Currently Browsing: 2009

THE GIRLS FROM BRAZIL

Doc coming in CFIC ’08. Not yet seen by Rich. Click HERE for FF2 haiku.

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FRAULEIN

Award-winner about three women from the former Yugoslavia. Serbian Ruza (Karanovic) has built a new life for herself in Zurich. Mila (Jovic) works for Ruza, but plans to return to Croatia. Ana (Skaricic aka “the Fraulein”) arrives from Sarajevo & shakes up the mix. Excellent film about exile & the search for “home.” Not [yet] […]

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FIFTY DEAD MEN WALKING

Sturgess is terrific in film inspired by Martin McGartland’s autobiography about life as an informer for the British during the “Troubles” in Northern Ireland in the late ’80s. Skogland doesn’t hide any of the horrific violence on both sides, but she excels at depicting the even more heart-breaking emotional consequences. Click HERE for FF2 haiku.

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EL REGALO (THE GIFT)

Chilean widower mopes around after retirement, so his buddies take him on a vacation for Seniors. Sweet & funny film with all the actors trying hard to please, but ultimately too much sitcom for us. Shown in our ’09 Chicago Latino Film Festival.  Click HERE for FF2 haiku.

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THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK

Magnificently directed by George Stevens, this film was Hollywood’s first serious attempt to grapple with the Holocaust. A touchstone in Jan’s life, but never seen by Rich. We’ll get back to you with more soon. Click HERE for FF2 haiku.

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DECEPTION

McGregor plays a meek accountant seduced by Jackman’s tres cool bad boy lifestyle. Rich was hoping for a more intelligent plotline, but Jan was swept along in the hot house atmospherics & enjoyed bits like Rampling’s sly turn as a Wall Street Wonder Woman. Click HERE for FF2 haiku.

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CONFESSIONS OF A SHOPAHOLIC

What could be more timely than a quick-witted, candy-colored tale of a woman drowning in credit card debt?!? Isla Fisher is adorable as someone smart enough to know better, but still seduced by store window mannequins. (Hello: That’s what they’re there for!!!) The screenplay, based on Sophie Kinsella’s books, is by Tim Firth (Calendar Girls […]

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COLD SOULS

Charlie Kaufman lite… & we’re not Charlie Kaufman… Not recommended by Jan. Not (yet) seen by Rich. Click HERE for FF2 haiku.

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COCO BEFORE CHANEL

Not Recommended by Jan & not yet seen by Rich: Totally tedious; enormously disappointing; what a waste 🙁 Click HERE for FF2 haiku.

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CARAMEL

BEAUTY SHOP Beirut-style successfully combines site-specific dynamics with universal implications as 5 women of various ages search for fulfilment in a society that allows some modern options while precluding others. Writer/director/star Labaki is a gorgeous, charismatic national treasure. Click HERE for FF2 haiku.

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CADILLAC RECORDS

Cadillac Records is a musical history of Chicago Blues starring Adrien Brody as Leonard Chess and Jeffrey Wright as Muddy Waters (with Beyoncé Knowles as Etta James, Columbus Short as Little Walter, and a host of other wonderful actors in key supporting roles). Ironically, it didn’t get much buzz when it opened on December 5, […]

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THE BLACK BALLOON

Award-winning Australian family dramedy. Charlie (Ford)is autistic & everyone has always expected Thomas (Wakefield) to step up. But Thomas, now a teenager, is embarrassed by Charlie & lost in his own adolescent dreams. Collette & Allison-Young are both terrific as Mom & Dad, & Ward’s presence is a lovely addition. NOT YET SEEN BY RICH.  […]

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BABY MAMA

Rich hated this RomCom about a successful businesswoman (Fey) who hires a surrogate (Poehler) when she’s unable to conceive, but Jan enjoyed the multidimensional world created for the Fey character, & thought the relationship between the two lead characters worked fine. Click HERE for FF2 haiku.

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AWAY WE GO

Does not meet criteria.http://www.films42.com/Results.asp?id=1763

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AMERICAN TEEN

Burstein undoubtedly got remarkable footage of a year in the life of Warsaw [ Indiana] High School, but alas, she lost her way sometime in the editing room. Did marketing play too a big role here — the obsessive need to create archetypes in order to hook audiences by recreating THE BREAKFAST CLUB poster??? Click […]

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ACROSS THE UNIVERSE

We agree that UNIVERSE is an operatic, ebulliently effective look at 60s icons; we disagree about heft. Rich thinks it perfectly captures its moment, whereas Jan also finds compelling anti-Bush, anti-Iraq War agenda. Excellent performances from mostly-novice cast. Soundtrack proves genius of Beatles simpliciter as well as this specific incarnation. Click HERE for FF2 haiku.

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27 DRESSES

Much like THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA, Aline Brosh McKenna”s wonderful new screenplay uses comedic “top notes” to create a bittersweet after-taste. The real story here is about a woman (Heigl) who lost her mother when she was very young, & has spent the years since trying to be perfect so people will love her. Bravo! […]

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MADE IN CHINA

     Every year, we use our Founder’s Club passes to see somewhere in the neighborhood of 30 films during the 2 week span of our annual Chicago International Film Festival.  Sure it sounds like a lot, but that’s maybe 1/3 of what’s on the schedule!  So?  Some good, some bad, & some OK, but what […]

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BRIGHT STAR (2009): Review by Jan Lisa Huttner

Bright Star is the story of a woman named Fanny Brawne who falls deeply and hopelessly in love with a frail young poet. After he’s dead, this man becomes the famous John Keats, but when she first meets him, John is a lonely, solitary fellow with sad eyes and thin shoulders. John dedicates poems to […]

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JENNIFER’S BODY

Rock band decides to sacrifice a virgin in hopes of getting the devil invested in their career prospects. But they pick the wrong girl, and gruesome, gory, utterly hilarious consequences ensue. You can almost hear director Karyn Kusama (Girlfight) screenwriter Diablo Cody (Juno) laughing on the soundtrack—baiting their audience with kissing babes and gallons of […]

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To All My LHS ’69 Friends

  Very bummed about missing 40th high school reunion this weekend L  RB & I arrived @ O’Hare ~ 9:30 on Friday to board 11 AM flight, but by 3 PM after 2 cancelled flights, we realized some things are simply “not meant to be,” at which point we limped back to UNITED & begged […]

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Kudos to Michael Cieply NYT!

     You can’t imagine the electric current that went thru me as I read this article in the New York Times yesterday because the person ringing all the bells about the 2004 Oscar Noms, was, you guessed it, yours truly.  As I called around doing interviews for my Women’s eNews article, everyone was focused on Sofia […]

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iPhone Release of RAGE a Mixed Blessing…

There’s a lot of hype about the fact that Sally Potter is releasing her new film RAGE on iPhones, but to me, it’s a mixed blessing.  We can all applaud new technology without ignoring the fact that this incredible filmmaker is in effect going straight to DVD without so much as a limited theatrical release…  Please […]

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Kudos, Rebecca Honig Friedman!

Kudos to Rebecca Honig Friedman for her wonderful feature on Sharon Rosenzweig, who, I am so proud to say, is my own “personal cartoonist.” It’s true!  Lest I take my puny self too seriously, Sharon has marvelously transformed me, creating both my “Jewish persona” (as “Second City Tzivi“) as well as my “Feminist Persona” (as “The Hot […]

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Woodstock: Lee Feature vs Kopple Doc

     I’m the kind of person who sets rules for herself & then constantly questions them.  For example, when I became a film critic, I set several rules for myself including never give away an ending without a “Spoiler Alert” (“Memo to Self: Jan, please do your best to avoid all mention of the specific contents […]

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Huge Spike in JULIE/JULIA Book Sales!

Does any right-minded person still doubt what Julia herself would say about Nora Ephron’s new film JULIE & JULIA?!? Here’s an article from the New York Times about the huge spike in book sales since the film appeared. So OK, when Julia first found out about Julie’s Blog, maybe she wasn’t so pleased.  Let’s be […]

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Kudos, Lisa Belkin!

Kudos to Lisa Belkin for her great article “The Power of the Purse” (published in Tuesday’s NYT). Behind all this giving lies the theory that helping women and children is the way to change the planet. “Seventy percent of people living in poverty around the world are women and children,” says Christine Grumm, president and […]

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The “Campaign” is NOT Over!!!

Rich & I have started dressing in our PrObama shirts every weekend again.  It seems “the campaign” is not over, but has merely entered an incredibly ugly new phase.  Here’s a clip one of my FB buddies posted of a blonde woman screaming “Heil Hitler!” at an Israeli man trying to explain the importance of […]

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Chatting about JULIE & JULIA

Participating in a very interesting conversation about JULIE & JULIA on Melissa Silverstein’s Blog.   But here’s the thing: if you do NOT see it my way, then you either have to believe Nora Ephron believes Julia Child really was perfect (had a perfect marriage, etc, etc), &/or you really have to believe Nora Ephron is […]

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Film Review: JULIE & JULIA

Click HERE to download my WomanArts review as a pdf file. Blogger Julie Powell had a lot of hard days and long weeks in 2001.  In her book Julie & Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously, she tells us she worked in a cubicle in an office overlooking Ground Zero, and the 9/11 tragedy was […]

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