September 21, 2007

Jane Austen Book Club Review

Jane Austen Book Club

The Jane Austen Book Club is a movie I wanted to like really badly. The problem with wanting something so badly is that you are inevitably disappointed. This is my own fault because the film is perfectly good -- just not great.

The premise of the film based on the best-selling novel by Karen Joy Fowler, is that the six members of the book club gets together to read all of Austen's novels, which in turn helps all of them deal with the craziness of contemporary life. The film was adapted for the screen and directed by first time director Robin Swicord who has a host of other screenwriting credits including Memoirs of a Geisha and Little Women.

Members of the book club include: Kathy Baker as Bernadette the oft-married mother hen who comes up with the idea of the club; Sylvia played by Amy Brenneman who is going through the breakup of her marriage after 25 years to Daniel played by Jimmy Smits; Allegra (Maggie Grace) the lesbian daughter of Daniel and Sylvia who is more up front about her sexuality than her love for extreme sports; Prudie (Emily Blunt) an uptight high school French teacher stuck in a bad marriage; Jocelyn (Maria Bello) a dog breeder who prefers animals to people; and Grigg (Hugh Dancy) the lone man who initially is supposed to be a distraction for Sylvia.

The cast chemistry is fantastic. The book club scenes are the most interesting of the film, the characters come across as if they are really friends, which is a testament to the directing. I liked the movie, it just felt something was missing. It might be the book because I tried to read it when it came out and couldn't get into it, but there are millions of people who loved it and made it a best-seller. Check it out for yourself.

Friday Roundup

TV This Weekend
Season premiere of Cold Case (CBS). Those of you with Tivo don't forget to add an extra hour on your CBS programs due to the inevitable football overuns.

I'm not completely in love with Tell Me You Love Me the HBO show that airs on Sunday nights, but I have watched the first two episodes intensely. The sex is bold, frequent and I have to say that it's good to see both female and male nudity. Jane Alexander (who is fantastic as the central therapist) even gets involved and gives her husband? partner? David Selby a blow job. This is a show more about relationships than sex and as I've been reading everywhere and I do agree with this sentiment, the most interesting couple is the couple not having sex. Ally Walker from Profiler plays the wife and she is lost and lonely in her very busy supposedly happy life. The show is run by women and is the brainchild of Cynthia Mort who seems to be the female equivalent of David Chase. She's the writer, producer and creator. The first two episodes were directed by the Canadian director, Patricia Rozema. (HBO - Sundays)

Charlize Theron, a smart, feminist actress is now appearing in The Valley of Elah. She has been developing her own projects for a while and stars in her partner Stuart Townsend's film Battle in Seattle based on the WTO meeting in Seattle that screened and sold at the Toronto Film Festival. Here is a Reuters interview. Just a Minute With: Charlize Theron

Heigl the Mogul: Fresh off her Emmy win as Dr. Izzie Stevens on Grey's Anatomy, Katherine Heigl has optioned the book Lost & Found by Jacqueline Sheehan for her new production banner which she runs with her mother and manager, Nancy. (Variety)

Director Julie Taymor, out now with Across the Universe, picks the films most aesthetically stunning to her. Beautiful Features (EW)

Coming next week: early review of Bionic Woman

September 20, 2007

Jane Austen Book Club Opens Tomorrow

Jane Austen Book Club
Each week this site will recommend a film by or about women that is opening (hopefully there will be one opening each week) that we can support to encourage more films to be made by and about women.

This week Women & Hollywood recommends The Jane Austen Book Club written and directed by Robin Swicord based on the book by Karen Joy Fowler. (review to come tomorrow)

The Women scores many women! The Diane English written and directed remake (hopefully updated too) of The Women is now shooting in Boston. New cast members Bette Midler, Cloris Leachman, Carrie Fisher, Lynn Whitfield, Joanna Gleason, Ana Gasteyer and Debi Mazar have joined the already announced Meg Ryan, Annette Bening, Eva Mendes, Debra Messing, Jada Pinkett-Smith and Candice Bergen. Variety I am so excited for this. Hurry up and finish it!

Claire Danes is set to make her Broadway debut as Eliza Doolittle in George Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion. Danes From AP via Yahoo

The International Press Academy (IPA) has tapped actress Kathy Bates to receive the 2007 Mary Pickford Award for outstanding artistic contribution to the entertainment industry. Variety

New film Trade which opens at the end of the month premiered at the UN yesterday to highlight the issue of human trafficking. Star Kevin Kline was in attendance. Kevin Kline opens film at U.N. on trafficking in U.S. Reuters via Yahoo (review on film to come next week) Reuters via Yahoo

Dawn Steel early in her career (early 80s) shepherded the film Flashdance which gave us Jennifer Beals, Irene Cara's hit song- What a Feeling (I can't tell you how many times I sang that song in the shower), cut off sweatshirts and leg warmers (which seem to be coming back in style- yuck) as well as the controversy of the dance body double. Director Adrian Lyne revists the film on its DVD release. What a Feeling EW

Isla Fisher is ready to go on a shopping spree. The Wedding Crashers actress has signed on to star in Confessions of a Shopaholic, a Disney comedy based on the novels by Sophie Kinsella. Wedding Crashers actress becomes Shopaholic Hollywood Reporter via Reuters

September 19, 2007

The Emmys and Women

Where are the women?

(written by Mercedes)
"I know it's boring to gripe and moan about hard it is for women artists, but reading the nominees for the Emmys this morning in the New York Times I was so struck by the glaring gender inequality it made me wonder if we were truly living in the 21st Century. No one disputes that there are women actor categories, and I didn't look intently at the producers. I paid particular attention to the Director and Writer
categories, as they are in my mind particularly powerful and creative areas in which women are conspicuously absent. I know a plethora of talented women writers and directors, why aren't they in higher positions of power??????"

The Stats
Directing in a Comedy Series: O out of 6 were women
Directing in a Drama: 0 out of 7
Directing in a Variety, Music, or Comedy:O out of 5
Directing in a Mini Series: 1 out of 5 (Susanna White for Jane Eyre for Masterpiece Theatre)

That's a grand total of 1 out of 23 or .04%

Writing in a Comedy Series

1 out of 4. Thank God for Tina Fey
Writing in a Drama: 0 out of 7
Writing in a V,M,C
Colbert-- 2 out of 10
Stewart-1 out of 15
Conan- 0 out of 16
Letterman- 1 out of 15
Bill Maher- 0 out of 10

Writing in a Mini-Series or Drama Special
2 out of six (one is the Jane Eyre writer)

Grand Total: 6 out of 56 or 11%

Conclusion: Very Sad Indeed.

Thanks Mercedes

News of the Day- September 19

From Black PR Wire: Female Directors Struggle in a “Man’s World”
"Out of the 13,400 members of the Directors Guild of America (DGA) only 7% are female directors and less than 1% of directing jobs go to African-American women." Pathetic.

Whoopi Goldberg has to sign a profanity clause in all her contracts even though she has never sworn on broadcast TV. "Goldberg says people must think she's "on the precipice" of saying bad words at all times." (AP)

Elle Magazine is taking over the annual Women in Hollywood Tribute from the now defunct Premiere Magazine. Event takes place October 15. Amy Adams who stars in the upcoming Enchanted will get the Spotlight award.

Tonight is the premiere of the new show on the CW Gossip Girl based on the tween novels. Have seen the premiere episode and if you are over 15 the show is not for you. The girls are horrible to each other, catty, petty and down right mean. It shows the world of the very rich on the Upper East Side of Manhattan where fashion rules and mothers tell their daughters "you will never be as beautiful or thin or happy as you are now," and "put some more product in your hair, the ends are dry." Gee thank mom. And the first episode contains underage drinking, drug use and an attempted rape. This is supposed to be a great show for kids?

Jennifer Garner to play opposite Matthew McConaughey in Ghosts of Girlfriend Past. He plays his typical role of an idiot womanizer who gets visited by old girlfriends only to realize he is in love with his childhood sweetheart. Wonder how much money he's making for this?

Tatum O'Neal (how funny is she on Rescue Me?) will play the title tole in a Saving Grace (no relationship to the TV show starring Holly Hunter) which will be the directing debut of Connie Stevens. "O'Neal plays a woman who is released from an asylum after 15 years and move in with her sister (Penelope Ann Miller) and brother-in-law (Michael Biehn) in a 1950s-era Missouri town. Her arrival throws the couple's life into chaos." (Reuters)

"Delta Burke and Andrea Roth are starring in Bridal Fever, a Hallmark Channel original movie set to air next year." Hollywood Reporter via Reuters Bridal Fever

September 18, 2007


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Big Deal
Lauren Graham late of the Gilmore Girls just signed a mega deal with NBC. Deal calls for NBC to develop a series around her. Variety reports the deal is for seven figures.

Remember Sean Young?
She was big in the 80s in films like No Way Out with Kevin Costner. To say that it's been a struggle for her is an understatement. Here is an Entertainment Weekly piece: Sean Young