Category Archives: New Films by Women

New Shows + Movies by Women — January 21, 2022

We’ve got another week with a lot of entries. Most of the series come from the U.S., but most of the films are international. It makes for a week with many different options. Entries come from Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Georgia, Japan, South Africa, Turkey, Ukraine, and the U.S.

We’re still in the mid-season premiere period when many new series follow the one-episode-a-week format. These things are seasonal, so as we get into February, expect to see that dwindle and more of the all-episodes-at-once format become more common again.

Since there’s a lot, let’s get right into it:

NEW SERIES

Somebody Somewhere (HBO Max)
co-showrunner Hannah Bos

Sam feels like an outsider in rural Kansas. As she deals with the loss of her sister, she’s able to start identifying where her real community lies.

The show is developed by and stars comedian Bridget Everett. Hannah Bos showruns with Paul Thureen. Bos has written on “Mozart in the Jungle”, “High Maintenance”, and “Strangers”.

You can watch “Somebody Somewhere” on HBO Max. New episodes arrive on Sundays.

Single Drunk Female (Freeform, Hulu)
showrunner Simone Finch

Samantha has a breakdown in public and moves back in with her mother to avoid jail time. She struggles with remaining sober and getting through rehab.

Showrunner Simone Finch worked as a showrunner’s assistant on “Madam Secretary”, and the “Roseanne” reboot, and as a writer on “The Conners”.

You can watch “Single Drunk Female” on Freeform or Hulu. New episodes drop on Thursdays.

How I Met Your Father (Hulu)
co-showrun by Elizabeth Berger

“How I Met Your Father” is a standalone sequel to the 2000s hit “How I Met Your Mother”. Hillary Duff stars as Sophie, a photographer trying and failing to find her soulmate. Kim Cattrall takes up the role as the older version of Sophie, who’s telling this story to her son.

Elizabeth Berger showruns with Isaac Aptaker. The pair also showrun Hulu’s “Love, Victor”, a similar standalone sequel that started off charming enough, but was probably the most improved show of 2021 with its second season.

Pamela Fryman returns to direct the first two episodes. She directed 196 of 208 “How I Met Your Mother” episodes, though I’m unsure if she directs more than the two-part pilot here.

You can watch “How I Met Your Father” on Hulu. New episodes premiere Tuesdays.

Summer Heat (Netflix)
by various

“Summer Heat” follows the young workers at a resort as they build and wreck and rebuild relationships over a summer.

It’s hard to pin down who exactly’s running the Brazilian series, but the head writers are Andrea Simao and Andrea Midori, while the series is directed equally by Caroline Fioratti and Isabel Valiante.

You can watch “Summer Heat” on Netflix. All 8 episodes are available at once.

Tales of Luminaria: The Fateful Crossroad
directed by Katou Midori, Katou Shiori

This anime tells the story of young soldiers in an ongoing fantasy war. While this is part of a franchise, the “Tales of” series is much like “Final Fantasy”. Entries such as this take place in a new world with new characters that are all separate from the rest of the franchise.

Both Katou Midori and Katou Shiori worked on “Bungo and Alchemist: Gears of Judgement”, but this is the first time either is directing.

You can watch “Tales of Luminaria: The Fateful Crossroad” on Crunchyroll or Funimation. New episodes arrive Thursdays.

NEW MOVIES

Stop-Zemlia (VOD)
directed by Kateryna Gornostai

This Ukrainian film follows a girl who’s trying to make sense of growing up as she hangs out with classmates. The experimental drama employs a documentary style.

Writer-director Kateryna Gornostai started out as a journalist and documentary filmmaker. This is her first narrative feature.

See where to rent “Stop-Zemlia”.

Amandla (Netflix)
directed by Nerina De Jager

This South African thriller follows two brothers who work on different sides of the law. One’s a thief who’s trying to leave the profession, the other a cop trying to figure out what he’s doing.

This is the first film from writer-director Nerina De Jager.

You can watch “Amandla” on Netflix.

Donkeyhead (Netflix)
directed by Agam Darshi

Mona doesn’t have much success to speak of, but at least she was the one responsible enough to stay behind and take care of her father. When he has a stroke, her three successful siblings sweep in to assume control of the one thing she was doing well.

As well as starring in the lead role, Agam Darshi writes and directs. This is her first feature film in those roles. She’s had a number of acting roles on shows like “Sanctuary” and “Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency”.

You can watch “Donkeyhead” on Netflix.

Definition Please (Netflix)
directed by Sujata Day

Sujata Day writes, directs, and stars in a film about a former Spelling Bee champion who attempts to reconcile with her estranged brother. He’s returned home to help care for their mother, and she’s considering leaving to take the kind of dream job that was once expected of her.

You may recognize Sujata Day as a supporting actress from series like “Insecure” or “The Guild”. This is her first time writing or directing.

You can watch “Definition Please” on Netflix.

A Shot Through the Wall (VOD)
directed by Aimee Long

A Chinese-American police officer shoots a Black man. The shooting was accidental, and his victim was innocent. He tries to identify what the right choices are in the media frenzy that follows.

I do not know how well or responsibly this engages the very real targeting and systemic murder of Black people by police departments in this country.

This is the first feature film from writer-director Aimee Long.

See where to rent “A Shot Through the Wall”.

The Dog Who Wouldn’t Be Quiet (MUBI)
directed by Ana Katz

Sebastian shifts from job to job and love to love, even as the absurd world around him verges on apocalypse.

Director and co-writer Ana Katz has helmed a number of South American films, and has three Argentinean Academy Award nominations for her screenwriting.

You can watch “The Dog Who Wouldn’t Be Quiet” on MUBI.

Comets (MUBI)
directed by Tamar Shavgulidze

Irina returns to her small town for the first time in three decades. Here, she copes with the past and deals with her separation from a woman named Nana.

The Georgian film is directed by Tamar Shavgulidze. It appears to be her first film.

You can watch “Comets” on MUBI.

My Father’s Violin (Netflix)
directed by Andac Haznedaroglu

In this Turkish film, a girl is orphaned and taken in by her uncle. He’s arrogant and they don’t get along, but they bond over a shared love of music.

Director Andac Haznedaroglu has helmed a number of Turkish films and series, including “The Guest Aleppo to Istanbul” and “Have You Ever Seen Fireflies?”

You can watch “My Father’s Violin” on Netflix.

Take a look at new shows + movies by women from past weeks.

If you enjoy what you read on this site, subscribe to Gabriel Valdez’s Patreon. It helps with the time and resources to continue writing articles like this one.

New Shows + Movies by Women — January 14, 2022

There’s a lot new in streaming this week, including an MCU film, a First Nations film, a stop-motion mind-trip, and the bulk of the winter season’s new anime. You’ll also start to find some awards contenders arriving on streaming platforms, such as “Bergman Island” coming to Hulu (in the mix for screenplay and acting nominations). The larger awards contenders won’t come out until later in the year, and in some cases won’t be realistically available until right before or after the Oscars. Films that people can’t realistically see until February or March 2022 being the best film of 2021 is…another conversation.

I do want to talk about that influx of anime: why does it tend to happen in such sudden bursts? Anime tends to drop seasonally, with most premieres grouped into brief two-week windows about once every three months. This means quick bursts of premieres before another few months of relative silence. I try to feature animation from all countries, but no other country has the scale of saturation in the U.S. that Japan manages. Obviously, other English-speaking countries like the U.K. and Canada do well. As for others, France is an extremely consistent animation powerhouse, and we do see tons more work from South Korea and India than we imagine, since a lot of “U.S. productions” are mostly animated there. Yet in terms of original content, streaming platforms tend to only pick up a few things from Poland, Spain, Mexico, Brazil, India, South Korea, Russia, China, and other countries that do have significant animation industries.

Netflix, Hulu, HBO, and the like don’t put the investment into bringing that animation over that they do into anime – and that’s even before getting to dedicated anime platforms like Crunchyroll, Funimation, or Hidive that bring the bulk of new titles over and maintain interest and infrastructure. Even before this, Japan’s investment into anime is staggering. Despite being the 11th most populous country, it regularly produces the most animated films and the second-most animated series (after the U.S.) in the world. And again, a lot of what counts as “U.S. productions” are animated in other countries, but I can probably only keep you through so many tangents.

Let’s get to it:

NEW SERIES

The House (Netflix)
multiple directors

“The House” is a stop-motion, gothic anthology series about characters in three different eras who each become tied to a house. Helena Bonham Carter, Mia Goth, Matthew Goode, and Miranda Richardson lend their voices.

Emma De Swaef directs an episode with Marc James Roels, and then Paloma Baeza and Niki Lindroth von Bahr each direct one.

You can watch “The House” on Netflix.

Naomi (The CW)
showrunner Jill Blankenship

Based on the DC comic book series by Brian Michael Bendis, David F. Walker, and illustrated by Jamal Campbell, “Naomi” follows a fan of the real Superman who investigates a supernatural event and begins to realize her own powers.

The series is produced by Ava DuVernay, and Jill Blankenship is showrunner. Blankenship has written and produced on “The Last Ship” and “Arrow”.

You can watch “Naomi” on The CW. New episodes arrive on Tuesdays.

Archive 81 (Netflix)
showrunner Rebecca Sonnenshine

An archivist is hired to restore a collection of old, damaged videotapes. What he finds on them is the work of a filmmaker who was investigating a cult.

Showrunner Rebecca Sonnenshine has written and produced on “The Boys” and “The Vampire Diaries”.

Four of the episodes are directed by Rebecca Thomas, director of “Limetown”, “Stranger Things”, and the upcoming live-action “The Little Mermaid” adaptation. Another two are directed by Haifaa Al-Mansour, who helmed “Wadjda” and “Mary Shelley”.

You can watch “Archive 81” on Netflix. All eight episodes are available at once.

Akebi’s Sailor Uniform (Crunchyroll, Funimation)
directed by Kuroki Miyuki

A girl from the country gets into an elite private school. The show takes its name from how excited she is just to put on the school uniform. This seems like it could be a wholesome, slice-of-life anime.

Director Kuroki Miyuki has previously directed on “The Idolmaster Side M” and assisted directed on the “Fate/Grand Order” franchise.

You can watch “Akebi’s Sailor Uniform” on Crunchyroll or Funimation. New episodes arrive Saturdays.

Life with an Ordinary Guy Who Reincarnated into a Total Fantasy Knockout (Crunchyroll)
directed by Yamai Sayaka

I mean, some of the titles save me a lot of descriptive work. Two men are transported to a fantasy world by a goddess. One of them is transformed into a woman (after he indirectly wishes for this), and now the two have to navigate both this world and their newfound sexual tension.

There are a lot of ways this could go wrong, and anime has about as bad a history on trans rights and gender dysphoria as U.S. media does, but I will say Anime Feminist gave this a strong early review and they tend to have a progressive stance on these issues as a critical site.

This is the first series directed by Yamai Sayaka.

You can watch “Life with an Ordinary Guy Who Reincarnated into a Total Fantasy Knockout” on Crunchyroll. New episodes arrive on Tuesdays.

Pivoting (Fox)
showrunner Liz Astrof

Eliza Coupe, Maggie Q, and Ginnifer Goodwin play friends who react to the death of their friend Colleen by upending their lives and pursuing new directions.

Showrunner Liz Astrof has produced on “2 Broke Girls” and “Whitney”.

You can watch “Pivoting” on Fox. New episodes arrive on Thursdays.

Saiyuki Reload Zeroin (Hidive)
directed by Takada Misato

Adventurers band together in order to stop the resurrection of a powerful, evil being. No English-translated trailer is available, but there will be translation for the series.

This is the first series directed by Takada Misato.

You can watch “Saiyuki Reload Zeroin” on Hidive. New episodes arrive on Thursdays.

Futsal Boys!!!!! (Funimation)
directed by Hiiro Yukina

Futsal is a 5-on-5 game of soccer played on a hard court that’s smaller than a football pitch. “Futsal Boys!!!!!” is a slice-of-life anime that follows young men playing the game. No English-translated trailer is available, but there will be translation for the series.

Director Hiiro Yukina has previously helmed “Hitorijime My Hero” and “100 Sleeping Princes & the Kingdom of Dreams”.

You can watch “Futsal Boys!!!!!” on Funimation. New episodes arrive on Sundays.

NEW MOVIES

Eternals (Disney+)
directed by Chloe Zhao

Chloe Zhao follows up her Best Directing and Best Picture Oscar wins for “Nomadland” (as well as screenplay and editing nominations) with a Marvel film that follows a race of immortal beings who’ve thus far stayed out of humanity’s affairs.

Angelina Jolie, Salma Hayek, Gemma Chan, Kumail Nanjiani, Brian Tyree Henry, Richard Madden, and Kit Harington star.

You can watch “Eternals” on Disney+.

Bergman Island (Hulu)
directed by Mia Hansen-Love

A wife and husband travel to an island that inspired legendary Swedish filmmaker Ingmar Bergman to write. As they stay there, reality and fiction start to blur together.

Mia Hansen-Love quickly left acting in favor of writing and directing. She’s had success as a French filmmaker that includes a Cannes win and a Cesar nomination.

You can watch “Bergman Island” on Hulu, or see where to rent it.

Edge of the Knife (Shudder, AMC+)
co-directed by Helen Haig-Brown

This First Nations drama is the first feature film in the Haida language, spoken on a series of islands off the coasts of British Columbia and Alaska. “Edge of the Knife”, or “Sgaawaay K’uuna”, tells the story of a man who’s traumatized after accidentally causing the death of his best friend’s son. Wracked with grief, he escapes into the forest and transforms into a Gaagiixiid, or a wildman.

Helen Haig-Brown directs with Gwaai Edenshaw. Haig-Brown is a Tsilhquot’in filmmaker. This is her first feature film.

You can watch “Edge of the Knife” on Shudder, on AMC+, or see where to rent it.

I’m Your Man (Hulu)
directed by Maria Schrader

We’re a few decades into men romancing android women, but women being romanced by android men hasn’t gotten the same amount of cinematic attention. In “I’m Your Man”, a scientist makes an agreement to obtain funding for her own research. She agrees to live for three weeks with a robot who’s designed to make her happy.

Co-writer and director Maria Schrader won an Emmy for her directing on “Unorthodox”, and is a well-known German actress.

You can watch “I’m Your Man” on Hulu, or see where to rent it.

Sex Appeal (Hulu)
directed by Talia Osteen

A teenager who’s a perfectionist at heart needs help from her best friend to collect data for her sexual research app.

This is the first feature directed by Talia Osteen, who’s composed the music for “Imposters” and “Coffee Town”.

You can watch “Sex Appeal” on Hulu.

Brazen (Netflix)
directed by Monika Mitchell

Alyssa Milano stars as Grace, who investigates the murder of her sister, a webcam model. “Brazen” is an adaptation of the Nora Roberts novel “Brazen Virtue”.

Director Monika Mitchell has directed a number of TV and Christmas movies.

You can watch “Brazen” on Netflix.

Hotel Transylvania: Transformania (Amazon)
co-directed by Jennifer Kluska

Monsters are transformed to humans and humans into monsters in the latest entry of the “Hotel Transylvania” animated franchise.

Jennifer Kluska directs with Derek Drymon. This is Kluska’s first feature as director. She’s been a storyboard artist on “Bee Movie” and “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2”.

You can watch “Hotel Transylvania: Transformania” on Amazon.

The Legend of La Llorona (VOD)
directed by Patricia Harris Seeley

A couple vacationing in Mexico find that their son’s disappearance is tied to something supernatural.

This is the first feature by director Patricia Harris Seeley.

See where to rent “The Legend of La Llorona”.

Take a look at new shows + movies by women from past weeks.

If you enjoy what you read on this site, subscribe to Gabriel Valdez’s Patreon. It helps with the time and resources to continue writing articles like this one.

New Shows + Movies by Women — January 7, 2022

The new year brings high-profile series on traditional networks. Streaming platforms try to get their big shows out before the holidays. You can fit eight or ten episodes in with a November premiere, or just drop them all at once in December. Netflix and company know people will gladly curl up and binge a show over the break.

Traditional networks still mount series with larger episode orders and weekly delivery. They need to in order to make their format work. This means following the September/January model of debuting new shows. There are major entries across the board. With “Women of the Movement”, “The Cleaning Lady”, and “Good Sam”, ABC, Fox, and CBS each bring new series showrun by women.

I’ll also note Part 2 of “The Club” premiered this week. The Turkish show follows a Jewish woman released from prison and trying to reconnect with her orphaned daughter. It centers on a nightclub in 1955, and the cultural and religious conflicts that play out there. Creator, writer, and director Zeynep Gunay Tan realizes the time period in both a sweeping cinematic and deeply personal sense, and the ensemble is captivating. “The Club” made it to #8 in my Best Series of 2021. You’re looking at 10 hourlong episodes if you decide to check it out.

NEW SERIES

Women of the Movement (ABC)
showrunner Marissa Jo Cerar

Adrienne Warren plays Mamie Till-Mobley. She’s the mother of Emmett Till, a Black 14 year-old who was lynched in 1955 because he spoke to a white woman. His murderers were acquitted. The biographical drama follows his mother’s fight to make this country see the senseless, racist, systemic violence that resulted in her son’s murder.

(CW: Be aware that Timothy Hutton is cast in a leading role. Hutton has faced allegations of raping a 14 year-old girl in 1983.)

Showrunner Marissa Jo Cerar has produced on “The Handmaid’s Tale” and “13 Reasons Why”.

You can watch “Women of the Movement” on ABC on Thursdays.

The Cleaning Lady (Fox)
showrunner Melissa Carter

Elodie Yung stars as a Filipina doctor who comes to the U.S. She hopes to secure medical treatment that can save her son. Rather than finding help, she’s pushed into a situation that sees her cleaning up after a crime lord. The show is based on an Argentine series.

Showrunner Melissa Carter has written and produced on “Stargirl”, “Queen Sugar”, and “Mistresses”. Creator Miranda Kwok has written and produced on “The 100”.

You can watch “The Cleaning Lady” on Fox on Mondays.

Good Sam (CBS)
showrunner Katie Wech

Sophia Bush plays a surgeon who heads her department after her boss and father (played by Jason Isaacs) falls into a coma. He wakes up and wants to assume his old position, but has to adjust to working for his daughter.

Showrunner Katie Wech has produced on “Jane the Virgin” and “Rizzoli & Isles”.

You can watch “Good Sam” on CBS on Wednesdays or on Paramount Plus after each episode airs.

NEW MOVIES

I Carry You With Me (Starz)
directed by Heidi Ewing

A chef leaves his lover in Mexico to try to make it in New York. The story of ambition and regret spans decades.

Director and co-writer Heidi Ewing has mostly helmed documentaries, including “One of Us”, “Detropia”, and “Jesus Camp”. The last of these saw Ewing and co-director Rachel Grady nominated for an Oscar.

You can watch “I Carry You With Me” on Starz.

Algo Azul (HBO Max)
directed by Mariel Garcia Spooner

Ana steals a wedding dress from the hotel where she works. Her goal by the end of that day: to get married. To whom she’s married is a bit more complicated.

This is the first feature from Panamanian director Mariel Garcia Spooner.

You can watch “Algo Azul” on HBO Max.

Delicate State (VOD)
directed by Paula Rhodes

Shot during Paula Rhodes’s real pregnancy, “Delicate State” follows a couple who document their pregnancy oblivious to an oncoming civil war.

This is Paula Rhodes’s first feature film as writer and director. She’s also a voice actress who runs the gamut, with credits ranging from “Doc McStuffins” to “Resident Evil Village”.

See where to rent “Delicate State”.

Rucker (VOD)
directed by Amy Hesketh

A documentary filmmaker discovers her subject Rucker is murdering women who look like his ex-wife. She documents and increasingly joins the trucker in pursuit of his “masterpiece”.

Director and co-writer Amy Hesketh has helmed a number of indie horror movies.

See where to rent “Rucker”.

Take a look at new shows + movies by women from past weeks.

If you enjoy what you read on this site, subscribe to Gabriel Valdez’s Patreon. It helps with the time and resources to continue writing articles like this one.

New Shows + Movies by Women — December 17, 2021

Love or hate the awards season, it is a period where a lot of unique, character-driven films rise to the surface. There are the more obvious contenders across the board: “The Power of the Dog”, “The Unforgivable”, “Licorice Pizza”, “West Side Story”, the list goes on.

Of course, some of those are only available in theaters right when the Omicron variant of COVID should be sending us back into social distancing again. I’d argue we can wait the few months until some of these are available for home viewing; there’s plenty out right now that we can watch from our couches.

I’d also point out that this brief list hides a reality that extends beyond those four examples: major films by men are much more likely to make it to theaters. It’s the streaming platforms that are doing the best job of getting movies by women in front of audiences. This is true in terms of production from the early stages, as well as through acquisition of indie films looking for a buyer. Streaming platforms are doing a much better job than traditional studios of putting films by women in front of viewers.

Awards season means a lot of smaller films with a breakthrough performance are coming out, often with day-and-date home and theatrical releases. That’s the case with director Lauren Hadaway’s “The Novice” and Isabelle Fuhrman’s performance as its obsessed rower, which you’ll find below. A release now gets the performance in front of eyes, with an outside chance of a surprise nomination if it catches.

(See also: Krisha Fairchild’s performance in “Freeland”, co-directed by Kate McLean and out on VOD, or Halle Berry in her self-directed “Bruised” on Netflix).

This is also a time when many international films competing for that Oscar category will be making their debuts. Mexico’s submission, Tatiana Huezo’s “Prayers for the Stolen”, came out last month. Charlotte Sieling’s “Margrete: Queen of the North” is one of the featured movies below. Even though it just missed out as Denmark’s submission, this release date was solidified in the anticipation it may’ve made that final cut (it was one of Denmark’s three finalists).

Release dates try to take advantage of potential awards campaigns when a smaller or international film has a chance of breaking through, and they help to fuse awards campaigns with more general marketing campaigns, so each can build on the other. Keep an eye out for smaller films by women and international films by women that will be trying to catch fire this time of year.

Also of note this week is that season two of “The Witcher” drops on Netflix today. The fantasy series is showrun by Lauren Schmidt Hissrich, who also wrote and produced on “Daredevil” and “The Umbrella Academy” for Netflix.

OK, let’s get to this week’s entries:

NEW SERIES

With Love (Amazon)
showrunner Gloria Calderon Kellett

Lily and Jorge Diaz are brother and sister. The holidays come just as they’re trying to find renewed purpose in their lives.

Showrunner Gloria Calderon Kellett has written and produced on “iZombie” and “One Day at a Time”.

You can watch “With Love” on Amazon Prime.

NEW MOVIES

The Novice (VOD)
directed by Lauren Hadaway

Alex is a freshman rower who becomes obsessed with making her university’s top boat. She puts herself through hell and alienates her teammates with this sole goal in mind.

This is the first feature film from writer-director Lauren Hadaway.

See where to rent “The Novice”.

Margrete: Queen of the North (VOD)
directed by Charlotte Sieling

Queen Margrete effectively rules Sweden, Norway, and Denmark in 1402. In this Scandinavian historical drama (told in six languages), she uncovers a conspiracy that could topple her Kalmar Union.

Director and co-writer Charlotte Sieling is an accomplished Danish director who started out as an actress in the 1980s.

See where to rent “Margrete: Queen of the North”.

Holy Beasts (MUBI)
co-directed by Laura Amelia Guzman

In this Dominican film, Geraldine Chaplin stars as a failing actress named Vera. With an unfinished script by a late friend, and a few of her friends still remaining, she sets to making her last movie.

Laura Amelia Guzman writes and directs with Israel Cardenas.

You can watch “Holy Beasts” on MUBI.

Rose Plays Julie (Shudder)
co-directed by Christine Molloy

Rose decides to seek out her birth mother. Doing so unveils a number of discoveries that set her on a path for revenge.

Christine Molloy writes and directs with Joe Lawlor. The pair have written and directed a few films in Ireland now.

You can now watch “Rose Plays Julie” on Shudder, or see where to rent it.

Queen of the Morning Calm (Showtime)
directed by Gloria Kim

Debra is an immigrant sex worker trying to make ends meet, while caring for her daughter.

This is the first feature from writer-director Gloria Kim.

You can watch “Queen of the Morning Calm” on Showtime.

Sophie Jones (Showtime)
directed by Jessie Barr

Sophie is in high school and struggling with depression and aimlessness after her mother’s death.

“Sophie Jones” is directed by Jessie Barr, not to be confused with her co-writer Jessica Barr (a cousin). Both are coming at the project from personal experience, as both lost their mothers to cancer when they were just 16. This is the first feature for either one. Both have worked as actresses before this.

You can now watch “Sophie Jones” on Showtime. You can also rent “Sophie Jones” on Amazon, Apple TV, Google Play, Vudu, or YouTube.

Ron’s Gone Wrong (HBO Max)
co-directed by Sarah Smith

Barney’s new constantly connected device is Ron. Yet Ron keeps malfunctioning, forcing Barney to step back and reconsider how he connects with others.

Sarah Smith directs with Jean-Philippe Vine and Octavio E. Rodriguez. Smith was nominated for a BAFTA for the animated “Arthur Christmas”.

You can watch “Ron’s Gone Wrong” on HBO Max.

CW: joke uses racist term

Christmas is Cancelled (Amazon)
directed by Prarthana Mohan

Emma’s father starts dating her high school nemesis, so she decides to break them up.

Director Prarthana Mohan has previously helmed “The Miseducation of Bindu” and “All for Her”.

You can watch “Christmas is Cancelled” on Amazon Prime.

Take a look at new shows + movies by women from past weeks.

If you enjoy what you read on this site, subscribe to Gabriel Valdez’s Patreon. It helps with the time and resources to continue writing articles like this one.

New Shows + Movies by Women — December 10, 2021

The first series up this week is a pandemic-driven dark comedy from New Zealand. It brings up an interesting conversation when it comes to genre. Shows about pandemics are hardly new. Hits from “The Last Ship” and “12 Monkeys” to more procedural takes like “The Hot Zone” and “Helix” have dominated the last decade. Hell, even “The Strain” kept on straining for four seasons.

Yet during COVID, shows like “The Stand” and “Y: The Last Man” have not lived up to expectations in terms of either viewership or quality. Now, both were in substantial development before COVID hit, so it may not be a case of platforms thinking this is a topical moment. That’s reserved for tackling ill-advised pursuits like “Love in the Time of Corona”. What it does show us is that the fascination with pandemic-driven fare may have waned. After all, it’s no longer escapism for many.

Where does a dark comedy from New Zealand that features pretty explicit imagery of a pandemic and a similar premise to “Y: The Last Man” land? I couldn’t say, but it is one that I have some hope for – in part due to the involvement of Roseanne Liang, director of this year’s massively underrated “Shadow in the Cloud”. The film’s an ambitious period thriller that veers from tight “Twilight Zone” storytelling into absurd pulp action and makes astonishing use of a relatively small budget. If one person can fuse the starkness of a pandemic to a dark, gender-driven comedy, it’s Liang.

Ultimately, interest in pandemic-driven stories is going to be up to the viewer. Some may not want to be reminded in their escapism, while others will see making comedy out of it as a way of reclaiming a sense of control within their escapism. Neither takeaway is right or wrong; just be sure to respect your own reaction about whether watching pandemic-driven stories feels stressful or relieving.

NEW SERIES

CW: pandemic imagery

Creamerie (Hulu)
directed by Roseanne Liang

A plague has killed nearly all men on the planet. The remaining 1% of men are sent to a facility in New Zealand. It’s thought that even they died, until three dairy farmers run over a seemingly impossible survivor.

“Creamerie” is created by actress-producers J.J. Fong and Perlina Lau, and producer-director Roseanne Liang. As mentioned, Liang delivered “Shadow in the Cloud”, which may not be for everybody but is one of my favorite films of the year.

You can watch all six half-hour episodes of “Creamerie” on Hulu.

Under the Vines (Acorn TV)
showrunner Erin White

A man and woman who hate each other inherit a failing vineyard in rural New Zealand. Neither knows a thing about how to run or work a vineyard, so of course they make a go of it.

Erin White is a longtime director in New Zealand and Australian TV.

You can watch the first two of six episodes of “Under the Vines” on Acorn TV, with a new weekly episode dropping every Monday.

NEW MOVIES

The Unforgivable (Netflix)
directed by Nora Fingscheidt

Sandra Bullock plays Ruth. She’s being released from prison after a 20-year sentence for killing a cop. Very few people are willing to give her a chance or forget her past, even as she searches for the little sister she may have been protecting.

In addition to Bullock, Viola Davis, Vincent D’Onofrio, Jon Bernthal, and Rob Morgan also star.

Director Nora Fingscheidt helmed the incredible “System Crasher”, an unflinching yet sympathetic portrayal of a girl with rage issues. It was one of the best films of 2020.

You can watch “The Unforgivable” on Netflix.

Off the Rails (VOD)
directed by Jules Williamson

Three women in their 50s bring the daughter of their late friend on a European rail trip. Things go “Off the Rails” in a series of comedic accidents, with a bit of romance sprinkled in.

This is the first feature film from director Jules Williamson.

See where to rent “Off the Rails”.

Anonymously Yours (Netflix)
directed by Maria Torres

In this Mexican romantic comedy, a mistaken text message between classmates leads to a real friendship. The pair fall for each other without realizing they’ve already met and can’t stand each other. I can’t find a trailer with English translation online, but the film will have one available.

This is the first film directed by Maria Torres.

You can watch “Anonymously Yours” on Netflix.

CW: NSFW, body horror

Two (Netflix)
directed by Mar Targarona

This Spanish horror film finds a man and a woman waking up next to each other and realizing their abdomens have been attached.

Director Mar Targarona helmed “Secuestro” and “The Photographer of Mathausen”.

You can watch “Two” on Netflix.

Take a look at new shows + movies by women from past weeks.

If you enjoy what you read on this site, subscribe to Gabriel Valdez’s Patreon. It helps with the time and resources to continue writing articles like this one.

New Shows + Movies by Women — December 3, 2021

This feature had the week off last week for the long weekend, so we’ll be collecting new series and movies by women that have premiered over the last two weeks. I want to use the intro to talk about something else first. The future of Roe v. Wade, the right to choose, and women’s medical freedom and privacy stands before the Supreme Court right now. The conservative-packed court heard arguments in Dobbs vs. Jackson Women’s Health Organization on Tuesday.

It looks like one of two outcomes will happen. Either would gut women’s right to choose in the U.S. The first would be a narrow interpretation of the case. This would follow the conservative strategy of the last several decades, which is to gradually erode the right to choose. It would essentially keep decisions like Roe and Casey, but strip them of any real meaning. It would reduce the window for someone to get an abortion to just 15 weeks – less than four months – when many don’t know they’re pregnant for the first few weeks or months. Furthermore, many states with Republican state legislatures have planned for this possibility, and have laws that would trigger to institute bans all the way down to six weeks.

The broader interpretation of the case would involve the striking down of Roe and Casey altogether. There are six conservatives and three liberals on the Supreme Court. Every liberal has expressly supported Roe v. Wade, but that leaves them still needing two other justices to maintain Roe v. Wade. Even with Chief Justice John Roberts seeming to favor the (already harmful) narrow interpretation, that leaves the swing vote against the complete dissolution of Roe v. Wade in the hands of Brett Kavanaugh or Amy Coney Barrett, who were put on the court by Donald Trump with the primary purpose of striking down Roe v. Wade.

Realize that even the narrow interpretation that Roberts favors would not be any kind of success – it would simply be following the ongoing Republican strategy of eliminating the right to choose step by step rather than in one fell swoop. The debate happening among Republican justices isn’t whether Roe v. Wade stands as a practical matter, it’s about whether they hollow it out and leave the name standing as a shell, or simply erase its presence altogether.

I’ll list a few resources, but let me say this first: if you’re a man, this is the time to fucking show up. It can’t be women voicing their support for Roe v. Wade alone, while men just go about our business as if nothing is of concern. We need to show up, period. We need to be raising our voices in support of women, normalizing the right to both choice and privacy, and we need to ensure we do this in the spaces we share with other men. We need to be calling our state legislature members, our governors, our attorney generals, to ensure that choice is enshrined and fortified as much as possible in our states.

The Center for Reproductive Rights has an up-to-date, easily searchable map that clarifies which states would maintain different levels of access to abortion if Roe were dissolved. Familiarize yourself with it. NARAL has a great deal of information if you’re looking to learn more.

If you’d like help exploring the options you have in a state that restricts abortion, Planned Parenthood has a hotline you can call (1-800-230-PLAN) to schedule a telehealth or in-person appointment where you can ask questions and learn more. They have a map of clinics that can help you learn about your options and provide abortion services. They have a textline (774636 or PPINFO) where you can ask any question you want about women’s reproductive health, including learning about birth control, contraception, STDs, and abortion.

If you want to help someone in a state that restricts or is about to restrict abortion, there are funds set up through Planned Parenthood that can help those who need assistance travel and access abortion safely and legally. If you can help, these are good, proven funds that go directly to helping maintain access to reproductive choice.

This scratches the surface, but if you’re reading this and you’re in any position to even just make a phone call to express your support for legislation that protects the right to choose, do it. Do something.

To other men: we have been historically shit at showing up for these things. We are so culturally trained to treat anything women are mad about as an overreaction that as a group, our numbers are overwhelmingly willing to stand by and do nothing as half the population have their basic human rights dissolved. That is the weakest, most pathetically cowardly shit I can think of. If you’re a man, show up. Listen to women leaders, and then speak up to other men who want to act as if this isn’t their priority. Get other men to do work with you, to call, to march, to donate, whatever it might be, just start doing it. Teach yourself that what women are angry about is legitimate and deserves allyship, and that allyship involves actual work in service of those you’re allied to. Don’t just say you support the right to choose; do something about it. Get other men to learn about and to do something about supporting the right to choose. Act like their fight is our fight, for goddamn once.

I have no segue to start talking about the rest of this. It’s obviously important to support the art of women, and a big part of listening to and learning from women is watching and talking about their art. So let’s shift in as best we can:

NEW SERIES

True Story (Netflix)
mostly directed by Hanelle M. Culpepper

Kevin Hart stars as the comic Kid, who stops in Philadelphia mid-tour. A reunion with his brother, Wesley Snipes’s Carlton, leads to a situation that quickly spirals out of control. The series offers a rare dramatic turn for Hart.

While Charles Murray showruns, Hannelle M. Culpepper directs the last four of the series’ seven episodes. She’s also directed on Star Treks “Discovery” and “Picard”, as well as “Grimm” and “Criminal Minds”.

You can watch “True Story” on Netflix.

Hawkeye (Disney+)
half-directed by Bert & Bertie

Jeremy Renner returns as Marvel’s Hawkeye, opposite an aspiring superhero in Hailee Steinfeld’s Bishop. The series takes place during the holiday season.

Bert & Bertie are Amber Templemore-Finlayson and Katie Ellwood, a British directing duo. They’ve directed “Troop Zero”, as well as episodes of “The Great” and Jim Carrey’s “Kidding”.

You can watch “Hawkeye” on Disney+. The first three of six episodes have released, with a new one every Wednesday.

Harlem (Amazon)
showrunners Tracy Oliver, Britt Matt

Four women who’ve just graduated college try to follow their dreams in Harlem.

The show was created by Tracy Oliver and I’m mostly sure (sometimes these things are hard to decipher) that it’s showrun by Oliver or writer Britt Matt. Oliver wrote “The Sun is Also a Star” and directed on “First Wives Club”. Britt Matt has been a writer on “Marlon”, “A.P. Bio”, and “First Wives Club”.

You can watch “Harlem” on Amazon Prime.

Santa Inc (HBO Max)
showrunner Alexandra Rushfield

Sarah Silverman lends her voice talents as an elf who dreams of becoming the next in a long line of Santa Clauses. This is a decidedly NSFW stop-motion animated comedy.

Alexandra Rushfield has produced on “Parks and Recreation” and “Love”.

You can watch “Santa Inc” on HBO Max.

NEW MOVIES

The Power of the Dog (Netflix)
directed by Jane Campion

Benedict Cumberbatch plays a rancher who others fear. He’s abusive to everyone around him, and this is perceived as charisma. His brother, his brother’s wife, and a new ranch hand are all abused by him. What drives this, and is there anything that can change it? Kirsten Dunst, Jesse Plemons, and Kodi Smit-McPhee also star.

Jane Campion is best known as the Oscar-winning writer and Oscar-nominated director for “The Piano”. She’s also written and directed “Bright Star” and series “Top of the Lake”.

You can watch “The Power of the Dog” on Netflix.

Silent Night (AMC+)
directed by Camille Griffin

Keira Knightley, Annabelle Wallis, Matthew Goode, and Kirby Howell-Baptiste star in a doomsday comedy about one last Christmas party as the world ends.

This is writer-director Camille Griffin’s first feature film. She started out as a camera trainee and worked her way through camera and cinematography jobs.

You can watch “Silent Night” on AMC+.

Bruised (Netflix)
directed by Halle Berry

Halle Berry stars as an MMA fighter trying to make a return to the sport, while taking care of her son.

This is Berry’s directorial debut. Of course, she’s best known as an actress, and won an Oscar for her role in “Monster’s Ball”.

You can watch “Bruised” on Netflix.

CW: mention of suicide

My Fiona (Hoopla, VOD)
directed by Kelly Walker

Jane’s best friend Fiona commits suicide, so Jane helps Fiona’s widow Gemma care for their son. They’re drawn to each other, even as guilt and the right course for healing might disagree with the affair.

This is the first film from Australian writer-director Kelly Walker. She’s acted in Australian film and television for the last two decades.

You can watch “My Fiona” on Hoopla, or rent it.

The Trouble with Being Born (MUBI)
directed by Sandra Wollner

In this German film, an android is programmed to have memories meaningful to her owner. Yet they mean nothing to her. How is she to make sense of a life she doesn’t identify with in this take on the ghost in the machine?

Sandra Wollner directs and co-writes. This is the Austrian director’s second film.

You can watch “The Trouble with Being Born” on MUBI.

Mixtape (Netflix)
directed by Valerie Weiss

In ye olden times of 1999, a girl mistakenly destroys a mixtape that belonged to her late mother. She decides to track down each of the obscure tracks that was on it, embracing the life they led and finding her own road into the riot grrrl movement.

Director Valerie Weiss has helmed episodes for “Outer Banks” and “Suits”.

You can watch “Mixtape” on Netflix.

White as Snow (Amazon)
directed by Anne Fontaine

In this retelling of “Snow White”, Claire works at her late father’s hotel and sparks the jealousy of her stepmother Maud. Even as she escapes to a farm, Maud attempts to remove her from the picture. The film pairs a rising star with a legend of French cinema in Lou de Laage’s Claire and Isabelle Huppert’s Maud.

Co-writer and director Anne Fontaine has written and helmed a number of French and English critical hits, including “Coco Before Chanel”, “The Innocents”, and “Gemma Bovery”.

You can watch “White as Snow” on Amazon.

The Second (VOD)
directed by Mairi Cameron

An author reveals the secret story of betrayal that laid the foundation for her first novel.

This is the first feature film for director Mairi Cameron.

See where to rent “The Second”.

A Castle for Christmas (Netflix)
directed by Mary Lambert

Brooke Shields stars as a bestselling author who leaves the U.S. to escape a scandal. In Scotland, she discovers a castle she loves, but quickly sours on the duke who owns it. The duke is played by Cary Elwes.

The Netflix Christmas movie is directed by Mary Lambert. One of the pre-eminent music video directors of the 80s, she helmed some of the most recognizable work by Madonna, Janet Jackson, and the Eurythmics.

You can watch “A Castle for Christmas” on Netflix.

Take a look at new shows + movies by women from past weeks.

If you enjoy what you read on this site, subscribe to Gabriel Valdez’s Patreon. It helps with the time and resources to continue writing articles like this one.

New Shows + Movies by Women — November 19, 2021

There are a number of deeply promising series this week, including one of the most anticipated fantasy adaptations, one of the most accomplished ensembles ever cast, and a new Mindy Kaling comedy. The films this week come from a range of cultures that aren’t often featured in the U.S. They’re made by filmmakers who are Salvadoran-Mexican, Cree-Metis, and Trinidadian, not to mention an Australian Aboriginal revenge western.

November and December introduce a wealth of new projects, and it can be easy to get locked into the ones that see the most marketing and are created by filmmakers with established names. Yet studios rarely invest in marketing films made by women and people of color. That means they don’t invest in establishing their names, which means most of the “awards competitors” that get pushed at us come from a narrow range of perspective.

Many films by women and directors of color will be lucky to see a push for a single nomination in major awards meant to get them on the map. Most will go without the kind of awards marketing blitzes that middling films by men will see much more easily. This means that when it comes to buzz, it’s easy to believe the films that need to be seen this time of year are mostly by white, male directors. It becomes even easier than usual for viewers to completely overlook work that comes from other voices.

Make sure you seek out the work of women and people of color, especially in these months where some of the best films you’ll see in your life get even more buried than is usual.

NEW SERIES

The Wheel of Time (Amazon)
mostly directed by women

The long, long-awaited adaptation of Robert Jordan’s fantasy novel series finally arrives. “The Wheel of Time” centers on Rosamund Pike’s Moiraine, who gathers five people for an adventurous journey. She believes one of them is the reincarnation of the Dragon, who will either save the world or destroy it.

While the showrunner is Rafe Judkins, at least five of the first season’s eight episodes are directed by women. This includes Uta Briesewitz, Sanaa Hamri, and Salli Richardson. Briesewitz has directed on “Orange is the New Black”, “Stranger Things”, “Jessica Jones”, and “UnREAL”, as well as being the cinematographer for “Hung”. Hamri has helmed on “Shameless” and directed more episodes of “Empire” than any other director. Richardson has directed on “Luke Cage”, “American Gods”, and “Dear White People”.

“The Wheel of Time” premieres today on Amazon with three episodes. The remaining five episodes will drop every Friday.

Yellowjackets (Showtime)
mostly directed by women

A plane carrying a high school soccer team once crashed into the Ontario wilderness. Not all of the girls on the team made it out alive. Years later, someone is sending them postcards that suggest they know what really happened. It’s up to a small group of survivors to piece it back together.

This is one of the best series casts ever assembled. Tawny Cypress, Juliette Lewis, Melanie Lynskey, and Christina Ricci are the big names, but Samantha Hanratty, Keeya King, Sophie Nelisse, and Ella Purnell shouldn’t be overlooked.

While Jonathan Lisco serves as showrunner, the series is mostly directed by women. Eva Sorhaug directs three episodes. She’s also directed episodes of “Witch Hunt”, “American Gods”, and “Your Honor”. “Jennifer’s Body” director Karyn Kusama helms the premiere. Deepa Mehta and Daisy von Scherler Mayer also direct.

“Yellowjackets” premiered its first episode this week on Showtime. You can also watch that first episode for free on YouTube to see if it sparks your interest. New episodes will drop on Showtime every Sunday.

The Sex Lives of College Girls (HBO Max)
co-showrunner Mindy Kaling

Freshman roommates at Evermore College navigate student life in an acidic comedy.

Mindy Kaling and Justin Noble showrun. Kaling is, of course, known as a writer, producer, and lead actress on “The Office” and “The Mindy Project”. (I’d also recommend “Never Have I Ever”, which she co-created, produces, and writes on, but doesn’t star.)

The release schedule for “The Sex Lives of College Girls” can be summed up as multiple episodes dropping on HBO Max every Thursday. Two episodes are available now, with three more on November 25, three more on December 2, and then the final two on December 9. And, you know, be careful if you Google the series.

The Madame Blanc Mysteries (Acorn TV)
showrunner Sally Lindsay

An antiques dealer loses her savings when her husband dies under mysterious circumstances. She relocates to France to begin investigating his death.

Sally Lindsay created, writes, and stars in “The Madame Blanc Mysteries”. The former “Coronation Street” actress also conceived of and starred in “Scott & Bailey”.

The first two episodes of “The Madame Blanc Mysteries” premiered on Acorn TV this week, with new episodes dropping every Monday.

Christmas Flow (Netflix)
directed by Nadege Loiseau

In this three-episode French series, a rapper and journalist fall for each other. His music is misogynist and she resents him for that. I don’t know how thoroughly the series will address that premise. Shirine Boutella and Tayc star.

Nadege Loiseau has directed on a few French series, including an episode of crime drama “Profilage”.

You can watch “Christmas Flow” on Netflix.

Hollington Drive (Sundance Now)
directed by Carolina Giammetta

Two sisters investigate the disappearance of a child in this British thriller.

Carolina Giammetta is a British series director who also helmed this year’s “The Drowning”.

All four episodes are available to watch on Sundance Now.

NEW MOVIES

Prayers for the Stolen (Netflix)
directed by Tatiana Huezo

“Prayers for the Stolen” follows the lives of three girls growing up in a town at war. Girls are stolen from the poor town by soldiers, and it’s only a matter of time before one of them is taken.

Tatiana Huezo is one of the most important directors working today. She’s chiefly worked in documentaries before this. Her “Tempestad” investigated the experiences of women who had been trafficked, and won Best Documentary, Director, Cinematography, and Sound at the Ariel Awards (Mexico’s equivalent to our Oscars). “Prayers for the Stolen” is her first dramatic feature.

You can watch “Prayers for the Stolen” on Netflix.

Freeland (VOD)
co-directed by Kate McLean

An elderly, off-the-grid pot farmer sees her business dwindle when cannabis is made legal. She considers what to do next as she harvests her final crop.

Kate McLean writes and directs with Mario Furloni. McLean has primarily worked in documentary films up till now.

See where to rent “Freeland”.

The Flood (VOD)
directed by Victoria Wharfe McIntyre

In this anachronistic western, an indigenous Australian wife and husband set out for revenge after they lose their daughter.

This is the first feature from writer-director Victoria Wharfe McIntyre.

You can rent “The Flood” on Redbox.

Hope (VOD)
directed by Maria Sodahl

Andrea Braein Hovig and Stellan Skarsgard star as Anja and Tomas, partners who have grown into their own separate worlds over the years. When she’s diagnosed with cancer, Anja needs Tomas to come back into her world and help support her.

The Norwegian film is written and directed by Maria Sodahl, who got her start in the 90s as a casting director.

See where to rent “Hope”.

Night Raiders (VOD)
directed by Danis Goulet

Blackfoot and Sami actress Elle-Maija Tailfeathers stars as a mother whose daughter is kidnapped by a war-obsessed government. She joins a band of vigilantes to rescue their children.

Danis Goulet is a Cree-Metis filmmaker. This is her debut feature. Goulet has served for several years as the artistic director for imagineNATIVE Film and Media Arts Festival, the world’s largest indigenous film festival.

See where to rent “Night Raiders”.

She Paradise (VOD)
directed by Maya Cozier

A teenager takes up with a dance crew. She’s not prepared for the world of money and predation that it opens up to her, though.

This is the first feature from writer-director Maya Cozier.

See where to rent “She Paradise”.

Take a look at new shows + movies by women from past weeks.

If you enjoy what you read on this site, subscribe to Gabriel Valdez’s Patreon. It helps with the time and resources to continue writing articles like this one.

New Shows + Movies by Women — November 12, 2021

Before we dive in, I want to highlight Cameroonian director Rosine Mbakam. She has three films making their U.S. debut on OVID TV. Two are short films under 20 minutes. “You Will Be My Ally” is about a woman from Gabon trying to prove her papers are real to Belgian interrogators. “Doors of the Past” looks at women refugees who fled their homes and settled in Belgium.

Mbakam’s “Delphine’s Prayers” is a feature-length documentary about a young Belgian woman from Cameroon who turned to sex work to survive. The three films join two others by Mbakam that MUBI already features.

I hope to feature documentaries by women again if there’s a time when I can regularly roll the workload in, but Mbakam’s work is worth noting for a voice that isn’t often platformed, and for so much of her work coming to bear at once. (OVID TV has been good about collecting and platforming the work of short, experimental, and documentary filmmakers in big chunks like this.)

No new series this week, so let’s jump straight to movies:

NEW MOVIES

Passing (Netflix)
directed by Rebecca Hall

Ruth Negga and Tessa Thompson star as Clare and Irene. They’re both Black women who can pass as white in 1920s New York, but one chooses to bask in that privilege while the other sees it as a betrayal.

Writer-director Rebecca Hall has starred in “The Prestige”, “The Town”, and “Godzilla vs. Kong”, but this is her first film as writer or director. The English actress is white-passing, and has wrestled openly about how this allows her the kind of roles rarely offered to Black women.

You can watch “Passing” on Netflix.

Schoolgirls (HBO Max)
directed by Pilar Palomero

Celia is an 11 year old who attends a convent school. She lives with her mother, and her father has passed away. When Claudia arrives at school, Celia finds herself facing a number of questions she hadn’t considered before.

This is the first feature from writer-director Pilar Palomero. She came into the industry as an electrician, before working as a camera operator and then cinematographer.

You can watch “Schoolgirls” on HBO Max.

Land (HBO Max)
directed by Robin Wright

Robin Wright stars as Edee, a woman who’s suffered loss and decides to live off the grid in Wyoming. She almost dies due to her lack of knowledge, until Miguel (Demian Bichir) decides to teach her outdoor survival.

Robin Wright is best known as an actress, and was nominated for multiple Emmy Awards in the U.S. version of “House of Cards”. She would end up directing 10 episodes of that series. “Land” is her first feature film as director.

You can watch “Land” on HBO Max.

Heart (MUBI)
directed by Jeong Ga-young

Jeong Ga-Young writes, directs, and stars in this romantic comedy about a woman caught between two married men. I couldn’t find a trailer for it, so please enjoy the scene clip.

This is the second feature helmed and the first written for the South Korean indie director.

You can watch “Heart” on MUBI.

The Accursed (VOD)
directed by Kathryn Michelle, Elizabeta Vidovic

Hana has spent her adult life suppressing a curse on her bloodline. A family member releases it knowing what it will cause, putting Hana in a situation where she’ll have to kill in order to avoid death.

This is the first feature for writer-directors Kathryn Michelle and Elizabeta Vidovic.

You can rent “The Accursed” on Redbox.

See You Next Christmas (VOD)
directed by Christine Weatherup

Natalie and Logan run into each other at the same party every year. They start wondering if this is a sign they’re meant to be together.

Writer-director Christine Weatherup is an actress who’s recently shifted into writing and directing. This is her first feature.

You can rent “See You Next Christmas” on Redbox.

Take a look at new shows + movies by women from past weeks.

If you enjoy what you read on this site, subscribe to Gabriel Valdez’s Patreon. It helps with the time and resources to continue writing articles like this one.

New Shows + Movies by Women — November 5, 2021

There’s a lot to get into this week. I’m going to take my time going over one film in particular, which is based on an act of Mohawk resistance in 1990. I’d encourage you to please read this, or to look up the Oka Crisis. It’s an act of First Nations resistance that illustrates colonialism isn’t a thing of the past, but something that very much continues to steal real land and livelihoods away from indigenous people.

We’ll tackle series first, as always:

NEW SERIES

The Club (Netflix)
directed by Zeynep Gunay Tan

“The Club” takes place in 1950s Istanbul. A mother works at a nightclub in order to reconnect with her orphaned daughter. She hides past secrets, in a time when East and West are mixing and conflicting.

Show creator and director Zeynep Gunay Tan has worked in Turkish film and television for the last two decades.

You can watch “The Club” on Netflix.

Dalgliesh (Acorn TV)
showrunners Helen Edmundson, Jill Robertson

“Dalgliesh” is a new adaptation of the classic P.D. James mystery novels. They follow arrogant police inspector and brooding poet Dalgliesh as he engages a range of whodunnits.

Playwright Helen Edmundson essentially serves as the lead writer, with Jill Robertson taking the role of lead director. Robertson has helmed episodes on countless British series, most recently “Harlots” and “The Feed”.

You can watch the first two episodes of “Dalgliesh” on Acorn TV, with the following four arriving weekly.

The Time it Takes (Netflix)
co-showrunners Nadia de Santiago, Ines Pintor

This experimental Spanish series follows Lina, who’s attempting to forget her former partner. Episodes are just 13 minutes apiece.

Nadia de Santiago and Ines Pintor are joined by Pablo Fernandez and Pablo Santidrian as showrunners. De Santiago stars while Fernandez, Pintor, and Santidrian direct.

You can watch all 10 episodes of “The Time it Takes” on Netflix.

Head of the Class (HBO Max)
co-showrunner Amy Pocha

HBO Max enters the coming-of-age field with their own high school comedy, a reboot of the 1986 ABC series. “One Day at a Time” lead Isabella Gomez stars as a young teacher figuring out how to talk to a group of high-achieving students.

Amy Pocha showruns with Seth Cohen. She’s written and produced on “American Vandal” and “Paradise, PD”.

You can watch “Head of the Class” on HBO Max.

NEW MOVIES

Beans (VOD)
directed by Tracey Deer

“Beans” focuses on the 78-day standoff that took place between the Mohawk and Canadian government in 1990. The Kanesatake band of Mohawk had a land claim rejected on a legal technicality in 1986. In 1989, the town’s golf club decided to expand into this claim. The town did not consult the Mohawk about this.

This was just the latest in whittling down Mohawk land from an original treaty agreeing to 165 square kilometers. By 1956, just six square kilometers of this remained. (Before this, the Mohawk had first been forced to leave their land in the Hudson Valley.)

The town of Oka eventually expanded the development plan to include the complete clearing of The Pines, including a sacred Mohawk burial ground, for expansion of the golf course and the construction of 60 condominiums.

The Mohawk erected a guarded barricade in protest. Oka Mayor Jean Ouellette called in Quebec’s provisional police, which attacked with concussion grenades and tear gas. A firefight ensued, resulting in the death of an occupying police officer. The initial 30 Mohawk saw support come in from surrounding Mohawk communities, swelling up to 600. The Mohawk seized police vehicles and used the front end loader sent to tear down their barricade to crush these vehicles and form an additional one.

Another group of Mohawk established a blockade in solidarity that cut off a main bridge to the Island of Montreal. They would be attacked by commuters, who killed a Mohawk elder.

A nearby town gathered to burn a Mohawk effigy and chant “Sauvages” (savages in French).

Federal police were called in, and the Solicitor General of Quebec circumvented the Prime Minister of Canada to deploy the military. As the Mohawk surrendered and were arrested, 14-year-old Waneek Horn-Miller ran with her four year-old sister to the media barricade for safety. She would be stabbed in the chest by a Canadian bayonet.

Many Mohawk land defenders were arrested, physically beaten, prosecuted, and convicted. A few police officers were briefly suspended as a result of their violence. None were charged.

The golf course was canceled, the Canadian government paid Oka $5.3 million for the land. Ouellette was re-elected Oka’s mayor the very next year.

Waneek Horn-Miller, the 14 year-old Mohawk girl who was stabbed, would survive. She later became a member of the Canadian women’s water polo team. She helped Canada win Gold at the 1999 Pan American Games and Bronze in the 2001 World Championships. She was then dismissed from the program for what would later be revealed as the racism of coaches and teammates who wanted the Mohawk woman gone.

“Beans” tells the story of the Oka crisis standoff through the eyes of a young Mohawk girl. If you watch “Reservation Dogs”, it co-stars Paulina Alexis and D’Pharaoh Woon-a-Tai, two of that show’s leads.

This is Mohawk filmmaker Tracey Deer’s first narrative feature. She’s previously written and directed several documentaries, and wrote and produced on the series “Mohawk Girls” and “Anne with an E”.

See where to rent “Beans”.

Mark, Mary & Some Other People (VOD)
directed by Hannah Marks

Newlyweds give non-monogamy a try in order to stabilize their relationship.

Writer-director Hannah Marks is better known as an actress in “Necessary Roughness” and “Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency”. However, she’s also written “Banana Split”, and wrote and directed “After Everything”.

You can rent “Mark, Mary & Some Other People” on Google Play.

This is Not a War Story (HBO Max)
directed by Talia Lugacy

A marine connects with a group of veterans living in New York. They attempt to cope with their experiences in war through art. The film is based on real experiences and interviews.

This is writer-director Talia Lugacy’s second film after 2007 feature “Descent”.

You can watch “This is Not a War Story” on HBO Max.

Spirit Untamed (Hulu)
co-directed by Elaine Bogan

Lucky moves to a small town and befriends a horse. Determined to see her new charge Spirit returned to their family, she and her friends set out on a journey to set the horse free.

Elaine Bogan directs with Ennio Torresan. She’s previously directed in Dreamworks’ “Dragons” and “Arcadia” TV universes.

You can watch “Spirit Untamed” on Hulu.

Take a look at new shows + movies by women from past weeks.

If you enjoy what you read on this site, subscribe to Gabriel Valdez’s Patreon. It helps with the time and resources to continue writing articles like this one.

New Shows + Movies by Women — October 29, 2021

This is a spectacular week for review brigading. The remake of “4400” is seeing its online scores tanked by fans of the original who are offended that the new one is centered on – gasp! – actors of color. Clutch those pearls, yo.

It’s also worth mentioning “Colin in Black & White”, based on the early life of Colin Kaepernick. While not included in this article (it’s executive produced by Ava DuVernay, but showrun by Michael Starrbury), it’s seen its scored on sites like IMDB tanked by racists. When I checked on October 28, it held a score of 2.5 out of 10. It’s worth noting that no episode premieres until today, October 29. No one had seen the show yet.

Multiple industry sites have reported that Marvel’s “Eternals”, directed by Chloe Zhao, has been bombarded with 1.0 reviews on IMDB. The site had to remove the film’s reviews for the time being. Of course, that movie doesn’t even come out for a week, on Nov. 5. What spurred the review brigading? There’s a gay character in the film, which also features a gay kiss.

Aggregated reviews and averaged review scores have gone past the point of being useful. They’re too easily manipulated or brigaded. I’ve written before that this even happens with critical aggregates. The poster child for this is “Black Christmas” (which just returned to HBO Max).

Among Metacritic’s aggregation of published critics, Sophia Takal’s feminist 2019 horror remake saw seven out of eight women score it positively, and nine out of 16 men score it negatively. Women scored the film an average of 63, men an average of 44. Yet the critical industry still employs far more men than women, which means there’s more of a weighting for that downward shift.

The point is that it’s still much more productive to find a reviewer you like to read, and who prioritizes what you find important. Find a few of them. They can be a critic, a viewer, whoever it might be. Hopefully I’m one of them, but even if not, please take to heart the idea that aggregates and averages contain a multitude of problems.

Women and people of color are still under-represented in criticism, which means men and white critics will shift scores toward their perspectives, and favor films that reinforce certain biases or fail to challenge others. Much of the time, that’s due to implicit or systematized biases rather than explicit intention, but that doesn’t change the result as much as people like to think.

On sites like IMDB that feature user scores, there isn’t so much of that implicit/explicit divide at hand. It’s a lot more explicit. Most popular feminist films and movies cast in an inclusive manner will have to make up for a deluge of low scores right out of the gate. That hauls average ratings down in a way that can’t be recovered.

Glance at these scores and you might think these films aren’t any good – that’s the purpose of review brigading. It’s also the result of the critical industry still trailing behind on inclusion. Averaged ratings can tell you something about the movie – but only insofar as they tell you who’s forming those ratings. Knowing the nature of those ratings – who’s making them and why – will tell you far more about whether you’ll like a film than whatever number is spit out at the end.

NEW SERIES

4400 (The CW)
showrunners Anne Fricke, Ariana Jackson

The reboot of the 2004 series puts an additional spin on its premise. Like the original, 4,400 people who disappeared over several decades suddenly reappear. They haven’t aged and they have no memory of where they went. The spin is that everyone who vanished is a marginalized person, often not even noticed in any public way. Obviously, this offers opportunities to contrast with the original.

Once again, ignore user scores – this one’s being brigaded by racist trolls.

Co-showrunner Anna Fricke wrote and produced on “Wayward Pines” and “Being Human”. Co-showrunner Ariana Jackson wrote and produced on “UnREAL” (one of my picks for best shows of the last decade) and “Riverdale”. Together, they showrun the new “4400.”

You can watch “4400” on The CW, with new episodes premiering on Mondays.

An Astrological Guide for Broken Hearts (Netflix)
showrunner Bindu De Stoppani

In this Italian series, Alice is fresh off a breakup. She looks to a new friend for romantic guidance: her astrology guru. Naturally in a 12-episode season, she considers a different sign every episode. The series is based on the novel by Silvia Zucca.

Showrunner Bindu De Stoppani has written and directed two features prior to this. “An Astrological Guide for Broken Hearts” is her first series.

You can watch “An Astrological Guide for Broken Hearts” in its entirety on Netflix.

The Mopes (HBO Max)
showrunner Ipek Zubert

Mat is a singer who is coping with mental illness. His depression is embodied as Monika, who only he can see and hear. Of course, she has a job to do depressing Mat, and her bosses make sure of it. “The Mopes” is a German comedy.

Writer and showrunner Ipek Zubert has directed on a few other German series before this.

You can watch “The Mopes” in its entirety on HBO Max.

NEW MOVIES

Women is Losers (HBO Max)
directed by Lissette Feliciano

Sharing its title with a Janis Joplin song, “Women is Losers” follows a pregnant, single Latina in 1970s San Francisco. She tries to make a living and build her life up in a society that’s squarely stacked against her.

This is the first feature from writer-director Lissette Feliciano.

You can watch “Women is Losers” on HBO Max.

Come Away (Hulu, Paramount+)
directed by Brenda Chapman

Nearly a year after its mid-COVID theatrical premiere, “Come Away” finally makes its way to streaming services. The film combines “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” and “Peter Pan” in a unique way. A sister and brother live out these fantasy worlds as a way of helping their parents cope with the death of their older brother and a debt they owe.

Brenda Chapman was the initial director of “Brave” (before being replaced in a horrendous decision by Pixar), and part of the directing team on “The Prince of Egypt”.

You can watch “Come Away” on Hulu or Paramount+, or see where to rent it.

Hypnotic (Netflix)
co-directed by Suzanne Coote

A woman begins seeing a hypnotherapist. She’d like to improve her life, but the sessions lead her into increasingly dangerous situations. It becomes clear her therapist is using hypnotism to control her.

Suzanne Coote directs with Matt Angel.

You can watch “Hypnotic” on Netflix.

Take a look at new shows + movies by women from past weeks.

If you enjoy what you read on this site, subscribe to Gabriel Valdez’s Patreon. It helps with the time and resources to continue writing articles like this one.