20TH CENTURY WOMEN — Review by Martha K. Baker

20th Century Women bores into behavior. The title’s all wrong, far too sweeping, and a little misleading. For one thing, how the three women referred to in the title represent a century’s worth of women is ungraspable. For another, the character played by Annette Bening so dominates the story that 20th Century Woman is a truer title. This is Martha K. Baker with a KDHX film review of 20th Century Women Read on…

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THE WEEK IN WOMEN: Number of women directors falls, female characters have less to say — Brandy McDonnell reports

The number of female feature film directors has fallen, female characters have far less chance to talk in movies and there continues to be a huge gender pay gap in Hollywood. 2016 actually gave some reason to be hopeful about women in the movies. Disney released three stellar animated movies – Zootopia, Moana and Pixar’s Finding Dory — and all featuring female lead characters, none of them traditional damsels in distress. Women were leads in two smash sci-fi films with Arrival and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, with the latter becoming the second movie in the Star Wars saga to have a female lead. And the period drana Hidden Figures, based on real-life stories of African-American women who worked behind the scenes as mathematicians to help launch the first U.S. astronauts into space, is a hit at the box office. Read more on THE WEEK IN WOMEN.

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Oscar-bound Annette Bening Shakes up the Screen — Profile by Thelma Adams (Exclusive)

anette beningIn 20th Century Women, Annette Bening redefines what it is to be an actress over forty – okay 58 – while gunning for an Oscar as Santa Barbara single mum Dorothea. Smart, sexy, searching: just three adjectives that describe the Kansas native. Fold in funny and touching, too. But what makes this mother-of-four married to former matinee idol Warren Beatty so disruptive, so eruptive, is that as a craftswoman and artist, she never stands still. Read on…

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Taking a bite out of 2017 with… Shark horror? — Previews by Liz Whittemore

sky shocksIn horror, oftentimes, you’ll see a reoccurring theme of some half naked nubile thing running up the stairs to certain doom. Aside from the human(esque) villain, you might get a phenomenal film featuring a monster of the animal variety (Cujo, The Fly, Arachnophobia). Once in a blue moon something spectacular like JAWS appears and the a franchise is born. 2017 and 2018 will bring us three news films also starring sharks. Three? That seems like a lot, but if it works, then who cares if a recycled idea is scary. Here is a quick overview of what we know so far about Cage Dive, Sky Sharks, and Meg. Read more on I SCREAM YOU SCREAM.

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ASSASSIN’S CREED — Review by Susan Granger

Based on Ubisoft’s popular video game, this time-tripping sci-fi film rarely rises above incoherency. The saga begins with a series of ominous biblical texts, informing us that a device known as the Apple from the Tree of Knowledge in the Garden of Eden contains “the key to free will itself.” Read on…

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THE WEEK IN WOMEN: ‘La La Land’ keeps dancing, ‘Moonlight’ still shining, ‘Kubo’ makes history — Brandy McDonnell reports

LLL d 41-42_6689.NEFLast weekend’s Golden Globes established La La Land as a clear front-runner — closely followed by Moonlight — in upcoming races for the prestigious awards doled out by the DGA, PGA, BAFTA and, ultimately, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Now, nominations have been announced by all but the Academy. To see how they compare, read Brandy McDonnell’s awards season update on THE WEEK IN WOMEN.

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PATRIOTS DAY – Review by Susan Granger

Chronicling the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing and its intense aftermath, this is a heavy-handed, by-the-numbers action-thriller about how a community responded to an act of terror. Assigned to duty on the finish line, feisty Police Sgt. Jimmy Saunders (Mark Wahlberg) has a sore knee so he phones his wife (Michelle Monaghan) to bring him his knee brace. Meanwhile, two Muslim rebels, Tamerlan (Themo Melikidze) and Dzhokhar (Alex Wolff) Tsarnaev, are calmly making nail-filled bombs and loading them into their backpacks. Read on…

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Greta Gerwig on Female Co-stars, Sexual Role Play in 20TH CENTURY WOMEN — Thelma Adams interviews

Project Cobalt Presents a New York Special Screening of A24's "20th Century Women"There’s a bit of Diane Keaton to Greta Gerwig: smart, idiosyncratic and appealing, both neurotic and loose-limbed and glowy. But the proof that Keaton and Gerwig came-of-age in different generations is the way in which Gerwig, 33, has taken the reins of production, turning from muse to master, so early in her career. Read more>>

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THE FOUNDER — Review by Susan Granger

Michael Keaton (“Spotlight,” “Birdman”) plays ruthless Ray Kroc in this backstory of the ubiquitous McDonald’s franchise, an innovative, assembly-line idea that revolutionized the fast food industry. In 1952, traveling salesman Kroc was working hard, peddling milkshake machines to drive-ins in the Midwest, while avidly absorbing “The Power of Positive Thinking.” Read on…

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AWFJ Movie of the Week, January 13 – January 20, 2017: 13TH

13Ava DuVernay’s documentary 13TH was the first nonfiction film to open the New York Film Festival. The film has gone on to garner numerous prizes and is currently shortlisted for the Academy Awards.

The 13th amendment provides a point of departure, but the film is far more than investigation of mass incarceration in the US. It is a history lesson, a cinema essay and cogent and irrefutable indictment of the economic and cultural policies that are the enduring legacy of slavery. Read on…

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