Half the Picture (SXSW)

Advocating for women in media is something very close to my heart, as many of you already know. So it’s not surprising that this was my top pick for a movie to see while I was at SXSW. 

Directed by Amy Adrion, Half the Picture is a documentary about the severe lack of female directors in the film industry. It’s comprised of multiple women we know and love. A few of them being Ava DuVernay, Penelope Spheeris, Gina Prince-Blythewood, Brenda Chapman and so many others. This film is being released at just the right time. Hollywood is evolving, and with the #TimesUp and #MeToo movements in a constant motion, this film is a perfect fit into the mold. 

Eighth Grade (SXSW)

Eighth Grade has been stealing the hearts of audience members ever since it first screened at Sundance this year. People have raved about it constantly and I couldn’t wait to see what all of the hype was about. It was written and directed by Bo Burnham, who is one of my absolute FAVORITE comedians, so I had an inkling that it was going to be amazing… and it was. 

Also, relatable as hell. 

Annihilation

Science fiction is my favorite genre. This movie reminded me exactly why. 

“Annihilation” is written and directed by Alex Garland (Ex Machina, 28 Days Later). It’s based off the book by Jeff VanderMeer, which is part of a trilogy called the Southern Reach. 

I sincerely hope they turn the movies into a trilogy because I absolutely LOVED IT. 

Revenge (Sundance)

Greetings from snowy Salt Lake City, Utah! There’s a couple movies I’m really excited to be talking about this year from the Sundance Film Festival. Kicking it all off with a French thriller that premiered in its Midnight section; “Revenge”. 

“Revenge” is directed by French filmmaker Coralie Fargeat. This is the first film on my slate to be directed by a woman! Which leads me to a slightly off-topic point, but still relevant, 37% of the 122 featured films at this festival were directed by women. Thank you, Sundance, for giving them the recognition they deserve and helping to broaden the spectrum of directors in the world of cinema. 

The Post

Imagine getting a phone call one day that said “Hey, listen, Steven Spielberg loves your script. He’s pausing post-production on “Ready Player One” because he’d really like to take it on.” I mean, I would probably scream…for hours. I’m sure that’s how screenwriter Liz Hannah felt, and she should be proud of the work she did because my GOD this story is fantastic. 

It has a message that’s just as important now as it was back in the early 1970’s. 

I, Tonya

Talk about an incredibly new and different way to make a biography. 

Craig Gillespie (director) and Steven Rogers (screenwriter) decided to tell the story of Tonya Harding and the incident with Nancy Kerrigan in a very different way then audience members would expect. The film tells the story from two different perspectives; Tonya (Margot Robbie) and her ex-husband, Jeff Gillooly (Sebastian Stan). 

This movie’s narrative is broken up into many interesting pieces. Robbie and Stan act out real interviews from Harding and Gillooly that were conducted by Steven Rogers prior to filming, and occasionally our main characters will break the fourth wall and describe their points of view on the situation instead to the audience. This adds so many different layers to what could’ve been just a normal biography. It’s equal parts tragic and hilarious and is very self-aware of the story it’s telling. They milk every aspect of it and leave you wanting more. 

Molly's Game

Jessica Chastain is a force to be reckoned with in every role she plays. She’s a sensation both on and off screen and, personally, one of my heroes. I admire every part she’s in because she carefully chooses roles that have complicated and strong women at the center. She firmly believes, as I do, that there’s more than one side to women to be seen on screen. I’m always excited to see what she brings to the table next. 

So, what really elevated my excitement for this movie? The fact that it was being written and DIRECTED by Aaron Sorkin. The wordsmith behind movies like “The Social Network”, “A Few Good Men” and “Moneyball” along with television shows like “The Newsroom” and “The West Wing”. He’s known for his quick wit and snappy dialogue, which he brings in full force to “Molly’s Game”. 

Darkest Hour

The second film to come out this year centered around the events that took place in Dunkirk, France back in 1940. Mind you, this was completely unintentional, and both films are INCREDIBLE. 

Not to mention both are BIG Oscar contenders as well. 

“Darkest Hour” is the story of Winston Churchill coming into power in the United Kingdom as their new Prime Minister after the ousting of Neville Chamberlain. It dives into the many doubts and fears people had about him along with the massive task he then had to take on; the advancement of the Nazi’s on western Europe. 

The Disaster Artist

Oh, hai Mark! 

A movie about the worst movie ever made that’s gaining A LOT of award season buzz. Who would’ve thought that? 

Like I said before, this movie is about the greatest bad movie ever made, “The Room”. Which, if you haven’t seen it, is truly something…special. It spawned midnight screenings (which I HIGHLY recommend attending) all across the United States and instantly became a cult classic for all of its weirdness. This film was written, directed, produced and starred Tommy Wiseau. The man’s an enigma. To this day, people still don’t know where he came from, how old he is or where in the world he obtained the $6 MILLION he used on “The Room”. First of all, you could’ve made that movie on a budget of $100,000, maybe less, I’m STILL confused as to where that money could’ve been invested. The world will never know, and apparently Tommy loves it that way. Though this movie is about the making of “The Room”, it’s actually based on a story called “The Disaster Artist”. This story was written by Greg Sestero, Tommy’s best friend and the man who also played Mark in “The Room”. 

Lady Bird

I absolutely love a good coming-of-age movie. Take last year’s “Edge of Seventeen” with Hailee Steinfeld for example. It was incredibly well done and felt very relatable. I think that’s the biggest key to making a movie like this. 

For most of “Edge of Seventeen”, I could relate to Nadine. There were times I could relate almost too well. 

HIGH FIVES FOR BEING AWKWARD.