Weekly Update for February 8: Women Centric, Directed, and Written Films Playing Near You

Weekly Update for February 8: Women Centric, Directed, and Written Films Playing Near You


FILMS ABOUT WOMEN OPENING

What Men Want – Written by Tina Gordon Chism, Alex Gregory, and Peter Huyck 

Inspired by the Nancy Meyers hit romantic comedy “What Women Want,” this film follows the story of a female sports agent (Taraji P. Henson) who has been constantly boxed out by her male colleagues. When she gains the power to hear men’s thoughts, she is able to shift the paradigm to her advantage as she races to sign the NBA’s next superstar.

Find screening info here.

Isn’t It Romantic – Written by Erin Cardillo, Dana Fox, and Katie Silberman (Opens February 13)

“Isn’t It Romantic”: Michael Parmelee/Warner Bros.

New York City architect Natalie (Rebel Wilson) works hard to get noticed at her job but is more likely to be asked to deliver coffee and bagels than to design the city’s next skyscraper. And if things weren’t bad enough, Natalie, a lifelong cynic when it comes to love, has an encounter with a mugger that renders her unconscious, waking to discover that her life has suddenly become her worst nightmare — a romantic comedy — and she is the leading lady.

Find screening info here.

Alita: Battle Angel – Written by Laeta Kalogridis, Robert Rodriguez, and James Cameron (Opens February 14)

“Alita: Battle Angel”

When Alita (Rosa Salazar) awakens with no memory of who she is in a future world she does not recognize, she is taken in by Ido (Christoph Waltz), a compassionate doctor who realizes that somewhere in this abandoned cyborg shell is the heart and soul of a young woman with an extraordinary past. As Alita learns to navigate her new life and the treacherous streets of Iron City, Ido tries to shield her from her mysterious history while her street-smart new friend Hugo (Keean Johnson) offers instead to help trigger her memories. But it is only when the deadly and corrupt forces that run the city come after Alita that she discovers a clue to her past: she has unique fighting abilities that those in power will stop at nothing to control. If she can stay out of their grasp, she could be the key to saving her friends, her family, and the world she’s grown to love.

Find screening info here.

Everybody Knows

“Everybody Knows”

“Everybody Knows” follows Laura (Penélope Cruz) on her travels from Argentina to her small home town in Spain for her sister’s wedding, bringing her two children along for the occasion. Amid the joyful reunion and festivities, her eldest daughter is abducted. In the tense days that follow, various family and community tensions surface and deeply hidden secrets are revealed.

Fighting with My Family (Opens February 14)

“Fighting with My Family”

“Fighting with My Family” is a heartwarming comedy based on the incredible true story of WWE Superstar Paige. Born into a tight-knit wrestling family, Paige (Florence Pugh) and her brother Zak (Jack Lowden) are ecstatic when they get the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to try out for WWE. But when only Paige earns a spot in the competitive training program, she must leave her family and face this new, cutthroat world alone. Paige’s journey pushes her to dig deep, fight for her family, and ultimately prove to the world that what makes her different is the very thing that can make her a star.

Find screening info here.

St. Agatha – Written by Sara Sometti Michaels, Andy Demetrio, Shaun Fletcher, and Clint Sears (Also Available on VOD)

It’s the 1950s in small town Georgia, and a pregnant con woman on the run (Sabrina Kern) seeks refuge in a convent hidden in deafening isolation. What first starts out as the perfect place to have a child turns into a dark lair where silence is forced, ghastly secrets are masked, and every bit of will power she has is tested. She soon learns the sick and twisted truth of the convent and the odd people that lurk inside its halls. She must now find a way to discover the unyielding strength needed to escape and save her baby before she’s caged behind these walls forever.

The Prodigy

Taylor Schilling stars in “The Prodigy” as Sarah, a mother whose young son Miles’ (Jackson Robert Scott) disturbing behavior signals that an evil, possibly supernatural force has overtaken him. Fearing for her family’s safety, Sarah must choose between her maternal instinct to love and protect Miles and a desperate need to investigate what — or who — is causing his dark turn. She is forced to look for answers in the past, taking the audience on a wild ride; one where the line between perception and reality becomes frighteningly blurry.

Find screening info here.

Happy Death Day 2U (Opens February 13)

“Happy Death Day 2U” is the follow-up to Blumhouse’s surprise 2017 smash hit of riveting, repeating twists and comic turns. This time, our hero Tree Gelbman (Jessica Rothe) discovers that dying over and over was surprisingly easier than the dangers that lie ahead.

Find screening info here.

Chokehold

After her father’s murder, Zoey (Melissa Croden) abandons her training in Las Vegas with Uncle Ray (Kip Pardue) to return home. However, her homecoming is far from joyful. She finds herself salvaging the family gym while searching for the killer — all while trying to repair a relationship with her deceased father. The underground fighting world seems to be the only lead and the path she must take to fight for justice for her father.

Broken Ghost – Written by Catherine Hill and Abe Pogos (Opens February 12) (Also Available on VOD)

Teenager Imogen Day (Autry Haydon-Wilson) and her parents Samantha (Scottie Thompson) and Will (Nick Farnell) move to Montana to escape the past. Desperate to make a new life for herself, Imogen must overcome new tormentors, old secrets, and a strange presence in the house.

FILMS MADE BY WOMEN OPENING

“Birds of Passage”

Birds of Passage – Directed by Cristina Gallego and Ciro Guerra; Written by Maria Camila Arias and Jacques Toulemonde Vidal (Opens February 13 in NY; Opens February 15 in LA)

From the Oscar-nominated team behind the genre-defying “Embrace of the Serpent,” comes an equally audacious saga centered on the Wayúu indigenous people during a crucial period in recent Colombian history. Torn between his desire to become a powerful man and his duty to uphold his culture’s values, Rapayet (José Acosta) enters the drug trafficking business in the 1970s and finds quick success despite his tribe’s matriarch Ursula’s (Carmiña Martínez) disapproval. Ignoring ancient omens, Rapayet and his family get caught up in a conflict where honor is the highest currency and debts are paid with blood.

Read Women and Hollywood’s interview with Cristina Gallego.

Find screening info here.

Untogether – Written and Directed by Emma Forrest (Also Available on VOD)

“Untogether”

“Untogether” is the story of Nick (Jamie Dornan) and Andrea (Jemima Kirke), whose one night stand evolves into something more, though the exact parameters are blurry and undefined. He is a doctor and author whose heroics in the Middle East gained him international fame. She is a writing prodigy fully consumed with destructive vices, navigating Los Angeles without a driver’s license or credit card and sharing a home with her sister, Tara. Meanwhile, Tara (Lola Kirke) is dealing with relationship issues of her own as she slowly slips away from her boyfriend, Martin (Ben Mendelsohn), who gave up his Australian fame as a rock ‘n’ roll god to be with her. Her way of acting out is to lose herself in religion and seek solace in a charismatic rabbi (Billy Crystal). This is who they’ve all been so far but do they have the courage to find out who they really are?

Read Women and Hollywood’s interview with Emma Forrest.

Berlin, I Love You (Anthology) – Directed by Dianna Agron, Gabriela Tscherniak, Massy Tadjedin, Dani Levy, Til Schweiger, Peter Chelsom, Fernando Eimbcke, Justin Franklin, Dennis Gansel, Daniel Lwowski, and Josef Rusnak; Written by Gabriela Tscherniak, Alison Kathleen Kelly, Massy Tadjedin, Dani Levy, Fernando Eimbcke, Justin Franklin, Dennis Gansel, and David Vernon (Also Available on VOD)

Keira Knightley, Helen Mirren, Jim Sturgess, and Diego Luna head an all-star cast in this sparkling film from the producers of “Paris, Je T’Aime.” Set against the vivid backdrop of Berlin, “Berlin, I Love You” weaves 10 stories of compassion, redemption, and acceptance into a rich tapestry of life — and love.

The Isle – Written by Tori Butler-Hart and Matthew Butler-Hart (Also Available on VOD)

On a remote island off the west coast of Scotland in 1846 a heavy storm hits, causing a ship to sink. Three survivors row through a thick early morning mist, lost and disorientated. The mist begins to clear and The Isle appears before them. They soon discover that it is almost abandoned except for four sole residents: an old harbor man, a farmer, his niece, and a young mad woman. Once rested and recovered the sailors are desperate to leave and return to the mainland, but the promised boat never appears. One of them starts to investigate and learns of a tragedy at sea that occurred five years previously, causing several young men from the island to perish. When his two shipmates meet with accidents, the myth of a ghostly siren haunting the island leads him to uncover the truth whilst he battles to save his own life.

Under the Eiffel Tower – Written by Judith Godrèche, Archie Borders, and David Henry (Available on VOD February 12)

Stuart (Matt Walsh) is a having a midlife crisis. Desperate for something more in life, he tags along on his best friend’s family vacation to Paris — then proposes to his friend’s 24-year-old daughter, Rosalind (Dylan Gelula), while standing under the Eiffel Tower.

TV PREMIERES

“PEN15”

PEN15 – Created by Maya Erskine, Anna Konkle, and Sam Zvibleman (Premieres February 8 on Hulu)

If you combined the early-aughts setting of “Lady Bird,” “Eighth Grade’s” honest, cringe-inducing depiction of middle school, and the surreality, comedy, and lovely central female friendship of “Broad City,” you’d get something akin to “PEN15.” Named after a schoolyard prank, the new Hulu series is about best friends Maya and Anna (played by co-creators Maya Erskine and Anna Konkle) navigating seventh grade in the year 2000. And here’s the best part: Erskine and Konkle are both in their early 30s but are playing 13-year-old versions of themselves. However, the rest of their middle school peers are portrayed by actual adolescents. It’s weird, but it’s also kind of genius. Who among us doesn’t occasionally still feel like an awkward, clueless 13-year-old? (Rachel Montpelier)

One Day at a Time – Created by Gloria Calderon Kellett and Mike Royce (Season 3 Premieres February 8 on Netflix)

“One Day at a Time”: Netflix

“One Day at a Time” accomplishes something that is beyond most sitcoms’ abilities: it’s joyfully entertaining and yet incredibly educational and pointed politically. In the first two episodes of the new season (I didn’t want to watch them all at once so I could spread out the joy) the Netflix series manages to talk about coming out, male privilege, and toxic masculinity. Gloria Calderon Kellett and Mike Royce have created a gem. “One Day at a Time” uses the specificity of one family of color in LA to examine the social issues affecting everyone. (Melissa Silverstein)

ReMastered: The Two Killings of Sam Cooke (Documentary) – Directed by Kelly Duane (Premieres February 8 on Netflix) 

While Sam Cooke rose to stardom as a soul singer, his outspoken views on civil rights drew attention that may have contributed to his death at age 33.

Margaret: The Rebel Princess (Two-Part Docuseries) – Directed by Hannah Berryman (Premieres February 10 on PBS)

This new special, featuring rare footage and interviews with those who knew her best, offers unparalleled insight into Margaret’s turbulent life and times. Her unique position as the Queen’s younger sister in a changing Britain left her free to experiment and push boundaries, yet she was forever judged by a public and press beginning to question the very idea of a monarchy. While Margaret often followed the rigid rules under which she was raised, she also stepped outside those rules and into scandal. A complicated and contradictory princess, her story parallels her era, when the rules of social norms were being rewritten and a freer, more egalitarian society was emerging.

Boomerang – Created by Lena Waithe and Ben Cory Jones (Premieres February 12 on BET)

“Boomerang”

Based on the 1992 American romantic comedy film, this new series will follow the lives of Jacqueline Boyer’s son (Tequan Richmond) and Marcus and Angela Graham’s daughter (Tetona Jackson) as they try to step out of their parents’ shadows and make a legacy of their own.

The Many Lives of Nick Buoniconti (Documentary) – Directed by Bentley Weiner (Premieres February 12 on HBO)

Pro Football Hall of Famer Nick Buoniconti, whose resume encompasses turns as a linebacker, lawyer, sports agent, broadcaster, executive, and philanthropist, shares his story on HBO.

VOD/STREAMING RELEASES

“The Favourite”

Rocking the Couch (Documentary) (Amazon, Available Now)
Anna and the Apocalypse (VOD, February 12)
At Eternity’s Gate – Written by Louise Kugelberg, Jean-Claude Carriere, and Julian Schnabel (VOD, February 12)
The Favourite – Written by Deborah Davis and Tony McNamara (VOD, February 12)
Free Solo (Documentary) – Directed by Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin (VOD, February 12)
Maria By Callas (Documentary) (VOD, February 12)
Narcissister Organ Player (Documentary) – Directed by Narcissister (VOD, February 12)
Nobody’s Fool (VOD, February 12)
Ralph Breaks the Internet – Written by Pamela Ribon and Phil Johnston (VOD, February 12)

WOMEN AND HOLLYWOOD IN THE NEWS

Berlin filmfest turns focus on women, Netflix (France 24)

PICKS OF THE WEEK FROM WOMEN AND HOLLYWOOD

Desiree Akhavan in “Appropriate Behavior”

Study: Women Represent 25 Percent of Non-Acting 2019 Oscar Nominees
Apply Now: 2019 Writers Lab for Women Screenwriters Over 40
Berlinale Breaks Down 2019 Gender Stats in New Report
Athena Film Fest’s 2019 Awardees: Nina Shaw, Desiree Akhavan, & Cameron Bailey
From Dialogue to Action: Crowdfunding Picks
Less Than 20% of Top Musical Artists in 2018 Were Women, Study Finds
Paramount Accepts #4PercentChallenge from Time’s Up and Annenberg Inclusion Initiative
Women Dominate Sundance 2019 Awards: Chinonye Chukwu, Nanfu Wang, & More
Figuring It Out: VOD and Web Series Picks
February 2019 Film Preview

Note: All descriptions are from press materials, unless otherwise noted.


Follow Women and Hollywood on Twitter @WomenaHollywood and Melissa Silverstein @melsil

To contact Women and Hollywood, email melissa@womenandhollywood.com.





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