Drama Movies Column - News and Reviews 2

Drama Movies Column - News and Reviews 2
"The biggest challenges are always getting into the rooms that you need to get into and having people open to the types of stories that I want to tell. And I feel that just being a female director and doing that is a big deal in this country. On my third movie I worked with a French DP [director of photography]. I asked him has he ever worked with a woman director before. He said in France a third of directors are women; so you can’t avoid them. So I realized that the US is behind." Filmmaker Kasi Lemmons

It is traditional at the end of the year to reflect on the past and look forward to the future. With that in mind, I have decided to make a change to the Drama Movies site. I will be replacing the newsletter with my "Drama Movies Column - News and Reviews". (Not the most creative title but with the internet and search engine optimization, simple and direct is the rule.) By making this change, readers will no longer have to scroll down to the newsletter link and then click to see a new posting. Just bookmark the Drama Movies home page. The most recent column will always be visible there along with my latest full-length reviews.

I chose to showcase Kasi Lemmons today because her 1997 feature "Eve's Bayou" was selected for preservation by the National Film Registry in 2018. I watched the film this weekend and was struck by the number of women on the crew, including cinematographer Amy Vincent and editor Terilyn Shropshire. "Eve's Bayou" is a coming-of-age story influenced by the Southern Gothic style and steeped in family tension. Told from a female point-of-view, the performance I most admired was Debbi Morgan, playing Eve's aunt. Morgan's character is a thrice-married, thrice-widowed psychic counselor who has spent time in an asylum but retains a lust for living. It is a supporting role but Morgan makes the most of it.

Writer-director Lemmons is currently in post-production on her bio-pic "Harriet". Cynthia Erivo plays Harriet Tubman, the former slave who subsequently worked with the Underground Railroad. Janelle Monae and Vondie Curtis-Hall (married to Lemmons) co-star. Expect "Harriet" in theaters in 2019.

Also expected in 2019 is "Mudbound" director Dee Rees's new film, "The Last Thing He Wanted". Rees adapted the screenplay from Joan Didion's 1996 novel of the same name. Anne Hathaway stars as a journalist who gets sucked into arms- dealing by her amoral father. Willem Dafoe and Ben Affleck co-star in the political thriller.

"The Last Thing He Wanted" is a Netflix release, part of their ambitious production schedule for next year. Netflix plans to produce 90 original films in 2019 including features, documentaries, and animated fare. The competition between streaming services and traditional studios continues to heat up and the full implications of the Disney-Fox merger have yet to be realized. Will Netflix and Amazon be able to keep adult drama movies viable for American audiences? Stay tuned.

Posted on 12/30/2018.

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