Directed &/or written by women, May 2016

Australian cinema release dates.

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Films directed/co-directed by a woman opening in May 2016:

The Meddler directed by Lorene Scafaria, release date 19th of May 2016 (via Palace Cinemas)

Limited runs:

The Silences directed by Margot Nash at Mercury Cinema

There are also a number of movies directed by women screening at Essential Independents in May and June: The Fits, Yosemite, Near Dark, River of Grass and The Virgin Suicides.

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Films written/co-written by a woman opening in May 2016:

Mia Madre co-written by Valia Santella (directed by Nanni Moretti) release date 5th of May 2016 (via Palace Cinemas)

Alice Through the Looking Glass written by Linda Woolverton (directed by James Bobin) release date 26th of May 2016 (via Hoyts)

Check below for where the films are screening:

Palace Nova; Hoyts; Wallis; Greater Union; Capri Theatre; Odeon Star; The Regal Theatre/Trak Cinemas.

Once again, I’m just one (forgetful and easily overwhelmed) person and can sometimes miss things so, please let me know if I have! I think doing these once a month means I sometimes miss films that pop up unexpectedly but I don’t think I could manage doing them more frequently, just yet.

Note: information correct at time of publishing.

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Jennifer’s Body, 2009

When I put the DVD for Jennifer’s Body (directed by Karyn Kusama) in the player and settled in to watch it, I was fully prepared for a terrible movie. This was because of the few reviews I’d read and general attitude regarding this film as a truly Bad Movie. I should’ve known better, from past experience, than to pay attention to the bad reviews: this was awesome.

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I’ve since read this has become somewhat of a cult classic, but I haven’t read extensively enough to know if this is true. I did read some good reviews on letterboxd after I watched it, including this one that seemed to capture exactly how I felt about the film as I was watching it. One of the things I noticed, as highlighted in the linked review, is the strong theme of (female) friendship, something I wasn’t expecting at all. This isn’t a typical teen horror flick and maybe that’s why it got so many bad reviews. It’s made more for (and by) girls and women and that made it pretty refreshing to watch.

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Cody’s script is a little weak at some points, I won’t deny that, but these characters – particularly Jennifer and Needy – are so well-written and so much more than the typical ‘nerd’ and ‘slut’ stereotypes they could easily be. Megan Fox and Amanda Seyfried are brilliant in fleshing out the roles created by Cody in her script.

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It’s very well directed by Kusama and beautifully photographed, too. There are some really lovely shots in this film and the gorgeous colours are rarely seen in horror.

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I don’t think it was quite as subversive or feminist as it set out to be and this is largely because of the competitive undercurrent in Jennifer and Needy’s friendship as well as some parts of the ending. It’s a pity it didn’t take it’s subversion further but no film is perfect and I still thoroughly enjoyed Jennifer’s Body.

When I noticed there was a theatrical cut and an extended cut, I spent about five minutes agonising over which to watch. I went for the theatrical in the end because I like watching films as they were released initially for my first watch but I’ll definitely be watching the extended cut at some point.

On the subject of Kusama’s films, I also watched Æon Flux which I didn’t think was terrible, either. I’ve never watched the cartoon/animated series, which could have something to do with it but I don’t think it deserves the vitriol it receives. It was a little difficult to follow and the characters could seem shallow, I suppose, but it was very striking.

I now have Girlfight in my queue and I’m hoping to see The Invitation at some point so I can finish off my viewing of Kusama’s films. I have a feeling I’ll enjoy those two, as well.

Happy Rex Manning Day!

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Like many others around my age, Empire Records (1995) is a staple of my film diet and a much loved favourite. It’s not just that it taps into the fantasy of working in a cool record store or the super rad 90s clothes. It’s more than the excellent soundtrack and quotable one-liners. More than the underdog triumphing over corporation and anything else you could think of that makes it appealing. It’s also the friends I’ve shared it with along the way: the best friend who introduced me to it when we were 14 and started it all and everyone else I’ve bonded with over the years who love it just as much as I do. There’s a lot of nostalgia wrapped up in the film for me and, I know, countless others. That’s why I keep going back to Empire Records. And that’s why I say: happy Rex Manning Day, everyone! Damn the man, save the Empire!

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We mustn’t dwell. No, not today. We can’t. Not on Rex Manning day!

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Say no more, mon amour!

 

March 2016 Roundup

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I feel like these are getting shorter each month! I didn’t spend as much time on twitter in March, which I think greatly reduced my reading material and exposure to movie news. I’ve also been working on costumes for Oz Comic Con, which has been pretty time consuming. But, anyway, on to the roundup!

Bits and bobs or things that made me happy:

-A friend told me about the director’s cut of 54 and now I’m desperate to see it! I remember actually liking 54 when I saw it, but that was many years ago; I would say my taste was less refined then but it’s hardly refined now. Either way, from what I’ve read the director’s cut sounds amazing.

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-I‘m more pumped than ever for the Wonder Woman movie, next year, and this first look at Diana with her family is pretty cool. I really love all the gold tones. I’m not 100% on board with the decisions made (the high heels for one) or the reasons behind them (you can read about them in the linked article) but I still find the costumes very appealing.

This tumblr was created as a response to the huge number of women who love women who end up dead in various media. ‘They don’t die’ is a great project that anyone can submit to; here is the link to the movies tag.

Clem Bastow linked to The Walk of Life Project and I spent a while going through and watching all of the ones for movies I’d seen. I have to say, I’m pretty convinced that it is the best song to end any film with.

-There will be three Fantastic Beasts films, which is very cool! The first one comes out later this year and looks pretty amazing so far.

Favourite March watches:

March was essentially the month of Star Trek and Batman/Superman (re)watches for me. I’ve already gone over how much I loved the Star Trek TOS movies, so I won’t say much about them again.

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I think my absolute favourite first time watch for March was Star Trek: The Motion Picture (pictured above). I tend to like my sci-fi either super camp, cheesy and/or OTT or more contemplative and intellectual. TMP fits the latter but some of the other Star Trek films fulfilled my love of the former kind.

Hush…Hush, Sweet Charlotte (pictured in header image) runs a close second for favourite watch, and other highlights were definitely The Wrath of Khan, Griff the Invisible, Futureworld (pictured below) and Jennifer’s Body.

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Of the Batman/Superman rewatches, I was surprised to find Batman Begins is now my favourite of Nolan’s Batman trilogy. I made a list to see how all the Batman and Superman films rank against each other for me and they’re pretty even. I nearly made it through all of them before going to see Batman v Superman but, because I wanted to see BvS on the first day, I didn’t quite fit in Man of Steel (which I watched the day after). Wonder Woman was definitely my favourite part of BvS and I’m excited that she was a highlight for a lot of people.

I only got to the cinema twice in March (I’ve decided my goal is to go at least once a month this year) to see Hail, Caesar! and Batman v Superman. I’d say Hail, Caesar! has made me want more tap-dancing sailors in cinema but that would imply I didn’t want that before.

Resolutions updates:
Watch more movies made by women.

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I only watched four women-directed movies in March: Seeking a Friend for the End of the World; Can’t Stop the Music; Office Killer and Jennifer’s Body. Jennifer’s Body (pictured above) was the last I watched and definitely my favourite. I was expecting it to be pretty terrible, to be honest, from the little I’d read but I loved it. I need to watch it again before I write anything substantial about it but I’ve read a little of what others have had to say that’s helping me form my thoughts better. Can’t Stop the Music was a close second because I love musicals and I love disco. Simple as that, really! Office Killer (pictured below) was a nice surprise and Seeking a Friend for the End of the World was ultimately disappointing.

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Watch more Australian films.

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Griff the Invisible (pictured above) was the only Australian film I watched for all of March, which I’ve already written about; if it only had to be one for March I’m glad it was this one. I want to see The Daughter (pictured below) and A Month of Sundays this month, so hopefully there will be at least two Australian films in my roundup for April.

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Write (and read) more!

My emotional Star Trek ramblings certainly helped on the writing front and I still managed to write at least one sentence for everything I logged on letterboxd. I didn’t read quite as much, though. That’s partially because I stayed away from Twitter for a little while, which is where I find most of my movie-related reading material these days.

March reading recommendations:

The Dark Beauty of Film Noir in 50 Shots at One Perfect Shot

Restored ‘Race Films’ find new audiences at NPR

Why every female filmmaker owes a part of their career to these 6 brave women at Upworthy

The forgotten female action stars of the 1910s at The Atlantic

Gal Gadot talks feminism, her time in the military and the real key to Wonder Woman’s strength at The Mary Sue

Wonder Woman reborn: how she stole limelight from Batman and Superman at The Guardian

Gal Gadot brings Wonder Woman to life in ‘Batman v Superman’ at The LA Times