Women On Film – “Frozen River” On DVD – Jennifer Merin reviews

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Judging from the well-deserved accolades that continue to roll in, “Frozen River” is unmistakably being hailed as one of 2008’s best films. Written and directed by Courtney Hunt, and starring Melissa Leo and Misty Upham as two compelling female lead characters whose thrilling adventure and evolving relationship have a remarkably feminist arc, “Frozen River” is an exemplary expression of a woman’s perspective on women’s issues and women’s solutions.

Thanks to its critical acclaim, plus the dedicated marketing and publicity ploys of Hunt and Leo, with support from Sony Pictures Classics, the low-budget, independently financed and produced “Frozen River” made it into the mainstream with a wider-than-expected theatrical release and into the annual awards pool. If you haven’t yet seen the film–because it still hasn’t been shown in a theater near you or for whatever reason–you have a treat in store with the release of the DVD, which not only delivers “Frozen River’s” wonderful characters and gripping story into the warmth of your home, but provides a voice over track with commentary by Courtney Hunt and Heather Rae, the film’s producer, that is truly entertaining and enlightening. Even if you’ve already seen “Fozen River,” you will want to see the film again while listening to what Hunt and Rae have to say in this exclusive DVD extra.

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Jennifer Merin

Jennifer Merin is the Film Critic for Womens eNews and contributes the CINEMA CITIZEN blog for and is managing editor for Women on Film, the online magazine of the Alliance of Women Film Journalists, of which she is President. She has served as a regular critic and film-related interviewer for The New York Press and About.com. She has written about entertainment for USA Today, The L.A. Times, US Magazine, Ms. Magazine, Endless Vacation Magazine, Daily News, New York Post, SoHo News and other publications. After receiving her MFA from Tisch School of the Arts (Grad Acting), Jennifer performed at the O'Neill Theater Center's Playwrights Conference, Long Wharf Theater, American Place Theatre and LaMamma, where she worked with renown Japanese director, Shuji Terayama. She subsequently joined Terayama's theater company in Tokyo, where she also acted in films. Her journalism career began when she was asked to write about Terayama for The Drama Review. She became a regular contributor to the Christian Science Monitor after writing an article about Marketta Kimbrell's Theater For The Forgotten, with which she was performing at the time. She was an O'Neill Theater Center National Critics' Institute Fellow, and then became the institute's Coordinator. While teaching at the Universities of Wisconsin and Rhode Island, she wrote "A Directory of Festivals of Theater, Dance and Folklore Around the World," published by the International Theater Institute. Denmark's Odin Teatret's director, Eugenio Barba, wrote his manifesto in the form of a letter to "Dear Jennifer Merin," which has been published around the world, in languages as diverse as Farsi and Romanian. Jennifer's culturally-oriented travel column began in the LA Times in 1984, then moved to The Associated Press, LA Times Syndicate, Tribune Media, Creators Syndicate and (currently) Arcamax Publishing. She's been news writer/editor for ABC Radio Networks, on-air reporter for NBC, CBS Radio and, currently, for Westwood One's America In the Morning. She is a member of the Critics Choice Association in the Film, Documentary and TV branches and a voting member of the Black Reel Awards. For her AWFJ archive, type "Jennifer Merin" in the Search Box (upper right corner of screen).