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

2/18/10

THE JACC ANTI-OSCARS: Best Political Films 2009


THE JAMES AGEE CINEMA CIRCLE ANTI-OSCARS: BEST POLITICAL FILMS 2009

THE TRUMBO: The James Agee Cinema Circle Award for BEST PROGRESSIVE PICTURES is named after Oscar-winning screenwriter Dalton Trumbo, a member of the Hollywood Ten, who was imprisoned for his beliefs and refusing to inform. Trumbo helped break the Blacklist when he received screen credit for "Spartacus" and "Exodus" in 1960.
AMERICAN VIOLET
AVATAR
CAPITALISM: A LOVE STORY
INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS
THE MESSENGER
UP IN THE AIR

OUR DAILY BREAD AWARD: For the most positive and inspiring working class images in movies this year.
AMREEKA
BIG FAN
EVERLASTING MOMENTS
SUGAR
SUNSHINE CLEANING
UP IN THE AIR

THE ROBESON AWARD: Named after courageous performing legend, Paul Robeson. The award is for the movies that best express the people of color in light of the historically demeaning portrayal in films.
AMERCIAN VIOLET
AMREEKA
AVATAR

THE TOMAS GUTIERREZ ALEA AWARD: Named after the late legendary Cuban filmmaker. For best depicting mass popular uprising or revolutionary transformation in movies.
AVATAR
THE BAADER MENIHOF COMPLEX
EVERLASTING MOMENTS
INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS

THE SERGEI: The Award for Best Progressive LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT is named after the Soviet filmmaker Sergei Eisenstein, who created Russian revolutionary classics such as 1925's "Potemkin" and 1927's "10 Days That Shook the World."
KEN LOACH for class conscious moviemaking and activism
EMMA THOMPSON for movement building against sex trafficking

THE MODERN TIMES: The Award for Best Progressive Film SATIRES is named after Charlie Chaplin, who made 1936's "Modern Times" and 1940's "The Great Dictator."
BRUNO
CAPITALISM: A LOVE STORY
DRAG ME TO HELL
THE GOLDEN BOYS
PONTYPOOL
UP IN THE AIR
WHATEVER WORKS

THE ORSON: The Award for BEST OVERLOOKED OR THEATRICALLY UNRELEASED [seen at festivals, or on TV or DVD only] Progressive Films is named after actor/director Orson Welles. After he directed the masterpiece "Citizen Kane" Welles had difficulty getting most of his other movies made.
GREY GARDENS
TATTOED UNDER FIRE

BEST MOVIE LINE:
I Love You Because...'I LOVE THE WAY YOU FIGHT FOR WHAT YOU BELIEVE IN.' - A CHRISTMAS PROPOSAL

COURAGE IN FILM CRITICISM: ROGER FRIEDMAN SUES TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX FOR CRITIC ABUSE.

ELIA KAZAN HALL OF SHAME 2009: Citations for the worst anti-workingclass and right wing movies of the year is named after director Elia Kazan, who was Hollywood's 'King Rat.' Kazan not only informed on leftists to the House Un-American Activities Committee, he took out a New York Times ad justifying his self-serving treachery.

*The Elia Kazan 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....

2/17/10

Legal Eagle Rose Byrne


By Winnie Bonelli

Actress Rose Byrne slept with Brad Pitt in “Troy,” and attempted to save the world with Nicholas Cage in “Knowing.” Yet her regular Emmy and Golden Globe nominated gig finds her verbally sparring with Glenn Close on F/X’s “Damages” that returns for a third season on Jan. 25th.

Backstabbing is an integral part of “Damages,” and more recently minted attorney Ellen, Byrne’s alter ego, still expresses a secret desire to duke it out with Patty Hewes, Glenn Close’s character, in the courtroom. Yet producer Glenn Kesseler expressed another priority, “At the end of season two, Patty and Ellen were very separate. Will they or won’t they encounter one another and interact? And if so, how will that go?”

Byrne added, “I think this season will be exploring the theme of family. You get to see Ellen with her parents and her sister and I think it reveals a lot about where she came from. It’s the polar opposite of her life with Patty and at the office. Ellen hasn’t spoken to Patty for six months and she’s really moved on in a real genuine kind of sense.

“The complexity of their relationship is definitely something that we still kind of end up exploring throughout the season.”

Also in the forefront is the investigation of a Bernie Madoff-esque situation, casting Len Cariou in the spotlight with Lily Tomlin playing his wife, while Martin Short appears as the formidable family attorney.

Despite the award nominations, Byrne’s career has managed to fly just below the radar. The native of Balmain, a suburb of Sydney, was only 12 when a talent agent landed her a role in Sandra Bernhard’s “Dallas Doll.” The native of Balmain, a suburb of Sydney, was next seen in the Australian soap “Echo Point.”

In hindsight, it was “a six month crash course in getting famous,” one that abruptly ended with the cancellation of the show.

Fortunately, Byrne rebounded three years later when director Gregor Jordan cast her opposite another relative unknown, Heath Ledger, in the crime caper “Two Hands.” Heating up beyond the screen, Byrne became romantically involved with Jordan, who took her to Los Angeles. As for Ledger, the subject remains off limits.

Seldom lacking for work, a partial list of credits include Sophia Coppola’s “Marie Antoinette,” the sci-fi thriller “28 Weeks Later” and Danny Boyle’s “Sunshine,” plus Paul McGuigan’s thriller “Wicker Park with Josh Hartnett.

Byrne recently wrapped the latest installment from Judd Apatow titled “Get Him to the Greek” with Russell Borand. Set for release by Universal in April, Byrne plays a pop star, a role that requires her to render a few tunes.

That wasn’t a problem, but the costumes were. “You really have to have a lot of confidence to wear them,” she laughed. Judging from the hype that’s already begun to build, “Get Him to the Greek” could be just the vehicle needed to officially propel Byrne to A-list status.

*Winnie Bonelli writes for the North Jersey Media Group, New Jersey Monthly Magazine, Coleman-Rayner LLC Celebrity Syndicate, (201) Magazine, Irish Connections, The Independent on Long Island, and Life & Style Magazine. She is a member of The Women Film Critics Circle.

Making 'House' Calls With Olivia Wilde


By Winnie Bonelli

Olivia Wilde parlayed “the kiss” into a high profile career. What made this simple gesture so memorable was its recipient – Mischa Barton on Fox’s hit series “The O.C.”

“It was certainly a learning experience,” the actress confessed. “Before I played the bisexual Alex Kelly, I was unaware of what a phenomenon the series was. It pushed me into the next realm. Afterward, I was done with the character and ready to grow up.”

Indeed, the 25-year-old, teal-green eyed actress did exactly that, costarring as Jenny Reilly in “The Black Donnellys.” Earning accolades for its exceptional acting, the character-driven television drama, about a splintered Irish-American family, failed to build a fan base fast enough to satisfy impatient television executives and was cancelled.

Quickly rebounding, Wilde took up residence on Fox’s medical drama “House,” as Dr. Ramy Hadley, aka Thirteen. “For a female to have such intelligent material is rare. Especially joining a cast that is already established is such a huge honor. It’s like being adopted by Angelina (Jolie) and Brad (Pitt). It just gets better every single day,” said Wilde, who is married to documentary filmmaker/flamenco guitar player Tao Ruspoli.

“Hugh Laurie is a perfectionist, but he’s also so diplomatic. Instead of giving the cast notes, he might suggest something like, ‘I wonder what would happen if…’ His instincts are so right that I keep hoping Hugh will direct an episode soon.”

Aside from making the weekly “House” call, Wilde has been moonlighting non-stop. Last year, she ventured back to Biblical times in director Harold Ramis’ “Year One.” Getting the heave-ho from fellow villagers, slackers Jack Black and Michael Cera embarked on a journey that found them in Sodom, ruled over by Wilde as the clueless Princess Inanna.

Around the same time, Wilde trumped the competition on Maxim magazine’s “Hot 100 List.” It was an honor that Wilde found flattering, but also a bit surprising. “That’s now how I think of myself. Sure, I was honored to be picked, but fortunately I was holed up in Vancouver Island at the time filming ‘Tron-2’ so it didn’t interfere with my daily life,” she commented.

A reworking of the 1982 original “Tron,” Jeff Bridges is reprising his role as programmer Kevin Flynn. Back then, Disney was the first major studio to use computer graphics. Rumors are already swirling on the Internet, even thought the highly anticipated film isn’t slated for release until 2011.

Closed-mouthed, Wilde apologetically begged off, “I really can’t talk about the production; it’s shrouded in silence. I will say that Jeff Bridges has become a close confidant and proved once again what a brilliant actor he truly is. I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if he won that Oscar Award for best actor.”

The daughter of Irish journalist Andrew Cockburn and Leslie Cockburn, a “60 Minutes” producer/journalist, Olivia prides herself on being “really critical and analytical.”

Nevertheless, Olivia has a secret passion – cooking. “I’ve got this great blackboard-like paint in my kitchen which I write recipes on. This year, I made myself a promise to master one new recipe a week.”

*Winnie Bonelli writes for the North Jersey Media Group, New Jersey Monthly Magazine, Coleman-Rayner LLC Celebrity Syndicate, (201) Magazine, Irish Connections, The Independent on Long Island, and Life & Style Magazine. She is a member of The Women Film Critics Circle.