As Portland hunkers down today for an impending blizzard, we're also getting ready for the annual Portland International Film Festival at the Northwest Film Center, which starts today and lasts two weeks, with dozens of movies from around the world. Here at Bitch, we'll be rounding up some of our favorite films. Here are our picks that are playing this weekend, come snow or sleet! If you're not in Portland, make sure to keep these films, directors, and actors on your radar!
August: Osage County has garnered mostly lukewarm reviews. This is somewhat of a surprise: the movie is based on the Pulitzer-winning play by Tracy Letts and the film’s cast is packed with talented actors. Although both Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts were nominated for Golden Globes for their powerful performances, both of them walked away from the award ceremony last Sunday night empty-handed.
But then, this is a movie that is, unambiguously, about women. August: Osage County is about morally flawed, sometimes cruel, and often unlikable women. And that’s what makes August: Osage County good.
Above: A still from Kibwe Tavares' beautifully shot short film Jonah.
Curious about emerging indie film directors but don’t have a few thousand dollars lying around for plane tickets and festival passes to this year’s Sundance Film Festival? Then mark your calendar, rearrange a decimal point on the admissions price, and wait for Sundance to come to you: Selected shorts from last year’s festival are screening across the country at independent theatres through January and February.
Last Tuesday night, I caught a screening in New York at the IFC Center. The polar vortex had made Manhattan feel like an arctic ghost town all week, but still the theatre was packed. Why were people braving -8 degrees temperatures on a weeknight to see a collection of short films? Because shorts are where they’ll discover their new favorite director.
The cast of the new Flowers in the Attic remake are looking deadly serious.
Like many twelve-year-olds in the 1980s, I read the dirtiest book I could get my hands on: Flowers in the Attic. The V.C. Andrews title was published in 1979 and I read every paperback in the five-book series so many times, the covers fell off. And I wasn’t alone: Flowers in the Attic sold over 40 million books. V.C. Andrews went on to write a number of other series; when she died, a ghostwriter took over. To date, over 50 books bear the name V.C. Andrews.
From Fast Times at Ridgemont High to Dirty Dancing, you can count the number of sympathetically-depicted cinematic abortions on one hand—leaving your other hand free to page through yet another one of those think-pieces about how filmmakers aren’tscared of showing abortions in movies, it’s just that abortions aren’t much of a plot line and audiences just don’t want to see abortions depicted on film. Oh, of course! Thanks for clearing that up, Hollywood masterminds! We’ll be sure to tell everyone who’s ever had an abortion that their experience has less cinematic merit than the 149thParanormal Activity sequel.
Even with the stellar hosts, I'm not sure I'll be able to make it through the entire lengthy ceremony. But there are some great films and TV shows up for awards. Whether or not you watch the ceremony, I gathered together a collection of our coverage on many of the nominees.
Since the release of Martin Scorsese’s new film, The Wolf of Wall Street, there’s been almost daily internet back-and-forth about its merits, its morality, its shortcomings, and—above all—the question of whether it glorifies greed, amoral excess, and misogyny.
The New Zealand landscape hosts a parallel fantasy world: The Lord of the Rings' Middle Earth. (photo by Hannah Strom)
The Desolation of Smaug, the second film in Peter Jackson’s three-part adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit, arrives in theaters this week. If you’ve watched any Lord of the Rings (LOTR) installments you know the deal: a bunch of white heroes will travel on a noble quest, they will do battle with scary dark-skinned creatures, and maybe a white female character will grace the screen for a moment or two.
If you’re like me and you give the feminist-of-color side-eye to mainstream fantasy while also having a deeply geeky desire to escape and live forever in Middle Earth, you know that the race and gender politics of Lord of the Rings have been a pretty hot topic of conversation.