16 posts categorized "Women's Cinema"

March 20, 2021



Liberating. Exhilarating. Honest. Fearless. Grace Jones’s status as one of the most important cultural artists of the 20th and 21st centuries is confirmed in every second of Sophie Fiennes’s exceptional filmic memoir. Grace Jones’s ironclad persona is revealed through hot performance clips contrasted with a visit to her homeland of Jamaica.

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Grace Jones’s electrifying stage presence, dynamic vocal phrasing, and muscular physical style is contrasted with her multi-layered ability to seamlessly exist between and amid international cultures. Dynamic stage lighting and stage craft plays a part.

A singing gypsy cheetah with a heart of gold, Jones expresses her lava-like emotions without putting them on her sleeve. Far from the diva Jones is frequently perceived to be, she comes across as the most grounded and sincere individuals you’ll ever meet. This lady has more communication skills than you can imagine. 

'Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami' Review: She's Almost Too Much for One  Film

As far as musicianship goes, Grace Jones is in a category unto herself. When Grace comes on stage in front of a packed house of adoring fans, and lifts a pair of marching band Zildjian cymbals to hit every accent in her dangerous version of the Punk classic “Warm Leatherette” (by The Normal”), the musical excitement and satisfaction comes in waves.

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Green fluorescent light beams down on Grace during her staggering version of Roxy Music's "Love Is The Drug." The scene is so sci-fi cinematic cool that you can't help but fall under the wicked spell being cast by this ultimate goddess of all things both human and primal. 

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Discover a world of humanity and earth-shattering songs delivered with primal passion by a woman whose skill and ability to transform reality is legendary for good reason. Until you’ve seen this film, you don’t know half as much as you think about the one and only Grace (Fucking) Jones. Not even Jagger, Bowie, Reed, or Iggy ever had an inch on Grace Jones. Big love.

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Rated PG. 115 mins. 

5 Stars


Groupthink doesn't live here, critical thought does.

This website is dedicated to Agnès Varda and to Luis Buñuel.

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February 04, 2021


Screen Shot 2021-02-04 at 1.07.47 AMEquality. Recognition. Artistic and personal truth. I’ve watched all of Agnès Varda films while discovering Criterion’s lush celebration of the French New Wave’s progenitor. If you could only have one filmmaker’s oeuvre on your private desert island, Agnès Varda’s films are the right choice to last you the rest of your life.

In Varda-approved random fashion I begin my slight review of Varda’s supremely personal, transgressive, and satisfying films with Daguerréotypes, a documentary film that fully expresses Agnès Varda’s confidence and openness to the world around her. In this case that meant the 90 meter distance of cable that her camera could reach from her floor-level apartment to the shops and locations in the Rue Daguerre district of Paris. Varda was raising her two-year-old son at the time, so she needed to stay close to home. Varda's catlike curiosity pours through every second of this truly delightful movie.


The magician who appears at the film’s opening credits returns during a public performance in front of an audience of (Parisian) neighborhood regulars. Everything from the magician’s formal approach to his audience and their delightful reactions to his Grand Guignol-inspired tricks, Varda captures a dynamic personal immediacy to time and place. Think Les Blank. There's boldness in Varda's subtle simplicity. Agnès Varda retained this transparency throughout her spectacular career as a filmmaker of the first water.     


The film's title comes from Rue Daguerre, the street that Varda lived on. The street was named after Louis Daguerre, "inventor of the Daguerreotypes of photographic printing."


Naturally this movie is a time capsule of French life, by virtue of Agnès Varda's generous and willing ability to reach out to her neighbors in a cinematic way. There is much to enjoy, relish, and learn from the elderly subjects in this treasured movie. Taken with the joy that Varda captures and inspires, "Daguerréotypes" is a social study for all time. What love. What magic. What a celebration of life.


Five Stars

Groupthink doesn't live here, critical thought does.

This website is dedicated to Agnès Varda and to Luis Buñuel.

Get cool rewards when you click on the button to pledge your support through Patreon.

Cole Smithey on Patreon

June 16, 2017


Sweetie-movie-posterNew Zealand auteur Jane Campion broke the ice with a cheeky transgressive familial comedy whose dark thematic import announces itself only at the film’s end. The result is a sucker punch of methodical storytelling. Coincidentally, the movie presaged Mike Leigh’s similarly titled and themed debut picture “Life Is Sweet.”

Campion pulls you in to an emotional rip tide. Neurotic Kay steals her man Lou (played by Tom Lycos) from another woman by seducing him in a car park. Kay’s libido subsides after the escaped couple set up house together with Kay’s (seemingly) bi-polar sister Dawn, a.k.a. ’Sweetie,’ (Geneviève Lemon) moves in with her new (lowlife) ‘talent manager.’


Precise depictions of off-kilter character habits touch on an undercurrent of sexual abuse in a film that never hits a single theme line on the head. ‘Sweetie’ is a rich black comedy told in dominant chords. When it resolves to minor, you can’t help but be swept away.


Rated R. 97 mins. (A) (Five stars — out of five / no halves)

Mike picked SCULPIN IPA from BALLAST POINT to accompany our discussion of Jane Campion's debut feature 'Sweetie,' currently streaming on FilmStruck. 

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