With all of the Scrooges out there bashing “Last Christmas” (2019), it seems that it is important to remind people that feel good movies are something we all need. The flack “Last Christmas” is receiving is from Tarantino/Scorsese/Kubrick Film Bros (my assessment of the situation), who think that every movie needs to be riddled with piousness, plot points that make no sense, and toxic masculinity. So, when “Last Christmas” (2019) hit theaters, it certainly did not please this crowd.
Year: 2017 Runtime: 94 Minutes Director: Nora Twomey Writer: Anita Doron, Deborah Ellis Stars: Saara Chaudry, Soma Chhaya, Noorin Gulamgaus By Dominic Corr Gloriously direct, "The Breadwinner" (2017) turns the patriarchal trope of a sole provider into an unflinching tale of a young Afghan girl’s determination, fear and resilience under Taliban rule in 2001. Based... Continue Reading →
Year: 2019 Runtime: 96 Minutes Director: Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre Writer: Brock Norman Brock, Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre Stars: Matthias Schoenaerts, Jason Mitchell, Bruce Dern By Rosa Parra Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre brings us a film about a convict who’s offered the opportunity to enter a rehabilitation program to train wild horses. Based on true events this film focuses... Continue Reading →
Year: 2017 Runtime: 108 minutes Director: Angela Robinson Writer: Angela Robinson Stars: Rebecca Hall, Luke Evans, Bella Heathcote By Jenni Holtz All too often, biopics are dismissed, especially by younger audiences, for being boring or Oscar-bait-y. They tend to be successful with older moviegoers and award shows, but the response from younger viewers appears... Continue Reading →
Over the years, genre cinema has had a lot of examples of crime dramas from the female perspective. We have had stellar examples further in the past like Kathryn Bigelow's sharp "Blue Steel" (1990) and F. Gary Gray's "Set It Off" (1996) and just recently, we had Lorene Scarafia's vibrant "Hustlers" (2019) and Andrea Berloff's problematic "The Kitchen" (2019). On the more ambitious side, we have had crime films that meld with other genres like Park Chan-wook's artistic "Sympathy for Lady Vengeance" (2005), Carol Morley's "Out of Blue" (2018) and Harmony Korine's "Spring Breakers" (2012). In the case of Abner Pastoll's "A Good Woman Is Hard To Find" (2019), we have that perspective alongside other promising notions that make the film look great on paper. Firstly, it is a British film; and British cinema is well-known for their intensity within crime stories like James Watkins' "Eden Lake" (2008) and Daniel Barber's "Harry Brown" (2009).
With such a pool of talented female actresses currently working it’s difficult to say one that stands out above the others. I could go through a long list of women who have made an impressionable place in movie history, and I still wouldn’t be scraping the surface. A delicate beauty and an inspirational talent, Rooney Mara, for me, is an actress who is special in her own and very unique way. She has an impressive filmography, but even if she had only done a handful of the movies she’s been in, ones I’m going to highlight now, she’d be legendary to me. There’s a fragility to her that is easy to feel connected to, and yet, so many of her characters are strong woman. They really go through things, and Mara captures each heartbreaking intricacy of the process.
The screening I attended showed the making of this film and the journey of the director (Gurinder Chadha) and the man whose life influenced this film (Sarfraz Manzoor). I was moved and utterly sucked in just watching the preview! I enjoyed the making of this film; from the director reading Sarfraz's memoir and instantly wanting to make the film to both of them anxiously waiting to hear back from Springsteen after sending him the screenplay. Based on the memoir of Sarfraz Manzoor, the majority of the topics are universal, making them easier to relate. Chadha manages to capture the difficulties individuals endure on a day to day basis all while successfully allowing the music to aid in the narration. Although the story takes place on a different continent to the one I live, it resonated with me. Political issues, social tensions, identity issues, family dynamics, friendships, and many more topics are situations we’re are currently experiencing.
The Grand Dame of French cinema, Agnès Varda's work has ranged from the New Wave in “Cléo from 5 to 7” (1962), to feminism and friendship in “One Sings, the Other Doesn’t” (1977), to rebellion in “Vagabond” (1985), to documenting the life of the poor in “The Gleaners and I” (2000). Her recent work has a more introspective feel; a reflection on what she films, and why. This is part of what would turn out to be her penultimate film, “Faces Places” (2017). A joyous and bittersweet look at the role of art in everyday life and work, as well as the role of the artist in society, “Faces Places” is an expansion of her work in self-reflection, a study in her constant quest to challenge herself as a filmmaker, and her love and attention to French rural and working life.
Year: 2017 Runtime: 89 Minutes Director: Agnès Varda , JR Writer: Agnès Varda , JR Stars: Agnès Varda , JR By Caz Armstrong Euphoniously titled “Visages Villages” in the original French, this film won Varda a Best Documentary Oscar nomination, meaning she is the oldest person ever to have been nominated for an Oscar. “Faces... Continue Reading →