Producers Guild Nominations Include WONDER WOMAN, MOLLY’S GAME and I, TONYA — Michelle Hannett reports

pga logo darkEight women producers are among the Theatrical Motion Picture nominees for the 29th Annual Producers Guild Awards. The January 5 announcement also saw four women nominated in the Animated category. Starring strong female protagonists, nominations for WONDER WOMAN, MOLLY’S GAME and I, TONYA were undoubtedly the big surprises of the day. Continue reading on AWARDS INTELLIGENCER.

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Aaron Sorkin chats MOLLY’S GAME and First Time Directing — Interview by Jessica Zack

Aaron Sorkin knows that anytime a writer or actor decides to step behind the camera for the first time, the first question is usually whether directing has always been his or her dream. So the Academy Award-winning screenwriter (“The Social Network”) and playwright (“A Few Good Men”) sat down for a recent interview with a preemptive response at the ready. Continue reading…

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ALL THE MONEY IN THE WORLD — Review by Susan Granger

Perhaps even more fascinating than this fact-based kidnap drama is how 80 year-old director Ridley Scott replaced scandal-riddled Kevin Spacey with 88 year-old Christopher Plummer as billionaire J. Paul Getty. After re-filming 22 scenes, Scott seamlessly edited old reaction shots with the new footage. Continue reading…

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK January 5, 2018 : MOLLY’S GAME

motw logo 1-35In “Molly’s Game,” writer/director Aaron Sorkin introduces us to Molly Bloom (Jessica Chastain), a complicated woman who’s all the more fascinating because she’s real. Smart, resourceful, competitive, driven — Molly succeeds at whatever she puts her mind to. At first, that’s skiing; pushed hard by her demanding father, Larry (Kevin Costner), she becomes an Olympic-level champion who seems destined for gold…until a random accident ends her skiing career for good. continue reading….

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SPOTLIGHT January 2018: Mattie Do, Lao Filmmaker, Oscar Contender for DEAREST SISTER

awfjspotlightsmallsmallmattie do buddhistFilmmaker Mattie Do’s very name signifies a series of impressive firsts: Lao’s first woman director and the first Lao movies to play at international film festivals, and more recently, her latest film Dearest Sister (Nong hak) became the first from the country to be submitted to The Oscars’ Best Foreign Language category. Continue reading…

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ALL THE MONEY IN THE WORLD — Review by Martha K. Baker

“All the Money in the World” succeeds fiercely. John Paul Getty was a Scrooge. He figured out not only how to dredge oil from the Arabian desert but also how to haul it across the oceans in a tanker. Thus, he was not just the richest man in the world but the richest man in the history of the world. Continue reading…

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HOSTILES — Review by Susan Granger

Paying homage to classic Westerns like John Ford’s “The Searchers,” writer/director Scott Cooper has created a different kind of frontier saga, one which examines the complexity of the Native American conflict and connects with relevant, contemporary themes, including reconciliation, inclusion and equality. Continue reading…

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MOLLY’S GAME — Review by Cynthia Fuchs

mollys game poster“This woman does not belong in a RICO indictment. She belongs on a box of Wheaties.” Attorney Charlie Jaffey (Idris Elba) gives a rousing speech near the end of Molly’s Game, one where he defends his client, Molly (Jessica Chastain), against a pair of government prosecutors. They want her to give up information on the men who played in her high stakes poker games. Charlie, it turns out, is borrowing his defense from his daughter Stella (Whitney Peak), who sees in Molly a role model and a hero. Continue reading…

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Eleanor Coppola on PARIS CAN WAIT and Doing Things Her Way –Interview by Jessica Zack

Eleanor Coppola admits she had some fun playing with the line between autobiography and fiction while writing the screenplay for “Paris Can Wait,” her new romantic road-trip movie which is also — remarkably, at age 81 — her narrative feature directorial debut.Continue reading…

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Filmmaker Margaret Betts on NOVITIATE — Interview by Kristen Page-Kirby

Novitiate” is a love story about a girl in a relationship with a guy who just doesn’t seem to be paying much attention to her. It’s a fairly typical tale, except the girl is a 17-year-old nun in training and the guy is God. In the drama, opening Friday, Cathleen (played by Margaret Qualley) enters the (fictional) convent of the Sisters of Blessed Rose in 1964. She begins her journey toward becoming a nun with a one-year stint as a postulant, getting used to the daily routine of the convent. That’s followed by two years as a novitiate, when she is expected to make herself worthy of the habit. Overseeing her journey is the Reverend Mother (Oscar winner Melissa Leo), who rules her convent with a terrifying power — a power she feels is threatened by the ongoing Second Vatican Council, which is making substantial changes regarding the role of nuns in the Roman Catholic Church. Continue reading…

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MOLLY’S GAME – Review by MaryAnn Johanson

I don’t want to jinx it, but is it possible that Hollywood is warming up to the idea of flawed women as appropriate — even riotously entertaining — protagonists of their own stories? There’s been a solid handful of really great examples of movies this year about women as fully human people — which isn’t anywhere near enough, but far more than recent years have given us — and 2017 is going out on a wonderful high note with the bold, tough Molly’s Game. Continue reading…

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BLADE RUNNER 2049 — Review by Courtney Howard

It’s taken 35 years to get a BLADE RUNNER sequel – and thank God the resulting product doesn’t disappoint. From what we’ve seen from other franchises that have experienced similar decades-long gestation periods (films like BLUES BROTHERS 2000, DUMB AND DUMBER TO, and TRON LEGACY), things could’ve gone enormously wrong when it came to BLADE RUNNER 2049. Yet much like MAD MAX: FURY ROAD, it never fails us. Director Denis Villeneuve’s entrancing, awe-inducing spectacle not only follows up on some major lingering questions that have haunted cinephiles, launching them into heated debates, but also marinates longer on Ridley Scott’s original heady concepts and gift for striking world-building. Continue reading…

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THE POST — Review by Danielle Solzman

Steven Spielberg’s The Post makes for a timely offering by the way that the film displays just how important it is for America to have a free press. Spielberg’s journalistic thriller takes a screenplay written by Liz Hannah and Josh Singer and manages to turn it into a hard-hitting film that ought to make people think twice about what’s going on in America. Continue reading…

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Dorota Kobiela and Hugh Welchman on LOVING VINCENT — Interview by Leslie Combemale

Loving Vincent is the first fully oil painted feature film. The brainchild of two filmmakers who have worked in animation, special effects, and live action, the film breaks new ground, while being visually stunning and driving a story about the last few weeks in the life an artist who died penniless but is now one of the most famous in history. All the characters in the film are performed by real actors, either on special sets or in front of green screens, and their work is combined with computer animation and painted animation. There are over sixty-five thousand frames in the film, and at the end of each shot, they were left with the painting of the last frame of the shot. There are eight hundred and ninety-eight shots in the film. Continue reading…

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Filmmaker Petra Volpe on THE DIVINE ORDER and Women’s Rights — Jessica Zack interviews

Filmmaker Petra Volpe’s engaging film, The Divine Order, is a box office hit in Switzerland and is the Swiss foreign-film entry to the 2018 Academy Awards/ The film was inspired by the fact that as the U.S. was convulsing with cultural change during the late ’60s, not only had women’s lib not made it to the small Alpine nation, but Swiss women wouldn’t have the right to vote in national elections until 1971. Continue reading…

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FERDINAND — Review by Danielle Solzman

For the second time in a one-month period, an animated film touches upon Hispanic culture. In this instance, however, Ferdinand tells the story of a bull who doesn’t want to fight. Not only does he not want to fight, but the other bulls tease him for not wanting to take part in the traditional career. Ferdinand would rather be doing other things like playing with flowers. Continue reading…

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK December 29: Best Female Characters of 2017

motw logo 1-35With thanks to all of the movie industry women and men who’ve birthed them and brought them into our consciousness, Team #MOTW focuses attention on some of the brilliant female characters who’ve joined our pantheon of feminist film goddesses during 2017. A legion of strong, complex, and compelling fictional, truth-based and real life women have shared their struggles, aspirations and accomplishments with us. Their various stories represent every aspect of feminist activism for equality and justice. They give us insight, strength and inspiration. Browse our #MOTW roster for an overview of this year’s list of great female characters, and for Team #MOTW favorites, continue reading….

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THE DISASTER ARTIST — Review by Sarah Knight Adamson

“The Disaster Artist,” rated (R), is a comedy based on the real-life story of Hollywood writer/director Tommy Wiseau. His claim to fame is a dramatic film he made, The Room,in 2003. You see, it’s so bad, that it’s actually good and has become a major cult film. Continue reading….

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THE WEEK IN WOMEN: Women Warriors Fuel LAST JEDI, Jolie fuels BREADWINNER and WANDA lists at National Film Registry — Brandy McDonnell reports

Women warriors continue to feel the Force in Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Producer Angelina Jolie promotes director Nora Twomey’s animated film, The Breadwinner, bringing to life the struggle of an Afghan girl to support her family. Wanda and Lives of Performers are added to National Film Registry. Read details on THE WEEK IN WOMEN.

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PITCH PERFECT 3 — Review by Martha K. Baker

Pitch Perfect 3 serves a musical mess. Bus, as messes go. the film is a mess o’fun. From start to finish, emphasis on “mess” more than “fun,” however. And, yet, when looking for 93 minutes of brainlessness with a side order of the silly, the skinny, and the singing, you can’t go wrong. Continue reading…

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FILM STARS DON’T DIE IN LIVERPOOL — Review by Susan Granger

Annette Bening delivers a powerhouse performance as sultry Gloria Grahame. Yet to fully appreciate it, you should know a bit about who this enigmatic actress was. Back in 1940s and ‘50s film noir, Grahame starred in “Crossfire,” “Sudden Fear,” “The Big Heat,” “In a Lonely Place” and “The Bad and the Beautiful,” for which she won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar. Fans also remember her from “It’s a Wonderful Life,” “The Greatest Show on Earth” and “Oklahoma!” Continue reading…

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CASTING JONBENET — Review by Cynthia Fuchs

“I know there was a Santa Claus that was at the party that maybe could have done it.” This idea is offered some 40 minutes into Kitty Greene’s Casting JonBenét. Pondering the possibilities, one of the women looking to be cast as Patsy Ramsey comes on an idea that appeared in tabloids back in the late ’90s, that a local Santa Claus strangled and abused the child, and left her body to be found in her parents’ Boulder, Colorado home. Continue reading…

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THE GREATEST SHOWMAN — Review by Martha K. Baker

The Greatest Showman propels the movie musical. Like its predecessors, from Seven Brides for Seven Brothers to Chicago, The Greatest Showman makes a strong case for the movie musical. This one is about grandness grown spectacular, a circus that offers big-tent ideas with down-home family concepts, set to tunes written by Benj Pasek and Austin Paul of Evan Hanson fame. Continue reading…

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STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI — Review by Sandie Angulo Chen

Star Wars: The Last Jedi is part of the billion-dollar Star Wars saga, continuing the segment of the story that began in The Force Awakens. It takes place right after the events of that movie and is just as violent, with several battles, explosions, space chases, and close-up duels. Directed by Rian Johnson, the movie boasts several strong female characters, including both Rey (Daisy Ridley) and Leia (Carrie Fisher, in her final Star Wars performance), as well as diversity within the Resistance and strong messages of courage, teamwork, hope, and loyalty. Continue reading…

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STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI — Review by MaryAnn Johanson

This is not going to go the way you think,” Luke Skywalker says to… well, someone who needs to hear it. Someone whose arrogance is borne of shortsightedness and narrow expectations. And this is also Star Wars: The Last Jedi’s word of warning to the audience. Continue reading…

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