Posts Tagged Debra Granik

Women’s History Month: some of my favorite films by women

Grace of My Heart [1996]
written and directed by Allison Anders
–Loosely based on the tumultuous rise of singer/songwriter Carole King, Grace of My Heart is a tour-de-force and one of my favorite films ever. Starring Illeana Douglas, Grace of My Heart takes viewers through the music biz from the famed Brill Building to communes and the hip 60s and beyond as one woman strives to find her own voice in a male-dominated industry.

Waitress [2007]
written and directed by Adrienne Shelly
–a charming and heart-warming film about an independent, spirited small-town woman [Keri Russell] determined to leave her abusive husband and make it big on her own.

Monsoon Wedding [2001]
directed by Mira Nair

Away from Her [2006]
written and directed by Sarah Polley
–a graceful love story about a woman with Alzheimer’s

Searching for Debra Winger [2002]
directed by Rosanna Arquette
–documentary on women in film, which includes amazing and very honest commentary from stars from Gwyneth Paltrow to Whoopi to Vanessa Redgrave to Salma Hayek to Charlotte Rampling to of course Debra Winger. It’s great that these women feel comfortable with age but sad to see the frustration and that there still is the issue of great roles for women over 30.

Broken English [2007]
Written and directed by Zoe Cassavetes
— story of Nora [formidable, immensely talented Parker Posey], a 35-year-old who seems stuck in a rut—both personally and professionally. Nora has become complacent and settled at her hotel job. She is beginning to delve into the Bell Jar after years of seeming to know what she wanted and now being at the age where she feels she should already be there.

The Namesake [2006]
directed by Mira Nair
–the story revolves around Gogol [Kal Penn], a mid-twenties architect who has been fighting against his traditional Indian family and heritage. He gets pulled back in by an unforeseen family crisis and it changes his outlook and future forever.

Bright Star [2009]
written and directed by Jane Campion
–wondrously languid, romantic and exquisitely filmed. It tells the story of the tender and tragic love affair between poet John Keats [Ben Whishaw] and his muse and love Fanny Brawne [Abbie Cornish] as told through her eyes.

Come Early Morning [2006]
written and directed by Joey Lauren Adams
–a woman [Ashley Judd] who struggles with alcoholism tries to get her life on track

Fire [1996]
Earth [1998]
Water [2005]
written and directed by Deepa Mehta

scene from Water

2 Days in Paris [2006]
written and directed by Julie Delpy
–an American and a Parisian talk a lot, fight a lot

Girlfight [2000]
written and directed by Karyn Kusama
–focus on female boxers

Somewhere [2010]
written and directed by Sofia Coppola
–a wayward actor [Stephen Dorff] and his heartfelt relationship with his daughter [Elle Fanning]

The Parking Lot Movie [2010]
directed by Meghan Eckman
–three years following the ins and outs of the attendants at a parking lot in Virginia. truly riveting. really.

SherryBaby [2006]
written and directed by Laurie Collyer
–after serving a three-year prison sentence, Sherry [Maggie Gyllenhaal] returns to New Jersey to try to re-establish family ties, including one with her daughter

The Hurt Locker [2009]
directed by Kathryn Bigelow
–heart-pounding thriller about the guys who diffuse IEDs in Iraq

The Kids Are All Right [2010]
co-written and directed by Lisa Chodolenko
–the teenage children of lesbian parents decide to contact the sperm donor and meeting him has implications on the entire family

Please Give [2010]
written and directed by Nicole Holofcener

Winter’s Bone [2010]
written by Debra Granik and Anne Rosellini
directed by Debra Granik
–a teenager [Jennifer Lawrence] searches for her father in dangerous, bleak meth-country

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Academy Awards 2011: my picks

Best Motion Picture of the Year

the nominees:
• Black Swan
• The Fighter
• Inception
• The Kids Are All Right
• The King’s Speech
• 127 Hours
• The Social Network
• Toy Story 3
• True Grit
• Winter’s Bone

my pick:
The Social Network
I appreciate every film in this category and that’s unusual for me. I thought it a weak year in film. The Social Network really represents the time we live in NOW. The lack of privacy. The incestuous relationships between Google and Facebook and Twitter and others. Everything’s connected. Nothing remains private. The Social Network is an effectual, creepy telling of the infiltration of social media onto our lives. I left the theater wanting to delete my Facebook profile but unfortunately for me, and to Facebook’s benefit, it’s my only way to stay connected to my high school class and some other people and organizations.

Achievement in Directing

the nominees:
• Darren Aronofsky, Black Swan
• David O. Russell, The Fighter
• Tom Hooper, The King’s Speech
• David Fincher, The Social Network
• Joel Coen and Ethan Coen, True Grit

my pick:
Tom Hooper, The King’s Speech
Such an exquisite film and a perfectly imperfect performance by Colin Firth as King George. Magnificent cast and genuine story. A little film with massive heart.

Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role

the nominees:

• Javier Bardem, Biutiful
• Jeff Bridges, True Grit
• Jesse Eisenberg, The Social Network
• Colin Firth, The King’s Speech
• James Franco, 127 Hours

my pick:
Colin Firth, The King’s Speech
So credible. So regal. Loved him last year in A Single Man. And if you saw that film and the Bridget Jones movies, you know the range this actor possesses.

Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role

the nominees:

• Christian Bale, The Fighter
• John Hawkes, Winter’s Bone
• Jeremy Renner, The Town
• Mark Ruffalo, The Kids Are All Right
• Geoffrey Rush, The King’s Speech

my pick:
Christian Bale, The Fighter
He morphed into a drug-addled townie.

Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role

the nominees:

• Annette Bening, The Kids Are All Right
• Nicole Kidman, Rabbit Hole
• Jennifer Lawrence, Winter’s Bone
• Natalie Portman, Black Swan
• Michelle Williams, Blue Valentine

my pick:
Annette Bening, The Kids Are All Right
This might be one of the toughest categories. Kidman excels at grief in The Rabbit Hole, Michelle Williams spans decades through a challenging marriage in Blue Valentine, Natalie Portman goes from perfect to paranoid in The Black Swan, Jennifer Lawrence captivates in Winter’s Bone but Annette Bening really shines in The Kids are All Right.

Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role

the nominees:

• Amy Adams, The Fighter
• Helena Bonham Carter, The King’s Speech
• Melissa Leo, The Fighter
• Hailee Steinfeld, True Grit
• Jacki Weaver, Animal Kingdom

my pick:
Hailee Steinfeld, True Grit
I’m going out on a limb for Hailee Steinfeld, the youngest nominee. Without her and her gutsy, bold performance for the Coen Brothers, there’d be no True Grit. But in the end, it’ll go to Melissa Leo.

Original Screenplay

the nominees:

• Another Year, Written by Mike Leigh
• The Fighter, Screenplay by Scott Silver, Paul Tamasy and Eric Johnson. Story by Keith Dorrington, Paul Tamasy and Eric Johnson
• Inception, Written by Christopher Nolan
• The Kids Are All Right, Written by Lisa Cholodenko and Stuart Blumberg
• The King’s Speech, Screenplay by David Seidler

my pick:
David Seidler, The King’s Speech

Adapted Screenplay

the nominees:

• 127 Hours, Screenplay by Danny Boyle & Simon Beaufoy
• The Social Network, Screenplay by Aaron Sorkin
• Toy Story 3, Screenplay by Michael Arndt. Story by John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton and Lee Unkrich
• True Grit, Written for the screen by Joel Coen and Ethan Coen
• Winter’s Bone, Adapted for the screen by Debra Granik and Anne Rosellini

my pick:
I know EVERYONE adores Aaron Sorkin but I’d like to see Debra Granik and Anne Rosellini for the harrowing Winter’s Bone.

Best Foreign Language Film of the Year
• Biutiful (Mexico)
• Dogtooth (Greece)
• In a Better World (Denmark)
• Incendies (Canada)
• Outside the Law (Hors-la-loi, Algeria)

my pick:
unbelievably creepy and disturbing.

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Support Women in Film: 2010 films by female directors

Of all the films released in 2010, I found merely 14 directed by women:

The Kids Are All Right—Lisa Chodolenko
–smart film about family, relationships and when challenges threaten the status quo

Please Give—Nicole Holofcener
–darkly amusing film about a jaded New York couple and the two sisters that live in their building, who affect them more than expected

Somewhere—Sofia Coppola
–a spoiled film star gets real with an undeniably sweet, gentle relationship with his tween daughter

Country Strong—Shana Feste
–the challenges of staying young and relevant in the music industry without letting the pressures steal your individuality

The Extra Man—Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini

Going the Distance – Nanette Burstein
–cute rom-com about a long distance relationship w/ Drew Barrymore and Justin Long

The Greatest—Shana Feste

Just Wright—Sanaa Hamri
–Queen Latifah plays a physical therapist who gets her dream assignment: personal rehab to one of the New York Knicks. It’s funny and touching.

Nanny McPhee Returns—Susanna White

Ramona and Beezus— Elizabeth Allen

The Runaways— Floria Sigismondi
–pretty tame biopic of the all-girl punk rock band The Runaways with Joan Jett and Cherie Currie

The Tempest—Julie Taymor

Winter’s Bone— Debra Granik
–gritty, harrowing, suspenseful and one of the best films of 2010

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