AWFJ Women On Film – Releasing May 6 and 8, 2009 – Maitland McDonagh

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The Alliance of Women Film Journalists highlights movies made by and about women:

Wednesday, May 6

  • The Window – Film Movement, 85mins – Lonely and in failing health, an elderly man makes a last-ditch effort to arrange a visit by his estranged son, an acclaimed musician.

Friday, May 8

  • Adoration – Sony Pictures Classics, 100mins. – In Atom Egoyan’s provocative coming of age film, an orphaned teenager reimagines the event that changed his life — his parents’ death in a car accident — as part of a classroom exercise, only to find his fiction beginning to overshadow the facts and guide his life in a strange new direction.
  • The Garden – Oscilloscope, 80mins. – Scott Hamilton Smith’s Oscar-nominated documentary tells the story of a South Central Los Angeles community garden established in the wake of the 1992 Rodney King riots and later imperiled by real estate development.
  • Julia – Magnolia Pictures, 138mins. – French writer-director Erick Zonca’s first English-language feature is driven by Tilda Swinton’s performance as a middle-aged alcoholic entangled in a grim crime. Zonca, who drew on his own experiences with alcoholism, is best known for 1998’s The Dreamlife of Angels, a bracingly perceptive drama about two young women on the impoverished outskirts of French society whose futures are set in motion through a series of small, apparently insignificant decisions.
  • Little Ashes– Regent Releasing, 112mins. – Set in Madrid in 1922, this gay-themed “what if?” drama is rooted in fact — Painter Salvador Dali, poet Federico Garcia Lorca and filmmaker Luis Bunuel (Twilight heartthrob Robert Pattinson) all attended Madrid University at the same time — but speculates that Dali and Lorca were also lovers. Written by Philippa Goslett.
  • Next Day Air – Summit Entertainment, 90mins. – In music-video director Benny Boom’s first feature, ten kilos of cocaine are mistakenly delivered to a pair of inept crooks. Their efforts to cash in on the windfall trigger the inevitable series of wacky, R-rated complications.
  • Objectified – IFC, 75mins. – Gary Hustwit’s follow up to Helvetica, an absorbing documentary about a typeface distinguished by its no-nonsense utility, examines another area in which the greatest accomplishment is to go unnoticed: Industrial design. Hustwit’s subjects are the designers charged with shaping everything from cell phones to vegetable peelers in such a way that their forms appear inevitable.
  • Outrage – First Look, 90mins. – Provocative documentarian Kirby Dick (This Film is Not Yet Rated) takes aim at both closeted politicians and the mainstream media who fail to take them to task for supporting public policies that are in direct conflict with their personal lives.
  • Rudo y Cursi – Sony Pictures Classics 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 destoys 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 Cuarón (Carlos’ brother), Guillermo del Toro and Alejandro González Iñárritu.
  • Star Trek – Paramount, 126 mins.- Lost creator J.J. Abrams takes a crack 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.
  • Wild Child — The late Natasha Richardson stars as a stern headmistress in this broad comedy about a spoiled Los Angeles teenager (Emma Roberts) whose frustrated father ships her off to a strict English boarding school. Written by Lucy Dahl, the daughter of writer Roald Dahl and actress Patricia Neal.

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Maitland McDonagh

Formerly's senior movies editor/reviewer, Maitland McDonagh now has her own site, Miss, 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).