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Lessons from the success of "It"

"The marketing was smart...they did a good job of using a "less is more" approach" - Jakey

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Entries in gender politics (197)

Monday
Aug072017

Race in Lady Macbeth and The Beguiled: Not so black or white?

by Lynn Lee

Florence Pugh in Lady Macbeth / Nicole Kidman in The Beguiled

In a summer filled with movies by or starring women of exceptional talent, The Beguiled and Lady Macbeth make an especially fascinating cinematic pairing.  Both films center on mid-19th century women who appear trapped by their societies’ constricting gender norms.  In both, the women are confined to an isolated, often claustrophobic space, yet nature is a constantly beckoning presence that at once shapes and reflects their desires.  (Both even have plots that turn on poisonous wild mushrooms!)  And in both, the women up-end the patriarchal structure of their circumscribed universe without liberating themselves.  If anything, they reinforce that power structure even as they seize momentary control of it, leaving not a feeling of triumph but a somber queasiness.

For all these thematic similarities, the differences between the two films are even more striking...

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Friday
Aug042017

This & That: Silkwood, Stewart, and other things we forgot to talk about

Herewith a random collection of things that have been clogging up The Film Experience pipeline (i.e. my desktop and emails) which I never got around to writing about and no team maker volunteered to cover. In some cases I saved a photo I don't remember from what and for what!

Once you're done reading the post please imitate that "empty trash" desktop noise and feel as uncluttered as I will once I've hit publish.

We'll start with Meryl because that always gets you going...

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Saturday
Jul012017

Young and Hungry Susan Hayward

HAYWARD CENTENNIAL FINALE

by Nathaniel R

Oscar buffs might be the only people who still regularly talk about Susan Hayward but her Oscar record was impressive enough to warrant that conversation. Five nominations with one win, all in the Best Actress category, is not nothing. In fact, her record is a match with Audrey Hepburn and Anne Bancroft and another Susan (Sarandon). But when I first got interested in Susan Hayward before I'd seen any of her films, what drew me in was the abundant hysteria within the posters, titles, and taglines for her movies. Or to quote Rupert Everett in My Best Friend's Wedding:


The misery. The exquisite tragedy. The Susan Hayward of it all!"

She lived (onscreen at least) for exclamation points so it's fitting then that her Oscar win came from I Want to Live! (1958). But to close out our celebration counterintuitively in reverse, let's end with a film from when Hayward was a young and hungry actress without much pull...

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Thursday
Jun292017

A League of Their Own, Pt. 1: Cow Girls & Charm School

25th Anniversary Four-Part Mini Series Event


Welcome sports movie fans. Or, in a pinch, actressexuals who will watch largely female casts do practically anything.

Twenty-five years ago on July 1st, 1992, Penny Marshall's period comedy A League of Their Own (1992) opened in theaters. It wasn't quite an immediate blockbuster but word of mouth was spectacular -- in its second weekend it grossed practically as much as its first, which as you know is exceedingly rare. The female led comedy proved another home run for the director of Big, eventually grossing over $100 million domestically. It ended 1992 as that year's tenth biggest hit, just behind Basic Instinct and shutting Clint Eastwood's Unforgiven out of the moneyed top ten.

For the next few days we'll be revisiting this beloved classic tag-team style like we did with Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf (1966), Thelma & Louise (1991), Rebecca (1940), and The Silence of the Lambs (1991). Please join in the conversation if you love this movie (and who doesn't?). - Editor

Batter up...

Part 1 by Lynn Lee

01:22 Inside an old-fashioned cape-cod house, a tall, slender, elegant older lady with reddish blonde hair (Lynn Cartwright, but with Geena Davis’ unmistakable throaty voice dubbed) is packing a suitcase.  As we’ll learn, she’s Dottie Hinson, one of the (fictional) first women to play in the (real) All-American Girls’ Professional Baseball League, and is getting ready to attend a special event honoring the AAGPBL at the baseball Hall of Fame.  She seems oddly less than excited about it, even when her daughter turns up with her old baseball mitt...

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Tuesday
Jun202017

Daniel Day-Links

• Vanity Fair the interrupted erupted into crazed outrage early today over fake news regarding Gal Gadot's Wonder Woman payday. Katey clears up the confusion

Time has a gorgeously written profile of Sofia Coppola by Stephanie Zacharek as The Beguiled heads to theaters.

• Meanwhile, though, not everyone is happy with the film. Our own Murtada thinks the film lacks tension and should've switched its setting away from the Civil War. Slate details the whitewashing of the source novel that happened in both the 1971 movie and to an even larger degree in the current film. I think a couple of the Slate article complaints are overdoing it particularly when it comes to the dialogue addressing the absence of slaves -- that feels absolutely authentic as to how that particular character (Nicole Kidman's stone-faced self-serving Miss Martha) would dismiss the topic but there are enough valid ones that now I'd love to see a third version that is actually more faithful to the book because it sounds, at least in this article, like its more fascinating than either movie version. I guess we should read it.

• THR Young Han Solo loses/fires (?) its hot directors Phil Lord & Christopher Miller under the typical "creative visions" disagreements. The worrying part is that they're already several months into production. Deadline follows up with the bad news that they want Ron Howard to finish the film

• GQ Joel Schumacher looks back on the reviled camp of Batman & Robin. Has no regret about the Bat Nipples.

• Village Voice Transformers: The Last Knight wrecks Bilge Ebiri. Perfect. This review is perfect. 

 • And you have probably heard that Daniel Day-Lewis is retiring...
The Wrap reminds us that he's announced his retirement before but Variety goes with the sensational misleading "Shocker!" headline even though Daniel Day-Lewis hardly ever works by his own choice and thus it was only a matter of time before he did this. Letters of Note shares a cool story about how hard he fought for his breakout role in My Beautiful Laundrette. I personally think it's fine that he's retiring. He's clearly not a "hungry" actor anymore and actors are better when they really want it (just as people in all professions are). Also Lucy Prebble, Clarisse Loughrey, and Teo Bugbee had amusing notes to comfort us on this topic on twitter.

Naturally this means that Phantom Thread, his next Paul Thomas Anderson picture opening in December, would theoretically be his last. Cynics will tell you -- and have already told you online surely -- that this means he's a lock for the Oscar yet again. But let's not get carried away. People will have to at least really like the movie and Oscar voters will have to really want him to tie Katharine Hepburn's record for that to happen. Will they? We'll see.

Thursday
Jun152017

Top Ten: Best Moments in "Wonder Woman"

by Nathaniel R

I've spent a bit of time this summer reconnecting with friends, many of whom are only casual moviegoers rather than cinephiles. Everyone has wanted to see or been talking about Wonder Woman. I think it's fair to say, after a second viewing and hearing similar enthusiasms repeated again and again, that it's a better cultural object than a  movie. It's shocking to realize that there just aren't any movies like it even though it's not very original. That's proof that a little (big) thing like a female lead and a female director can make an enormous difference. While the cinema has given us many strong female icons (to pretend otherwise, as some voices seem to be doing, is to be supremely ungenerous to the artform and/or to reveal either one's extreme ignorance of movies made prior to, say, 2004 or a very limited taste in film genres).

But, yes, the superhero genre has been shockingly non-representative of the real world where women make up half of all humanity. Nevertheless you can't be a great cultural object as a movie without having some true pizazz as a film so let's give Wonder Woman its due after the jump...

TEN BEST MOMENTS IN WONDER WOMAN

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