September 26, 2008

Women at the Box Office This Weekend

Nights at Rodanthe is the film this weekend targeted at women. It's another in the line of Nicholas Sparks romantic novels like The Notebook and Message in a Bottle that are very good at attracting women. I mean, really, how can you go wrong with Richard Gere and Diane Lane. They have some serious on screen chemistry as two people who meet one weekend and fall in love at an inn on the Outer Banks of North Carolina during a hurricane. The circumstances may seem absurd, but the characters come off as real with Lane playing a woman deciding whether she wants to divorce her cheating husband, and Gere playing a doctor dreading a confrontation with the husband of a patient who died on his operating table.

Kudos to producer Denise Di Novi who has a great track record producing films for women including the subversive Heathers, Little Women, Practical Magic, What a Girl Wants and both Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants films. I loved that director George C. Wolfe cast Viola Davis as Lane's best friend and owner of the inn. I appreciate that he showed a real, loving friendship between a white woman and an African-American woman (which Tyler Perry also did in The Family That Preys. Interesting that both films are directed by African American men.) I loved how after falling in love, Lane returned to her art which she had given up to raise her family. I loved that the film gave hope and possibilities for rediscovering yourself. I loved that Diane Lane looked like a normal 40 something woman. She is beyond gorgeous but looks real, with lines of her face that match her age (unlike Meg Ryan looked in The Women.)

I thought the first half was stronger than the second, when it became a really sappy melodrama. But the second half included a great reconciliation between Lane and her teenage daughter played by Mae Whitman. They fought all through the film (typical teen film bullshit), but when Whitman stepped up to help her mother through her grief, it showed what a lovely young actress Whitman has become.

Other Women-Centric Films in Theatres
Hounddog: Concerned Women for America is trying to boycott Hounddog. It's important not to let the right-wing efforts shut down giving people the ability to judge the film for themselves. Director Deborah Kampmeier will be doing a Q&A following the 5:15pm show Saturday at the Cinema Village. (disclaimer, I am consultant to the film)

The Duchess
The Women
Frozen River
Trouble the Water
The Family That Preys
The Longshots
Mamma Mia!
Kit Kittredge: An American Girl

Also, Diane Keaton opens in limited release in Smother which does not seem to be reviewed. It doesn't look promising but in case you must see Diane Keaton this weekend...

Doubt Trailer

Totally got the chills while watching this. Opens December 12th. Oscar nominations for all!

September 25, 2008

What Happened to Diane Keaton?

Somebody please tell me WTF happened to Diane Keaton? She is one of the leading older working actresses. She was awesome in her oscar nominated performance in Something's Gotta Give. (always watchable film even on basic cable with commercials) which was supposed to revitalize her career? I did like her a couple of years ago as the mom in The Family Stone, but lately she has been playing crazy, overbearing, stalker moms, which I find so sad.

Her first stalker mom was in the much maligned Because I Said So, and Mama's Boy (which co-starred Jon Heder as her slacker son who likes living with mom) didn't even make it to the theatres here in the US. Now this week comes Smother (which did not screen widely -- never a good sign) where she plays a mother who moves in with her son and pressures him to have a baby. The title just makes me want to run for the hills.

Can someone please give this woman a good script? Meryl Streep can't do them all, and if she can we are in a more sorry state than I ever could have imagined.

photo credit: David Grabber/PR photos

Jada Pinkett Smith to Join the Women on TNT

Jada Pinkett Smith will star in and executive produce a pilot for TNT, Time Heals. Smith will play a nursing director and single mother (widow) in the show created by John Masius (St. Elsewhere).

From the press release:

TIME HEALS takes place at Charlotte Mercy Hospital in North Carolina, where the strong but caring Nancy Hawthorne (Pinkett Smith) continuously fights a battle she often knows she won’t win. Whether treating the homeless woman in front of the hospital like a human being or trying to talk a suicidal cancer patient off the ledge, Nancy must challenge hospital administrators, heartless doctors, apathetic colleagues and a system that sometimes forgets it’s there to serve the sick.
Sounds like a great addition to The Closer and Saving Grace. TNT is getting very smart with its programming.
photo credit: Glenn Harris/PR Photos

Stars Standing Up Against Sex Slavery

Gotta love Ashley Judd for continuing to stand up about the most important issues effected our planet. Also in this clip are Julia Ormond, Madeleine Albright and Cornel West.

Check Out My Piece in More Magazine

My piece on Abby Disney is on p. 36.

September 24, 2008

Sarah Jessica Parker Film Gets Release

Spinning Into Butter, the Mark Brokaw directed film, adapted from Rebecca Gilman's play, has been finished for a while but couldn't get distribution. Now that Sarah Jessica Parker's film cred is through the roof this tough film about race relations on a college campus will be released in early 2009 by Screen Media.

I'm sure the poster and trailer will be updated but here's what I found:

It's 'Butter' for Screen Media (Hollywood Reporter)

TV Guide Cover Takes Sexism to a New Level

Another reason why I don't watch this show anymore. Yuck.

Box Office Notes

  • Mamma Mia! was the number one foreign movie for the third week in a row with $14.5 million. The worldwide gross has reached $476.1 million.
  • The Women declined in its second week, but its total box office take in now at $19.3 million which is more than it cost to make.
  • The Duchess made a whopping $27,000 per screen gross in its debut weekend on 7 screens.

September 23, 2008

The Sexist Emmy Awards

I was traveling all day yesterday without internet access so here's my delayed wrap up from the Emmy Awards. Firstly, the show was so goddamn boring. The ratings sucked - only 12.2 million people watched. Secondly, from the get go, I thought it was extremely sexist. TV, unlike film, gives me hope because it does embrace women in leading roles. But clearly there was a disconnect between the women who were honored onstage and the pathetic, sexist writing that dominated the show.

The whole opening bit with the reality show hosts was HORRIBLE and went to the dark side when Heidi Klum's tuxedo was pulled off by William Shatner to reveal black Daisy Duke shorts. Gross.

But the saving grace was Tina Fey, and boy do I love her. She won 3 freakin Emmy Awards. Best writing, best actress in a comedy, and best comedy show. All the talk was about Mad Men and how basic cable is the new HBO, but to me Tina is the story. She is a Juggernaut.

But, people you have got to watch her show. Think of 30 Rock as a women's film. You gotta support it. I am very serious about this. The ratings for this show are not great, but NBC didn't have much in the pipeline this year and they also believe in the show so they stuck with it.

. It is totally feminist, and totally subversive. Tina Fey is the real deal. A writer and actor who looks and thinks like a normal person.

Alec Baldwin who is absolutely hysterical on 30 Rock and won best actor in a comedy said this about Fey after calling her the Elaine May of her generation:

We have the greatest writers, but the show was created by one woman. This was Tina's idea. This was Tina's thing. She is the head writer. She is there every day, even when she's not shooting as an actress. She goes back and forth between acting and writing. We're very, very lucky.
Sometimes the crazy man actually sounds sane.

Not that I needed any more reasons to love her more, but I do for saying this about playing Sarah Palin on SNL.
I want to be done playing this lady Nov. 5. So if anybody can help me be done playing this lady Nov. 5, that would be good for me.
Other awesome women winners:
Glenn Close- Actress, Drama, Damages. Close gave a great shout out to all her fellow nominees who by the way were all over 40. She basically said that her award shows that "complicated, powerful mature women are sexy and high entertainment and can carry a show. She called them all "The sisterhood of the TV drama divas."

Jean Smart- Supporting Actress, Comedy- Samantha Who?
Dianne Wiest- Supporting Actress, Drama- In Treatment
Paula Weinsten- Producer, Made for TV Movie, Recount
Laura Linney- Actress, Mini Series or Movie, John Adams
Eileen Atkins, Supporting Actress, Mini Series or Movie, Cranford
Tricia Regan, Director, Non-Fiction Special, Autism the Musical

Check out this smart piece from Sarah Warn at After Ellen:
Women were almost completely absent from all the directing and writing categories (in other words, any categories that were not gender-specific). There were no women nominated in the categories of Outstanding Directing for a Miniseries, Movie or Dramatic Special or Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series (all the nominees were white men), and there was only one woman nominated in the categories of Outstanding Director for a Drama Series (Arlene Sanford, for an episode of Boston Legal), Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series (Robin Veith for Mad Men) and Outstanding Writing for a Miniseries, Movie or Dramatic Special (Heidi Thomas). None of them won.

If visibility was bad for women overall, it was really bad for women of color.
After Ellen's Emmy Wrap Up

Trolls and Spammers Be Gone

Just want to let you all know, especially the awesome people who post comments, that I guess the site has made it to a level where trolls and spammers have found it and posted some stupid comments and crap. So...I'm deleting any nasty trolls and spamming comments.