MUDBOUND — Review by Esther Iverem

The human, under surveillance and under American Southern totalitarianism, is the recurrent theme in the new, compelling Netflix feature “Mudbound.” Director-producer Dee Rees adapts Hillary Jordan’s World War II-era novel with the appropriate amount of claustrophobia and stricture befitting Jim Crow Mississippi. Continue reading…

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MUDBOUND — Review by Cynthia Fuchs

rees mudbound posterMudbound begins with digging. The screen is black, the sound unmistakable. The scene that emerges takes place at night: two brothers are digging a grave for their father. A storm is coming, so Henry (Jason Clarke) and Jamie (Garrett Hedlund) are in a hurry. “We ain’t gonna make it,” mutters Jamie. Henry insists that they will, that they have to. “That was my brother Henry,” narrates Jamie. “Absolutely certain whatever he wanted to happen would. Certain his little brother would never betray him.” Continue reading…

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK November 10: MUDBOUND

motw logo 1-35Telling the intertwining stories of two families — one white, one black — living on the same piece of rural Mississippi farmland in the 1940s, Dee ReesMudbound blends strong performances, notable cinematography, and heartbreaking human drama. It’s clear things are going to get grim from the opening sequence, in which adult brothers Henry and Jamie McAllan (played by Jason Clarke and Garrett Hedlund, respectively) try to bury their father despite the onslaught of a torrential downpour, which leaves both men shaken and covered in mud. Continue reading…

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New York Film Festival 2017: Top Female Performances — Liz Whittemore reports

NYFF55-posterThis year’s festival was not lacking in gorgeously acted roles. Here is a list of 10 notable performances that I believe deserve attention. I will preface this list by saying I was unable to see Wonderstruck and Lady Bird. I am hearing nothing but praise for Julianne Moore‘s dual roles, newcomer Millicent Simmonds, and Saoirse Ronan. Of the 10 performances, only 7 films are represented. In no particular order, here are some ladies to be on the lookout for come awards season and beyond. Continue reading…

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2015 Gave Actresses Vehicles for Greatness – Jennifer Merin comments

Merin-Top-RoleWhile renowned actresses continue to demand equal pay for their work and to lobby for better representation of women on the screen, the 2015 crop of films did provide something to celebrate: a rich harvest of exceptional roles for women. We have seen dozens of female characters from history and fiction whose stories epitomize accomplishment and the ability to prevail. Read more>>

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THE WEEK IN WOMEN: Are 2015′s Gender Gains Sustainable? Plus Blanchett, Streisand and Hollywood’s Most Powerful Women — Brandy McDonnell Reports

DAISY RIDLEY STAR WARSAs 2015 comes to a close, the question becomes are women’s box office successes just milestones in a particularly good feminist year? Or are they markers on the road to true change? The truth is, movies about and directed by women were not the rarity they’ve become since the early days of Hollywood. The entertainment industry has had its moments, particularly in the 1980s, when it vowed to open opportunities for women and seemed to do so for a while before slipping back into its comfort zone of unconscious bias and systemic sexism. What’s on the horizon? Plus Cate Blanchett signs on for Thor, Barbra Streisand is honored, Women in Film names grant recipients and this year’s list of the most powerful women in Hollywood. Read about it all in THE WEEK IN WOMEN.

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SUFFRAGETTE, I SMILE BACK, DIFRET, INDIA’S DAUGHTER and Other Oct 23 Openers – Reviews by Jennifer Merin

Untitled-3Suffragette stars Carey Mulligan as one of the brave women who changed herstory by winning the vote for women in Britain. This is a film made by women about women, and it gets my vote at the box office this weekend. In I Smile Back, Sarah Silverman portrays a women caught in the throes of self-destruction. Her brilliant and brave performance will bring tears to your eyes. Difret, produced and promoted by Angelina Jolie Pitt, dramatizes Ethiopia’s marriage abduction tradition by telling the harrowing story of a teenage girl who accidentally killed her kidnapper while trying to escape. Plus India’s Daughter, The Pearl Button and Heart of a Dog. Read the reviews…

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AWFJ Movie of the Week, October 20-26: SUFFRAGETTE

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Opening October 23, the AWFJ Movie of the Week is Suffragette, British director Sarah Gavron’s phenomenal portrait of the brave women at the vanguard of the rights to vote campaign in the early 20th century in Britain. Specifically, Gavron and master screenwriter Abi Morgan (Shame, The Iron Lady) have chosen to set their film in the seminal year of 1912 when, disheartened by the lack of progress, movement leader Emmeline Pankhurst (a commanding cameo by Meryl Streep) decreed that words should become action. And so it was that peaceful protest and political machinations turned into guerilla warfare, bands of women creating civil unrest to draw attention to their cause; and, often, ending up behind bars, isolated from their families, subject to the most heinous public shame and physically tortured. Read on…

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SUFFRAGETTE Producers Alison Owen and Faye Ward on Feminism and Working Together – Jennifer Merin interviews

Faye Ward and Alison Owen

Faye Ward and Alison Owen

It took Alison Owen and Faye Ward years of brainstorming and campaigning to produce Suffragette, the feature about women’s struggles to win the right to vote in Britain a century ago. Arriving in cinemas at a moment when feminism in filmmaking is trending and Hollywood’s male-dominated film industry hierarchy is under investigation for sexual bias, the has a compelling contemporary resonance. Owen and Ward say they worked with a powerful team of creative, dedicated women (and, to be fair, a fair number of men) whose trust in partnership and passion for the project brought Suffragette to screens. Read the interview in THE FEMALE GAZE...

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FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD – Review by Susan Granger

Danish director Thomas Vinterberg’s genteel adaptation of Thomas Hardy’s classic 19th century novel is beautiful to look at – filmed in bucolic Dorset, Somerset and Oxfordshire by cinematographer Charlotte Bruus Christensen. But its defiantly independent, free-spirited heroine, Bathsheba Everdene (Carey Mulligan), emerges as capricious, even by Victorian standards, her innate dignity diminished by selfish ambition and her smirking, impetuous thoughtlessness. Read on…

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FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD – Review by Erica Abeel

Far from the Madding Crowd, a new film adaptation of Thomas Hardy’s beloved classic, works its magic on multiple fronts. Helmed by Danish Thomas Vinterberg, it’s one of those escapist movies with a great romantic sweep, set among the lime-green hills of Dorset (which Hardy famously named Wessex). By exalting such old-school values as steadfastness and goodness, it offers the perfect antidote to the prevailing cynicism. Read more…

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FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD, WELCOME TO ME and Other May 1 Openers – Reviews by Jennifer Merin

farfrommadding5In Far from the Madding Crowd, Carey Mulligan is brilliant as Bathsheba Everdene, capturing all the complexities of a character who was in her day as much an icon of feminist independence as Katniss Everdeen is in ours. Director Thomas Vinterberg’s superb take on this classic yet contemporary tale of female empowerment is bolstered by Charlotte Bruus Christensen’s brilliant cinematography, Janet Patterson’s elegant costuming and Claire Simpson’s smart editing. Award-worthy. A must see. Read more…

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Thomas Vinterberg on FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD, Dogme and Feminism – Jennifer Merin interviews (Exclusive Audio)

vinterbermaddingcrowdIn this exclusive audio interview, Vinterberg chats about FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD and cinematic truth beyond dogme, feminism and the under-acknowledged importance of devotion, and what is today’s madding crowd. To listen to the interview, click here

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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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2015 Films Gave Actresses Vehicles for Greatness — Jennifer Merin comments

Merin-Top-RoleLooking back over this past year, 2015 saw a bounty of fabulous women illuminating big screens. Think about it. There were a greater-then-usual number of complex female characters who sprang to life on the screen from real life herstory or from fiction, giving brilliantly talented actresses of all ages and all phases in their careers to excel. Additionally, several superb documentaries focused on the life and times of iconic women who’ve shaped and are shaping our popular culture. Here’s my overview of fifteen of the year’s key female characters and performances, and women in documentaries. See as many of these standouts from the year as you can. Read more>>

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AWFJ Women On Film – 2009 EDA Award Winners

Katheryn Bigelow receives five EDA Awards, including best film (The Hurt Locker), Best Director and Perseverance Awards. Carey Mulligan wins two, and guess who’s most in need of a new agent! Read more>>

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