What’s Up Down Under? LOST GULLY ROAD – Review by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas

lost gully roadWomen horror filmmakers in Australia – as in many other countries – are a tight knit community, and an accomplishment for one is seen as an accomplishment for all. Australian filmmaker, artist, and academic Donna McRae’s sophomore feature film Lost Gully Road speaks both to that particular professional network and represents the increasing success of women in the field in Australia over recent years. As if that weren’t enough, it also reaches out through the codes and conventions of the genre itself to address very real, very urgent issues facing women in the country (and around the world) more broadly. Continue reading…

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PUZZLE – Review by MaryAnn Johanson

SONY-PZMI-05_8.5x11.inddThe opening scene of Puzzle is a hushed horror, I don’t think it’s too extreme to call it, of domestic servility. Housewife and stay-at-home mom Agnes is so busy hosting a party at her suburban New York home that she cannot participate, much less enjoy it… unlike her husband, who is having a ball and doing not one single damn thing to help. The kicker of the scene is sadly perfect, a plaintive moment of resigned acceptance on Agnes’s face as she acknowledges to herself, for what we may take as the zillionth time, that this is what her life is now and will forever be: small, lonely, and taken for granted. Continue reading…

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Fork Films Funds 16 Femme-Helmed and/or Produced Documentaries — Jennifer Merin reports

fork films logoAbigail Disney’s Fork Films is dividng $625,000 in grants among 16 new documentaries that align with the company’s dedication to promoting peacebuilding, human rights, and social justice. All are directed and or produced by women. Selected from 500 applicants, the chosen films address topics ranging from refugee and immigration stories, to incarceration, civil rights, disability rights and media depictions of transgender people, as well as other timely topics. The unprecedented number of applications indicates growing demand for nonfiction storytelling in this turbulent time. Continue reading on CINEMA CITIZEN

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Fantasia International Film Festival 2018: Born of Woman Section Dominates — Liz Whittemore Reports

This year’s Fantasia International Film Festival (July 2-August 2) showcased some extraordinary femme-centric thrills and terror in its BORN OF WOMAN section. In the nine selections in the program, stories range from sci-fi to horror, all the way to to the downright strange and unusual. What makes these shorts unique is that fact that they are all directed by women and their stories are all about women. When Fantasia International Film Festival gave birth to BORN OF WOMEN program in 2016 incarnation, it added something that has long been missing in a genre that is known for its predominantly misogynistic overtone. For a rundown of the nine films showcased this year, continue to I SCREAM YOU SCREAM.

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McQUEEN — Review by Diane Carson

Fashion designers of haute couture possess a formidable drive and a fertile imagination. That certainly describes Lee Alexander McQueen whose name probably registers even with those of us buying off the rack. The documentary simply titled McQueen acquaints viewers in depth with the controversial, troubled man behind various labels for which he designed, including Givenchy, Gucci, and his own. Continue reading…

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SKATE KITCHEN — Review by Susan Wloszczyna

skate kitchen poster 2Director Crystal Moselle’s Skate Kitchen relies on several choice ingredients to elevate her story above the usual urban disaffected-youth drama. That she focuses on a skateboarding crew of real-life girl daredevils who fearlessly fly along the sidewalks and streets of Manhattan like angels on wheels delivers cinematic value as well as irresistible authenticity. That these rough-and-ready stunt artists are naturals onscreen is an added bonus, especially Rachelle Vinberg who stars as Camille. The shy, bespectacled and somewhat naive 18-year-old Long Islander is ready to spread her wings and flee from the smothering clutches of her single mother (Elizabeth Rodriguez from TV’s Orange is the New Black). Continue reading…

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CHRISTOPHER ROBIN — Review by Susan Granger

Clarification: this Christopher Robin bears only a superficial resemblance to Goodbye Christopher Robin (2017) about the resentful, real-life son of A.A. Milne. Don’t confuse them. As the live-action story begins, young Christopher Robin (Orton O’Brien) is in the Hundred-Acre Wood, bidding farewell to his friends – Pooh Bear, Piglet, Eeyore, Rabbit, Owl, Kanga and Baby Roo – before departing for boarding school, announcing: “I’m not going to do nothing anymore.” Continue reading…

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MAMMA MIA! HERE WE GO AGAIN — Review by Martha K. Baker

Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again! is more fun than fine. One does not attend a viewing of anything with the words “mamma” or “mia” in the title in order to study psychology or botany. One goes because of the blue, blue sea of Greece. Or the camaraderie of the girls’ band. Or the romance of the young, but especially of the old. One goes for fun in the sun with the music of ABBA accompanying every step. Continue reading…

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SKATE KITCHEN — Review by Cate Marquis

skate kitchen posterWhen we hear someone mention skateboarders, we often picture a group of young guys, trying to top each other with bold new gravity-defying tricks. But writer/director Crystal Moselle shows us a crew of skateboarder girls who are every bit as brash and every bit as good as the guys in Skate Kitchen. Moselle found success at Sundance with her documentary The Wolfpack, but this is her first narrative feature. Continue reading…

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MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: FALLOUT — Review by Susan Granger

After 22 years, this sixth installment of the escapist spy fantasy “Mission Impossible” continues to deliver sheer fun, thanks to charming, charismatic Tom Cruise. It begins as IMF Agent Ethan Hunt (Cruise) receives an assignment to take out the Apostles, an evil syndicate of international anarchists who are determined to terrorize the world, causing chaos by detonating three nuclear bombs in Jerusalem, Mecca and the Vatican. Continue reading…

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