52 Films By Women – August 2016


#52FilmsByWomen

Whew. I’m a bit late this time to finish this post. The reason is motivation. I really can’t be bothered to write about films I did not like, and I really did not like most of the films I’ve seen this past month. MUBI kind of dried up over the summer, which is a shame. I hope they start adding some nice things again soon.

Prior posts

Watched

I need to find myself some films I like. Aside from the first two, this wasn’t a whole lot of fun.

 

Into the Forest CoverOriginal title: Into the Forest
Rating: 7.3/10
Year: 2015
Directors: Patricia Rozema
Duration: 101 min.
Genres: Drama

Arthouse Sci-Fi is the best Sci-Fi, although I don’t really want to classify this film as Sci-Fi. It’s set in the near future and they have fancy tablets but that’s about all. The story is very simple. A father and his two daughters live in a remote house in the forest when there’s a power outage that seems to last forever. They’ll have to survive on their own without power. The story is based on a book and supposedly the book is a bit more extreme than the film in the things it deals with. But I didn’t know that up front and as a first time viewer this film hit almost all the right notes for me. I love Ellen Page and I liked Evan Rachel Wood a lot too. The visuals were great and the acting by both women and father Callum Rennie was good.

The other men in this film weren’t very sympathetic, but there was some serious girl power going. There’s one pretty shocking scene of a kind that I struggle with in any film. It sometimes ruins an entire film for me, but luckily that wasn’t the case with this one. I liked seeing a survival film completely from a woman’s perspective for a change. It’s definitely not your average blockbuster so I can imagine a lot of people are not going to like it very much. After reading some reviews afterwards I do think I’m glad the stuff omitted from the book wasn’t in it. It was hinted slightly, but had they fully gone with it I think it would’ve hurt the film. Anyway, this probably sounds like a load of wtf’s he talking about to those who didn’t read the book or watched the film so I’ll leave it at this. Recommended for anyone who likes slow dramas set to a slightly apocalyptic backdrop (are there even any more of these?).

 

The Virgin Suicides CoverOriginal title: The Virgin Suicides
Rating: 7.4/10
Year: 1999
Directors: Sofia Coppola
Duration: 97 min.
Genre: Drama, Romance

It was about time I see this one. I really liked Lost in Translation, so I don’t know why it took me so long to get around to another Sofia Coppola film. I guess I’m about the last person to see it, so I’m not sure what I can say about it that you don’t already know. I’m not sure what the film was about; it felt more like a mood piece to me. There’s so much to take from it though. I ended up with an even stronger celebrity crush on Kirsten Dunst than I already had (heh) and some reflections on life, religion, parenting (what do I know about this, but hey) and a big appreciation for Coppola for crafting such a fine film. It’s no Lost in Translation, but it’s still among the better films I’ve seen for this challenge so far.

 

 

Maggie's Plan CoverOriginal title: Maggie's Plan
Rating: 6.3/10
Year: 2015
Directors: Rebecca Miller
Duration: 98 min.
Genre: Drama, Comedy, Romance

Bridget Jones meets Before Sunset, or a nutty woman talks a lot. The starting point of this film doesn’t leave you any time to get into the flow. In the opening scene Maggie – played by Greta Gerwig (Frances Ha) – tells a guy she’s getting some dude’s sperm injected to have a baby. Well okay.. This was a strange film, but despite that it has something compelling that keeps you interested as the silliness unfolds. I’m not sure what else to make of this. The power is in the acting by Julianne Moore, Greta Gerwig and also Ethan Hawke. Besides that, nothing really sticks out. It’s an all right film, but nothing fancy.

 

Money Monster CoverOriginal title: Money Monster
Rating: 3.6/10
Year: 2016
Directors: Jodie Foster
Duration: 98 min.
Genre: Crime, Thriller

A promising concept totally destroyed by a completely ridiculous, cheesy and downright dumb plot. Fuck the film, let’s talk directing. That and parts of the acting is where the decent stuff can be found here. The film begins with an armed guy entering a television studio with two bomb girdles. To us Dutch people that isn’t very exciting as that actually happened not too long ago, but it’s interesting to see what could’ve happened had they not stopped him almost immediately. The biggest part of the film takes place inside the studio, so there’s not that much room to play with. Still the shots are nice and you never get the feeling of repetitiveness. But that’s pretty much where this film stops being interesting. It looks nice, acting isn’t too bad, but the script.. argh.. so sooo SOOO stupid. Don’t blame Foster, she’s pretty much the highlight of this film and I am interested to see what she can do with a script that’s actually worth a damn.

 

 

La Fée CoverOriginal title: La Fée
Rating: 5.5/10
Year: 2011
Directors: Fiona Gordon
Duration: 93 min.
Genres: Comedy

This film almost felt like a hobby project. It’s made by Fiona Gordon and her husband, and it shows. It’s not a bad thing per se, but it makes scenes of intimacy a bit weird. The story has some very weird characters, and it is between two of them that romance starts to bloom. The humor in this film is kind of hit and miss. Overall the film is all right, but it didn’t really resonate with me much. Again, nothing fancy, but at least this film doesn’t try to be fancy. It is what it is, and it does it well enough.

 

Paramount on Parade CoverOriginal title: Paramount on Parade
Rating: 5.4/10
Year: 1930
Directors: Dorothy Arzner
Duration: 102 min.
Genres: Musical

Paramount on Parade is part of a very short lived fad in 1929-1930 Hollywood. The major studios would line up all their big stars to do little sketches or sing a song or whatever. Kind of like a Christmas special, or SNL episode. They did the same thing with directors, so I think this mishmash of unrelated short stories is directed by like 10 people. This biggest name on the list of directors is probably Ernst Lubitsch, while writing credits go to Joseph L. Mankiewicz (All About Eve). I’ve tried to find out who directed what, but have not been able to find anything. I did find out that what remains of this film-thing is not everything. Certain parts did not survive or only have sound. So technically speaking I guess it is possible that none of what I saw was actually directed by Arzner.

What I did see was mostly okay-ish. Nothing really sticks out and since nothing is related it’s fine if you don’t pay too much attention. It’s still nice to see all the great stars of the era pass by. Remember this was 1930, so the transition from silent to sound was made only a few years earlier. None of the big talky films had been made yet at this point. What you see is a line-up of silent superstars who could talk* and a young new talky-only generation. Just to name a few, we see Jean Arthur (Mr. Smith, Mr. Deeds, You Can’t Take it with You), George Bancroft, Clara Bow (Wings), Ruth Chatterton (Dodsworth), Gary Cooper (Mr. Deeds, High Noon), Warner Oland (Fu Manchu, Charlie Chan), William Powell (Philo Vance, The Thin Man, Mister Roberts) and so many others. Unless you’re crazy about old films like I am, there is nothing of interest in this one. If you like, here’s a YouTube video of one of the songs, Sweepin’ the Clouds Away, with some nice images too.

* Back in those days all silent film stars had to undergo speech tests where they would be told whether or not they had a voice for talkies. Many of them had to take speech training, for others it ended their career.

 

 

The list!

A boy’s best friend is his list.

short: At Land:7.7 Stars (7.7 / 10)
short: Du côté de la côte:6.2 Stars (6.2 / 10)
short: Le lion volatil:6.2 Stars (6.2 / 10)
short: Laloux Sauvage:6.3 Stars (6.3 / 10)
shorts: Lotte Reiniger Fairy Tales 1-5:5.9 Stars (5.9 / 10)
shorts: Lotte Reiniger Fairy Tales 6-10:6.1 Stars (6.1 / 10)
doc: Evaporating Borders:7.1 Stars (7.1 / 10)
doc: Indie Game: The Movie:7.2 Stars (7.2 / 10)
doc: Olympia I - Festival of the Nations:7.4 Stars (7.4 / 10)
doc: Olympia II - Festival of Beauty:7.4 Stars (7.4 / 10)
doc: Triumph of the Will:5.6 Stars (5.6 / 10)
American Psycho:7.7 Stars (7.7 / 10)
August Rush:8.3 Stars (8.3 / 10)
Born in Flames:7.0 Stars (7.0 / 10)
Despite the Falling Snow:6.0 Stars (6.0 / 10)
Documenteur:6.8 Stars (6.8 / 10)
Into the Forest:7.3 Stars (7.3 / 10)
Longing for the Rain:6.0 Stars (6.0 / 10)
Mädchen in Uniform:8.2 Stars (8.2 / 10)
Maggie's Plan:6.3 Stars (6.3 / 10)
Manuela Jankovic's War:6.0 Stars (6.0 / 10)
Merrily We Go to Hell:5.8 Stars (5.8 / 10)
Mikey and Nicky:4.2 Stars (4.2 / 10)
Money Monster:3.6 Stars (3.6 / 10)
Outrage:6.9 Stars (6.9 / 10)
Paramount on Parade:5.4 Stars (5.4 / 10)
Summertime:7.4 Stars (7.4 / 10)
Terminal Island:6.6 Stars (6.6 / 10)
Testament:7.3 Stars (7.3 / 10)
The Bigamist:6.4 Stars (6.4 / 10)
The Devil from Seventh Grade:5.7 Stars (5.7 / 10)
The Diary of a Teenage Girl:5.2 Stars (5.2 / 10)
The Disobedient:6.7 Stars (6.7 / 10)
The Dressmaker:7.4 Stars (7.4 / 10)
The Dry Valley (Sukhodol):7.4 Stars (7.4 / 10)
The Fairy:5.5 Stars (5.5 / 10)
The Hurt Locker:7.8 Stars (7.8 / 10)
The Lesson (Urok):6.5 Stars (6.5 / 10)
The Virgin Suicides:7.4 Stars (7.4 / 10)
The Woman Condemned:5.1 Stars (5.1 / 10)
Three Cases of Murder (1st segment):7.2 Stars (7.2 / 10)
Thursday Till Sunday:5.9 Stars (5.9 / 10)
Wings:8.2 Stars (8.2 / 10)
Winter's Bone:6.8 Stars (6.8 / 10)

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