THE FEMALE OF THE SPECIES… Suffragette, Crimson Peak and Assassin


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Warning: SPOILERS

 

suffragetteIn the new historical semi-epic Suffragette, women fight for the right to vote. Not a particularly controversial topic these days, except perhaps in some remote regions of the radical right.
Written by Abi Morgan (The Iron Lady, Shame and the TV series The Hour) and directed by Sarah Gavron (Brick Lane), there’s nothing that wrong with the movie and it does its job admirably enough, and all the while backed by impeccable period settings and costumes ranging from working to the more leisurely classes.
At the same time, there’s nothing that exciting about it either. It’s a movie that does what it does, but that’s about all that it does.
The strongest parts of the film are in the first third which dramatizes in often devastating detail the life of Maud Watts who works in a laundry. Here the women are paid less than the men (and do more work and have longer hours); endure horrifying working conditions; and are the victims of their bosses sexual predilections.
Maud is your everywoman here, great at her job, a loving mother and wife, reluctant to rock the boat, but equipped with a righteous conscious. In other words, everything the central character of a movie should be so as not to alienate the audience.
That’s perhaps a bit unfair because Carey Mulligan, who plays Maud, gives a very empathetic performance and makes her more than a construct.
But the film begins to lose its way in the second third as the suffragette movement starts taking center stage. It’s hard to say exactly why the movie starts flailing a bit here, except that the screenplay, perhaps, can’t seem to make the idea of women’s right to vote as compelling and interesting as their work and sexual exploitation. Continue reading

My recommendations for film watching this week in L.A. 10/23-10/30/2015


First, a word from our sponsors: I am now offering a new service: so much emphasis has been given lately to the importance of the opening of your screenplay, I now offer coverage for the first twenty pages at the cost of $20.00.  For those who don’t want to have full coverage on their screenplay at this time, but want to know how well their script is working with the opening pages, this is perfect for you.  I’ll help you not lose the reader on page one. 
 
Ever wonder what a reader for a contest or agency thinks when he reads your screenplay? Check out my e-book published on Amazon: Rantings and Ravings of a Screenplay Reader, including my series of essays, What I Learned Reading for Contests This Year. Only $2.99. http://ow.ly/xN31r,
 
And check out my script consultation services http://ow.ly/HPxKE
My recommendations for movie watching this week in L.A. 10/23-10-/30/2015
on the town
ON NETFLIX: On the Town, the watered down version of Betty Comden and Adolph Green’s music about three sailors on leave, is still exhilarating filled with marvelous moments, especially on the part of Gene Kelly, Frank Sinatra, Betty Garrett and Ann Miller. Directed by Stanley Donen and Gene Kelly, it makes marvelous use of New York locations, has a wonderful score and one of those lengthy ballets that dramatizes Gene Kelly getting his heart broken that climaxes the movie.
children of paradiseON HULU: Writer Jacques Prevert and director Marcel Carne’s Children of Paradise is a beautiful ode to the life of actors and actresses in Paris during the 1820’s and ‘30s. Garance, an actress, is loved by four other men, leading to tragedy. Made during the last days of the German occupation in 1945, Children of Paradise is one of the greatest romantic dramas ever made.
we are youngSPECIAL SHOWINGS: The American Cinematheque kicks off New German Cinema on Thursday, the 22nd, and continues through the weekend.
roccoSPECIAL SHOWINGS: Luchino Visconti’s Rocco and His Brothers is often considered a sort of, kind of semi-sequel to his earlier film La Terra Trema. In the first film, a group of brothers try to go independent in the fishing industry, but cannot defeat the powers that be. In Rocco… a group of brothers have to leave their home to try to make their way in Milan, where boxing and a prostitute come between the siblings. Epic and powerful, one of the most important Italian films of all time, this is a newly restored version. With Alain Delon, Annie Giradot and Claudia Cardinale.
FIRST RUN and OPENING: Steve Jobs, Suffragette, Bridge of Spies Crimson Peak, Room, The Assassin, The Final Girls, Goosebumps Continue reading