AWFJ Movie of The Week December 2: JACKIE

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Mythmaking has long been a staple of American movies. Pablo Larraín’s film portrait Jackie tackles one of the greatest of American myths — that of first lady Jacqueline Kennedy. In the week following her husband’s assassination, Mrs. Kennedy granted an interview to Life Magazine. The film uses this as a framing device, and as an almost surgical means to dissect the psyche of its titular character. Read on…

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AWFJ to Present EDA Awards at Whistler Film Festival — Jennifer Merin reports

whistler-2016This is the fourth consecutive year in which the Alliance of Women Film Journalists has the honor to partner with Whistler Film Festival to recognize women filmmakers with presentation of EDA Awards for Best Female-Directed Feature Film and Best Female-Directed Documentary at this year’s festival, held in Whistler from November 30 to December 4, 2016. Whistler Film Festival nominates narrative features and documentaries for consideration. Selected by AWFJ jurors, the winners will be announced on December 4, at the Whistler Film Festival Awards Ceremony. Read on…

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NOCTURNAL ANIMALS — Review by Susan Granger

From fashion designer-turned-writer/director Tom Ford comes a bizarre marital thriller, as a divorced couple discover dark truths about their tortured relationship. The opening credit sequences is one of the weirdest I’ve ever seen: grotesquely obese, naked, middle-aged women writhe in billowing glitter as part of an installation at an elite Los Angeles art gallery opening, curated by Susan Morrow (Amy Adams). Afterwards, Susan’s emotionally distant husband, WASP financier Hutton (Armie Hammer), jets off to New York for an adulterous liaison – under the pretext of saving his failing business. Read on…

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AWFJ EDA Awards @ IDFA 2016 Filmmaker Interview: Asli Ozarslan on DIL LEYLA

asli-ozarslanAsli Özarslan’s Dil Leyla is the story of Imret Leyla, mayor of Cizre, a Kurdish town in Turkey. At age 26, she’s the youngest mayor in Turkey. Having left Cizre for Germany at age five, after her father, a Kurdish guerilla, was killed, she returns to help rebuild her town. Political tensions rise as Turkey’s national elections near. In profiling Leyla’s struggle, Özarslan calls forth contemplation of Turkey’s political climate and of women’s influence in bettering the outlook. Read Özarslan’s interview about the film on THE FEMALE GAZE.

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MOANA – Review by Susan Granger

Gather the kids and let’s be thankful for Moana (pronounced Mo-ahna) – with songs co-written by Lin-Manuel Miranda (Hamilton). On Motunui in Oceania, teenage Moana (Auli’i Cravalho) lived in an idyllic, self-sustaining Polynesian community. But, as daughter of Chief Tui (Temuera Morrison), she has been forbidden to travel beyond the barrier reef that surrounds their isolated island. When she discovers her ancestors’ sea-faring past, her ailing Gramma Tala (Rachel House) explains that she has been chosen by the ocean to control its waves. Read on…

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AWFJ EDA Awards @ IDFA 2016 Filmmaker Interview: Areum Parkkang on AREUM

areum-parkkangIn her first documentary feature, South Korean teacher and filmmaker Areum Parkkang takes a look at her own difficulties in finding a boyfriend. When her numerous blind dates don’t lead anywhere, she asks her students for their advise. They tell her that it is her appearance that is off putting. They advise her to make herself more attractive by slimming down, dressing up in a more feminine way, and wearing makeup. Read her interview on THE FEMALE GAZE

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MANCHESTER BY THE SEA – Review by Susan Granger

“Guilt is a tireless horse. Grief ages into sorrow and sorrow is an enduring rider,” wrote Dean Koontz – a quote which perfectly describes the tone of Kenneth Lonergan’s Manchester by the Sea. Even before this story begins, Lee Chandler (Casey Affleck) has suffered unimaginable tragedy. Now his beloved older brother, Joe (Kyle Chandler), a Cape Ann fisherman, has died, and Lee has been named guardian of Joe’s teenage son, Patrick (Lucas Hedges). Read on…

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MOANA – Review by MaryAnn Johanson

moanaposter “There must be more than this provincial life!” So goes the melancholy cry of the Disney princess. But it becomes something so much bigger in Moana, another triumph for the Mouse’s animation arm. Sweet, funny, exciting, and moving, this is a transcendent experience that brings to the screen a pan-Polynesian cultural tradition that has been entirely absent from mainstream entertainment. Here is a wonderful mythology of demons and demigods, and a creation story unlike any we’ve seen before: this is ancient fantasy that feels fresh because so few of us have been exposed to it before. But Moana’s story, set thousands of years ago, also has much that is pointed to say to us today. Read more>>

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ALMOST CHRISTMAS — Review by Susan Granger

It’s been a tough year for mild-mannered Walter Meyers (Danny Glover). A retired automotive engineer in Birmingham, Alabama, he’s lost his beloved wife Grace. Which is why – five days before Christmas – he’s so looking forward to his four adult children and their youngsters returning home for the holidays. Read on…

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AWFJ Movie of the Week, November 21 – November 25: Miss Sloane

Film Title: Miss. SloaneIf you have the stomach for corruption in the political arena, then director John Madden’s new drama Miss Sloane might be just the ticket. If you have had your fill of politicking, bad behaviour and ruthlessness in the real world, watching even more on movie screens might seem a little like an extended torture session. Read on…

Madden’s new film had the curious luck to arrive on screens just as drama of the US election continues to escalate into more bizarre new manifestations. Really, who could think this stuff up? If it wasn’t reality, one might swear that some celestial version of Aaron Sorkin was hard at work, dashing off incongruous plot twists and ever more horrifying characters — a white supremacist wife beater in the White House? A megalomaniac conman in a bad suit with the world’s worst comb-over. Sure! Why not…Keep it coming.

As the titular character, Jessica Chastain is all Sturm und Drang, with her copper hair and slash of dark crimson lipstick. The actress gives it everything she’s got, which is considerable. As a lobbyist in a high-powered firm hired to promote the interests of the pro-gun folk, she is always one step ahead of her opponents. But the film is upstaged by real events that continue to unfold in ever more insane fashion. Who needs political drama in the movie theatres, when it is splashed across television screens, facebook posts, and twitter feeds. At some point, it begins to feel a little like overkill.

AWFJ Movie of the Week Panelists Comments:

Thelma Adams: Miss Sloane. This is what I’m talking about: a female-driven drama about the gun lobby starring Jessica Chastain in full flame.

Nell Minow: Miss Sloane — a timely take on Washington lobbyists.

Jennifer Merin: Jessica Chastain’s commanding performance is a chilling indictment of capital corruption. This is flamboyant fiction that mirrors fact.

Read Thelma Adam’s interview with Jessica Chastain here. 

Film Details:

Title: Miss Sloane
Director: John Madden
Release Date: November 25, 2016
Running Time: 132 minutes
Language: English
Principal Cast: Jessica Chastain, Mark Strong, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Michael Stuhlbarg, Alison Pill, Jake Lacy, John Lithgow, Sam Waterston
Screenwriter: Jonathan Perera

Production Companies: EuropaCorp, FilmNation Entertainment, Archery Pictures, France 2 Cinema, Canal+, Cine+m, France Televisions

Distributor: EuropaCorp

Official Site Link

AWFJ Movie of the Week Panel Members: Thelma Adams, Nikki Baughan, Anne Brodie, Candice Frederick, Pam Grady, Leba Hertz, Loren King, Cate Marquis, Jennifer Merin, Nell Minow, Perri Nemiroff, Liz Whittemore, Jeanne Wolf

Other Movies Opening the Week of November 21, 2016 to November 25, 2016

Edited by Sandra Kraisirideja, AWFJ.org Associate Editor. Written by Dorothy Woodend

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