Choice Within Fashion and Fundamentalism: ‘The World Before Her’

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In making ‘The World Before Her,’ Pahuja chooses to walk the neutral line by avoiding a personal stand and trying to hold up a mirror instead. In an interview with ‘First Post,’ she says that she made this documentary in an attempt to create a dialogue. Her humanizing, vérité cinema approach works to that effect.

A Performance, and Film, for the Ages: Gena Rowlands and ‘A Woman Under the Influence’

A Woman Under the Influence

It was announced earlier this week that the Los Angeles Film Critics Association is to honor Gena Rowlands with its 2014 Career Achievement Award. Long overdue, no doubt, but perhaps the well-deserved attention will encourage people to revisit her impressive work. Most associated with the films she did with her husband, the ground-breaking independent director, John Cassavetes, Rowlands is an exceptionally talented and courageous actor. I must admit that I did not fully appreciate her talent until I experienced her extraordinary turn in ‘A Woman Under The Influence.’

‘God Help The Girl’: Sunny Glasgow Hosts a Twee Musical

The Band: Cassie, James and Eve pose in their best clothes

The songs allow the audience access to the inner minds of the characters, which is especially helpful for a secretive character like Eve. The songs swirl into a beautiful world where shining girls dance through the streets of Glasgow like it’s their own personal playground, always dressed for a costume party in enviable vintage. Songs cut into elaborate sequences of the band playacting on golden hills in school uniforms and battling with umbrellas on courthouse steps, that seem like mini-music videos. The film is so stuffed with beauty and whimsy that it often seems hard to make room for the parts of the story that are truly ugly.

Binge Watch This: ‘Dance Academy’

The central female characters of 'Dance Academy'

‘Dance Academy’ is a teen soap opera set at a ballet school. So basically, it’s ‘Degrassi’ meets ‘Center Stage.’ That should be enough to have you diving for your remote right now.

You Never Want to Do Something Interesting: How ‘You’re Next’ Became One of the Most Empowering Horror Films for Women

This woman comes from a land where they eat Vegemite by choice. Of course she's tough.

It has been dissected time and time again on the way the horror genre has misrepresented women both on the screen and off, but whenever a film comes along and represents a female character as something different, we immediately bring praise to the filmmakers. While this practice is admittedly problematic, the only reason we stress the importance of these “strong female characters” is in large part due to the lack of positive female representation.

‘Laggies’ and the Perils of Success

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Lynn Shelton’s best known films, the great ‘Humpday’ and the equally delightful ‘Your Sister’s Sister’ stood out in a similar way. Shelton devised and wrote scripts that became the basis for the actors’ improvisation (with the ‘”‘final draft’ put together in the editing room”)–and made films that seemed fresh and distinct from the usual Hollywood product. Each film had a surprisingly tight structure and was funny in ways that never occured to mainstream filmmakers. As I sat through Shelton’s latest movie, ‘Laggies,’ (which opens this Friday, Oct. 24) I couldn’t help feeling deflated. Shelton’s transformation into a mainstream director is a little like if Bergman had had second thoughts and ended up going on a diet and let Hollywood makeup artists make her unrecognizable.

‘Sinister’: Or as I Like to Call It, “Don’t Move Your Family into a Murder House”

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‘Sinister’ is a film in which the viewer is expected to root for a man whose personal dreams trump his entire family’s sense of safety in their own home – which is fucked up and frustrating and detracts from a film with some incredibly freaky moments.

High School Hospital: ‘Red Band Society’

Seen here in no way invoking The Breakfast Club.

‘Red Band Society’ presents the high-school dynamic explored in a sick-lit microcosm. It’s largely fluff and nonsense, but it’s quite entertaining nonsense on the whole – not least because Octavia Spencer is a treasure and is marvelous as the superheroic Nurse Jackson.

The Trauma of ‘Private Violence’

Advocate Kit Gruelle.

It is absolutely clear that throughout ‘Private Violence,’ Hill allowed Gruelle to take her into a world that she felt compelled to share with the public. That trust, that “wide-eyed curiosity” (as Gruelle said of Hill’s directing technique), created a documentary that not only pays homage to the strength and tragedy of women whose lives are torn apart by male partner violence, but also serves as a wake-up call that the system–law enforcement, news media, medical professionals, local and federal court systems–are not serving victims the way they should. ‘Private Violence’ is a public testament to the horror of domestic assault.

Bitch Flicks’ Weekly Picks

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Check out what we’ve been reading this week–and let us know what you’ve been reading/writing in the comments!

‘Fight Club’ As a Classic Romantic Comedy and Closeting Drama

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What happened to the romcom? Apparently, men started to enjoy them. Should we feel flattered by this male appreciation of a genre created in its modern form by women like Jane Austen? Or insulted that male appreciation of the romcom can only occur by refusing to appreciate it as romcom? “You show me your sensitive side, then you turn into a total asshole.” Is that a pretty accurate description of the attraction and sneering rejection of the male audience for romcom?

The Coolest of Them All: An Ode to Marlene Dietrich

A woman way ahead of her time

What modern cinema audiences should be interested in is his or her place in Hollywood history, and socio-cultural significance. Dietrich is a radical, and progressive cultural figure in terms of her sexual and gender identity. On and off screen. Her off-screen identity was also subversively androgynous and was often signified by her masculine attire.