PRIDE MONTH: AWFJ'S ONE-A-DAY WATCH LIST

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FAIR PLAY – Review by T.J. Callahan

Fair Play is anything but fair. The new Netflix romantic thriller slices and dices its hard core players mentally and physically and then kicks them to the Wall Street curb showing us that despite our society’s attempt at progressiveness, the male-female power dynamic still exists. First time feature film writer and director, Chloe Domont has a sharp and sassy career ahead of her if she continues to bring this slick and steamy style to her very human stories.

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UN AMOR (San Sebastián IFF 2023) – Review by Jennifer Green

Un Amor, director Isabel Coixet’s latest drama playing in competition at the San Sebastián International Film Festival 2023 and based on a best-selling novel by Sara Mesa, is a nuanced and emotional film driven by a powerful lead performance from Spanish star Laia Costa. The film is getting a lot of attention for its portrayal of female sexuality, but its themes go much deeper.

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RED, WHITE AND ROYAL BLUE – Review by Susan Granger

Romantic comedies are always popular – yet, in recent years, they’ve been hard to find. Now, Red, White and Royal Blue gives a charming contemporary twist to the classic ‘flirty meet-cute, quarrel and happily-ever-after’ formula. This time, the traditional ‘special diplomatic relationship’ between England and America is challenged when Alex Clarmont-Diaz, son of U.S. President Ellen Clarmont and Texas Congressman Oscar Diaz, is dispatched to escort Nora, the U.S. Vice-President’s granddaughter, to the Prince of Wales’ wedding in London.

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THE ENCHANTED (San Sebastian IFF 2023) – Review by Jennifer Green

The Enchanted (original title in Catalan, Els Encantats) features ubiquitous Spanish actress Laia Costa in a story with themes of motherhood, family, identity and adulthood. The acting and direction really stand out in The Enchanted. This is a film with a relatively uncomplicated storyline and long sections of sparse dialogue. Costa stars as Irene, a thirty-something mother recently separated from her partner, who must leave her young daughter with her ex for several days. Suddenly without her child, and perhaps the identity that comes with being a mom, she finds herself at loose ends. So, she packs up and heads, as you do in Spain, to her family’s heritage home in their village.

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A HAUNTING IN VENICE – Review by Valerie Kalfrin

Famous detective Hercule Poirot is a haunted man, even when not in a haunted house. A Haunting in Venice, director and star Kenneth Branagh’s third outing as Agatha Christie’s brilliant and persnickety detective, is his most satisfying turn yet. Full of Gothic touches that enhance the mysterious mood, the film also is rich in theme: that we all live with ghosts, to paraphrase one character, whether real or not. A Haunting in Venice is briskly entertaining Agatha Christie comfort food with a larger theme about the secrets we carry. Should Branagh and company continue putting Poirot on the case, here’s hoping they also dip into Christie’s more obscure catalogue to offer audiences more surprises.

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PET SEMATARY: BLOODLINES – Review by Nadine Whitney

Stephen King’s novel Pet Sematary has been adapted for the screen three times. The 1989 version by Mary Lambert which was co-scripted by King, which was followed by a 1992 sequel. In 2019 another adaptation was directed by Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer. Acting as a prequel to the 2019 version, Lindsey Anderson Beer’s Pet Sematary: Bloodlines concentrates on the character of the young Jud Crandall who had been previously played as an old man by Fred Gwynne and John Lithgow. Jud Crandall is the man who leads Louis Creed to the titular Pet Sematary and the sour land beyond. Beer’s film attempts to solve the mystery of Ludlow, Maine and why death is different there.

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Lindsey Anderson Beer talks Women in Horror, Stephen King and PET SEMATARY: BLOODLINES – Nasine Whitney interviews

Although she’s making her directorial debut with Pet Sematary: Bloodlines, Lindsey Anderson Beer has worked in the screen industry for years as writer, show runner, story consultant and more. With Pet Sematary: Bloodline, she’s expanded the vision of super horror creative Stephen King. As she puts it: My goal with anything is always delightful surprise and I hope the film feels like something they haven’t seen before. I hope it offers them the heart and the moral questions of Pet Sematary and I want it to scare the shit out of people. I also want it to make them feel something.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK September 29, 2023: SHE CAME TO ME

If the idea of Marisa Tomei as a romance-addicted tugboat captain sounds like your cup of tea, then grab the popcorn and settle in for Rebecca Miller’s She Came to Me, a quirky, well-acted dramedy about the intersecting lives of two families of New Yorkers and the people in their orbit. By turns heartfelt and slightly absurdist, it’s ultimately the kind of cinematic escape from the real world that we all sometimes need.

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Opening Sept 25 – Oct 1, 2023 – Margaret Barton-Fumo reports

The Alliance of Women Film Journalists highlights movies made by and about women. With a vigilant eye toward current releases, we maintain an interactive record of films that are pertinent to our interests. Be they female-made or female-centric productions, they are films that represent a wide range of women’s stories and present complex female characters. As such, they are movies that will most likely be reviewed on AWFJ.org and will qualify for consideration for our annual EDA Awards, celebrating exceptional women working in film behind and in front of the camera.

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PROJECT HOME – Review by Lois Alter Mark

The idea that printing 3D houses could be a viable solution to the global housing crisis sounds like something straight out of a science fiction novel. If you’re filmmaker Laura Waters Hinson, present the innovators who are doing just that. And you introduce us to the people who are actually living in those houses. It’s “mind boggling,” admits someone in Project Home, Hinson’s documentary on the subject, but, as one of the builders reminds us, “Everyone thought Henry Ford was crazy.”

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