July 25, 2008

Women at the Box Office This Weekend

Last week Mamma Mia! did great numbers as counter programming to Batman. If you haven't seen it yet, make sure to go this weekend.

Other films opening this weekend, while not about women have some of my favorite feminist actors in them.

Brideshead Revisited: I am a little too young to have seen the mini-series but this adapatation by Julian Jarrold reminds me of the great Merchant-Ivory productions like A Room With a View. Emma Thompson co-stars as the mean Lady Marchmain and Matthew Goode and newcomer Hayley Atwell are terrific and Charles and Julia. It felt at times rushed and the whole demise of Charles relationship with Sebastian just kind of disappeated when it was prominent in the first half of the film. The Brideshead house is spectacular. Here's a recent interview with the divine Ms. Thompson. Brideshead opens on 33 screens and will expand next week to 225.

The X-Files: I Still Believe: I haven't seen this but it is one of the first big action films that I am really excited for and the reason is simple -- Gillian Anderson. There was no better and more confident female character on TV than Dana Scully. None of the women on TV today would be able to do what they do without Scully coming first. Check out Rebecca Traister's ode to Scully.

Also opening in limited release is Nanette Burstein's look at high school life: American Teen. It's kind of like The Breakfast Club and John Hughes' other high school flicks, but real. I hated high school so having to see kids go through it again made me cringe at times. Burstein spent months on location with these kids in Warsaw, Indiana, and she shows the unbelievable pressure of being a kid today. One false step and you could lose your future. To me, the heart of the film is Hannah Bailey, the creative, quirky girl who goes from confident and bubbly to scarily depressed after her boyfriends dumps her. (Note to that loser - how pathetic are you now?) Her mom is a manic depressive, and when Hannah can't get out of bed and loses interest in everything including school, the alarm bells take way too long to go off. She is able to bounce back and now is in film school in NY. The other story that resonated with me was that of star basketball player Colin Clemens who is under such pressure from his dad to get an athletic scholarship to college. It's either a free ride or the army. Talk about pressure.

Remaining in Theatres
Mamma Mia!
Kit Kittredge: An American Girl
Brick Lane- opens in Anchorage, FL, Hawaii, Des Moines, Indianapolis, New Orleans, NC, Baltimore, NM, Baltimore, TN
Sex and the City
The Stone Angel- Seattle

Why I Do What I Do

This is a comment from Barbara regarding a posting last week on Prejudice and Discrimination Against Women Artists:

A few years ago I was in a pitch meeting with a male development exec, pitching my latest woman centered project, and at the end of the pitch he said to me, "Barbara, when are you going to realize that films about men are just more interesting than films about women?"

When I started film school, the head of the department told the entire class of new students that the women would never finish their films. We women in the class were the only ones that did finish our films.
Let's hear some more stories. The only way we can make change is to peel back the curtain and let people know what's happening. Thanks Barbara.

July 24, 2008

Male Actors Outearn Women 2 to 1

Forbes released its list of Hollywood's top earners and the men way out earn the women -- $487 million compared to $244.5 million.

It amazes me the Eddie Murphy and Mike Meyers who produced turkeys this year are in the top 5. It seems that Cameron Diaz is the top female earner thanks to Shrek.

Hollywood's Best-Paid Actors (Forbes)
photo: Albert L. Ortega/ PR Photos

Hollywood Feminist of the Day: Rosario Dawson

For spending the next couple of months trying to get the Latino vote out through her organization Voto Latino:

"There's 18 million [people who] are eligible. But we are not showing that up in votes. So our numbers aren't counting. When you actually ... work with local organizations – that makes the biggest impact, and that's what I want to be a part of." People Magazine

July 23, 2008

61st Carnival of Feminists

Women & Hollywood contributed a post to the 61st feminist blog carnival. You can read all different types of feminist writings (not just on entertainment).

Here's the intro:
STEP RIGHT UP and git' yer feminism, kids! We got all kinds o' feminism here. We got radical feminism! We got second wave feminism! We got third wave feminism! We got pro-feminist men! We got religious feminists! We got sex worker feminists! We got ever' kinda feminist, 'cause as all feminists know, we ain't no monolithic group that's gotta agree on ever' damn thang. There's room for ever'body at this here booth, so step right up and claim yer prize!

Read More

Ebert and Roeper Retire and are Replaced by Two Guys

Not that this should surprise anyone, but in light of the research of the lack of female films critics, the most famous TV critics Roger Ebert and Richard Roeper (who never interested me as much as Gene Siskel) have been replaced by Ben Lyons (son of critics Jeffrey Lyons) and Ben Mankiewicz (grandson of screenwriter Herman and great-nephew of director, Joseph L.)

Couldn't they have thought of teaming one of them up with a woman? Why was that not an option?
Disney names 'At the Movies' hosts

July 22, 2008

Missing: Female Film Reviewers

As a person who writes about films and sees lots of critics at screenings I can tell you that men (many boys) dominate the critic ranks. Dr. Martha Lauzen, the guru of stats and the head of San Diego State's Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film has done a research study analyzing who is writing film reviews. The study, Thumbs Down: The Representation of
Women Film Critics in The Top 100 U.S. Daily Newspapers was released today. Here are some of the highlights (or lowlights).

  • Men write the overwhelming majority of film reviews in the nation’s top newspapers. In Fall 2007, men penned 70% and women 30% of all reviews.
  • Furthermore, of the newspapers featuring film reviews, 47% had no reviews written by women critics, writers or freelancers. In contrast, only 12% had no reviews written by men critics, writers or freelancers.
  • Men outnumbered women in every job title category considered. Seventy seven percent (77%) of film critics were male and 23% were female.
Also, keep in mind that the reach of a newspaper critics has grown due to the fact that their criticism is on the internet.
  • By genre, romantic comedies and dramas constituted a larger proportion of the reviews written by women than by men.
  • Films with women filmmakers comprised a larger proportion of the films reviewed by women than by men. Of the reviews written by women, 22% were for films with at least one woman director or writer. Of the reviews written by men, 14% were for films with at least one woman director or writer.
  • A significantly higher percentage of films reviewed by women were for films featuring female protagonists or ensemble casts. Of the reviews written by women, 33% were for films featuring a female protagonist or ensemble cast and 67% were for films featuring a male protagonist. Of the reviews written by men, 18% were for films featuring a female protagonist or ensemble cast and 82% were for films featuring a male protagonist.
And Professor Lauzen adds: "the under-representation of women film critics, writers and freelancers may cause films featuring females or with women filmmakers to receive less coverage." So because guys review more movies about guys and there are fewer female critics, movies about women are screwed. Finally, here are the figures to prove it. It wouldn't surprise me if some women critics didn't only want to write about women's movies because they don't want to be known as the person who writes about women. Honestly, I embrace it.

So here is the depressing view from Dr. Lauzen: "The bottom line is that film criticism in this country's newspapers remains a largely male enterprise, echoing the heavy male dominance behind the scenes and on screen in the film industry."

Nuff said. Let's get cracking on training some more female critics. Read
full report

July 21, 2008

No Posts

Traveling the early part of this week. Sporadic, if any posting. Be back soon.