ROUGH NIGHT — Review by Susan Granger

Feminism takes a couple of steps backward with this estrogen-forced comedy in which a Miami bachelorette weekend goes awry. Trying for a gender-flipping reversal on “The Hangover” and “Very Bad Things,” blended with “Bridesmaids,” the raucous riff revolves around Jess Thayer (Scarlett Johansson), who is running for the Florida state senate. While she projects a strait-laced image, Jess wasn’t always a goody-two-shoes. Continue reading…

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THE END OF AMERICA — Documentary Retroview by Jennifer Merin

end-of-america-posterReleased in 2008, Ricki Stern and Anni=e Sundburg’s compelling documentary is a still timely analysis and report about the ten step blueprint to establishing a dictatorship that Hitler and other dictators used to subvert democratic process and put an end to personal freedoms. The film compares, step by step, events leading up to establishment of the Third Reich with what has happened in the United States in recent years. Very convincing. Very scary. And, before it’s absolutely too late to take action, it should be required viewing for anyone old enough to vote, pay taxes or join the army. Continue reading on CINEMA CITIZEN…

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ONCE UPON A TIME IN VENICE — Review by Susan Granger

Today’s conundrum: Why did Bruce Willis want to make this wannabe action-comedy caper that turns out to be neither? Money is the only answer. Willis plays Steve Ford, a disgraced former police officer-turned private detective, who works with his bumbling millennial protégé, John (Thomas Middleditch), serving as narrator, in the kooky underworld of the Venice Beach section of Los Angeles, where Steve warns local kids against the dangers of drugs and hookers. Continue reading…

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WATCHING GENDER: How Stereotypes in Movies and on TV Impact Kids’ Development — Betsy Bozdech reports

It’s no secret that what kids see on screens has an impact on what they believe and who they become. That’s particularly true when it comes to gender; media that perpetuates rigid gender roles and stereotypes can affect kids’ sense of self, relationships, and career aspirations. Common Sense Media’s new research brief, “Watching Gender,” explores the effects of gender-biased media (specifically in TV and movies) on children’s development. It’s all part of the Gender Equity Is Common Sense initiative, which will lead to the creation of new tools and strategies to promote positive role models and representations for kids everywhere. Continue reading…awfj gender image study

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THE WEEK IN WOMEN: Patty Jenkins and WONDER WOMAN Lasso Records — Brandy McDonnell reports

Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman is the highest-grossing live-action film directed by a woman. The superhero adventure eclipsed the $609.8 million racked up by 2008’s Mamma Mia!, the Abba movie musical directed by Phyllida Lloyd. Since Jenkins directed Charlize Theron to Oscar victory with her acclaimed biopic Monster (2003), she’s directed episodes of television’s Arrested Development and Entourage, and the Emmy-nominated pilot for The Killing, but she has had to wait 14 years before directing another feature film. Wake up, Hollywood! Continue reading on THE WEEK IN WOMEN…

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Ana Lily and Sofia and the Diversity Issue — Jennifer Merin comments

Ana Lily Amirpour and Sofia Coppola are female directors whose unique perspectives in filmmaking have attached the term auteur to their names and bodies of work. Yet, both directors are being tagged as ‘racist’ in criticism of their current productions. Continue reading…

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THE BEGUILED – Review by Cate Marquis

Sophia Coppola’s atmospheric period thriller THE BEGUILED is a re-make of a 1971 psycho-sexual thriller starring Clint Eastwood. Coppola re-frames the Civil War story from a woman’s viewpoint, where a wounded Union soldier is taken in by a house full of Southern women and girls at a young ladies’ boarding school in the rural South. What looks like a sexual fantasy come true for the soldier turns out less than dreamy. Continue reading…

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BEATRIZ AT DINNER — Review by Susan Granger

It’s always a shame when superb performances get mired down in melodrama – like serving a tantalizing appetizer with an indigestible meal. Altruistic holistic healer Beatriz (Salma Hayek), a middle-aged Mexican-born divorcee, is having a rough time. Her Los Angeles neighbor objects to the incessant bleating of her pet goat, and her old Volkswagen barely starts when she turns the ignition. Continue reading…

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THE BEGUILED — Review by Susan Wloszczyna

the beguiled posterThe original 1971 “The Beguiled” pitted Clint Eastwood’s wounded Union solider Corp. John McBurney against the residents of a Southern girls’ school during the Civil War who treat him like a prisoner while fantasizing how he could be the man of their dreams. This handsome and wily manipulator seems to know his effect on the woman folk from the opening scene as he steals a kiss from the 12-year-old student who has found him. As directed by Don Siegel, the jealousies and rivalries that develop are deliberately stirred up by Eastwood’s male interloper who acts like a rooster in a hen house who can’t fly away. This is clearly a war of the sexes, and despite igniting an ongoing catfight atmosphere, his McBurney fails to see he is outnumbered nine to one, including a head mistress, a teacher, a slave and six students. Continue reading…

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CARS 3 — Review by Susan Granger

If you thought it was weird seeing a young Carrie Fisher and resurrected Peter Cushing in “Star Wars: Rogue One,” wait ‘till you hear Paul Newman’s gruff voice as Doc Hudson in outtakes from the first “Cars” outing in 2006. Continue reading…

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