Archive for category Film

on DVD: films directed by/ written by women



Written and directed by: Haifaa Al-Mansour
Starring: Waad Mohammed, Reem Abdullah, Abdullrahman Al Gohani

–a smart, spunky, brave Saudi girl signs on for her school’s Koran recitation competition to earn the remaining funds she needs in order to buy the green bicycle that she really wants even though it’s frowned upon for girls to ride bikes in Saudi Arabia.

130503m-The Reluctant Fundamentalist_Changez and Erica

The Reluctant Fundamentalist

–A young Pakistani man chasing corporate success on Wall Street finds himself embroiled in a conflict between his American Dream, a hostage crisis, and the enduring call of his family’s homeland.

Directed by: Mira Nair
Starring: Riz Ahmed, Liev Schreiber, Kiefer Sutherland, Kate Hudson

–riveting, intense film that questions intentions, good vs. evil, nationality, identity and prejudice with Nair’s gorgeous, thoughtful, heartbreaking direction.

Touchy Feely

Touchy Feely

–A massage therapist is unable to do her job when stricken with a mysterious and sudden aversion to bodily contact. Meanwhile, her uptight brother’s floundering dental practice receives new life when clients seek out his healing touch.

Written and directed by: Lynn Shelton
Starring: Rosemarie DeWitt, Ellen Page, Josh Pais, Allison Janney

–quirky, charming, sweet



–two best friends fall in love with each other’s teenage sons
Written and directed by: Anne Fontaine
Starring: Robin Wright, Naomi Watts

–unsettling topic but with Wright and Watts it’s beautifully acted and as much about friendship as about these affairs with the young men. plus gorgeous, idyllic scenery.

afternoon delight

Afternoon Delight

–Rachel, a savvy stay-at-home mom finds herself stuck in a rut of volunteering at preschool auctions, a lackluster sex life and long-gone career. When she visits a strip club to spice up her marriage and meets McKenna, she ends up adopting her as the family nanny.

Written and directed by: Jill Soloway
Starring: Kathryn Hahn, Juno Temple, Josh Radnor

–smart, astute script. unique film.


The Lifeguard

–29-year-old woman questioning her life’s direction, quits her reporter job in New York and moves home to Connecticut. she takes a job as a lifeguard and falls into a friendship with a teenager.

Written and directed by: Liz W. Garcia
Starring: Kristen Bell, Mamie Gumer, Martin Starr

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RIP Philip Seymour Hoffman [1967-2014]


–born in the Rochester, New York on July 23, 1967
–attended New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, graduating with a B.F.A. degree in Drama in 1989.
–died of suspected heroin overdose on February 2, 2014.

My Favorite Hoffman Films:

the savages

The Savages [2007]
written and directed by: Tamara Jenkins
also starring: Laura Linney, Philip Bosco
–siblings (Laura Linney plays his sister) must deal with their father’s rapid demise and thus face their own lives– their presents, their futures, their lost potential.

before the devil knows

Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead [2007]
written by: Kelly Masterson
directed by: Sidney Lumet
also starring: Ethan Hawke, Marisa Tomei, Albert Finney
–two brothers organize the robbery of their parents’ jewelry and the job goes horribly wrong.


A Late Quartet [2012]
written by: Seth Grossman, Yaron Zilberman
directed by:Yaron Zilberman
also starring: Catherine Keenar, Chistopher Walken
–members of a world-renowned string quartet struggle to stay together in the face of death, competing egos and lust.


Capote [2005]
written by: Dan Futterman
directed by: Bennett Miller
also starring: Clifton Collins Jr., Catherine Keener
–while researching his book In Cold Blood, an account of the murder of a Kansas family, Truman Capote develops a close relationship with Perry Smith, one of the killers.

the master

The Master [2012]
written and directed by: Paul Thomas Anderson
also starring: Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams
–a Naval veteran arrives home from war unsettled and uncertain of his future – until he is tantalized by The Cause and its charismatic leader.


Doubt [2008]
written and directed by: John Patrick Shanley
also starring: Viola Davis, Meryl Streep, Amy Adams
—a Catholic school principal questions a priest’s ambiguous relationship with a troubled young student.

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Choice Quote: Amy Poehler on FEMINISM


from the February 2014 issue of ELLE Magazine:

ELLE: You’ve always made it clear that you’re a feminist. It’s a term that a lot of people back away from these days.

Amy Poehler: But then they go on to explain what they support and live by—it’s feminism exactly. I think some big actors and musicians feel like they have to speak to their audience and that word is confusing to their audience. But I don’t get it. That’s like someone being like, “I don’t really believe in cars, but I drive one every day and I love that it gets me places and makes life so much easier and faster and I don’t know what I would do without it.” But that’s everyone else’s trip, not mine. I had a mother who discovered herself in the ’70s and used to go to meetings and wear a sassy scarf.


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Choice Quote: Austenland


“I am single because apparently the only good men are fictional.”


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Golden Globes 2014 Fashion Picks

Favorite Looks:

Elisabeth Moss

Elisabeth Moss.Globes

Laura Dern

laura dern.globes

Julianna Margulies


Aubrey Plaza

Aubrey Plaza.globes

Lupita Nyong’O

Lupita Nyong’o.globes

Taylor Swift




Leslie Mann


Emma Watson


Idris Elba


Helen Mirren


Leo DiCaprio


Julie Delpy

Julie Delpy.globes

Mila Kunis


Zoe Saldana


Taylor Schilling


Olivia Wilde

Olivia Wilde. Globes

Michelle Dockery

michelle dockery.globes

Sandra Bullock


Kate Beckinsale


Naomi Watts

naomi watts.globes

Kerry Washington


Tina Fey and Amy Poehler

tina and amy.globes

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FILM News: Gone Girl; Laverne Cox

First Picture Still of Ben Affleck as Nick Dunne in Gone Girl

gone girl

film, apapted from the best-selling novel by Gillian Flynn, will be released in October 2014.

Nick Dunne (Affleck) seen at a press conference in front of photo of his missing wife Amy Dunne (Rosamund Pike)


Laverne Cox working on documentary FREE CECE.

CeCe McDonald’s currently serving time in a men’s prison. In 2011, McDonald and her friends were harassed and called racial and homophobic slurs which resulted in a physical altercation. In 2011, CeCe McDonald and her friends were walking to a grocery store in Minneapolis when a group of people began throwing racial and homophobic slurs at McDonald and her friends, resulting in a physical altercation. McDonald was injured and attacker Dean Schmitz killed in self-defense by McDonald. Cox hopes to bring McDonald’s story to a larger audience and shed light on the culture of violence surrounding transphobia.


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Choice Quote: Leo DiCaprio

“Only 2% of philanthropy goes toward environmentalism.”
– Leo DiCaprio on Ellen DeGeneres Show January 7, 2013


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Choice Quote: Kiera Knightley on feminism


“I remember doing interviews, and people would ask, as if it was a joke, ‘So you mean you are a feminist?’ As though feminism couldn’t be discussed unless we were making fun of it. I don’t want to deny my femininity,” she said at the time.

“I think it’s great that the discussions are finally being allowed to be had [about feminism], as opposed to anybody mentioning feminism and everybody going, ‘Oh, f***ing shut up.’ Somehow, it became a dirty word. I thought it was really weird for a long time, and I think it’s great that we’re coming out of that.”

Harper’s Bazaar UK, February 2014 issue


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STEELE Picks: 20 Best Films of 2013

frances ha

Frances Ha
written by: Greta Gerwig, Noah Baumbach
directed by: Noah Baumbach
starring: Greta Gerwig, Mickey Sumner, Adam Driver
–a dazzler about creativity, dreams and reality.

ginger and rosa poster

Ginger & Rosa
written and directed by: Sally Potter
starring: Elle Fanning, Alice Englert, Annette Bening, Alessandro Nivola, Christina Hendrick
–stunning film about being a teenager during the Cuban Missile Crisis in England. it’s about friendships, parents and finding one’s place in the world.

place beyond the pines poster

The Place Beyond the Pines
written by: Derek Cianfrance, Ben Coccio
directed by: Derek Cianfrance
starring: Ryan Gosling, Bradley Cooper, Eva Mendes
–this film made me cry. fathers and sons. heartbreaking.

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Before Midnight
written by: Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke
directed by: Richard Linklater
starring: Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke
–Celine and Jesse return nine years later, this time they’re vacationing in Greece and question their relationship. superb dialogue and chemistry.

12 years a slave

12 Years a Slave
written by: John Ridley
directed by: Steve McQueen
starring: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael K. Williams, Michael Fassbender, Adepero Oduye, Alfre Woodard
–important story about one man’s experience as a free black man sold into slavery in the South. it’s heart-wrenching and powerful.

all is lost

All is Lost
written and directed by: J.C. Chandor
starring: Robert Redford
–whether you like sailing or not this is an intense film and Robert Redford’s amazing.

enough said

Enough Said
written and directed by: Nicole Holofcener
starring: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, James Gandolfini, Catherine Keener
–sweet, smart, honest. a delight.


Dallas Buyers Club
written by: Craig Borten, Melisa Wallack
directed by: Jean-Marc Vallée
starring: Matthew McConaughey, Jennifer Garner, Jared Leto
–based on a remarkable true story, this should get your fired about against the pharmaceutical industry and the FDA as well as angered over the thousands who died unnecessarily in the 80s from HIV/AIDs.


Fruitvale Station
written and directed by: Ryan Coogler
starring: Michael B. Jordan, Melonie Diaz, Octavia Spencer
–another film based on a true story shows active racism among law enforcement and its devastating impact on a young man’s life and that of those who love him.

drinking buddies

Drinking Buddies
written and directed by: Joe Swanberg
starring: Olivia Wilde, Jake Johnson, Anna Kendrick, Ron Livingston
–men and women CAN be friends. brilliant script.

the east

The East
written by: Zal Batmanglij, Brit Marling
directed by: Zal Batmanglij
starring: Brit Marling, Alexander Skarsgård, Ellen Page, Patricia Clarkson
–truly creepy and mesmerizing film about a cultish, violent activist group and the FBI agent who infiltrates it.

spring breakers

Spring Breakers
written and directed by: Harmony Korine
starring: James Franco, Vanessa Hudgens, Selena Gomez, Ashley Benson
–excess. mayhem. heart-pounding.

august osage county

August: Osage County
written by: Tracy Letts
directed by: John Wells
starring: Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Chris Cooper, Juliette Lewis, Margo Martindale, Julianne Nicholson, Benedict Cumberbatch, Ewan McGregor, Dermot Mulroney, Abigail Breslin
–amazing cast, brilliant script. poignant, dark, literary.

what maisie knew

What Maisie Knew
written by: Nancy Doyne, Carroll Cartwright
directed by: Scott McGehee, David Siegel
starring: Julianne Moore, Alexander Skarsgård, Steve Coogan, Onata Aprile
–best film about divorce since Kramer vs. Kramer.


The Bling Ring
written by: Sofia Coppola, Nancy Jo Sales
directed by: Sofia Coppola
starring: Katie Chang, Israel Broussard, Emma Watson, Taissa Farmiga
–love the visuals and flash. Sofia Coppola’s one of my favorite filmmakers. She’s got such an interesting eye.

inside llewyn davis

Inside Llewyn Davis
written and directed by: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
starring: Oscar Isaac, Carey Mulligan, John Goodman, Garrett Hedlund, Justin Timberlake
–melancholy and lovely.

much ado about nothing

Much Ado About Nothing
written and directed by: Joss Whedon
starring: Alexis Denisof, Amy Acker, Fran Kranz, Clark Gregg, Reed Diamond, Ashley Johnson
–one of the best modern Shakespeare adaptations ever.

girl most likely

Girl Most Likely
written by: Michelle Morgan
directed by: Shari Springer Berman, Robert Pulcini
starring: Kristen Wiig, Annette Bening, Matt Dillon
–sharp and funny. Kristen Wiig and Annette Bening both brilliant.

blue jasmine

Blue Jasmine
written and directed by: Woody Allen
starring: Cate Blanchett, Alec Baldwin, Peter Sarsgaard, Sally Hawkins
–darkly poignant.

in a world

In a World
written and directed by: Lake Bell
starring: Lake Bell, Jeff Garlin, Demetri Martin, Alexandra Holden, Rob Corddry
–explores women voice-over artists. strong and charming.

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–Helena Bonham Carter is in talks to join Carey Mulligan and Anne-Marie Duff in Suffragette — a film about the nineteenth and early twentieth century women’s right to vote movement. The period piece will be directed by Sarah Gavron (Brick Lane) and written by The Iron Lady scribe Abi Morgan.


–Jessica Lange has signed on to play Mark Wahlberg’s put-upon mother in The Gambler, a remake of the 1974 film.


–Rashida Jones and her writing and producing partner, Will McCormack, just sold a “midnight-dark workplace dramedy-noir about a nail salon in Florida and the strange, dangerous women who work there” to HBO. Claws is the third show the pair behind Celeste and Jesse Forever have sold this year.

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