Currently browsing the "Female led films" category.

Review: Slalom

Competitive sports are hell on the body and the mind. Even more so when you’re a teenager with no support system. In Slalom, Lyz (Noée Abita) is an ambitious and talented young skier who eyes the fulfillment of her dreams when she’s accepted at a prestigious ski training school in the French Alps. She’s just 15-years-old and still in high school, and pretty naive about the world. But ski pro-turned-coach Fred (Jérémie Renier) sees something in her and takes her on as his special case, training her hard and pushing her to be the best. And it works. She starts winning all the big prizes. But that’s not all he wants from her. He’s a predator, a control freak, and a sleaze. And she’s too young to have to deal with that, especially when her mother is nowhere to be found. Writer-director Charlène Favier, herself a former competitive skier, says the film isn’t exactly autobiographical, but it depicts the uneven power dynamic between athletes and their coaches that can and has crossed the line all too frequently in the sport. It’s a powerful #metoo film with great performances.

Review: Quo Vadis, Aida?

Talk about a film that’s hard to watch! This Oscar nominee from Bosnia and Herzegovina tells the horrifying story of the days leading up to the 1995 massacre of 8,000+ Bosnian Muslim men and boys from the town of Srebrenica. The central character is Aida (Jasna Duricic), a school teacher from the town and also a translator for the UN peacekeeping forces there during the wars that tore apart the former Yugoslavia. When the Bosnian Serbian army rolls into town, despite the fact that the United Nations had declared it a UN safe area two years earlier, the Muslim citizens flee to the nearby UN camp looking for shelter and safety. Aida’s husband and sons are among those fleeing. But as she can see from inside, the UN troops are left high and dry by the UN command in New York, and they’re outgunned by Serbian Gen. Ratko Mladic (Boris Isakovic) and his army. And as the time ticks by Aida does everything she can to save her family, though if you know the history, you know it cannot end well.

Quickie Review: The World To Come

Dreary. That’s the life of the people who inhabit this film. It’s 1859, somewhere in upstate New York, and a farmer and his wife, Abigail (Katherine Waterston, Fantastic Beasts, Steve Jobs) and Dyer (Casey Affleck, Our Friend, Manchester By the Sea) are still coming to terms with the loss of their only child, when another couple comes into their lives. The wife Tallie (Vanessa Kirby, Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw) is a welcomed distraction from sad Abigail’s drudgery. Her own marriage to Finney (Christopher Abbott) is claustrophobic, as he has a very limited view of a wife’s role. So the two women immediately click. And before you know it, they have moved from bosom buddies to lesbian lovers. And for a brief period they’re happy. But it can’t last.

Arty Chick’s Seven Flicks: Week 9

Week Nine of films that I remember fondly. It’s amazing how many great films come to mind when I go down my cinematic memory lane. A lot of this week’s picks are from the 80s. The oldest is from 1979. And the newest from 2003. So it’s a fairly modern bunch. No black and white. No foreign films this time. We’ve got comedy, war, feminism, even a Western in the mix. Big films and indies. But all of them are highly recommended.

 

The films are: Crimes and Misdemeanors, The Thin Red Line, Silverado, Broadcast News, Ordinary People, The Station Agent, My Brilliant Career

 

Review: Promising Young Woman

I finally have a solid front-runner for my ‘best of’ list for film and lead actress for 2020. It’s Promising Young Woman starring Carey Mulligan (Wildlife, Mudbound, An Education). The movie defies the boundaries of any particular genre. It’s got dark comedy, drama, crime, vengeance, timely relevance, a great soundtrack, and a twist. Oh, what a twist.

Review: I’m Your Woman

I’m Your Woman is a quiet and engrossing crime drama starring Rachel Brosnahan (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel) as a woman forced to go on the run after her thief of a husband wrongs the wrong people.

Arty Chick’s Seven Flicks: Week 2

Week two of listing favorite films that may not be on your radar because they’re not new. A few of these were made before I was born, and they’re still resonant. This week’s seven run the gamut of genres and styles.

I give you a Chinese Kung-Fu comedy, a French rom-com, a Frank Capra classic, a Hong Kong gangster vs cop drama, a brilliant gothic horror tale, a women’s lib girl power comedy, and the funniest rom-com ever made.

There’s something for everyone here.

 

Quickie Review: Friendsgiving

It’s that time of year. The holiday movies are upon us and the first one out of the gate is this sometimes funny comedy centered on a couple of besties in Hollywood who had planned on a low-key Thanksgiving together, but end up in a crowded house with a bunch of wacky friends and characters. Molly (Malin Akerman, “DollFace”, Watchmen) is a famous actress who’s just been through a divorce and is looking for some distraction. And her life-long friend Abby (Kat Dennings, Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist, Thor) is just getting over her first lesbian relationship. But when their friend Lauren’s (Aisha Tyler, “Archer, “Criminal Minds”) Thanksgiving plans fall through, she invites herself and a dozen others over and it turns into a crowded plot that goes nowhere. And that’s sad since it has a talented cast. I was hoping for a warm and funny Home for the Holidays, but got an R-rated Lifetime holiday flick.

Review: Maxima

When I heard the title of this film, I thought it might be another superhero epic. And I was right, though not the way I expected. The superhero here is a tiny little indigenous farmer from Peru named Maxima Acuna Atalaya Chaupe whose fight against an enormous transnational corporation inspired environmentalists and human rights supporters around the world. This powerful documentary follows tiny Maxima through her arduous journey, taking her from her remote mountaintop to courtrooms in Lima and Washington. And she’s an inspiration.

Review: A Call to Spy

This based-on-a-true-story WWII drama centers on three women in a British spy agency you probably never heard of – the SOE, Special Operations Executive. Early in the war, it was set up to recruit women to enter Nazi-occupied France, send back intelligence, and build the resistance. Churchill figured that women could move around more inconspicuously than men. In the film Vera Atkins (Stana Katic, “Castle”) a secretary of the SOE is in charge of recruitment and selects two women to send abroad – Virginia Hall (Sarah Megan Thomas), an American woman with a wooden leg who’s been turned down for the US diplomatic corps, and Noor Inayat Khan (Radhika Atpe), a Muslim pacifist who’s a crack wireless operator. They both distinguished themselves, so much so in Hall’s case that Klaus Barbie gave orders to hunt her down.