Sundance FF 2024: Previewing Femme-Helmed Films, Part One – Leslie Combemale reports

January is generally known as the repository for the studios’ least promising releases. January is also the MONTH OF SUNDANCE, where promising film projects are introduced to the public for the first time and some go on to acclaim, winning multiple awards. The rising cost of attendance, the difficulty in getting films accepted (over 14,000 apply, about 100 get a premiere), and the ever-lowering percentage of films picked up for distribution are valid challenges for fest attendees, critics, and filmmakers. However, Sundance still one of the best games in town for female filmmakers and filmmakers of color. Of the first 82 narrative and documentary features announced by the fest, 47% were directed by filmmakers who identify as women, and 45% who identify as people of color.

Read more

FOE – Review by Nadine Whitney

For a film that clocks in at 110 minutes Foe feels like it is bending time and creating something that goes on interminably. Every time you think “Here is a good end point,” it just keeps going to wring out even less emotion and surprise. What Garth Davis and Ian Reid have created is a blank page that tries to say something but, in the end, says nothing. Foe reaches for commentary on the contemporary anxieties of artificial intelligence, corporations becoming governments, the inevitability of a dead planet, but lands on a story about an unhappy couple. Foe is a misfire in almost every aspect and both numbingly dull and ridiculously obvious.

Read more

SEE HOW THEY RUN – Review by Martha K Baker

Some movies are just for fun. They do not educate or elucidate or elevate. They entertain. See How They Run does just that. The title refers to a nursery rhyme about mice, and that, in turn, refers to a play called The Mousetrap. The Mousetrap happens to be the world’s longest running play, having opened in 1952 for more than 28,000 performances.

Read more

MOVIE OF THE WEEK November 27, 2020: AMMONITE

Human connection brings warmth and joy to a bleak time and place in Francis Lee’s Ammonite, which centers on renowned British paleontologist Mary Anning (Kate Winslet) and her relationship with a woman named Charlotte Murchison (Saoirse Ronan). While its details may be more speculation than fact, there’s no denying its message about the transformative power of kinship and attraction.

Read more

AMMONITE – Review by Loren King

With his stunning 2017 debut feature God’s Own Country, writer/director Francis Lee created complex gay and working class characters and put them front and center. His follow up, the romantic, historical drama Ammonite starring Kate Winslet as real-life, self-taught British paleontologist Mary Anning who lived and worked on the coast of England in the 1840s, does the same for women straightjacketed by both gender and class.

Read more

AMMONITE – Review by Nikki Baughan

British filmmaker Francis Lee follows up his stunning 2017 debut God’s Own Country with this period drama which may be larger in scale, but retains the writer/director’s sensitive attention to detail. The increasingly intimate relationship between 19th century Dorset fossil hunter Mary Anning (Kate Winslet) and convalescing young visitor Charlotte Murchison (Saoirse Ronan) may be at the heart of this narrative, but, through this prism, Lee’s screenplay explore themes of gender and sexual oppression that remain painfully recognizable nearly 200 years on from when this story is set.

Read more

AMMONITE – Review by Susan Wloszczyna

No one would confuse the 19th-century romance Ammonite – a type of rare fossil — with dynamite. It’s the type of slow-building period piece that allows a character to reveal she is gravely ill by coughing into a hanky and then showing us it is spattered in blood. It also takes it time to simmer to a full-on boil emotion-wise while eventually heading to a tsunami of bodice-ripping lady love.

Read more

AMMONITE – Review by Martha K Baker

Dramatizing the intersecting lives of 19th century paleontologist Mary Anning (1799-1847), geologist Charlotte Murchison and fossil-finder Elizabeth Philpot, Ammonite may not be totally true, but it brings these underrecognized women of science, their work and world into the spotlight.

Read more

LITTLE WOMEN – Review by Brandy McDonnell

Beloved by generations of female readers, Alcott’s tale of four sisters growing up in genteel poverty in 1860s Massachusetts remains one of the few American literary classics penned by a woman. Published in two volumes in 1868 and 1869, it unfurled the lives of the March girls in chronological order, starting with their teen years into their becoming “Little Women.”

Read more