Currently Browsing: 2009

JULIE & JULIA

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 an omnipresent fact of her life. But instead of wallowing, she […]

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YOO HOO, MRS. GOLDBERG

Tillie Edelstein was the creator of “Molly Goldberg,” one of the most beloved matriarchs in the history of American popular culture. Reinventing herself as “Gertrude Berg,” Tillie won an Emmy and a Tony, sold a cookbook and an autobiography, and ended her professional life as one of television’s best-paid variety show guests. Award-winning director Aviva […]

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See LADY KUL-EL ARAB on PBS!!!

 Kudos to filmmaker Ibtisam Mara’ana! Ibtisam’s wonderful doc (originally called Lady Kul el Arab & renamed Contestant No. 2) premieres tonight on the PBS series WIDE ANGLE.  Lady Kul el Arab was my Top Pick in the “Doc” category in last year’s Chicago Festival of Israeli Cinema & I’m delighted to learn it’s now available to […]

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Teaching Moments

     February 22 suddenly seems light years away even tho it’s barely been 6 months.  When I wrote my “Declare Victory & Move On” post on Monday AM (the morning after the Oscars), I told myself: “Let’s let the dust settle for a bit before writing a more formal ‘Lessons Learned’ piece.”  Then Barack Obama […]

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Kudos to EW’s Adam B. Vary!

     “And now with her latest project, THE HURT LOCKER, Bigelow has crafted a bona fide art-house hit—and is helping make 2009 one of the strongest year’s ever for female filmmakers… consider this: If any woman earns a Best Director nomination come February, it will be only the fourth time in history.”      OK, so […]

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IndieWIRE Box Office Report

     Based on mid-year stats, SUNSHINE CLEANING (directed by Christine Jeffs & based on an original screenplay by Megan Holley) is already one of ’09 big Indie winners: Hooray!  Hooray!  Open IndieWIRE article & read to the bottom, & you will see that THE HURT LOCKER is following a similar distribution path.      So do […]

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Kudos, Peter Knegt!

IndieWire has joined in beating the Oscars drums for THE HURT LOCKER J As article states, THE HURT LOCKER is expanding & can now be seen on over 200 screens nationwide!  Click HERE to read my review, then get yourself to a theatre ASAP!

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Kudos, C. Nicole Mason!

Wise Women Unite! What Sotomayor Should Have Said  By C. Nicole Mason – WeNews correspondent      I suppose it’s a good thing Judge Sonya Sotomayor’s confirmation hearings have been a little boring and uneventful…. In answering concerns over her “troubling” wise Latina remark, I wish she had stood tall and defended her comments… Here’s the […]

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Kudos, Neda Ulaby!

     Kudos to NPR Arts Reporter Neda Ulaby (now DC-based but once a local fixture at both The Windy City Times and The Chicago Review) for her excellent ATC report on women directors yesterday: “Major Hollywood studios cannot exactly bask in their legacies of female empowerment: Historically, female directors tend to work outside the traditional […]

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Chgo eVite: Post-Screening Q&A on Weds 7/15

     I will conduct an audience Q&A session after the 7:25 PM screening of THE HURT LOCKER at the Landmark Century Centre Cinema in Lincoln Park on Weds 7/15.  Regular ticket prices apply.  You can purchase tix at the door or click here to purchase tix in advance. From my FWA review: “I sincerely believe […]

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THE HURT LOCKER

Date: Summer 2004. Place: Iraq. Army Specialist Owen Eldridge (Brian Geraghty), Staff Sergeant William James (Jeremy Renner), and Sergeant J.T. Sanborn (Anthony Mackie) are members of an American EOD squad (“Explosive Ordinance Disposal”). Day after day after day, they crisscross the streets of Baghdad in their humvee, responding to calls from military patrols that have […]

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DWCIFF: 2009 Schedule

     DWCIFF (the Detroit Women of Color International Film Festival) produces the annual Detroit Women of Color International Film Festival and facilitates workshops and programs to empower, educate, and entertain.  We present exceptional, culturally diverse programs of inter-generational films and videos by African American, Continental African, Asian, Caribbean, Latina, Middle Eastern and Native American women […]

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Photos from ’09 Printers Row Lit Fest

Once again this year, AAUW-Illinois displayed a multitude of books about Jane Addams (for adults & kids) in preparation for the 3rd annual Jane Addams Day (celebrated in Illinois every December 10—the day Jane Addams became the first American woman to win a Nobel Peace Prize). New WITASWAN flyers & SWAN Day buttons & magnets were […]

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Film Review: AWAY WE GO

I really wanted to like this film written by husband/wife team Dave Eggers & Vendela Vida, but alas.  Road trips are always choppy but this one is totally sliced & diced.  Were filmmakers so bored by back story clichés that they couldn’t bother constructing any personal histories?  If we don’t believe any of these characters […]

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Lexington KY Havurah

Click HERE to see Jan’s Discussion Guide: “Who is the ‘Average Israeli’?” 5/30-5/31: Rich & I spent a wonderful weekend in beautiful Lexington, Kentucky as guests of the Lexington Havurah.  I was the feaured speaker for a study weekend devoted to Israeli Film.  After we left, I left a bit like Cinderella L

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THE SOLOIST

Always on the prowl for human interest stories, reporter “Steve Lopez” (played by Robert Downey, Jr.) meets a homeless man named “Nathaniel Ayers” (played by Jamie Foxx). Although the relationship begins on a professional level, Steve finds himself inexorably drawn into the grim details of Nathaniel’s troubled life. Jamie Foxx conveys a wide range of […]

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LEMON TREE

“Salma Zidane” is a Palestinian widow living in a small house on the eastern edge of the Green Line. Her life is immediately impacted when an Israeli woman named “Mira Navon” becomes her new neighbor. As they watch each other, day after day, from windows on opposite sides of the fence running through Salma’s lemon […]

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See TROUBLE THE WATER on HBO!

 One of last year’s best films premieres on HBO tonight!  TROUBLE THE WATER is a not-to-be-missed documentary by Tia Lessin & Carl Deal featuring footage shot by rap artist Kimberly Roberts as she faced the rising waters of Hurricane Katrina. TROUBLE THE WATER is a must-see film, included on our FF2 ‘08 TWOZIES List. Click HERE […]

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Chicago: Come see LA CAMARA OSCURA!

POST-FEST UPDATE: Click HERE to see addtional pix from visit (featuring director Maria Victoria Menis & husband/producer Hector Menis) on the Chgo YIVO website.  (Also includes translation of Yiddish poem by Eliahu Toker used on soundtrack). Our Chicago Latino Film Festival has scheduled TWO screenings this weekend: Friday (4/24) @ 8:15 PM & Sunday (4/26) @ 5 PM. Both screenings: […]

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Chgo welcomes Maria Victoria Menis!

  Argentinean filmmaker Maria Victoria Menis arrives in Chicago tomorrow to show her beautiful new film LA CAMARA OSCURA at our Chicago Latino Film Festival this weekend! Click here to read mini-review in my April JUFN column. Click here to see CLFF schedule & order tix. Photo above taken by our very nice server. From Left: […]

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Nancy Savoca @ HWC

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Nancy Savoca in Chicago!

Award-winning filmmaker Nancy Savoca greets the crowd at the 5th annual Chicago WITASWAN program (held on the 2nd annual International SWAN Day). On left: Nancy’s husband Rich Guay & their son Bobby. Huge thanks to Brad, Claire, & everyone @ the Kerasotes City North Theatre.

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Luna Negra CARMEN

     Was Georges Bizet’s tempestuous heroine “Carmen” a Converso? She’s always referred to as “a gypsy,” but there’s room for doubt. Bizet’s music teacher and father-in-law was Fromental Halévy (composer of the opera La Juive), and Ludovic Halévy, Bizet’s brother-in-law, wrote Carmen’s libretto (in collaboration with Henri Meilhac). Furthermore Carmen is set in Seville, the […]

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If I Ruled the World…

My third annual Women’s History Month program @ Chicago’s Harold Washington College, where I showed clips from three of my favorite films released in 2008: Cadillac Records, Frozen River, & Kit Kittredge.

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SUNSHINE CLEANING

News flash – houses don’t clean themselves! Although Sunshine Cleaning resembles 2007 Oscar-winner Little Miss Sunshine in several superficial ways, don’t let the coincidental “sunshine” reference blind you. Writer Megan Holley built her original screenplay around a story she heard eight years ago on National Public Radio—two women describing the trials and tribulations of running […]

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Hooray for Hiam Abbass!

February 19: Leading the IWA Film Discussion Group conversation about THE VISITOR.  Click here to read my chat with Hiam Abbass (the wonderful actress who plays “Mouna”).  IWA stands for “International Women Associates,” a wonderful Chicago group of which I am a proud member!

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Chicago: Experience TRUE LOVE on March 28th

Click HERE To Download Press Release as a pdf file.  Donna and Michael are getting married. But first, they have to plan the reception, get the tux, buy the rings, & cope with their own uncertainty about the decision. Michael (Ron Eldard) fears commitment. Donna (Annabella Sciorra) has doubts about Michael’s maturity. Are they starting […]

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SLUMDOG: Declare Victory & Move On

You’ll just have to trust me on this, my friends: that “flash of red” you saw when the SLUMDOG team ran up on the stage last night to collect the Oscar for Best Picture?  That was Loveleen Tandan!  I’m not a “what if” kinda gal.  Once something is in the past there’s no way to […]

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Congrats to Melissa Leo!!!

     Huge congratulations to Melissa Leo, winner of the 2009 Independent Spirit Award for “Best Lead Actress.”  Click HERE to read my review of FROZEN RIVER as well as excerpts from my interview with Melissa when she came to Chicago last year for a Press Day.      So, funny story: Richard & I watched the Spirit Awards with […]

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What’s “Strength” in the 21st Century?

     Last week, I responded to Kim Voynar’s critique of “my SLUMDOG Brouhaha” by invoking “the Zeitgeist,” exemplified for me by a magazine cover photo of Michelle Obama captioned: “Alongside every great man…”      Yesterday I got my new NEWSWEEK which includes a full page article on the Obamas called “Our Model Marriage” concluding as […]

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