THE LAST FACE — Review by Susan Granger

Years ago, Robin Wright, who was married to Sean Penn, optioned this concept as a “passion project,” involving both Penn and Javier Bardem, but funding fell through. When Wright and Penn divorced, Penn obviously got custody, casting his then-fiancée, Charlize Theron, in the role Wright had wanted to play. Born in South Africa, Theron might have been a superb choice, but Penn was so obviously besotted with her beauty that he rapturously photographs her like a glamorous fashion model, not an altruistic doctor. Continue reading…

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ATOMIC BLONDE — Review by Susan Granger

As the Berlin Wall crumbled in 1989, a behind-the-scenes spy thriller was unfolding, revolving around undercover MI6 agent Lorraine Broughton (Charlize Theron), who was dispatched to retrieve information vital to the safety of Western intelligence. As she’s being debriefed by her handlers (Toby Jones, John Goodman), it’s revealed that another MI6 agent, James Gascoigne, had a list of every espionage officer in the city on both sides of the Cold War conflict. Comtonue reading…

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AWFJ Movie of the Week, April 18 – April 24: THE HUNTSMAN WINTER’S WAR

Huntsman winters war posterOpening April 22, AWFJ’s Movie of the Week is The Huntsman: Winter’s War, the lavish sequel to 2012 fantasy Snow White and the Huntsman. Charlize Theron returns as evil queen Ravenna, who is locked in a bitter war with her sister Freya (Emily Blunt). Chris Hemsworth also returns as The Huntsman, part of an army sworn to protect Freya, who falls for fellow hunter Sara (Jessica Chastain). Read on…

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THE WEEK IN WOMEN: 2,000 Scripts Confirm Hollywood Sexism, THE BOSS Wins Big Box, Plus Geena, Charlize, Mira and Maria Bello News — Brandy McDonnell comments

mulan-and-mushuPolygraph’s impressive recently released analysis of 2,000 film scripts broken down by gender and age puts date behind the anecdotal evidence of Hollywood’s sexism issues. The study foundm fir exanple, that in 22 of 30 Disney films male characters dominate dialogue, with The Jungle Book having 98 percent male dialogue and Mulan, the femme-centric animation, giving Mushu, the male sidekick, 50 percent more words than Mulan. Melissa McCarthy doesn’t have that problem in The Boss, which topped super heroes at the box office. Plus the latest on Geena Davis, Maria Bello, Mira Nair and Charlize Theron, who will be embracing her inner villain in the next Fast and Furious flick. Read all about it in THE WEEK IN WOMEN….

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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: Respect for Maureen O’Hara, Sandra Bullock, Sarah Gavron, Daniel Craig and more – Brandy McDonnell reports

maureen-ohara-in-the-quiet-manWhile we mourn the passing of fiery actress Maureen O’Hara, we look to the need for more women in front of the camera, behind the camera and in the boardroom. Sandra Bullock seconds the spanking of Hollywood for sexism and ageism. Suffragette director Sarah Gavron talks about role models. Kate Winslett to star in biopic of American fashion model, photographer and war correspondent Elizabeth “Lee” Miller. The late Sugar Hill Records co-founder Sylvia Robinson, an influential rap pioneer and producer known as the “Mother of Hip-Hop,” will be the subject of a biopic. And Daniel Craig bonds with Monica Bellucci, his equal in age. Read more in THE WEEK IN WOMEN.

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THE WEEK IN WOMEN: FURY ROAD on DVD Brings Furiosa Home, plus Kudos for Blanchett, Hathaway’s Sci-Fi and McCarthy Hypes GHOSTBUSTERS – Brandy McDonnell comments

MadMaxFuryRoadInvite Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron) into your home when Mad Max: Fury Road releases on Blu-ray and DVD, with extras. Cate Blanchett to receive BFI’s Fellowship at London Film Festival in October. Anne Hathaway produces and stars in The Shower, a Scifi comedy with a kick ass female lead. Melissa McCarthy is stumping for Paul Feig’s not-so-hotly-anticipated all-female Ghostbusters reboot. Read this week’s The Week in Women>>

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The Death of the White Night – Kristy Puchko comments

MadMaxFuryRoadThe white knight. He means well—that trope of all kinds of fiction—what with his quest to rescue the fair maiden from a terrible tyrant and then make her his grateful bride. But who says she needs rescuing? And who says she wants this self-righteous, self-proclaimed savior as her mate?

The well-meaning but entitled white knight may be alive and well in plenty of places, from patronizing politicians to your average rom-com hero; but in a wide-ranging crop of recent movies, he’s being thoroughly, effectively knocked off his high horse. Read more>>

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PITCH PERFECT 2, MAD MAX and Quick Hitters re Varda, Bigelow, Holmes and more — Brandy McDonnell comments

elizabeth-banks-in-pitch-perfect-2To quote the Beyonce song used in one of Pitch Perfect 2′s musical numbers, girls do indeed run the world — at least at this weekend’s domestic box office. The musical comedy reprise about an all-girls a cappella group surpassed industry expectations to gross some $70.3 million in the US and Canada, making it the highest opening weekend earner in Hollywood history for a first time director — Elizabeth Banks, who also produced and gives a stunningly funny performance as an acid-tongued a cappella commentator. The ensemble is mostly women, and Kay Cannon wrote the script. So, Pitch Perfect scores big as a film by and about women. But there’s a feeling of deja vu…Read more>>

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I’LL SEE YOU IN MY DREAMS, EVERY SECRET THING, GOOD KILL, MAD MAX and PITCH PERFECT 2 – Reviews by Jennifer Merin

ill see you in my dreams posterI’ll See You in My Dreams is an upbeat femme-centric dramady about 70-something woman emjoying life. Every Secret Thing is a gripping femme-centric thriller, directed by Amy Berg and scripted by Nicole Holofcener. Good Kill is a hard-hitting military drama with strong female characters. Mad Max: Fury Road is the highly anticipated second coming of the epic post-apocalyptic blockbuster, and this one’s femme-centric. Pitch Perfect 2 is billed as a comedy — I say it’s a humiliation. Read the full reviews.

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AWFJ Movie of the Week, May 11-17: MAD MAX: FURY ROAD

Opening May 15, the AWFJ Movie of the Week is Mad Max: Fury Roaddirector George Miller’s high octane reboot of his 1979 post apocalyptic action classic. Tom Hardy (Locke, Child 44) steps into the lead role that originally made a star of Mel Gibson, his Max Rockatansky becoming a figurehead for revolution in a world where humanity has completely broken down. As gangs roam the arid desert landscape, fighting to the death for basic supplies, Max and fellow traveller Furiosa (Charlize Theron) pose an unlikely challenge to the blood-thirsty, sociopathic status quo. Read on…

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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 – Guillermo Arriaga on “The Burning Plain” and Creative Process – Jennifer Merin interviews

In The Burning Plain, Oscar-winning screenwriter Guillermo Arriaga makes his narrative feature directorial debut with a scenario of his own creation. The script — like Babel and Amores Perros before it — presents a complex universe of interwoven storielines. The auteur talks about the process of creating his fragmented world and the core-value characters who inhabit it, and how directing opens new horizons for him.

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AWFJ Women On Film – Charlize Theron Talks “Burning Plain” – Jen Yamato interviews

When Oscar-nominated screenwriter Guillermo Arriaga (“Babel,” “21 Grams,” “Amores Perros”) set out to make his directorial debut, he turned to the A-list actress he thought could best carry his film’s story about guilt, forgiveness, and searing love: Charlize Theron. The Oscar-winning actress jumped full-force into the role of Sylvia, a beautiful but distant woman hiding from her past who, years later, still suffers from an unknown trauma that leads her down a path of self-destructive behavior ranging from self-harm to sexual addiction.

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AWFJ Women on Film – The Week in Women, July 31, 2009 – MaryAnn Johanson

Old women are old, even when they’re not; sexism and the female film critic; how to be a misogyny consultant, and

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