SCOOP – Review by Susan Granger

Scoop, Netflix’s drama about the downfall of Prince Andrew, drives home the old proverb – “If you lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas” – a warning to be mindful of who we surround ourselves with and what behavior we condone. The plot of Scoop revolves around how – back in 2019 – the BBC secured an exclusive interview with the Duke of York about his friendship with convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein. The broadcast ultimately triggered Andrew’s disgrace, confiscating his HRH title, patronages and removing him from Royal life.

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SCOOP – Review by Liz Braun

Prince Andrew is a prat and his handlers were fools to let him do that interview about Jeffrey Epstein with BBC Newsnight’s Emily Maitlis. That’s the main take-away in Scoop, a new Netflix feature that recreates the infamous 2019 interview that went so badly for the buffoonish prince that it altered his public role forever. Andrew came off as an entitled blowhard and the Epstein scandal just got bigger.

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WHAT JENNIFER DID – Review by Valerie Kalfrin

Netflix’s new true-crime documentary What Jennifer Did is a serviceable why’d-she-do-it, not a gripping whodunit. While the title certainly tips its hand, the film also covers a case that’s fairly straightforward, without the suspense and twists that genre fans tend to expect. Writer-director Jenny Popplewell intersperses police interrogation footage with news coverage, plus interviews with investigators and a few people who knew Jennifer and her family to flesh out the overall mystery. But frankly, it’s just not that engrossing.

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WonderCon: Women Rocking Hollywood Panel – Jennifer Merin reports

AWFJ member and senior contributor Leslie Combemale recently brought her 10th Women Rocking Hollywood panel to WonderCon in Los Angeles, on Saturday, March 30th, just in time to celebrate Women’s History Month. Hundreds of convention attendees who are fans of cinema and women in film were present to hear this year’s cohort of female filmmakers discuss their careers and latest projects. The panel included Anna Halberg, Amy Greene, Anna Biller, Erica Tremblay, and Andria Wilson Mirza, with Leslie Combemale moderating. Leslie is premiering the video from the panel here on AWFJ.org. Read on to learn more about each panelist and their contributions to the conversation. There is a link to the video of the panel at the end of this overview.

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SHIRLEY – Review by Lois Alter Mark

In 1968, Chisholm became the first Black woman elected to Congress. She’s a standout – especially in the freshman class photo – not just because of her race and gender but because she refuses to abandon her principles in order to fit in. Played lovingly by Regina King, Chisholm is feisty, whipsmart and utterly likeable. With her penchant for McDonald’s and abhorrence for the word “can’t,” she’s easy to relate to – and to aspire to be like. The former schoolteacher, who served seven terms in Congress and introduced more than 50 pieces of legislation, is someone more people should get to know, especially during this important election year.

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IRISH WISH – Review by Valerie Kalfrin

A cute romantic comedy is like a warm blanket—or in the case of Irish Wish, a cozy pub with lively Celtic music, darts, dancing, and a pint or two. Dropping on Netflix in time for St. Patrick’s Day, Irish Wish stars Lindsay Lohan (Falling for Christmas) in endearing pratfall mode falling in love against the breathtaking scenery of the Emerald Isle. OK, so she falls for an Englishman. When a romantic comedy lilts along like it should, who can quibble?

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DAMSEL – Review by Valerie Kalfrin

Damsel, the new fantasy adventure on Netflix starring Millie Bobby Brown, fits squarely within the performer’s confident, feisty brand. The 20-year-old, also an executive producer here, shot to fame in 2016 as Eleven, a girl with telekinetic and psychic powers, in the Netflix series Stranger Things. In Damsel, Brown plays Elodie, a spirited princess who faces off against a dragon after an arranged marriage ends with her tossed into a pit as a sacrifice. While the film’s title and setup toy with the trope of the damsel in distress, Brown is so self-assured, there’s never any sense that Elodie is in real peril, which saps the film of significant tension.

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SPACEMAN – Review by Susan Granger

Adapted by Colby Day from Jaroslav Kalfar’s 2017 novel Spaceman of Bohemia, Spaceman is unevenly directed by Sweden’s Johan Renck, who never quite decides whether this is a melancholy marital relationship drama, an existential meditation on loneliness, or cosmic conjecture about the ability of a human to remaining sane while in claustrophobic solitude. Spaceman is ambiguous and inconsequential.

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PLAYERS – Review by Valerie Kalfrin

Players stars Gina Rodriguez as Mack, who writes about local sports for a Brooklyn-based newspaper. Her three loyal guy friends love her for coming up with plays to score them one-night stands There’s no harm, no foul to these antics, she says, since everyone who falls for these enjoys a fantasy. The script by Whit Anderson has some raunchy dialogue but little humor, and Mack’s machinations become tedious, along with the pacing, which might send some viewers looking for the seventh inning stretch. Overall, while it’s refreshing to see a female protagonist who enjoys sex, Players strikes out.

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WEEK IN WOMEN: New Proof of Concept Accelerator Program is accepting applications – Brandy McDonnell reports

Academy Award winner Cate Blanchett and Emmy Award nominee Coco Francini, along with Stacy L. Smith and the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, have launched the Proof of Concept Accelerator Program, which is now taking applications for 2024. Supported by Netflix, the program’s goal is to identify the next generation of filmmaking talent whose stories promote the perspectives of women, transgender and nonbinary people. Proof of Concept is designed to challenge the three most significant barriers these directors face as they navigate the industry: funding, mentorship and exposure. As many as eight filmmakers will be selected for the program’s inaugural cohort. Each of these filmmakers will receive $50,000 in funding to create a short film that can serve as “proof of concept” for a feature film or television series.

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