A packed column on the latest on streaming, DVD, and Blu-ray, including American Made, Brad's Status, Brawl in Cell Block 99, Stronger, The Mountain Between Us, and more!
For the last three weeks, two films with female protagonists ("The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" and "Frozen") have been at the top of the box office. Carrie Rickey does some numbers on the history of box office numbers and films with women as protagonists.
Critic Carrie Rickey traces the evolution of women on film and behind the camera over the course of her career writing about film.
"The To Do List" may not be a film of great substance, but this comedy about a young girl’s strange, semi-erotic journey from untouched maiden to minx accomplishes something both rare and significant for a teen movie: it places a female character in the central role as unapologetic sexual aggressor.
View image Those plucky, sympathetic teens of yesteryear.
You know what? "Sex and the City" was for girls! Yes, it's true. First it was for (and about) gay boys, but eventually it revolved around a certain brand of perfume-insert, fashion-magazine womankind: rich, white, co-dependent, status-obsessed, desperate for a man to complete her.
Know what else? Judd Apatow makes movies about guys -- and heterosexual relationships with women, but mainly about what used to be known as "male bonding." (The fashionable term now is "bro-mance," which is cuter and invoked largely by what used to be called "metrosexuals.") The Apatow guy tends to be underemployed, white, Jewish (or Canadian), slobby, geeky, smelly, childish (not just "childlike") and more or less happy, unaware that he's desperate for a woman to complete him. Then, once he becomes aware, he's not entirely sure that's possible, or desirable.
This, I submit, is a minor breakthrough in romantic comedy. OK, perhaps I am single and bitter, but I'm also right.
In the New York Sun (also known as "the conservative New York Sun"), Steve Dollar mentions that Catherine Keener's character in "The 40-Year-Old Virgin" "pretty much takes the blame for making the poor guy sell all his collectible model toys (but whose side is Apatow on?), and spends much of her screen time mothering her infantile boyfriend."
Is that what happens? Even if so, whose side is Mr. Dollar on? (And who said it was necessary to divine and choose "sides"?)
Q. There are several reports about extreme reactions of early cinema audiences that I find hard to believe. It is said that viewers of the first movies were frightened by what they saw, such as moving images of an incoming train.
Jim Thompson has been dead for 15 years now, and he never got much notice when he was alive, but all of his books are in print again--with covers showing the broads with low necklines, the desperate guys with their cigarettes and three-day beards, and always in the foreground the bottle of booze.
All of a sudden, there are movies about teenagers who are ordinary kids. They come as such a relief after all the movies about teenagers who are killers, victims, lust-crazed sex fiends, hookers, punks, sluts and goons. There for a while it looked like half the new teenage movies were going to be ripoffs of two of the sleaziest recent trendsetters at the box office, "Porky's" and "Friday the 13th." Teenagers in those movies had fairly limited options: They could look through peepholes into the girls’ shower room, or they could get disemboweled by a faceless monster.