AWFJ Women On Film – Releasing May 1, 2009 – Maitland McDonagh

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AWFJ highlights films made by and about women

Friday, May 1

  • Battle for Terra — Lionsgate/Roadside Attractions, 85mins –. In this animated, 3D fable featuring the voices of Luke Wilson, Justin Long, Evan Rachel Wood and others, peaceful aliens must defend their planet from hostile invaders — human beings. Can’t they all just get along?
  • Eldorado — Film Movement, 80mins — A middle-aged vintage car dealer and a young burglar/former-junkie team up for a trip across Belgium in his melancholy, highly acclaimed road movie.
  • Empty Nest (El nido vacío) — Outsider Pictures, 91 mins — Extraordinary Argentine actress Leonor Varela stars in this sharply observed film about a prosperous, well-liked, middle-aged couple who loose their bearings when the last of their three children leaves home.
  • Ghosts of Girlfriends Past — New Line Cinema, 100 mins — Despite his dismal record of having no sexual chemistry with a wide range of attractive co-stars, Matthew McConaughey stars in this romantic comedy about a devil-may-care heel who finally learns that love isn’t just for fools.
  • Home — Monterey Entertainment, 84 mins — Marcia Gay Harden and her real-life daughter, Eulala Scheel, star in writer-director-editor-producer Mary Haverstick’s drama about a poet whose battle with breast cancer forces her to reassess her life and her difficult relationship with her own mother.
  • Jazz in the Diamond District — Soblu Productions, 79 mins — Shaken by her mother’s recent death, would-be singer “Jazz” Morgan defies her father, a doctor who wants his daughter to go to college and forget about show business — to pursue her dream, only to discover its dark side. African American director Lindsay Christian and her sister, co-producer and actress Erica Chamblee, co-wrote the film.
  • The Limits of Control — Focus Features, 116 mins — Set in modern-day Spain, Jim Jarmusch’s philosophical thriller new feature revolves around a hit man (Isaach De Bankole) who crosses paths with the likes of Paz de la Huerta, Tilda Swinton, Gael Garcia Bernal, John Hurt and Bill Murray.
  • Lymelife — Screen Media, 95 mins — Co-written by brothers Derick and Steven Martini and directed by Derick, this coming-of-age story is set on Long Island in the 1970s, where family life is under siege by Lyme Disease and sexual malaise.
  • The Merry Gentlemen — Samuel Goldwyn, 99 mins — Michael Keaton makes his directing debut with this drama about the relationship between an abused woman (Kelly MascDonald) and a suicidal hit man (Keaton).
  • Rudo y Cursi — Sony Pictures Classics, 103 mins — Y Tu Mama Tambien stars Gael Garcia Bernal and Diego Luna are reunited in the story of soccer-loving brothers recruited to play professionally — but for rival teams; the resulting pressure nearly destroys their relationship. Directed by Y Tu Mama co-writer Carlos Cuaron, this is the first project to come out of Cha Cha Cha, a new production company created by internationally successful Mexican filmmakers Alfonso Cuaron (Carlos’ brother), Guillermo del Toro and Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu.
  • The Skeptic — IFC, 89 mins — A lawyer (Tim Daly) who has always scoffed at the supernatural comes to believe that the house owned by his late aunt — who died under mysterious circumstances — may be haunted.
  • Star Trek — Paramount, 126 mins — Lost creator J.J. Abrams’ has a go at pumping new life into the aging Star Trek franchise with this prequel about the early days of James Kirk (Chris Pine), Mr. Spock (Zachary Quinto) and the rest of the starship Enterprise’s crew.
  • Three Monkeys (Uc Maymun) — Zeitgeist Films, 109 mins — Turkish filmmaker Nuri Bilge Ceylan won the Best Director prize at Cannes for this noir-ish story of politics, power and corruption.
  • A Wink and a Smile — First Run Features, 91 mins — Deirdre Timmons’ documentary about the modern-day burlesque scene shines a spotlight on performers whose titillating routines both evoke the nostalgic days of Burley-Q and address issues of sexuality, power and gender construction.
  • X-Men Origins: Wolverine — 20th Century Fox, 107 mins — Hugh Jackman stars in the story of how X-Men’s surly, tormented super-soldier got his claws. Directed by Gavin Hood (writer-director of 2005’s Oscar-winning Tsotsi) and, like the Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings films, cast with the kind of actors (Liev Schreiber, Danny Huston and, of course, Jackman himself) who used not to appear in movies based on pulp fictions, at least not in the prime of their careers.

Read more Maitland McDonagh.

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Maitland McDonagh

Formerly TVGuide.com's senior movies editor/reviewer, Maitland McDonagh now has her own site, Miss FlickChick.com, and freelances for Film Comment, Time Out NY and other publications. She has written four books -- Broken Mirrors Broken Minds: The Dark Dreams of Dario Argento, Filmmaking on the Fringe, The 50 Most Erotic Films of All Time and Movie Lust -- and contributed to many others, including Film Out of Bounds, Fantasy Females, The Last Great American Picture Show and Exile Cinema. Read McDonagh's recent artilces below. For her Women On Film archive, type "Maitland McDonagh" into the Search Box (upper right corner of screen).