reese witherspoon

25 Women Who Drove the Culture in 2014

A thousand and one Internet blowups punctuated 2014, a long and eventful year full of triumph and tragedy for women and and trans folks in American culture. Yet before we look forward to the next frontier, we ought to celebrate the year’s many, many heroines. Whether they sent us into a collective tizzy with their scandalous album covers or had us pumping our fists in favor of their truthful testimony, these 25 women (plus a few honorable mentions at the end) were the ones who got us talking, thinking, re-thinking, and maybe, just maybe, planning a revolution of our… Read More

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“Wild” Gives the Wilderness Narrative a Much-Needed Feminist Spin

Cheryl Strayed’s memoir, Wild, the basis for the Reese Witherspoon film arriving in theaters tonight, is often pitched as a story of an arduous hike that helped Strayed move past her grief over her mother and self-destructive behavior. But as Strayed has said, it’s not just about grief. It’s a literal walk towards self-acceptance with overtly feminist themes. … Read More

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Why Was ‘Wild’ — a Story of Female Empowerment — Written and Directed by Men?

Wild is a well made and often invigorating film, yet so full of contradictions that thinking about it turns into an argument with oneself. Based on the memoir of the same name by Cheryl Strayed, it tells the story of a young woman’s physical journey of psychological self-discovery, paralleling her arduous 1100-mile hike along the Pacific Crest Trail with the demons she must finally face on that long, solo trek. Along the way, she encounters incidents of casual and aggressive sexism that are so of-the-moment, they seem less like drama than responsive commentary. And yet, those scenes butt up uncomfortably against a decidedly old-fashioned, sex-negative worldview, filtered through a decidedly male gaze. And it is thus worth asking: in the year 2014, why was this story of female identity and second- and third-wave feminism written and directed by men? … Read More

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Paul Thomas Anderson’s ‘Inherent Vice’ Is a Breezy, Bizarre Blast

Paul Thomas Anderson took five years to make his 2007 oil epic There Will Be Blood. He took another five years to make 2012’s Scientology-inspired The Master. He banged out his adaptation of Thomas Pynchon’s Inherent Vice in two, and you can feel the difference—in the best possible way. The two films that preceded it marked the filmmaker’s transition from wunderkind to Serious Artist; by turns wrenching, challenging, and borderline impenetrable, they plunged the depths of American history and the American soul. Vice, by contrast, is a slang-y, breezy lark, a picture whose two-and-a-half-hour running time, Oscar-friendly release date, and premiere as the Centerpiece selection at the New York Film Festival make it sound like a more important movie than it is—or, more importantly, than Anderson seems to think it is. After a decade spent making two films that are like pressure cookers, he was clearly ready to blow off some steam. … Read More

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At Last, Here’s Your First Trailer for Paul Thomas Anderson’s ‘Inherent Vice’

With its December release creeping up rapidly, movie geeks were starting to get downright impatient, what with Warner Brothers… Read More

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10 Evocative Southern Gothic Films

Southern Gothic cinema owes a lot to the great Tennessee Williams, whose stunning stage plays became evocative films. Works like A Streetcar Named Desire and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof introduced moviegoers to the steamy South, revealing its sinister side. Trading the grand for the grotesque, Southern Gothic cinema was born from the literary genre made famous by authors like Flannery O’Connor and Harper Lee. These films brought the genre’s penchant for sex, secrets, and betrayal to the big screen. Williams is currently the subject of a Film Forum retrospective. Inspired by his Southern Gothic style, here are ten films that capture the dark heart of the South. … Read More

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The Movie Press’ Oscar Obsession Is Ruining Fall Film Festivals for Everyone

Today marks the kick-off of the Toronto International Film Festival, a massive ten-day orgy of movies big and small from all over the world. It follows last weekend’s Telluride Film Festival, a cozier but no lower-profile Colorado gathering of film lovers, film critics, and filmmakers. Your film editor, sadly, was/is at neither (Kickstarter for next year forthcoming). But I’ve been reading about them for decades, most often (and earliest) from the pen of Roger Ebert, who called Telluride “one of the best experiences a film lover can have,” and dubbed Toronto “the world’s top festival for — well, for moviegoers.” He wrote those words in 1999 and 1998, respectively, and I get the feeling the focus of these festivals has changed quite a bit in the years since. Maybe they’re still prized destinations for film lovers, but just about all I’m reading out of them are dispatches on what each new premiere does to next year’s Oscar race. At risk of putting too fine a point on it, who gives a shit? … Read More

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25 Must-See Movies For the Fall

Hey there reader, been to the movies lately? If the box office reports are any indication, I’m guessing not — and who can blame you? We’re currently in the weird dead zone between the tentpole blockbusters of the summer and the prestige, Oscar-friendly pictures (and, increasingly, tentpole blockbusters) of the fall. But relief will be here soon enough, so in the interest of helping you mark up your movie-going calendar, we’re looking ahead to the fall films we’re anticipating most. … Read More

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