Set It Up

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Some nights, you’re in the mood for a movie but not something that’s heavy. But you don’t want to watch TV because you want something that ends. Preferably in two hours. Something that won’t insult your insult your intelligence, and might possibly cheer you up. Because it’s been a hard news week. (It’s always a hard news week.)

Enter Set It Up, Netflix original movie that Netflix has probably already recommended to you if you watch sitcoms on its platform. I’m here to second that recommendation. It’s not a great movie, but it’s a fun, romantic comedy that is very happy to be one. The conventions are all in place: it takes place in New York City, and our star-crossed lovers work for vague, unnamed media companies. Actually, I can’t remember where the guy works. The girl, Harper, works as a Girl Friday for the editor of a sports news website. The guy, Charlie, also works as a personal secretary for, hmm, I can’t remember what his boss does. It doesn’t matter! This movie is not making any important observations about the modern day workplace and that’s okay. Continue reading “Set It Up”

Review: Outside In

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Outside In opens with the camera looking down on an ex-con, Chris, heading home for the first time in twenty years. Chris (Jay Duplass) sits in the back of a rain-spattered car window, eating a french fry with a dreamy look in his eyes. It’s probably the best thing he’s eaten in a long time. He will soon be delivered to a room filled with people awaiting his return. But there’s only one person he really wants to see: Carol, his old high school teacher, the person who fought hardest for his early release.

Carol is played by Edie Falco, and from the moment we first see her, she radiates goodness, intelligence, longing, and confusion. She’s in as much of a transitional period as Chris. She’s devoted years of her life to disputing Chris’s conviction, and in doing so, has discovered new reserves of intellectual and spiritual energy. She’s also become very close to her former student. She might be in love with him; he’s definitely in love with her. But she’s married, with a teenage daughter. And she’s still teaching at the high school where she first met Chris as an 18-year-old boy. So things are complicated. Continue reading “Review: Outside In”

10 Netflix Original Movies That Are Directed by Women

Here’s a simple list gleaned from a huge one at New York Magazine that ranks all the Netflix Original films. From that compilation, I picked out ten films directed by women. I made this list for myself, so that I would have a go-to group of Netflix movies instead of getting overwhelmed by the selection on the screen. Most of them I haven’t yet seen, though the two that I have—Mudbound and On Body and Soul—were so good that I’m very excited to dig in. Continue reading “10 Netflix Original Movies That Are Directed by Women”

Hooked by The Lure

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The fishermen never had a chance. Once they saw the beautiful faces of Golden and Silver, two young mermaids swimming in the bay, they were goners.

“Help us come ashore, we won’t eat you!”

First rule of fairy tales: If someone says they won’t eat you, it means they’ve thought about eating you, and they won’t be able to stop thinking about it until they’ve eaten you.

Continue reading “Hooked by The Lure”

Flu Flix

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I got the dreaded flu. For a few days I was so sick that even watching TV was tiring. All I could do was read. (Not the worst fate.) When I finally felt ready for movies, I wanted ones that would be easy to watch, i.e. straightforward, and possibly uplifting—and woman-directed, of course. I chose two movies from last year: Megan Leavey (Gabriela Cowperthwaite) and Paris Can Wait (Eleanor Coppola).

I had high hopes for Megan Leavey, for several reasons: 1) I’m a cat person with a soft spot for dog stories; 2) I’m interested in stories about women in the military; and 3) I sobbed my way through the trailer. Continue reading “Flu Flix”

2017 Films Directed or Written by Women

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This list started with my personal film diary. When I started thinking about writing this blog, it was mid-December, and I had watched 28 new films over the course of the year. Only five of those were directed by women! When I added in movies written by women, that brought my total up to nine, which is still low. So, I started collecting titles of movies released in 2017 that were either directed or written by women.

A few of the titles listed below are still in the theaters, and many of them are streaming online and available to rent. And, just to be super-wonky, my definition of 2017 is “films released in the U.S. in 2017.” There are some films that premiered at film festivals in 2017 that are not in this list because they will not be in wide release until 2018.

I’ve organized them into three categories: Auteur Films by Women, Films Directed by Women, and Films Written by Women. Women also wrote some of the films in the first and second categories and I’ve noted those writing credits, but I did not repeat those films in the third category. I’ve also put together a combined list of these films on letterboxd.  These lists are by no means complete, especially the writing category, which was a little more difficult to research. Please alert me to any glaring omissions! I’ll update this it as needed, and I’ll also be plucking titles from it for reviews. Continue reading “2017 Films Directed or Written by Women”