FINAL PORTRAIT — Review by Diane Carson

True to its title, Final Portrait chronicles, in tiresomely repetitious detail, Swiss artist Alberto Giacometti’s cajoling American writer James Lord to sit for what becomes Giacometti’s final portrait. Promised as a few hours’ work, the 1964 event stretches to nineteen days because of Giacometti’s characteristic self-criticism and his obsessive need to undo (his words) several days’ work, to start afresh. Continue reading…

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READY PLAYER ONE — Review by Susan Granger

Sci-fi, virtual reality and nostalgic pop culture collide in Steven Spielberg’s adaptation of Ernest Cline’s sprawling 2011 best-seller about a teenager’s quest to win a game that will give him control of a massive digital universe. Set in 2045 in dystopian Columbus, Ohio, the story revolves around Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan), an orphaned nerd, living in “the stacks,” a grimy, vertical trailer park. Like everyone else, Wade spends most of his time immersed in a virtual game-room called the Oasis where one can be whoever one wishes. Continue reading..

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK, April 6, 2018: MABEL MABEL TIGER TRAINER

motw logo 1-35More than just the story of the remarkable Mabel Stark and her eventful life, Leslie Zemeckis’ documentary Mabel, Mabel, Tiger Trainer is a fascinating glimpse into a world most of us will never experience, one of dangerous animals, fearless performers, and the nonstop behind-the-scenes drama of the big tent. It is also a chronicle of life of a gifted, determined and tougher than tigers woman performance artist in America from the turn of the nineteenth century to 1968. Continue reading…

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FOR WOMEN IN FILM, 2017 PRODUCED A BLOOM OF OPTIMISM ON THE HORIZON — Jennifer Merin comments

Annual stats tracking women’s work in the film industry consistently indicate that production gatekeepers are slow to welcome the work of female filmmakers, despite the recent successes of studio-backed femme-helmed and femme-centric blockbusters, and the ongoing inclusion initiatives of feminist groups such as the Alliance of Women Filmmakers and Film Fatales. However, despite the dismally static stats, AWFJ found an encouraging rise in the number of femme-centric and femme-helmed films released theatrically during 2017. Out of the 52 films we selected for #MOTW endorsement, 38 were directed by women. And, that number is even more impressive when you consider that for five of the year’s 52 weeks, we found no releasing films that met AWFJ standards for endorsement Continue reading…

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THE WEEK IN WOMEN: Inclusion Rules Box Office, Robbie in Production, Kudos to Munn — Brandy McDonnell reports

Films with women or minorities in lead roles led the box office 11 out of the first 12 weekends this year, compared to 2017, when the same 12-week period had only five weekend dominated by films with women or minorities in the lead. The more than double change is a another good indicator that inclusion is a winning strategy. Margot Robbie is turning her I Tonya box office prowess into classical clout by
partnering with the Australian Broadcasting Company and others to a new 10-part series retelling William Shakespeare’s tales from female perspectives. Olivia Munn is being honored by her alma mater, the University of Oklahoma, for speaking out against sexual harassment. Continue reading on THE WEEK IN WOMEN.

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Australian Filmmaker Kim Farrant, STRANGERLAND and ANGEL OF MINE — Alexandra Heller-Nicholas comments

kim ferrantIn early February this year, Screen Australia announced that Noomi Rapace would star in Australian director Kim Farrant’s upcoming psychological thriller Angel of Mine. With a script by Oscar-nominated fellow Australian Luke Davies of Lion fame and based on Safy Nebbou’s 2008 French film The Mark of an Angel, the film is reimagined in the Australian city of Melbourne. In late March, Australian-born actor Yvonne Strahovski (The Handmaid’s Tale) was added to the cast with the project beginning shooting in Melbourne this April. All signs are indicating that Farrant’s follow-up to her widely misunderstood but hugely impressive 2015 feature debut Strangerland starring Nicole Kidman promises to further reveal an until-now generally unrecognised Australian filmmaking talent. Continue reading…

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Filmmaker Susan Walter on Preparation, Friendship and ALL I WISH — Nell Minow interviews

susan walterSusan Walter wrote and directed All I Wish, a romantic comedy that takes place on the same day each year, the birthday of Senna (Sharon Stone). Over seven years, we see the ups and downs of Senna’s relationship with her mother (Ellen Burstyn) and sometime boyfriend (Tony Goldwyn) and her sustaining friendships. After graduating from Harvard, she learning filmmaking from the ground up in the DGA Assistant Directors Training Program. She’s worked on television (Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, Melrose Place, Cheers, Caroline in the City) and movies (House Arrest, Alien: Resurrection). All I Wish is her first feature. Here, she talks changing her script to give the lead role to the actress she’d originally wanted to play the mother, and about what she learned as a talent producer who walked actors to and from set for seven years. Continue reading…

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ALL I WISH — Review by Sarah Knight Adamson

Should a 60-yr-old actress permanently be typecast as a mom or a grandma? Sharon Stone can answer that question with an emphatic no way! When first-time director Susan Walters took a chance on a major script change from Stone, she opened the anti-ageism floodgates for all females. You see, Walters sent the script to Stone inquiring if she’d play the lead’s mom—Stone replied back that it would be more interesting to play the lead daughter role, not to mention it’s a storyline viewers haven’t seen before. When Walters replied that that the character she had in mind wears a bikini, plays beach volleyball, smokes pot, dances in bars, drinks shots, doesn’t want marriage and has casual sex, Stone sent the message, “Don’t change a thing other than the age.” Sharon Stone still rocks. Continue reading…

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PACIFIC RIM UPRISING — Review by Susan Granger

Anticipation of the international box-office is what propelled this generic sequel to Guillermo del Toro’s 2013 epic “Pacific Rim,” which flopped in the United States but made millions overseas. Laden with special-effects, its sci-fi plot pitted humans against the Kaiju, which are alien-engineered sea monsters that emerged from a multidimensional gateway, known as the Breach, located on the floor of the Pacific Ocean. Continue reading…

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DEMON HOUSE — Review by Liz Whittemore

demon house posterParanormal investigation is all fun and games until people are physically affected by something the eye cannot see. Are demons real? Can objects be possessed by spirits? Death seems to surround certain places on Earth. Somewhere in America once stood a home called the “Portal to Hell” and it wasn’t as long ago as you might think. Continue reading on I SCREAM YOU SCREAM.

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