First person documentary filmmakers Ed Pincus and Lucia Small are no strangers to letting an audience in on their family “secrets”: Small in ‘My Father, The Genius,’ a film about her own father and their ambivalent relationship, and Pincus in ‘Diaries,’ in which he filmed both his girlfriend and wife in 1970s Cambridge, the latter–in one scene that seems to sum up the post-hippie atmosphere of the time and place–nude and playing a flute.
Check out what we’ve been reading this week–and let us know what you’ve been reading/writing in the comments!
A lot has been written recently (this week) about ‘Grey’s Anatomy.’ This is strange, in 2014, because it’s a show that we’ve all stopped watching at least as many times as we’ve begun again. But for all the talk about the lack of diversity, the lack of female characters with volition, and the heyday for feminism happening now on TV, ‘Grey’s’ stands out as a show that was ahead of its time and as one that has endured. The three top surgeons at the show’s conception were African Americans. Female doctors seem to outnumber male ones and nobody in the world of the show finds that remarkable. But I do.
Suicide is no laughing matter, but we try. If it’s not a heavy drama or inspirational story telling you to stop and watch the sunset, stop and smell the roses, and the like, making a film about suicide requires a light touch and buckets of understanding and sensitivity. As a comedy plot, it only seems to work when sensitivity is disposed of completely. Suicide has been a successful plot for dark comedies, most notably ‘Heathers’ and ’Harold and Maude’, which are full of irony, satire, insight and meditation. But ’A Long Way Down’, a British film based on the bestselling novel by Nick Hornby, is not a dark comedy
Dreamlike images of a body immersed in bathwater intermingle with images of fire and shadowy figures running. The camera settles clearly on the deeply scarred back of the young man in the tub as the opening sequence to ‘The Lesser Blessed’ comes to a close and the camera travels across a remote landscape split by a single road.
The staggering majority of wedding movies take on the inherent drama of an impending lifelong commitment by tearing apart the engaged couple for a more “meant to be” love, generally with either a close friend or someone working on the wedding. This trope became incredibly frustrating for me when I was engaged, because I wasn’t inclined to root for weddings falling apart at the altar. I became so jaded about the genre, hating that so many movies with central female characters are wrapped up in the wedding world. But this week I’ve been rethinking wedding movies a bit.
In Hollywood, business as usual means that the top ten highest-grossing films of 2014, so far, were all directed by men. In fact, between 2009 and 2013 only 4.7 percent of feature films were directed by women. Courtney Martinez is helping to close this gender gap. Martinez is the creator of Girls Film Project, a program designed to educate young women about film production and media literacy.
We all know that male superheroes get reboots for their (often shitty) movies over and over and over again. There are an ever-increasing number of Batman, Superman, and Hulk movies, not to mention a growing franchise of Iron Man, Captain America, and Thor flicks. With this mentality of quantity over quality, there’s no excuse for denying reboots to some of my favorite female superheroines and their considerably fewer films. Some of the movies that made my top 10 list admittedly sucked, and their heroines deserve a second chance to shine on the big screen. Some of the movies, however, were, are and ever shall be totally awesome, and I just want a do-over to enhance the awesome.
Religious devotion is a tricky quality to depict in any medium: so many of us have seen piety as hypocrisy both in film and in life that we’re prepared to laugh at or to dismiss deeply held religious beliefs onscreen. In work made for mostly secular audiences, filmmakers who want to show deeply religious characters have to answer the question: if piety isn’t a joke, what exactly is it?
Across its 10-season run, ‘Grey’s’ has dealt with parenting, childlessness, abortion, romantic relationships—both heterosexual and otherwise–illness, loss, friendship, and career mostly through the eyes of its female protagonist, Meredith Grey, and her colleagues, friends and family: Cristina, Izzie, Lexie, Callie, Arizona, April, Addison, Bailey and so on. This season, though, seemed to really tap into the oft-mentioned feminist issue of “having it all” (meaning kids and career) and what happens when a woman shuns that path.
‘Defiance’ is good solid alien-full science fiction television, it’s reliably entertaining each week, and it definitely has better feminist cred than many other shows.
Arquette, who is terrific as Olivia, turns in a nuanced and complex performance that is vanity free. We watch her age perceptively and slowly as her character gains wisdom but still falters. In other words, she’s the kind of three-dimensional woman we rarely see in American films.