Thursday, July 14, 2016

Thursday Movie Picks: Female Ensemble







This week's theme for Thursday Movie Picks (hosted by Wandering Through the Shelves) is female ensemble films. As a woman, of course I support films with female casts, so it's great to celebrate films that celebrate women!


Cries and Whispers (1972)
Though a bit odd, it's Ingmar Bergman!!!!! A lot of his films include incredible female actors and with this film, Bergman allows the actresses to shine. The sisters might be annoying characters, but that doesn't take away from the amazing performances and the beautiful transitions from character to character. 

Hannah and Her Sisters (1986)
Perhaps the hip, American version of Cries and Whispers. Another drama between three sisters, this film is perhaps my favorite of Allen's. I love the tangled stories between the sisters, as well as the sights of NYC, a fine example of Allen's older films. 

Death Proof (2007)
Tarantino's very underrated film. It is not his best, but it doesn't mean this film is bad by any means. Kurt Russell is a great villain, but the two female groups are the stars of the film. I don't want to give anything away, but these women are fierce and kick ass. Tarantino didn't stop writing great female characters after Kill Bill

13 comments:

  1. Hannah and Her Sisters is such a good pick as well as one of Allen's best. Death Proof is in my opinion Tarantino's weakest film but the female groups, especially the second, are amazing.

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    1. Glad to hear you think Hannah is one of Allen's best too! I preferred the first group of women personality wise, but the second group was deff more hardcore

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  2. Hannah is a great film that I really like and found it excellent character study. I have seen Deathproof which is very entertaining and those gals are bad ass! Cries and Whisters is one Bergman film I have not seen it.

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    1. I'm glad you agree! Cries and Whispers is a bit odd, but I definitely suggest watching it if you're a fan of Bergman!

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  3. Cries and Whispers is an superb film, a certain scene certainly influenced another certain scene in Antichrist. Haven't seen your other picks, my list of Woody Allen films I still need to watch is pretty long

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    1. I haven't seen Antichrist yet! I'm scared too hahah. Hannah and Her Sisters is great, especially if you're a fan of his older films.

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  4. Interesting choices. I guess I'd say I appreciated the craft of Cries & Whispers more than liked it. The acting was excellent but except for Kari Sylwan's maid Anna all the characters are rather contemptible. Also I understood Bergman's decision for the red motif but by the end I felt I'd spent an hour and a half inside a tomato.

    LOVE Hannah and Her Sisters, it is my favorite Woody Allen film. All his conventions come together so beautifully in it and the performances, and soundtrack, couldn't be better. Dianne Weist was completely deserving of her Oscar.

    Haven't seen Death Proof though I saw it mentioned elsewhere today so I'll have to look into it further.

    I'm a big fan of woman ensemble pictures so I had a tough time narrowing down and ultimately was only able to get to six that I really loved and couldn't decide so I split my entry in two. Three classics and three more current titles.

    Classics 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. Cries and Whispers isn't something I'd usually enjoy plot wise, but I do agree that it was made well. Lmao! I really liked the red transitions, though that house was too red for my liking.

      Glad to hear Hannah is your favorite Allen film too! Everything about that film is a great example of Allen's older films taking place in Manhattan. Weist probably played my favorite sister!

      Death Proof is a great female ensemble film! Try to watch it if you get the chance.

      I'm sorry to say I've never seen the six films on your list, but these are great suggestions! Thank you for stopping by :)

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  5. Followed by three more contemporary:

    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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  6. I've only seen Death Proof. It had its moments, but didn't really work for me. Easily QT's weakest effort. Glad you're taking part in TMP this week. Hope you'll continue doing so.

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    1. Thank you :) and thanks for commenting!

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  7. Love the name of your blog!

    Only seen Death Proof but read about Hannah and Her Sisters. Love love Death Proof, such a great companion film with Planet Terror (also main leads are female). My favourite scene is the second group eating in the cafe, just so casual but brilliant.

    Not seen the Bergman film either but then I'm seriously lacking in my Bergman knowledge.

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    1. Thank you! Glad to hear you enjoyed Death Proof, I sadly haven't gotten around to watching Planet Terror, but I plan on it eventually. Tarantino deff writes great dialogue!

      If you want to get into Bergman, I suggest The Seventh Seal, it's my favorite of his that I've seen so far.

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