Tag Archives: anime

Why I (Almost) Never Skip the Opening Credits

Life is short and there are more good shows out there than we’ll ever have the time to see. So why do I almost never skip the credit sequence? Some shows take care of it themselves, either by not having one or having one so short that it’s over before you can even hit “Skip Intro”. It’s the long ones I’m talking about, though, the ones with a whole musical composition and listing the names involved.

OK, I will skip some credit sequences. It’s never a long road from there to here for me on “Star Trek: Enterprise” because I always take the shortcut. No, that song hasn’t gotten better, ironically or otherwise. I’ll also skip the openings on reality competitions, and this is what gets me thinking that my taste for credits has more to do with storytelling. The credit sequences I like most – the ones that stay with me and that I’ll seek out on YouTube to watch an extra few times – are the ones that establish an atmosphere and feeling that the scenes around them can play with.

Take the opening credits for “Evil”, centered on a small team investigating supernatural and mythological occurrences for the often unreliable Catholic Church. The show is a rarity as an actually scary horror series, boosted by one of the best ensembles on television. More than this, it’s got a palpable vein of humor running through it. It’s quick to incorporate current activism, criticize toxic trends, and has a talent for building tension off meta and meme humor. The opening credits have evolved from season to season so that the visuals reflect internal crises the characters are facing.

The credits capture a balance between the creeping suggestion of terror and the wry, smirking humor that gives it contrast. Is this going to be a funny episode, or a terrifying one? Will one turn into the other? Few shows are as good at putting you off-balance, and I watch the credits every time as the portal into that feeling. You’re looking at this curious, enigmatic, suggestive, escalating impression of something strange, which puts you right alongside the characters who do the same every episode. It’s a perfect introduction.

Of course, it’s not the only good one out there. The less said about “Severance” going into it, the better. Step in with no foreknowledge and you can have an exquisite time. Of course, the title sequence tells you a lot without your knowing it, so your impression can change as you get deeper into the series.

The blending of influences from Salvador Dali, Hieronymus Bosch, and German expressionism presented in the regimented, symmetrical, fractal manner of early computer art turns those opening credits into a moving painting, an evocative poem before the story itself.

Those are both pretty creepy openings. It’s not the only way opening titles can set a tone, but they don’t get to their unnerving places in the same way. They don’t even incorporate humor in the same way. “Evil” accelerates, increases the feeling of threat and pairs it with its macabre sense of humor. It portrays internal character struggles against the contrast of an exterior, unknowable, existential threat.

By contrast, “Severance” portrays its external plot with an internalized progression – the music is almost cautious, the images all center on its lead character and the things happening to him. Whereas the opening sequence for “Evil” is an escalating tone poem of impressions and visual humor built on our discomfort at the unexpected, the opening sequence for “Severance” is a journey of endurance filled with details and a visual humor built on schadenfreude. “Evil” invites us in to see things from the perspective of its characters. “Severance” points the finger back at us in a way that asks us to observe not just the show, but ourselves.

The best opening sequence of the year has a completely different feeling, though. For a series that witnesses characters endure such historical hardship, the joyous opening of “Pachinko” is a way of shaking off the narrow vision of one perspective, of asking us to see more in the characters than what they suffer. It’s also a way of treating survival, of diaspora itself, as a joy, that the only way for a culture to survive attempted genocide is for it to celebrate itself unabashedly.

By putting actors together who play characters in different eras, it also reminds us that actors playing these roles is in itself an acknowledgment, a celebration, an act of survival, of keeping alive those who didn’t make it, of reclaiming stories that someone else tried to erase. Few shows have been as utterly, breathtakingly beautiful as “Pachinko”. Every time, the opening titles open us up to seeing so much in each character.

Sometimes it’s not the opening that sets a tone, but the closing credits. Many shows opt for the title slam that sits there for two or three seconds to separate its cold open from whatever follows, but no opening sequence otherwise. It’s just straight prologue to action. Disney+ has favored this with its various original series in favor of more complex closing credits – which you sit through, of course, because of their post-credit stinger scenes. They often make this worth your while, such as the sumptuous concept art they show after each episode of “The Mandalorian”. It’s not just gorgeous art, it also shows you how something was changed from concept to filming.

And while the closing credits for “Moon Knight” and “She-Hulk: Attorney at Law” are both powerful, my favorite from Disney this year goes to “Ms. Marvel”. It contemplates through a child’s eyes the cultural impact of a billion white heroes on film with a few scattered heroes of color. What is the impact of that on a child of color? How do they see a world that prizes a certain type of person, and how do they see themselves in that world? How do they see their access to that world and how do they want to change it? How do they envision themselves as a hero in that world when it’s tooth and nail just to get the world to envision them that way once?

My favorite closing credits this year go to “Komi Can’t Communicate”. I’m pretty indifferent to slice-of-life anime, it’s just generally not my thing. I prefer sneaky cosmic horror anime, or post-apocalypse rock people, or Witcher-as-superchill-mythologecologist, or avant garde interdimensional survival. But people just existing? Ugh.

Yet “Komi Can’t Communicate” captures a serene sense of being, in the face of social anxiety so bad its title character can barely say a word to those she wishes would be her friends. It’s a deeply empathetic show built around the moments of opening up and learning to be happy with yourself that keep people going, and it also works as a satire on anime tropes that’s equipped with a lightning-quick visual humor.

The best compliment I can give it is that once, after watching a pair of episodes, I found myself just not doing the compulsions that are part of my OCD. I felt no pressing need to check the lock several times or that the faucet and stove were off over and over again. I could be where I was at peace, without a thousand things running through my head. Whatever anxiety drives those behaviors was just…gone for a time. My best guess is that part of it’s because the show manages to find what’s peaceful amidst chaos, and more keenly because it empathizes with the experience of anxiety at a core level that makes me feel understood. I can’t recall anything else I’ve watched ever having this effect on me.

As an anime, it has a few different opening and closing sequences depending on the style of episode, but its new closing credits capture moments frozen in time from the classroom across two different parts of the year. Aside from its sense of calm and well-being, it finds a way to describe each character. Every time you watch it, you can focus on a different character being themselves, evoking what you like or find interesting about them, their relationships with each other, and their own compulsions. You can see something new by following a different character or relationship every time you watch, or you can just let your eye wander across the scene. It captures what’s fulfilling about the series as a whole, and what connects about each character individually.

There’s often so much to a title or credit sequence. If series are connected short stories, these sequences are poems and interludes that join them, that evoke a different part of ourselves. We understand short stories with an analytical, even logical eye. Title and credit sequences are an opportunity to open up another part of ourselves that’s more willing to soak in the world, to appreciate the impressions it leaves in our memory and not just its plot. The title sequence sits outside of chronology or logical explanation. It gets to follow different rules, and it keeps attentive the part in each of us that views with those different rules. That’s why I (almost) never skip the intro on fiction. I want that part of me anticipating, enrapt, searching for feeling and atmosphere as much as I am for plot and character development.

If you enjoy articles like this, subscribe to Gabriel Valdez’s Patreon. It helps with the time and resources to write more like it.

New Shows + Movies by Women — August 12, 2022

August can be the start of a slow-down period in movie release calendars. Of course, every time domestic releases slow in the U.S., it becomes a good period for international films to shine through. These slower periods are when studios look for international and genre films to catch on with audiences that may have had their fill of summer blockbusters. This week boasts movies from France, Greece, India, Mexico, and Taiwan, as well as the U.S.

Let’s get to new series by women first, where we find an adaptation of a 90s classic, and a visually arresting anime spin-off.

NEW SERIES

A League of Their Own (Amazon)
co-showrunner Abbi Jacobson

An adaptation of the 1992 film directed by Penny Marshall, “A League of Their Own” centers on the players in a women’s pro baseball team during World War 2.

Abbi Jacobson showruns with Will Graham, as well as starring. You’ll likely recognize Jacobson as the creator and co-star of “Broad City” (with Ilana Glazer). “A League of Their Own” has the blessing of original director Marshall and star Geena Davis, and seeks to expand the storytelling to tackle issues of race and sexuality in the league.

You can watch “A League of Their Own” on Amazon. All 8 hourlong episodes are available immediately.

Kakegurui Twin (Netflix)
directed by Makita Kaori

The new series shares its world with Netflix’s visually striking original anime “Kakegurui”. The prequel shows how certain characters made their name at the high school for high stakes gamblers.

Makita Kaori also directed “Twittering Birds Never Fly”. She started out as a design manager on “Terror in Resonance” and “Space Dandy”.

You can watch “Kakegurui Twin” on Netflix. All 6 half-hour episodes are available now.

NEW MOVIES

Reclaim (Netflix)
directed by CJ Wang

A woman managing work, family, and caring for her mother with dementia doesn’t have the time to take care of herself. She looks at buying a larger house so that everyone can have their own space, but this opens up questions of money and splitting the family up.

Director CJ Wang won Taiwan’s Golden Harvest Award for short films in 2015 for “Rowboat”. This is her first feature.

You can watch “Reclaim” on Netflix.

CW for “Holy Emy”: disturbing images, even for horror

Holy Emy (MUBI)
directed by Araceli Lemos

In this Greek horror, a Filipina girl named Emy hides a condition she thinks is supernatural. She wonders if it has to do with her mother, who has healing powers but was forced to return to the Philippines.

The film scored 15 nominations at the Greek Academy Awards, winning for best director and supporting actress (Hasmine Killip). It’s the first narrative feature for writer-director Araceli Lemos, who got her start doing sound and later editing for documentaries.

You can watch “Holy Emy” on MUBI.

Darlings (Netflix)
directed by Jasmeet K. Reen

This Indian film joins stars Alia Bhatt and Shefali Shah in a dark comedy about Badru and her mother taking revenge on Badru’s violent husband.

Jasmeet K. Reen has written on a number of Hindi-language screenplays, and this is her first feature as director.

You can watch “Darlings” on Netflix.

Our Eternal Summer (MUBI)
directed by Emilie Aussel

In this French film, Lise immerses herself in a carefree summer at 18, while coping with the loss of her best friend.

This is the first feature from director and co-writer Emilie Aussel.

You can watch “Our Eternal Summer” on MUBI.

Don’t Blame Karma (Netflix)
directed by Elisa Miller

In this Mexican film, Sara wonders if bad luck is real when her sister and a former crush get engaged. (No English translation for this trailer, but the film on Netflix will have them available.)

Director Elisa Miller has twice been nominated for her short films at Mexico’s Ariel Awards (akin to the Oscars in the U.S.), including one win.

You can watch “Don’t Blame Karma” on Netflix.

Luck (Apple TV+)
directed by Peggy Holmes

Magical organizations that support good luck and bad luck compete against each other in this animated film.

Director Peggy Holmes started as a choreographer on films ranging from “Newsies” to “Wayne’s World” and “Hocus Pocus”.

You can watch “Luck” on Apple TV+.

13: The Musical (Netflix)
directed by Tamra Davis

Evan moves from New York City to rural Indiana after his parents’ divorce. His plan to establish himself at his new school is to throw the best Bar Mitzvah in history.

Tamra Davis has also directed on “Miracle Workers” and “Future Man”, among countless other series and films (such as “Half Baked”.) She got her start as a music video director in the 80s for Depeche Mode and The Smiths, continuing on to work with Faith No More, Sonic Youth, Indigo Girls, Bonnie Raitt, and Veruca Salt.

You can watch “13: The Musical” 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 — July 8, 2022

I’m continuing to cover new series and films on streaming. With box office having returned to normal levels, you might wonder why I’m not yet covering new films in theaters. I’ve struggled with that, and I recognize most of my country (the U.S.) has returned to some version of “normal” in relation to COVID. Yet in the midst of another West Coast surge, case numbers that dwarf last summer’s (though deaths are lower), new strains for which we haven’t yet gotten vaccines, and other countries still rushing into lockdown, it’s hard to feel like we’re out of the woods.

That’s not what people want to hear, there’s so much else that needs facing right now. We’re exhausted, a movie in a theater would be nice, and I’m not qualified to judge anyone who’s going to see a movie. That’s not my point. Different parts of this country are in different COVID situations, and we’re in such a disorganized gray area that it’s hard to be able to assess things accurately. If I were in certain areas, I’d feel comfortable going to the theater. In my area, it’s iffy. In California today, this week, I probably wouldn’t. Since my readership is across the country, and even in different countries (I do well in Southeast Asia, Oceania, and Central Europe, and I’ve got no clue what the COVID situations are there) it makes sense to me to still focus on what we can watch at home.

It’s not as if there’s a shortage of great work out there, and anything I don’t cover in the theater today I’ll be able to cover when it comes out on VOD and when it hits a streaming platform. Is it the right decision? Oh god, who knows anymore? It’s the one I’ve got, and that makes sense in terms of how to keep covering things for now. Please keep on taking precautions and staying safe, all.

This week, there’s a promising new comedy, new anime, and new films from Egypt, France, Laos, and the U.K.

NEW SERIES

Boo, Bitch (Netflix)
Showrunners Erin Ehrlich, Lauren Iungerich

Lana Condor stars as a high school senior desperately trying to get seen. This becomes a lot more difficult when she dies and becomes a ghost.

Erin Ehrlich wrote and produced on “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”, “Awkward.”, and “King of the Hill”, while Lauren Iungerich wrote and produced on “Awkward.” and “On My Block”.

You can watch “Boo, Bitch” on Netflix. All 8 episodes are available immediately.

Maggie (Hulu)
co-showrunner Maggie Mull
mostly directed by women

Maggie struggles to balance her psychic abilities and seeing the future of all her friends, while still leading a normal life.

Maggie Mull showruns with Justin Adler. Mull previously wrote and produced on “Life in Pieces” and “Family Guy”.

10 of the 13 episodes are directed by women, with 5 by “Black-ish” director Natalia Anderson, and one apiece by five other directors including Shiri Appleby.

You can watch “Maggie” on Hulu. All 13 episodes are available immediately.

When Will Ayumu Make His Move? (HiDive)
directed by Mirai Minato

Ayumu is a first year high school student, Urushi a second year. Ayumu decides to tell her his feelings once he’s at her level in a game called shogi, but his skill is nowhere close to Urushi’s – and she thinks he’s too straightforward already.

Director Mirai Minato has helmed recent anime series such as “The Dungeon of Black Company” and “I Don’t Want to Get Hurt, So I’ll Max Out My Defense”.

You can watch “When Will Ayumu Make His Move?” on HiDive. Episodes are simulcast as they air in Japan, so expect to see new entries every Friday.

NEW MOVIES

The Long Walk (Shudder, Tubi)
directed by Mattie Do

In Laos, a ghost transports a hermit 50 years back in time. He arrives at the moment his mother is due a painful death.

Horror director Mattie Do has pioneered Laotian filmmaking and foreign co-productions in a country that struggles with rigid censorship. Her first two films were funded through crowdfunding, and the first was even made open source. She originally trained as a make-up artist for film.

You can watch “The Long Walk” on Shudder, Tubi, or see where to rent it.

The Souvenir: Part II (Showtime)
directed by Joanna Hogg

“The Souvenir” is a pair of films starring Honor Swinton Byrne and her mother, Tilda Swinton. Swinton Byrne stars as Julie, a film student in the 80s who gets involved with an untrustworthy and gaslighting man. “Part II” tells the story of her processing this relationship as she makes her graduate film.

Writer-director Joanna Hogg is a standout indie British filmmaker, previously directing “Archipelago” and “Unrelated”.

You can watch both parts of “The Souvenir” on Showtime, or see where to rent it.

Dangerous Liaisons (Netflix)
directed by Rachel Suissa

The academic Celene falls in love with Tristan, unaware she’s the subject of a bet he’s made with the narcissistic Vanessa. The French series is based on the 1782 novel. It’s been adapted many times into many eras, and chances are you’ve seen “Cruel Intentions”, “Valmont”, or one of several “Dangerous Liaisons”.

This is the first feature from writer-director Rachel Suissa.

You can watch “Dangerous Liaisons” on Netflix.

Trapped (Netflix)
directed by Manal Khaled

Seven women are trapped inside as the 2011 Egyptian revolution rages. They attempt to cope and busy themselves as communications are shut down.

Director Manal Khaled has a background as an assistant director and creating documentary shorts.

You can watch “Trapped” 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 — April 15, 2022

I want to take this week’s intro to talk about the range of new abortion restrictions that are sweeping state to state. As the news focuses on a hundred other things, please don’t lose sight of new abortion restrictions that just passed this week in Florida and Kentucky (this last overriding the governor’s veto). Kentucky’s is in effect, while Florida’s and an earlier ban passed in Arizona both take effect in July. Oklahoma and West Virginia have each passed a ban through one house of their legislature. Idaho’s is signed into law but is temporarily blocked by courts.

Texas-style bans have been introduced in state legislatures in 13 states. Trigger bans that would take effect upon Roe v. Wade being overturned by the Supreme Court have been passed in 12 states and introduced in six others.

Partial bans on abortion pills already exist in Indiana and Texas. New bans on medication abortions have been introduced in eight other states.

In some good news, Maryland overrode a governor’s veto to legislatively protect the right to abortion this week. Many states are in the process of doing so, and some are taking the next step of enshrining the right to abortion within their state constitutions. Some are also considering sanctuary bills that would make it easier for women to travel to their state in order to access an abortion.

Some states have competing bills, with bans and protections both introduced. Washington Post has a useful rundown of the different types of bills being considered, and what stage each is at. Many women are already familiar with this fight. Men read this article, too. I urge other men to join with and support this fight for women’s rights. Our voices don’t need to lead here, but they should encourage other men to support women’s rights, and we should be making those calls to our state legislators and governors that encourage them to protect women’s right to choose.

Most politicians are still men who hire other men, which means these offices habitually dismiss the voices of women. They need to hear men supporting women’s rights and also telling these offices that we expect them to listen to women’s voices and not just ours. If allied men don’t figure women’s rights are worth actively supporting, then assume that allied men with responsibility and positions of power also figure that. They don’t change that attitude unless we do. We need to shoulder more of the work in support of this fight.

Let’s talk about new series by women this week. There are no new films.

NEW SERIES

Roar (Apple TV+)
showrunners Liz Flahive, Carly Mensch
directed by women

The creators of “GLOW” adapt Cecelia Ahern’s collection of short stories in a dark comedy anthology about women’s often overlooked experiences.

Nicole Kidman, Cynthia Erivo, Issa Rae, Alison Brie, and Betty Gilpin all feature at some point in the anthology.

Liz Flahive has written and produced on “Homeland”. Carly Mensch has written and produced on “Weeds” and “Orange is the New Black”. The pair both worked on “Nurse Jackie” and “GLOW”. Halley Feiffer, Janine Nabers, and Vera Santamaria join them as directors on “Roar.”

You can watch “Roar” on Apple TV+. All eight episodes are available immediately.

Swimming with Sharks (Roku)
showrunner Kathleen Robertson

Kiernan Shipka and Diane Kruger star as an assistant and her abusive boss at a Hollywood studio. Shipka’s Lou quickly learns how to outwit the manipulations of her workplace.

Kathleen Robertson starred in “The Expanse”. This is her first time writing and second time producing on a series.

You can watch “Swimming with Sharks” on Roku. All episodes are available immediately.

CW: sexual assault

Anatomy of a Scandal (Netflix)
showrunner Melissa James Gibson
directed by S.J. Clarkson

A sexual assault scandal erupts around a British politician and his wife starts to question all of the stories he’s told her. Sienna Miller stars.

Showrunner Melissa James Gibson wrote on “The Americans” and wrote and produced on the U.S. “House of Cards”. Director S.J. Clarkson has helmed episodes of “Jessica Jones” and “Dexter”.

You can watch “Anatomy of a Scandal” on Netflix. All six episodes are available immediately.

CW: image of man on fire

Verdict (Amazon)
showrunner Paula Knudsen
directed by Anahi Berneri, Marina Meliande

This Uruguayan show involves the investigation of a terrible crime that goes viral on social media. (There’s currently no English trailer, but the series is subtitled.)

Showrunner Paula Knudsen has written on the Brazilian and U.S. versions of “Julie and the Phantoms”. Directors Anahi Berneri and Marina Meliande have each made several South American films.

You can watch “Verdict” on Amazon Prime. All six episodes are available immediately.

Aoashi (Crunchyroll)
directed by Satou Akira

In this anime, Aoi Ashito ruins his chances of being recruited by a quality high school soccer club when he creates on on-field incident. He does catch the eye of one recruiter, though.

This is Satou Akira’s second series as director.

You can watch “Aoashi” on Crunchyroll. New episodes arrive Saturdays.

Hard Cell (Netflix)
showrunner Catherine Tate

Catherine Tate writes, directs, and stars in multiple roles in this British mockumentary that follows inmates and staff at a women’s prison.

Catherine Tate is generally regarded as the best of the “Doctor Who” companions since its reboot. She also starred in “The Catherine Tate Show” and in later seasons of the American version of “The Office”.

You can watch “Hard Cell” 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 — April 8, 2022

April means the spring anime season is upon us, so get ready for idols, isekai, and mecha. The anime industry drops nearly every premiere within a two-week span toward the start of each season. That means they get much more grouped up than Western shows. This week, there are three new anime series by women, a new K-drama, and new films from Norway and the U.S.

NEW SERIES

Heroines Run the Show (Crunchyroll)
directed by Noriko Hashimoto

Hiyori Suzumi moves to Tokyo to train as a track athlete. The job she gets stuck with is managing a male idol group. It’s difficult for her to balance school, track, work, and free time, especially when the pair she’s managing is in her class.

This is the first series Noriko Hashimoto is directing.

You can watch “Heroines Run the Show” on Crunchyroll. The first episode is available now and new episodes arrive Thursdays.

The Greatest Demon Lord is Reborn as a Typical Nobody (Crunchyroll)
directed by Minato Mirai

Varvatos has grown to become too powerful a sorcerer. The only option left is to travel into the future and become an average kid…who boasts tremendous powers.

Minato Mirai has directed extensively in the “Fate/Stay” universe and helmed last year’s “The Dungeon of Black Company”.

You can watch “The Greatest Demon Lord is Reborn as a Typical Nobody” on Crunchyroll. The premiere is available now and new episodes arrive on Wednesdays.

Tiger & Bunny 2 (Netflix)
directed by Kase Mitsuko

Netflix resurrects a classic anime series where superhumans are sponsored and climb annual rankings for their heroics. Veteran heroes Kotetsu and Barnaby may struggle to stay in the game after all these years.

I normally focus on series premieres and not second seasons, especially because anime universes can grow enough offshoots to make the MCU multiverse look tame, but given that there’ve been no new entries since 2011, this is a bit of a unique case.

Director Kase Mitsuko also helmed “Ristorante Paradiso” and “Saikano”. Her career stretches back to mecha series in the 70s and 80s.

You can watch “Tiger & Bunny 2” on Netflix. The series should be able to stand on its own, but Netflix does have the first season from 2011 if you want to start there. All 13 episodes are available immediately.

Green Mothers Club (Netflix)
directed by Ra Ha Na

In this Korean series, five mothers meet through their children’s school. Despite their different outlooks and experiences, they learn to support each other in ways they can’t find elsewhere.

Ra Ha Na directs. She’s also directed “Tinted with You”.

You can watch “Green Mothers Club” on Netflix. The premiere is available now and new episodes arrive every Wednesday for a total of 16.

NEW MOVIES

Freeland (MUBI)
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.

You can watch “Freeland” on MUBI, or see where to rent it.

Life After You (VOD)
directed by Sarah T. Schwab

After the death of their 19 year-old son from an overdose laced with fentanyl, a family struggles with who is responsible.

This is the first feature film from director and co-writer Sarah T. Schwab.

See where to rent “Life After You”.

Battle: Freestyle (Netflix)
directed by Ingvild Soderlind

Amalie is torn between love, an absent mother, and going with her dance team to the global finals in France. The Norwegian film is based on the novel by Maja Lunde.

This is the second feature film from director Ingvild Soderlind.

You can watch “Battle: Freestyle” 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 — March 11, 2022

There’s a lot to get into, so let’s dive right in this week. New series come from France, Japan, Romania, the U.K., and the U.S., while new movies come from the Czech Republic, Poland, and the U.S.

NEW SERIES

Shining Vale (Starz)
co-showrunner Sharon Horgan

Courteney Cox and Greg Kinnear star in a fantasy comedy about a family that moves into an old home known for its horrible past. Things get stranger and stranger, but the only one who seems to notice is Cox’s Pat, who suspects she might be possessed.

Sharon Horgan created and showruns “Shining Vale” with Jeff Astrof. An Irish actress and writer who became involved in BBC productions, she produced, wrote, and starred in “Catastrophe” and “Pulling”.

You can watch “Shining Vale” on Starz. The first two episodes are out now, with new ones dropping every Sunday.

The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey (Apple TV)
half-directed by women

Samuel L. Jackson plays an elderly man with dementia. He has one last chance to remember his past and investigate the death of his nephew. The series is based on the novel by Walter Mosley.

Hanelle M. Culpepper (“Star Trek: Picard”, “Gotham”) directs 2 episodes, and Debbie Allen (“Everybody Hates Chris”, “Scandal”) directs one.

You can watch “The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey” on Apple TV. The first episode is available now, and new episodes arrive on Fridays.

The Thing About Pam (NBC)
showrunner Jenny Klein

Renee Zellweger stars as Pam Hupp in a comedy adaptation of a recent murder. Hupp was initially successful in framing someone else for the crime. Judy Greer and Josh Duhamel co-star.

Showrunner Jenny Klein has written on “Supernatural” and produced on “The Witcher” and “Cloak & Dagger”.

You can watch “The Thing About Pam” on NBC or Hulu. The premiere is available now, with new episodes on Tuesdays.

Ruxx (HBO Max)
showrunner Vera Ion
mostly directed by Iulia Rugina

Can’t find a translated trailer for this Romanian romantic dramedy. It follows Ruxx, who’s navigating political work, family, and romantic life, as well as the toxicity and misogyny that enters into each.

Showrunner and writer Vera Ion is a Romanian playwright. Iulia Rugina directs six of the eight episodes, and she’s already seen two feature films and two short films nominated in the Gopos Awards, Romania’s equivalent to our Oscars.

You can watch “Ruxx” on HBO Max. Three episodes are available now, with a new one dropping every Tuesday.

The Chelsea Detective (Acorn TV)
half-directed by Darcia Martin

Two detectives investigate the elite of London’s Chelsea neighborhood in a new four-episode series. As is the case with many British mysteries, each episode lasts around an hour-and-a-half.

Darcia Martin directs two episodes. She’s directed on “Shakespeare & Hathaway” and “Father Brown”.

You can watch “The Chelsea Detective” on Acorn TV. The first mystery is available, with a new one debuting every Monday.

Weekend Family (Disney+)
half-directed by Sophie Reine

Emmanuelle is an academic who falls for a man with three children. Each has a different mother who’s very involved in their lives, and the entire family gets together every weekend. Emmanuelle learns how to navigate the situation over the course of eight episodes. This is Disney+’s first original series in French.

Sophie Reine shares directing duties with Pierre-Francois Martin-Laval, at four episodes apiece. Reine is a prolific editor of French film. She edited “The Connection” and won a Cesar award (France’s Oscar equivalent) for her editing on “The First Day of the Rest of Your Life”. She was also nominated for Best First Film for her “Cigarettes et chocolat chaud”.

Disclosure: I know Emmanuelle’s voice-over artist on the English dub, Jessie Hendricks.

You can watch “Weekend Family” on Disney+. All 10 episodes are available immediately.

Kotaro Lives Alone (Netflix)
directed by Makino Tomoe

In this anime, a manga artist who’s become unpopular finds himself caring for a 5 year-old child who lives alone.

Makino Tomoe directed her first series last year with “Woodpecker Detective’s Office”. She’s worked her way through key animation, storyboard, and episode direction jobs on various anime.

You can watch “Kotaro Lives Alone” on Netflix. All 10 episodes are available now.

NEW MOVIES

Turning Red (Disney+)
directed by Domee Shi

In Pixar’s latest film, Mei Lee is a 13 year-old girl who’s struggling through adolescence. Making things more complicated is the fact that whenever she gets excited, she turns into a giant red panda. Aside from Rosalie Chiang as Mei Lee, the voice cast also includes Sandra Oh, Maitreyi Ramakrishnan, Orion Lee, and James Hong.

Director and co-writer Domee Shi won an Oscar for Best Animated Short with “Bao”. She’s also been a storyboard artist on “Inside Out”, “Incredibles 2”, and “Toy Story 4”.

You can watch “Turning Red” on Disney+.

Mainstream (Showtime)
directed by Gia Coppola

Andrew Garfield stars as a major social media influencer who builds his brand off impostor syndrome. Those around him participate in an organized, insincere chaos, less and less sure if they’re the parts they play or the people lost in them.

Director and co-writer Gia Coppola is the niece of Sofia Coppola and granddaughter of Francis Ford Coppola. This is her second feature after 2013’s “Palo Alto”. She’s also directed music videos for Carly Rae Jepsen and Blood Orange.

You can watch “Mainstream” on Showtime, or see where to rent it.

India Sweets and Spices (Hulu)
directed by Geeta Malik

Alia returns from college during the summer, only to find her parents’ past secrets are disrupting the family she thought she knew.

This is the second feature from writer-director Geeta Malik after the well-regarded “Troublemaker”. She started out in the industry as a grip and assistant camera, in between making short films.

You can watch “India Sweets and Spices” on Hulu, or see where to rent it.

Even Mice Belong in Heaven (Tubi)
co-directed by Denisa Grimmova

In this Czech stop-motion animated film, a mouse and fox meet in animal heaven. They become friends, only to be reborn into opposite roles.

Denisa Grimmova directs with Jan Bubenicek. This is her first feature film.

You can watch “Even Mice Belong in Heaven” on Tubi, or see where to rent it.

Autumn Girl (Netflix)
showrunner Katarzyna Klimkiewicz

This Polish drama follows Kalina Jedrusik. The singer and actress came to symbolize women’s sexual freedom and independence in the 1960s.

Katarzyna Klimkiewicz directs and co-writes the series. She won a European Film Award for her short “Hanoi-Warszawa” in 2009.

You can watch “Autumn Girl” on Netflix.

Mark, Mary & Some Other People (Hulu)
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”.

This was previously featured, but you can now watch “Mark, Mary & Some Other People” on Hulu, or see where to rent it.

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 — February 11, 2022

There’s a lot to get to this week. With 14 titles, most streaming services see something new, but it’s an especially good week if you have Netflix or Shudder. Just from what I’ve observed writing this feature for the past two years, Netflix regularly has a big influx of projects by women. I don’t know that they have a higher rate than others. Since Netflix has a much larger output compared to other streaming services, it could just be a matter of volume. Either way, there are weeks like this where a huge number of titles by women appear on the platform.

As for Shudder, it’s picking up a lot of horror films that came out on rental last year, but that haven’t found a subscription service until now. These can be international, like Argentina’s “Rock, Paper and Scissors”, or a low-budget indie like “I Blame Society”. Shudder can be pretty good at grabbing these horror gems by women that other services overlook.

Of course, with Valentine’s Day around the corner, there’s also a number of romantic comedies out there. It’s a genre I do miss and they look surprisingly good. Expect to see some promising ones coming out this and next week.

New shows and films by women this week come from Argentina, Iran, Japan, the Netherlands, South Korea, the U.K., and the U.S.

NEW SERIES

Inventing Anna (Netflix)
showrunner Shonda Rhimes

Julia Garner stars as Anna, a con artist who uses Instagram to convince New York high society that she’s a German heiress…before stealing their money. The series is based on a real-life case where Anna Sorokin defrauded banks, hotels, and the wealthy throughout the 2010s. If you don’t know Garner, she’s absolutely an actress to keep your attention on.

Shonda Rhimes created and showruns “Inventing Anna”. Rhimes has produced on “Bridgerton”, “Scandal”, “How to Get Away with Murder”, and “Grey’s Anatomy”.

You can watch “Inventing Anna” on Netflix. All 10 episodes are immediately available.

Sister Boniface Mysteries (Britbox)
showrunner Jude Tindall

A Catholic nun spends her free time solving mysteries.

Showrunner and writer Jude Tindall also created and wrote for “Shakespeare & Hathaway: Private Investigators”, and wrote on the show where the character of Sister Boniface first appeared, “Father Brown”.

You can watch “Sister Boniface Mysteries” on Britbox. New episodes arrive every Tuesday.

NEW MOVIES

Ballad of a White Cow (MUBI)
co-directed by Maryam Moghadam

Maryam Moghadam writes, directs, and stars as Mina in this Iranian film. Mina discovers her husband was innocent of the crime for which he was executed. She attempts to fight the very system that denies her even the most basic agency as a woman.

Maryam Moghadam directs with Behtash Sanaeeha. As an actress, she’s appeared in a number of Iranian films. This is her third film as a writer, and second as director.

You can watch “Ballad of a White Cow” on MUBI.

The Sky is Everywhere (Apple TV)
directed by Josephine Decker

Based on the novel by Jandy Nelson, a shy musician tries to keep growing up in the wake of her older sister’s death.

Josephine Decker directs, and she’s kind of a big deal. She helmed “Shirley” starring Elisabeth Moss, and “Madeline’s Madeline”. She has a tendency to get weird, meta, and experimental.

You can watch “The Sky is Everywhere” on Apple TV.

Anne+ (Netflix)
directed by Valerie Bisscheroux

In this Dutch film, a graduate navigates her love life in the LGBTQ+ scene of Amsterdam, while trying to get her writing career off the ground.

The film is based on director and co-writer Valerie Bisscheroux’s series “Anne Plus”.

You can watch “Anne+” on Netflix.

I Blame Society (multiple services, VOD)
directed by Gillian Wallace Horvat

Gillian is a good filmmaker, but she just can’t seem to break through. Then it comes to her: the skills to be a good director are very similar to the skills needed to commit the perfect murder.

Writer-director Gillian Wallace Horvat is a prolific producer and director of video documentary shorts. Put another way, she directs those documentary featurettes that end up as extra features on new releases and remasters. Some are historical, some are analytical, some confront problematic elements in classic films.

It’s a unique skillset and she has about 50 of these to her credit in just the last five years, along with occasional award-winning shorts.

You can watch “I Blame Society” on Hoopla, Kanopy, Shudder, Tubi, or see where to rent it.

Child of Kamiari Month (Netflix)
directed by Shirai Takana

A girl named Kanna is a descendant of the gods. It’s her family’s duty to collect offerings from around Japan and deliver them to the gods. When her mother passes away, Kanna takes the responsibility on in the hope the gods can reunite them.

Shirai Takana started out doing in-between animation on movies a decade ago, worked her way through key animation jobs, and assistant directed 2020’s visually stunning “Children of the Sea”. This is her first film as director.

You can watch “Child of Kamiari Month” on Netflix.

Marry Me (Peacock)
directed by Kat Coiro

Jennifer Lopez stars as singer Kat Valdez, who’s about to marry her longtime partner Bastian in front of a global audience. She learns seconds beforehand that he’s been unfaithful. Totally reasonably she marries a stranger in the crowd, a man named Charlie who just so happens to be played by Owen Wilson.

Based on the graphic novel, Kat Coiro directs. She’s been a director on “Dead to Me”, “The Mick”, and “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”. She’s also directing the upcoming MCU “She-Hulk” series.

You can watch “Marry Me” on Peacock.

Love and Leashes (Netflix)
directed by Park Hyeon-jin

A woman stumbles on her co-worker’s secret, and the two develop a romantic bond over BDSM. The Korean romantic comedy is based on a webtoon.

Writer-director Park Hyeon-jin has previously directed “I Am Your Bleating Phone” and “Like for Likes”.

You can watch “Love and Leashes” on Netflix.

Rock, Paper and Scissors (Shudder, VOD)
co-directed by Macarena Garcia Lenzi

In this Argentinean horror film, two siblings resent their half-sister when she seeks her part of their father’s inheritance. They don’t want to sell the house they’ve inherited, so they decide to hold her captive, playing a series of escalating games.

Macarena Garcia Lenzi directs with Martin Blousson. It’s the first narrative feature for either.

You can watch “Rock, Paper and Scissors” on Shudder, or see where to rent it.

Alone with You (VOD)
co-directed by Emily Bennett

A woman eagerly anticipates her girlfriend’s homecoming. As she prepares, their apartment begins to take on hallucinatory qualities, hinting at a truth she’s tried not to recognize.

Emily Bennett co-writes, directs with Justin Brooks, and stars. This is her first feature film as director.

See where to rent “Alone with You”.

Homestay (Amazon)
directed by Seta Natsuki

In this Japanese film, a high school student passes away and a soul takes up residence in their body. That soul has 100 days to figure out the truth behind that student’s death. I believe this is a remake of a Thai film, but based on a novel by Japanese writer Eto Mori. Can’t find a subtitled or dubbed trailer for the Japanese version, but English subtitles will be available on Amazon.

Seta Natsuki has directed on several Japanese films and the series “The Curry Songs”.

You can watch “Homestay” on Amazon.

The Kindness of Strangers (Netflix)
directed by Lone Scherfig

Clara and her two sons escape from her abusive husband. In a tough New York City winter, their survival is reliant on rare, intertwining acts of kindness. Zoe Kazan stars as Clara.

Writer-director Lone Scherfig has directed a number of films in Denmark, the U.K., and the U.S. This includes the Oscar-nominated “An Education”, as well as “Italian for Beginners” and “Their Finest”.

You can watch “The Kindness of Strangers” on Netflix.

Tall Girl 2 (Netflix)
directed by Emily Ting

A tall girl has gained popularity at school, and as the lead in the school play has to navigate social issues she hadn’t before. This is the sequel to “Tall Girl”.

Emily Ting directs. This is her third film.

You can watch “Tall Girl 2” 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 — February 4, 2022

There are some genuinely heavy hitters this week – I expect to be talking about Megan Park’s “The Fallout” as one of the best films of 2022. Malgorzata Szumowska may be Poland’s most important filmmaker right now, and “Never Gonna Snow Again” looks like a biting satire. Hong Kong director Heiward Mak is a crucial up-and-coming voice.

There are also filmmakers like Mohawk director Tracey Deer and Kosovan director Norika Sefa each making their debuts.

Let’s start with series first:

NEW SERIES

Pam & Tommy (Hulu)
mostly directed by women

Lily James (Disney’s most recent “Cinderella”) and Sebastian Stan (the MCU’s Winter Soldier) star as Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee. The series recounts their relationship from its start (they married 96 hours after meeting), and the impact of their infamous 1995 sex tape. Taylor Schilling, Nick Offerman, and Seth Rogen co-star.

The series is showrun by Robert Siegel, and “I, Tonya” director Craig Gillespie helms the first three episodes. After that, those last five episodes are directed by three different women. “In a World…” director (and actress/voice actress) Lake Bell directs two. “Sons of Anarchy” and “American Horror Story” director Gwyneth Horder-Payton directs another two. “A Teacher” showrunner Hannah Fidell directs one.

You can watch “Pam & Tommy” on Hulu. The first three episodes are already available, with a new one premiering every Wednesday for a total of eight.

New Gold Mountain (Sundance Now)
directed by Corrie Chen

It’s 1857, during the Australian gold rush. Tensions between Chinese and European miners come to a head when a European woman in Chinese clothing is found murdered. Yoson An plays a character loosely based on Fook Shing, the historical Chinese detective who policed the gold fields during this era.

Director Corrie Chen has directed on several Australian series.

You can watch “New Gold Mountain” on Sundance Now. All four episodes should be available immediately.

Salaryman’s Club (Crunchyroll)
directed by Aimi Yamauchi

Also known as “Ryman’s Club”, this anime follows a group of businessmen who meet up to play badminton.

Director Aimi Yamauchi has worked as an episode director and storyboard artist on “Tokyo Revengers” and “Mugen no Juunin: Immortal”.

You can watch “Salaryman’s Club” on Crunchyroll. New episodes arrive on Saturdays.

NEW MOVIES

The Fallout (HBO Max)
directed by Megan Park

I can’t think about “The Fallout” without feeling emotionally overwhelmed. It’s a brilliant film, a very early contender for best film of 2022, and it’s the best I’ve seen for engaging the issue of school shootings. My review goes into detail without spoilers.

Jenna Ortega delivers one of the most natural performances I can remember as Vada, a student who survives a gun massacre at her high school. “The Fallout” tracks her trauma in an experiential way as she desperately tries to find some place in her life where she can feel in control again.

It’s a shattering depiction of what we’ve now put three generations in a row through for no reason. It’s a very tough watch, but it’s also so human and empathetic that I’d watch it again in a heartbeat.

I missed this one in last week’s rundown. I obviously highly recommend it.

This is the first feature from writer-director Megan Park, perhaps best known for her role as Grace on “The Secret Life of the American Teenager”.

You can watch “The Fallout” on HBO Max.

Never Gonna Snow Again (MUBI)
co-directed by Malgorzata Szumowska

Zhenia is a Russian immigrant in Poland. He works as a massage therapist…until his wealthy clients begin looking to him as a guru.

This was Poland’s submission as Best International Feature for the Oscars last year. Co-writer and co-director Malgorzata Szumowska directs with her oft-cinematographer Michal Englert. Szumowska gives her films an exacting sense of purpose. I found her “The Other Lamb” to be disturbingly precise in the ways it overwhelms. She’s a commanding director everyone should watch at least once.

You can watch “Never Gonna Snow Again” on MUBI.

Beans (Hulu)
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.)

“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”.

“Beans” was previously available for rental, but this is the first time it’s come to a subscription service.

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

Fagara (OVID TV)
directed by Heiward Mak

After her father’s death, a woman discovers two previously unknown sisters. In debt and struggling to keep the family’s restaurant alive, she reaches out and begins to forge relationships with them.

Heiward Mak has written, directed, and often edited several independent Hong Kong films.

You can watch “Fagara” on OVID TV, a service that specializes in international and independent cinema.

Looking for Venera (MUBI)
directed by Norika Sefa

In this Kosovan film, Venera is a teen aching to get away from home. She shares a small house with three generations of her family, and never has any privacy.

This is the first feature from writer-director Norika Sefa.

You can watch “Looking for Venera” on MUBI.

Stop and Go (Hulu)
co-directed by Mallory Everton

Two sisters set out on a road trip to rescue their grandmother from a nursing home where COVID has broken out.

Mallory Everton directs with Stephen Meek. This is her first feature.

“Stop and Go” was previously available for rental, but this is the first time it’s come to a subscription service.

You can watch “Stop and Go” on Hulu, or see where to rent it.

Book of Love (Amazon)
directed by Analeine Cal y Mayor

Two writers find themselves drawn to each other after they’re thrown together on a Mexican book tour: the original author and the translator who drastically rewrote his novel. Veronica Echegui and Sam Claflin star.

This is the third film from director and co-writer Analeine Cal y Mayor.

You can watch it on Amazon Prime.

The Translator (VOD)
co-directed by Rana Kazkaz

In 2011, a Syrian exile lives in Australia. When he learns his brother has been taken by the Assad regime, he travels back to Syria in an attempt to free him.

Rana Kazkaz directs with Anas Khalaf. This is her first feature film.

See where to rent “The Translator”.

What Breaks the Ice (Showtime)
directed by Rebecca Eskreis

Two girls form a friendship in 1998, as their vision of their place in the world is impacted by the country’s obsession with the Monica Lewinsky scandal. When they’re invited to a rave, things go wrong and they have to defend themselves. Will the culture they live in ever believe their side of the story?

This is the first feature from writer-director Rebecca Eskreis. She got her start in production design.

You can watch “What Breaks the Ice” on Showtime, or rent it on Amazon, Apple TV, Google Play, Vudu, or YouTube.

Honey Girls (Netflix)
directed by Trey Fanjoy

Ashanti stars as Fancy G, a pop star hosting a contest to find the next big solo artist. Three contestants realize working together to form their own band helps all of them, instead of just one of them.

Trey Fanjoy is a prolific music video director, most notably for Taylor Swift. She directed “Teardrops on My Guitar”, “Our Song”, “Picture to Burn”, and “White Horse”, among others. She’s also helmed numerous music videos for Reba McEntire, Miranda Lambert, and Keith Urban. This is her first feature film.

You can watch “Honey Girls” 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 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.

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