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Weekly Update for December 13: Women Centric, Directed and Written Films Playing Near You

Features
by Inkoo Kang
December 13, 2013 4:00 PM
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Saving Mr. Banks
Saving Mr. Banks

Films About Women Opening

Saving Mr. Banks - Written by Kelly Marcel and Sue Smith 

A perfectly cast Emma Thompson plays Mary Poppins writer P.L. Travers, who is locked in a epic, 20-year battle with Walt Disney (Tom Hanks) about whether she will give him the rights to make her beloved book into the a film. For Travers, the books are quite personal -- a significant portion of the film is devoted to her growing up in Australia, and how her childhood sparked her imagination to create her iconic character -- and so she refuses to let Disney do anything with her characters that she does not agree with. Disney brings her to LA from London to spend time with the writers in order to convince her to trust him with her book. She's difficult, prickly, cantankerous and distrustful of everyone and everything. We all know how the story ends -- and it is so lovely to hear the terrific songs in formation. This film is very moving, and it was wonderful to see a woman in a lead who is strong and powerful and doesn't just exist to prop up a man. (Melissa Silverstein)

Ms. 45

The film follows a mute garment-district seamstress, played by the late model/actress/musician/screenwriter Zoe Lund, who, after falling victim to multiple unspeakable assaults, ignites a one-woman homicidal rampage against New York City's entire male population. (IMDB) 

Read "Death Walks in High Heels: The Silent Avenger of Abel Ferrara's Ms. 45."

Trap for Cinderella

A young girl suffering from amnesia after surviving a house fire that takes her childhood friend's life, begins a tormented road to recovery. (IMDB) 

Street Journeys (doc) - Directed by Tracy Christian

This inspiring doc chronicles the triumphant journey of impoverished Nairobi youths who, with the help of Kenyan actress Anne Wanjugu, go from the makeshift stage of a small church to the bright lights of Broadway. (IMDB)

Sweet Talk - Directed by Terri Hanauer

Director Terri Hanauer's feature debut just has one thing in mind: a woman's pleasure. In my Village Voice review, I wrote, "Recent films about women's sexuality like The To Do List and For a Good Time, Call... have grounded their characters' sexploits with subplots about female friendship. But the quietly trailblazing Sweet Talk eschews such niceties, even to the point of neglecting character development. Instead, this extended erotic fantasy is single-minded in its exploration of what phone sex geared toward women's pleasure might look like." (Inkoo Kang) 

Films About Women Currently Playing

Caught in the Web
Expecting - Written and Directed by Jessie McCormack
Paradise Hope - Co-Written by Veronika Franz
Puella Magi Madoka Magica The Movie: Rebellion 

S#x Acts - Written by Rona Segal
Twice Born - Co-Written by Margaret Mazzantini
White Reindeer
Frozen - Co-Written and Co-Directed by Jennifer Lee
The Punk Singer (doc) - Directed by Sini Anderson 
Catching Fire

The Book Thief

Blue is the Warmest Color

Gravity
Baggage Claim
Enough Said - Written and Directed by Nicole Holofcener

Wadjda - Written and Directed by Haifaa Al-Mansour
Short Term 12
Austenland - Written and Directed by Jerusha Hess, Adapted for the Screen by Jerusha Hess and Shannon Hale 
Blue Jasmine

Films Directed by Women Opening This Weekend

The Crash Reel (doc) - Co-Written and Directed by Lucy Walker

Lucy Walker, the Oscar-nominated director of Waste Land, has another award-worthy documentary in The Crash Reel. In my Village Voice review, I called her new film "a timely profile of professional snowboarder Kevin Pearce, whose career was cut short by a calamitous fall on the same half-pipe that killed fellow Olympic hopeful Sarah Burke. The Crash Reel movingly captures the athlete's difficult acceptance of the fact that he can no longer practice the sport that made him a world champion." Walker captures the thrill of competitive risk-taking and the underreported perils of extreme sports in equal measure. (Inkoo Kang) 

Read our interview with director/co-writer Lucy Walker here


The New Rijksmuseum (Parts 1 and 2) (doc) - Directed by Oeke Hoogendijk

If you've visited Amsterdam, you've probably been to the Rijksmuseum, one of the world's preeminent art museums -- home to masterpieces by Rembrandt and Vermeer -- itself a vast, magnificent structure, built in 1895 by architect Pierre Cuypers. The renovation of the museum (it reopened this past April) went on for 10 long, expensive years, so it is fitting that a documentary on this torturous (and often, inadvertently hilarious) process should turn into not one but two feature-length movies. It's a messy, complicated story that New Yorkers will relate to, but fortunately, one with a glorious ending. (IMDB)


Films Directed by Women Currently Playing

Breakfast with Curtis - Written and Directed by Laura Colella 

Merry Christmas - Written and Directed by Anna Condo 

Sweet Talk - Directed by Terri Hanauer

Black Nativity - Co-Written and Directed by Kasi Lemmons


Films Written by Women Opening This Weekend 

Tricked - Co-Written by Kim van Kooten

During his 50th birthday party thrown by his wife, Remco's life takes a turn for the worse. His business partners are scheming behind his back to sell him out and his former mistress shows up pregnant. (IMDB)


The Hobbit - The Desolation of Smaug - Co-Written by Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens

The second in a trilogy of films adapting the enduringly popular masterpiece The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug continues the adventure of the title character Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) as he journeys with the Wizard Gandalf (Ian McKellan) and thirteen Dwarves, led by Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage) on an epic quest to reclaim the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor. (IMDB)


Films Written by Women Currently Playing

Khumba - Co-Written by Raffaella Delle Donne 

Dallas Buyers Club - Co-Written by Melissa Wallack 


Films By and About Women on DVD/And Or On Demand

Mary Poppins
Touchy Feely - Directed by Lynn Shelton
Mischief Night - Co-Directed by Penny Woolcock

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