Currently Browsing: 2012

ZERO DARK THIRTY

Three years ago, Kathryn Bigelow became the first woman to receive a “Best Director” Oscar. Now she stands poised to do it again with her new film Zero Dark Thirty. But even if she doesn’t win, Bigelow will almost certainly achieve the one “Personal Best” that has so far eluded her grasp, Zero Dark Thirty […]

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THE CENTRAL PARK FIVE: Review by FF2 Media

Around 9 PM on April 19, 1989, a twenty-eight year old investment banker entered Manhattan’s famous Central Park and began jogging up Park Drive North. Unbeknownst to her, police had already received reports about a youth gang in that general vicinity, and when she was found a few hours later—brutally raped, beaten, and left for […]

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Penny is Back!

Well time flies when you’re having fun… or something like that… Since my last post in August, Richard & I have packed up & moved to Brooklyn! This is bittersweet for both of us, leaving behind 35 years of friends, neighbors, & wonderful Chicago memories. But so it goes. Richard is now working at SUNY […]

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MIDDLE OF NOWHERE

Two of the big winners at this year’s Sundance Film Festival addressed the devastating effects of prolonged incarceration on African-American family life. Is this a mere coincidence? I don’t think so. Middle of Nowhere is the story of a woman left behind. When we first meet Ruby (Emayatzy Corinealdi), her husband Derek (Omari Hardwick) is […]

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ANNA KARENINA

Joe Wright’s new film Anna Karenina is based on a very long novel by Count Leo Tolstoy that has been adapted for the screen several times already, but never better. Set in Imperial Russia in 1874, Anna Karenina is about two women: Anna, a 27 year old woman married to a much older man, and […]

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THE LONELIEST PLANET: Review by Jan Lisa Huttner

The Loneliest Planet is the story of a 30 year old woman named “Nica” (Hani Furstenberg) who travels well off the beaten path with her fiancé “Alex” (Gael Garcia Bernal) and their Georgian guide “Dato” (Bidzina Gujabidze). These three people are quite alone in the wild, and despite the quiet that surrounds them, the mountains […]

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THE FIFTH HEAVEN

Dina Zvi-Riklis’s new film The Fifth Heaven is set in Palestine at the close of World War II. Jewish residents, terrified by the Nazi advance across Europe and North Africa, have been giving their all to their British protectors for years, but now that the defeat of the Third Reich appears imminent, their thoughts turn […]

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SIMON AND THE OAKS

A young boy named “Simon” (Jonatan S. Wächter) makes a fateful choice on his first day in a new school, and his actions that day change the course of his life. Set in Sweden between 1939 and 1949 (the decade which surrounds World War II), Simon and the Oaks is a sweeping historical epic filled […]

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Spark & Hustle 2012

Are YOU a Smart Movie Consumer??? Yesterday Monica Smith (FF2’s Social Media Manager) & I headed to Oak Brook for Tory Johnson’s 2012 Spark & Hustle. We had a great time, met many interesting people, &  yes, of course, we even sold & signed copies of Penny’s Picks! Thanks to FF2 Publicist Jeff Marden for […]

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Toxic: The Dark Knight Trilogy

Penny Mourns the Dead of Aurora, Co. In writing about We Need to Talk about Kevin (my own pick for Best Film of 2011), I said: “But me, I still believe We Need to Talk about Kevin was not only the best film of 2011, but also the one that most illuminates our current concerns in […]

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Ruby Sparks

“Calvin” (Paul Dano) has always been a bit eccentric. Somehow he managed to publish a novel which became a huge success, but now he”s stimied, and loney, and more eccentric than ever. Suddenly a dream girl enters his life! But is “Ruby” (Kazan) real or just a figment of his imagination? Dayton/Ferris film is definitely charming, but […]

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More Nora Posts

So I went down a week-long rabbit hole, reading everything I could about Nora Ephron before responding to the people who blew off my first Nora Ephron post. I posted a long piece with charts on HuffPo, and followed up with a related piece on “Tzivi’s Cinema Spotlight” (my JUF Blog page)… No one cared (well, […]

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Nora Ephron TLTL

Writer/Director Nora Ephron died of lukemia at age 71 on Tuesday, so yesterday cyberspace was filled with tributes to her “outstanding career,” mentioning over & over & over again how she was a “ground-breaking” figure–extraordinary proof that despite all the obstacles, women filmmakers could break-thru if only they would stop whining & stay focused on their […]

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SEEKING A FRIEND…

What would you do if your time (and the time of everyone around you) was limited to the next three weeks? This film explores how the routines of civilization, repressed desires, and deeply held wounds give way under the pressure. Funny in the beginning; touching at the end. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED BY BOTH OF US. Click […]

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TAKE THIS WALTZ

Writer/Director Sarah Polley’s new film Take This Waltz  begins when “Margot” (Michelle Williams) is away from home. She’s a writer on assignment in Nova Scotia, doing her job and minding her own business. On the plane back to Toronto, she’s seated next to “Daniel” (Luke Kirby), someone she’d spotted in Louisbourg but didn’t really interact with. Side-by-side, however, […]

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YOUR SISTER’S SISTER

Lynn Shelton’s new film Your Sister’s Sister stars Emily Blunt as “Iris,” with Rosemarie DeWitt as her sister “Hannah” and Mark Duplass as her best friend “Jack.” There is no convenient genre label for Your Sister’s Sister. Sometimes funny, sometimes sad, Your Sister’s Sister deftly walks the line between comedy and drama, and I would […]

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PRLF 2012 Wrap-Up

Another year at the Printers Row Lit Fest! This was my 9th year at the PRLF, & this year, for the first time, I finally had a book of my own to sell 🙂 First & foremost, my thanks to Art & Susan Brauer who served as coordinators of the IWPA Tent this year. Thanks […]

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6/9/12: Sat AM Pix

Many thanks to Monica Smith & Jim Drew for helping staff FF2 Media’s table under the IWPA canopy at this year’s Printers Row Lit Fest! Click HERE to “Look Inside” Anita Hill’s Book Reimagining Equality on Amazon. Click HERE to “Look Inside” my book Penny’s Picks on Amazon. Click here for handout about Jane Addams […]

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6/9/12: Sat PM Pix

Many thanks to Julia Kulovitz & her friend Lindy Groark for helping staff FF2 Media’s table under the IWPA canopy at this year’s Printers Row Lit Fest! Click HERE to “Look Inside” Anita Hill’s Book Reimagining Equality on Amazon. Click HERE to “Look Inside” my book Penny’s Picks on Amazon. Click here for handout about Jane Addams Day prepared […]

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6/10/12: Sunday Pix

Many thanks to Alma Garcia, her sister Carla & her friend Vanessa for helping staff FF2 Media’s table under the IWPA canopy at this year’s Printers Row Lit Fest! Click HERE to “Look Inside” Anita Hill’s Book Reimagining Equality on Amazon. Click HERE to “Look Inside” my book Penny’s Picks on Amazon. Click here for handout about […]

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Printer Row Lit Fest (2012)

Change of Plan: IWPA tent at the Printers Row Lit Fest is further south on Dearborn… closer to Hackney’s Restaurant… almost at Polk Street corner!!! One must always be flexible 🙂   It’s time once again for the Printers Row Lit Fest. Sponsored by the Chicago Tribune, PRLF is the Midwest’s largest book fair, with […]

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PRLF: Penny’s Picks

I will be at the Printers Row Lit Fest this weekend (Sat 6/9 & Sun 6/10) signing copies of my new book Penny’s Picks: 50 Movies by Women Filmmakers (2002-2011). You can find me under the IWPA Tent. (Click HERE for map.) This year the IWPA Tent will be at location “D” just south of […]

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PRLF: Reimagining Equality

Copies of Anita Hill’s new book Reimagining Equality: Stories of Gender, Race, and Finding Home will be available for sale this weekend (Sat 6/9 & Sun 6/10) under the IWPA Tent at the Printers Row Lit Fest (the Midwest’s largest book fair). These are special “commemorative editions” from Professor Hill’s visit to Chicago last December to […]

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HYSTERIA

Tanya Wexler’s new film Hysteria is a marvel of “loose/tight” properties. On the one hand, it’s tremendously funny. On the other hand, I was always laughing through my tears. Set in London circa 1880, Hysteria is loosely based on the career of Joseph Mortimer Granville, the English physician who patented the first electromechanical vibrator. As […]

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WHERE DO WE GO NOW? Review by FF2 Media

Nadine Labaki’s breakout film Caramel was firmly set in contemporary Beirut, but her new film Where Do We Go Now? is magical realism. A mythical Lebanese village, surrounded by landmines, is dominated by one church & one mosque. Exhausted by intramural feuding & senseless death, the women of the village seek ways to distract their […]

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Who is “Cannes”?

Thanks to the terrific petition posted yesterday by Melissa Silverstein, we now have an answer to the question I asked earlier today: “Who is ‘Cannes’?” And the answer: Surprise! Surprise!! “Cannes” is disproportionately male!!! Not only that, but the men on the jury are primarily filmmakers (a more powerful role), whereas the women who are on the jury […]

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Cannes ’12 Brouhaha

From The BEZ’ Cannes Diary: Festival opens to controversy over lack of female-directed films “Festival Director Thierry Fremaux responded by saying he agrees women lack opportunities to make films…” Mon Cher M. Fremaux, Wrong diagnosis = wrong cure. The problem is not the lack of new opportunities for  female filmmakers; the problem is lack of respect for […]

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Gender Gap: HYSTERIA

Tanya Wexler’s new film Hysteria opens in NYC this Fri (5/18) & in Chicago (& elsewhere) next Fri (5/25), so technically I’m still under embargo & I’m not allowed to post a review yet. But since Anthony Lane’s New Yorker review is already posted, I’m putting my gloves on & punching back. Readers, I have already […]

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FREE Labaki Screening

What’s New in the Pond? Allied-THA offers us FREE PASSES to a “Word of Mouth” screening of Nadine Labaki‘s wonderful new film Where Do We Go Now? which is already playing in NYC & opens here in Chgo (& elsewhere) on Friday 5/18. When: Thurs 5/17 @ 7:30 PM Where: Landmark Century @ 2828 North Clark […]

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SOUND OF MY VOICE

Brit Marling, nominated for Independent Spirit Award for her first screenplay (Another Earth) returns with this equally weird & wonderful film (co-written with Zal Batmanglij) that trades inner space for outer space. This time Marling is terrific as a cult leader who turns the mind of an investigator (Christopher Denham) to mush. We all know […]

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