INFINITELY POLAR BEAR, AGE OF ADELINE and other April 24 openers – Reviews by Jennifer Merin

infinately polar beat posterFor starters, heaps of praise for Infinitely Polar Bear, the heartwarming first feature from writer-director Maya Forbes, about a mom whose trying to balance personal fulfillment with family obligations. Femme-centric Age of Adeline stars Blake Lively as a woman who much choose between eternal youth and present passion. The thoroughly delightful Iris is Albert Maysles’ documentary tribute to New York fashion icon Iris Apfel, now in her 90s and still a leading style influencer. Misery Loves Comedy, an insightful doc about comedians’ mindset(s) — but there are too few women. Read more…

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Sundance Female Filmmaker Initiative Study Reveals New Stats for Female Directors

sundance instituteA new study conducted by Sundance Institute and Women in Film Los Angeles reveals that films directed by women and men are equally likely to receive distribution out of the Sundance Film Festival U.S. Dramatic Competition, but the gap widens from there. Industry perceptions of a gendered marketplace, scarcity of talent pool, lack of ambition, as well as gender imbalance among gatekeepers, help explain broken pipeline for female filmmakers. Read more…

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Carey Mulligan on Strong Women Characters, Women Directors and FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD – Jennifer Merin interviews (Exclusive Video)

careymulliganmaddingcrowdcroppedCarey Mulligan discusses playing Bathsheba Everdene, the independent heroine in the new cinematic version of Thomas Hardy’s classic female-centric novel, FAR FROM A MADDING CROWD, about the difference in female characters created by Hardy and Jane Austen, and talks about her female director wish list and what is today’s madding crowd. Watch the video..

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CLOSER TO THE MOON – Review by Susan Granger

In Bucharest in 1959, a disillusioned group of old friends from the WWII Jewish Resistance hijack a van delivering cash to the Romanian National Bank, staging the robbery so it looks like a movie shoot – which fascinates a young onlooker, a café waiter named Virgil (Henry Lloyd). In time, the four men and a woman are arrested, tried in a kangaroo court and convicted. While waiting for their execution, they’re forced by the Securitate – a.k.a. Romanian secret police – to re-enact the robbery in a slyly anti-Semitic propaganda film depicting the crime. Read on…

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ANTARCTIC EDGE, FELIX AND MEIRA and other April 17 openers – Reviews by Jennifer Merin

antarcticedgeposterMore poetic than polemical, Antarctic Edge is a cinematic call to action that combines thrilling natural wonders with engaging glimpses of scientists at work, often under extremely difficult conditions and dangerous circumstances. Other recommended April 17 openers include narratives Alex of Venice and Felix and Meira and Disneynature’s documentary Monkey Kingdom. Read more…

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A LITTLE CHAOS – Review by MaryAnn Johanson

littlechaosposter

In Paris in 1682, King Louis XIV wants gardens at Versailles that are divine: “Heaven shall be here,” he commands. No small task for royal gardener and landscape architect André Le Notre. And Le Notre takes a real chance when he dares to hire, for one section of the gardens, freelance designer Sabine De Barra. This is no job for a woman, and indeed, in historical fact, there was no female garden designer at Versailles in the 17th century (though the gorgeous open-air ballroom grove the fictional one builds here is real and still exists on the palace grounds). But so what? This isn’t a documentary. It’s not an academic lesson. Male characters onscreen prance through the centuries doing all sorts of ahistorical things, so why can’t a woman do the same? Read more>>

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Female Directors at Cannes 2015, Thus Far – Jennifer Merin comments

cannes logoCannes has announced that Emmanuelle Bercot’s Standing Tall (La Tête Haute), will open this year’s festival on May 13. To date, two femme-helmed films have been scheduled in the competition, and they are Maïwenn’s Mon Roi and Valérie Donzelli’s Marguerite And Julien. Read on…

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CLOUD OF SILS MARIA, EX MACHINA and Other Movies Opening April 10 – Reviews by Jennifer Merin

Clouds of Sils Maria is a must-see. In it French film auteur Olivier Assayas provides an illuminating and sensitive look at three complex and highly theatrical women, each at a different phase of life. Juliette Binoche plays an acclaimed actress whose career has started to fade. Kristen Stewart is her patient but put-upon assistant. Chloe Grace Moretz is an ingénue on the rise, bolstered by her pop culture social media popularity. Despite their differences, the three women are all struggling for direction and the actresses portray them with daringly honest performances. Stewart’s performance won her France’s coveted César Award for Best Supporting Actress. The film’s cinematic qualities are awesome. Read more…

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THE LONGEST RIDE – Review by Susan Granger

What’s most astonishing about this predictably sudsy screen adaptation of Nicolas Sparks’ 2013 best-seller is how much Scott Eastwood looks like a younger version of his rugged father Clint – and how the camera fawns over his chiseled jawline and muscular physique. Set in North Carolina, Scott plays Luke Collins, a former champion bull rider, who is trying to make a comeback after suffering a serious head injury. At a rodeo, he meets Sophia Danko (Britt Robertson), a studious Wake Forest University senior who is excited about her upcoming internship in New York City’s glamorous art world. Read on…

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AWFJ Movie of the Week, April 13-19: MONKEY KINGDOM

Opening April 17, the AWFJ Movie of the Week is Monkey Kingdom, the new documentary from Disney’s nature arm. Its focus is a female monkey who lives in the ancient ruins of the Sri Lankan jungle and who, along with her newborn baby, must navigate life in her Temple Troop. As the troop’s fight for survival forces them from their natural home into increasingly urban areas, the new mother must also cope with the social hierarchies and codes of conduct that dictate her fate – and that of her baby. Read on…

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