A QUIET PLACE — Review by Diane Carson

A Quiet Place gives horror a new sound—silence. The horror film A Quiet Place is exactly that—very quiet, meaning viewers increase their attentiveness to every sound—the wind in the trees, the crunch of a footstep, water running over rocks. This glorious call to our senses comes courtesy of co-writer/director John Krasinski’s technical achievements, including dazzling camera angles and striking compositions, plus superb performances. Continue reading…

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A QUIET PLACE — Review by Susan Granger

a quiet place posterSome moviegoers absolutely love to be scared, frightened out of their wits. If so, this dystopian horror thriller is for you. Emily Blunt and her husband John Krasinski play Evelyn and Lee Abbott, a married couple, living on a secluded farm in upstate New York. It’s Day 89 – after most of the civilized world has been decimated by an alien invasion of hideously hungry creatures who detect their prey by super-sensitive sound. Knowing that silence is absolutely essential to survival, the Abbotts, always barefoot and alert, are determined to protect their three young children. Continue reading...

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THE WEEK IN WOMEN: ‘Mary Poppins Returns,’ plus Chastain, Bening and Kidman get gigs and Women in Special Effects — Brandy McDonnell reports

Disney has announced that production on “Mary Poppins Returns,” the studio’s sequel to its 1964 “Mary Poppins,” has commenced at Shepperton Studios. The film stars Golden Globe winner Emily Blunt and Emmy, Grammy and Tony Award winner Lin-Manuel Miranda. Directed by Oscar nominee, Emmy and DGA Awards winner Rob Marshall, the film is scheduled for a Dec. 25, 2018 release. Jessica Chastain is producing a TV series about NASA women. Nicole Kidman’s Blossom Films has optioned Janice Y.K Lee’s The Expatriates for a TV series. Annette Bening joins the cast of FX’s Hurricane Katrina anthology series. And, women rule in special effects at Lucas’Industrial Light & Magic. Read more on THE WEEK IN WOMEN.

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AWFJ Movie of the Week, October 3 – October 7: THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN

girl-on-the-train-posterPaula Hawkins’s runaway successful novel The Girl on the Train is part of a new genre called ‘Mom Noir’, along with Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl and a number of other titles like The Woman in the Cabin or The Girl in the Red Coat. This new genre follows hot and heavy on the heels of ‘Mom Porn’ with the Fifty Shades of Grey series and The Twilight saga. The numbers are always touted when talking about such literary phenomena. The biggest selling, chart-breaking, hyperbole. What is less celebrated is the quality of the books themselves. Read on…

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Emily Blunt on THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN — Gill Pringle interviews

EMILY Blunt gasped in horror when she first saw her transformation into a blotchy-faced alcoholic trainwreck, the unlikely heroine of The Girl on the Train. “It was hard seeing myself look so awful. I came into work with no make-up and they would make me look even worse, adding rosacea and bags. I could barely look at my own reflection.” Read more>>

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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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SICARIO: Where’s the Awards Love? – Candice Frederick comments

Sicario is absolutely brilliant. The cinematography (shout out to the great Roger Deakins), the acting (literally, every cast member adds such a terrific element to the narrative), and Taylor Sheridan’s screenplay–all led by director Denis Villeneuve–make for a brilliant film. But Sicario has been shut out of most of the major awards contests? Why? Read more>>

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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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@TIFF: Meet Emily Blunt, American Badass – Janice Page interviews

sicario smallerThat’s probably not where we thought Blunt was headed a decade ago, when she played Meryl Streep’s prickly assistant in The Devil Wears Prada. She’s since played a queen (The Young Victoria), a cartoon gnome (Gnomeo & Juliet), a can-do business consultant (Salmon Fishing in the Yemen), and Matt Damon’s futuristic crush (The Adjustment Bureau). Then earned sci-fi fan points in Looper, but it wasn’t until last year’s Edge of Tomorrow that “action hero” started looking like a legitimate entry on her resume. Now there’s Sicario and that cements Blunt’s badass qualifications. Read on…

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Ten Noteworthy Female Performances at TIFF 2015 – Pam Grady Reports

tiff logoWith the Toronto International Film Festival, the Oscar season officially opens in North American. Oh, there are other fall festivals that provide a window into awards season, Telluride, New York Film Festival, and Mill Valley Film Festival among them, but Toronto with its hundreds of features is one of the true harbingers of nominations to come. And while there was much emphasis this year on women behind the camera—20% of features and 45% of shorts at TIFF were made by women, according to figures cited by Indiewire—the festival also provided a peek at performances that should warrant attention from Academy voters (or ought to!), if not this season, then next. Read more on THE FEMALE GAZE

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THE WEEK IN WOMEN: Primetime Emmys Aren’t So Shiny for Women, plus Hollywood Agism and Blunt on Women in Action – Brandy McDonnell comments

emmy statuette croppedLook beyond the glitzy gowns and golden statuettes at the Primetime Emmy Awards, and the numbers for women aren’t so shiny. A new study, released by the Women’s Media Center in time for the 67th Primetime Emmys (Sept. 20), shows that the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences has a tarnished record when it comes to gender parity in the creative categories of writing (6), directing (8), editing (10), and producing (20) — categories that cover jobs that have the most influence on what is depicted on the small screen. In the last decade, the nominations have skewed heavily towards male creatives. Out of all nominees in the 44 writing, directing, editing, and producing categories, 2,074 of them were women, representing only 22 percent of the total. There were 7,485 men nominated, 78 percent of the total.nominees. Read more>> in this week’s The Week In Women.

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ABOUT RAY, SICARIO, THE NEW GIRLFRIEND, SONGS FROM THE NORTH and Other Sept 21 Openers – Reviews by Jennifer Merin

about ray posterIn About Ray, a coming-of-age drama about sexual identity and self-realization, teenage Ramona wants to become Ray, but needs parental consent for the sex change. Superb performances by Elle Fanning, Naomi Watts, Susan Sarandon. Sicario stars Emily Blunt as an FBI agent tracking drug traffickers. Twisted, thrilling plot. The New Girlfriend, from Francois Ozon, is a terrific twisted thriller about sexual identity. Songs from the North documents life in North Korea, a nation famously out of sync with the rest of the world. Plus Captive and Pawn Sacrifice Read the reviews>>

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AWFJ Movie of the Week, September 14-September 20: SICARIO

sicario posterOpening September 2, the AWFJ Movie of the Week is Sicario, which stars the exceptional Emily Blunt (Edge of Tomorrow, Into the Woods) as an idealistic FBI agent who finds herself in the middle of the escalating war on drugs taking place on the border between the United States and Mexico.. Read on…

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On High Heels and Hollywood’s Real Heels – Brandy McDonnell comments

high-heels-45481_164x164While the Cannes Film Festival created a controversy over its rule that women must wear high heels to walk the red carpet to some of the festival’s screenings, back in Hollywood, it became clear that some industry honchos are real low down heels of the sexist and ageist variety. And actresses are getting very vocal in their protests. Read more>>

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2014 EDA Award Winners

With sincerest appreciation for all the great work that’s been done in film DURING 2014, the Alliance of Women Film Journalists is pleased to announce the winners of the 2014 EDA Awards.

Congrats to all!

AWFJ EDA ‘BEST OF’ AWARDS
These awards are presented to women and/or men.

Best Film
BOYHOOD

Best Director (Female or Male)
Richard Linklater for BOYHOOD

Best Screenplay, Original
BIRDMAN – Alejandro Gonzales Inarritu, Nicholas Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Armando Bo

Best Screenplay, Adapted
GONE GIRL – Gillian Flynn

Best Documentary
CITIZENFOUR – Laura Poitras

Best Animated Film
THE LEGO MOVIE – Phil Lord, Christopher Miller

Best Actress
Julianne Moore for STILL ALICE

Best Actress in a Supporting Role
Tilda Swinton for SNOWPIERCER

Best Actor
Michael Keaton for BIRDMAN

Best Actor in a Supporting Role
J.K. Simmons for WHIPLASH

Best Ensemble Cast (tie)
BIRDMAN – Francine Maisler, Casting Director
and
GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL – Douglas Aibel (US), Antoinette Boulat (France), Simone Bar, Alexandra Montag (Germany), Debra Maxwell Dion (LA), Jina Jay (UK)

Best Editing
BIRDMAN – Douglas Crise, Stephen Mirrione

Best Cinematography
BIRDMAN – Emmanuel Lubezki

Best Film Music Or Score
BIRDMAN – Antonio Sanchez

Best Non-English-Language Film
IDA – Pavel Pawlikowski (Poland)

EDA FEMALE FOCUS AWARDS
These awards honor WOMEN only.

Best Woman Director
Ava DuVernay for SELMA

Best Woman Screenwriter
Gillian Flynn for GONE GIRL

Best Female Action Star
Emily Blunt for EDGE OF TOMORROW

Best Breakthrough Performance
Gugu Mbatha-Raw for BELLE

Female Icon of the Year (tie)
(a woman whose work in film and/or in life made a difference)
Ava DuVernay
and
Laura Poitras

EDA SPECIAL MENTION AWARDS

Best Depiction Of Nudity, Sexuality, or Seduction
UNDER THE SKIN – Scarlett Johansson

Actress Defying Age and Ageism
Tilda Swinton

Most Egregious Age Difference Between The Leading Man and The Love Interest
MAGIC IN THE MOONLIGHT – Colin Firth (b. 1960) and Emma Stone (b. 1988)

Actress Most in Need Of A New Agent
Cameron Diaz for SEX TAPE

Movie You Wanted To Love, But Just Couldn’t
INHERENT VICE

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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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INTO THE WOODS – Review by Susan Granger

Based on the Brothers Grimm’s cautionary tales, James Lapine/Stephen Sondheim’s insightful, slyly comedic, 1987 Broadway musical has been cleverly mounted by Rob Marshall (“Chicago”). Dare I say it’s even better than the stage version? Why? Since Stephen Sondheim’s intricate music and tongue-twisting lyrics are extraordinarily demanding, on-stage, some inevitably get garbled. Whereas, on-screen, everything is crystal-clear. Read on…

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AWFJ Women On Film – Releasing December 16 and 18, 2009

AWFJ highlights films made by and about women:

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Women On Film – “Sunshine Cleaning” – Kim Voynar reviews

Sunshine Cleaning is really more dramedy than comedy; there are funny bits in there, yes, but the focus is very much more on the dramatic and relationship elements of the story — this isn’t slapstick. It’s a subtle, sometimes funny, often moving tale, as much about Rose and Norah cleaning up the messes in their own lives as it is about their cleaning business. Read more>>

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Women On Film – “Sunshine Cleaning” – Joanna Langfield reviews

If Sunshine Cleaning is just a little too reminiscent of the indie darling Little Miss Sunshine, there’s a reason, and it’s not just the sunny title. Produced by much of the team behind the 2006 hit, Cleaning offers up a similar intimate feel, employs a couple of the same actors and infectiously convinces us that even when the world feels its coldest, there’s still a bit of warmth in there–somewhere.

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