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Jess Franco’s The Diabolical Dr. Z – The Blu Review

Review by Roger Carpenter

Few filmmakers are as polarizing as Spanish director Jesus Franco. Some hail him as a trash film king while others denigrate him as a complete hack. His overuse of the zoom lens causes some viewers to twitch while others apologize for his sometimes convoluted plots by describing them as dream-like and insisting his films are multi-layered and filled with meaning. Regardless of which side of the fence you may be on with regards to Jess Franco, most viewers praise his early genre works as artistic, gothic classics of European horror.

Long before he wallowed in softcore lesbian adventures, cheap knockoffs of genre hits, and hardcore pornography, Franco created a series of black-and-white gothic chillers which were well-received upon release, with titles such as The Awful Dr. Orlof, The Sadistic Baron Von Klaus, and Kino Lorber’s latest Franco release, The Diabolical Dr. Z.

Dr. Zimmer, an acolyte of the discredited Dr.
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The Diabolical Dr. Z

Engaged to direct by a reputable producer, Jesús Franco takes yet another stab at conventional B&W horror. The pulp thrills get a boost through the contributions of talented collaborators: excellent camerawork flatters the idiosyncratic obsessions of a writer-director in search of his own dream-world sensibility. Although it’s not saying much, this might be the best of Franco’s earlier B&W horror output.

The Diabolical Dr. Z


Redemption / Kino Lorber

1966 / B&W / 1:66 widescreen / 87 min. / Miss Muerte; Dans les griffes du maniaque / Street Date February 6, 2018 / available through Kino Lorber / 29.95

Starring: Estella Blain, Mabel Karr, Howard Vernon, Fernando Montes, Marcelo Arroita-Jáuregui, Guy Mairesse, Antonio Jiménez Escribano, Lucía Prado, Daniel White, Jesús Franco.

Cinematography: Alejandro Ulloa

Film Editor: Marie-Louise Barberot, Jean Feyte

Original Music: Daniel White

Written by David Kuhne (Jesús Franco), Jean-Claude Carrière

Produced by Serge Silberman, Michel Safra

Directed by Jesús Franco

Am I correct when I remember
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Giveaway – Win Manina: The Lighthouse-Keeper’s Daughter on Blu-ray

Eureka Entertainment to release Manina [The Lighthouse-Keeper’s Daughter], starring screen icon Brigitte Bardot in one of her first ever on-screen performances, on Blu-ray for the first time in the UK today, and we have three copies to give away to our readers.

A Parisian student, Gérard Morere, sets off to recover a lost treasure contained in a sunken Phoenician ship near an island off the coast of Corsica. With funds supplied by his fellow students, Gérard convinces a smuggler named Eric (played by Jess Franco favourite Howard Vernon) to be his transportation. Whilst diving for the treasure off the picturesque Lavezzi islands, Gérard gets to know Manina (Brigitte Bardot), the attractive daughter of the local lighthouse keeper…

Notable for being one of Bardot’s first on-screen performances, five years before her appearance in And God Created Woman launched her to super-stardom, Manina, The Lighthouse-Keeper’s Daughter is presented here for the first time ever on Blu-ray.
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Review: "The Day Of The Jackal" (1973) Starring Edward Fox And Michel Lonsdale; UK Blu-ray Arrow Films Special Edition

  • CinemaRetro
By Tim Greaves

The year is 1962. Aggrieved when Algeria is granted independence by President Charles de Gaulle, the militant underground alliance known as the Organisation Armée Secrète botches an attempt to assassinate him. Within months many of the conspirators, including their top man, have been captured and executed. The remaining Oas leaders, bereft of funds, take refuge in Austria and warily decide to contract an outside professional to do the job for them. They settle on a British assassin (Edward Fox), who chooses to be identified as Jackal. The Oas orchestrate several bank robberies to cover his exorbitant fee of half a million dollars whilst the mechanics of the plotting are left entirely to Jackal's discretion. After capturing and interrogating another alliance member, the French authorities learn of Jackal's existence and, suspecting another attempt on de Gaulle's life may be imminent, they set their best man – Deputy Commissioner Claude Lebel (Michel Lonsdale) – on his tail.
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Review: Free Fire (2017)

Ben Wheatley is fast becoming a director whose work is simply a must see occasion. Whether it is a haunting success (The Kill List – this writer’s personal favourite Wheatley offering so far) or a far reaching stumble (the sadly pretentious High Rise), you feel compelled to see what Wheatley has come up with next on the big screen. In the case of his latest (Martin Scorsese exec produced) film, Free Fire, Wheatley strips down the plot to one basic – but no less ambitious – idea. A movie that consists almost entirely of a shootout! It sounds crazy, it sounds unattainable, it sounds frantic, in a way it is all three of those things but my goodness is it a sight to see.

The simplistic plot is of course the gateway to an array of themes in which retro male machismo clashes and results in pure chaos. Free Fire is a
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Wamg Giveaway – Win the Free Fire Blu-ray

Free Fire crosses the irreverent cheekiness of Quentin Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs with the ruthless spirit of 1970s B-Movies” — Variety

From Executive Producer Martin Scorsese Comes the Bloodiest Shootout of the Year Starring Armie Hammer, Cillian Murphy, and Oscar® Winner Brie Larson was released on Blu-ray™ & DVD on July 18.

Now you can own the Free Fire Blu-ray. We Are Movie Geeks has Four copies to give away. All you have to do is leave a comment answering this question: What is your favorite movie starring Brie Larson? (mine is Kong Skull Island!). It’s so easy!

Good Luck!

Official Rules:

1. You Must Be A Us Resident. Prize Will Only Be Shipped To Us Addresses. No P.O. Boxes. No Duplicate Addresses.

2. Winners Will Be Chosen From All Qualifying Entries.

The bold action thriller, Free Fire, arrives on Blu-ray™ (plus Digital HD) and DVD July 18 from Lionsgate. Winner of the People
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July 18th Blu-ray & DVD Releases Include Kong: Skull Island, Resident Evil: Vendetta, The Bat People

For the brand new Blu-ray and DVD offerings coming out on Tuesday, July 18th, we have an eclectic assortment of titles, both new and old. As far as cult classics go, The Bat People, Freeway, Stalker, and Stormy Monday are all making their HD debuts on Blu this week, and if you missed Kong: Skull Island, Free Fire or Buster’s Mal Heart during their theatrical runs, now you’ll have a chance to catch up with these films on their home entertainment releases.

Other notable release for July 18th include Resident Evil: Vendetta, Another Evil, Lake Alice, and The Expanse: Season Two.

The Bat People (Scream Factory, Blu-ray)

Half Man, Half Bat, All Terror!

From director Jerry Jameson (Airport 77, Raise The Titanic) comes a high-flying horror from the darkest corner of the drive-in: The Bat People!

When Dr. John Beck and his wife Cathy fall into an underground cave,
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Win Free Fire on Blu-ray

Grab your gun and take cover! Ben Wheatley’s Free Fire is coming to DVD, Blu-ray and download August 7th 2017 and to celebrate we have 2 copies on Blu-ray to giveaway!

Free Fire is an explosive love letter to the action genre and features an outstanding ensemble cast including Brie Larson, Armie Hammer, Cillian Murphy, Sharlto Copley & Michael Smiley.

Justine (Brie Larson) has brokered a meeting in a deserted warehouse between two Irishmen (Cillian Murphy, Michael Smiley) and a gang led by Vernon (Sharlto Copley) and Ord (Armie Hammer) who are selling them a stash of guns. But when shots are fired in the handover, a heart stopping game of survival ensues.

To be in with a chance of winning simply answer this question:

Free Fire is executive produced by which famous director?

Your Answer Quentin TarantinoGuy RitchieMartin Scorsese

UK entries only. One entry per person. Competition closes 7th August 2017. Terms & Conditions.
See full article at The Cultural Post »

Free Fire – Starring Brie Larson and Armie Hammer – Arrives on Blu-ray and DVD July 18

Free Fire crosses the irreverent cheekiness of Quentin Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs with the ruthless spirit of 1970s B-Movies” — Variety

From Executive Producer Martin Scorsese Comes the Bloodiest Shootout of the Year Starring Armie Hammer, Cillian Murphy, and Oscar® Winner Brie Larson on Blu-ray™ & DVD on July 18

The bold action thriller, Free Fire, arrives on Blu-ray™ (plus Digital HD) and DVD July 18 from Lionsgate. Winner of the People’s Choice Award for Midnight Madness at the Toronto International Film Festival, Free Fire is executive produced by Oscar®-winning director Martin Scorsese (Best Director, The Departed, 2006) and is directed and co-written by acclaimed filmmaker Ben Wheatley (High Rise, Kill List). The film, “a cult classic in the making” (The Film Stage) features an all-star cast including Sharlto Copley (District 9), Armie Hammer (The Social Network), Oscar® winner Brie Larson (Best Actress, Room, 2015), Golden Globe® nominee Cillian Murphy (Best Actor – Musical or Comedy,
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Ben Wheatley’s ‘Free Fire’ home entertainment release details

We’ve just received information regarding the UK DVD and Blu-ray release of Ben Wheatley’s explosive Free Fire, which arrives on the home formats in August.

Free Fire is an explosive love letter to the action genre and features an outstanding ensemble cast including Brie Larson, Armie Hammer, Cillian Murphy, Sharlto Copley, Jack Reynor, Michael Smiley, Sam Riley, Noah Taylor, Enzo Cilenti and Babou Ceesay. Set in a derelict warehouse, it’s a thrilling arms deal gone wrong. Produced by Andy Starke, written by Amy Jump and Ben Wheatley. The film is executive produced by Martin Scorsese.

Justine (Brie Larson) has brokered a meeting in a deserted warehouse between two Irishmen (Cillian Murphy, Michael Smiley) and a gang led by Vernon (Sharlto Copley) and Ord (Armie Hammer) who are selling them a stash of guns. But when shots are fired in the handover, a heart stopping game of survival ensues.

Ben Wheatley is the critically acclaimed and award-winning British director of Down Terrace, Kill List, Sightseers, A Field in England, High-Rise and Free Fire. He has also directed notable TV shows (including ‘Doctor Who’ and ‘Modern Toss’), adverts and idents, animated shorts and Internet viral ads. Initially a short filmmaker and animator, Wheatley gained a cult following for his work online.

Disc extras include: Audio commentary with Ben Wheatley, Cillian Murphy and Jack Reynor, ‘Making of Free Fire’ featurette and nterviews with cast and crew.

Free Fire will be available to download from July 31st, and on DVD & Blu-Ray from August 7th.

The post Ben Wheatley’s ‘Free Fire’ home entertainment release details appeared first on The Hollywood News.
See full article at The Hollywood News »

The Day of the Jackal

One of the best international thrillers ever has almost become an obscurity, for reasons unknown – this Blu-ray comes from Australia. Edward Fox’s wily assassin for hire goes up against the combined police and security establishments of three nations as he sets up the killing of a head of state – France’s president Charles de Gaulle. The terrific cast features Michel Lonsdale, Delphine Seyrig and Cyril Cusack; director Fred Zinnemann’s excellent direction reaches a high pitch of tension – even though the outcome is known from the start.

The Day of the Jackal

Region B+A Blu-ray

Shock Entertainment / Universal

1973 / Color / 1:78 widescreen / 143 min. / Street Date ? / Available from Amazon UK / Pounds 19.99

Starring: Edward Fox, Michel Lonsdale, Delphine Seyrig, Cyril Cusack, Eric Porter, Tony Britton, Alan Badel, Michel Auclair, Tony Britton, Maurice Denham, Vernon Dobtcheff, Olga Georges-Picot, Timothy West, Derek Jacobi, Jean Martin, Ronald Pickup, Jean Sorel, Philippe Léotard, Jean Champion,
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Film Review: 'Free Fire' Knows That Happiness is a Warm Gun

Chicago – In a film that had a sassy, arbitrary perspective on its own flipped-out story, “Free Fire” sought to out-Quentin Tarantino in freaky funny characters and ammo-splurging gun battles. Director Ben Wheatley (“High-Rise”) took an ensemble cast to rarified heights of insult comedy, revenge dynamics and bullets that hit the bone.

Rating: 4.5/5.0

It’s basically an arms sale that goes bad, and it’s set in 1978. The rogue cast of characters include stand-outs Sharito Copley (the South African actor from “District 9”), Armie Hammer and Brie Larson. The film is shot in straightforward real time, and the gun battle that takes place after the deal falls apart was a relentless point-of-view survival story that devolved into an unrelenting necessity for humans to wreak havoc on each other. Under director Wheatley, there is a bit of winking at the camera, symbolic statements on the futility of battle, and film class
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Free Fire – Review

Hold on to your wallets and purses, here comes the creeps and crooks because it’s crime time once again at the multiplex (and I’m not talking about those concession prices). This week’s flick is more of an offshoot of the crime genre: it’s the heist flick, or more specifically, the heist “gone wrong” flick. Now, this isn’t a sophisticated caper thriller, say like the Oceans 11 franchise (that all-female “spin” is on its way) or even The Thomas Crown Affair (68′ and 99′). The dudes (and dame) in this movie could never pass in “high society” (like that suave Cary Grant in To Catch A Thief), they’re “working class” criminals. These types have been a very frequent source for “indie” films, from Blood Simple and Reservoir Dogs to, well, last year’s critical “darling” Hell Or High Water. This tale varies from the caper formula since they
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“Free Fire” is a blast with another top notch Brie Larson performance

It’s a little bit of an understatement to say that filmmaker Ben Wheatley has not made mainstream movies so far. His films are niche items, albeit sometimes incredibly compelling ones. This week, he makes what might be his most mainstream flick possibly, an action comedy of sorts in Free Fire. Although still decidedly independent, this is like the Mexican standoff sequence in Reservoir Dogs, but if that was an entire 90 minute movie. It’s a riot of a film. A literal blast, if you will. Helping to lead the charge is Brie Larson, who seems incapable of not turning in very solid work when the camera starts rolling. She’s just dynamite. The movie centers around an arms deal gone bad. Taking place in Boston in 1978, two gangs meet in an abandoned warehouse, ostensibly to buy/sell some guns. Set in motion by middle man Ord (Armie Hammer) one
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Can Fate of the Furious Continue Its Box Office Winning Streak?

Can Fate of the Furious Continue Its Box Office Winning Streak?
As expected, Universal's The Fate of the Furious debuted in grand fashion last weekend, setting a new box office record for a global opening weekend of $531.9 million, although its $98.7 million domestic debut was far from any sort of record. Over the past few years, the Fast & Furious franchise has established its dominance in the month of April, typically posting huge debuts and repeating atop the box office charts for several weeks in a row, before the summer movie season officially gets under way. The Fate of the Furious is expected to follow that pattern, repeating atop the box office with $49.2 million, easily beating out five new films arriving in nationwide release.

Box Office Mojo reports that, of the five new releases, most will debut in less than half the theaters that Fast & Furious 8 debuted in last weekend (4,310). Warner Bros.' Unforgettable will have the widest release of the bunch with roughly 2,350 theaters,
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Free Fire movie review: guns a-boring

MaryAnn’s quick take… A 90-minute shootout that never makes us care who lives and who dies. In attempting to send up a cinematic cliché, this only becomes a tedious example of same. I’m “biast” (pro): love the cast

I’m “biast” (con): increasingly not a fan of Ben Wheatley

(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)

Eight people walk into an abandoned warehouse in Boston in 1978. There’s Chris (Cillian Murphy: Anthropoid, In the Heart of the Sea), whom we can presume is Ira because he has an Irish accent and he’s there to buy enough guns to supply a small army. There’s Justine (Brie Larson: Kong: Skull Island, Room), who has brokered the deal with Ord (Armie Hammer: The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Entourage)… or is it Ord who has brokered the deal with seller Vernon (Sharlto Copley: Chappie,
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New Clip from Free Fire Features Wary Introductions

Both sides of a forthcoming firefight meet before the bullets start flying in a new clip from Ben Wheatley's Free Fire.

A comedic thriller helmed by Wheatley from a screenplay he co-wrote with Amy Jump, Free Fire stars Brie Larson, Cillian Murphy, Armie Hammer, Sam Riley, Jack Reynor, and Sharlto Copley. A24 will release Free Fire in theaters on April 21st.

In case you missed it, check out Heather's SXSW review of Free Fire, as well as her interview with Wheatley, Hammer, and Copley.

Synopsis: "Free Fire centers around an arms deal that goes spectacularly and explosively wrong. Justine (Larson) has brokered a meeting in a deserted warehouse between two Irishmen and a gang led by Vernon (Copley) and Ord (Hammer), who are selling them a stash of guns. But when shots are fired during the handover, complete pandemonium ensues, with everyone at the scene suddenly thrust into a heart-stopping game of survival.
See full article at DailyDead »

Walerian Borowczyk's Theater of the Body

  • MUBI
Mubi's retrospective The Many Sins of Walerian Borowczyk is showing February 12 - June 18, 2017 in the United States and in many other countries around the world.The late 1970s marks a stylistic departure for Walerian Borowczyk, as the Polish director moved away from a controlled, painterly style and toward a ‘corporeal’ style, wherein changes in aesthetic choices allowed him to explore the human body in greater depth than in his previous films. While the liberal portrayal of sex and sexuality (lending itself to the liberal portrayal of bodies, human or otherwise) is present in Borowczyk’s live-action films as early as his anthology Immoral Tales from 1973, the preoccupation with the body specifically comes to the fore with the films Behind Convent Walls (1978), Immoral Women (1979), L’armoire (1979), Lulu (1980), and The Strange Case of Doctor Jekyll and Miss Osbourne (1981). It is in this four-year period that the viewer will notice Borowczyk's moving away
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Movie Review – Free Fire (2016)

Free Fire, 2016.

Directed by Ben Wheatley.

Starring Brie Larson, Sharlto Copley, Cillian Murphy, Armie Hammer, Michael Smiley, Sam Riley, Noah Taylor, Enzo Cilenti, Babou Ceesay, and Jack Reynor.


Set in Boston in 1978, a meeting in a deserted warehouse between two gangs turns into a shootout and a game of survival.

When you’re doing an illegal arms deal, what’s the worst that could go wrong? Well in Ben Wheatley’s hilarious Free Fire pretty much everything does. Set in 1978 (kudos to costume designer Emma Fryer) in Boston, a gang of Irish are buying guns from dealer Vernon (Copley). Right from the off there’s tension and after two of the rival team members recognise each other all hell breaks loose. Set almost entirely in one warehouse, Free Fire is a near constant gun battle between the two sides, packed full of over the top violence and a ton of comedy.
See full article at Flickeringmyth »

April 2017 Film Preview

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



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


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,” 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


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)


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.


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.
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