By Jennifer Merin
WeNews film critic
Monday, February 22, 2010
The day of golden statuettes is coming and Jennifer Merin is fed up with the media's fixation on the story of Kathryn Bigelow vying with ex-husband James Cameron for the best director Oscar. Let's stop treating a director as someone's ex-wife.
On March 19, writer-director Floria Sigismondi's high energy "The Runaways" lights up screens. This coming-of-age biopic about the 1970s teenage girl band stars Kristen Stewart as Joan Jett, Dakota Fanning as Cherie Currie and Scout Taylor-Compton as Lita Ford.
On March 31, director Julie Anne Robinson's "The Last Song" stars Miley Cyrus as a rebellious teen sent to spend the summer with her estranged father in a Southern beach town. Nicholas Sparks co-wrote the screenplay from his bestselling novel. If Sparks lights your fire, this film's for you. Frankly, I find him sappy.
Of the month's more adult fare, the standout is "Mother," a South Korean film (with subtitles) opening theatrically March 12. Writer-director Bong Joon-ho's gripping crime drama is about a woman who desperately tries to clear her mentally disabled son of a murder charge by finding the person who actually killed the young woman. Actress Hye-ja Kim's performance is emotionally fraught and magnificent. A must-see distributed by Magnolia Pictures.
Toni Myers is among the female directors with a film coming out this month. She directs the spectacular IMAX documentary, "Hubble 3-D," which releases March 19. It chronicles the challenges of astronauts aboard the space shuttle Atlantis who are sent to repair the Hubble Space Telescope.
Nora Twomey and Tomm Moore co-direct "Secret of Kells," an indie animated feature that grabbed a surprise 2010 Oscar nomination for best animated feature. It releases in New York on March 5, Boston on March 19 and other cities in April. The feature is about a lad living in a Celtic abbey whose adventures lead to the creation of the "Book of Kells," the 1,200-year-old illuminated manuscript.
Massy Tadjedin writes and directs "Last Night," a dramedy opening March 19 about a married couple who, separated for one night, are challenged by possible romantic encounters. Kiera Knightly and Sam Worthington star.
Elizabeth Allen directs "Ramona and Beezus," co-written by Laurie Craig and Nick Pustay, which opens March 19. Based on Beverly Cleary's beloved children's books about the misadventures of grade-schoolgirl Ramona, this is a good bet for a mother-daughter movie date.
Here's a batch of female screenwriters with work coming out next month.
Sarah Thorp's "The Bounty Hunter" opens March 19, the same day that Jackie Filgo and Jeff Filgo's "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" opens. Erin Cressida Wilson and Anne Fontaine pen "Chloe," a thriller opening March 26, in which Julianne Moore plays a doctor who sets out to test her marriage. Jennifer Jason Leigh's "Greenberg," in which she also stars with Ben Stiller, opens on March 26 too.
Cressida Cowell's "How to Train Your Dragon" is a Dreamworks animated feature that opens March 26 about a Viking boy who sets out to slay dragons, but winds up with one as a best friend.
However, none of the female writers involved in March's openers get any time in a film opening March 12: "Tales from the Script." This terrific documentary about writing for the screen interviews 46 highly accomplished screenwriters. Only five women, however, are interviewed: Allison Anders, Jane Anderson, Naomi Foner, Guinevere Turner and Kriss Turner.
"Tales from the Script" shows the glaring scarcity of women in screenwriting. But let's leave that for another column.
In addition to covering film for Women's eNews, Jennifer Merin writes about documentaries for About.com (http://documentaries.About.com) and is president of the Alliance of Women Film Journalists (www.AWFJ.org), a nonprofit organization of the leading women film journalists in the U.S. and Canada.
Alliance of Women Film Journalists