techradar-com

Ghostbusters

Ghostbusters returns to our screens in 2016 in this reboot of the 1984 supernatural comedy movie . Produced by Amy Pascal, written by Katie Dippold (The Heat, Parks & Recreation), Ghostbusters stars comedy superstars Melissa McCarthy, Leslie Jones, Kristen Wiig & Kate McKinnon.

This movie feels like we are getting somewhere. Finally.

Erin (Kristen Wiig) is on track for tenure and trying to suppress a book she wrote with Abby (Melissa McCarthy) years prior. Abby is now working alongside Jillian (Kate McKinnon) in a dodgy university lab, where Abby hasn’t moved on from previous investigations into the paranormal. From there they end up joining forces with Patty (Leslie Jones) and becoming the Ghostbusters.

ghostbusters_c

Mega props to both Leslie Jones and Kate McKinnon, SNL stars who really shine in this film. Kate McKinnon’s creepy yet cool nerd persona is exciting to see, and Leslie Jones’s down to earth yet strong and confident character bring this film to life. Melissa McCarthy and Kristen Wiig have already established themselves as comedic gold and this film feels like they are bringing Leslie Jones and Kate McKinnon into the fold.

Ghostbusters-3-new-Character-Banner-3

In a world where women are marginalised, including in film, this movie is a breath of fresh air. This movie doesn’t get political in the script, there are a few jabs here and there for the astute observer like when Kristen Wiig gets reprimanded for her outfit as a professor, even though it is ultra conservative. No, the politics of this movie are the fact it was made, the fact the lead roles are all women, the fact that they are never portrayed as sexual objects not even once, and the fact they are all intelligent, powerful, and active people saving the city and being the heroes. That is the political win of this movie.

Gender-Inequality-in-Film2

 

But should you watch this movie just because it defies convention politically, well, I would say yes, but that is not all you get. Ghostbusters is funny, it is smart, and it has heart. Grab your friends, grab your wallet, and give all your money to this movie, because it will be a franchise, and we will be seeing the Ghostbusters again.

Who you gonna call?

 

 

 

 

 

large_sisters

Sisters

SNL power player Paula Pell writes this 2015 comedy starring Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, who are sisters placed on either end of the “responsible adult” scale. Tina Fey as Kate Ellis, the party loving single mother who can’t catch a break, and Amy Poehler as Maura Ellis, the people pleasing do-gooder who can’t let loose.

hero_Sisters-2015-2

The third feature length movie to star Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, after Mean Girls & Baby Mama, this comedy is light hearted, irreverent and fun. Don’t expect to have any life altering revelations, this movie is feminist for the way it focusses on women’s lives, and fully developed characters for the full cast of women portrayed.

sisters-tina-fey-amy-poehler

Don’t pretend like this isn’t awesome hair

When their parents inform them that their family  home is on the market, the sisters decide to have one last party, and Maura, the usually uptight sister, requests that Kate play “party mom” so that she can have a good time. Hijinks ensue where Kate finds being in charge isn’t all that great and Maura finds maybe it does sometimes hurt to help.

Sisters in crimes against fashion

We’ve all been there!

This movie has a couple of comedy tropes that can never go wrong, like accidental drugging, and a party out of control. It adds in some subtle flipping of the script, where the audience is invited to laugh at a man being impaled anally by a ballerina on top of a music box, which is really not that great to watch if you are sensitive to violence, but it is played for laughs in this movie.

This is a movie for when you don’t want to think but you also don’t want to be stuck watching another superhero movie or watching drunk boys be dumb.

image

Persepolis

Persepolis, released in 2007, is an animated autobiographical account of Marjane Satrapi’s life.

Born in 1969, with socialist parents, she is 10 years old as she experiences the drastic changes in Iran brought about by the 1979 Islamic revolution.

The revolution which installed Ruhollah Khomeini, a male chauvinist,  as the “Supreme Leader” of Iran, quickly began a campaign to regress women’s rights, including strict enforcement of the veil as a symbol of Women’s subjugation. Laws were quickly implemented to ensure women lost the right to divorce or retain custody of their children. Disgustingly, the legal age for marriage dropped from 18 to 9 years old for girls. Women were forced out of education, pushed out of the military, medicine, law and social services, sports, even watching sports, the arts, music, and of course, politics.

image

Marjane is then sent to Paris for her own safety, and finds life is hard in different ways there. She is betrayed by her lover, judged for being Iranian and struggling to survive. She returns to Iran and finds she is now an outsider there too, and deals with trying to find her place in the world.

It’s a coming of age story set against a back drop of social unrest, a journey to search for an understanding of national identity and social justice, a comment on women’s oppression and a love letter to Marjane’s uncle and grandmother.

image

An important movie made all the more fascinating by it being true.

image

Witching & Bitching

Don’t let the terrible English title of this 2013 Spanish Horror Comedy put you off, although it did greatly diminish my expectations, the actual title is Las brujas de Zugarramurdi, which literally translates to “The Witches of Zugarramurdi”.

Once you get past the visual smorgasbord that is the opening credits, the plot centres around a group of thieves who rob a jewellery store and go on the run, only to become involved in a covens annual ritual to find the “Chosen one – the man who will betray the man, the avenger, our trojan horse!”

Produced by Vérane Frédiani and Sheila Siguero, and starring Carolina Bang, Terele Pávez, Macarena Gómez and Carmen Maura, there is so much symbolism and social commentary in this movie that blink and you will miss it. For example, the thieves are dressed as Jesus and a soldier, pointing the finger at two branches of modern society that has done and continues to do the most to oppress and kill women, religion and the military.

Maiden, Mother and Crone

Maiden, Mother and Crone

Rich with women’s history as well, the setting of the film, Zugarramurdi, is famous for being the site of the Basque Witch Trials and the Mother Goddess that the witches worship is the Venus of Willendorf, brought to life to partake in the witches ritual, it is quite a sight to see.

So there is all this information to take in, but it is wrapped up in a comedic, light horror film. There are some disappointing scenes, for example the love story subplot between the daughter Witch Eva and the main thief is unbelievable and trite, however all in all, this movie is super cool and well worth your time.

image

Big Driver

Once in a while, I’m not sure if a movie is fit for this blog. Big Driver nearly didn’t make the cut, but its message of triumph over adversity, creative thinking and strength in sisterhood, ultimately overcame the fact that the first half of the movie contains an incredibly horrific and upsetting scene.

Due to this, consider yourself warned. 17 Minutes into the movie, and it runs for 4 minutes.
Here is my suggestion, watch this instead;

Don’t dismiss yourself from watching this whole movie because of 4 minutes of absolute horror.

This movie is important.

image

Olympia Dukakis (84), Maria Bello (48) and Joan Jett (56) star

Maria Bello (48), Olympia Dukakis (84) and Joan Jett (56) star in this movie about Tess Thorne, a mystery writer, who survives the horrifying crime of being raped. Knowing the social backlash victims of rape have to deal with after surviving, she decides to keep it a secret, and deal with it on her own.

Tess uses interesting and creative ways to psychologically process everything that has happened, and is happening, whilst trying to deduce the identity of her attacker.

Riot Grrrrl Original - Joan Jett

Riot Grrrrl Original – Joan Jett

This movie, what can I say. Firstly and importantly, all of the lead actresses are all 45 and over at the time of filming (2014). Secondly, it deals with women’s story, a tragically all too common one.

And then there is the reason this movie made it on this blog despite the graphic retelling and showing of the crime, and that is the ending. I won’t ruin it for you, I’ll just say, please, pretty please, stick through it.

Overall, this movie is cathartic. And important. Watch it.

image

Mad Max: Fury Road

Not for the faint at heart, Mad Max:Fury Road is actually an eco-feminist film hidden inside a violent action film. If the poster didn’t give you enough of a hint, Charlize Theron plays the title character of Imperator Furiosa (Fury Road, Hello!), the saviour of not only a group of enslaved women, but of humanity itself. Eve Ensler was brought in to consult on this film so that tells you it has women’s struggle for safety and freedom at it’s core.

Freedom awaits you if you just take the risk

Freedom awaits you if you just take the risk

One man controls all of the resources in the Mad Max world, including water and women, who are used not only as sex slaves, but also as a resource for milk and babies. It is refreshing to see a rarely spoken about fact, that women’s bodies are resource rich, being played out to its most dystopian outcome. Depending on how lucky a woman you are, this could very well be you, with surrogacy farms and trafficking already a reality for us in this world.

Imperator Furiosa uses a big rig to escape the city and hides the women enslaved inside. She joins up with her old clan “The Vulvalini” and together they try to find a home.

Let’s just take a moment to enjoy the character names;
Zoë Kravitz is “Toast the Knowing”
Rosie Huntington-Whiteley is “The Splendid Angharad”
Riley Keogh plays “Capable”
Abby Lee plays “The Dag”
Courtney Eaton plays “Cheedo the Fragile”
Jennifer Hagan as “Miss Giddy”
Megan Gale as “The Valkyrie”
Melissa Jaffer as “The Keeper of the Seeds”
Elizabeth Cunico as “The Milking Mother”
Melita Jurisic, Gillian Jones, Joy Smithers, Antionette Kellermann, and Christina Koch are

“The Vulvalini”

The Vulvalini are a matriarchal clan of Many Mothers who originally lived in “The Green Place” but now roam the desert on bikes, killing whoever threatens them and their seeds. That Mad Max: Fury Road brings attention to seeds is one of the factors that makes this movie great. Seeds are a major feminist issue, with biodiversity being championed by organisations such as GRAIN and UBINIG, which was founded by Farida Akhtar.

Other issues relating to women’s liberation mentioned in the movie is the fact Cheedo the Fragile tries to escape freedom and go back into captivity, which is a true life phenomenon where oppressed groups can and will work against their own interests. The enslaved women also wear terrifying chastity belts that are reminiscent of the Rape Axe, click that link at your own discretion.

Mad-Max-Fury-Road-Vuvalini

Megan Gale as The Valkyrie along with Melissa Jaffer, The Keeper of the Seeds

In the end, Mad Max warns and informs the world, enslavement of women is the enslavement of us all, liberate women and you will free the world.

29jan2015-1

Being Mary Jane

Rarely does a show come along that makes you think, feel and get so engaged your heart comes up out of your throat and dances to it’s own tune, while all you can do is sit, breathless, watching, absorbing and trying to process its brilliance.

That show is Being Mary Jane.

Created by Mara Brock Akil and starring Gabrielle Union, Being Mary Jane is about a black woman, not all black women it is quick to remind you, just this one. Mary Jane is a successful broadcast journalist, who has the career, but not the family of her own that she longs for. We are introduced to her via a gratuitous love scene that nearly had me switching off. Don’t be put off however, because this is indeed one of the most feminist shows ever.

Gabrielle Union is confronting and brilliant.

Gabrielle Union is confronting and brilliant.

Gabrielle Union as Mary Jane is a revelation. This woman should be winning awards left, right and centre for her performance. Mary Jane is complex, ambitious, not afraid to speak her mind, but still a woman susceptible to life’s pressures and a person who gets hurt, and hurts others. Like us all. The show covers topics like women’s liberation, racism, imposter syndrome, beauty and infertility. It is not actually possible to summarise all of the political topics this show touches on, let’s suffice to say it is a very socially aware romantic drama.

It's a Girls Night!!!

It’s a Girls Night!!!

Also starring is Lisa Vidal (ER) as Kara, her business partner at the network, Latarsha Rose (Hunger Games) as the depressed best friend Dr. Lisa Hudson, Margaret Avery (The Color Purple) as Mary Jane’s mother, suffering from Lupus, and Raven Goodwin (Phat Girlz) as Niecy, Mary Jane’s 19 year old sister who is growing up too fast. India Arie guest stars late in Season 2 as well.

One of the most important topics that is covered in Being Mary Jane is the exposure it gives to the rape and enslavement of women and girls via trafficking. Leah Albright-Bryd appears in episode 9 of season 2, as a guest on Mary Jane’s show to discuss the issue and bring awareness to her advocacy program Bridget’s Dream.

Bridget's Dream devotes its energy to passionately supporting and advocating for girls and women who have been commercially sexually exploited.

Bridget’s Dream devotes its energy to passionately supporting and advocating for girls and women who have been commercially sexually exploited.

Modern, Sexy, Heart-warming and Heart-wrenching, Being Mary Jane is not to be missed.

If you’ve seen this, you will know Season 3 cannot come fast enough. If you haven’t seen this, stop whatever you are doing and watch this, now.

image

Inside Amy Schumer

Now in its third season, Inside Amy Schumer is comedian Amy Schumer’s hit TV show that hilariously attacks rape culture, misogyny and double standards. After gaining notoriety for her stand up in the Roast of Charlie Sheen, Amy Schumer has gone from strength to strength and now displays her genius wit in each half hour episode of her show.

Amy shines a light on the dark subculture of rape in men's football.

With writers including Tig Notaro, Emily Altman, Christine Nangle, Jessi Klein, Tami Sagher, Kim Caramele and Hallie Cantor, and guest appearances by Tina Fey, Patricia Arquette, Parker Posey, Kathy Najimy, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Amber Rose, and Jennifer Coolidge, Inside Amy Schumer features women both behind and in front of the screen.

Amy lampoons the fact women are discouraged from talking positively about themself

Enough praise is still too little for this show, with Amy providing scathing commentary on rape in the military and sports, the objectification of women and the utter stupidity of men focussing on whether or not they find Amy physically acceptable, via the form of short skits, candid street interviews and short clips of stand up.

Watch this. Watch this. Watch this.

unbreakable-kimmy-schmidt-crop

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is the newest comedy by powerhouse actor/writer/producer Tina Fey. It follows Kimmy as she is rescued, along with three other women, from being kidnapped by a cult leader and locked in an underground bunker for 15 years. To get an idea of the comedy in this show, writers include Allison Silverman (The Colbert Report), Emily Altman (Inside Amy Schumer), Azie Mira Dungey (Ask a Slave), Lauren Gurganous (30 Rock) and Meredith Scardino (Saturday Night Live).

1425953348329.cached

Can you see the racism in this picture?

The title role of Kimmy is played by Ellie Kemper, now enthusiastically free and excited about her new life. Jane Krakowski is brilliant as the vain and shallow housewife Jacqueline Vorhees, who is also suppressing the fact she is Native American. The legendary Carol Kane features as the trippy neighbour Lillian Kaushtupper (there’s a joke in that last name too) and Dylan Gelulla as Xanthippe Vorhees, Jacqueline’s daughter.

enhanced-2566-1425921400-10

Jacqueline’s reaction upon finding out Kimmy hasn’t seen a mirror for 15 years

Jokes about racism and sexism abound, skillfully holding a mirror up to our society in an enjoyable, unpretentious way. Warm and fuzzy life lessons are slipped into the show effortlessly as we watch Kimmy re-learn life and teach others the love of freedom.

The MoleWomen - Lauren Adams as Gretchen Chalker, Sara Chase as Cyndee Pokorny, Kimmy Schmidt and Sol Miranda as Donna Maria Nunez

The MoleWomen – Lauren Adams as Gretchen Chalker, Sara Chase as Cyndee Pokorny, Kimmy Schmidt and Sol Miranda as Donna Maria Nunez

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is a quirky comedy that knows which way to kick, and that way is always up. This show can be summed up by a sentence from the opening theme song, “Females are strong as hell!”

Gone-Girl-2014-film-poster-crop

Gone Girl

Gillian Flynn wrote the book “Gone Girl” in 2012, which went on to be #1 on the New York Times Best Seller list for 8 weeks. Reese Witherspoon’s production company Pacific Standard then bought the rights of the book and she brought on Gillian Flynn to write the screenplay to this movie, released in 2014.

A She-Said, He-Said mystery of a movie, Gone Girl follows the marriage between Amy & Nick, the first half of the film from his perspective, the second half from hers.

Nick narrates the first half of Gone Girl

Nick narrates the first half of Gone Girl

Gone Girl will capture your attention for the full 149 minutes, which is a feat in itself. The film examines issues like power, neglect, perception, infidelity and revenge. Amy’s half of the movie gives the viewer the truth of the situation, and it is up to you to decide who is the guilty party and who is not.

The brilliant Rosamund Pike as Amy Dunne

The brilliant Rosamund Pike as Amy Dunne

A controversial yet powerful movie, Gone Girl is not to be missed.