Currently Browsing: zPennyRants

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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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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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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Thanks Rick!

Early this morning, master interviewer Rick Kogan managed the impossible–he more or less kept me on track as I babbled away on his AM radio show “The Sunday Papers.” Here is the audio file (which lasts ~ 20 minutes) –> http://www.wgnradio.com/shows/sundaypapers/wgnam-kogan-120506-jan-lisa-huttner-pennys-picks-women-filmmakers,0,7194493.mp3file Rich & I signed in @ the Trib Tower @ 7:15 AM (ouch!). Here […]

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VIDA 2012

“In a culture saturated with top-ten lists of everything from books to bikes to baby names — what can we do to right the gender imbalance in publishing besides tabulate our absences?” What indeed? Days after the abysmal 2012 Oscar ceremony, VIDA releases new stats with the same old results in the publishing domain 🙁  […]

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WCF Kick-Off

Wednesday March 7, 2012: Come to Women & Children First @ 7:30 PM Come to WCF to debate the “Blue Oscar” conundrum! Describe your own emotions when you watched this year’s Oscar Ceremony after having read this in the Chicago Tribune: “Oscar voters overwhelmingly white, male.” Hear Jan read from Penny’s Picks, laugh thru your […]

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Joining AMPAS

Slowly but surely, information eventually finds it way to the public. As I’ve told you all for years now, every time FIVE MEN are nominated for “Best Director” that means another FIVE MEN are added to the overwhelmingly male list that selects the next “Best Director.” And so, who is surprised when the next list […]

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2011 TWOZIES

Winners of the 2011 TWOZIE Awards for Best Films of 2011: Meek’s Cutoff, Tyrannosaur, & We Need to Talk about Kevin. (Each one of these three superb films was on both of our “Top Ten” Lists for 2011.) In Category Two (on one “Top Ten” List & One “Near Miss” List):  Coriolanus, Gainsbourg, Project Nim, […]

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Streep Speaks!

2/9/12 Update: Huge thanks to Melissa Silverstein for posting an expanded version of this piece on her Women & Hollywood Blog yesterday! Click here to download the whole thing (Meryl Streep+Terry Gross+Penny) as a pdf –> 12Feb08IndieWIRE Meryl Streep at Barnard College Commencement (2010): “They professionally can’t hear us…” Yesterday, Terry Gross broadcast an amazing […]

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Kudos, Sasha Stone!

January 29 (Sunday Morning): I’m kinda blue because Andy Trudeau won’t be doing his annual segments on the Oscar-nominated musical scores anymore, but I’m still an NPR junky, so the radio is on… And the new host, Rachel Martin, says soon she’ll be starting a new segment on Oscar-nominated screenplays… Well, now I’m 100% awake… […]

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Suddath Post

Today I got a message from a friend who was all excited about a recent post by Claire Suddath of Time magazine. “Isn’t it great,” she said. “Time magazine is on to your issue!” Well, yes & no. While I am always thrilled to see the MSM write about the underrepresentation of women filmmakers in the […]

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Who gets rewarded?

I just got called on the carpet for my Blue Oscar post, specifically this part: And in the Best Original Screenplay category, we have a film (Bridesmaids) that has plot holes you can drive a truck through, but the male critics loved it. Why? Well, this isn’t the time to rant on about this, but […]

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Unbiased Opinions?

1/29/12 Update: So yesterday Rich & I headed to the multiplex to see 2 of the 3 films mentioned in this post (the ChickFlick & the PrickFlick). Our combine response to our colleague’s post: We thought One for the Money was cute, but The Grey was a totally waste of time & talent. Rich also instructs me to add the […]

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Oscar Blues 2012

THIS JUST IN: Thanks to Melissa Silverstein, “Blue Oscar 2012” is now live on IndieWIRE’s Women & Hollywood blog 🙂 Well, it’s happened once again… Starting with a list of more than 600 films released in the USA in 2011 (including many excellent films written &/or directed by women), the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences (AMPAS aka […]

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Blue Oscar 2012

We all want to believe that Oscar is “gold” (that is, based on merit), so we begin with that assumption. But close examination of the Oscar-nomination process reveals that Oscar is in fact “blue” (that is, heavily dependent on male filters). Therefore most films by &/or about women are eliminated from contention early on, and they […]

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Kudos Carrie Rickey!

Terrific article by Carrie Rickey in today’s NYT about Lindsay Doran called “Perfectly Happy, Even Without Happy Endings.” And here’s a parallel thought from the Press Kit for my new book Penny’s Picks: 50 Movies by Women Filmmakers: “What I’ve learned is that women are very interested in narrative. They’re interested in human stories, and […]

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Iowa Gender Gap

Posted today in SLATE: “…the male voter is typically seen as the standard for the public at large, with women and other groups as viewed as mere special interests. (This is despite the fact that the majority of voters are women.) Men are representative; women are outliers…” It’s 2012 & yet “Men are representative; women […]

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Mazel Tov, Schvesters!

This week the Library of Congress added 25 new films to the National Film Registry including two classics by Jewish women filmmakers: Hester Street (written & directed by Joan Micklin Silver) and Norma Rae (directed by Martin Ritt & co-written by Harriet Frank J. with her husband/long-time writing partner Irving Ravetch). According to the LA […]

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Kudos, Michael Sims!

All week I’ve been embroiled in nasty fights about my awards posts (comparing winners of the Chicago Film Critics Association awards to winners of the Women Film Critics Circle awards). Some of the guys are now furious with me & flaming me & getting bent out of shape because I’ve implied that they are intentionally […]

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WFCC 2011

Congratulations to the winners of this year’s 2011 achievement awards from the Women Film Critics Circle — of which I am a proud member! Unless otherwise noted, the award goes to the director on behalf of the entire cast & crew. BEST MOVIE BY A WOMAN [TIE]: The Iron Lady (Phyllida Lloyd)/We Need To Talk […]

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CFCA 2011

UPDATE: CFCA Award Winners for 2011 BEST PICTURE: The Tree of Life BEST DIRECTOR: Terrence Malick–The Tree of Life BEST ACTOR: Michael Shannon–Take Shelter BEST ACTRESS: Michelle Williams–My Week with Marilyn BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: Albert Brooks–Drive BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Jessica Chastain–The Tree of Life BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: Michel Hazanavicius–The Artist BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: Steve Zaillian […]

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2012 Spirit Noms

Candidates for the 2012 Independent Spirit Awards were announced this AM & I’m still stunned. In the Best Director category: No women directors. In the Best Feature category: No films with women in lead roles. In the Best Screenplay category: No women screenwriters. In the Best International Film category: No women filmmakers. And the Robert Altman honoree (Best Cast): […]

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SOS for THE WHISTLEBLOWER

An excellent film on an extremely important subject is going down & deperately needs YOUR help at the Box Office.  Please consult this list & if The Whistleblower is playing anywhere near you, please, please try to see it this weekend!  Click HERE to read our interview with director Larysa Kondracki on FF2.  This is our […]

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THE HELP: Rant Two

Although based on a novel by Kathryn Stockett, the screen version of The Help was written & directed by Tate Taylor, so it doesn’t fall into the “women filmmaker” category (which requires a woman either directing &/or writing the screenplay). So it’s not in Penny’s niche, & she’s not obligated to write a review of […]

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THE HELP: Rant One

Although based on a novel by Kathryn Stockett, the screen version of The Help was written & directed by Tate Taylor, so it doesn’t fall into the “women filmmaker” category (which requires a woman either directing &/or writing the screenplay).  So it’s not in Penny’s niche, & she’s not obligated to write a review of it […]

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Annenberg Follow-Up

Dumb me!  I should have known that I would have to add this: Please, folks, when you look at this new Annenberg data, please make sure you draw the RIGHT conclusions.  Please don’t conclude that women aren’t making movies, because they are.  That is NOT the problem! The problem is that audiences don’t know about their movies, […]

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Annenberg Continued

“Overall, the findings suggest that males and females are differentially valued in motion pictures.  Despite the fact that it is 2011, females are still far less important or esteemed than are males, particularly behind-the-camera.  When they are shown on screen, females are prized for provocative (or noticeably absent) attire, attributes of their physique, and prettiness. […]

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