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‘Strange Weather’ Review: Holly Hunter Ferociously Portrays a Grieving Mom

  • The Wrap
‘Strange Weather’ Review: Holly Hunter Ferociously Portrays a Grieving Mom
When a loved one dies accidentally, you develop tunnel vision. Your mind teems with questions: Was it quick? What were his final thoughts? What if his plans had been different that day? And when a loved one dies by suicide, that tunnel vision becomes a myopia the breadth of a laser that threatens to consume you. In “Strange Weather,” writer-director Katherine Dieckmann (“Diggers”) explores how people who kill themselves inevitably claim more than one life. It’s a hot and bone-dry September in Georgia when we meet Darcy (Holly Hunter, scrappy as ever), an administrative assistant who would rather spend her.
See full article at The Wrap »

Katherine Dieckmann on Crafting an Unconventional Female Protagonist in “Strange Weather”

Strange Weather

Katherine Dieckmann’s films include “Motherhood,” “Diggers,” and “A Good Baby.” She began her career as a journalist, writing for such publications as Rolling Stone, The Village Voice, and Vogue before going on to direct music videos for bands including R.E.M., Aimee Mann, and Wilco. Dieckmann is an Associate Professor at Columbia University’s graduate School of the Arts Film Program, where she has taught screenwriting for over 15 years, and a Creative Advisor for the Sundance Institute.

Strange Weather” hits theaters and VOD July 28.

W&H: Describe the film for us in your own words.

Kd: “Strange Weather” is a lyrical, emotionally rich drama tracking a woman (Holly Hunter) as she travels the deep south with her best friend (Carrie Coon) in an effort to process her grief over the loss of her son. It’s a story about how to be fully alive while facing death, about forgiveness, grace, and redemption.

W&H: What drew you to this story?

Kd: I wanted to explore the complicated path of an unconventional female protagonist in a way that felt real to me in terms of the women I actually know in my life — women I rarely if ever get to see represented on the big screen. They have reached a certain age but remain unresolved, alive, contradictory, compelling, and not prone to stereotyping.

Strange Weather” deals with female friendship, learning to see outside the sphere of your own personal pain, and finding ways to overcome that pain in the process. These are all ideas that I was interested in exploring in a feature, and this story allowed me the context to dive into all of them.

I also wanted to set a story about one woman’s turbulence within the climactic instability we all live with now, so that the outer world reflects the inner world, and vice versa.

W&H: What do you want people to think about when they are leaving the theater?

Kd: Hopefully people who have experienced some seismic loss — which is probably almost everybody — will find something in the story and its execution that allows them to breathe a little bit more deeply and feel less isolated in their own lingering grief, and to reach out and connect with others.

The path to redemption is often a crooked and unexpected one. And even though my main character has a traditional love interest with whom she can reconcile, what ultimately delivers her to a better place is her own tenacity and willingness to become open to both her pain and her foibles, and the constancy of her best friend, who supplies what is truly the most important relationship explored in the film.

W&H: What was the biggest challenge in making the film?

Kd: The biggest challenge was having 21 not-terribly-long days to realize a movie with a road trip spanning several southern states and different weather conditions, not to mention to shoot a script that contained a number of extended, emotionally complicated scenes that put great demands on my actors — which, I have to add, they met beautifully, especially Holly Hunter, who carried every one of them.

W&H: How did you get your film funded? Share some insights into how you got the film made.

Kd: My film got funded through the sheer stubbornness of my two female producers, Jana Edelbaum and Rachel Cohen (iDeal Partners), who were tireless in their search for financing and in their conviction that this was a film that needed to get made. Eventually they found a financier, Great Point Media, that appreciated the script for what it was and allowed me to make exactly the film I wanted to make, with zero interference, which is such a rarity in indie filmmaking these days that I can still barely believe it happened.

My executive producer Caroline Kaplan also provided steady and unconditional support.

And beyond essential was my lead actress and stalwart collaborator, Holly Hunter, who came aboard about a year before we found our backing, and fought hard for the project in that interval and beyond, whether that meant reaching out personally to potential supporting cast or simply keeping the film alive in her heart and mind and helping to will it into being.

Great Point then affirmed that Holly alone was a valuable enough element to warrant our small budget, which one would want to believe is a no-brainer, but sadly it isn’t. That was a major gift, as it allowed us to cast freely for the rest of the parts.

W&H: What’s the best and worst advice you’ve received?

Kd: The best advice I’ve received is to never give up: never abandon hope with a cherished project because only the person who wrote it and will direct it is going to care about it enough to keep it alive when the odds are looking dire, and at some point they inevitably do. Robert Altman said something like you have to love every film as though it were your own child — and you have to love even the ugly ones, meaning you can’t disown a misfire.

The worst advice I’ve ever received was to be encouraged to bend my vision and what I knew would be best for my film by miscasting to secure financing. I take full responsibility for those mistakes [because I let it happen.]

That is something I will never, ever do again — I’d rather just not make a movie at all if it comes down to that. But it’s hard to resist the temptation to get your film financed, always, even if in your heart you know you could compromise it by making dubious decisions.

Again to reference Altman, casting is everything, and if you make sure to cast intelligently — and I would add, have a solid script going in — you’d have to work really hard to screw up your film.

W&H: What advice do you have for other female directors?

Kd: Write the strongest script you can write — something you care about passionately and can wholly believe in — and then keep rewriting it. Good writing will rise to the surface at the end of the day, I truly believe that. Get to know other filmmakers, not just female ones, and forge bonds and support each other, especially to better face disappointments along the path.

I feel that many independent filmmakers I know whose work I love and admire are right there behind me, cheering me on, as I also do for them. When anyone smart and decent who has a way with material gets to make a film, it is a good thing for everybody.

But for women specifically, I think the best thing is to be fearless, stubborn, and kind — even if you’re faced with unkindness. Rise above it. Do and be better, because the world is less forgiving of women: that’s just a stone cold fact. Surround yourself with people who understand what you are up to completely independent of your gender, because if they’re the right people, that will be the last thing they’ll focus on.

W&H: Name your favorite woman-directed film and why.

Kd: “An Angel at My Table” by Jane Campion. It speaks so clearly and poetically to why I wanted to become a writer, and how one woman writer came into existence, with a specificity that somehow makes it feel entirely universal.

I also have to co-cite the long-lost film “High Tide” by Gillian Armstrong, whose work remains criminally underappreciated today, especially “My Brilliant Career” and “Mrs. Soffel.” Judy Davis gives one of the most searing and singular portraits of a vexing woman ever committed to the screen in “High Tide.” You can find it on YouTube, but I wish Criterion would dig that one up and properly restore it.

W&H: What are the filmmaking opportunities for women in your country? Have you seen recent improvements? What do you think needs to be done see some significant change?

Kd: I think the situation for female filmmakers in the U.S. is improving markedly now, although more in television than in features. There’s still a long way to go in terms of getting smart, complex female-driven stories on the screen, and for women to be able to feel free to take on any subject matter they want, which isn’t necessarily woman-centric or “personal.”

[And progress still needs to be made for women to] get taken seriously and be given the opportunities that men with way less experience and chops get handed everyday.

We are far from parity. But compared to when I made my first feature, “A Good Baby,” nearly 20 years ago, it’s night and day.

https://medium.com/media/28d70556c59285383acec8b540b954f4/href

Katherine Dieckmann on Crafting an Unconventional Female Protagonist in “Strange Weather” was originally published in Women and Hollywood on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.
See full article at Women and Hollywood »

Holly Hunter and Carrie Coon Lead First Trailer for ‘Strange Weather’

After making a brief impression in Terrence Malick’s Song to Song and following a part in this summer’s The Big Sick, Holly Hunter will take the lead in Strange Weather. The drama, which premiered at Toronto International Film Festival last fall, is directed by Katherine Dieckmann (who helmed the underrated Diggers) and follows a woman who searches for resolution after the death of her son.

Ahead of a late July release, the first trailer has now landed, which previews what looks to be a strong central performance from Hunter. While we missed it at Tiff last year, reactions seemed to be mostly strong, so we’re looking forward to checking it out. Also starring Carrie Coon, Kim Coates, and Glenne Headly, see the trailer below.

Academy Award winner Holly Hunter gets behind the wheel in this engrossing story of a woman’s quest for rectitude in the wake of harrowing loss.
See full article at The Film Stage »

Trailer Watch: Holly Hunter Deals with Trauma and Betrayal in “Strange Weather”

Strange Weather

A woman searches for answers after her son’s death in a newly released trailer for Katherine Dieckmann’s “Strange Weather.” Darcy’s (Holly Hunter) son killed himself seven years ago, but she can’t move on — especially because she suspects her late son’s friend, Mark, stole his business plan. She embarks on a road trip through the deep South to confront Mark, who now runs a lucrative chain of restaurants.

“I’m here for moral support,” says Darcy’s best friend Byrd (Carrie Coon, “The Leftovers”). She adds, “I am not accompanying you on some mission of violence.” Byrd’s fears aren’t unfounded — Darcy has brought along a gun.

Darcy is convinced that Mark is a villain and her son is a victim, but Byrd seems to think she’s oversimplifying the situation and jumping to conclusions. “It’s like the way you see the world is the only way to see it. That’s just the story you’ve been telling yourself — that doesn’t mean it’s how it actually was,” Byrd says.

“I wanted to explore the complicated path of an unconventional female protagonist in a way that felt real to me in terms of the women I actually know in my life — women I rarely if ever get to see represented on the big screen,” Dieckmann told us. “They have reached a certain age but remain unresolved, alive, contradictory, compelling, and not prone to stereotyping.”

She continued, “‘Strange Weather’ deals with female friendship, learning to see outside the sphere of your own personal pain, and finding ways to overcome that pain in the process. These are all ideas that I was interested in exploring in a feature, and this story allowed me the context to dive into all of them.”

Dieckmann’s credits include “Motherhood,” “Diggers,” and “A Good Baby.”

Hunter won an Oscar in 1994 for “The Piano.” She also earned nods for “Thirteen,” “The Firm,” and “Broadcast News.” You can catch her next in Sundance hit “The Big Sick,” co-written by Emily V. Gordon. The critically acclaimed romantic comedy hits theaters June 23.

Strange Weather” hits theaters and VOD July 28.

https://medium.com/media/cf30ceb65820a3164d9babc5de6e1aaa/href

Trailer Watch: Holly Hunter Deals with Trauma and Betrayal in “Strange Weather” was originally published in Women and Hollywood on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.
See full article at Women and Hollywood »

Ruddy or Not: How Paul Rudd's Roles Stack Up

Ruddy or Not: How Paul Rudd's Roles Stack Up
With his starring role in the Marvel superhero blockbuster Ant-Man, Paul Rudd seems set to embark on a new phase in his career: action hero. But there's a scene late in the movie when, caught kissing another character, his ex-con-turned-insect-controlling-good-guy Scott Lang starts to faux-blame the deed on his partner before gracefully skirting away. It's a classic Rudd moment, and a reminder of what he brings to the table even when he's playing a comic-book character.

What is that exactly, you ask? In general, his characters tend to be earnest and romantic,
See full article at Rolling Stone »

Joseph Gordon-Levitt & Paul Rudd Front-Runners For Edgar Wright's 'Ant-Man'

Well, if a place can be found for Vin Diesel in the Marvel-verse then anything is possible. That said, the two names emerging as front-runners for "Ant-Man" are surprising, but not exactly unpleasant. Variety reports that Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Paul Rudd are the names topping the anthill (sorry) for the upcoming superhero flick. The duo are currently the "main contenders" to play Henry Pym, who can still kick tons of ass as an insect. The trade adds that another actor could come along and sneak into the mix, but right now it's these two being talked about in boardrooms, and they are some good choices. We can see them both fitting in with Edgar Wright's comic sensibility (he co-wrote the script with Joe Cornish), and the chops to turn off the funny when needed (many folks forget Rudd is a more than capable dramatic actor too —see "The Shape Of Things
See full article at The Playlist »

[Now Streaming] Your ‘Wanderlust,’ ‘Gone’ and ‘The Forgiveness of Blood’ Alternatives

  • The Film Stage
Each week within this column we strive to pair the latest in theatrical releases to worthwhile titles currently streaming on Netflix Instant Watch. This week we offer alternatives to Wanderlust, Gone and The Forgiveness of Blood.

Coming to theaters tomorrow, a big-eyed blonde will face down the man who once tried to kill her, while a pack of hippies welcome two uptight New Yorkers and a teen boy is forced to face the claustrophobic consequences of a old-school blood feud. But if these features won’t satisfy your cravings for havoc, slapstick and drama, we’ve got you covered with the best of titles Now Streaming.

A Manhattan couple leaves the rat race begin when they embrace the life of a commune in this wacky comedy from The State’s David Wain and Ken Marino.

Looking for more from Marino and Wain?

Wet Hot American Summer (2001) This cult classic not
See full article at The Film Stage »

Sliff 2010 Review: Winter’S Bone

SXSW Review originally published on March 20, 2010.

Winter.S Bone, quite possibly, is one of the top five best films to see in 2010. Based on the novel by Daniel Woodrell, the film is co-written and directed by Debra Granik, a New Yorker who has taken great care in meticulously ensuring an authentic and honest portrayal of the Ozarks region of Missouri, the people and culture and the struggle beset upon the impoverished families.

Jennifer Lawrence (The Burning Plain) plays Ree Dolly, a resourceful and determined 17-year old girl living in the rural Ozarks, caring for her sick mother and two younger siblings. The Dolly family has a history with the law, a reputation Ree wants no part of as she takes care of her family in the absence of her father. The dilemma for Ree is that her father placed their small house and land up as collateral for bail and
See full article at WeAreMovieGeeks.com »

Maura Tierney to Tell The Whole Truth

Maura Tierney signs on for The Whole Truth Emmy Award nominee Maura Tierney (ER) has joined The Whole Truth as a series regular. The new drama series from Jerry Bruckheimer Television will air Wednesdays from 10:00-11:00 p.m., Et this fall on ABC. With a unique alternative narrative structure that chronicles the way a case is built from the perspectives of both the defense and prosecution, The Whole Truth shows each side equally and keeps its audience guessing, shifting allegiances of guilt or innocence until the very final scene.

Kathryn Peale (Tierney), the product of a New England background and a sheriff father, is a deputy bureau chief in the Manhattan District Attorney's office. Jimmy Brogan (Rob Morrow, Numb3rs), born and raised in Hell's Kitchen and a friend of Kathryn's since their days at Yale Law School, is one of New York's rising criminal attorney stars. These two
See full article at MovieWeb »

Jessica Alba, America Ferrera, Alicia Keys among stars named Tribeca jurors

The juror panel at the Tribeca Film Festival is going to look like the red carpet at a major Hollywood premiere.

Several celebrities, including Jessica Alba, Whoopi Goldberg, Aaron Eckhart and Brooke Shields, were asked to serve on the six competitive festival categories. They will announce the winning films, filmmakers and actors in their respective categories at the Tff Awards Night Party, which will be held on April 29. The 2010 Tribeca Festival runs from April 21 to May 2 in New York City.

“This year’s jury features the same impressive range and depth as our films playing in competition. They are distinctive and accomplished storytellers, artists and entrepreneurs from the worlds of film, theater, culture, fashion, television and new media – all of whom share a passion for film, a thirst for discovery and a spirit of independence,” said Jane Rosenthal, co-founder of the Tribeca Film Festival.

Here’s a list of all
See full article at Hollywoodnews.com »

Jessica Alba among Tribeca jurors

Jessica Alba among Tribeca jurors
The Tribeca Film Festival announced Tuesday morning the 35 jurors for its six competition categories.

Filmmakers, actors, screenwriters, journalists and media figures such as Aaron Eckhart, Jessica Alba, Cheryl Hines, America Ferrera, Alicia Keys, Zach Braff, Hope Davis, Gary Ross, Whoopi Goldberg and Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey will participate on the juries.

"This year's jury features the same impressive range and depth as our films playing in competition," fest co-founder Jane Rosenthal said. "They are distinctive and accomplished storytellers, artists and entrepreneurs from the worlds of film, theater, culture, fashion, television and new media -- all of whom share a passion for film, a thirst for discovery and a spirit of independence."

Winners in the world narrative, world documentary, New York narrative, New York documentary, narrative short and documentary and student short film categories will be announced at the awards night party April 29. Together, the six juries will award $130,000 in cash and prizes,
See full article at The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News »

‘Dinner for Schmucks’ starring Steve Carell – trailer review

Dinner for Schmucks

Directed by: Jay Roach

Starring: Paul Rudd, Steve Carell, Lucy Punch

Rating: Nr

Release Date: July 23, 2010

Trailer Score: 6/10

My Thoughts: To be fair, Steve Carell movies tend to be nothing stellar, but there’s something that always keeps me coming back to them. Really, I’ve watched an embarrassing amount of them and always find myself at least amused, despite the clichés that always work their ways into the movie. Dinner for Schmucks looks like no exception. I expect there will be some genuine laughs and, judging from the trailer, lessons will be learned and there will be hugs, and a satisfying “awww” conclusion. Most importantly though, there will be physical comedy that nobody else seems to do quite like Steve Carell. Sure, he’s no king of slapstick like Cary Grant, but he has a certain something that always makes me laugh. Throw Paul Rudd into
See full article at Scorecard Review »

The Uma Thurman film so bad it made £88 on opening weekend

The Uma Thurman film so bad it made £88 on opening weekend
Motherhood's disastrous performance at the box office provokes bitter confrontation between producer and UK distributor

It should have been a red carpet event. When just one British cinema was given exclusive permission to launch Uma Thurman's new film earlier this month, the film's producers presumably hoped that exclusivity would create a buzz around the movie. Though limiting the release would obviously limit takings, they must have hoped word of mouth could make it a slow-burning success.

But the tactic backfired catastrophically. Instead of audiences queueing round the block of the Apollo West End in Piccadilly Circus, London, to see the star of Pulp Fiction and Kill Bill, they stayed away in record-breaking numbers.

Over its opening weekend, no more than a dozen people went to see Motherhood, a semi-autobiographical account of stressed-out Manhattan parenting written and directed by Katherine Dieckmann. The film made just £88 on the weekend of Friday 5 March.
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

SXSW Review: Winter’S Bone

Winter.S Bone, quite possibly, is one of the top five best films to see in 2010. Based on the novel by Daniel Woodrell, the film is co-written and directed by Debra Granik, a New Yorker who has taken great care in meticulously ensuring an authentic and honest portrayal of the Ozarks region of Missouri, the people and culture and the struggle beset upon the impoverished families.

Jennifer Lawrence (The Burning Plain) plays Ree Dolly, a resourceful and determined 17-year old girl living in the rural Ozarks, caring for her sick mother and two younger siblings. The Dolly family has a history with the law, a reputation Ree wants no part of as she takes care of her family in the absence of her father. The dilemma for Ree is that her father placed their small house and land up as collateral for bail and if he doesn.t show up
See full article at WeAreMovieGeeks.com »

Hanging with Motherhood Writer-Director Katherine Dieckmann

"While we have a lot of films that exist with mothers in them," Katherine Dieckmann told me earlier this month at the Woodstock Film Festival, "I felt frustrated that I wasn't seeing any depiction of a woman that I could relate to." So, the multi-tasking mother of two -- Caroline, 12, and Nathaniel, 7 -- wrote and directed Motherhood, a tragicomic day in the life of Eliza (Uma Thurman) as she plans her daughter's sixth birthday party and navigates an identity crisis worthy of Joan Didion. And, so that Dieckmann (Diggers) would be home in time to put her kids to bed and do laundry between camera set-ups, she shot in her own neighborhood, Greenwich Village. Ta: What inspired you to write this story? Kd: I was frustrated by the absence of movies where a mother is the lead and her issues...
See full article at Huffington Post »

Urban Motherhood

Writer/director Katherine Dieckmann (Diggers) is playing out her real life on the big screen this week, albeit with a little more glamour than in her everyday existence. As the mother of two children, ages seven and twelve, living in the West Village is not always easy. There are parking rules, walk-ups to small apartments, and childcare to deal with, not to mention the struggle to find your own voice as an autonomous woman. Dieckmann put all her frustrations to paper, and eventually to screen, in her new film Motherhood. With the help of Uma Thurman - also a real-life NYC mother - Anthony Edwards (as Uma's at-times clueless husband), and Minnie Driver, who was extremely pregnant during the shoot, Dieckmann pulls back the curtain on what it's like to raise kids in New York City. In her view, it's not always easy, but it can be rewarding, enlightening, and,
See full article at Tribeca Film »

Trailer: Motherhood

  • HeyUGuys
Here’s a movie where Uma Thurman gets to do a bit of comedy whilst showing us all that she still has what it takes to be one of the best female actresses in Hollywood.

From writer/director Katherine Dieckmann, the acclaimed filmmaker of Diggers and A Good Baby, comes Motherhood, starring Uma Thurman, Anthony Edwards and Minnie Driver. Shot entirely on location in New York’s West Village, this bittersweet comedy distills the dilemmas of the maternal state (marriage, work, self, and not necessarily in that order) into the trials and tribulations of one pivotal day. Motherhood forms a genre of one – no other movie has dedicated itself in quite this way to probing exactly what it takes to be a mother, with both wry humor and an acute sense of authenticity.
See full article at HeyUGuys »

HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: 25 ‘Motherhood’ Chicago Passes With Uma Thurman, Minnie Driver

Chicago – In our latest comedy edition of HollywoodChicago.com Hookup: Film, we have 25 admit-two passes up for grabs to the advance Chicago screening of “Motherhood”!

Motherhood” stars Uma Thurman, Minnie Driver, Anthony Edwards, David Schallipp, Matthew Schallipp, Jake M. Smith, Jackie Stewart, Stephanie Szostak and Daisy Tahan from writer and director Katherine Dieckmann. The film opens in Chicago on Oct. 23, 2009 and is part of the 2009 Chicago International Film Festival.

To win your free pass to the advance Chicago screening of “Motherhood” courtesy of HollywoodChicago.com, all you need to do is answer our question below. That’s it! This screening will be held on Monday, Oct. 19, 2009 at 7 p.m. in downtown Chicago. Directions to enter this Hookup and immediately win can be found beneath the graphic below.

Motherhood” stars Uma Thurman, Minnie Driver and Anthony Edwards from writer and director Katherine Dieckmann.

Image credit: Freestyle Releasing

Here is the “Motherhood
See full article at HollywoodChicago.com »

Chicago International Film Festival ‘09 unveils a handful of titles

As usual, it looks like the 45th annual Chicago International Film Festival is shaping up to be one hell of a ride this year. Their official website has just announced over a dozen of this year films and there are some real gems in the mix. Among the released titles thus far are Hirokazu Kore-eda’s Air Doll, Lars von Trier’s Antichrist, Bellamy the latest from French New Wave director Claude Chabrol, Ti West’s The House of the Devil, the fascinating documentary Henri-Georges Clouzot’s Inferno, Diggers’ director Katherine Dieckmann’s sophomore picture Motherhood, John Woo’s Red Cliff, along with two films recently acquired by IFC Films - Police, Adjective and Vincere. The festival gets underway October 8th and runs through the 21st in downtown Chicago at the AMC River East 21. This year will present 150 films from more than 40 countries. Look for a complete schedule of this
See full article at Screen Anarchy »
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