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

12/29/09

Ellen Burstyn Talks Tennessee Williams, Brando, Sex And Mortality






Ellen Burstyn, An Audio Conversation: According To Greta, The Loss Of A Teardrop Diamond and Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore.

LISTEN TO THE SHOW HERE

Plus...Movies 2009: The Good, The Bad And The Ugly....Brutally entertaining pink slip itinerant suits, music for the masses, hip noir warsploit guerrilla cinema, stinging screwball served up raw, vintage get-even with the cosmos comedic existentialism, compassion phobia, and more...

12/28/09

Race And Politics In Movies: Obama, Precious And The Blind Side


By Sikivu Hutchinson

In the darkness of any given movie theatre, from Main Street USA to MLK Boulevard, they surround us: white America’s Hollywood objects of desire, playing romance and adventure in full amnesiac bloom. They taunt and entice, radiating spunk and derring-do in the face of strenuous man-hunting, universe-saving, dragon slaying and average hardworking Americana family-hood. Missing from the studio green light rosters are the tales of the ambitious, play by the rules black girls and boys newly-minted in the job market and beat down by underemployment. The ones who are initiated into adulthood on reverse discrimination screeds heralding the white working class as the last acceptably dumped on “minority.” The ones who are promised that the legions of Talented Tenth blacks armed with college degrees will level institutional racism. The ones who must quietly “absent” themselves from their resumes as white convicted felons, cashing in on their birthright, waltz through corporate doors.

A recent New York Times article on black college grads’ struggle to find jobs should be sobering for anyone with the deluded belief that Obama’s Talented Tenth magic will rub off on them. According to the Times, some black college grads, fearing that they will forever be consigned to fast food fryers or professional irrelevance, are changing their names from Rashida to Heidi, Omari to Chip (or Barack to Barry). Staggering black unemployment rates five percent above the national average have made black job applicants desperate to preempt racist discrimination by potential employers. In some instances, graduates of historically black colleges and universities have deleted all reference to their tenure and omitted mentions of involvement in ethnically suspect groups.

These trends point to the larger paradox of black invisibility. The Congressional Black Caucuses’ (CBC) futile White House lobby for targeted initiatives to address black unemployment underscores the divide between the image of black assimilation suggested by the hyper-telegenic Obama family and the reality of post-Jim Crow segregation. Jockeying for a white norm, blacks must effectively water themselves down, evacuate their social histories and memorialized sense of self and accomplishment. Racist death threats against Obama, coon/welfare mother cheat references on AOL news posts and Fox News fueled tea party insurgencies offer a steady avalanche of evidence that representations of blackness remain fixed in the white mainstream mind.

Indeed, the current crop of mainstream film narratives about blackness, from the blockbuster white woman’s burden romp
The Blind Side to the lurid ghetto pathology of Precious—offer powerful affirmation of the seductive lure and redemptive powers of
whiteness. Released in an era where the rhetoric of post-racialism has reached surreal fever pitch, both films are essentially bookended portraits of the perils of being an orphaned black child in a dysfunctional racial “subculture.” The character Precious initially achieves agency by fantasizing herself thin, “pretty” and white, while Blind Side protagonist Michael Oher escapes the “Moynihanian” churn of black poverty into the healing arms and tough love of a benevolent white mistress, or, rather, adoptive mama. Although Precious gets props for spotlighting the subjectivity of a non-traditional black female protagonist, it does nothing to disrupt patriarchal assumptions about black femininity or challenge the masculinist culture of violence that underlies Precious’ sexual abuse by her father. The unrelenting bleakness and solipsistic vacuum of Precious’ swaggering welfare mother’s den in the projects effectively lets the dominant culture off the hook. Lacking historical context or socioeconomic critique of the complicity of racist sexist social institutions, these films offer comforting retrograde portrayals of good and evil, where transformation of individual circumstance is the bellwether for social change.

Ultimately, these triumphal human spirit over adversity morality plays go down well with prevailing conservative bromides of bootstraps enterprise and white (or, in the case of Precious, light-skinned black) patronage. Popular culture messages such as these also bolster Obama’s trickle down doctrine of “benign” ghetto neglect. Bailing Wall Street and his corporate cronies out to mega-billions while kicking the CBC to the curb, Obama has symbolically wagged his finger and reminded us hardheaded Negroes once again that he never promised black America any kind of Rose Garden.


Sikivu Hutchinson is the editor of blackfemlens.org and a commentator for Pacifica Sister To Sister Station KPFK 90.7FM.She is a member of the Women Film Critics Circle and The James Agee Political Cinema Circle.

12/24/09

The Women Film Critics Circle Does Air America Radio!


SCREENING ROOM: From Colonialist Queens To Rebel Native Princesses At The Movies:
The Young Victoria: Mary Poppins or Margaret Thatcher? Royal Octomom plus one, and who really wears the pants, or rather the crown, in the family. And later for contemporaries Charles Dickens, Karl Marx and other elephants in the room. Producer Graham Kings shares Victoria's secrets.
Avatar: Born again marine wheelchair warrior turned unwitting capitalist tool in league with a digitalized free spirit princess, takes on forest foreclosure and the military industrial complex, in this breathtaking futuristic identity theft odyssey.

LISTEN TO THE SHOW HERE

AND....

The WBAI Women's Collective Does Air America Radio! Lisa Collins, Prairie Miller in attendance.

WATCH THE SHOW HERE

Viewer Comment:

Good year for women in movies?

I think Laura Flanders intended for this piece to be somewhat, 'light'. Prairie Miller, it seems, had intentions other than speaking to, "art in cinema". All things considered, Laura handled it well. Prairie had some good social commentary though; Coco as a Nazi, deferred blame within the Ghetto in "Precious", fashionably pretty heroines, etc. Unfortunately for Prairie, "Greek Tragedies" haven't fit into our insulated lifestyles for quite awhile...God forbid there should be a crack in our pre-packaged veneer...People simply want a good yarn. Nevertheless, even in your alternate media universe, it's nice to see that things can get away from you as well. But, kudos to you guys for bringing Prairie the 'Clock Stopper' on in the first place and allowing her, her say, to dispossessed peoples everywhere.

Keith


Linda Z Weighs In:

With Critical Women On Film, there is never a dull moment. Particularly when they are asked to voice their opinion on films. Veteran film critic Prairie Miller is not shy with her opinions. Though they seldom cater to the Hollywood industry.

There appears to be a trend in today's Hollywood films, to show mothers as bad mothers and to blame the malaise of our lives on the bad female. Rather than on the economy gone awry, a happening for which men are rightfully held responsible.

In addition to the "bad mothers," the 'A' word is seldom if ever spoken in an American film. That ABORTION is as a taboo word is not just a slight of hand, but can be blamed for the backlash in the women's movement where abortion, the centerpiece of women's successful struggles in the last century, appears to be bordering on extinction.

Abortion is not on the table, in films like Precious, Disgrace and Jazz In The Diamond District, or anywhere else in 'polite' company. Date rape, incest, gang rape the most heinous male crime against a women is not, in today's America, justification for aborting the fetus. What is this all about?

And the third trend which Praire Miller and Lisa Collins brought to the fore in their Air America on-air roundtable 'discussion' with Laura Flanders, was the recent revisiting of ghetto poverty. (As if black people were disproportionately represented on the welfare rolls, when in fact it is Caucasians who champion that statistic. Why not a successful black man without white or middle class black saviors, on the Hollywood screen today?

Lisa Colins said this is a return to a 'comfort zone' before Obama entered the White House to threaten to age old notions of the dumb black man and his disfunctional family. Well, I don't feel comfortable at all with all the ado about Precious, one of the year's worst films. 'Horrible,' Prairie Miller said on air. Frankly, the distortions in that film, the blatant prejudice against women, black women, black men, fat women, dark colored skin people, single moms, welfare recipients and the list goes on, makes me feel uneasy. And to see celebrities embrace this film as if it is the cat's meow, makes me downright ill. It is obvious that the dull, the insensitive, the out of touch with reality and society are the middle to upper class celebrities who think Precious is a true to life everyday story of black poverty and this societal ill.

Prairie Miller and Lisa Collins understand films, not from the typical critic's superficial level of 'I like it, I didn't like it' but from the point of view of the impact of the film, what it says about life in general, what the hidden agenda of the film is and how it impacts of our political/social life today. What a team!

Make sure to check out Laura Flanders on Air America, it's the Women Film Critics Circle and the WBAI Women's Collective at their finest hour, their strongest moment of honesty admid an onslaught of duplicity and career opportunism.

Linda Z
WBAI Women's Collective

12/23/09

READER MAILBAG: 30 Comments On Avatar, And Hurt By Locker


Critic 'After.Life'

In doing these roundups, I’ve come to know the tones and personalities of several critics and Prairie Miller is consistently one of the most amusing and enigmatic reviewers to read. In two sentences, she summed up the movie “Christina haunts mortuary,” made a movie-themed joke about embalming fluid, and summed up the movie’s likely audiences: people who liked to get creeped out, people who are creepy (aka unconventional viewers), and horndogs “freaky in nude.” Pretty impressive.
Nathan Taylor
King Sheep Productions

“Born again Christina Ricci haunts a mortuary, while perfecting post-mortem freaky in the nude. This may or may not be your cup of embalming fluid, in terms of either intriguing those with unconventional viewing preferences, or seriously creeping you out.”

CONTINUE TO READ REVIEW HERE

King-Sheep Productions is a creative collaboration between Award-winning artist Nathan Taylor and Patrick Johnson devoted to the production of movie and entertainment themed comics, comedy, and commentary. Nate and Pat met at Washington State University in Pullman, WA and became friends after quoting the Princess Bride from beginning to end for no particular reason.


LEAVES OF GRASS......

“Meant to blow your mind when not pulling your leg, the film has some surreal surprises in store. Like homicidal potheads, a Jewish menorah wielded as a deadly weapon, and a suspicious swastika scrawled backwards at a bible belt synagogue crime scene.” ------ Prairie Miller


King Sheep will pay you a dollar to say that last sentence three times in one breath.
CONTINUE TO READ LEAVES OF GRASS REVIEW HERE



READ HURT LOCKER REVIEW HERE

An Iraq Vet Writes:

Dear Ms. Miller, (Sorry if the Ms. offends, these days never sure how to start?)

I read your review of the Hurt Locker, and you seem to be the only one I agree with. I did my two tours in Iraq, not as EOD but as a Blackhawk pilot. It bothers me that so many other critics seem to think this is some great depiction of the war in Iraq. That this is the greatest movie yet and will be the movie to see about Iraq. When I watch these movies I look for accuracy and this one missed the mark. If a soldier did what these characters did, especially in 2004, they would probably be court martialed. While the psychological effect of war is interesting in the movie, and somewhat accurate, the rest is glorified fiction. Generation Kill, an HBO series, was much better than this movie. It was accurate, realistic, and yet still had compelling drama.

There are also small details like they don't use Huey's for Medevac, they use Blackhawks, and he would have been medevaced out that night, not the next day. Although Camp Victory, where they are based, did have a hospital when I was there. When he returns he wouldn't be flying in on a Marine CH-46. While it is possible, it is highly unlikely they would be trained snipers doing EOD (middle scene with Barrett .50 cal shooting at the block building). etc. etc. etc.

Sometimes I think I just don't understand theater and art, but then I read a review like yours and realize maybe I just might.

Sincerely,
Sean D


Matthew Cooke writes:

Great review. Thanks.

Matthew Cooke
Saturdayfilms.com

Matthew Cooke is an Oscar nominated documentary filmmaker whose works include Falcon; Deliver Us From Evil, an exposé of sex abuse in the Catholic Church; Teenage Paparazzo with Alec Baldwin, Whoopi Goldberg, Rosie ODonnell, and Eva Longoria; and the upcoming The War on Drugs, a documentary about US policy toward addiction, abuse and law enforcement.


Bo Chen writes:

I just wanted to comment that that was a really honest review of The Hurt Locker you wrote. I don't know how the heck The Hurt Locker got 97% approval on Rotten Tomatoes and yet movies like Somewhere In Time only received 63%.

I've never seen it but I imagine The Hurt Locker is just another mindless propaganda tool pimping capitalistic indoctrinations and such.. Seeing how 9/11, London 7/7, etc were all government sponsored "inside jobs" anyway, it does put a new perspective on the war-on-terra.. Anyone who knows the first thing about darwinistic evolution and the 2nd law of thermodynamics could have predicted our species population overshoot, and resource depletion in the form of Peak Oil and negative or diminishing marginal EROEI (energy returned on energy invested) Complex modern globalized civilizations such as ours depend on high density fuel and power sources to maintain cohesion in its 'cost structure' and 'way of life'.. once that energy runs out we have no more collateral to continue the pyramid schemes of capitalism, "infinite perpetual growth", and all of our microeconomic and social-dynamics including fiscal and monetary policy of the likes such as fractional reserve banking, debt based economies, fiat currency, (US) petrodollar hegemony, etc..

Any system that can no longer maintain cohesion at its current level of organization reverts to "cannibalism" as a last ditch effort to sustain itself.. Larger nations "cannibalize" smaller weaker ones under the guise of liberation, democracy, freedom, or what have you.. If you understand how the US economy really works you'd also know why upholding the status quo with regards to the petrodollar hegemony is so vitally important for US national interests in the 21 century.. (especially given the context of Peak Oil and the fact that US dollar is pegged to something that is worth far more than gold, and that is OPEC's petroleum)

So who are we really fooling here? Hollywood can always be counted upon to do what it does best.. which is pimp and whore out trashy movies to get that $10 per pop.. Sure on the battlefield it is an entirely different universe, it becomes all about survival, teamwork, and looking out for your 'bro'.. I understand that.. But none of these people ever stop to ask WHY or for what, or seek the underlying reasons of their actions..

I think the world would be a better place if more of my gender decided that instead of mindlessly slaving away for a soon to be inviable capitalistic society or giving in to the multifaceted recklessness of indiscriminate testosterone (cheap sex, drinking and drugs, glorification of war, since of manhood derived from patriotism or duty to abstractions such as a nation, etc) that they would settle down and seek true happiness, become more self-aware and meta-conscious and find happiness, pleasure and contentment in the simple yet compelling aspects of life.. and that they would realize there is never anything better in life than just to live in the moment, to enjoy the roses and spend quality time with their loved ones in the context of a dyadic interpersonal relationship full of real love and joy.. soulmates and perfect love and happily ever after forever and a day and that kind of stuff..

Instead we stand in line at AMC with our $10 ready to be shelled out for the next 2 hour functional dysfunction that is becoming less and less viable.. The bottom line is that life is not about the bottom line.. though how is anyone ever supposed to become enlightened watching a movie like that?
Bo Chen

THIRTY READER COMMENTS ON AVATAR



A born again, freshly buffed wheelchair warrior turned unwitting capitalist tool in league with a digitalized free spirit princess, takes on forest foreclosure and the military industrial complex, in this breathtaking futuristic identity theft odyssey.

READ REVIEW HERE

TROLL writes:
on Dec 21 2009 02:16 PM

Avatar is ANTI-White Male / anti capitalism/ and pro ECO-nut whack job Propaganda. Simple as that.


Steven Hernandez writes:
on Dec 21 2009 02:22 PM

JerkFace...you should just shorten your name to Jerk.
How can it be anti-white male when two of the heros are white males? Anti-capitalism? You think capitalism is synonomous with raping the earth? Communists did the same thing in their respective corners of the world.
Pro eco-nut? Oh that's right...not wanting to destroy the planet is only something a nut would believe in.
You're an idiot.


TROLL writes:
on Dec 21 2009 02:42 PM

In reply to this comment
Your a dog's *******, keep believing the propaganda soup you have been fed all your life idiot, global warming is a myth. Al Gore will make millions off of cap & trade and it will be used to become a global governing organization to control EVERYTHING and there is no denying it even by the corrupt U.N. You stupid loser traitor to America, probably voted for Obama too. These hollywood directors are nothing but Fabian socialists out to try to control the world in there socialist view.


Matthew D. writes:
on Dec 21 2009 03:02 PM

Environmentalism is not strictly about global warming, and neither is Avatar. It's about treating our natural wonders with respect, including the forests. Do you hold the mentality that we, as human beings, are entitled to destroy anything that we please without thinking of the consequences?
You made your first mistake by calling the movie anti-white/male when some of the main heroes are white.


dystopiandweller writes:
on Dec 21 2009 03:04 PM

when did global warming ever come up? huh? Avatar is merely about taking care of the planet. pollution, dwindling resources, and garbage piles aren't myths.


dystopiandweller writes:
on Dec 21 2009 03:07 PM

that was meant for jerkface, of course


dystopiandweller writes:
on Dec 21 2009 03:08 PM

ah, matthew d beat me to it


TROLL writes:
on Dec 21 2009 03:14 PM

It's ok, all of you may be too stupid and brainwashed to get it, but that can be expected since you have been conditioned since birth. I can't take the chains off of your mind that the liberal media has imposed on it only a swift kick in the *** could. Jame's Cameron hates America, hates god and killed Jesus!


Matthew D. writes:
on Dec 21 2009 03:20 PM

"Jame's Cameron hates America, hates god and killed Jesus!"
This pretty much confirms that you're a troll account, because you deliberately ignore what others say and spout out nonsense such as James Cameron being anti-American.
Funnily enough, I would think that someone who loves God and believes that he created Earth's natural beauties would want to respect them, which is at the core of environmentalism...


TROLL writes:
on Dec 21 2009 03:24 PM

What's a troll?


Steven Hernandez writes:
on Dec 21 2009 03:25 PM

In reply to this comment (#2576644)
You're a troll


James P. writes:
on Dec 21 2009 03:30 PM

He might just be stupid. Are you a dumb person, troll?


TROLL writes:
on Dec 21 2009 03:32 PM

In reply to this comment (#2576647)
I'm smarter than you, idiot.


Steven Hernandez writes:
on Dec 21 2009 03:50 PM

In reply to this comment:
Judging by the crap you write, I highly doubt that.


Derek S. writes:
on Dec 21 2009 04:03 PM

Its one of the best films of the year by far. It certainly does not feel like a 3 hour movie either, and it keeps you wanting to see more. Really good movie.
If you want to watch it you can see it at http://www.movieflix.org


dystopiandweller writes:
on Dec 21 2009 04:06 PM

You're barely worth debating with, TROLL aka Jerkface, but destroying our planet (different from global warming; I'm talking exploitation) is not "liberal bias." How can you deny that we pollute too much? Use too much oil and natural resources than we can replenish for the future? Human-caused global warming may or may not be true but the world but there are still many things everyone is worried about, like running out of water and oil. Like where are we gonna put our garbage?


TROLL writes:
on Dec 21 2009 04:58 PM

Then I challenge you to a battle of the wits. I will even let you select the playing field. Let's go moron put your money where your mouth is!


Neel B. writes:
on Dec 21 2009 10:49 PM

In reply to this comment
@TROLL....maybe u should check your definitions of "capitalism"....and that u are a darn racist is proved by the use of the term "anti-white male"....and eco-nut??
good...u are inventing new terms...and if u think u can be u'r little ugly self,wasting away earths resources as if u don't care,remeber--the ecology threat is not a sci-fi imagination...it is harsh reality...
i don't think u have even heard of economics before u used the term capitalism.....yes,the film was indicative in some ways,and that is for a true cause,and i support it...
Now go die in a fire...

Tim G. writes:
on Dec 22 2009 08:39 AM

The Problem here is that He Only shows One sided stereotypes.
1. Corporations are greedy and evil
2. The Military doesn't care if they kill innocents and civilians and they do it for greedy corporations.
3. Native people are Good and everything they do is good and "balanced" with nature.
Then the movie Makes references to fighting terror with terror and several other barbs about the recent wars.
The problem is none of the stereotypes are true. The only place they are true is the Liberal mind. The war in Iraq was not about Oil. We are not killing our own planet. You guys think this because of how things are portrayed by the media. Our planet is not "our mother". The military is not over there mindlessly taking orders to kill women and children. They are not a pure people who need nothing from us. Native American tribes have many barbaric practices they are not all peace loving eco friendly tree huggers.
We didn't start it and then get upset when they hit us back and call it "terror". These are all Leftist Ideas. What it really points out is what a sad pathetic world view this guy has. You have to deny reality completely and live in a fantasy world to believe these things.
Sadly many of you share this view because of all the leftist propaganda in the Main stream media.
The Military and Corporations created the technology and the freedom by which you watched this movie and are making these comments. Native American tribes brutally killed each other including women and children, took slaves of each other and preformed horrific physical and mental torture on each other long before a European sat foot here.
You people don't understand how programmed you are to think certain ways by the people in control of the media and much of the education system.


Steven Hernandez writes:
on Dec 22 2009 09:03 AM

Tim G.
1. Corporations are about making profits. The scientists work for the corporation...were they evil? No
2. Sully cared. The pilot chick cared. The only marine we see who was truly evil was the colonel.
3. The one native was giving jake **** the whole time and laughed when he thought he had fallen off the cliff. Hardly good. They had weapons for a reason...problem from CENTURIES of fighting each other.
Spare us your narrow minded interpretations.


Matthew D. writes:
on Dec 22 2009 09:40 AM

Tim:
"We are not killing our own planet...our planet is not our mother."
Keep saying that as you continue to pollute, cut down our natural forests, etc. We are here precisely because of our natural beauties that support animal kingdoms, our food sources, etc. We are humbled by the beauty of nature; it is not humbled by those that exploit it.
By the way, it shows that several marines are good, including the pilot. Many of the native Na'vi also want to kill Jake initially. Keep your narrow interpretations to yourself.


Matthew D. writes:
on Dec 22 2009 09:43 AM

"The Military and Corporations created the technology and the freedom by which you watched this movie and are making these comments."
This is not anti-military or anti-corporation, since they show that many admirable figures protest the current direction of the RDA. It shows how exploitation and excess represent a corruption.
"You people don't understand how programmed you are to think certain ways by the people in control of the media and much of the education system."
Oh, not that bull again.


Matthew D. writes:
on Dec 22 2009 09:45 AM
Oh, and Tim: SCIENTISTS that work for corporations enable technology to develop, so long as their research is not corrupted by the pursuit of profits. Unfortunately, many conservative-minded individuals seem to detect progress that threatens their ideals in any way. You keep polluting and keep telling us that such an action doesn't harm Earth in any way, because I'm sure that you understand the climate so well.


katharine r. writes:
on Dec 22 2009 11:19 AM

Avatar was just a glorified adaptation of the Disney Pocahontas with a statement about the Afghan and Iraq wars. The majority of movie was spent showing off the CGI technology.


Steven Hernandez writes:
on Dec 22 2009 02:52 PM

In reply to this comment
Katherine...you're an idiot. If anything the movie is about the Trail of Tears.
Afghanistan doesn't have some precios metal that is being exploited by an american company. you're not even smart enough to know what afghanistan is like.
What a moron.


TROLL writes:
on Dec 22 2009 05:30 PM

Your the idiot...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trans-Afghanistan_Pipeline
get a clue you brainwashed fool.


TROLL writes:
on Dec 22 2009 05:31 PM

Ya I know I mispelled your, so what.

12/14/09

The Hurt Locker: War Porn At The Movies



A look at the Fellini derived screen musical, Nine, and a conversation with co-stars Sophia Loren and Nicole Kidman. Plus, The Masculine Mystique In Movies: Ripped and rowdy, or rotund and reticent? A look at the former, examining the cult of war porn in Kathryn Bigelow's The Hurt Locker. Or, War is never having to say you're sorry.

CLICK TO LISTEN HERE

12/10/09

The Women Film Critics Circle Awards 2009: Unique, Provocative And Stylishly Opinionated


Sunshine Cleaning: Female Blue Collar Blues

The Women Film Critics Circle has announced its 2009 awards for the best movies this year by and about women, and outstanding achievements by women, who get to be rarely honored historically, in the film world. The WFCC 'Best And Worst' Awards Ceremony was broadcast live on Wednesday 12/9 on WBAI Radio in NY 99.5 FM, and is archived at wbai.org and Critical Women.

LISTEN TO THE SHOW HERE

Also on hand during the show to present a moving tribute to the WFCC posthumous Lifetime Achievement Award winner, Gertrude Berg, was Anna Berger, formerly a young star in Berg's 1950s hit sitcom, The Molly Goldberg Show. Gertrude Berg, who pioneered the inclusion of women on television both in front of and behind the camera, was also one of the few prominent females who struggled against the Blacklist. Anna Berger also appears in the new documentary about her life, Aviva Kempner's Yoo-Hoo Mrs. Goldberg. And Nancy Schiesari, director of the scathing anti-war documentary Tattooed Under Fire, flew in from Austin, Texas to come on the air and receive her award for Best Documentary: Courage In Filmmaking, on the show.

The Women Film Critics Circle is an association of 47 women film critics and scholars from around the country and internationally, who are involved in print, radio, online and TV broadcast media. They came together in 2004 to form the first women critics' organization in the United States, in the belief that women's perspectives and voices in film criticism need to be recognized fully. WFCC also prides itself on being the most culturally and racially diverse critics group in the country by far, and best reflecting the diversity of movie audiences.

Critical Women On Film, a presentation of The Women Film Critics Circle, is their journal of discussion and theory, and a gathering of women's voices expressing a fresh and differently experienced perspective from the primarily male dominated film criticism world. Critical Women On Film is online at: Criticalwomen.net.

THE WOMEN FILM CRITICS CIRCLE AWARDS 2009

BEST MOVIE ABOUT WOMEN
*TIE
Coco Before Chanel
My One And Only

BEST MOVIE BY A WOMAN
Julie & Julia: Nora Ephron

BEST WOMAN STORYTELLER [Screenwriting Award]
Sunshine Cleaning: Megan Holley

BEST ACTRESS
Abbie Cornish: Bright Star

BEST ACTOR
Ben Foster: The Messenger

BEST YOUNG ACTRESS
Sidibe Gabourey: Precious

BEST COMEDIC ACTRESS
Meryl Streep: Julie & Julia

BEST FOREIGN FILM BY OR ABOUT WOMEN
Seraphine

BEST FEMALE IMAGES IN A MOVIE
American Violet
Amreeka
The Baader Meinhof Complex
Inglourious Basterds
Lemon Tree
The Messenger
My Sister's Keeper
Sweet Crude

BEST THEATRICALLY UNRELEASED MOVIE BY OR ABOUT WOMEN [Includes films released on DVD or TV, or screened at film festivals, in recognition of the limited opportunities available for films by and about women on screen]
Grey Gardens

BEST EQUALITY OF THE SEXES
Julie & Julia

BEST ANIMATED FEMALE
Princess And The Frog: Anika Noni Rose as Tiana

BEST FAMILY FILM
Up

LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD: Gertrude Berg [Posthumous]: Yoo-Hoo Mrs. Goldberg: Aviva Kempner, director

ACTING AND ACTIVISM: Emma Thompson - For her work on and off screen against sex trafficking

*ADRIENNE SHELLY AWARD: For a film that most passionately opposes violence against women:
Precious

*JOSEPHINE BAKER AWARD: For best expressing the woman of color experience in America
American Violet

*KAREN MORLEY AWARD: For best exemplifying a woman's place in history or society, and a courageous search for identity
An Education

COURAGE IN ACTING [Taking on unconventional roles that radically redefine the images of women on screen]
Isabella Rossellini: Green Porno

THE INVISIBLE WOMAN AWARD [Supporting performance by a woman whose exceptional impact on the film dramatically, socially or historically, has been ignored]
Olivia Williams: An Education

BEST DOCUMENTARIES BY WOMEN:

GROUNDBREAKER: The Beaches of Agnès, Agnès Varda

ABOVE AND BEYOND: American Casino, Leslie Cockburn

COURAGE IN FILMMAKING: Tattooed Under Fire, Nancy Schiesari

WFCC TOP TEN HALL OF SHAME

Antichrist: The cinematic equivalent of nails down a chalkboard. Pretentious pornography, satanic sex, and Willem Dafoe as an artsy New Age femocidal sexorcist.

Deadgirl: Again the theme is vile sexual violence to women. In this case, the woman is dead and the men can do what they like with her And they do. This film brings out the worst of male fantasies towards women, and it wasn't a pretty sight.

Downloading Nancy: The sexual violence towards Nancy, even though she asked for and seemed to want it, was difficult to absorb.

Ghosts Of Girlfriends Past: Matthew McConaughey as cardboard cutout misogynist, in one too many phone-it-in rom-coms featuring toxic bachelors.

Pirate Radio: Horrible male characters who treat women like a floating meat market.

Precious: If this film were a poor 'white trash' family/community, it wouldn't have received the applause that it did. The point is that it promotes prejudice against blacks, fat women, unmarried women, less educated women and a whole lot more. That it is successful screams out for another film from the same neighborhood where the family is kept above the fray of stereotyping, by a strong unmarried mother.

Twilight Saga: New Moon: Bella (lead human female) is completely pathetic, the whole giving up one's soul thing. How sad is it when a gal in a small town picks two boys she likes, one is a vampire and one is a werewolf.

Up In The Air: 'Just think of me as yourself, only with a vagina.' Oh, puh-leez! Who was this corporate female predaor [Vera Farmiga] supposed to be, this gorgeous, available babe with no back story and the magic ability to pull two sexy black dresses from her rollaway with no prior notice?!?!?

Two words: Judd Apatow. Some more words: perfect, beautiful women exist to save overweight schlubby men from their otherwise inevitable fate as complete no-hopers.

Worst Full Frontal Male Nudity 2009: Observe And Report's comedic flabby flasher. Ha Ha.

*Please Note: The WFCC Top Ten Hall Of Shame represents the 'don't tell me to shut up' sidebar contribution of individual members, and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the entire Circle. Also, members may be objecting to particular characters in a film, and not the entire movie.


*ADRIENNE SHELLY AWARD: Adrienne Shelly was a promising actress and filmmaker who was brutally strangled in her apartment in 2006 at the age of forty by a construction worker in the building, after she complained about noise. Her killer tried to cover up his crime by hanging her from a shower20rack in her bathroom, to make it look like a suicide. He later confessed that he was having a "bad day." Shelly, who left behind a baby daughter, had just completed her film Waitress, which she also starred in, and which was honored at Sundance after her death.

*JOSEPHINE BAKER AWARD: The daughter of a laundress and a musician, Baker overcame being born black, female and poor, and marriage at age fifteen, to become an internationally acclaimed legendary performer, starring in the films Princess Tam Tam, Moulin Rouge and Zou Zou. She also survived the race riots in East St. Louis, Illinois as a child, and later expatriated to France to escape US racism. After participating heroically in the underground French Resistance during WWII, Baker returned to the US where she was a crusader for racial equality. Her activism led to attacks against her by reporter Walter Winchell who denounced her as a communist, leading her to wage a battle against him. Baker was instrumental in ending segregation in many theaters and clubs, where she refused to perform unless integration was implemented.

*KAREN MORLEY AWARD: Karen Morley was a promising Hollywood star in the 1930s, in such films as Mata Hari and Our Daily Bread. She was driven out of Hollywood for her leftist political convictions by the Blacklist and for refusing to testify against other actors, while Robert Taylor and Sterling Hayden were informants against her. And also for daring to have a child and become a mother, unacceptable for female stars in those days. Morley maintained her militant political activism for the rest of her life, running for Lieutenant Governor on the American Labor Party ticket in 1954. She passed away in 2003, unrepentant to the end, at the age of 93.

The Women Film Critics Circle Annual Awards Ceremony


The unique annual awards for the best movies this year by and about women, and outstanding achievements by women, who get to be rarely honored historically, in the film world. The Women Film Critics Circle is the first ever association of female critics, expressing a fresh and differently experienced perspective.

Featuring: Best Female Screen Images, Worst Male Characters, WFCC Hall Of Shame, The Josephine Baker Award for best expressing the woman of color experience in America, The Invisible Woman Award, Most Animated Female, and more....

Airing Wednesday, 12/9 11am-noon EST on WBAI in NY, 99.5 FM, and streaming live and archived at Wbai.org.

Hosted by sister organization, The Women's Collective.

CLICK TO LISTEN TO THE SHOW HERE

Tattooed Under Fire, Directed by Nancy Schiesari,

is a gem of a film; a moment in Texas history that affords an up front and compelling view into the thoughts, the feelings, the method of coping with life threatening events that can not be altered.

The documentary takes the viewer into the River City Tattoo Parlor in Fort Hood Texas, recently made news worthy by a single man's mass killing on the base.

In this documentary we see how the Fort Hood men and women cope with the prospect of deployment and almost certain death or physical/mental alterations which forecast not improvement, nor progress towards a better life, but the turning of life's events in the opposite direction.

This is a film that at its core is anti war and yet no guns, no murder comes before the viewer eyes. Instead we see the men and women commiserating in their own unique way before deployment. We are forced to see what the serious downturn in the American economy means to our youth. They have no where to go to make a living, to join the ranks of the adult world, other than to War, to kill, to come home with memories they can not live with.

With the Fort Hood suicide rate higher than the death toll aboard it is painful to see what has happened to this country and what is happening to our youth. Even if they stay alive, their tattooed body that record their intelligent/emotional histories intact, they are damaged for life as are we, the silent complicit participants.

This is an interesting documentary, a compelling documentary, one where I thought my mind would champion my feelings but at the end, I am crying. I am deeply disturbed as I should be. These are terrible times. Financially, emotionally draining and it is our youth who carry the burden of intentional destruction.

Will it ever end?

LindaZ
WBAI Women's Collective

12/6/09

The Women Film Critics Circle Announces Awards Nominations 2009


The Women Film Critics Circle has announced their 2009 nominations for the best movies this year by and about women, and outstanding achievements by women, who get to be rarely honored historically, in the film world. The WFCC Awards Ceremony will be broadcast live on Wednesday 12/9 at 11am EST, on WBAI Radio in NY 99.5 FM, and streaming online and archived at wbai.org and criticalwomen.net.

The Women Film Critics Circle is an association of 47 women film critics and scholars from around the country and internationally, who are involved in print, radio, online and TV broadcast media. They came together in 2004 to form the first women critics' organization in the United States, in the belief that women's perspectives and voices in film criticism need to be recognized fully.

Critical Women On Film, a presentation of The Women Film Critics Circle, is their journal of discussion and theory, and a gathering of women's voices expressing a fresh and differently experienced perspective from the primarily male dominated film criticism world. Critical Women On Film is online at: Criticalwomen.net.

THE WOMEN FILM CRITICS CIRCLE AWARDS NOMINATIONS 2009

BEST MOVIE ABOUT WOMEN
American Violet
Everlasting Moments
Coco Before Chanel
My One And Only

BEST MOVIE BY A WOMAN
Amreeka: Cherien Dabis
Bright Star: Jane Campion
Julie & Julia: Nora Ephron
Sugar: Anna Boden

BEST WOMAN STORYTELLER [Screenwriting Award]
Amreeka: Cherien Dabis
Sunshine Cleaning: Megan Holley
The Private Lives Of Pippa Lee: Rebecca Miller
Rage: Sally Potter

BEST ACTRESS
Nicole Beharie: American Violet
Abbie Cornish: Bright Star
Amreeka: Nisreen Faour
Renee Zellweger: My One And Only

BEST ACTOR
Jeff Bridges: Crazy Heart
Ben Foster: The Messenger
Jake Gyllenhaal: Brothers
Kevin Spacey: Shrink

BEST YOUNG ACTRESS
Elle Fanning: Phoebe In Wonderland
Sidibe Gabourey: Precious
Carey Mulligan: An Education
Ryan Simpkins: Gardens Of The Night

BEST COMEDIC ACTRESS
Ellen Page: Whip It
Meryl Streep: Julie & Julia
Charlyne Yi: Paper Heart
Renee Zellweger: My One And Only

BEST FOREIGN FILM BY OR ABOUT WOMEN
The Baader Meinhof Complex
Everlasting Moments
Lemon Tree
Seraphine

BEST FEMALE IMAGES IN A MOVIE
American Violet
Amreeka
The Baader Meinhof Complex
Inglourious Basterds
Lemon Tree
The Messenger
My Sister's Keeper
Sweet Crude

BEST THEATRICALLY UNRELEASED MOVIE BY OR ABOUT WOMEN [Includes films released on DVD or TV, or screened at film festivals, in recognition of the limited opportunities available for films by and about women on screen]
Grey Gardens

BEST EQUALITY OF THE SEXES
Amelia
The Golden Boys
Julie & Julia
Paper Heart

LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD: Gertrude Berg [Posthumous]: Yoo Hoo Mrs. Goldberg

ACTING AND ACTIVISM: Emma Thompson - For her work on and off screen against sex trafficking

*ADRIENNE SHELLY AWARD: For a film that most passionately opposes violence against women:
Gardens Of The Night
Off Jackson Avenue
Precious
The Lovely Bones

*JOSEPHINE BAKER AWARD: For best expressing the woman of color experience in America
American Violet
Amreeka
Good Hair
Precious

*KAREN MORLEY AWARD: For best exemplifying a woman's place in history or society, and a courageous search for identity
The Baader Meinhof Complex
An Education
Lemon Tree
My One And Only

COURAGE IN ACTING [Taking on unconventional roles that radically redefine the images of women on screen]
Isabella Rossellini: Green Porno

THE INVISIBLE WOMAN AWARD [Supporting performance by a woman whose exceptional impact on the film dramatically, socially or historically, has been ignored]
Patricia Clarkson: Phoebe In Wonderland
Kerry Fox: Bright Star
Samantha Morton: The Messenger
Olivia Williams: An Education

BEST DOCUMENTARIES BY WOMEN:

GROUNDBREAKER: The Beaches of Agnès, Agnès Varda

ABOVE AND BEYOND: American Casino, Leslie Cockburn

COURAGE IN FILMMAKING: Tattooed Under Fire, Nancy Schiesari

*ADRIENNE SHELLY AWARD: Adrienne Shelly was a promising actress and filmmaker who was brutally strangled in her apartment in 2006 at the age of forty by a construction worker in the building, after she complained about noise. Her killer tried to cover up his crime by hanging her from a shower20rack in her bathroom, to make it look like a suicide. He later confessed that he was having a "bad day." Shelly, who left behind a baby daughter, had just completed her film Waitress, which she also starred in, and which was honored at Sundance after her death.

*JOSEPHINE BAKER AWARD: The daughter of a laundress and a musician, Baker overcame being born black, female and poor, and marriage at age fifteen, to become an internationally acclaimed legendary performer, starring in the films Princess Tam Tam, Moulin Rouge and Zou Zou. She also survived the race riots in East St. Louis, Illinois as a child, and later expatriated to France to escape US racism. After participating heroically in the underground French Resistance during WWII, Baker returned to the US where she was a crusader for racial equality. Her activism led to attacks against her by reporter Walter Winchell who denounced her as a communist, leading her to wage a battle against him. Baker was instrumental in ending segregation in many theaters and clubs, where she refused to perform unless integration was implemented.

*KAREN MORLEY AWARD: Karen Morley was a promising Hollywood star in the 1930s, in such films as Mata Hari and Our Daily Bread. She was driven out of Hollywood for her leftist political convictions by the Blacklist and for refusing to testify against other actors, while Robert Taylor and Sterling Hayden were informants against her. And also for daring to have a child and become a mother, unacceptable for female stars in those days. Morley maintained her militant political activism for the rest of her life, running for Lieutenant Governor on the American Labor Party ticket in 1954. She passed away in 2003, unrepentant to the end, at the age of 93.

11/7/09

Tattoed Under Fired: Fort Hood Inked For War


...Much will be written in the days to come of the mind-set of the alleged Fort Hood shooter Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, a psychiatrist who counseled military personnel and was reportedly distressed over his own imminent deployment. Though Schiesari's film predates the horrifying violence at the fort yesterday, it reveals a military culture rarely seen. By following both returning and deployment-bound young soldiers and the stories told on their bodies, she gets under their skin...


CONTINUE TO READ REVIEW HERE

Mary Elizabeth Williams
Salon.com


...As Tattooed Under Fire gets past the skin of these soldiers and into their heads, and their raw and psychologically wounded inner recesses, the film concludes by drifting out along the roads around Fort Hood, the largest military base in the world. Where more soldiers die in drunk driving crashes than in war zones, and wreaths where these lives ended stateside line the highways. And as one emotionally damaged survivor bitterly remarks of the vehicular fatalities, 'Just because you didn't shoot yourself or jump off a bridge, doesn't mean it wasn't suicide'...

CONTINUE TO READ REVIEW HERE

Prairie Miller

11/6/09

Woody Harrelson Worries About The World


The Messenger: Woody Harrelson and director Oren Moverman talk horrors of war, raw and unfiltered. And, Woody on broadcasting the end of the world, in 2012. Plus, Screening Room soundbites, and movie review haiku.

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO WOODY HARRELSON AND OREN MOVERMAN INTERVIEWS

Daughters On Dads, Disturbing The Universe


...Do you blend into the crowd and lead an unexceptional life, or dare consider DISTURBING THE UNIVERSE: The life and times of William Kunstler, a documentary. And a conversation with the filmmakers, Emily and Sarah Kunstler.

CLICK TO LISTEN TO EMILY AND SARAH KUNSTLER INTERVIEWS HERE

10/26/09

Conversation with Jane McAdam Freud: Relevancy of Analytic Concepts in Art and Politics

Author’s note: This is Part II of an article about conceptual artist Jane McAdam Freud, which was published on the Huffington Post.
Here is the link to PART ONE.


“A tie is not just a tie.”

Ties and authority: A cigar may be just a cigar, but, in your work, a tie is not just a tie. Can you elaborate on this sculpture? Was it a single piece or a series? How might it relate to politics?

The ties began with a self portrait where the clay dried and the head severed from the body. Left with the collar I added a tie and recognized the visual similarity with the phallus. I thought about Freud’s ideas about objects standing in for the phallus and about the idea of male authority and the ego, about tall phallic looking authoritative buildings –the phallus as a symbol of power.

Later I did an online residency with the department of Ancient Egypt at the British Museum where I studied the Shabti figures and their connection to Osiris. Osiris with his staff and flail is the Egyptian symbol of authority. The Shabti figures are based on Osiris and are in the shape of a sarcophagus. The neck tie is remarkably similar to the shapes of these ancient Shabti figures. We never give anything up we just change its form as established by Helmholtz in his conservation of energy equation where he conceives that energy cannot be destroyed. Osiris is indeed living on and stares back at us from each other’s chests!


McAdam Freud’s “Sisyphus,” in which her looser style is reminiscent of the exposed, vulnerable, and sometimes angst-ridden figures in the work of father Lucian. Rafey adds that the artist is “successful in conveying weight and mass to the boulder as well as strength and perseverance to Sisyphus.”.......

--Penelope Andrew

WOMEN FILM CRITICS CIRCLE/AMERICAN ASSOCIATION FOR PSYCHOANALYSIS IN CLINICAL SOCIAL WORK

CONTINUE TO READ ARTICLE HERE

10/19/09

The Good Fight: Noel Buchner, Mary Dore, Sam Sills

The Abraham Lincoln Brigade in the Spanish Civil War(1984)

Over twenty five years ago the documentary on the Abraham Lincoln Brigade ws aired for public consumption. This is the she story of young coming of age men and women, black and white fighting together, not in the U. S. but in Spain to hold back the advancement of the Italian and German Nazi armies that threatened the freedom and survival of millions.

The Abraham Lincoln Brigade was the response of world people(s) who recognized the evil of Fascism as it threatened to consume Europe and beyond. In this period before the official WWII decree President Roosevelt seemed hell bent on maintaining an isolationist posture while the American companies of Texaco, GM and Ford sent ammunition and fuel to support the invading Nazi effort.

One wonders if it was the economic depression in America or the sound of outraged Americans who demanded American participation in The War that informed President Roosevelt to change his isolationists posture.

But the focus of this documentary is not Roosevelt or the saluting of a commander of a Brigade. It is a story of people who understood the meaning of life, who embraced the idea that to die for a cause one believes in is to live a good, the only life worth living.

The technological detail of the documentary might need a little twitting but the wealth, the richness of the characters who spoke in the film, their furor, their essence came through so strongly that no change need be made to make this twenty five year old documentary as important, as potent today as it was when it was first aired.

It is the crime of our educational system that it focuses more on test taking than on the history of our country. So few Americans know of this group of thousands of courageous Americans. It is an on-going crime of deliberate omission because today with the onslought of technologically driven Fascism right here in this country we need to know those who came before us, their thoughts, their strengths, and the fight that they didn't win at the outset but won in our hearts and our memory once they returned home.

The United States Government did all it could to silence these courageous people. They haunted them as Communists, that then bad word but in reality they knew and we know the F.B.I. labeled "Communists" of the past are the heroes of our world today.

To see this documentary, The Good Fight, is to believe that a good fight against the everyday infringement on our rights; our quality of life, our possible survival in an era of decline in our financial, political, environment life is The fight, the only fight worth fighting.

Available on DVD from FirstRunFeatures.com


Linda Z
WBAI Women's Collective

10/12/09

Looking For Ben Gazzara


A conversation with the acting legend, his new film Looking For Palladin, and his work with John Cassavetes that ushered in the subversive renaissance in US film of the 1970s. And, a look at the psychology and politics of image and self-esteem in Chris Rock's GOOD HAIR.

LISTEN TO INTERVIEW WITH BEN GAZZARA HERE

10/10/09

Women's Radio Collective at WBAI: The Women's Desk Special

Feminist Radio And Beyond..... WHAT BURKAS?


Revolutionary Women's Militias Of The Socialist Republic Of Afghanistan, 1979

LISTEN TO THE WOMEN'S RADIO COLLECTIVE AT WBAI WOMEN'S DESK SPECIAL HERE

From The Women's Desk: Hosted by The WBAI Women's Collective: Code Pink In Afghanistan; The Motherhood Movement: You Say You Want A Revolution; US/Cuba Labor Exchange; Women In Black; Museum Of Motherhood; The Hot Pink Pen, Sister Station Sister KPFK's Sikivu Hutchinson West Coast Women's Desk: MOMS: Missing Or Murdered Sisters; Chicago Women's Desk Report; Women's Media Center. And more.... And In Performance: Elizabeth Ruf Maldonado in Jack London's The Iron Heel, and Joy Rose of Housewives On Prozac.

The Women's Collective covers the entire spectrum of political, cultural and intellectual issues crucial to women's lives, from feminism and revolutionary global sisterhood to critical aspects of movement building, the mind, body and men.

10/6/09

Yes Men Fix The World: Women With Balls And Men In CEO Drag


JUST SAY YES!
Conversation With A Yes Man


LISTEN TO INTERVIEW WITH A YES MAN HERE

Andy Bichlbaum, anti-capitalist Yes Man subversive imposter extraordinaire in corporate drag, phones in to the Arts Magazine to divulge key information about their latest documentary, The Yes Men Fix The World. Including the planet's stupidest capitalist costume which just may come in handy for Halloween; the murky Rupert Murdoch Affair; where frisky listeners can go to fill out an application for riot coordinator at upcoming theater screenings; and what exactly is a Yes Man.

10/5/09

Toronto Film Festival: Precious Wins People's Choice Award


Lee Daniels’ ‘Precious’ wins the People’s Choice award at TIFF

By Audrey J. Bernard, Lifestyles/Society Editor

(Toronto, Canada) – The biggest Oscar buzz coming out of the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) is for the Lee Daniels-powerfully directed film Precious: Based On The Novel Push by Sapphire about an abused teenaged woman named Precious.

After its initial showing at the Sundance Film Festival where it garnered nothing but high praise making it a natural winner of the top People’s Choice Award at the TIFF – an award closely associated with future Oscar winners.

Although dark in subject matter, "Precious" is an inspirational film that had two of the biggest names in communication – Czarina Oprah Winfrey and Czar Tyler Perry – jumping on board to proudly associate their names with its intelligent message of self-empowerment.

Executive producers Winfrey and Perry, who will support Lionsgate's distribution of the film through their respective motion picture companies, Harpo Films and 34th Street Films, were on hand to discuss the movie.

Perry has enjoyed a prosperous relationship with Lionsgate who are behind the distribution of his current box office hit movie, "I Can Do Bad All By Myself." "Precious" marks the first film affiliated with Perry’s 34th Street banner.

Winfrey and Perry have both confessed their love for the story and Daniels brilliant adaptation in which he handled every nuance of the book without compromising the author’s intent. This historic movie is a life changing one and those who have seen "Precious" have been deeply touched by it and its Oscar-worthy acting.

As a matter of fact, Winfrey cannot stop talking about the film and it has become one of her "favorite things." She openly plugged the movie to her television audience on a recent show shot in New York’s Central Park where one of the film’s stars, gorgeous Mariah Carey was a guest.

Winfrey told her audience that they will not recognize the always glamorous Carey who has a 'glammed down' supporting role as a social worker. "At one point, Mariah tried to sneak and put some blush on her cheeks but Daniels made her wipe it off," conveyed Winfrey.

Carey, who was joined by hubby Nick Cannon, confessed to the audience that only Daniels is capable of making her do things on screen that she would never think of doing.

"They put lines under my eyes, gave me a faint mustache, and banned lipstick, blush a glamorous hairdo," she laughed as she pointed to Daniels who was seated in the front row of the live show next to record mogul L.A. Reid and Gayle King.

Mariah Carey and Lee Daniels 

"I made this film for every person out there who ever looked in the mirror and felt unsure about the person looking back," said Daniels during the press conference at TIFF. "This is not an art film for a select few. This is a movie that everyone can relate to." 

"Precious" stars newcomer Gabourey Sidibe, Mo’nique, Paula Patton, Sherri Shepherd, Mariah Carey, Kimberly Russell, Lenny Kravitz, Grace Hightower, Nealla Gordon and Bill Sage.

The black carpet was off the hook! Joining director and producer Daniels were Sidibe, Patton, Shepherd, Carey and Hightower along with co-executive producer Simone Sheffield, executive producers Lisa Cortes, and Winfrey and Perry, together with Mary J. Blige, who penned a song for the film, screenwriter Geoffrey Fletcher and the book’s acclaimed author, Sapphire.

Unfortunately, the woman causing the biggest buzz, Mo’Nique, could not join her fellow actors as she was partying in New York at a special reception hosted by BET for her upcoming show that will air on BET starting October 5, 2009.

Set in Harlem in 1987, the movie follows the story of Claireece "Precious" Jones (Sidibe), a 16-year-old African American girl born into a life no one would want. She's pregnant for the second time by her absent father.

At home, she must wait on her mother (Mo'Nique), a poisonous angry woman who abuses her emotionally and physically. School is a place of chaos but Precious has reached the ninth grade with good marks and an awful secret: she can neither read nor write.

Precious may be downtrodden, but she holds onto her dream of doing better. Beneath her impassive expression is a watchful, curious young woman with a mushrooming sense that other possibilities exist for her. Threatened with expulsion, Precious is offered the chance to transfer to an alternative school.

She doesn't know the meaning of "alternative," but her instincts tell her this is the chance she has been waiting for. In the literacy workshop taught by the patient yet firm Ms. Rain (Patton), Precious begins a journey that will lead her from darkness, pain and powerlessness to light, love and self-determination.

Oprah was so taken aback by comedienne Mo’Nique’s portrayal of the malicious mother in the film that she called her and asked her, "What are you wearing to the Oscars?"

"Precious," which opens on November 6, 2009, is being touted as this year’s "Slumdog Millionaire" which walked off with all of the major Oscar awards last year. (Photo by Walter McBride)

 

Audrey J. Bernard is an established chronicler of Black society and Urban happenings and a film reviewer based in the New York City area. She is also a member of the esteemed Women Film Critics Circle

9/27/09

Fuel

Van Jones: The Red, Green And Blue Of The Environmental Movement

Fuel: America's Dirty Secret.
A conversation with guerrilla filmmaker Josh Tickell about why he grew up hating oil companies; Fox News and the anti-left red scare witch hunt against Van Jones who appears in the movie, and what it has to do with Kurt Vonnegut; whether you can change the world just by asking capitalists to do the right thing; and will the US left ever be able to participate politically in this society.

And...
AM New York reporter Emily Ngo, on the demise of newspapers.

9/24/09

HE SAID, SHE SAID....NY Film Festival: Antichrist

Antichrist Internalizing The Gynocidal Oppressor?

HE SAID....


I found this movie pretentious because it makes an exaggerated outward show of how it uses misogyny as its basis. Charlotte Gainsbourg gives a brilliant performance in a challenging role as "She." The plot embraces mistrust of women. It encompasses the sexual theory where women disproportionately radicalize sexual healing....


CONTINUE TO READ REVIEW HERE


Gerald Wright
HDFEST.com
Film Showcase


SHE SAID....

A self-flagellating sexorcist weepie employing arty gore, and dubious New Age therapeutic kinky when not satanic sex remedies. And hopefully no animals or human genitals were harmed in the making of this movie...

CONTINUE TO READ REVIEW HERE

Prairie Miller


The NY Film Festival 2009 runs through 10/11. More information about the NY Film Festival is online at: FilmLinc.com

The Most Dangerous Man In America


The Most Dangerous Man In America: Daniel Ellsberg And The Pentagon Papers. A conversation from the Toronto Film Festival 2009 with Daniel Ellsberg about the documentary, his jungle encounters with the Viet Cong that transformed him ideologically, the Cuban American goon squad the US government sent to assassinate him, the true meaning of political courage, and what exactly is Vietnamistan.

LISTEN TO THE AUDIO CONVERSATION WITH DANIEL ELLSBERG HERE

9/23/09

Capitalism: A Love Story

Michael Moore is funny in the wake of disaster, but usually he has some understanding of what the disaster is.

With Capitalism, A Love Story, Mr. Moore is out of his league. He seems to have a dearth of knowledge and understanding when it comes to economic/political theory. At a time when we need to know, need to sort out the pieces of the tragedy of our lives, we need more than this superficial documentary. With the loss of our homes, our source of livelihood, health care, education for our children we need answers, more knowledge not the confusion of terms and ideas that Michael Moore offers.

This film should not have been made in the cheap, seemingly rushed manner with careless details, and slapstick humor. This is a tragedy that needs reality, examination with merit and a delineation of the perils ahead. The New Deal of the Roosevelt administration has come and gone. It never did cure the Great Depression and it certainly can't help us now.
We are in a worldwide crisis that is not going away and we need to focus on the real. But the laughs that Michael Moore offer up to a confused, bewildered public are funny, at points, amusing.

For me the music was the best part of the film. The content, the words and ideas were not.

Maybe for you, there is something worth the price of admission particularly if you like looking at Michael Moore as he looks into the camera.

LindaZ
WBAI Women's Collective

9/19/09

HE SAID, SHE SAID...Darn It: Pre-Feminist Women Artists Chanel And Fanny Reap What They Sew


HE SAID....BRIGHT STAR

In this romantic tragedy, Abbie Cornish shines as Fanny Brawne, an 18th century Victorian young feminist who earned a living sewing and making her own fashionable dresses. As an outspoken and opinionated person, she meets John Keats, who is brilliantly portrayed by Ben Whisaw...This is when and where Fanny Brawne comes into his life as a muse....

CONTINUE TO READ BRIGHT STAR REVIEW HERE

Gerald Wright
HDFEST.Com
Film Showcase


SHE SAID....COCO BEFORE CHANEL


While most biopics about women linked to legendary men focus on obsession and female neediness, the suspicion does arise, connected to a history of thwarted female lives through time - did these women desperately want to be with those men, or be them? Following in the path of musical assistant Anna Holtz in Agnieszka Holland's Copying Beethoven or more recently Jane Campion's Bright Star, about John Keats' worshipful lover in longing, Fanny Brawne, French director Anne Fontaine's Coco Before Chanel traces the troubled life of the famed clothing designer noted for an unstoppable drive to smash gender and garment ceilings alike.

CONTINUE TO READ REVIEW HERE

Prairie Miller

9/16/09

Gladys Knight And Mary J. Blige Talk I Can Do Bad All By Myself


While these not always subtle messages about human connectedness and individual self-worth are best when secularized, they do get nicely channeled intermittently through the uplifting musical impressions of Blige and especially Knight as club torch singers.

CONTINUE TO READ I CAN DO BAD ALL BY MYSELF REVIEW HERE



LISTEN TO INTERVIEWS WITH GLADYS KNIGHT AND MARY J. BLIGE HERE

9/15/09

Amreeka Movie Review



By Penelope Andrew
Huffington Post


...A heartbreaking reminder of the farewells that immigrants must make when they tear themselves away from parents, siblings, and children. Dabis' direction of her actors' performances brings an extraordinary tenderness and pathos to the universal experience in this and so many other scenes throughout this wonderfully authentic film.

CONTINUE TO READ REVIEW HERE

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO INTERVIEW WITH AMREEKA DIRECTOR CHERIEN DABIS

9/8/09

WBAI Women's Collective: Boobs 4 Sale



The Women's Collective, Feminist Radio And Beyond....


BOOBS 4 SALE
: Exposing female image exploitation and promotion of physical disfigurement in media imposed depictions of women and their bodies - Fallout and Fightback. And how to be comfortable in the skin we're in. Join hosts Vanessa Cooper, Linda Z, and guests Shashana McNeil and Joy Rose of Mothers On Prozac.

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO THE SHOW

The WBAI Women's Collective covers the entire spectrum of political, cultural and intellectual issues crucial to women's lives, from feminism and revolutionary global sisterhood to critical aspects of the mind, body and men. Airing every second Thursday of the month, at 11AM.

Airing Thursday September 10, 11AM-Noon
At 99.5FM in NY and streaming live/archived at Wbai.org

8/14/09

Inglourious Basterds: Tarantino's WWII Rocks



A glourious rude mix 'n match of subtitles, nazi scalps, guerrilla warfare cinema and testicle blood-soaked subterranean French cellar saloon shootouts, the movie is a vintage QT Western European western. In other words, Tarantino's WWII heartfelt warsploit rocks.

CLICK TO READ REVIEW HERE

8/13/09

Baad And Baader: The Baader Meinhof Complex Review


HE SAID....

Martina Gedeck brilliantly portrays Meinhof, a married woman with twins, who like Gudrun Ensslin left her child for idealism. Meinhof joined the group in 1968 after the attempted assassination of student activist Rudi Dutschke, which provoked her to write protest articles on topics such as the Vietnam War...

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Gerald Wright
HDFEST.com
Film Showcase



SHE SAID....

Bold more-than-meets-the eye brand of moviemaking, this impassioned political thriller takes no sides in a radical movement with extreme women front and center, while dissecting the Red Army Faction's ideological seduction of actually one fourth of the German population.

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Prairie Miller



...But then, that is the point of the film. To bring to our attention the thoughts, the ways of Revolutionaries whom we might not know and can't understand. After the full experience of two and a half hours of The Baader Meinhof Complex, one cannot continue to think we are all knowing, all caring, all right.
This is not a summer evening's casual date flick. It is a provocative and brilliant creation that will remain in the viewer's mind.
Whether or not we want to remember, we will.


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Linda Z
WBAI Women's Collective


My One And Only: Marilyn Monroe, Blanche Dubois And Busting Out Of The Gilded Cage



...A kind of stinging screwball blend served up raw, and a magnificently impressive tribute, warts and all, to a woman who was no Thelma & Louise, but hardly the coy shrinking violet she was often pressured to be either. And with Renee Zellweger in an award worthy performance, as a fashion plate mix of Mariyn Monroe and Blanche Dubois. And very much the pre-feminist womanchild feigning sexual empowerment, while into denial about the lot of 1950s conventions that still shackled females to caged bird social and economic dependence on men....

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LISTEN TO EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH GEORGE HAMILTON HERE


MY ONE AND ONLY

By Linda Z

Director: Richard Loncraine

Actors: Renee Zellweger, Kevin Bacon, Logan Lerman

Written by Charlie Peters

Inspired by incidents in the life of actor and Hollywood icon George Hamilton:

Good story
Great script
Great acting

fun
courageous
entertaining
inspiring
poignant
true to life story:

a family film
for everyone
except those who define themselves
the holders of sacred family values
with God on their side, not ours.

Linda Z
WBAI Women's Collective

American Casino: Sub-Prime Mortgages Made Simple?


A Film By Leslie and Andrew Cockburn

...I went to see American Casino with all the anticipatory urgency this complicated subject of mortgages gone awry creates, and left feeling even more confused. Only now I am certain I will never understand the world of finance that has seriously diminished the quality of my life and destroyed the lives of many I know and have heard about.


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Linda Z
WBAI Women's Collective



...If this sounds somewhat like the sort of Ponzi scheme that got Bernard Madoff busted but let everyone else there off the hook, think sacrificial lamb serving as distraction to an entire tainted system. American Casino: Home invasion, Wall Street style.

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Prairie Miller

Commentary On Film


There seems to be a trend in film today whereby the illusion of power is being brought to the screen with Vampires and Witches, mythical/imaginary role models empowered with more than the tools and abilities with which we are innately endowed.

Witches against the police or on their side, witches being the good and the bad women in our midst, seem to have taken over where the super human like man once reigned.

Sci-fi presides, gives bizarre dimension to reality because ordinary emotional experience is suspended. Or is it? Action, high tech production is what our youth spend money to see, to enjoy.

This trend is happening in the context of the American people gone awry due to the Bush administration's deliberate policy to ignore public protest against the Iraqi War from its inception, before the bombs fell and the Iraqi people were murdered by the millions, the Americans by the thousands.

This perceived and real powerlessness to effect the U.S. and world ruling elite is countered not with real assessment, but with the soothing hand of film that provides an illusion of power to millions who know power is not within their grasp; not under the Bush administration and not with Obama in power. These men just steer the course of a destiny that leads directly into a downward trend with periodic eruptions of doom and destruction, and erosion in the quality of human life.

The experienced powerlessness in the face of disaster is true for women who are empowered on film with witch's powers, and the ability to ride high on the wire as it once was. And still is for the super man who becomes the humanitarian we all want to know or to be.

Obama is already a huge disappointment, going back on one promise after another. Except, of course, the promise to invade Afghanistan; to destroy, to conquer, to take command through what ever means possible. That he once promised to hear and act upon the pain of ordinary citizens (the community) means that he knows what is right. That he goes back on his word means that he doesn't care to hear and respond. And it makes him a more potent enemy of the people than Bush, who presented the truth without the glory of being idealized.

And in the pursuit of some imagined need that this third world country, Afghanistan seems to pose for this "miracle" President and not for the rest of the world, the U.S. administration on high, elicits the young who are the life blood of hope, of possible change and potential ability for us to escape from the horrors of impending universal destruction, which is on the minds of people everywhere.

Imagine a world without war. Imagine films without World War II as the main attraction. Would film have survived?

Imagine a world where War stops, and men and woman come home. Imagine if all those young and middle aged people don't have the military as a possible place to gain/earn money.

Imagine if the military budget is naught.
What would happen to the value of the dollar?

Imagine if more people lived into middle and old age.
How would the ruling elite address the problem of overpopulation right here in the U.S.A.?

Think of the unemployment problem, think of the scientific problems,
think of the problem of spreading the wealth.

What if Joan Rivers and Donald Trump and their TV shows promoting the value, the glory of wealth were deemed immoral, taken off the air and the participants were put in jail for excessive accumulation of wealth.

Image if being wealthy were a crime, punishable in a court of law.
Imagine if murder and torture were not a potential source of empowerment, but the heinous crimes that they are.

Imagine if we didn't need witches and supermen and vampires with all their variety of changes and bizarre empowerment, to gain control over ourselves and restore the fragile links of love, of honest enjoyable, competition, of debate, of conflict resolution without violent or quasi-violent behaviors.

Imagine if film focused on the real feelings of fragility that we all feel, and brought creative solutions into the vacuous world of ideas that dominate our films, our media, our minds.

Imagine,
Films, the battleground for our survival, filled with attractive provocatove ideas and genuine feelings portrayed through artistic media that it portends to be.

Linda Z
WBAI Women's Collective