Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Monday, March 05, 2012

Set up your own festival of female focused films

With spring and summer movie season on the horizon,seeking out a smartly made movie about women that doesn't involve explosives,hand to hand combat or gun play will be more difficult than usual.

Not that I object to action adventure films or other genre related material that showcase strong women on screen but it would be nice to find a movie that also highlights other signs of strength than the physical there.

You may have to hunt around for a theater near you in order to check out some of these upcoming films that keep their leading ladies firmly in the spotlight,yet chances are that your search will not be in vain for good entertainment.

First up is The Moth Diaries,based on a novel by Rachel Klein and brought to the screen by American Psycho director Mary Harron. This tale of boarding school girls who are being slowly menaced by a mesmerizing newcomer in their midst has echoes of the classic vampire story Carmilla and promises to be quite a chillingly Gothic mind game:

Next on our list is Damsels in Distress,where a quirky group of college girls set out to reform the unhappy folks in their vicinity through tap dancing and good manners. Their make over creed extends to the men in their lives as well as any potential new friends to be recruited to their cause.

This ensemble piece is helmed by director Whit Stillman and has a number of rising young stars in it's cast such as Greta Gerwig,Analeigh Tipton and Adam Brody. Stillman hasn't had a film out for about fifteen years but it's clear that his taste for quirky yet clever characters is as sharp as it ever was:

For something a bit more mature,we turn to The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel,based on a novel called These Foolish Things by Deborah Moggach.

This Brit flick features a group of retiring English folk who decide to settle down in India and are enticed into staying at the title locale due to the elaborate advertising claims put out by the staff,hoping to make the place more profitable in order to restore the building to it's former glory.

Despite the immediate setbacks,the new residents of the Marigold manage to make their unexpected experiences work for them. A bevy of acting grand dames bring their considerable star power to the movie,including Dame Judi Dench and two of our favorite Downton Abbey ladies,Maggie Smith and Penelope Wilton. The gents on board are not too shabby either,with the likes of Bill Nighy,Tom Wilkinson and Dev Patel. This sounds like perfect cinematic comfort food to me:

Last but far from least,Disney and Pixar team up to bring us Brave. This fantasy animated film,set in 10th century Scotland, has a princess who would prefer to literally fight her own battles but the price she must pay for such freedom is rather dear.

The voice of the leading lady,Merida,is provided by Kelly Macdonald and she's backed up by a host of experienced English and Scottish actors such as Billy Connolly,Julie Waters,Emma Thompson and Robbie Coltrane. It's great to see more tough minded female characters in popular film fare and for Disney and Pixar to take the reins on this trend is a good sign indeed:

Strong leading ladies will not be completely scarce from the blockbuster movie season,as The Hunger Games,Snow White and the Huntsman and even The Avengers should show us. Yet,bigger is not always better as they say. As always,it's good to keep a sharp eye out for female focused films wherever they may turn up and cross your fingers that a diamond in the rough won't be too hard to find.

That doesn't mean you can't enjoy a nice chick flick or two;movie going is supposed to be fun,after all. Just don't be too quick to jump on the nearest studio bandwagon for what they consider to be the ideal date night movie. You might get unpleasantly surprised,not to mention a sour aftertaste from your popcorn toppings:

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