THE WEEK IN WOMEN: Focus on Feminism and Diversity in TE ATA — Brandy McDonnell reports

te ata 1 croppedTe Ata brings a trailblazing Native American storyteller’s story to the screen. Q’orianka Kilcher plays the Chickasaw actress who introduced her people’s legends to audiences worldwide. Born in Indian Territory, Mary Frances Thompson grew up steeped Chickasaw lore. Drama teachers at Oklahoma College for Women encouraged her to weave American Indian stories into her performances. Taking the name “Te Ata,” (“bearer of the morning”), she left Broadway theater to share Native American stories – a path leading to her White House performance at President Franklin Roosevelt’s first state dinner in 1933. Te Ata continued storytelling even as the federal Code of Indian Offenses prohibited American Indians from practicing their culture. The film was produced by the Chickasaw Nation, who wanted to tell the story their way. Read about the production and what screenwriter Jennie Barbour has to say about it on THE WEEK IN WOMEN…

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A QUIET PASSION — Review by Martha K. Baker

Anyone who knows anything about Emily Dickinson (1830-1886) knows she led a circumspect life. Her passions were banked, her circle small, and her relationships few. For years, she was often the only female in anthologies of American literature, and she still reigns supreme among her sisters and brothers in the canon. Continue reading…

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THE FOUNDER — Review by Martha K. Baker

The Founder dusts the surface of business. In the fully competent hands of director John Lee Hancock, who also directed The Blind Side and Saving Mr. Banks, The Founder tells the story of Ray Kroc, the putative founder of McDonald’s. The film is entertaining but not revelatory enough. There’s little doubt an even more horrifying story lies beneath. This is Martha Baker with a KDHX film review of The Founder. Read on…

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AWFJ Movie of the Week, August 21 – August 26: Southside With You

southside with you posterSouthside With You is a love song to America’s first couple, Barack and Michelle Obama. In the fall of 1989, long before history anointed them, the pair met as colleagues at a Chicago law firm. Twenty-eight-year-old Barack (Parker Sawyers), Harvard graduate, summer associate, and secret smoker, has eyes for Michelle Robinson (Tika Sumpter), second-year associate, would-be-world changer, serious woman. She is his supervisor. He is her junior. At the outset of their day, Michelle is explicitly clear that this is not a date. And so, it begins. Read on…

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AWFJ Movie of the Week, March 28 – April 3: MILES AHEAD

milesahead_poster copyOpening April 1, AWFJ’s Movie of the Week is Miles Ahead, an exploration of the life and music of legendary jazz musician Miles Davis, directed by and starring Don Cheadle. Cheadle takes the director’s chair for the first time, as well as the lead role of Miles Dewey Davis III who, as a jazz musician, expert trumpet player, band leader and composer, reshaped the landscape of American music and continues to be one of its greatest influencers. Cheadle also co-wrote the screenplay with Steven Baigelman, who previously penned James Brown biopic Get On Up (2014). Read on…

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AWFJ Movie of the Week, March 21 – March 27: I SAW THE LIGHT

isawthelight poster Opening March 18, AWFJ’s Movie of the Week is I Saw the Light, the new music biopic which stars Tom Hiddleston as country-western legend Hank Williams who wowed Fifties America with songs including ‘I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry’ and ‘Cold Cold Heart’. Read on…

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SAINT LAURENT – Review by Susan Granger

There are two cinematic biographies about infamous French fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent, who died in 2008. Directed by Bertrand Bonello and featuring Gaspard Ulliel in the title role, this version is France’s official submission for the foreign-language Academy Award. The story opens in Paris in 1974, when depressed, melancholy YSL agreed to a disastrous phone interview in which he admits he has “disorders” before flashing back to 1967, when his fame was at its height, as he prepares an elegant haute couture collection. Lea Seydoux and Aymeline Valade play his emotionally supportive muses Loulou del la Falaise and Betty Catroux, respectively. Read on…

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NOBLE, PREGGOLAND and other May 8-13 Openers – Reviews by Jennifer Merin

nobleposterartMovies opening May 8, by and about women, include Noble, a biopic about Christina Noble (Deirdre O’Kane), who transformed personal adversity into the will to do good and established centers for homeless kids in Vietnam and Mongolia.Preggoland, written by and starring Sonja Bennett, is about a women who feigns pregnancy to fit in, and 5 flights Up stars Diane Keaton and Morgan Freeman facing lifestyle changes that arrive with aging. There’s Hot Pursuit for comedy and Maggie for horror. And opening on May 13, filmmaker Lucia Small’s magnificent One Cut, One Life is a must see. Read more…

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