October 22, 2007

October 22, 2007

Review- Matters of Life and Dating
If you're noticing a lot of pink around the reason might be that it is October, breast cancer awareness month. Tonight on Lifetime is the premiere of their annual breast cancer movie Matters of Life and Dating starring Ricki Lake and Holly Robinson Peete. Lake plays Linda Dackman a 30-something woman single woman who is concerned about returning to the dating scene after a cancer diagnosis and mastectomy. Film is based on the book Upfront by Dackman.

Sometimes Lifetime movies are annoying because they try too hard not to be serious. Having had my best friend just go through breast cancer, I got pissed that Lake looked so good after surgery, and that the amount of time from diagnosis to the operating room was like a nanosecond. But the film did calm down after Linda joins a support group and meets Nicole (Robinson Peete) a former camp friend whose circumstances are quite different from hers -- she has no health insurance and is $100,000 in debt from the cancer.

This is not the best movie about breast cancer -- Lake overacts throughout -- but I always give Lifetime credit for tackling subjects other networks won't touch. I just wish they would trust themselves by now to know that we will watch and that the scripts don't need to be so cheesey anymore. My advice to Lifetime is to trust your audience, we are smarter than you think.

Film Comedies No Laughing Matter for Actresses
LA Times writer Carina Chocano takes on the new and disturbing trend -- the lack of roles for women in comedies.

Here are some interesting quotes.

When actress Isla Fisher (girlfriend to Sascha Baron Cohen of Borat fame and new mom) remarked on the dearth of decent comedy roles for women earlier this month ("I realized after 'Wedding Crashers' there aren't that many comic opportunities for women in Hollywood," she told Details magazine. "All the scripts are for men and you play 'the girl' "), the comment was widely picked up, with most of the headlines making some allusion to feminism.
So now in order to justify the truth, you can take comment and label it as "feminist" as a sure way to make sure it doesn't get treated seriously.
The idea that a girl might play anything other than "the girl" in a studio comedy is so far out of the mainstream that it's considered an experimental concept, not to mention a major financial risk. It seems that not a week goes by without a dust-up about the alleged misogyny of studio executives, or a lament about the state of women's careers in Hollywood, or an explosion of frustration on feminist blogs. (Hope she's referring to me)
Smart girl brings up the new Susan Faludi book and our culture's obsession with gender roles. She also refers to David Denby's summer piece in the New Yorker about romantic comedies. Here is my take on the Denby piece. A Fine Romance
"The (hot) girl" so thoroughly displaced the loopy broad -- that venerable type -- from American comedy, that it's hard to imagine where comedians such as Madeline Kahn, Bernadette Peters, Lily Tomlin, Diane Keaton or even Julia Roberts would fit in today.
The "likability" of the male hero has become such an imperative in American comedies -- even in small, woman-written ones such as "Lars" -- that a movie will sooner make a nice guy out of a dude in love with an anatomically correct Barbie than give us a girl's point of view.
When you think about the comedies with female protagonists, you have to go way back to movies like "My Best Friend's Wedding" and "Clueless" or to a bad movie such as "My Big Fat Greek Wedding," which inverted the fantasy and grossed $354 million worldwide. Maybe there's a lesson in Tyler Perry's ability to tap what is clearly some major pent-up demand from an underserved audience. Half the population is a pretty big niche audience.
Great piece, but as women are 52% of the population the whole niche thing is getting old. Read the piece: Film Comedies No Laughing Matter for Actresses

The Amazing Mrs. Pritchard
Since I got my Tivo a couple of years ago I hardly watch anything in its proper time slot. Last night I turned on The Amazing Mrs. Pritchard to get me to Brother & Sisters. Suffice it to say I haven't watched Brother & Sisters yet. I loooved this movie. I am a political junkie, especially for women in politics, and this film was my ultimate fantasy movie. The mini-series was written by Sally Wainwright and the premise is that Ros Pritchard (played so well by Jane Harrocks who is more known for her comedy), a manager of a Costco type superstore decides to get in the race to be a member of Parliament because she believes she can do as good a job if not better, than the current candidates who wound up in a fist fight outside her store.

Her candidacy sparks other women to get into the race gets people talking about politics and throws the British political system into a tizzy. Her party is called the Purple Alliance and she not only wins her seat, but becomes Prime Minister as a woman with no political experience whatsoever (she still seems more competent than our current president). Reality sets in immediately and she is confronted with international crises making her question her ability to handle the job.

There are several more parts on consecutive Sunday evenings on PBS. if you missed the first segment it will re-air on October 25 at 1am on PBS. Don't miss this.

Weekend Box Office: Women's movies shut down. Neither Rendition nor Things We Lost in the Fire did much business this weekend despite the relatively good reviews for Things. According to a spokesperson for Paramount, Things fared well with adult women. (LA Times)

The Jeff Robinov/Warner Brothers no more women in leads comment seems to have made its way to the heartland and people are pissed. Check out this story from the Kansas City Star.
Movie Studio Exec's Statement About no Women Leads Sparks Protests (Kansas City Star)

Stephanie Allain, one of the most successful African American female producers spoke this weekend at the Filmmakers Forum in LA.
Stephanie Allain (IndieWire)

Vanessa Redgrave was her usual outspoken self when receiving a lifetime achievement award at the Hampton's Film Festival.
Redgrave Bathes in Controversy (Hollywood Reporter)

Halle Berry talks about her career and her new film Things We Lost in the Fire
A Career So Strong it Survived Catwoman

Rod Lurie who is very good with women in politics and power has started shooting a new thriller Nothing but the Truth starring Kate Beckinsale and Matt Dillon. Other cast members include: Angela Bassett, Noah Wyle, Alan Alda, Vera Farmiga, Harry Lennix and David Schwimmer . Beckinsale stars as a reporter who reveals the identity of a CIA agent and is sent to jail for refusing to reveal her source. Bassett plays her editor in chief. (Hollywood Reporter)

Zooey Deschanel has been cast as the female lead in the new Jim Carrey comedy Yes Man. (Hollywood Reporter)

Tube Today
Diane English just wrapped the remake of The Women (scheduled now to be released in fall 2008) but the classic is on TV today. (2:30pm, TCM)