Maiwenn on MY KING and Bringing the Female Gaze to the Director’s Chair – Thelma Adams interviews

maiwennFrench filmmaker Maiwenn, 40, set me straight: it’s no easier being a female director in France than in America. The toothy Parisienne beauty in the polka-dot blouse and jeans explained: “As much as I can say I’m a victim of misogyny I don’t want to be a spokesperson, I don’t want to be a militant, I don’t want to make documentaries.” Read more>>

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SUICIDE SQUAD — Review by Susan Granger

How many superhero comic book movies does it take to make you yawn with boredom? If you haven’t reached your saturation point, this could push you over the edge as superheroes are replaced by super-villains. Read on...

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BABY FACE (1933) – Review by MaryAnn Johanson

babyfaceposter Baby Face is a 1933 Hollywood film from the moment just before the so-called Hays Code, which had been created in 1929 but hadn’t had much in the way of teeth, began to be seriously enforced. This movie may represent the pinnacle of cinematic “offenses” that pre-Code films committed that had conservatives and self-appointed morality police up in arms: Baby Face is blatantly, openly about sex in a way that few movies ever are, even today. Even “worse,” it’s about a woman using the power of sex to get ahead in the world. Whether or not Baby Face was seen in 1933 as a progressive portrait of the challenges women faced in a world run by men is difficult to gauge. I would guess not. Read more>>

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PETE’S DRAGON — Review by Susan Granger

Set in the Pacific Northwest, this heart-warming, folkloric fantasy begins with an automobile accident in which four year-old Pete (Levi Alexander) loses both of his parents. Scared and stranded in the deep woods, orphaned Pete is soon befriended by a gentle, 24 foot-long dragon with moss-green fur, whom he names Elliot, after the dog in his favorite children’s book. Read on…

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AWFJ Wonder Women Countdown – Characters 43 through 34

To celebrate AWFJ’s tenth anniversary and mark the movie industry’s feminist developments since our inception, we present our Wonder Women Project, a list of cinema’s top 55 female fiction characters, each one a reminder to industry insiders and movie lovers that iconic females in film have had entertainment impact and social influence since the earliest days of cinema.

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This week, our Wonder Women include two girls who learn some hard lessons about inequality and come out the better for it. Our Wonder Women also show their adaptability to change, their willingness to be generous, and importantly, their tenacious adherence to their own singular identities and personal integrity. Please meet our next group of Wonder Women, numbers 43 through 34:

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AWFJ Movie of the Week, August 8 – August 12: Florence Foster Jenkins

florence_foster_jenkins_poster Meryl Steep adds another character in her pantheon of infamous dames — be it Margaret Thatcher, Julia Child, or Emmeline Pankhurst. This time it is an actual operatic grande dame in the form of Florence Foster Jenkins. The indomitable Jenkins came to fame (or more correctly, infamy) as an operatic soprano of highly dubious talent but soaring amounts of hubris and delusions of grandeur on a Wagnerian scale. Read on…

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SUICIDE SQUAD, AMATEUR NIGHT, FIVE NIGHTS IN MAINE, GIBBY, LITTLE MEN and Other Aug 5 Openers — Reviews by Jennifer Merin

suicide squad posterSuicide Squad will make you leap from your seats, but not for joy. Amateur Night is a wild ride comedy as an jobless-architect-turned chauffeur drives hookers to their trysts. Five Nights in Maine stars David Oyelowo and Dianne Weist in a somber drama about grief and mourning. Sun Choke tests the tangled, tawdry relationship between a psychotic 20-something woman and her manipulative caregiver. Gibby is a family drama about how a mischievous money helps cheer a teenager who’s grieving her mother’s death. In Little Men, two young boys (Theo Taplitz and Michael Barvieri, who’re superb) must end their parents’ feud so they can continue to be best friends. From Fat to Finish Line chronicles the remarkable journey of 12 strangers who support each other to lose weight, live healthier. Cristina” is a moving documentary about a woman who treats life-threatening cancer as a catalyst for living in the moment and experiencing boundless, uplifting love. Richard Linklater: Dream Is Destiny profiles the cinema auteur, giving insight into his films. Read the reviews….

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BAD MOMS — Review by Candice Frederick

bad moms posterI know when I think of young struggling mothers in America, I think of the ones living in Suburbia in their multi-floor houses and two-car garages, grappling with the demands of bake sales and full-time jobs. Don’t you? Okay so, no. Despite its need to constantly remind you of how hard it is for young white suburban moms desperate to live up to patriarchal standards of handling all domestic responsibilities, including having and raising the children, cleaning the house, and in some cases, making all the money, the only thing BAD MOMS manages to say is that they also know how to have a really great time when they allow themselves to. Read more>>

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ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS – Review by Susan Granger

On BBC-TV, off-and-on from 1992 to 2004, the cult sitcom “Absolutely Fabulous” was just that. As a full-length feature film, it’s only fair. First of all, you’ve got to know who’s who and what’s what in order to understand anything. Otherwise, it’s like coming into the middle of a stranger’s glitzy party, knowing no one. The plot revolves around the misadventures of two bawdy, Bollinger-boozing, middle-aged fashionistas. Enlisting the help of her BFF Patsy Stone (Joanna Lumley), British publicist Edina “Eddy” Monsoon (Jennifer Saunders) is determined to sign a new client: supermodel Kate Moss. Read on…

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About AWFJ’s Wonder Women Project — Marilyn Ferdinand comments

The last year or so has given women some important reasons to celebrate. The United States finally has its first female candidate for President, the 2014 Sony hack that revealed the deliberate underpayment and disrespect of actresses has pushed many high-profile women to speak up and take action, and African-American director Ava DuVernay is one of the “Sheroes” in a new line of dolls from Mattel. Read on…

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