shouldn't be called "inspiring" just for living their lives... the film shows us that the effects of aging for [Elaine] Stritch aren't tragic but just inconveniences and obstacles for her to work around. - Bitch Flicks EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 13, 2019
97% The Long Goodbye (1973) [Leigh] Brackett's script and particularly [Elliott] Gould's performance are like a mashup of the best parts of 1930s and 40s screwball comedies and detective movies from the same era with 70s realism thrown in. - Bitch Flicks EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 13, 2019
85% Under the Skin (2014) The problem is: Johansson's character knows, from the start of the film how to be, by all appearances, a human woman, and the filmmakers never seem curious how she learned to do so. - Bitch Flicks EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 13, 2019
77% Freeway (1996) Freeway is far from a perfect film but well worth seeing, even for those who don't count themselves as fans of Witherspoon. - Bitch Flicks EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 13, 2019
84% Belle (2014) Belle has a great lead performance from a Black actress in a Black woman director's film of a Black woman's script about a Black woman in European history (who wasn't a slave): an opportunity that doesn't come very often for audiences. - Bitch Flicks EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 13, 2019
89% I Believe in Unicorns (2015) [Leah] Meyerhoff explained how difficult casting Davina was and how the filmmaking team went through hundreds of actresses before they found Dyer. I wish this writer-director had put that same effort into writing a coherent script for her talented actors. - Bitch Flicks EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 13, 2019
69% Palo Alto (2014) Disaffected, wealthy young people aren't new subjects for a film, but perhaps because [Gia] Coppola is not far from the age (and background) of her characters some of the details resonate. - Bitch Flicks EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 13, 2019
96% We Are the Best! (2014) We Are The Best isn't quite as sharp or funny as [Lukas Moodysson's] two previous films. Still, the film is delightful and, like Moodysson's other films, has special insight into the lives of adolescent girls. - Bitch Flicks EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 13, 2019
83% Wish You Were Here (Too Much) (1987) The script by director David Leland was the perfect vehicle for his young star [Emily Lloyd] who is alternately hilariously rude and vulnerable, an unusual mixture for a woman or girl character in films, TV or literature even today. - Bitch Flicks EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 13, 2019
91% Obvious Child (2014) Where Obvious Child succeeds is in letting women be funny, not in the faux-humor of humiliation that too many comedic actresses in movies are subjected to these days, but in actual laugh-out-loud funny lines and situations. - Bitch Flicks EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 13, 2019
71% Uncertain Terms (2015) I'm pretty tired of seeing, especially in indie films, "nice guys" with reasonable explanations for doing abusive, criminal things to women. - Bitch Flicks EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 13, 2019
100% Anne of Green Gables (1985) Most of us, even those of us who don't have children, can recognize excellent children's programming when we see it, like the 80s made-for-television Anne of Green Gables. - Bitch Flicks EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 13, 2019
No Score Yet Kate Bornstein is a Queer & Pleasant Danger (2014) Seeing [Kate] Bornstein portrayed in a vacuum in the film is frustrating... we don't really see or hear prominent trans activists and public figures talk in any depth about her influence on their own work and lives. - Bitch Flicks EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 13, 2019
50% Lift (2001) [The script] has a muddled and clichéd it's-all-Mom's-fault subplot about Niecy's relationship with her mother, but the scenes of Niecy trying to navigate between her criminal, personal, and family lives present questions that don't have easy answers. - Bitch Flicks EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 12, 2019
65% The Life and Crimes of Doris Payne (2014) The filmmakers, with their clumsy reenactments, don't seem quite up to dissecting the complexities that Doris's life presents, but we still think about them, even after the movie is over. - Bitch Flicks EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 12, 2019
91% Whale Rider (2003) [Lisa] Gerrard's ethereal vocal style combined with electronic flourishes make for an unusual soundtrack, but one that meshes with the film's bracing mixture of mysticism and realism set against the strange and beautiful New Zealand landscape. - Bitch Flicks EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 12, 2019
86% Violette (2014) [Violette] is a nice change in that it focuses on not one, but two women writers who work hard over a period of years to become successful artists (both critically and financially) in their own right. - Bitch Flicks EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 12, 2019
91% Our Song (2001) The film is a treasure trove of thoughtful characters who are women of color. - Bitch Flicks EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 12, 2019
92% The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975 (2011) A film that does seem eerily relevant right now is The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975. - Bitch Flicks EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 12, 2019
73% High Art (1998) The film's treatment of women's sexuality is a nice contrast to the lesbian-bed-death clichés (and anti-chemistry) of Julianne Moore and Annette Bening in [Lisa] Cholodenko's more recent The Kids Are All Right. - Bitch Flicks EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 12, 2019
74% Kelly & Cal (2014) A film with real distribution, directed by a woman as well as written by one is a rare enough occurrence that I wish I didn't have to point out all that's wrong with Kelly & Cal. - Bitch Flicks EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 12, 2019
91% Pride (2014) In many ways Pride is a very conventional film. But the mix of real-life characters and events keeps Pride from becoming saccharine. - Bitch Flicks EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 12, 2019
88% Walking and Talking (1996) Laura and Amelia are allowed to behave imperfectly the way male characters are allowed to be in many films, but women hardly ever are. - Bitch Flicks EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 12, 2019
87% The Skeleton Twins (2014) [The Skeleton Twins] piles on the tragedy, so it becomes ridiculous. - Bitch Flicks EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 12, 2019
91% Dear White People (2014) Perhaps the best thing Dear White People will do, like Go Fish before it, is to become a gateway for films and television in the same vein. - Bitch Flicks EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 12, 2019
65% Laggies (2014) As I sat through [Lynn] Shelton's latest movie, Laggies, I couldn't help feeling deflated. - Bitch Flicks EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 12, 2019
94% The Innocents (1961) In horror movies women are often a sobbing mess for much of the film, but [Deborah] Kerr soldiers through the scares, clear-eyed, until the end when her tears are truly earned. - Bitch Flicks EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 12, 2019
No Score Yet War Zone (1998) [Maggie Hadleigh-West] expertly edits together 53 of these men on camera and doesn't just show the harassment but also shows the interviews Hadleigh-West conducts with these men right after they catcall her. - Bitch Flicks EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 12, 2019
83% Beyond the Lights (2014) Beyond The Lights gives the audience many other simple pleasures and, at least for its duration, makes us wonder what else we could ever want from the movies. - Bitch Flicks EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 12, 2019
60% Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit (1989) Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit, is one of the few films in theaters or on TV which contains both a coming-out story and another parallel, equally compelling story. - Bitch Flicks EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 12, 2019
79% Get On Up (2014) Whenever producers weakly say they couldn't find good Black actresses for roles that usually end up going to white women, I can't help thinking of all the talented Black women going to waste in films like this one. - Bitch Flicks EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 12, 2019
93% She's Beautiful When She's Angry (2014) She's Beautiful When She's Angry's portrait of "This is what feminism looked like," seems lacking. - Bitch Flicks EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 12, 2019
100% Rocks in my Pockets (2014) We have had few if any first-person accounts from "crazy" women filmmakers about how they see their own lives and minds. Animator and artist Signe Baumane's first feature, Rocks in My Pockets, seeks to change that situation. - Bitch Flicks EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 11, 2019
73% Inherent Vice (2015) I can count on one hand the times I've fallen asleep in a theater; at [Inherent] Vice I suspect my body was telling me this film was never going to get better, so why not do something more worthwhile with my time? - Bitch Flicks EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 11, 2019
97% Killer of Sheep (2007) The differences between the '70s and now are deeper than just a matter of hairstyles, fashion, and phones. We can see that difference clearly, and beautifully, in Black writer-director Charles Burnett's haunting first film, Killer of Sheep. - Bitch Flicks EDIT
Read More | Posted Mar 11, 2019