Currently Browsing: Bechdel-Wallace List

A PLACE AT THE TABLE

Well-intentioned doc co-directed by Lori Silverbush & Kristi Jacobson explores the problem of hunger in America. It looks like such a paradox: obesity yet starvation? But the experts assembled by Silverbush & Kristi Jacobson unpack it for us: too many Americans–way too many American children–are fed junk food because junk food is cheap whereas veggies are way more […]

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A SIMPLE LIFE

Filmmaker Ann Hui (well-known in the East for her long & distinguished career but almost unknown in the West) hits a bull’s eye with A Simple Life, winner of film festival awards last year in Tallinn (Estonia) & Venice (Italy) as well as more predictable wins in China & Hong Kong. A Simple Life is the story […]

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RETURN

Completing her National Guard service in Iraq, “Kelli” has only one goal: get home & make life as normal as possible again for her husband & daughters. But it’s not so simple. Kelli can’t quite settle in & the family has new routines that don’t include her anymore. Linda Cardellini’s performance as Kelli is deeply moving. If […]

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ONE FOR THE MONEY

Like a long TV caper episode, but fun for all that. Katherine Heigl stars as a Jersey girl who starts working for her cousin the bail-bondsman after she loses her fancy sales job. Knowing nothing but her need for cash, “Stephanie” quickly learns how to shoot straight, keep her cool, & track down perps on the lam. And her […]

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THE IRON LADY (2011): Review by Jan Lisa Huttner

Phyllida Lloyd’s new film The Iron Lady is a bio-pic about Margaret Thatcher, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from May 1979 until November 1990. A million historical details, large and small, make Baroness Thatcher a unique individual, yet Lloyd and screenwriter Abi Morgan choose to minimize the episodes that make their subject’s life specific […]

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IN THE LAND OF BLOOD & HONEY: Review by Jan Lisa Huttner

One evening Ajla (Zana Marjanovic) & Danijel (Goran Kostic) are two young people dancing in a trendy club in Sarajevo, the next they are enemies as Bosnia descends into ruthless civil war. Brilliant debut from Angelina Jolie who wrote screenplay & directed authentic cast members speaking their own languages. Click HERE for our FF2 haiku. […]

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HIGHER GROUND

Sincere adaptation of memoir by Carolyn Briggs, Higher Ground is directed by & stars Vera Farmiga.  “Corrine” (played as a teen by Farmiga’s sister Taissa) marries her rock musican boyfriend, but disappointment eventually drives them to seek consolation in religion.  Longer review coming after I see this a 2nd time with RB.

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FISH TANK: Andrea Arnold Pulls Treasure from the Muck

“Mia” (Katie Jarvis) lives in an East London housing project with her mother “Joanne” (Kierston Wareing) and her younger sister “Tyler” (Rebecca Griffiths). Joanne is an arrested adolescent more comfortable in her frilly pink bedroom than her own kitchen, so Mia and Tyler are both growing up wild. Then a handsome man named “Connor” (Michael […]

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THE LOVELY BONES (2009): Review by Jan Lisa Huttner

The Lovely Bones is the story of a teenager named Susie who is brutally murdered by an innocuous-looking neighbor. While Mr. Harvey fastidiously covers his tracks, Susie is trapped in a parallel universe called “the Inbetween” (not yet Heaven but no longer Earth), where she watches as her loved ones struggle to go on living […]

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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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THE PROPOSAL

Starts as a The Devil Wears Prada wannabee with Sandra Bullock in the “Meryl-Streep-as-Devil” role, but quickly becomes Ryan Reynolds’ film. Bullock just needs to be game & she is here. But Reynolds is surprisingly good as an Alaskan scion who wants to create his own destiny. I found Anne Fletcher’s film enjoyable albeit totally […]

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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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Chatting about BRICK LANE

Brick Lane is a beautiful film that could have been even better. Based on a well-regarded novel of the same name by Monica Ali, Sarah Gavron’s film is about a young Bangladeshi woman named “Nazneen,” who is sent to London as a teenager to marry a man she has never met… (JLH: 4/5) Click here […]

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4/3/08: Jan’s Visit to NMWA

         After a week of exciting Chicago events, Adi & I flew to Washington, D.C. on Wednesday.  Thursday, she relaxed with family and friends in the AM while I went to the National Museum of Women in the Arts.  Even tho I’d been a member from afar for years, this was my very first visit.  […]

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THIS IS MY LIFE

Probably sensing that this was her one shot as a lead, Julie Kavner (beloved for her TV roles as “Brenda Morgenstern” & “Marge Simpson”) hits a homerun in this dramedy about a divorced mother of two who wants to be a stand-up comedienne. Samantha Mathis also shines as her teenage daughter. Writer/Director Nora Ephron makes […]

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SHUT UP & SING

The Dixie Chicks run afoul of their country music fan base when lead singer Natalie Maines publicly mocks President Bush in the early days of the War in Iraq. Almost everyone & everything in this documentary was new to us, but the directors stitch together a highly compelling narrative for both novices & aficionados. (JLH: 4.5/5.) Click […]

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THE PRIZE WINNER OF DEFIANCE, OHIO

Based on Terry (“Tuff”) Ryan’s best-selling 2001 memoir The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio: How My Mother Raised 10 Kids on 25 Words or Less, Prize Winner is an Eisenhower-era haunted house movie in which the monsters are bankers, milkmen, priests, and policemen, while the damsel-in-distress is a tenacious Catholic housewife. Evelyn Lehman was a budding young journalist when […]

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IN HER SHOES

Screenwriter Suzannah Grant does for Cameron Diaz what she did for Julia Roberts in ERIN BROCKOVICH: creates a flawed but multi-dimensional woman & then helps her grow. (Based on the best-selling 2003 novel by Jennifer Weiner.) Get past the fact that these characters are all supposed to be Jewish (Shirely MacLaine plays “Bubbe”) & enjoy […]

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BLUE CRUSH (2002): Review by Jan Lisa Huttner

BLUE CRUSH Directed by John Stockwell/Screenplay by Stockwell & Lizzy Weiss Key Performances: Kate Bosworth with Matthew Davis & Michelle Rodriguez Set-Up: Anne Marie (Kate Bosworth), Eden (Michelle Rodriguez) and Lena (Sanoe Lake) live to surf. They share a small house on Oahu and work as housekeepers in one of the local luxury hotels so that […]

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