By Jennifer Merin
WeNews film critic
Friday, June 21, 2013
Rounding out this month's movie releases, in addition to this Middle Eastern thriller, are a musical tribute biodoc to Canadian singer Kate McGarrigle and the relationship-examining flick "Some Girl(s)." Other late-June releases, however, can be skipped.
Credit: Courtesy of Cohen Media Group
(WOMENSENEWS)--On the heels of other hot releases this month, "The Attack" opens June 21 and is the story of an Arab doctor (played by Ali Suliman) who lives and works in Tel Aviv, Israel. In the grief-filled aftermath of the death of his wife (Reymond Amsalem) in a suicide bombing, he discovers shockingly that she actually died by her own hand. The film's narrative, based on Yasmina Khadra's compelling novel, presents an unusual reflection on the complexities of Middle Eastern women's lives and relationships. The controversial film has been banned in Lebanon, and most Arab countries, since it was partly filmed in Israel. Fortunately, you can see it here and join the debate.
"Sing Me the Songs That Say I Love You: A Concert for Kate McGarrigle" is a biodoc and tribute film that opens June 26, in which the beloved Quebecois singer's life and work are celebrated via an all-star memorial concert presented in New York City in 2011. Directed by Lian Lunson, the film features performances of McGarrigle's songs by Rufus and Martha Wainwright (McGarrigle's children), as well as Norah Jones, EmmyLou Harris and other headliners. Particularly moving is Rufus Wainright's performance of "Candles," the beautiful song he composed in memory of his mother.
"Byzantium," scripted by Moira Buffini and directed by Neil Jordan, is a femme-centric -- or, more precisely, a mother-daughter -- vampire flick starring Gemma Atherton and Saoirse Ronan. This is sadly Ronan's second ignoble female role this month (she also plays Daisy in "Violet and Daisy," which opened on June 7). Jordan is a deft and sensitive director who's dealing with heavy-handed material, but in the end this drama hasn't much purpose at all.
"The Heat," written by Katie Dippold, stars Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy in a femme-centric thin cop-fat cop romp that delivers more crassness than it does comedy, and presents the two stellar comediennes as partners in grotesque stereotyping. Seriously, a boycott of the film might be in order.
"Some Girl(s)," directed by Daisy von Scherler Mayer, is an episodic narrative that follows a successful writer (Adam Brody) who, just before he's to be married, travels across the United States to seek out his ex-girlfriends so he can heal whatever residual wounds may still exist from their breakups. The story is told from the man's point of view, but the five women on his list are finely developed characters, beautifully played by Kristen Bell, Emma Watson, Jennifer Morrison, Zoe Kazan and Mia Maestro. The film presents a menu of what might go wrong in relationships, perhaps reminding us of our own past nibbles.
In addition to covering film for Women's eNews, Jennifer Merin writes about documentaries for About.com and is president of the Alliance of Women Film Journalists, a nonprofit organization of the leading female film journalists in the U.S. and Canada. She is also a member of the prestigious Broadcast Film Critics Association.
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