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Holy Smokes, That Professor Marston Has Some Women Wondering, Wow

By Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent

Summer is when the blood is up, so this is perfect timing for the convergent efforts of two famous daughters, Megan Ellison and Amy Redford, to bring justice to the humans behind the superhero capes. And it’s directed by a woman, Angela Robinson.

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What the what, you may say?

PROFESSOR MARSTON & THE WONDER WOMEN, starring Luke Evans and Rebecca Hall, is the smoking hot ménage à trois, allegedly a true story, behind the Wonder Woman comic author.WWComix17

It’s produced by Annapurna Pictures’ Megan Ellison, whose Oracle founder father will soon be known for her work, not the other way around. Robert Redford’s daughter with Lola Van Wagenen, Amy Redford is the other producer, who stepped into the family business of moviemaking, but now stands on her own.

Let's not forget Luke Evans is fairly hot himself.

Let’s not forget Luke Evans (DRACULA UNTOLD) is fairly hot himself, even when undead.

So what’s the story? Luke Evans’ Dr. William Moulton as Professor Marston draws and writes under that pseudonym about an ideal superhero idealized woman who is half world-saver, half dominatrix. As luck would have it, Moulton/Marston then finds himself in the mix with a real-life replica Pygmalion-style, in the stop-traffic figure of Bella Heathcote. Next, hum, the wife Rebecca Hall gives his fantasy the green light by throwing her hat in the ring, shall we say. Connie Britton also stars. Terry Leonard co-produces with Amy Redford.

Set to be released Oct. 27, here’s a first look at the super steamy trailer. You’re welcome. Now take a cold shower, ps.

What Annapurna Officially Says About The Marston Movie

In a superhero origin tale unlike any other, the film is the incredible true story of what inspired Harvard psychologist Dr. William Moulton Marston to create the iconic Wonder Woman character in the 1940’s. While Marston’s feminist superhero was criticized by censors for her ‘sexual perversity’, he was keeping a secret that could have destroyed him. Marston’s muses for the Wonder Woman character were his wife Elizabeth Marston and their lover Olive Byrne, two empowered women who defied convention: working with Marston on human behavior research — while building a hidden life with him that rivaled the greatest of superhero disguises.

Rebecca Hall & Bella Heathcote Sizzle

Rebecca Hall & Bella Heathcote Sizzle

“Professor Marston & The Wonder Women” set for Oct. 27, from Annapurna Pictures & Stage 6.

Visit: professorm dot movie

#marstonmovie

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Leslie Zemeckis: The Lady & The Tiger and Her Emojis

by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent

It’s fitting that Leslie Zemeckis is in Italy when we decide to do an interview, because the word burlesque is derived from Italian roots in “burla,” meaning mockery, to poke fun yet shine a spotlight on sexuality.PosterBHBQ
Actor, writer, documentarian Zemeckis has just come out with a line of burlesque emojis inspired by a project she did on Lili St Cyr, among other performers, but the line from her Showtime documentary BEHIND THE BURLY Q to the digital portable images is hardly a straight one. And there’s a tiger, specifically a lady tiger trainer in between, but hold that thought for now.

Her line of emojiis is called Burlyqji.

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Just in time for World Emoji Day today, #worldemojiday.

“If there are guidelines to creating a killer app or emoji, like everything else I seem to do – I have no idea. Just plunged in and asked questions later,” Zemeckis admits.

“I’m always looking to bring the history of burlesque to the “main stream” and it seemed like a fun, easy way to do it. Everything started with my film Behind the Burly Q, and my continued research, collecting burlesque items and giving talks and lectures on the subject.”

“I have many images of burlesque and oftentimes judge burlesque festivals, so I have access to many images and ideas about current burlesque and ‘old-time’ burlesque.”IMG_4054

Some would argue that the real origins of burlesque go back to Greece with Lysistrata by Aristophanes, the sex-withholding premise whereby the wives of Greek officers schemed to end the Peloponnesian wars by deprivation. Thus a good striptease had its power. Proof of the Hellenic origins could be found in the official word for one who strips: ecdysiast.

Ecdysiast is from the Greek word “ekdusis” meaning to shed, plus a truncated version of enthusiast. Truth be told, H.L Mencken, the great social satirist, made up that term in the 40’s to dress up the art form in respectable verbiage.

The current crop of emojis come on the heels of her latest documentary MABEL, MABEL, TIGER TRAINER, which is Zemeckis’ homage to Mabel Stark (1889 – 1968) who was one of the only, perhaps the first, renown female tiger tamers from the 1920’s. Stark was famous for the line “I want to be killed by my animals,” and with 16 tigers, it was a real possibility.MabelCirc17

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey billed her as “Miss Mabel Stark; Intrepid Lady Trainer Wrestling The Now Friendly And Willing Once Terror of The Jungle.” The parallel between men and tigers is implied.

Ironically, the phrase “the lady or the tiger” from the 1882 Frank Stockton short story of the same name, came to symbolize an unsolvable problem, which could be applied to gender relations between men and women.

MABEL, MABEL TIGER TRAINER is important in remembering a woman whose passion for wild encounters in public in the circus can really be considered a form of burlesque.

The filmmaker, now emoji-maker, says she makes it a point to explore the lives of “pioneers, misunderstood, and stigmatized women.” Many of whom were “hugely popular… but forgotten today.” Thus converge the through-lines from movie projects to emoji.

Leslie Zemeckis signs her email follow-ups with “Sent from somewhere on the run … Usually in stilettos.” She began collecting memorabilia from burlesque at a time when it was unexplored, and turned it into a way to help fund the dancers and performers who’d once worn the items – kind of full-circle, giving back and preserving the tradition at the same timeLeslieZ17

But she’s also good-humored about the whole subject, a far cry from current scant-dressers in the pop culture world who seem to take themselves way too seriously. Zemeckis is supportive of the new generation, however. “We all evolve, and are trying to do our best to discover our authentic selves,” she adds.

Perhaps the tongue-in-cheek nod to human sexuality that is burlesque via her emojis is what’s missing from the dreadfully sincere sexploitation of reality show personalities these days. No matter, all you have to do is paste an emoji on the message, reminding people there’s an empowering wink in there somewhere. All for ninety-nine cents, no less.

(Alan Alda, in this clip, grew up in Burlesque with his father on stage.)

Official Word on Burlyqji

Exclusive emojis made for lovers of burlesque, pinup and old Hollywood. From the director of the Showtime documentary “Behind the Burly Q” and the book of the same name, and her follow up bestselling book “Goddess of Love Incarnate” about Lili St. Cyr, Leslie Zemeckis has created a line of glamorous, fun and sassy emojis for those with an appreciation of pop culture and beautiful women.

Find the emojis here on iTunes, and learn more about Leslie Zemeckis on her website.

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Get Ready To Be Entranced: Sofia Coppola’s THE BEGUILED Grips

by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent

There was a time when Sofia Coppola could be at an awards show and overlooked as a famous daughter; not anymore, not for years now since LOST IN TRANSLATION. But in her new film, THE BEGUILED, which is a retool of a 1971 Clint Eastwood starrer, she really comes of age as a visionary writer/director. Even in what is considered a remake of a movie based on a novel by Thomas Cullinan, it has a distinctive feel that’s all hers. The film opens Friday, June 23 in New York and Los Angeles, with wider release on June 30.KidanBGniceWith an all-star cast that includes Nicole Kidman, Colin Farrell, Kirsten Dunst, and Elle Fanning, you get a sense of why this movie won Best Director at the 2017 Cannes International Film Festival.

Picture a Southern all-girls boarding school during the battle-weary Civil War era, and a wounded enemy soldier appears. John McBurney (Colin Farrell) adds testosterone to a very delicate and well-mannered yet highly complex microcosm of women led by a formidable Headmistress named Miss Martha (Nicole Kidman).

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“This is my dream cast,” Sofia Coppola admits. “When I was writing it, I was picturing Nicole as Miss Martha. She always surprises me. Watching her, I’ve never seen anyone like that, she does so many different things at once.” She adds that the whole cast is on a par with Kidman.

You want to use a word like confection for the ethereal feel, but that description doesn’t do justice to the depth of rich multi-layered images that float on the screen like Spanish moss.

“This is very much a Sofia film,” Colin Farrell explains. “It’s very much aesthetically beautiful. She wrote every word of this. Her way feels maybe more right than some [as far as directing], there’s an immense lack of tension on the set, very playful. She’s incredibly easygoing and generous to her core it seems.”ColinDunstBG

Farrell is underscoring the fact that a remake can often feel like a re-do of someone else’s vision.

But if you look at the 1971 version, two minutes into the film, Eastwood is literally hitting on a twelve year old, with “not too young for kisses.” And even though the fabulous Geraldine Page stars as his Miss Martha, there’s a creepy feel to their interplay, down the line. So that’s essentially the breaking point for the 2017 Beguiled. It takes a left turn at the way the heightened sexual tension is framed.

“I didn’t know the movie and I watched it, and it really stayed in my mind. I watched it. It was so weird, and I thought ‘how would I do my version?’” I thought it would be interesting to do the same story but from the female characters’ point of view.”

Elle Fanning, who plays Alicia, describes her character as kind of an empowered seductress, but still innocent in a real way. “Anything Sofia does I think is incredible, it was also like, ‘yeah.’ Because it was all these girls and women — and Colin of course— they hold the power.”ColinElleBG

“The original film had been made from a guy’s point of view, so I went back to the book. Because I just liked the premise,” Coppola adds. “It’s such a crazy, extreme premise about power between men and women in such an extreme situation. The idea of looking at wartime from the point of view of the women left behind.”

“You try to make it personal. Try to relate to the characters because it’s such a different time. And yet I loved that it had elements that were familiar to me, this feminine beautiful world. A beautiful feminine world with violence and very gothic.”

“My tendency is to be on the subtle side. Colin was teasing me: ‘Oh, this is an action movie to you, there’s guns… there’s blood.’ It’s been fun to have this mix of beautiful dresses and a little gore. We had smoke machines everyday, and candlelight… a really ethereal look that is specific to this story.”

“Colin is a good sport about being our sex object in the movie, but he has to be dangerous and threatening, and romantic in the movie.” Farrell plays a mercenary soldier paid $300 off the boat from Ireland to fight as a Yankee, so he’s neither North nor South, but emblematic of the unspoken ever-present struggle for control between the sexes.

When the crushing attractions flare up between Farrell’s character and the many flavors of female in this strange closed world hunkered down  under siege of musket fire in a distance, Beguiled really poses some interesting questions about how women express their sexuality. Yet there’s a brutality to their mannered world that Farrell’s soldier-on-the-mend only begins to realize when it’s too late.

Not that every movie needs a memorable line, but when his John McBurney yells out “You Vengeful Bitches,” in a thick Irish accent, it’s an instant classic. Probably because Nicole Kidman’s Miss Martha is so poised and possibly inherently evil at the same time, in a nice way.NicBGbad17

Kirsten Dunst, who plays wronged love interest Edwina, sums up Sofia Coppola’s deft directing hand best, as “she doesn’t second guess herself. I’ve known her for so long, I’m working with my friend, you can’t really beat that.”

Since he is outnumbered in this eerie thriller, Colin Farrell gets the last word. “I’m surrounded by extraordinary talent. Watching these extraordinary women do extraordinary work. There’s an amazing sense of camaraderie. It’s been a joy.”

Don’t miss what the women have in store for their wounded houseguest, it’s a very rewarding fight to the finish.

Focus Features awards-buzzworthy film THE BEGUILED rolls out in New York and Los Angeles on Friday, June 23, with wider release on June 30.

Directed by Sofia Coppola (“Lost in Translation,” “Somewhere”)
Written by Sofia Coppola, based on the novel by Thomas Cullinan and the screenplay by Albert Maltz and Grimes Grice
Starring Colin Farrell, Nicole Kidman, Kirsten Dunst, Elle Fanning, Oona Laurence, Angourie Rice, Addison Riecke, Emma Howard.

Watch This Making-of With Director & Cast

 

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93 Minutes I Rated R

Official Site I Facebook I Twitter I Instagram

#TheBeguiled #VengefulBitches

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Hey, FROM HOLLYWOOD TO ROSE Is an Insider Film Fan Anthem, Take That THR

by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent

Who doesn’t love The Hollywood Reporter, a trade paper of record since 1930 at the dawn of American Cinema? So what do you do when THR lukewarmly reviews a film that is a fantastically written exploration of the interplay between fans and films, between human superpowers and caped crusaders? You write a counter-review, and here it is: this is about co-director Liz Graham and Matt Jacobs’ freshly screened FROM HOLLYWOOD TO ROSE. It’s playing on a weeklong run at Laemmle Music Hall that began last Friday, June 16, so you still have time to catch it.3 shot

Starring Eve Annenberg (writer-director of Romeo and Juliet in Yiddish) in a tacky bridal gown on an LA Metro Bus odyssey after a near-miss at matrimony, her veiled crusader of personal discovery teams up with  Bradley J. Herman, Maxx Maulion, stage actress Nija Okoro, local standup Isadora O’Boto, MMA champion Krzysztof Soszynski (Logan), Linda Bisesti and Chia Chen. It’s not exactly The Justice League, but they all have pop cultural references that thread together the multicultural experience that is Los Angeles. And it works wonders for Wedding Woman.

Just to cheat the system for you, and give film fans fair access to the movie, here are actual press notes on the film, with a synopsis so you get a gist of where this film is headed.

“In the city of Angels, everyone is on a quest.  A disheveled, middle-aged woman in a bridal gown boards a Metro bus on Hollywood Blvd in the middle of the night. As the bus heads further west, she meets an assortment of eccentrics and social outcasts who make her question where she’s been and where she’s going.  Each person she meets is at their own personal crossroads, who in turn shape the course of her bizarre journey.”

Ironically, coming from the film’s publicity folks, this is lacking in hyperbole and the extra “tulle dimension” that FROM HOLLYWOOD TO ROSE offers diehard film buffs. ‘Tangerine Meets Canterbury Tales Set in Glitterati LaLaLand,’ is a more fitting tagline, but they got the quest part right.

Here’s something very insider fanboy and fangirl already: if you Google the title it will return results for the trip from Hollywood to Rose Avenue in Venice, which is awesome in itself. Not to mention the iconic Ballerina Clown is shown for its weirdly unpredictable staying power as a local icon despite the place going from Muscle Beach to Silicon Beach these days, with nosebleed rents and attitudes you used to only see on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, ps. So the movie also shines a spot on a place that once was cool and is now so overpriced you want to pitch a tent in protest.

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Taking on the Marvel Universe, Willow, Blade Runner, Bruce Lee, even that reptilians-live-inside-the-hollow-earth yadda, FROM HOLLYWOOD TO ROSE does a mind-meld for film fans that is of epic proportions. It taps into the inner stat and Easter Egg zone in those movie people who show up at Comic-Cons in full regalia, know what cosplay is, and collect lobby cards.

Plus there’s a gummy bear fight with the near-miss sister-in-law and crazy people we see on the street every day take on a mythic significance as the canaries in this coal mine we are all currently living in. Let’s face it, the remake of Blade Runner with Ryan Gosling has most of us a little nervous, but hopeful that the 1982 Blade Runner is celebrated even more for its cult replicant allegories to our plastic surgery dystopian now.

Embedded in this so-called Woman-in-a-Wedding-Dress saga is a full display of the power of great movies to make great memories and bring out the best in people. (No, I’m not kidding. Ever wonder why movies are America’s number one lifestyle export? Because they are magical when done correctly.)From_Hollywood_to_Rose_Postcard_V2

You’ve got exceptional writing here from Matt Jacobs and a standout threading of stories from the debut team of Liz Graham and Jacobs. There is not one moment of dead air, and the film treats people’s obsessions and adoration of pop culture rabbit holes with reverence.

FROM HOLLYWOOD TO ROSE points out that we all wear costumes is real life, not just in DC Comics, as a Bus Driver disrobes and frees himself. It also pokes hard at the emotional reactions to a simple white gown, a piece of clothing so imbued with primal subtext, it can literally freak people out. Not to mention the “fish lamp,” which is just as powerful as any Orb or Seeing Stone in how it moves the plot along.

The themes touched on here are the kind of uniting cross-generational, cross-cultural conversations that the Meaningful Movies inspire. Yes, including how important Batman is to some kids growing up, or Lord of the Rings to others, even seemingly hokey 80’s quest movies — all those adventure tales that somehow add you into the picture just by watching.

So embedded in this so-called Woman-in-a-Wedding-Dress tale about “a group of interconnected eccentric strangers over the course of one long night on the LA Metro system,” is a full display of the power of great movies to make great memories and bring out the best in people. With all due respect to The Hollywood Reporter, you’ll love this film because it’s about us, in front of the screen, fitting our lives into a darkened room with a bunch of crazy strangers waiting for us outside in real life.

RECAP

Liz Graham’s and Matt Jacobs’ From Hollywood to Rose premiered at the Hollywood Reel Independent Film Festival, where it took the prize for Best Comedy Film and went on to screen at the Manhattan Film Festival, winning Best Comedic Screenplay.  From Hollywood to Rose opened in Los Angeles at the Laemmle Music Hall last Friday, June 16th for a weeklong run.  

Get tickets and info here for The Laemmle in Los Angeles.

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Leslie-Ann Coles Will Make You Think About The Female Eye… Festival Too

by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent

Well, how many times have we heard it? “Ladies and Gentlemen,” even that phrase grates because it’s loaded from a, take a guess? Male perspective. And this is where Leslie-Ann Coles founder of The Female Eye Festival comes into sharp focus. FeFF Award WinnersFor the festival’s 15th anniversary, which opened yesterday in Toronto and runs through June 25, Coles may just be telling us what we need to hear right now. Listen up, since no one else seems to be championing story, sans capes, and what women are doing in film right now. What about Patty Jenkins and her big bang box office Wonder Woman, you ask?

“I think it is fantastic and great for all women directors. I just find it interesting that the Bigelow won for The Hurt Locker – which is a film that dealt with war — from a more personal perspective, and now we have a wonderful director with a superhero flick — again it’s an action movie,” Coles explains. “I always think about all the great films that the world has seen over the years that have often fallen under the radar of public and critical acclaim.”LA Coles Founder & Director 2016

Leslie-Ann Coles, in front of last year’s mural.

“I was always kind of interested in the (mostly male superhero) genre,” how women behind the lens see things differently, Female Eye’s tireless champion adds. “Part of the hoopla is that a women directed this,” Wonder Woman. It’s in the genre “of bastion the old boys club.”

“I was thinking also about public and industry. The general public, I don’t know how much they pay attention to who directed a film. Do they look at the poster and wonder who the director is? I don’t think the general public thinks [for example] ‘it stars Charlize Theron, wow, who is the director?’”

If you ask ‘what about women driving the box office behind a Billion Dollar Beauty & The Beast?’ “I think women buy tickets and they make a lot of decisions — maybe I’m wrong about that. This is all great… There is a film we are showing this year that we are all floored by  — we don’t often see a 74 year-old actor out of New York — the title is ‘Can Hilter Happen Here.’”Round Table Discussions 2016

As far as the full slate for the 15th Female Eye Festival, “there are some other films, documentaries, where I’ve been astonished how the women who create these films survive the front lines to get the story.  You’ll be taken aback by their work and their stories.”

The only requirement for participating films is obvious, Coles notes. Films are curated “very much with the caveat that they have to be directed by a woman.”

“There are many film festivals in the world. We have been around for 15 years, but we stand firmly behind the women in the director’s chair. I think it’s important to stand behind that.”

“Somebody asked me the other day, ‘do you think it’s important still?,’” and Coles points to the dismal stats on women at the helm of bigger budget films not just in Hollywood, but around the world.

What women have to say, it turns out, is a very different statement about the age-old entanglement of perpetual seat-filler plot-devices: Sex and Violence, she notes.Directors 2016

A film came out of New York one year that blew the viewer panels away, “Virgin” (2003). “That film was co-executive produced by Robin Wright Penn and starred Elizabeth Moss.” There was a real possibility that no one would distribute this project, so, Female Eye made sure to give it screen time. That director, Deborah Kampmeier, is out of New York.

“There was a rape of lead actress — perpetrator rapes her,” then Moss has to deal with “the man who impregnated her.”

“What struck me is that women tend to treat sex and violence very differently. Nothing is gratuitous. It’s often what [audiences] don’t see with explicit violence or sex.” The director “has come back to us with Split, Houndog — I’m a big fan of her work. She’s really underrated as a director, she is an important director, she created some, creates some great films, there have been so many.”

Karen Black FeFF 2009_2Karen Black is a past honoree.

“Nancy Savoca (Dogfight, If These Walls Could Talk) is another one; she shot a film in one apartment, one location on a micro budget,” Coles recalls.

As for her personal journey from dancer to actor to filmmaker to Festival Director? (See her bio on http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0171320/)

“I have a documentary; it has taken me eight years to finish it. Documentary about early music journalism from 1965 to 1975 from a classic black and white archive. The photographer shot for Melody Maker magazine the forerunner to Rolling Stone.

“It’s a great story when there were no rock’n’roll photographers.” This doc includes the photo “that redefined Syd Barrett (Pink Floyd) great photograph… he’d locked himself in the bathroom. They went into the bathroom and spent time locked in the bathroom with Syd Barrett — there’s this photograph half in shadow and half in light — a session with Jimi Hendrix two weeks before he died in his manager’s office. Keith Moon (The Who) — stunts that went awry — these guys had incredible access. in the mid 1970’s punk came in and didn’t respect the old guard. The World changed then.”

Now the world has changed again, from mass public shootings, war-mongering around the globe like never before to psychotic drum-banging in world politics, and maybe that’s why movies told from a female perspective are an important counterbalance. In any case, the 15th Female Eye Festival takes place this week. Visit the filmmakers and their bios on display, as well as slate and schedule, at 15th Annual Female Eye Film Festival, June 20th – 25th, 2017 #FeFF2017

 

SNAPSHOT from FeFF

The FeFF celebrates the 15th Anniversary edition June 2017!

At our milestone 15th anniversary in 2017, FeFF will present an eclectic variety shorts and features in all genres from across North American including a curated shorts program from Ireland entitled, “Irish Women’s Stories” along with a selection of independent films from France, Israel, Germany, Finland, Poland, Russia, Australia, UK and Asia… just to name a few foreign delegations. We are delighted to announce in 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013 the Female Eye ranked one of the world’s “Top 50 Film Festivals Worthy of the Entry Fee” by the renowned Movie Maker Magazine (Santa Monica, California). 

 Founder / Artistic and Executive Director Leslie – Ann Coles conceived the Female Eye Film Festival in 2001 having observing that women directors were a minority among filmmakers at the international film festivals she attended with her debut film, “In The Refrigerator.” In 2001, the Female Eye Film Festival (FeFF) was established and incorporated as a provincial not-for-profit organization in Toronto, Canada. In 2002, the Female Eye presented 42 films in its inaugural year; 70% of the participants were local Toronto directors. (Read more here...)

[Coles new documentary is MELODY MAKERS

http://www.melodymakersmovie.com/

https://www.facebook.com/MelodyMakersthemovie/

@melodymakersmov

“Always Honest, Not Always Pretty” www.FemaleEyeFilmFestival.com

2017, The Female Eye voted worlds “Top 50 Festivals Worth the Entry Fee” for five consecutive years (2013-2017) by Movie Maker Magazine

“The lack of gender equity in filmmaking [and in other arts] is perhaps a self-sustaining cycle. Movies shape the way that people see the world and by extension, the way that people see women.” – Odessa Kelebay

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