AWFJ Movie of the Week, April 11 – April 17: SING STREET

sing_street_posterOpening April 15, AWFJ’s Movie of the Week is Sing Street, the uplifting new film from writer/director John Carney (Once, Begin Again).

Set in 1980s Dublin, it stars impressive newcomer Ferdi Walsh-Peelo as young teen Cosmo who, looking for a way out of his difficult family life and impress the girl of his dreams, starts a New Wave band with his mates; a venture which eventually sees him start a new life in London. 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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VITA ACTIVA, WEDDING DOLL, THE INVITATION, THE BOSS and More Apr 8 Openers — Reviews by Jennifer Merin

vita activa hanna arendt posterVita Activa: The Spirit of Hannah Arendt, Israeli filmmaker Ada Ushpiz’s probing documentary profile, is as provocative and controversial as Arendt’s own relentlessly challenging observations and theories. Wedding Doll is a poignant Israeli coming of age feature about Hagit, amentally deficient young women whose life falls apart when her work in the local toilet paper factory is about to end. The Invitation is Karen Kusama’s horror thriller in which guests who are invited to a lavish dinner begin to suspect their host has ulterior motives. The Boss should be fired. Plus Look At Us Now, Mother and High Strung. Read the reviews…

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MIDNIGHT SPECIAL – Review by MaryAnn Johanson

midnight-special-poster There’s some very good storytelling advice that applies no matter what medium you’re telling your story in (film, novel, comic book, whatever): Jump into the action as late in the game as possible. And wow, did Jeff Nichols take that advice to a delicious extreme with Midnight Special. We are dumped right into the middle of what would be, in a more conventional movie, the third act — that is, the final sequence that is racing the story toward its resolution. There is no setup here because we don’t need it: we’ve seen enough stories like this one to guess at the rough outline, and Nichols has no interest in covering already well-trod ground or wasting time with details that are superfluous. Read more>>

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MISCONDUCT – Review by Susan Granger

Why would a neo-noir legal thriller, starring Anthony Hopkins and Al Pacino, wind up on VOD, instead of in theaters? Because it’s inexcusably awful! Set in New Orleans, the plot revolves around Ben Cahill (Josh Duhamel), an ambitious young lawyer working on a class-action involving Arthur Denning (Anthony Hopkins), a smugly corrupt Big Pharma kingpin. Read more…

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Emma Thompson casts light on child sexual slavery with SOLD — Anne Brodie Reports

Emma Thompson, an outspoken advocate for women and children’s rights is focusing on the international human trafficking crisis. As part of her campaign to end the practice of selling women and children into sexual slavery, Thompson executive produced Sold, a heartbreaking but ultimately hopeful feature film. It is based on the true story of Lakshmi (Niyar Saikia) a rural Nepalese girl sold by her parents to an Indian woman. Watch the trailer and read more about this important and beautifully crafted film.

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BORN TO BE BLUE – Review by Susan Granger

Back in 1954, jazz trumpeter Chet Baker (Ethan Hawke) made a dazzling vocal debut on Manhattan’s Birdland stage with Miles Davis (Kedar Brown) and Dizzy Gillespie (Kevin Hanchard). That was after he’d worked with bebop pioneer Charlie Parker and baritone saxophonist Gerry Mulligan, establishing his soulful West Coast sound. What followed, however, was a succession of barren years, blighted by Baker’s rampant heroin addiction. So, in the mid-to-late 1960s, Baker found himself on the West Coast, immersed in a movie about his life as “the James Dean of jazz,” falling in love with Jane (Carmen Ejogo), the actress playing his wife, who tries to help with his rehabilitation. Read on…

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AWFJ Movie of the Week, April 4 – April 10: DEMOLITION

DEMO_1SHEET_27x40_MECH_FINAL2_ONLINE.inddOpening April 8, AWFJ’s Movie of the Week is Demolition, which stars Jake Gyllenhaal (Prisoners, Nightcrawler) as an investment banker struggling to cope after the tragic death of his wife. Read on…

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THE WEEK IN WOMEN – Image Update: Like Yourself As You Are! — Brandy McDonnell Comments

penelope2The message that women should love their looks even if their features aren’t magazine perfect was central to Penelope (2006), the Christina Ricci starrer about a girl born with a pig snout nose. A decade later, the issue still resonates in the media flap about Carrie Fisher’s appearance in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. When can women stop trying to look perfect? Let’s declare, as Penelope does, “I like myself the way I am!” and stop letting billion-dollar industries decide who and what is beautiful in movies, and in life. Plus news about Reese Witherspoon, Amy Adams, Lily Collins, Gal Gadot and have YA series run their course in Hollywood? Read more in THE WEEK IN WOMEN…

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AWFJ’s First Ten Years – Jennifer Merin reports

The Alliance of Women Film Journalists celebrates its tenth anniversary this year. AWFJ was formed in response to a need. Four founding members—Jenny Halper, Joanna Langfield, Maitland McDonagh and I—shared concerns about the disparity in opportunity and recognition for women film critics and feature writers. We were equally dismayed by the dearth of female-directed films and the pernicious stereotyping of female characters in mainstream Hollywood productions. his is a good time to take stock of the organization’s accomplishments and look to future goals. Read more>>

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