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12 items from 2017


New to Streaming: ‘The Lovers,’ ‘The Graduate,’ ‘Person to Person,’ ‘Obit,’ and More

28 July 2017 5:13 AM, PDT | The Film Stage | See recent The Film Stage news »

With a seemingly endless amount of streaming options — not only the titles at our disposal, but services themselves — we’ve taken it upon ourselves to highlight the titles that have recently hit platforms. Every week, one will be able to see the cream of the crop (or perhaps some simply interesting picks) of streaming titles (new and old) across platforms such as Netflix, iTunes, Amazon, and more (note: U.S. only). Check out our rundown for this week’s selections below.

City of Tiny Lights (Pete Travis)

Small-time private detective Tommy Akhtar (Riz Ahmed) has all the swagger of a hard-boiled snoop: leather jacket on his shoulders and cigarette in his mouth, leaning against London architecture in the darkened night. His office resides above some shops, he makes friendly with local convenience store owner Mrs. Elbaz (Myriam Acharki), and asks new clients where they found him because he’s not advertising in the paper. »

- Jordan Raup

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Joshua Reviews Vanessa Gould’s Obit [Theatrical Review]

29 April 2017 3:11 PM, PDT | CriterionCast | See recent CriterionCast news »

When one thinks of documentaries that could rightly be described as “enjoyable,” a look into the life and work of men and women sitting behind obituary desks at the world’s largest newspaper doesn’t instantly leap to mind. However, in the hands of director Vanessa Gould, that’s ostensibly what one gets in her latest film, Obit.

Obit introduces us to the obituary writing team at The New York Times, led by editor William McDonald, and his team including writers Bruce Weber, Margalit Fox, William Grimes and Paul Vitello, among others. All with distinct senses of humor and perspective, Gould’s film shines a distinctly vital light on each writer and the process they and the paper go through to pen their pieces. From giving a word length to a person’s life, to trying to define just what constitutes an obituary in today’s boundary pushing world, each »

- Joshua Brunsting

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Film Review: ‘Obit.’

26 April 2017 11:29 AM, PDT | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

What is the sum worth of a man or woman’s life? In word-count terms, that’s a question dealt with every day by the subjects of “Obit.,” who comprise the New York Times’ obituary department — one of the last surviving extensive operations in the publishing world devoted to their particular task. Entertaining if a bit conventional in its anecdotal structure and slightly cutesy tone, these 95 minutes should appeal to the same public that happily spends half the day reading the Sunday Times, and which will enjoy a polite peek behind the Gray Lady’s operational curtain.

Though they admit the job does keep mortality on their minds, the Times’ obit crew rarely finds it depressing. As Margalit Fox puts it, “We’re usually writing about someone who’s died in his or her 80s or 90s after living a long, rich, creative, fulfilling life. … In an obit of 800 words, »

- Dennis Harvey

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Emma Watson’s The Circle Ends The Lame Spring Movie Season -- The Weekend Warrior

26 April 2017 8:00 AM, PDT | LRMonline.com | See recent LRM Online news »

Welcome back to the Weekend Warrior, your weekly look at the new movies hitting theaters this weekend, as well as other cool events and things to check out. 

Even Emma Watson and Tom Hanks May Not Be Enough to Make a Mark As April Ends 

The last weekend of April, and the “slower” spring movie season is ending this weekend, leading directly into the start of the lucrative summer box office next week. As has been the case in past years, the last couple weekends in April see a couple movies hoping to bring in any amount of money before the first big summer blockbuster, and other movies that will steal away their theaters. Last weekend was pretty sad, but hopefully a few of this weekend’s movies will fare better.

The movie that stands the best chance at finding an audience this weekend is the tech industry thriller The Circle »

- Edward Douglas

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Review: ‘Obit’ Confronts Death with Warmth and Utter Charm

26 April 2017 4:02 AM, PDT | The Film Stage | See recent The Film Stage news »

On June 25, 2009, 70s icon Farrah Fawcett passed away after a long battle with cancer. Her obituary in The New York Times recalled her “signature flowing hairstyle” and the red bathing suit poster that first made her a star. It also mentioned her work in Charlie’s Angels and her marriage to Six Million Dollar Man‘s Lee Majors. It was a succinct, tasteful piece that bid farewell to a beloved celebrity whose death was, sadly, not unexpected. But as we learn in Vanessa Gould’s documentary Obit, the sense of calm left in the obituary department in the wake of Fawcett’s demise was quickly dispelled when news arrived that the King of Pop had died. Michael Jackson’s sudden death occurred at a time when the writers were getting ready to go home, and being The New York Times, the staff knew they needed to publish something that very day. »

- Jose Solís

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Doc Corner: 'Obit'

25 April 2017 12:25 PM, PDT | FilmExperience | See recent FilmExperience news »

By Glenn Dunks

An observation made towards the start of Vanessa Gould’s Obit: despite the reputation as the reporting of death, most obituaries are only 10% about the death of an individual. The other 90% is about life. How a person lived it, what they did, where they went and how they go there.

That's an appropriate anecdote to lead with given how turned off people may be about a film set within the supposedly dreary old world of an obituary department in a physical news outlet like the New York Times.

It’s a nice thought from a film whose prime subjects are not dead and are in fact living »

- Glenn Dunks

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Official Trailer for 'Obit' Documentary Profiling Writers of Obituaries

10 April 2017 11:49 AM, PDT | firstshowing.net | See recent FirstShowing.net news »

"It's the once, only chance to make the dead live again." Kino Lorber has released an official trailer for the documentary titled Obit., about the lives and work of obituary writers. The description explains that this is supposedly the first ever doc about obituary writers, which is likely true. However, it makes me think of the film The Last Word, which is not a doc but an indie comedy about an obituary writer (played by Amanda Seyfried). From the description: "Going beyond the byline and into the minds of those chronicling life after death on the freshly inked front lines of history, the film invites some of the most essential questions we ask ourselves about life, memory, and the inevitable passage of time. What do we choose to remember? What never dies?" This already played at doc festivals all over and opens in very limited theaters later this month. Here's »

- Alex Billington

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Trailer Watch: Vanessa Gould’s “Obit” Spotlights Those Who Make the Dead Live Again

7 April 2017 2:01 PM, PDT | Women and Hollywood | See recent Women and Hollywood news »

Obit

“It’s counter-intuitive — ironic, even — but obits have next to nothing to do with death, and in fact absolutely everything to do with the life,” an obituary writer observes in a new trailer for “Obit.” Peabody Award-winning filmmaker Vanessa Gould’s upcoming documentary centers on The New York Times obituary desk.

“Ten hours before newspapers hit neighborhood doorsteps — and these days, ten minutes before news hits the web — an obit writer is racing against deadline to sum up a long and newsworthy life in under 1,000 words,” the film’s official synopsis reads. “The details of these lives are then deposited into the cultural memory amid the daily beat of war, politics, and football scores. ‘Obit.’ is the first documentary to explore the world of these writers and their subjects, focusing on the legendary team at The New York Times, who approach their daily work with journalistic rigor and narrative flair.”

Gould was inspired to make “Obit.” after a personal experience with the obit team at the Nyt. After one of the subjects of her origami doc “Between the Folds” passed away, she wrote to most of the prominent English-language newspapers around the world to inform them of his death. The Nyt was the only newspaper that responded to her, and they ran an obit.

“[Eric Joisel’s obit] recognized the unique value of the things to which he was so devoted. It logged him into the historical record. Recognition had largely eluded him, and I can’t even begin to think how he’d feel if he had seen it,” Gould told us. “This led me to a deep point of curiosity about the cultural, historical, and journalistic gravity of obituaries. As I began a new daily ritual of reading The New York Times obits, I soon discovered that nearly every one points to an incredible human story, along with larger contexts of place and time, history, and culture.”

As one obit writer says in the trailer, they have “the chance to make the dead live again.”

Gould’s “Between the Folds” aired on PBS’ “Independent Lens” and received a 2010 Peabody Award.

Obit.” made its world premiere at the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival. The doc opens April 26 in New York before expanding to cities across the U.S.

https://medium.com/media/8e5b536fd85dae16c7da63d4054f5320/href

Trailer Watch: Vanessa Gould’s “Obit” Spotlights Those Who Make the Dead Live Again was originally published in Women and Hollywood on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story. »

- Laura Berger

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Trailer for Acclaimed Documentary ‘Obit’ Celebrates Life After Death

7 April 2017 12:32 PM, PDT | The Film Stage | See recent The Film Stage news »

There’s the old saying that you die twice: once when your physical body expires and then when the last person remembers you. For the Obituary desk at the New York Times, their job is memorialize those that have passed, and now their process is captured in a new documentary. Ahead of a release later this month courtesy of Kino Lorber, the trailer has now arrived for Obit.

Vanessa Gould’s acclaimed documentary sets out to depict the craft of obituary writing from the writers’ perspective, with the goal of breaking down the negative stereotype normally depicted about the job. Normally, the average person would expect that writing about the deceased would be a miserable job. But this new film wants to reverse that perception, and show that the writers enjoy their work. “Obits have next to nothing to do with death, and in fact absolutely everything to do with the life, »

- The Film Stage

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‘Obit’ Exclusive Trailer: Writing About Death Becomes a Celebration of Life in New Documentary — Watch

4 April 2017 9:58 AM, PDT | Indiewire | See recent Indiewire news »

“Obits have next to nothing to do with death, and in fact absolutely everything to do with the life,” says a voiceover in the trailer for “Obit,” Vanessa Gould’s documentary about the legendary obituary desk at the New York Times.

Read More: ‘Get Me Roger Stone’ Trailer: Netflix Documentary Explores the Career of the Infamous Trump Advisor

The craft of obituary writing may not typically be viewed as an art form, but Gould and the writers she follows for her film are seeking to break down that stereotype, as well as changing the perception that writing about the deceased is a miserable experience for those who do it.

Obit” opens on April 26 in New York at Film Forum and Lincoln Plaza Cinema, with expansion to other cities to follow. Check out our exclusive trailer below.

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- Allison Picurro

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Obit Movie Review: Would you like to live to 100?

3 April 2017 3:28 PM, PDT | ShockYa | See recent ShockYa news »

Obit Kino Lorber Director:  Vanessa Gould Written by: Vanessa Gould Cast: Bruce Weber, William McDonald, Margalit Fox, William Grimes, Douglas Martin, Paul Vitello, Jeff Roth, Jack Kadden, Peter Keepnews, Dolores Morrison, Jack Pareles, Daniel Slotnik, Earl Wilson Opens: April 26 at New York’s Film Forum “Would you like to live to 100?” is a question […]

The post Obit Movie Review: Would you like to live to 100? appeared first on Shockya.com. »

- Harvey Karten

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April 2017 Film Preview

30 March 2017 10:02 AM, PDT | Women and Hollywood | See recent Women and Hollywood news »

Their Finest

If there’s one thing that April showers bring, it’s a plethora of films that feature women holding both the camera and the pen. Female screenwriters, in particular, drive this month’s selection of women-centric and women-created films; over a dozen female-written projects of all genres, shapes, and sizes will hit the silver screen. We at Women and Hollywood could get used to this number — couldn’t you?

As promised, April immediately kicks off with the release of various female-written projects, including the kid-friendly blockbuster “Smurfs: The Lost Village,” Swing dance documentary “Alive and Kicking,” and the much anticipated drama “Their Finest.”

Directed by Lone Scherfig and written by Gaby Chiappe, “Their Finest” highlights British female scriptwriters who were employed during the Second World War to bring write dialogue or “slop” as they called it to war time propaganda films. By doing so, this film emphasizes the (often-ignored) historical role that women have always played behind the screen.

Colossal,” a SXSW favorite starring Anne Hathaway, also opens on April 7. “Colossal” takes the notion of personification to the next level, as a young woman discovers that a monster and its destructive actions, though thousands of miles away, are somehow tied to her ongoing mental breakdown. It’s also a classic story of a potential relationship that goes awry and how ugly and global the repercussions can be. A quirky combination of comedy, sci-fi, action, and a bit of drama, this film will surely highlight how female protagonists fight back.

On April 14, “Little Boxes,” written by Annie J. Howell, finally hits theaters. As many will recall, this film signed one of the biggest distribution deals during last year’s Tribeca Film Festival. It follows an interracial family who moves from New York City to a less-than-cultured suburb in Washington. Starring Melanie Lynskey, Nelsan Ellis, and Armani Jackson, this dramedy offers a timely commentary on race, class, and intellectualism.

For those interested, mid-April offers a healthy dose of feature documentaries, including Vanessa Gould’s “Obit.” Gould and her team provide a first-hand look inside the obituary department of The New York Times and, by doing so, challenge viewers to pose their own questions about life, memory, and the passage of time.

Women-centric thriller “Unforgettable” also opens mid-April, specifically the 21st. Directed by Denise Di Novi and co-written by Christina Hodson, this film explores the all-too familiar (and at times problematic) trope of female jealousy between ex-wife and new fiancé.

April’s final weekend features “The Circle” and “Below Her Mouth.” Another spring release starring Emma Watson, “The Circle” follows a young woman assigned to work on a project for a major social media company. As she delves deeper into this digital world, she uncovers the dangers of a thoroughly public life.

Focusing instead on “real” interpersonal connections, “Below Her Mouth” explores a weekend affair between two very different women. Directed by April Mullen and written by Stephanie Fabrizi, this film contemplates how a single event may alter one’s life forever.

Here are all of the women-centric, women-directed, and women-written films debuting in April. All descriptions are from press materials unless otherwise noted.

April 6

Girl Unbound” (Documentary) — Directed by Erin Heidenreich

Girl Unbound

In Waziristan, “one of the most dangerous places on earth,” Maria Toorpakai defies the Taliban — disguising herself as a boy, so she can play sports freely. But when she becomes a rising star, her true identity is revealed, bringing constant death threats on her and her family. Undeterred, they continue to rebel for their freedom.

April 7

Colossal

Colossal

Gloria (Anne Hathaway) is an out-of-work party girl who finds herself in relationship trouble with her sensible boyfriend, Tim (Dan Stevens), and is forced to move back to her tiny hometown to get her life back on track. She reconnects with childhood friend Oscar (Jason Sudeikis), a good-natured bar owner with a coterie of drinking buddies (Tim Blake Nelson and Austin Stowell), and resumes her drinking lifestyle. Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, a larger-than-life creature begins attacking Seoul, South Korea on a nightly basis, captivating spectators around the world. One night, Gloria is horrified to discover that her every move at a local playground is being mimicked on a catastrophic scale by the rampaging beast. When Gloria’s friends get wind of the bizarre phenomenon, a second, more destructive creature emerges, prompting an epic showdown between the two monsters.

Smurfs: The Lost Village” — Written by Stacey Harman and Pamela Ribon

Smurfs: The Lost Village

In this fully animated, all-new take on the Smurfs, a mysterious map sets Smurfette (Demi Lovato) and her friends Brainy (Danny Pudi), Clumsy (Jack McBrayer), and Hefty (Joe Manganiello) on an exciting race through the Forbidden Forest leading to the discovery of the biggest secret in Smurf history.

Alive and Kicking” (Documentary) — Directed by Susan Glatzer; Written by Susan Glatzer and Heidi Zimmerman (Also Available on VOD)

Alive and Kicking” is a feature-length documentary that takes an inside look into the culture of Swing dancing and the characters who make it special. It explores the culture surrounding Swing dance from the emergence of the Lindy Hop to the modern day international phenomenon. The film follows the growth of Swing dance from its purely American roots as an art form, to countries all over the world. “Alive and Kicking” looks at the lives of the Swing dancers themselves to find their personal stories and why this dance fills them with joy.

Their Finest” — Directed by Lone Scherfig; Written by Gaby Chiappe

With London emptied of its men now fighting at the Front, Catrin Cole (Gemma Arterton) is hired by the British Ministry of Information as a “slop” scriptwriter charged with bringing “a woman’s touch” to morale-boosting propaganda films. Her natural flair quickly gets her noticed by dashing movie producer Buckley (Sam Claflin) whose path would never have crossed hers in peacetime. As bombs are dropping all around them, Catrin, Buckley, and a colorful crew work furiously to make a film that will warm the hearts of the nation. Although Catrin’s artist husband looks down on her job, she quickly discovers there is as much camaraderie, laughter, and passion behind the camera as there is onscreen.

The Ticket” — Co-Written by Sharon Mashihi (Also Available on VOD)

The Ticket

After James (Dan Stevens), a blind man, inexplicably regains his vision, he becomes possessed by a drive to make a better life for himself. However, his new improvements — a nicer home, a higher paying job, tailored suits, luxury car — leave little room for the people who were part of his old, simpler life: his wife (Malin Akerman) and close friend (Oliver Platt). As his relationships buckle under the strain of his snowballing ambition, it becomes uncertain if James can ever return from darkness.

Bethany” (Also Available on VOD)

Claire (Stefanie Estes) and her husband (Zack Ward) find themselves moving back into Claire’s childhood home only to have the abusive and traumatic memories of her mother come back to haunt her. As her husband starts to get more work, Claire finds herself mixed up in a fog of past and present with a mysterious figure haunting her memories. What is this small figure that is trying to reach out to her, and what does it want?

Queen of the Desert” (Opens in NY and La) (Also Available on VOD)

Queen of the Desert

Gertrude Bell (Nicole Kidman) chafes against the stifling rigidity of life in turn-of-the-century England, leaving it behind for a chance to travel to Tehran. So begins her lifelong adventure across the Arab world, a journey marked by danger, a passionate affair with a British officer (James Franco), and an encounter with the legendary T.E. Lawrence (Robert Pattinson). Stunningly shot on location in Morocco and Jordan, “Queen of the Desert” reveals how an ahead-of-her-time woman shaped the course of history.

The Assignment” (Also Available on VOD)

Hitman Frank Kitchen (Michelle Rodriguez) is given a lethal assignment, but after being double-crossed, he discovers he’s not the man he thought he was — he’s been surgically altered and now has the body of a woman. Seeking vengeance, Frank heads for a showdown with the person (Sigourney Weaver) who transformed him, a brilliant surgeon with a chilling agenda of her own.

April 12

“Glory” — Co-Written and Co-Directed by Kristina Grozeva

“Glory”

Tsanko Petrov (Stefan Denolyubov), a railroad worker, finds millions of leva on the train tracks. He decides to turn the money over to the police, for which the state rewards him with a new wristwatch that soon stops working. Meanwhile, Julia Staikova (Margita Gosheva), head of the PR department of the Ministry of Transport, loses Petrov’s old watch, a family relic. Here starts his desperate struggle to recover both his old watch and his dignity.

April 14

A Quiet Passion” (Opens in NY; Opens in La April 21)

A Quiet Passion

Cynthia Nixon delivers a triumphant performance as Emily Dickinson as she personifies the wit, intellectual independence, and pathos of the poet whose genius only came to be recognized after her death. Acclaimed British director Terence Davies exquisitely evokes Dickinson’s deep attachment to her close knit family along with the manners, mores, and spiritual convictions of her time that she struggled with and transcended in her poetry.

Little Boxes” — Written by Annie J. Howell (Also Available on VOD)

Little Boxes

It’s the summer before sixth grade, and Clark (Armani Jackson) is the new-in-town biracial kid in a sea of white. Discovering that to be cool he needs to act “more black,” he fumbles to meet expectations, while his urban intellectual parents Mack (Nelsan Ellis) and Gina (Melanie Lynskey) also strive to adjust to small-town living. Equipped for the many inherent challenges of New York, the tight-knit family are ill prepared for the drastically different set of obstacles that their new community presents, and soon find themselves struggling to understand themselves and each other in this new suburban context. (Tribeca Film Festival)

Maudie” — Directed by Aisling Walsh; Written by Sherry White (Opens in Canada)

Maudie

Maudie,” based on a true story, is an unlikely romance in which the reclusive Everett Lewis (Ethan Hawke) hires a fragile yet determined woman named Maudie (Sally Hawkins) to be his housekeeper. Maudie, bright-eyed but hunched with crippled hands, yearns to be independent, to live away from her protective family and she also yearns, passionately, to create art. Unexpectedly, Everett finds himself falling in love. “Maudie” charts Everett’s efforts to protect himself from being hurt, Maudie’s deep and abiding love for this difficult man, and her surprising rise to fame as a folk painter.

“Heal the Living” — Co-Written and Directed by Katell Quillévéré (Opens in NY)

“Heal the Living” follows how a car accident sets into motion a chain of events that affects everyone from the parents of the 17-year-old brain-dead teenage boy to the hospital staff to a mother of two (Anne Dorval) in need of a heart transplant.

The Outcasts” — Written by Dominique Ferrari and Suzanne Wrubel

The Outcasts

After falling victim to a humiliating prank by the high school Queen Bee (Claudia Lee), best friends and world-class geeks, Mindy (Eden Sher) and Jodi (Victoria Justice), decide to get their revenge by uniting the outcasts of the school against her and her circle of friends.

“Tommy’s Honour” — Co-Written by Pamela Marin

“Tommy’s Honour” is based on the powerfully moving true story of the challenging relationship between “Old” Tom and “Young” Tommy Morris, the dynamic father-son team who ushered in the modern game of golf. As their fame grew, Tom (Peter Mullan) and Tommy (Jack Lowden), Scotland’s Golf Royalty, were touched by drama and personal tragedy. At first matching his father’s success, Tommy’s talent and fame grew to outshine his father’s accomplishments and respect as founder of the Open Championship in 1860 with a series of his own triumphs. But in contrast to Tommy’s public persona, his personal turmoil ultimately led him to rebel against both the aristocracy who gave him opportunity and the parents who shunned his passionate relationship with his wife.

“By the Time It Gets Dark” — Written and Directed by Anocha Suwichakornpong (One Week Only in NY)

“By the Time It Gets Dark”

“By the Time It Gets Dark” encompasses multiple stories in Thailand whose connections are as spiritual as they are incidental. We meet a pair of actors whose paths take them in very different directions. We meet a young waitress serving breakfast at an idyllic country café, only to later find her employed in the busy dining room of a river cruise ship. And we meet a filmmaker interviewing an older woman whose life was transformed by the political activism of her student years and the Thammasat University massacre of 1976. (Toronto International Film Festival)

Maurizio Cattelan: Be Right Back” (Documentary) — Written and Directed by Maura Axelrod (Limited Release)

An art world upstart, provocative and elusive artist Maurizio Cattelan made his career on playful and subversive works that send up the artistic establishment, until a retrospective at the Guggenheim in 2011 finally solidified his place in the contemporary art canon. Axelrod’s equally playful profile leaves no stone unturned in trying to figure out: Who is Maurizio Cattelan?

April 21

“Unforgettable” — Directed by Denise Di Novi; Co-Written by Christina Hodson

“Unforgettable”

Katherine Heigl stars as Tessa Connover, who is barely coping with the end of her marriage when her ex-husband, David (Geoff Stults), becomes happily engaged to Julia Banks (Rosario Dawson) — not only bringing Julia into the home they once shared but also into the life of their daughter, Lilly (Isabella Rice). Trying to settle into her new role as a wife and a stepmother, Julia believes she has finally met the man of her dreams, the man who can help her put her own troubled past behind her. But Tessa’s jealousy soon takes a pathological turn until she will stop at nothing to turn Julia’s dream into her ultimate nightmare.

Jeremiah Tower: The Last Magnificent” (Documentary) — Written and Directed by Lydia Tenaglia (Opens in NY and La)

Jeremiah Tower: The Last Magnificent” explores the remarkable life of Jeremiah Tower, one of the most controversial and influential figures in the history of American gastronomy. Tower began his career at the renowned Chez Panisse in Berkeley in 1972, becoming a pioneering figure in the emerging California cuisine movement. After leaving Chez Panisse, Tower went on to launch his own legendary Stars Restaurant in San Francisco. Stars was an overnight sensation and soon became one of America’s top-grossing U.S. restaurants. After several years, Tower mysteriously walked away from Stars and then disappeared from the scene for nearly two decades, only to resurface in the most unlikely of places: New York City’s fabled but troubled Tavern on the Green. There, he launched a journey of self-discovery familiar to anyone who has ever imagined themselves to be an artist.

The Promise” — Co-Written by Robin Swicord

The Promise

Empires fall, love survives. When Michael (Oscar Isaac), a brilliant medical student, meets Ana (Charlotte Le Bon), their shared Armenian heritage sparks an attraction that explodes into a romantic rivalry between Michael and Ana’s boyfriend Chris (Christian Bale), a famous American photojournalist dedicated to exposing political truth. As the Ottoman Empire crumbles into war-torn chaos, their conflicting passions must be deferred while they join forces to get their people to safety and survive themselves.

Free Fire” — Co-Written by Amy Jump

Set in a colorful yet gritty 1970s Boston, “Free Fire” opens with Justine (Brie Larson), a mysterious American businesswoman, and her wise-cracking associate Ord (Armie Hammer) arranging a black-market weapons deal in a deserted warehouse between Ira arms buyer Chris (Cillian Murphy) and shifty South African gun runner Vernon (Sharlto Copley). What starts as a polite if uneasy exchange soon goes south when tensions escalate and shots are fired, quickly leading to a full-on Battle Royale where it’s every man (and woman) for themselves.

“Citizen Jane: Battle for the City” (Documentary)

“Citizen Jane: Battle for the City”

In 1960, Jane Jacobs’ book “The Death and Life of Great American Cities” sent shockwaves through the architecture and planning worlds, with its exploration of the consequences of modern planners’ and architects’ reconfiguration of cities. Jacobs was also an activist, who was involved in many fights in mid-century New York to stop “master builder” Robert Moses from running roughshod over the city. This film retraces the battles for the city as personified by Jacobs and Moses, as urbanization moves to the very front of the global agenda.

“Tomorrow” (Documentary) — Co-Directed by Mélanie Laurent

As mankind is threatened by the collapse of the ecosystems, Cyril, Mélanie, Alexandre, Laurent, Raphäel, and Antoine, all in their thirties, explore the world in search of solutions that can save their children and future generations. Using the most successful experiments in every area (agriculture, energy, habitat, economy, education, democracy, and so on) they try to put back together the puzzle which may tell a new story of the future.

April 26

Obit” (Documentary) — Directed by Vanessa Gould (Opens in NY)

Obit

How do you condense a lifetime into 500 words? Digging into the endless details of the luminaries, icons, and leaders of our day, often with only a few short hours until deadline, New York Times obituary writers wrestle with how to elegantly and respectfully shape the story of a life. Step inside “the morgue” — a catacomb-like archive of meticulously ordered files and photographs that provide the raw material for a constant flow of high-profile obituaries. Meet the writers who toil at the juncture of past and present. While the job may seem morbid, they are ultimately reporting on life. (ReFrame Film Festival)

April 28

The Circle

The Circle

When Mae (Emma Watson) is hired to work for the world’s largest and most powerful tech & social media company, she sees it as an opportunity of a lifetime. As she rises through the ranks, she is encouraged by the company’s founder, Eamon Bailey (Tom Hanks), to engage in a groundbreaking experiment that pushes the boundaries of privacy, ethics, and ultimately her personal freedom. Her participation in the experiment, and every decision she makes, begin to affect the lives and future of her friends, family, and that of humanity.

Below Her Mouth” — Directed by April Mullen; Written by Stephanie Fabrizi

Below Her Mouth

Below Her Mouth” is a bold, uninhibited drama that begins with a passionate weekend affair between two women. Dallas (Erika Linder), a roofer, and Jasmine (Natalie Krill), a fashion editor, share a powerful and immediate connection that inevitably derails both of their lives.

Buster’s Mal Heart” — Written and Directed by Sarah Adina Smith

Buster’s Mal Heart”

An eccentric mountain man (Rami Malek, “Mr. Robot”) is haunted by a recurring dream of being lost at sea. He discovers that the dream is real and that he is, in fact, one man in two bodies. As the silent and broken man at the center of this beautiful and mysterious drama, Malek delivers a powerful and disturbing performance. (Cucalorus Film Festival)

Danger Close” (Documentary) — Co-Written by Alex Quade (Available on VOD May 16)

Freelance war reporter Alex Quade covers U.S. Special Operations Forces (Sof) on highly classified combat missions. Since 2001, she has embedded with elite Sof, including the U.S. Army Special Forces or Green Berets, Army Rangers, Navy Seals, and CIA clandestine operatives to tell their stories from the front lines. “Danger Close” follows Alex as she lives alongside these highly trained forces on some of the most daring missions ever documented in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Rupture

Renee Morgan (Noomi Rapace) is a single mom, who is deathly terrified of spiders. While en route to meet up with a friend, she is violently abducted by a group of strangers. After enduring intense yet strange questioning and examinations, some about her fear of spiders, Renee soon discovers that she is now the subject of an underground experiment. Her captors explain to her that she has a genetic abnormality that can potentially allow her to “rupture” and reveal her alien nature. Renee must find a way to escape before it is too late.

“Voice from the Stone” (Also Available on VOD)

“Voice from the Stone”

Set in 1950s Tuscany, “Voice from the Stone” is the haunting and suspenseful story of Verena (Emilia Clarke), a solemn nurse drawn to aid a young boy (Edward Dring) who has fallen silent since the sudden passing of his mother.

Displacement” (Opens in La) (Also Available on VOD)

A young physics student (Courtney Hope) must find a way to reverse a deadly quantum time anomaly and solve the murder of her boyfriend (Christopher Backus) while battling short-term memory loss and time slips caused by the event.

April 2017 Film Preview was originally published in Women and Hollywood on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story. »

- Kelsey Moore

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