Leslie Combemale on 2019’s Best Female Filmmakers

Posted on January 3, 2020 at 8:00 am

Copyright Annapurna 2019

Cinema Siren and founder of Women Rocking Hollywood Leslie Combemale has a great write-up of the best female filmmakers in 2019. Her list includes mainstream Oscar contenders like Marielle Heller’s “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” to international films like the gorgeous period romantic drama “Portrait of a Lady on Fire” and the uplifting story of an immigrant teenager in love with the music of Bruce Springsteen “Blinded by the Light,” and the endearing indie “Booksmart” from director Olivia Wilde.

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Gender and Diversity Understanding Media and Pop Culture

100 Years of Black Film

Posted on January 2, 2020 at 12:00 pm

Copyright 2020 Soda Pop Graphics

This outstanding new history of black filmmakers is available for free! It includes everything from Hollywood classics (Hattie McDaniel and Sidney Poitier as the first black performers to win Oscars) to the unsung innovators like Oscar Micheaux, who responded to the racism of D.W. Griffith’s “The Birth of a Nation” with “Within Our Gates, the pioneers of the Blaxploitation era, and Barry Jenkins’ “Moonlight” winning the Best Picture Oscar. The #Oscarssowhite protests, Motown’s Berry Gordy’s films like “Lady Sings the Blues” and “The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars and Motor Kings,” and Tyler Perry establishing his own (wildly successful) studio. Highly recommended!

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Books Film History Movie History Race and Diversity

Comparing the American Movie Versions of Little Women

Posted on January 2, 2020 at 8:00 am

For more, see the BBC miniseries, the modern-day remake, the graphic novel and the terrific Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy: The Story of Little Women and Why It Still Matters.

And listen to the dream team of Dana Stevens and Rachel Syme talk about the film on Slate’s Spoiler Special.
Greta Gerwig’s Little Women: Come for the classic; stay for the costumes

Dana Stevens’ cool new word: Poioumenon

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Behind the Scenes Books Original Version Remake

Movies to Look Forward to in 2020

Posted on January 1, 2020 at 12:34 pm

Happy New Year! Some movies to look forward to in 2020:

Remakes, sequels and updates

Bad Boys for Life: Will Smith and Martin Lawrence return as wisecracking buddy cops.

Dolittle: The man who talks to the animals is back, this time played by Robert Downey, Jr. Not the musical version with Rex Harrison or the updated version with Eddie Murphy, it is set in Victorian times, and it features an all-star voice cast for the CGI animals.

Downhill: An American remake of the acclaimed Swedish film “Force Majure,” about a man who shocks his family by impulsively running to save himself, leaving them behind, in an avalanche. Will Ferrell and Julia Louis-Dreyfus play the couple who take their family on a ski vacation that goes very wrong. The screenplay is by “The Descendants” writers Nat Faxon and Jim Rash.

Call of the Wild: Another version of the Jack London classic, this time starring Harrison Ford.

Mulan: The live-action version of the Disney classic about the brave young woman who becomes a soldier in ancient China. The director is “Whale Rider’s” Niki Caro.

Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway: James Corden returns to voice the classic Beatrix Potter character, with Rose Byrne and Domnhall Gleason returning as his human companions.

No Time to Die: Bond (Daniel Craig) is back. Expect cool gadgets, exotic locations, and saving the day just in time. There’s a rumor there might be a new 007 as well.

Legally Blonde 3: Reese Witherspoon is back. No word on Bruiser.

Trolls World Tour: The animated characters with the pouffy hair return, with the voice talents of Anna Kendrick, Justin Timberlake, Jamie Dornan, Sam Rockwell, Rachel Bloom, and Chance the Rapper.

The Personal History of David Copperfield: One of my favorite books, adapted and directed by “Veep’s” Armando Iannucci with an all-star and racially diverse cast including Dev Patel in the title role as well as Tilda Swinton, Hugh Laurie, Ben Whishaw, and Peter Capaldi.

Dune: Another try at the massive fantasy novel with a very impressive cast: Timothée Chalamet, Josh Brolin, Rebecca Ferguson, Oscar Isaac, Javier Bardem, Jason Momoa, Dave Bautista, Zendaya

Ghostbusters — Afterlife: The grandchildren of the character played by Harold Ramis in the original film discover where grandad stored the ghosts and demons and have to learn about busting themselves.

Fast and Furious 9: What more do you need to know?

Top Gun — Maverick: What more do you need to know?

Godzilla vs. Kong: Come on. What more do you need to know?

Bill and Ted Face the Music: The Wyld Stallyns are back and the Keanussance continues with this return to one of Keanu’s most beloved characters. This time they are visited by someone from the future.

Coming 2 America: Eddie Murphy, Arsenio Hall, and the rest are back for an update on the story of the African prince who married a girl from Queens.

The Many Saints of Newark: A Sopranos prequel, starring the son of James Gandolini as a younger version of Tony Soprano.

Comic Book Characters

Birds of Prey: Margot Robbie returns as Harley Quinn, this time joined by Jurnee Smollett-Bell (Black Canary), Rosie Perez (Renee Montoya), and Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Huntress). The villain: Ewan McGregor as the Black Mask.

Black Widow: Natasha (Scarlett Johansson) finally gets her own movie and it looks great, with her sister played by 2019’s breakthrough star Florence Pugh.

Wonder Woman 1984: Chris Pine is back! Kristen Wiig is the villain! And Gal Gadot returns as Wonder Woman in Washington DC near the end of the Cold War.

Morbius: Jared Leto plays the vampire Marvel villain.

Eternals: Will this be the new Avengers? A bunch of powerful beings played by an all-star cast: Angelina Jolie, Salma Hayek, Kumail Nanjiani, Gemma Chan, Richard Madden, Kit Harington, and Brian Tyree Henry.

For the Whole Family

Onward: Pixar’s latest stars Tom Holland and Chris Pratt as brothers who live in a fairy tale world. When they have the chance to use magic to bring back their late father for one day, what could go wrong?

Scoob: Ever wonder how Scooby-Doo and Shaggy first met? You’ll find out in this animated story with voices from Will Forte and Zac Efron.

The SpongeBob Movie — Sponge on the Run: Denizens of Bikini Bottom Spongebob and Squidward embark on a rescue mission to recover Gary, who has been taken by Poseidon.

Artemis Fowl: The popular fantasy novel about a young criminal mastermind is brought to the screen by director Kenneth Branagh.

Soul: Pete Docter who had us all sobbing at “Inside Out,” is back with this story of a jazz musician (Jamie Foxx), who finds himself in a place where new souls are provided for babies. Bring a handkerchief, maybe two.

Jungle Cruise: The movies based on Disney World attractions have not been very good with the notable exception of the first “Pirates of the Caribbean.” But this one, starring Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt, looks promising.

Raya and the Last Dragon: Disney’s next animated feature has Awkwafina — as the dragon.

And Especially Intriguing

The Lovebirds: Director Michael Showalter and his “Big Sick” star Kumail Nanjiani are back, this time with what looks like a romantic comedy/mystery about an estranged couple who have to solve a crime to clear themselves.

In the Heights: Lin-Manuel Miranda’s pre-Hamilton Broadway musical hit is brought to the screen by Jon M. Chu, who directed “Crazy Rich Asians,” but, even more significantly my favorite in the series “Step Up 3.”

BIOS: Tom Hanks plays an ailing inventor in a post-apocalyptic world.

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Trailers, Previews, and Clips

Internet Film Critics Society Awards 2019

Posted on January 1, 2020 at 9:14 am

The Twelfth Annual Internet Film Critic Society Awards:

Best Drama: The Irishman
Best Comedy: Knives Out
Best Horror or Science Fiction Film: Us
Best Action Film: Avengers: Endgame
Best Actor: Adam Driver for Marriage Story
Best Actress: Lupita Nyong’o for Us
Best Director: Martin Scorsese for The Irishman
Best Experimental Film: The Lighthouse
Most Underrated Film: Her Smell
Worst Film of the Year: The Fanatic

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