Currently Browsing: 2009

Christmas Day @ KAM

   The Gift of the Magi (09 Update): This year my wonderful husband Rich gave me unlimited post-surgical nursing services, & I gave him his own personal eAddress plus his very own Facebook page.  Welcome to CyberSpace, Honey J Photo taken 12/25/09 @ KAM Isaiah Israel’s first (annual?) “Chop Suey & a Movie’—Chinese Food, that’s how […]

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HURT LOCKER Sweeps CFCA Awards!!!

Click HERE to see complete ballot with JLH picks. THE HURT LOCKER sweeps Chgo Film Critics Assoc awards, winning all 5 categories it was nominated in: Best Picture, Best Director (Kathryn Bigelow), Best Original Screenplay (Mark Boal), Best Actor (Jeremy Renner) and Best Cinematography (Barry Ackroyd)—Hooray!!!  Personal note with huge thanks to all who’ve inquired: […]

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Ending ’09 On a High!

 Juggernaut: MSN just named THE HURT LOCKER “Top Movie of 2009,” joining the juggernaut of praise for this spectacular film!!!  This is the mainstream speaking, folks, so now there can be no doubt: Kathryn Bigelow is the cinematic champion of the year.  You Go, Girl!!!       Note that in a few hours I’ll be at […]

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Just Because She’s a Woman???

     Way back in July, when I declared “Game On!” on FF2, I told you all that my “horse” in this year’s Oscar Race would be Kathryn Bigelow. Here it is, December, & the Golden Globe nominations for 2010 were announced this AM: KB is one of five Best Director finalists & her film THE […]

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’09 Women Film Critics Circle Awards

Candidates/Winners/HuttnerPicks          Fabulous Prairie Miller choreographed a virtual award ceremony on WBAI (NYC’s famous Pacifica radio station) last week for members of the Women Film Critics Circle (WFCC).  I dialed in from Chicago & added my voice to the discussion.  The options were a bit off from my POV (which I believe was a result […]

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HUGE Thanks from Jan

  To all who sent birthday greetings yesterday by eMail or Snail Mail or Facebook &/or Phone! And special thanks to those of you who went the extra mile by making contributions to WITASWAN!!! I got RB up ~ 6:30 AM to watch Obama in Oslo & then dashed, dashed, dashed until almost 11 PM, packing in a […]

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Happy Jane Addams Day!!!

Click HERE to read my presentation: History of Jane Addams Day.  I just finished listening to President Obama’s Nobel Address on CNN & in my opinion it’s the best speech he’s ever given.  Somewhere in Nobel Heaven, Jane Addams is looking down on her homeboy with great pride right now.  No, he did not mention her […]

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Play-Doh Alert: UP IN THE AIR

       In May ’03, when I first started my career as a professional film critic, I coined the term “Play-Doh Part.” What is a Play-Doh Part? A Play-Doh Part is a woman’s role with only 2 functions: she’s in the film so the male lead can tell his sad story to someone sympathetic, & […]

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Spirit Award Noms

Please, please just kill me now & put me out of my misery!  Spirit Nominees for 2010 just announced & NO WOMEN (no not one) in Best Director category!!!  Not Jane Campion (for BRIGHT STAR), not Lone Scherfig (for AN EDUCATION), & not even Cherien Dabis (altho AMREEKA is in the Best Feature category).  And of […]

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Mary Skinner in Chgo

Filmmaker Mary Skinner was in Chicago yesterday for an advance screening of In The Name of Their Mothers, her new BioDoc about Irena Sendler. Working under the fiscal sponsorship of Women Make Movies, Mary’s rough cut was ready for local investors and others in Chicago’s large and supportive Polish-American community.  Ironically, one of the obstacles to completion is […]

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The fault, dear Brutus…

…is not in our stars, but in ourselves… (Julius Cesar 1.2.135) THIS IS A TEST: How many of the following films have YOU actually seen this year: BRIGHT STAR, AN EDUCATION, THE HURT LOCKER, JENNIFER’S BODY, JULIE & JULIA, SUNSHINE CLEANING??? Alas, people are responding to Tony Scott’s appalling article with the same old bunk. […]

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Hey, Tony Scott: Say What?!?

I’ve been watching Michael Phillips & Tony Scott enumerate “the best of the decade” every week on AT THE MOVIES, patiently waiting (OK, not so patiently waiting) to see if either of them would include a woman filmmaker on his list. Yesterday I got at least half the answer: no chance Tony Scott will find […]

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Guerrilla Girls in Chicago

    A Dream Come True! Here I am finally shoulder-to-shoulder with one of my all-time idols “Kathe Kollwitz” of the Guerrilla Girls!!!  When the Girls created their last Billboard Campaign (right before the 2006 Oscar telecast), I contributed THREE times (as Films42, as JLH, & as WITASWAN).  I only wish I could have done […]

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Hey, Lisa Leingang: Say What?!?

  Am I the only person disturbed about Melena Ryzik’s chat with Lisa Leingang (senior vice president at Comedy Central) in last Sunday’s New York Times???  “Certainly we’re not trying to not put women on the air. I feel like, female comics — and I don’t have anybody in mind when I say this — […]

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Chatting with Lone Scherfig

Click HERE to read my review for WomenArts. Click HERE to read my chat with Danish Director Lone Scherfig about her new film AN EDUCATION.  What are YOU doing THIS weekend?  If you support WITASWAN, then your answer should be: “I’m going to see AN EDUCATION!”  Nag, Nag, Nag J

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WHO DOES SHE THINK SHE IS

In only 84 packed minutes, Boll tells a complex multi-dimensional story of obstacles still facing women artists in 21st C America. As doc proves, women make great sacrifices to serve their artistic imperatives, so it is essential that women in the audience mobilize in support–for our own benefit as well as theirs! Film not yet […]

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WENDY & LUCY

Williams will absolutely break your heart here as “Wendy,” a young woman in a battered old car trying to make it cross-country with only her dog “Lucy” for company. Williams is in every scene, tightly scrutinzed by still mysterious. Where did she come from & where is she going? Everything is present tense–we will never […]

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THE UNFORESEEN

Fascinating story about real estate pressures in Austin, TX undermined by overly-artsy direction. As a parable of our time (with a diagnostic appearances by George Bush & Karl Rove to boot), doc required balance & precision. Novice filmmaker deserved better from executive producers Terrence Malick & Robert Redford. Click HERE for FF2 haiku.

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UNDER THE SAME MOON

Beautifully acted & heartfelt story about a Mexican kid (Alonso) looking for his mother (del Castillo), now working illegally in LA”s underground economy. Kudos to America Ferrara for using her clout by taking an unsympathetic bit part to help open narrow minds in the current “immigration debate.” Yes, a bit long & a bit contrived, […]

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TWILIGHT

Jan loved this swoon-inducing romance about star-crossed lovers living in a Twin-Peaksy town in the Pacific Northwest made extra moody by Carter Burwell”s great soundtrack. Sure, so Edward”s a “vampire,” but this isn”t a film about fangs & blood, it”s about feeling overwhelmed by new passions dimly understood. Not yet seen by Rich. Click HERE […]

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TROUBLE THE WATER

Award-winning doc about Hurricane Katrina melds first person and third person perspectives into a taut 96 minutes that both captures the moment and provides the context.  Aspiring rap artist Kimberly Rivers Roberts just happened to have a new camcorder with her as storm clouds started building over New Orleans, and that helped her to become […]

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AN EDUCATION

Lone Scherfig’s terrific new film “An Education” opens in a classroom in an English suburb in the early 60s. The subject under discussion is Charlotte Brontë’s novel Jane Eyre. Written over one hundred years before scene one, Jane Eyre still maintains its curious hold on the female imagination. Must we be forever reminded that Mr. […]

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AMELIA

Easy to like but impossible to love, this is a surprisingly conventional BioPic about a very unconventional woman: aviatrix Amelia Earhart (played by Hilary Swank). Film has some very poetic flight scenes and you can feel the world get smaller as Earhart’s planes grow bigger & ever more sophisticated, but on the ground everyone is just […]

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THE BEACHES OF AGNES

Cesar-award-winning first-person doc tied to the 80th birthday of French screen legend Agnès Varda. Starts slow & wistful, but builds to powerful, life-affirming conclusion as Varda recounts her intense private & professional collaborations with filmmaker Jacques Demy (who died of AIDS in 1990. Film not (yet) seen by Rich. Click HERE for FF2 haiku.

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THINGS WE LOST IN THE FIRE

Spectacular performance by Del Toro with strong back-up from supporting cast somewhat undone by Berry, who doesn”t have sufficient intensity to hold the center as a widow coping with the violent death of her slightly too-perfect husband (Duchovny). Del Toro”s an addict shaken clean by events. Click HERE for FF2 haiku.

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THEN SHE FOUND ME

April”s biological clock is ticking so loud that she”s unable to attend to almost anything else in her life, but by film”s end she”s learned to broaden her view of parenthood & open herself to genuine Tikun Olam. Hunt directs herself in lead role, eliciting warm performances from her very strong cast. Click HERE for […]

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SUGAR

Miguel ‘Sugar’ Santos (Soto) is a Dominican teenager with a great arm. Nurtured in local baseball camps, he’s brought north to play on a Minor League team in Iowa. Everyone’s got great intentions, but the pressure weighs heavy on Sugar’s young shoulders. Well-told, intimate story contrasting first world/third world expectations & lifestyles. Click HERE for […]

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STRANGE DAYS

Incredibly violent, sexually abusive sci-fi/rogue cop mash-up written by James Cameron. Despite Bigelow’s directorial skill, this future world is way too ugly for us & inadvertently obsolete (everytime characters said “2K” instead of “Y2K,” we groaned). Fiennes & Lewis are OK, but acting by everyone else is way over the top. Click HERE for FF2 […]

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STOP-LOSS

Act One: Tikrit. Superb! Act Two: Texas. Very Good! Act Three: Road Trip. Um, unfocused & meandering. We both wanted this heart-felt, well-intentioned film to be better, but still applaud Peirce”s direction & all the acting. No matter what you think about Iraq, we should all realize that sacrifices have not been equally shared. We […]

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SISTERHOOD OF THE TRAVELING PANTS 2

Not seen by Rich. May NEVER been seen by Rich. Definitely “a chick flick,” & definitely recommended by Jan, even tho PANTS #2 isn”t quite as strong as PANTS #1. Click HERE for FF2 haiku.

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