December 21, 2007

December 21, 2007

Frances Marion Awards

Women & Hollywood honors the hard women working of Hollywood in both TV and film who have to endure the tabloids, the sexist culture and the paucity of meaty roles with its first annual Frances Marion** Awards. These awards are for films and TV by and/or about women that show women for who we all are: flawed, fat, thin, messed up, leaders, hot, sexy...real. We're not looking for perfect women, just real ones.

Best of the Year
Away from Her
Julie Christie is majestic in her depiction of a woman's descent into Alzheimer's and how it effects her husband who is left behind with just their memories.

Stephanie Daley
A teenage girl's knowledge of lack there of of her pregnancy is at the heart of this drama with has amazing performances from Tilda Swinton, and Amber Tamblyn. Writer and director Hilary Brougher challenges the audience to think about this very complicated issue. Film still resonates months later.

Building on the theme of teenage pregnancy, this original, funny script deals with the subject without talking down to girls or the audience. Breakout performance of the year by Ellen Page and the birth of a new female "it" writer in Diablo Cody.

Marjane Satrapi's life in Iran under the Islamic revolution first written as a graphic novel is translated onto screen as an animate graphic novel. Film is incredibly moving and educational. (review next week)

The Best of the Rest
Freedom Writers
Hillary Swank attempts to inspire inner city students.

The Iranian national soccer team is in a final game to qualify for the world cup. Women are forbidden from attending the game. Several young women desperate to cheer on their team dress as boys to try and get in.

Black Book
The story of a young Jewish woman trying to survive Nazi occupation of Holland in 1944, and what happens when she falls for one of the of the Nazis.

Red Road
A CCTV security guard in Scotland sees a face on her screen one day that sets into motion a series of events.

Adrienne's Shelly's touching script a directing elevate this comedy/drama about a pregnant abused waitress who just wants wants to make pies (and not be abused).

The true story of Kiranjit Ahluwalia who after being sentence to life in prison for killing her abusive husband fought to change the law for all women in England.

In the late 70s, Gracie wants play soccer like her brothers but there is no girls team. She wants to try out for the boys team but she is rebuffed. She perseveres and reminds us how happy we are that we have Title IX.

A Mighty Heart
The story of the kidnapping of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl and how his wife Marianne aided and kept the focus on the search for him.

La Vie En Rose
Marion Cottilard as Edith Piaf. She is amazing, you can't take your eyes off of her. Too bad the film doesn't live up to her performance.

Broken English
Parker Posey is Nora a 30 something single female New Yorker, depressed, unhappy in her job and unsatisfied with her life. She knows she wants more but can't figure out how to get there. Sound familiar? Directorial debut of Zoe Cassavetes.

Becoming Jane
Jane Austen writes about love like no other novelist. The film build on the rumor that Jane has a great love in her life that helped inform all her work.

Fun musical that hits on many important issues including racism and weight issues.

2 Days in Paris
Julie Delpy wrote, directed, edited, and stars in this funny romance about a mismatched couple.

The Brave One

Jodie Foster become suffers a total breakdown and becomes a vigilante after a brutal attack.

Things We Lost in the Fire
Susanne Bier's character study of two people struggling to survive after facing a devastating loss.

Nina's Heavenly Delights
Fun film about finding love and cooking curry set in the Indian community of Glasgow, Scotland.

4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days
A Harrowing look at the illegal abortion trade in Romania under the Ceausescu regime in Romania (review next week)

Sex trafficking keeps growing and the girls are getting younger and younger and nobody seems to care enough to do anything about it. Film follows the abduction of a girl and her brother's struggle to get her back.

The Golden Compass
Fantasy adventure about a young girl who turns out to be the key saving her world.

Not About Women but Directed by a Woman and Worth Seeing
Talk to Me- directed by Kasi Lemmons
The Namesake- directed by Mira Nair
The Savages- directed by Tamara Davis

Women Auteur (yes, women can be auteurs)
Julie Taymor - Across the Universe- because you can always tell a Julie Taymor project and she never fails to impress with her creative vision.

Women & Hollywood watches a lot of TV and wants to acknowledge that TV is the medium with the strongest female roles, and appreciates that the people who work in TV business acknowledge that women are a viable market.

Best Women Centric Shows on TV (shout out to the striking writers- please settle, I'm scared that I will have nothing to watch in January and I refuse to be sucked into reality TV)

Women's Murder Club- cause these gals are crime fighters who are not afraid to be women. Angie Harmon- best TV comeback of the year

Cold Case- cause the show is run by mostly women and touches on long undiscussed history like suffrage and Japanese internment camps.

The Amazing Mrs. Pritchard- cause it was damn nice to see that a woman in charge can make mistakes as a leader and move on. Am hoping for the reality TV version in the US next November.

Grey's Anatomy- Shonda Rhimes has changed TV. Nuff said.

Army Wives- Sappiness aside this series shows war from the female perspective and actually has a black female officer in the main cast.

Damages- cause Glenn Close is deliciously good as the deliciously bad Patty Hewes.

The Closer- cause I love to hear Kyra Sedgwick say thank you very much in her Georgia twang. And because she has gotten the respect of her mostly male team with her total competence as a crime solver.

Saving Grace- cause Holly Hunter is out of her mind and I've never seen anything like it or heard this amount of curse words on TV before.

Ugly Betty- cause I love America Ferrara and love to hate Vanessa Williams and for having the funniest gay men on TV.

Men in Trees- cause it's quirky and endearing and that Anne Heche is a total goofball. And especially for Jane falling for Plowguy.

30 Rock- cause finally we have a feminist comedy that's actually funny. The cast is the best on TV.

Battlestar Galactica- cause gender doesn't matter in their world. Women kick ass just as good if not better than the guys!

** In case you're wondering Frances Marion was one of the most prolific screenwriters in her day. At one time she was the highest paid screenwriter -- man or woman. She paved the way for all women working in the business today. Women & Hollywood is proud to honor her work.

Weekend at the Box Office
Big weekend for new releases.
P.S. I Love You starring Hillary Swank is the widest female centric release this weekend. It opens on about 2,500 screens. Haven't seen it yet but I will contribute to its box office tally this weekend.

Other films of interest opening include Charlie Wilson's War. Tom Hanks gives a hysterical performance as the pathetic Congressman Wilson who basically facilitating the US arming the mujahideen in Afghanistan to fight the Communists. Directed by Mike Nichols it illuminates the short sidedness of US foreign policy or lack thereof and the US complicity in the pathetic situation we find ourselves in today. Great script by Aaron Sorkin, amazing performance by Phillip Seymour Hoffman.

Still in Theatres
The Savages
The Golden Compass
August Rush
Margot at the Wedding
Across the Universe

Opening December 25
Persepolis- limited