Staring Beanie Feldstein and Kaitlyn Dever, Olivia Wilde's comedic coming-of-age film "Booksmart" follows two overachievers who attempt to cram years of high school fun into one night. Yet, their friendship will be tested when they are confronted with the changes and obstacles that come with graduation and growing up. One of the main messages of this film revolves around the importance of experience and breaking out of your comfort zone. Best buds, Molly and Amy both seem to have wasted the fun times of high school by relentlessly studying so they decide to turn the night before graduation into the ultimate high school experience.
At ITOL we love getting a chance to speak to filmmakers, and we were especially excited to speak to Claire McCarthy after recently catching her latest film, "Ophelia". McCarthy is an Australian filmmaker, screenwriter, producer and visual artist. Throughout her career, she has brought audiences such films as "The Waiting City" (2009), "Little Hands" (2011) and "Skins" (2007) with actress Mia Wasikowska. Her feature film "The Waiting City", which starred Joel Edgerton and Radha Mitchell, was released in North America after premiering at TIFF 2010, and has gone to be sold to over 40 territories world-wide.
Kelly Fremon Craig's 2016 film, "The Edge of Seventeen" is an insightful and relatable look into the exhausting, confusing journey of growing up. Filled with authenticity, the film follows awkward high school junior Nadine (Hailee Steinfeld) as she struggles with the rollercoaster that is high school, an overwhelmed mother and the death of her loving father. As Nadine being sot reach the dreaded edge of seventeen, she is suddenly pushed out of her comfort zone as her only friend, Krista (Haley Lu Richardson), starts dating Nadine's all-star footballer older brother, Darian (Blake Jenner) and suddenly becomes more popular at school, leaving Nadine in a space of neglect and having to finally discover her sense of self.
Despite being one of Shakespeare's most notable heroines, Ophelia has unfortunately been lost in the heavily male-driven narrative of "Hamlet". However, Claire McCarthy's "Ophelia" will give her, and many other neglected female characters, their long-deserved voice. Starring Daisy Ridley as the titular character and Naomi Watts as Queen Gertrude, this film is equally empowering and inspiring.
Anna Biller's 2016 film, "The Love Witch", is a magical, sensual exploration of female sexuality and empowerment. With stunning cinematography, set design and costume design, this film inspires praise for both it's undeniable style and thought-provoking messages. The film follows witch and burlesque dancer, Elaine on her quest to find true love. However, her outlook on men and their capability to love is concerning to her fellow witches, especially since many of Elaine's intense love potions do not result in a happy ending of any kind.
One would think that vampires are a trope in horror that has been beaten to death with a clove of garlic. However, Ana Lily Amirpour's "A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night" not only breathes live into this overdone trope but also gives the classic monster a feminist twist that is both innovative and empowering. Style-wise, the film filled to the brim with moody, cinematography which contributes greatly to the dark, tense vibe that consumes the narrative in a "Sin-City" (2005) meets "Cat People" (1942) vibe.
Described as the 'first Iranian Vampire Western', the film (written and directed by Amirpour) follows a lonely vampire that roams Bad City, a crime-filled ghost town whose residences are unaware that a bloodthirsty beast lives among them. However, the vampire known only as 'The Girl' (Sheila Vand) is certainly not the only monster that lurks in the shadows.
Upon its release in September 2009, Karyn Kusama’s horror film, "Jennifer’s Body" received poor reviews from critics and returned an average amount at the box office, leaving it to fall into obscurity as another needlessly sexual and camp horror film. However, like films such as "The Craft" (1996), "Jennifer’s Body" gained cult status.