“20 Feet From Stardom” — but here, they’re in the spotlight!

tumblr_mkyyetsuOd1sn7wjto2_400This was a particularly great year for documentaries.  Eric Kohn of Indiewire picks his  top 10 documenataries; one of which is a favorite of mine: Cutie and the Boxer (review here: https://drinkswithfilms.com/2013/08/23/fond-farewell-to-the-bay-area/)  I’d suggest you put all of these films on your streaming queue though I haven’t seen them all.  I would warn you to take a motion sickness pill if you get queasy with hand-held camera movements if you’re sitting down to Leviathan!

http://www.indiewire.com/article/critics-picks-the-top-10-documentaries-released-in-2013-according-to-indiewires-film-critic?utm_source=iwDaily_newsletter&utm_medium=sailthru_newsletter

20 Feet From Stardom is another great documentary from last year.  If you love Motown or R & B, this is a must-see for you!  The award-winning director, Morgan Neville shines a spotlight on the untold true story of the backup singers behind some of the greatest musical legends of the 21st century.  The film features some wonderful, mostly female, singers and tells the story of why some of these artists aren’t interested in stepping into the limelight and enduring all the trappings of fame.  A gripping and involving film, you’ll be grooving in your seat and rooting for the women as they rock the mic!

Full synopsis

  • Cast: Lou Adler, Stephanie ‘Stevvi’ Alexander, Patti Austin
  • Director: Morgan Neville

Rating: 3 cups of Throat Coat tea

Bechdel Rating: A+

“Cops vs Capital (Destruction), Bling vs Boys”

Ahhh, Summer-time!  As summer hits The City, with San Francisco in the 80’s this weekend, June slides into July with a big bang, and there is much to celebrate!  In case you aren’t sitting in Dolores Park with a cool beverage, marching or watching a parade or just enjoying the sun and fun…here’s my recommendation for this weekend’s films:

Save White House Down for the July Fourth weekend, when you can show your patriotism with some fun action and big screen destruction.  Instead, get your funny on, and see Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy in the cop comedy, The Heat.  We need to turn out in big numbers on this opening weekend to show the studios that Americans want more movies featuring women!  Sure, there are moments of crass humor, but nothing to rival the antics of the “boys” of This is the End.  Perhaps you could rent the men-behaving-like-boys film or wait a week instead?  Everyone should have the freedom of choose…just choose wisely!  Big Brother, the almighty studio, is counting every film dollar!

You could also bring your favorite teenager to The Bling Ring, the latest Sofia Coppola film.  Spending some time with the shallow, bland teens onscreen as they act out their sense of entitlement should give you much to discuss!  The lovely Fill The Void is also directed by a woman and a good film to catch before it leaves theaters.  Or to search out if you don’t live in the Bay Area.

This is the final weekend to see some wonderful queer films at Frameline!  The programming at Frameline 37 is very strong, plus, there’s a wealth of short films (over 50!) and a wide variety of queer Asian films.  Many of these films feature strong female roles and some films were even made with an entire female  film crew!  Huzzah!

I also highly recommend Byzantium (reviewed in an earlier post) with the fabulous Gemma Arterton and soulful Saoirse Ronan playing vampire witches traveling through the centuries.  Directed by Neil Jordan, this atmospheric thriller “isn’t a movie about male appetites. It’s about women who, with blood, power, wit and will, ably satisfy an entirely different hunger.” (http://movies.nytimes.com/2013/06/28/movies/byzantium-draws-on-caribbean-vampire-folklore.html?_r=0), Manohla Dargis

So get out there and enjoy the weekend!  If you seek the cool hush of the cinema, do so to quench the hunger for strong storytelling featuring females!

Also still playing in Bay Area Theaters and featuring women in strong roles (in front of and behind the cameras): The East, Frances Ha, 20 Feet From Stardom and Before Midnight