Miranda July

Princess Leia Armed in Star Wars

Yesterday was the 95th anniversary of the 19th Amendment being passed by Congress. That means we’ve got five years until its centennial and all the special commemorations that are obligatory for that sort of thing. Maybe those will be saved for the following year, when it was ratified just in time to allow women to vote in the 1920 presidential election. Either way, here’s a proposal and a challenge for Hollywood for one of those summers: every blockbuster must be directed by a female. With the loss of Jupiter Ascending from this season’s slate, there are no major tentpoles helmed by women at all this summer, and the studios have six years to turn that completely around for at least one time. After that, fine, go back to ignoring that another gender is capable of directing big movies. Hollywood would probably do just that anyway, even if the summer of 2020 wound up smashing records for attendance and grosses. One big hope is that the proposal will force Lucasfilm to put a woman on one of their Star Wars movies, whether the third standalone feature or Episode IX. The latter is supposed to be due by the end of 2019, while presumably another spin-off will arrive the following year. So far those non-trilogy one-offs, which have Gareth Edwards and now Josh Trank attached, are set for 2016 and 2018, respectively. Following the commotion about Episode VII seeming not to have enough female characters, I’m surprised we haven’t seen any complaints […]

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tiko and shark

Much of Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues is more of the same from Ron Burgundy and the gang. As the lead character, Will Ferrell does the news, does some ladies and has a few meltdowns. Brick says idiotic things, Champ says inappropriate things and Brian Fantana has a special cabinet alluding to his assumed sexual prowess. Oh, and Veronica Corningstone is back and mad at Ron again. There is even another cameo-filled brawl. But there are a few things added in that we didn’t see in Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, like Ferrell wrestling with a shark that calls to mind scenes with a cougar and a bear in Talladega Nights and Semi-Pro, respectively. The sequel reminded me of some other movies besides those in the filmography of its star. Sometimes this was the intention of the filmmakers via a direct reference. Other times it was just the usual wandering of my brain making relevant associations. Occasionally the reminders came externally from another writer’s comparison. Regardless of where this week’s list of recommendations came from, I’ve wound up with a nice variety of titles about broadcast journalism and keeping sharks as pets plus selections highlighting some of the cast’s other work worth checking out. Queue them up for your holiday week, why don’t you. As always, the following may involve SPOILERS as some of the titles below are linked to specific plot points of the movie.

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It’s been a while since Miranda July‘s acclaimed feature debut, Me and You and Everyone We Know. That film had more than a few moments of sweetness and, for the most part, was quite hopeful. Her return, on the other hand, isn’t half as cheery. Why’s that? As July says, it stems from a tough experience during the editing of her first film, which kicked off our whole conversation about her process and whether she finds catharsis through filmmaking. Before speaking with July, I had just viewed The Hollywood Reporter directors roundtable. They’re usually exciting hour long conversations — and it helps when you have directors like Steve McQueen, Bennet Miller, Alexander Payne, Jason Reitman, Mike Mills, and Michel Hazanavicius all in a room together — but one awkward and head-scratching moment arose: When the moderator asked, “Why are there no women here?” As most pointed out, there were women filmmakers who could’ve been invited: Kelly Reichardt, Lynne Ramsay, Dee Rees, and, of course, Miranda July. This topic is only a small focus my conversation with July, but for a woman director to hear a moderator ask that question, as if no woman director was worth inviting this year ’cause their movies didn’t hit big, must’ve been hard to hear. For July, who describes the process of looking through those Hollywood Reporter photos honestly, it didn’t sound like a pleasant experience. Here’s what writer-director Miranda July had to say about about her creative process, when an idea becomes dead skin, […]

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published: 12.19.2014
A-
published: 12.18.2014
C-
published: 12.17.2014
B+


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