SPOTLIGHT   

LIZ WHITTEMORE helms ReelNewsDaily.com, hosts Girls On Film Podcast, blogs horror at I SCREAM YOU SCREAM, serves as a member of Team #MOTW and as an AWFJ Board Member.

  Female Film Critics 24/365  Recent Blog Posts

OUR TOWNS – Review by Martha K Baker

If Our Towns: A Panoramic Yet Intimate Look at Small Towns Throughout America were just a travelogue through America’s small and growing towns, it would be worthy. If it were an argument for rethinking what works to raise declining towns from the economic slough, it would be worth watching. If Our Towns were merely an exercise in beautiful film-making, it would be 97 minutes of loveliness.

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HOPE – Review by Diane Carson

Norwegian director Maria Sødahl’s autobiographical film Hope sounds, at first glance, potentially off-putting. Instead, embrace this jewel. Anja Richter, a middle-aged dance choreographer, returns to Oslo from a successful performance in Amsterdam, pleased with reviews. But something feels off, just not right. Anja’s dizzy and has trouble seeing clearly even with her glasses. An MRI will confirm her suspicion.

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SHIVA BABY – Review by Lois Alter Mark

It says so much about Shiva Baby that audiences are calling it a horror movie although there is literally nothing violent or scary about it. What’s terrifying is college senior, Danielle, attending a shiva (a Jewish post-funeral ritual where mourners gather to eat and socialize at the home of the deceased) with her parents, only to be forced to deal with the yentas she grew up with and some unexpected guests including her sugar daddy, Max, and the wife and baby she didn’t know he had. Oh, and, also, her ex-girlfriend, Maya.

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EXAMINING OSCAR’S BELOW-THE-LINE NOMINEES – Susan Granger reports

Without doubt, movies are the most collaborative artistic medium, and streaming has made this year’s contenders more available than ever before. Some of the most memorable artisan aspects of filmmaking are Cinematography, Editing, Production Design, Costume Design and Sound, all contributing to the ultimate success of a film. Directors of Photography honored by the Cinematography branch are Sean Bobbitt (“Judas and the Black Messiah”), Erik Messerschmidt (“Mank”), Dariusz Wolski (“News of the World”) Joshua James Richards (“Nomadland”) and Phedon Papamichael (“The Trial of the Chicago 7”).

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK April 16, 2021: HOPE

Maria Sodhal follows up 2010’s Limbo with another quiet yet powerful exploration of relationships under pressure; in this case, a shocking cancer diagnosis. Andrea Braein Hovig and Stellan Skarsgaard put in sterling performances as the long-term couple whose stale relationship is shaken up by the terminal illness. Writer/director at Sodhal – who drew on her own experiences – eschews overwrought melodrama and obvious emotional cues in favour of deeply felt observation, and delivers a film of raw realism and genuine humanity.

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Opening April 15 to April 16, 2021 – Margaret Barton-Fumo previews

The Alliance of Women Film Journalists highlights movies made by and about women. With a vigilant eye toward current releases, we maintain an interactive record of films that are pertinent to our interests. Be they female-made or female-centric productions, they are films that represent a wide range of women’s stories and present complex female characters. As such, they are movies that will most likely be reviewed on AWFJ.org and will qualify for consideration for our annual EDA Awards, celebrating exceptional women working in film behind and in front of the camera.

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REEFA – Review by Leslie Combemale

Jessica Kavana Dornbusch has penned and directed the film Reefa about young and very gifted street artist Israel ‘Reefa’ Hernandez, who was struck down by Miami police while he was tagging an abandoned building. After four years of intense research and much dialogue with Hernandez’s family, Kavana Dornbusch has crafted a story that is much more a celebration of a joyful, idealistic youth’s life than it is about a senseless, tragic death at the hands of the officers who should have been protecting him.

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MY DOG IS SICK – Review by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas

If more filmmakers had even a skerrick of the courage and creativity of director Sapna Bhavnani, the cultural landscape – not just in India, but beyond – would be all the richer for it. My Dog is Sick will not be for everyone and is to be celebrated for it. This is its strength. These are the voices that need amplification; the ones that shock us, the ones that move us, the ones that confuse us, and the ones that dazzle us.

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WEEK IN WOMEN: Melanie Addington redirects from Oxford to Wichita – Brandy McDonnell reportsd

Melanie Addington, longtime executive director of Mississippi’s Oxford Film Festival, has accepted the executive director position at the Tallgrass Film Festival in Wichita, Kansas. Under Addington’s guidance, Oxford Film Festival became one of the first film festivals in the country to offer in-person screenings and successfully rolled out a new branding of the overarching organization as “OxFilm,” reflecting its growth as a year-round entity with programs the local filmmaking community and film fans have embraced

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THUNDER FORCE – Review by Susan Granger

Unfortunately, inept writer/director Ben Falcone forgets about essential character depth and development, telegraphing the lame slapstick gags, which lack any sense of pace and timing. Worse yet, he totally wastes the considerable talents of Olivia Spencer, whose underwritten Emily is simply steadfast, drifting along for the ride as a relationship sidekick.

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