RED SPARROW — Review by Susan Granger

When Russian prima ballerina Dominika Egorova (Jennifer Lawrence) suffers a devastating injury, the Bolshoi will no longer pay for her Moscow apartment and care for her ailing mother (Joely Richardson). That’s when her lecherous Uncle Vanya (Matthias Schoenaerts), deputy director of Russia’s external intelligence agency SVR, makes her an offer she cannot refuse. Continue reading…

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RED SPARROW — Review by Martha K. Baker

‘Red Sparrow’ spills blood all over Russia. Whoever had the blood concession for “Red Sparrow” earned enough in blood money to buy Band-Aids for life. Not that life will last long in the environment of this horribly violent, horribly sexualized exploitation version of Mad magazine’s “Spy v. Spy.” “Red Sparrow” shocks without elucidating anything but Putin’s manifesto. Continue reading…

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TIFF 2017: Of Evil Mothers, Courageous Women and Oscars Buzz!– Julide Tanriverdi reports

tiff logoActresses showed impressive range in a variety of roles at this year’s TIFF. Sure, people were talking about the incredible performance of Gary Oldman in The Darkest Hour as Winston Churchill during during the festival. After all that’s what one does during a 10 day long festival – talk movies and performances. We can all agree more or less that we can mark a big X in the yet to be released Oscar nominations for Best Actor Oldman. But more often than not, the true rage at TIFF 17 was about great Oscar buzz-generating performances by women in a wide variety of movies. Continue reading…

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MOTHER — Review by Susan Granger

If you needed proof of the adage “Love is blind,” look no further than Jennifer Lawrence starring in her boyfriend Darren Aronofsky’s macabre horror/melodrama that’s tinged with increasingly hysterical, pseudo-religious overtones. Writer/director Aronofsky (“Black Swan,” “The Wrestler”) blends “Rosemary’s Baby” with “Requiem for a Dream,” making the cynical assertion that – for the artist – creative inspiration is more important than love or life itself. Continue reading...

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THE WEEK IN WOMEN News: Geena Davis, Alicia Silverstone and New Stars on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame

Geena Davis celebrates 25th anniversary of ‘A League of Their Own,’ while Alicia Silverstone reflects on the legacy of ‘Clueless.’ Plus, Jennifer, Lawrence, Zoe Saldana, Carrie Underwood, Kirsten Dunst, Taraji P. Henson and more will get stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2018. Read the details on THE WEEK IN WOMEN.

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PASSENGERS — Review by Susan Granger

It’s a terrific sci-fi premise: Two passengers on a 120-year journey on the immense, ultra-luxurious spaceship Avalon emerge from their hibernation pods 90 years too yearly. Along with 5000 paying passengers and 258 crew, they’re headed for a distant colony on a planet called Homestead II, which offers a ‘promised land’ alternative to “overpopulated, overpriced and overrated Earth.” Read on…

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THE WEEK IN WOMEN: Geena Davis and Hollywood Gender Equality — Brandy McDonnell reports

geena-davisAfter more than a decade of commissioning research and advocating for change through her Institute on Gender and Media, Geena Davis says that she believes Hollywood may be at a “turning point” regarding gender equality. Speaking at Fast Company’s recent FCLA event, Davis said there has been a “tonal shift” over the last few years, especially with stars like Patricia Arquette, Jennifer Lawrence, and Natalie Portman showing they’re unafraid to speak up on the issue. Read more on THE WEEK IN WOMEN…

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Femme-centric STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS’ box-office tops Golden Globes earner THE REVENANT – Brandy McDonnell reports

daisy-ridley-the-force-awakensStar Wars: The Force Awakens took top North American box office for its fourth weekend, grossing $41.6 million from 4,134 theaters for a total $812 million. It’s the first movie to cross $800 million in the U.S., and it’s got a female leading character who is central to the plot. This is the third year in a row that the top-grossing movie of the year has featured a female main character. It even bested this year’s Golden Globes big winner, the gritty mostly-male survival tale, The Revenant, and other Golden Globe grabbers. Read more in THE WEEK IN WOMEN

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45 YEARS, STAR WARS 7, SON OF SAUL, SISTERS, and other December 18-30 Openers — Reviews by Jennifer Merin

45years posterCharlotte Rampling and Tom Courtenay give glowing performances in 45 Years, a drama about managing a marriage through a time of mistrust and crisis. Star Wars: The Force Awakens takes off with a new heroine played by Daisy Ridley. Son of Saul provides an intimate look at the struggle for survival and for saving faith in a Nazi death camp. Sisters stars Tina Fey and Amy Poehler as sibs who want to make the most of their last visit to their childhood home before it is sold to new owners. Michael Moore’s Where To Invade Next explores the wide world for aspects of the American dream that have been realized in other nations, but not our own. Joy stars Jennifer Lawrence as a beleaguered wife and mother who invents a new and prosperous life for herself. Read the reviews…

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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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HUNGER GAMES: MOCKING JAY PART 2 – Review by Susan Granger

This highly anticipated conclusion begins where Part 1 left off. After brainwashed Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) almost choked her to death, bruised and battered Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) is recovering. While Katniss vows to kill despotic President Snow (Donald Sutherland), resistance leader Alma Coin (Julianne Moore) says she more valuable as the iconic Mockingjay, inspiring others to band together, ending district rivalries in Panem. But this reduces Katniss to a primarily passive figurehead. Read on…

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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 on the Equality Front: JLaw’s Stand, EEOC Hearings, Gender Switching & Censored Women Film Fest – Brandy McDonnell reports

jennifer-lawrence-in-american-hustleJennifer Lawrence says she’s no longer willing to be ‘adorable’ in demanding equal pay, and receives wide support from colleagues and fans. Filmmaker Maria Giese is first to testify at EEOC hearings. Hollywood’s equality agenda includes rewriting popular plots with male lead characters for women. New to the Star Wars franchise, Daisy Ridley’s character is featured front and center. Plus women win big at BFI London Film Fest, Meryl Streep to head Berlin Film Fest jury and the first-ever Censored Women’s Film Fest debuts in November in Washington DC at George Washington University. For details on all, read this week’s THE WEEK IN WOMEN.

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Top Five Cinema Female Psyche Distortions and the ‘Isotta Fraschini’ Syndrome – Quendrith Johnson comments

MaggieGyllenhaal-234x300Ever since Maggie Gyllenhaal went public with the fact that she lost a role, at 37, as a love interest for a 55-year-old leading male because she was “too old,” the internet lit up with shock. But why should we be surprised? Disparity in casting leading men and women has been around since the Silent Era. So has a distorted view of the female psyche on film. Not only a distortion as to who and what women represent, but how the props, set dressing, costumes, conspire with the script, even the director, to really hammer the point home. Read on…

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SPOTLIGHT April, 2015: Susanne Bier, Director

awfjspotlightsmallsmallThere are not many women who can claim an Oscar win for their film, but Susanne Bier, this month’s SPOTLIGHT, is one among the very few.

bier2withoscarthisSusanne Bier won both the Golden Globe and the Oscar for Best Foreign Film in 2011 for In A Better World. ‘
That two tier triumph boosted her recognition on the global moviemaking map and put her on Hollywood’s A-List for good.

In Denmark, her home country, she had already become a filmmaking luminary long before that, an acclaimed member of the famous Danish Dogme group.

And of course there’s the little fact that her 2006 film After The Wedding also had been nominated for an Oscar. Read on…

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Jennifer Lawrence: At the Top Of Her Game – Commentary by Kristy Puchko

jenniferlawrencesmaller

Unquestionably, Jennifer Lawrence is at the top of her game. The 23-year-old actress has already been twice nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress. She won last year for Silver Linings Playbook, and proved the perfect counterpoint to prim and poised Anne Hathaway, whose seeming perfection has earned her a cruel backlash. But not our JLaw! She flips the bird in her Oscar gown. She talks about food on the red carpet, and geeks out on camera when Jack Nicholson comes over to say hi. Read more>>

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THE HUNGER GAMES – Review by Susan Granger

How well does this movie accomplish what it sets out to do? That’s the primary question that propels my writing each review. In cinematically adapting the first of Suzanne Collins’s young adult novels, the answer is superbly.

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