Tag Archives: Japanese film

New Shows + Movies by Women — February 18, 2022

It’s funny when weeks take on themes. The week after Valentine’s Day is apparently the time for TV shows about affairs and breakups. Everyone all right out there? I’ve got to look at past years and see if this is a regular occurrence, or just a coincidence this week.

It’s also a time for horror movies, and this is something I know is pretty common to February. Composed of mid-budget and low-budget films, horror likes to lurk where event movies don’t. Superhero and action films are waiting for those prime summer dates, so they aren’t sucking up all the audience right now. That provides an opportunity for films that lack the marketing budget to compete – and these days, that typically means horror, which has found a lot of success in these off-peak months.

I’ll also point out that a new Celine Sciamma film drops this week. It doesn’t fall into either of those categories, but as the filmmaker behind “Portrait of a Lady on Fire”, “Girlhood”, and “Tomboy”, Sciamma has a strong argument as the best director working today.

Netflix has a number of short films debuting by both women and men this week. This includes Ashley Eakin’s directorial project “Forgive Us Our Trespasses”, a 13 minute short about a disabled boy who must escape Germany’s Aktion T4 program during Nazi rule. The program of forced euthanasia resulted in the murder of 300,000 disabled people in Austria, Germany, occupied Poland, and parts of what is now the Czech Republic, often with the aid of regional Catholic and Protestant authorities.

Marielle Woods directs Netflix short “Heart Shot”, a 19 minute film about two teenagers in love, but facing an unspoken danger. Woods has worked on stunts for “John Wick: Chapter 2”, “Baby Driver”, “Bright”, and stunt coordinated on “Westworld”.

New projects this week come from Australia, Brazil, France, Japan, Sweden, the U.K., and the U.S.

NEW SERIES

Aftertaste (Acorn TV)
showrunner Julie De Fina

Easton West is a celebrity chef with anger issues who burns all his bridges and has to retreat to his hometown in Adelaide, Australia. There, he takes on starting a new, more humble restaurant with an unexpected partner.

Julie De Fina created the show with Matthew Bate and showruns and writes on it.

You can watch “Aftertaste” on Acorn TV. All six episodes are available immediately.

Lov3 (Amazon)
half directed by Mariana Youssef

In this Brazilian series, three siblings navigate dating by pursuing unconventional relationships in the wake of their parents’ separation. There’s no English trailer available, but the series itself does have English options.

Mariana Youssef directs three of the six episodes. It’s her first time directing on a series; she’s previously worked on documentaries and short films. “Lov3” was co-created by Rita Moraes.

You can watch “Lov3” on Amazon. All six episodes are available immediately.

Fishbowl Wives (Netflix)
half directed by Namiki Michiko

Sakura Hiraga lives a glamorous life of luxury that hides her husband’s abusive behavior from others. Unable to leave, she makes a connection with another man that reminds her of the dreams she’s given up. She’s just one of six women who pursue affairs in the Japanese series “Fishbowl Wives”.

Namiki Michiko directs at least four of the eight episodes. She’s directed a number of Japanese films and series, including the modernized 2019 adaptation of “Les Miserables”.

You can watch “Fishbowl Wives” on Netflix. All eight episodes are available immediately.

NEW MOVIES

Petite Maman (MUBI)
directed by Celine Sciamma

Nelly is a girl who’s lost her grandmother. She goes on a trip to help her parents clean out her grandmother’s home. Exploring the forest there, she meets another girl building a treehouse. The French film is told from a child’s perspective.

Writer-director Celine Sciamma is the first name that comes to mind when you ask me about the best director working today. She directed “Portrait of a Lady on Fire” and my #3 pick for best films of the 2010s, “Girlhood”.

You can watch “Petite Maman” on MUBI.

A Banquet (VOD)
directed by Ruth Paxton

Sienna Guillory plays Holly, a widowed mother who tries to cope with her daughter Betsey declaring her body now belongs to a higher power. Betsey refuses to eat, but doesn’t suffer or lose weight, and Holly is forced to contend with who or what this higher power may be.

Ruth Paxton started as a production designer and art director, and has written and directed several shorts that interpret painting and dance. This is her feature-length debut.

See where to rent “A Banquet”.

CW: imagery of suicide

Knocking (Shudder, VOD)
directed by Frida Kempff

After undergoing a trauma and a stay in a psychiatric ward, Molly moves into a new apartment. Yet she keeps hearing knocking. She can’t sleep or live a normal life, and no one else hears it or believes her. “Knocking” is adapted by Emma Brostrom from the novel by Johan Theorin.

Frida Kempff is a Swedish director who’s primarily helmed documentaries before this. “Knocking” is her first narrative feature.

You can watch “Knocking” on Shudder, or see where to rent it.

Horror Noire (AMC+)
co-directed by Zandashe Brown, Robin Givens

This anthology film presents six horror stories from Black directors and screenwriters. Tony Todd, Peter Stormare, and Lesley-Ann Brandt star.

Zandashe Brown is a relatively new director. Robin Givens is known for her acting career, which has ranged from “Head of the Class” to “Riverdale”. This is her third feature as director, and she’s helmed some episodes on “Riverdale”.

You can watch “Horror Noire” on AMC+.

The Space Between (Hulu, Paramount+)
directed by Rachel Winter

Kelsey Grammar plays an eccentric rock musician who’s losing track of reality. He has to contend with the people his label sends to force him out of his contract, but may be on the verge of rediscovering his music.

Rachel Winter has produced on films like “Dallas Buyers Club” and “Krystal”. This is her first feature as director.

You can watch “The Space Between” on Hulu or Paramount+.

Flee the Light (VOD)
directed by Alexandra Senza

A psychology student accidentally releases an ancient supernatural force when she tries to cure her sister’s psychosis.

This is the first feature directed by Alexandra Senza.

You can rent “Flee the Light” on iTunes or Vudu.

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.