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  Female Film Critics 24/365  Recent Blog Posts

MOVIE OF THE WEEK January 21, 2022: STOP-ZEMLIA

Named after an Eastern European version of the game of tag, the title of Kateryna Gornostai’s raw, naturalistic drama Stop-Zemlia translates to “stop the world” — a fitting phrase for a movie that’s all about the angst and emotional intensity of being a teenager. It’s set in Ukraine, but it could be the story of almost any teen equipped with a smartphone, social media, and the anxiety that comes along with living in the modern world.

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Opening January 18 – 21, 2022 – 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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WEEK IN WOMEN: Karen McClellan heads Pacific Screenwriting Series Lab – Brandy McDonnell reports

Award-winning writer Karen McClellan will serve as showrunner in residence for the Pacific Screenwriting Program’s 2022 Scripted Series Lab. Starting this month, McClellan is mentoring six up-and-coming British Columbia-based screenwriters as they develop her original series in the Pacific Screenwriting Program’s flagship training program. Now in its fourth year, the Scripted Series Lab combines real-world story room experience, mentorship, workshops and information sessions to equip writers with the skills, experience and connections necessary to establish a sustainable career in the province’s dynamic screen-based industry.

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BRAZEN – Review by April Neale

When you turn on a radio station that you always listen to, you get a disorienting feeling if you discover that the station has swapped formats overnight. So it goes with Netflix, home to great true crime-inspired dramas like Unbelievable and Mind Hunter, to find out that they are wading into the Lifetime, Oxygen, or Hallmark Movies & Mysteries pool with films made for audiences who love turgid, dramatic, and soapy true crime takes that have been ripped from news headlines.

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AFTER LIFE Season Three – Review by Martha K Baker

This series has Ricky Gervais’ handprints all over it. That’s a good thing. After Life is that rare look at grief that does not shy away from searing pain or shocking humor. But, the third and final season is not so knife-sharp as the first two. It cannot be. The six episodes fly by with each episode as evanescent as water through reeds.

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GHOSTBUSTERS: AFTERLIFE – Review by Susan Granger

Ghostbusters: Afterlife, as a new generation battles the spirit world. Directed by Jason Reitman, son of Ivan Reitman who directed the first two 1980s movies, it’s a continuation of the story from Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters II, including original cast members, including Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Ernie Hudson, Annie Potts and Sigourney Weaver.

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AMERICAN UNDERDOG – Review by Brandy McDonnell

Adapted from Kurt Warner’s memoir All Things Possible: My Story of Faith, Football and the First Miracle Season, American Underdog chronicles the quarterback’s incredible true story as he goes from stocking shelves at a supermarket to playing arena football to emerging as a two-time NFL MVP, Super Bowl champion and hall of fame quarterback who played for 12 seasons between the St. Louis Rams and Arizona Cardinals.

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THE TRAGEDY OF MACBETH – Review by Susan Granger

As a first-time solo director, Joel Coen takes a sparse, stylized look at one of Shakespeare’s most compelling plays. Filming in austere black-and-white, he presents an abstract physical world that’s filled with deep, geometric shadows, sharp angles and bleak walls, focusing on an ambitious middle-aged couple, determined to usurp political power in medieval Scotland.

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CYRANO – Review by Susan Granger

It’s not about the nose! Director Joe Wright re-imagines Edmund Rostand’s 1897 poetic drama Cyrano de Bergerac about a swashbuckling poet/solider with self-esteem issues. In her musical adaptation of the French classic love story, Erika Schmidt discards the gigantic nose as an impediment and substitutes short stature. Cyrano is embodied by Peter Dinklage.

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WEEK IN WOMEN: Jane Campion wins big at Golden Globes – Brandy McDonnell reports

The 79th Golden Globes were a tarnished shadow of their past glory, but the embattled Hollywood Foreign Press Association managed to pick some dazzling winners at the celebrity-free, non-televised Jan. 9 ceremony.
With her stunning Western epic “=The Power of the Dog, Jane Campion became just the third woman in the Globe’s almost eight-decade history to garner the best director title, following Chloe Zhao’s 2021 win for Nomadland and Barbra Streisand’s 1983 victory for Yentl.

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