Thursday, 14 July 2016

Thursday Movie Picks: Female Ensemble


I had some really good picks for this but darn it I've gone and used them for other themes. There really should be more films with female ensemble and after the backlash of Ghostbusters has calmed down perhaps. In fact Ghostbusters would have been an excellent pick for this week...

In fact, so far its been a very female film month. All the films I've seen at the cinema so far have featured female leads and even written and directed by women, so this week's theme is 'very on the nose'.

Don't forget to check out what Wandering Through the Shelves picked, the blog that started Thursday Movie Picks.

Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown
Honestly cannot remember picking this before and if I have, my apologies. I love Pedro Almodovar, he makes great movies and they are about women. His first international success, WOTVOANB is about Pepa, a voice over actress who has just been left by her lover. In the midst of her own personal problems, she has to console her friend who had been having a fling with a terrorist, her lover's son and his finace drop by to see her apartment and her lover's ex adds to the drama. There are a few men in the film, but this really belongs to the women of the title who are all on the verge. A pure black comedy of brilliance.

Now and Then
Called the female 'Stand By Me' by few but I remember the film as, for a brief few years, the film where Christina Ricci was tall. I loved this film when I was younger because the clothes, the tree house dream, the mini bike trip and of course the friendship. Each girl is very different yet they are a group of friends that, even after years apart, they act like no time has passed. Roberta, Samantha, Teeny and Chrissy, reunite near Chrissy's due date. They reminisce about one particular Summer when they all grew up following the events of a seance in a grave yard. Great feel good then bad then good again film.

Made in Dagenham
Originally called 'We Want Sex' after the mishap with the banner when the women of Ford Dagenham were protesting at Parliament. I wish they kept that name but no the production was forced to change. Based on the real story of the Ford Sewing Machinists strike in 1968 that led the way to the Equal Pay Act in 1970. A fantastic cast of women and great characters you love to watch. Not so sure about it being a musical but the film was better than I thought it would be.

14 comments:

  1. I L-O-V-E Made in Dagenham!! So glad you chose it, definitely deserves to be better known. The whole cast is great but Miranda Richardson stood out to me. when she tears into those two underlings it's heavenly.

    I liked but didn't love Women on the Verge but it's really time for a rewatch. Finally caught up with Now and Then recently and it was a similar situation. There were parts I really liked but overall it was just okay.

    Love this type of film and as I went through looking for picks I had so many I could only get down to six that I just couldn't part with. So I broke them into two, one trio more modern and three classics which are first.

    Cry “Havoc” (1943)-As WWII rages in the Philippines a group of women volunteer to help the army nurses in a hospital unit on Bataan. Set mostly in their protective bunker and the switchboard that brings increasingly more dire war news this focuses on the struggles and hardships endured by the women as the front moves ever closer. The cast is comprised almost exclusively of great actresses, Margaret Sullavan, Ann Sothern, Joan Blondell and Fay Bainter among them, with only very brief glimpses of men, including a young Robert Mitchum. A compelling heavy drama leavened by doses of gallows humor.

    Westward the Women (1951)-Unvarnished look at the hard road faced by a group of women settlers on a wagon train to California. Robert Taylor, weathered and hard is the rough but fair wagon master and has the only significant male role. Hope Emerson stands out as a plain speaking, no nonsense traveler but all the performances are very good. The cost of the trip is honestly depicted as heavy with human lives. Written by Frank Capra and directed with an unflinching eye by Wild Bill Wellman, an involving, unusual picture.

    The Doughgirls (1944)-Frenzied comedy with a dated situation, the housing shortage in DC during WWII, and an amazing cast of brilliant actresses. Ann Sheridan, skillful with a quip or a withering look, Jane Wyman, sweet and endearing but a borderline idiot, and an ultra-glamorous Alexis Smith. They’re former chorus girls who all camp out in one of the few available rooms when they find their recent marriages called into question as many colorful characters pass through. They’re delightful but don't stand a chance when Eve Arden swoops in as a Russian commando stealing scenes with undisguised glee tearing into her character with abandon and wiping everybody out of the picture.

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    1. Made in Dagenham had quite a big reception in the UK, especially as its now a musical in the West End. But it would be great for it to go further.

      The Doughgirls sounds brilliant!!

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  2. And the three of more current years:

    8 Women (2002)-As a wealthy French family, comprised it seems entirely of women, gathers for the holiday the patriarch is murdered off stage and they are trapped by a snowstorm to figure out which of the eight has committed the crime, occasionally bursting into song along the way. Unique, wacky and bizarre semi-musical comic murder mystery set during Christmas is jam packed with great French actresses including Catherine Deneuve, Danielle Darrieux, Fanny Ardant and Isabelle Huppert. They make the often preposterous goings on plausible.

    Come Back to the Five and Dime Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean (1982)-In a dusty Texas town near the location the movie Giant was filmed a devoted group of female James Dean fans reunite 20 years after the film wrapped at the Five & Dime that is was the center of their world. They laugh, argue and reminisce while wondering whether their sole male club member will return. Ultimately long buried secrets are revealed. Highly eclectic cast, Cher, Sandy Dennis, Karen Black and a just starting out Kathy Bates all give excellent idiosyncratic performances. Robert Altman’s filmization of the play he directed on Broadway with the entire cast returning is entertaining and unique.

    Tea with Mussolini (1999)-In 30’s Florence young Luca, motherless and ignored by his father due to his illegitimacy, is taken under the wing of the father’s secretary (Joan Plowright), her group of women friends, somewhat affectionately known as The Scorpioni (including Maggie Smith and Judi Dench), as well as old friends of his mother, Georgie and Elsa (Lily Tomlin and Cher). As Mussolini moves the country progressively towards Hitler’s ideology all their lives are affected but the strength of their spirit and devotion to each other never waver.

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    1. I loved 8 Women, some of the songs were a bit annoying but the cast are just perfect. It was a play originally right? I'd love to see it on stage.

      My Nan loves Tea with Mussolini, she's a huge Maggie Smith fan. I still havent seen it even though she had the VHS (one of only a handful) for years. I think its high time I saw it.

      I really like the sound of the Come Back to the Five and Dime, I've never heard of it before.

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  3. I haven't seen any of these films but have heard about the first 2. I love Pedro's work and the 2ns film sounds like a neat coming of age film.

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    1. I first saw Now & Then when I was really young and there things that happen in it that just went over my head. Watching it again I notice more about. It's a great alt coming of age as each character goes through changes.

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  4. I haven't seen any of these but I should really watch Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown.

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    1. Women on the Verge is the perfect intro to Pedro and if you're already fan it just adds to the love of his work.

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  5. Made in Dagenham! Generally annoyed I didn't think of that myself haha. It's a great film.

    It's a shame that Ghostbusters got such a vile reaction, a much for vile reaction than any other remake of a popular film.

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    1. I almost picked something else but then I was looking through some films and it hit me!

      But Ghostbusters had the last laugh - its a hit at the box office and with the audience - great reviews all round. The hideous internet troll lost :)

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  6. Haven't seen any of these, yet. Really need to see your first pick since I am a big fan of Almodovar. He's just fantastic.

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    1. Its a great fun film - it was turned into a musical in London (I think now its in the US) a few years back. Small cast but great show.

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  7. I'd love to revisit Now and Then again someday.
    Made in Dagenham is a great pick. Totally forgot about it.

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    1. It's one of those film you watch when you're a kid and you watch again to feel like a kid again.

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