Charlize Theron plays a futuristic freedom-fighter discovering mid-mission that “the truth” is very complicated. Rich found the rules of her world too thin to be engaging. Jan agrees that Frances McDormand’s oracular role was ludicrous, but she was still drawn into Theron’s dilemma & moved by her relationship with her colleague (played by Sophie Okonedo). […]
Workaholic NYC TV producer (Perez) gets pregnant, her husband promises to “help” with the baby, & hilarious consequences ensue. SPLIT DECISION: Jan laughed so hard she fell out of her seat innumerable times, but for Rich the whole film was too overblown & the ending was way over-the-top. You decide!!! More on 24 HOUR WOMAN.
Gila Almagor’s screenplay is autobiographical & she stars here as her mother, a mentally-ill Holocaust survivor ridiculed by neighbors & totally unable to care for her teenage daughter no matter how much she tries. Heartbreaking depiction of life in the infant state of Israel: hard times with little room for pity. More on AVIYA’S SUMMER.
Four sets of characters act out their own mini-dramas & yet mysterious threads connect the four separate stories, creating a highly satisfying whole. The subject is happiness – as elusive and ephemeral as a rainbow. Arkin is outstanding as a divorced, middle-aged businessman. Alex Wurman’s melancholy piano-driven soundtrack sets the mood. Click HERE to read […]
30-something Parisian photographer now living in Manhattan returns home with her latest boyfriend (Goldberg) in tow. Jan loved this RomCom in which Delpy artfully riffs on her own onscreen persona (basically playing the opposite of her BEFORE SUNRISE/SUNSET character), but Rich was confused by shifts in tone between comedy & tragedy. More on 2 DAYS […]
Thanks to FWA Executive Director Martha Richards, Penny is now posting full reviews of new films by women directors & screenwriters on the website managed by the FUND FOR WOMEN ARTISTS. The first two reviews (of 2 DAYS in PARIS & THE NANNY DIARIES) are already live. Thanks, Martha!!!
Wednesday October 10 will be WITASWAN Night @ the Chicago International Film Festival! Evening includes a screening of the new doc JUMP! @ 6:30 PM @ the Landmark Century Center Cinema on Clark & Diversey, followed by a dessert reception for filmmaker Helen Hood Scheer at a local restaurant. Space at the reception is limited, so […]
Capsule review by J.R. Jones (From the Chicago Reader) The Jane Austen Book Club “The movie equivalent of a toenail-painting session, this adaptation of Karen Joy Fowler’s best seller centers on a group of unhappy women (Kathy Baker, Maria Bello, Emily Blunt, Amy Brenneman, Maggie Grace) and one mystified man (Hugh Dancy) who convene […]
First stop on my “Jane Addams Day” roadshow. Presented DINNER AT JANE’S to members of Aurora Branch AAUW & their guests in the IMSA (Illinois Math & Science Academy) auditorium. For more information about DINNER AT JANE’S & all of AAUW-Illinois’ plans for Jane Addams Day celebrations statewide, visit the AAUW-Illinois website. The first annual Jane […]
Jan: You captured it all, so please tell me about it: tell me how you created Miranda & the extra scenes that you wrote for her; tell me how you created Nigel from a composite of characters in the book. What were your goals when you create these wonderful characters. Aline: Miranda: we wanted to […]
From Stephen Holden’s review of The Nanny Diaries in the NEW YORK TIMES: “Just before the big bad wolves — the rich and powerful — are about to devour the Little Red Riding Hoods in these books [Nanny & Prada], they see the light and parachute into improbably soft landings…” Penny rants: OK, putting Prada […]
What a surprise: I walked into a critics screening of MISS POTTER with minimal background and low expectations (“Oy, Peter Rabbit? I don’t think so!”), but walked out delighted to have met her acquaintance. Luckily the publicist was able to add me to Chris Noonan’s schedule when the came to Chicago on a press tour […]
Jan: Julie, tell me about the evolution of your character “Marion” in your new film 2 DAYS IN PARIS, and about Marion’s relationship with “Jack” (Adam Goldberg). In your mind, how has all this evolved from the relationship “Celine,” your character in BEFORE SUNRISE and BEFORE SUNSET, had with “Jesse” (Ethan Hawke).Julie: Well, Marion, she […]
When you’re a film critic, Oscar Night is a bit of a bore. We’re like political pundits energized by the primaries; from long experience, we know that by the time election night rolls around, most of the important issues have already been decided. So my biggest day of the year is the day that Oscar […]
“A year ago we visited with Chicago Film Critic Jan Huttner, who was not at all happy about the Oscar nominations of 2006; and here is it 2007. Everything went as planned for DREAMGIRLS, except the eight nominations did not include one for Best Picture. We’ll talk about this and much more. The Oscar nominations […]
Follow link to read Jan’s Oscar Picks for 2007 http://www.films42.com/oscar_picks/2007_oscar_picks.asp
Follow link to read Jan’s Oscar Picks for 2006 http://www.films42.com/oscar_picks/2006_oscar_picks.asp
Follow link to read Jan’s Reflections on Oscar 2006 http://www.films42.com/oscar_picks/oscar_reflections-2006.asp
Follow link to read Jan’s Oscar Picks for 2005 http://www.films42.com/oscar_picks/2005_oscar_globes_picks.asp
Follow link to read Jan’s Oscar Picks for 2004 http://www.films42.com/oscar_picks/2004_oscar_picks.asp
THIS WAS THE CRITICAL YEAR! Read all the details contained in Jan’s Reflections on Oscar 2004, then read Jan’s award-winning article in Women’s eNews. Thanks to coaching from WeN’s excellent editor Alexandra Poulos, this article took first place in the “Best News Writing for the Web” category at the 2005 NFPW Annual Meeting. The judges were particularly […]
Follow link to read Jan’s Reflections on Oscar 2003 http://www.films42.com/oscar_picks/oscar_reflections2003.asp
Follow link to read Jan’s Oscar Picks for 2003 http://www.films42.com/oscar_picks/2003_oscar_picks.asp
Follow link to read Jan’s Oscar Picks for 2002 http://www.films42.com/oscar_picks/2002_oscar_picks.asp
Follow link to read Jan’s Oscar Picks for 2001 http://www.films42.com/oscar_picks/2001_oscar_picks.asp
Follow link to read Jan’s Oscar Picks for 2000 http://www.films42.com/oscar_picks/oscar_picks.asp
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 […]
Two French sisters explore their options while their Tunisian-born mother frets. Mathilde (Zylberstein) devotes herself to husband & children, while Laura (Valette) studies philosophy & avoids “appropriate” suitors. Insightful look at Sephardic life in multicultural Paris, with Clement especially fine as the woman who runs the Mikva (Jewish ritual bath). Read FF2 Haiku Click HERE […]
Beautifully understated story about culture clash showcasing Collette as a workaholic Australian geologist forced to play tour guide for a visiting Japanese investor. Shot primarily in the vast Australian outback, the cinematography’s hypnotic. The subtle score reaches a poignant intensity as Collette watches her new friend board his flight home.
Director Taymor (famous for Broadway’s LION KING) has a fabulous eye. Her life partner, composer Elliot Goldenthal, has a fabulous ear. Together, they’ve created an aesthetic masterpiece celebrating the artistic triumphs of Mexican painter Frida Kahlo & her husband, muralist Diego Rivera. Unfortunately, the brilliant spectacle sometimes overwhelms the actors.