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

8/29/08

The Women Review: Sex, Lies And Shopping

This new and not improved George Cukor remake dabbles in an exclusively perky patrician female milieu of smart and sassy, if also frivolously inclined backtalk babes.

CLICK TO READ REVIEW HERE

8/25/08

Frozen River: Sisterhood Surviving Racial And Economic Strife

Frozen River:
Director Courtney Hunt has achieved a remarkable work with Frozen River, that is both a poignant and exquisitely life-affirming sisterhood rite of passage, and a rare glimpse into the burdened but enduring spirit of the Mohawk Nation.


CLICK TO READ REVIEW HERE

Vicky Cristina Bacelona: A second review by Linda Z

Starring: Scarlett Johansson, Penélope Cruz, Rebecca Hall, Javier Bardem, Chris Messina
Director: Woody Allen
Screenwriter: Woody Allen


Maybe Woody Allen's film, Vicky Cristina Barcelona
is not for everyone. Maybe the world is divided into those who relish sex and striving for love and adventure from those whose intelligence can not embrace animalistic strivings with ease and relative comfort.

I thought Vicky Cristina Barcelona was funny and compelling and posed a real question. Is the exciting life worth living or should we all settle down into the groove for which we might be rewarded with money, stability, friends who interest us not at all with their chatter about money, and house decorations while our minds are on love, passion, sex in all its variation.

The chemistry created and sustained by the strong actors was electrifying I felt as if they could do almost anything on screen and they certainly did go beyond the conventional. But so does the subject matter. For me no one was a "slut" not the men nor the women. They were mature adults trying to find and live with a passion that is not always encountered in life but when it is, it is an experience not easily forgotten


In contrast to Elegy, the recent adaption for the screen of Phillip Roth's novel, I thought Vicky Cristina Barcelona was written more with today's women in mind, There certainly were enough women actors of note used to convey the experience. Where as Elegy had only one woman of importance and several strong male actors.


Elegy is about the "dirty old man" who finally understands he has to go beyond the young and the beautiful woman to find the love that he so desperately needs.
In Elegy the woman gets lost. We know nothing of Penelepy Cruz's life beyond her relationship to the dirty old male professor.


Whereas in Vicky Cristina Barcelona we find that woman. We have a conversation with her and she emerges, not with a clarity of purpose as much as a victim of our puritanical society that so many are forced to adhere to, forced to live their personal lives within the narrow dictates of what is right rather than what is deemed "slutty"

In the world of money, of the highly educated, can there be room for passion, for deviation from the norm? I hope so.

For sanity sake, let us be free; sexually, socially, politically, financially.


Both films were extremely well done. I had trouble appreciating Elegy but each film is compelling in their own way. If you take the adventure into sex and sexual relationship and the worship and exploration of love I recommend both films be part of your experience.


Linda Z
WBAI Women's Collective
RT Vine:Witches Brew

8/22/08

Babylon A.D. Movie Review

Babylon A.D. Movie Review
More travelogue and hi-tech tall tale than terror ride, Babylon A.D.'S apocalyptically minded explosive action sequences often seem seriously out of synch, as if assembled by a dyslexic editing crew.

CLICK HERE TO READ REVIEW

Disaster Movie Review

Disaster Movie Review
Disaster Movie is a much too agreeable satire lite, when it should be going more for the cinematic jugular.

CLICK TO READ REVIEW HERE

8/20/08

FLOW: IRENA SALINA

Water is the Essence of Life

I know about water. I drink only bottled water. I know there is a dramatic shortage of water world wide and the multi-national corporations are buying up water and this is the ever present and growing concern for the survival of our fragile world along with global warming and lack of affordable heat and oil for our all too many cars and the entire agricultural industry's hunger for oil to create their fertilizer that fuels our Corn and Wheat and stuffs our cows with too much fat, illness and premature demise.

So why would I travel two hours to see a 84 minutes documentary on a subject that I already have sufficient knowledge; a film that promises to be just another source of concern and worry that I can do nothing about.

Why?

Not just because Flow was selected by the Sundance Film Festival 2008
Not just because the subject is ever pressing but
because everything that I thought I knew about water was just the tip of the iceberg, a tiny fraction of reality that surrounds the process of privitization of Water. Who's water is being bought and by whom?
And what is the relationship between water and chemicals used for medicine, fertilizers and modern day weapons of mass destruction.

This documentary replete with the tragedy of what has happened and continues to happen to our water differs from other must see documentries such as King Corn, because it provides a positive sense of hope, of remedial action.

As with every film compelled by strong emotion and a wealth of supportive detail, Flow doesn't stop haunting us after it is over.

If saving the planet is as simple as seeing a film, there is no convincing reason for not seeing this extraordinary documentary,
even if you live on planet Mars


SEPTEMBER 12, 2008
OPENS IN NEW YORK AND SELECT CITIES



Linda Z
WBAI Women's Collective
RT VINE:WITCHES BREW

8/17/08

Hounddog Review: The Dakota Fanning Rape Movie?

While the sexualization on screen of a twelve year old actress is dismissed by the filmmakers and some anti-rape organizations because it's intended to focus on a grave crime, one hand washing the other is not the point.

CLICK TO READ REVIEW HERE

8/15/08

RELIGULOUS Larry Charles, Director

Produced by and Featuring

Bill Maher
"An uproarious nonfiction film about the greatest fiction ever told"


You may have to wait until October 3, 2008 to see LIONGATE"S Bill Maher film Religulous, but it is well worth the wait.

This film takes on the crazy world we live in where the fanciful seems real and the real is all too unbelievable even for our
superior intelligence and our capacity to think and understand beyond the immediate.

What has stopped man's progress into the yet-to-be conquered capacity to know and to live harmoniously with one another
is organized religion.

With Bill Maher at the helm, this expose of the power of religion to keep the otherwise sane, if there is such a state of mind, trapped into a bizarre set of beliefs and understandings that defy science, common sense and ordinary intelligence is as funny as it is tragic.

For many it is an eye opener to learn how and what people believe and the overwhelming strength of their beliefs in the absence of credible evidence.

The music reflects an advance is religious striving into the 21st century making the less than intelligent concepts seem so real that people can and do dance to the images of Jesus, of God of any and all sorts. This is an explosive film because of the ideas Bill Maher dares bring to the screen And that is why it must be seen.

What is missing is the how and the what of organized religion and religious beliefs as they effect the lives of ordinary women.

Although Maher's mother says that they(Maher's parents) left Catholicism because of the prohibition against the use of birth control, this is just the tip of an otherwise brutal system of thought that keeps women not much more than a baby making machine. Perhaps in his next film Maher will take on the devastation to women world wide due to this antiquated view of the "second sex".


Linda Z
WBAI WOMEN'S COLLECTIVE
RT vine:witches brew

Death Race Review

Death Race Movie Review
Paul W.S. Anderson (Resident Evil) updates subversive schlockmeister Roger Corman's 1975 homo sapien roadkill romp.

CLICK HERE TO READ REVIEW

8/12/08

Fly Me To The Moon: Ben Stassen

Starring: Christopher Lloyd, Tim Curry, Nicollette Sheridan, Robert Patrick Benedict, Robert Patrick

Screenwriter: Domonic Paris



While I sat in anticipatory expectation of a fun filled film, a state of the animation art which is extraordinary, I hummed to myself the tune "fly me to the moon" made famous by the one and only Frank Sinatra with the full awareness that his voice is not a household sound for the generation that will be coming to theaters to see this extravaganza projected onto the huge AMC 42nd. street screen.


The sound, the site of the right-in-the-face 3D animation, replete with 3D glasses, was well worth the price of admission. The bugs(fly) coming into their own as members of a family and a community of friends where going to the moon is deemed an act of defiant plunge into the realm of imagination and adventure.


I don't know how children will react to a fly-mother who faints more than once as she watches/hears of her child's adventures. I thought this was a very prejudicial rendition of lack of emotional strength of mothers. I, a single mother of two sons who were not shy in their search for adventure and imagination, never fainted because of anything they did or failed to do. And I don't think I am alone. If this projection was an example of "humor" I suggest the Director be more in touch with what he projects on screen and why.

This film could have been so good, so strong, but it wasn't.


The story is weak, the plot, however, is interesting; flies going to the moon hidden by their small size in the rocket ship. It portrayed the historical event with real footage from the past that children might want to embrace particularly in this time of such great shame brought to our country with the American thirst for war and unending honor roll known but rarely spoken of.


I recommend this film with reservation, great reservation, as it does nothing to help women and girls achieve an equal footing, emotionally with the other gender. But it does wonders for our appreciation of flies. I will never swat at a fly again, without thinking of the footage in 'Fly Me To The Moon".


In theaters Friday August 15,2008


Linda Z
WBAI Women's Collective
RT Vine: witches brew

8/8/08

Vicky Cristina Barcelona: Sex Tourism For The Swells

Vicky Cristina Barcelona: Tarted Up Sex Tourism Travelogue

CLICK TO READ REVIEW HERE
Disfigured: Director Glenn Gers
reviewed by Linda Z

Plot: Lydia, a buoyant overweight woman, and Darcy, a recovering anorexic become friends. Their friendship brings to the screen similarities between the two women, and the destructive way we view our bodies.


Genre: Dramas

Starring: Deidra Edwards, Staci Lawrence, Ryan C. Benson, Elizabeth Sampson, Sonya Eddy

Composer: Kayla Schma

Commentary:
living in America
being exposed to easily accessible food, mostly junk: soda, chips, french fires, devil dogs and candy
that cost relatively little money

living in American where children are targeted for high caloric,
high fat foods at
fifty cents an item such as honey buns
or Twinkies

living in America where milk products are pushed as if milk is the answer to the health needs of every citizen rather than a source of obesity
living in America where corn syrup is seemingly in everything although it is known to cause obesity
diabetes
living in America where cows are force fed corn of the lowest the poorest nutritional value
killed at an ever younger age to avoid the premature onset of detectable disease
living in America where the forced fed cows achieve slaughter weight that used to take two and a half years to achieve, now done in forty to sixty days

living in America where food is genetically engineered,
without our knowledge, or any one's knowledge of what happens when people mess with the genetic make up of food, of people.

how, in America, can you avoid being fat, or morbidly obese at an early age? How can you avoid the early death, that is the fate of the cows and cow by products we eat daily with the yogurt, the cheese, the meat, the hamburgers and french fries laced with corn syrup
Anorexia.
Is that the answer?.

It is almost impossible to remember that this is a film, that the people on the screen are actors, not real people opening their hearts and soul to us, their audience. It is hard to believe because this film is so well directed, so well acted and the content so compelling. It articulates an unspoken dilemma of every American women's psyche.

Disfigured presents the impact of living between consuming the slow poison of the deliberately addictive food sold in America that inevitably leads to being "fat" and the cultural abhorance of "fat" women that filters into the lives of the ordinary citizens; educate, homeless or not, to the too thin women, the Anorexic, who suffers from death by starvation. Neither extreme is particularly pretty.

Feel the pain. Struggle to find an answer with women actors and Glen Gers who articulated with consummate skill the American women's dilemma with whom we can and do identify

Recommendation:
See this film. Let our children see this film. Then buy it and have discussion groups on food; what to eat, what not to eat and why.


Linda Z
WBAI Women's Collective
RT Vine: Witches Brew

8/6/08

Ping Pong Playa: Jessica Yu

Plot:
Christopher C-dub lives at home, works a dead-end job, and squirms in the shadow of his older brother, Michael, a doctor and ping pong champion. Due to injury, Michael can not compete in the competition upon which his family's livehood is dependent. Christopher C-dub prevails.


Starring: Jimmy Tsai, Roger Fan, Shelley Malil, Jim Lau, CiCi Lau

Screenwriter: Jimmy Tsai, Jessica Yu


Commentary:


If you enjoy seeing people involved in sports events
If you like good dancing, music that is fun and right on the mark
If you enjoy seemingly wild youth exploding across a screen
in quasi comic book gestures

if you like to see high energy films with
speedy dialogue and
good acting
if you enjoy being introduced to a new/old sport
with unusual training and
to an immigrant culture that is striving to make it in this country of entrepreneurs
if you want to sit back and enjoy a film
to the very last moment, the last drop of footage
I recommend
Ping Pong.


I enjoyed it
I loved it
But maybe the world isn't ready to embrace ping pong.

That is the point of the film. Let us play. Let us be watched and appreciated. And the film succeeds. I am now a spectator convert, a happy one.


See Ping Pong and take the children

release date:
September 5, 2008

Linda Z
WBAI Women's Collective
RT Vine:Witches Brew

8/4/08

Frozeen River: Courtney Hunt

frozen River

is a film that was heavily promoted by the Lincoln Center film festival over the span of two series of film premiers.

It tells a compelling story and it is conveyed in a low level, inexpensive, no nonsense presentation that indicates that the story is in itself so strong that the other myriad efforts that high profile films strive to effect are irrelevant

For me the music, the scenery, the photography, the turns and twists in a story rather than a lineal line of plot revelation is important. I am looking for not just the enticement of a plot but for how it is conveyed. Some say that this is a story about simple people and thus it can get away with a simple low cost production.

But the Coen brother's "no time for old men" is about simple people with a simple plot but it is a high cost brilliant film. I am waiting for the time when women can address their wonderful ideas for film with the same money backing them and the same excellence in production to merit recognition even by men who are used to more than just a strong story about one important and entertaining subject after another.

see the film
decide for yourself

Frozen River is a good story and maybe for you that is enough

Linda Z
WBAI Women's Collective
RT Vine:Witches Brew

8/2/08

Frozen River: Nancy Keefe Rhodes Interviews Director Courtney Hunt

Nancy Keefe Rhodes spoke by phone with filmmaker Courtney Hunt about her new movie, Frozen River. The drama touches on undocumented immigration at the Canadian border, the Mowhawk Nation, and a cross-cultural friendship between two women.

Nancy Keefe Rhodes has been a film journalist with Women`s Voices Radio/WAER Syracuse 88.3 FM, Stylus Magazine and FilmSlashMagazine.com. She is also a member of the Women Film Critics Circle.

Here is that conversation.

CLICK TO LISTEN TO INTERVIEW HERE

Tropic Thunder

TROPIC THUNDER: Saving the best for first pseudo-trailers, a really scary and hairy Tom Cruise, Jack Black's semi-deranged doper, and a cutthroat jungle drug cartel headed by a homicidal twelve year old child soldier.

CLICK TO READ REVIEW HERE

8/1/08

Pineapple Express

Pineapple Express, a mixed bag of assorted fruits and nuts, with doper loons on the lam waiting to inhale.


CLICK TO READ REVIEW HERE