AGORA
: Dragged from her chariot by a mob of fanatical vigilante Christian monks, the revered astronomer was stripped naked, skinned to her bones with sharp oyster shells, stoned and burned alive as possibly the first executed witch in history. A kind of purge that was apparently big business back then.


CRITICAL WOMEN HEADLINES
THE WOMEN FILM CRITICS CIRCLE TENTH ANNIVERSARY AWARDS CEREMONY 2014 BROADCAST

Listen to the show here

3/30/15

Make-Up As Art: Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi Does Marlene Dietrich


 What is Make-Up Art’s Concept

The web has a variety of make-up tutorials that are usually related to the world of fashion and beauty, whereas history of art often is discussed in institutional or technical contexts. Make-Up Art has the goal of combining, for the very first time, these two topics, that apparently seem to be very distant from one another, but that can actually be a source of new synergies. Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi discusses the masterpieces in art history that inspire the make-up creations by Federica Santovecchi. This content intends to unveil worldwide the intrinsic Italian art and style, to create an actual “face to face” between make-up and history of art, with a touch of humour.

How does Make-Up Art stand out from all the other vodcasts?VIoggers usually like to work individually to establish their role as entertainers, often by focusing on a specific single subject matter. This is not the case of Make-Up Art: Chiara and Federica interact with one another to deliver a multidisciplinary content, by combining their two great passions: art and make-up. This female duo, through girl power and self-irony, wants to inform, entertain and inspire creativity within its followers.

Make-Up Art dates back to a serendipitous encounter in New York, between Chiara and Federica who met after ages they had lost touch. Chiara was in town hosting a television show on movies, Arise on Screen, and exhibiting her paintings in Manhattan. Federica instead was taking a year off in the Big Apple, to attend the Fashion Make-Up Artistry course at MUD School and enhance her professional experience internationally.


The two of them met one evening in the Village and that was when their New York adventures began, through art openings, drawbridges, Oscar celebrations (for the Best Foreign film awarded to Sorrentino) and of course many make-up sessions, where Chiara would be Federica’s model. Both their professional destinies brought them back to Italy and, when they met again in their home country, they decided to put into practice their stars and stripes experience, through their Italian touch and all the beauty that the boot-shaped land Chiara likes to define herself as a storyteller, since she works as film critic, screenwriter, filmmaker, visual artist, reporter and columnist for American, British and Italian outlets.

As a journalist she is a member of the Italian Association of Journalists and the Foreign Press Association in New York. The paintings she makes are called Material Puns, since they combine mixed media with wordplay, with references to the Dada movement, ready-made and conceptual art. She is currently a Professor at Istituto Europeo di Design in Milan for the course on Phenomenology of Contemporary Arts.

Federica comes from the world of Marketing and Advertising where she started working immediately after she took her degree in Economics at the University of Bologna and her Masters in Marketing and Business Communication in Milan. She developed her skills in a communication agency and then in the telecommunication company Vodafone Group, where she developed her interest in multicultural and international contexts, that triggered her to take a year off around the globe, to cultivate her make-up passion, by attending a Make-Up Artistry course in NYC. Currently she works as a consultant in the field of Marketing and Communication.

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For further information contact us at: makeupartcreations@gmail.com

Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi writes for King’s Road Magazine, British Foreign Press Association, Filmagazine (Italy), Shockya, PMc Magazine. Chiara is a member of the Women Film Critics Circle.

Growing Up And Other Lies Review: Stunted Emotional Growth Among Young Men And This Movie


By Kaneisha Montague

Darren Grodsky and Danny Jacob's Growing Up and Other Lies surrounds four friends in the city of New York, post-college, on a nostalgic walk. In the hopes of revisiting the boyhood of their friendship.

Jake, Josh Lawson, is a starving artist who has succumbed to the pressures of pursuing his dream. And has decided to settle back home to help his father and reclaim an easier life.

Co-starring Adam Brody, Wyatt Cenac and Danny Jacobs, the film with its nostalgic walk attempts to remind their mentally drained friend of why he should continue to pursue his dream of being an artist. Which soon points to holes in their friendship, and situations that prove each friend plays a pivotal role enabling the others in transitioning from boys to men in this comedic narrative.

Not only does the nostalgic walk bring attention to these friends having difficulty with the transition to manhood. But the many scenes as well, with attention to childhood that seems to obviously parrallel the childish behavior of the friends.

Amongst these obvious hints, 2/3rds of the film is spent on attempting to make this friendship between the four boys believable. The three boys constantly play 'Sophie's Choice,' pointing to their immaturity and inability to put childish games and encounters behind them in order to move forward.

This game randomly continues throughout the majority of the film, but is not given any kind of purpose until a dinner at the house of Jake's ex, Tabitha. She questions the walk that the boys are undergoing. She questions what it takes for the transition of boys to men to take place.

Gender constructs are brought into the film, adding a sense of deeper purpose. Prior to this, the scenes seem to drag along without a sense of cohesion. The table conversation at the dinner seemed to be the arc of the story, but it may come a little too late for the audience. The final quarter of the movie is filled with interrelationship challenges. Their entire friendship is tested.

At this point, the audience should already be convinced that the destruction of this 4-way friendship would be heartbreaking for both us and the characters. But the chemistry of the relationships presented before this point, did not translate well enough on screen for us to see these concluding scenes as ones that pull on our emotional  strings.

Growing Up and  Other Lies is a coming of age film coupled with interrelationship growth and change, that simply lacks the neccessary chemistry between actors for the plot to translate smoothly.

Kaneisha Montague is a film producer in Atlanta. She is a member of The Women Film Critics Circle.

2/19/15

Fifty Shades Of Grey Review: Nude, Un-Plucked And Un-Waxed Cruel Manipulation On Screen


By Monica Castillo

'...Johnson holds onto Anastasia’s bubbly energy and plays with the power dynamics of her character’s troubled relationship. Her body language shifts from shy and insecure to ashamed of her dirty deeds to tapping into her “inner goddess” and confidently rocking her normal-looking body. Johnson is not made up to look like a porn star: we see hair on her legs, untrimmed pubic hair and wearing very little makeup for most of the movie. The audible gasps in my audience over her first nude scene were a sign of how little we see un-plucked and un-waxed women engaging in and enjoying sex.

Unfortunately, Mr. Grey’s Jamie Dornan does not equally rise to the occasion. With a special clause to shade his privates from the camera, Dornan never seems to be at ease with the explicit nature of the movie. He doesn’t relish his character’s highs and lows, leaving the audience to beg for more acting chops. Dornan wears the suit well but sometimes disappears into its folds on the way to becoming America’s next top sex symbol. His distanced energy leaves the bulk of the chemistry to be sparked by Johnson’s ingĂ©nue. It's just a tad unsatisfying to watch as he cruelly manipulates her for little to no reward...'

Continue To Read Review Here

Monica Castillo is the Entertainment Reporter for International Business Times. She is a member of The Women Film Critics Circle.

So Yun Um Does Sundance 2015


YO! I am back full throttle with my Sundance vlog and this is a real good one! I had the pleasure of going to my first ever Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah and it was everything I had expected and more. The combination of the freezing cold, sleepless nights, and lack of warm food really made me feel like I was a wild chicken running around with my head cut off but it was all part of the great experience! I did not go to as many swanky parties but you bet your ass that I got to watch tons of mind-blowing, forward-thinking, and super duper fresh films! I cannot wait for all these films to come out so you can just gorge on the next level of beauty and innovativeness these films have to offer! And in tribute to Sean Baker's Tangerine which was wholly shot on the iPhone 5s (GASP!), I decided to shoot my entire vlog on my iPhone! So LEGGO!

Continue To Read Here

So Yun Um writes for Sosreelthoughts.com and Crome Yellow. She is a member of The Women Film Critics Circle

All The Wilderness Review: An Intimate Voyage Into Sound, Sorrow And Solitude


By Kaneisha Montague

All the Wilderness simply put, is a remarkable piece of art in every form. The film managed to create a musical beauty behind an intimate topic. A refreshing take on the subject of death; All the Wilderness explores the effect on a family after the passing of a father. There’s a nostalgic feel to this 2015 film, it reignites the importance of sound, and the film is artistically cradled by music. The actors’ commentary is simply complimentary; an art in silent films that other films may find difficult to capture. The scratches of James’ record player spinning old classical music are made important. Every sound is made more present than we are used to experiencing. The previous in it-self, set the tone for a film that gave a redefined meaning to noise.

Carl Sandburg’s poem “Wilderness” plays a pivotal role in the connection between the tales of the wilderness that James’ father used to tell him about and the coming to terms with James’ lost and acceptance of himself. “Each man’s wilderness is his own” his dad used to say.

Leaving behind a wife Abigail Charm (Virginia Madsen) and a coming-of-age son James Charm (Kodi Smit-McPhee), only the mother has seemed to begin to move past the tragedy but she believes her son has not “socially adjusted”. James becomes obsessed with death; documenting the death of everything/everyone around him; from house flies, to birds to his pet hamster Elliott. He worries his mother beyond the point of control, leaving her no choice but to take him to a shrink. James reluctantly attends his sessions with no desire of ever leaving his sarcasm at the door or give way for the doctor to explore his suppressed feelings.

As all coming of age films, a love interest is introduced, there in the shrink’s waiting room, we meet Val. The counterpart to what we have come to know of James; sarcastic and scarred from the past. Val opens up to James about her attempting to commit suicide after the divorce of her parents when she was 11. James fills Val in on the passing of his father. The two bond beyond romantic attraction. Along with his love interest, James meets two street kids Harmon (Evan Ross) and Gunny (Hannah Barefoot) who push him out of his shell and allow him to finally live and experience a more enjoyable type of darkness; alcohol, smoking, late nights, friends etc. James becomes destructive and disrespectful towards his mother, driving a rift between their already corrupted relationship.

Harmon’s friendship with James, we begin to notice, is equally beneficial. Harmon, a secret pianist, lets James into his musical world, which in turn sets Harmon free just as Harmon does for James. The two are torn apart when Harmon is caught kissing Val. Upset and confused, James returns to the shell of himself. Almost as if he’d witnessed death twice. With nowhere else to release, he finally confides in his shrink who then reveals that he himself knew of James’ father before he died. James is shocked by the fact that the shrink also adds that James is nothing like his father.

The film silently withholds the fact that James’ father committed suicide by jumping off of a city bridge. What’s even more chilling is James finally admitting to his mother that he witnessed the entire scene. James revisits the bridge and has finally come to the point in his journey where he is ready to accept and carry his father’s “wilderness”. “I keep this wolf because the wilderness gave it to me.”

This riveting, must-see coming of age film with a musical twist on the intimate subject of suicide is well worth the watch. Indulge.

Kaneisha Montague is a filmmaker based in Metro Atlanta. She is a member of the Women Film Critics Circle.