Tag Archives: Kajillionaire

New Shows + Movies by Women — June 4, 2021

There’s a lot this week, including shows and films with some awesome representation. This includes a show from the UK, and movies from Germany, Greece, Japan, the Philippines, South Africa, Sweden, and the U.S. Let’s dive straight in:

NEW SERIES

We Are Lady Parts (Peacock)
showrunner Nida Manzoor

A PhD student is recruited to be the lead guitarist for an all-women, Muslim punk band.

Nida Manzoor created, writes, directs, produces, and showruns “We Are Lady Parts”. The UK series aired earlier this year to very strong reviews, and now comes available in the U.S.

You can watch “We Are Lady Parts” on Peacock.

NEW MOVIES

Port Authority (VOD)
directed by Danielle Lessovitz

Paul is a Midwesterner fresh to New York. He quickly falls for a dancer named Wye, and discovers she’s trans. He wrestles with the bigotry he’s grown up with, whether he’ll be accepted by cis friends he’s making, and whether he’ll pursue his feelings.

“Port Authority” casts Leyna Bloom, a trans woman of color, as Wye. The film’s gotten both praise for its casting and representation, and some criticism for focusing through the lens of Paul’s journey.

This is the first feature from writer-director Danielle Lessovitz.

See where to rent “Port Authority”.

The Girl and the Gun (Netflix)
directed by Rae Red

A woman finds a gun sitting on her doorstep one night. Fed up with abuse, she decides to put it to use.

Rae Red has written several films and series in the Philippines. This is her second directorial effort.

You can watch “The Girl and the Gun” on Netflix.

Kajillionaire (HBO Max)
directed by Miranda July

A young woman named Old Dolio Dyne grifts, cons, and heists alongside her parents. It’s a living. They’re not very successful, though. They owe rent so they need a new mark, but things are complicated when Old Dolio connects with her. The cast is interesting, with Evan Rachel Wood as Old Dolio, Debra Winger and Richard Jenkins as her parents, and Gina Rodriguez as their new mark.

Writer-director Miranda July has an abstract storytelling style that centers on off-kilter, somewhat invisible characters, and the humanity in what’s ‘unremarkable’ about them. She’s known for “Me and You and Everyone We Know” and “The Future”.

I shared this when it hit VOD, but this is the first time it’s on a subscription service. You can watch “Kajillionaire” on HBO Max, or see where to rent it.

Sailor Moon Eternal (Netflix)
directed by Kon Chiaki

Behold, the progenitor of the magical girl genre returns. The first Sailor Moon films in 26 years were released in Japan as two 80-minute films, but they’re coming out paired in the U.S. That’s nearly 3 hours of new Sailor Moon.

A Pegasus appears in Tokyo during a solar eclipse, asking for help in breaking a magical seal. Meanwhile, a new villainous organization known as the Dead Moon Circus spreads nightmares with the intention of ruling the Earth and Moon. This is an adaptation of the Dream arc of the manga. I have to confess I’m not too familiar with Sailor Moon, but I’m told the Dream arc is an incredibly big deal.

Director Kon Chiaki has helmed adaptations of “Higurashi When They Cry” and the Book of Sunrise arc of “Naruto Shippuden”. She also directed the adaptation for “The Way of the Househusband” earlier this year (also on Netflix).

You can watch both parts of “Sailor Moon Eternal” on Netflix. Both parts are listed as episodes under the entry “Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Eternal The Movie”.

The World to Come (Hulu)
directed by Mona Fastvold

Neighboring women in the mid-19th century begin a whirlwind romance. Of course, they have to hide it from their husbands. Katherine Waterston and Vanessa Kirby star.

Be aware that the film also stars Casey Affleck. He was sued by two women for repeated sexual harassment for his behavior on the set of “I’m Still Here”. The suits maintained that they weren’t paid for their work as a retaliation. It’s important to recognize that is a form of extortion. The suits were settled, and Affleck finally acknowledged culpability eight years later, in 2018. I mention all this because I know many are uncomfortable with watching him, and others may not know why.

This is director Mona Fastvold’s second feature after 2014’s “The Sleepwalker”. She may be best known as a writer on “The Mustang”.

You can watch “The World to Come” on Hulu, or rent it.

Kala Azar (MUBI)
directed by Janis Rafailidou

In the midst of what could be read as a post-apocalypse, a couple continues to care for both dead and abandoned animals, even risking their own lives and sense of self to do so.

The Greek film is the first feature from writer-director Janis Rafailidou.

You can watch “Kala Azar” on MUBI.

I Was at Home, But… (MUBI)
directed by Angela Schanelec

A 13-year old reappears a week after disappearing from home. The adults around him are confronted with questions that have no easy answers.

Writer-director Angela Schanelec has directed eight other feature films, and won the Berlin International Film Festival for this one.

You can watch “I was at Home, But…” on MUBI.

Dancing Queens (Netflix)
directed by Helena Bergstrom

A young woman stuck in the backwaters of a Swedish archipelago dreams of becoming a famous dancer. She misses an audition by a month, but chances upon a drag show that’s interested in casting her.

Director Helena Bergstrom has directed a great deal in the Swedish film and TV industries.

You can watch “Dancing Queens” on Netflix.

Trippin’ with the Kandasamys (Netflix)
directed by Jayan Moodley

In this South African film, two women were best friends before they became in-laws. They plan a getaway with their partners, but hijinks ensue.

This is the third in Jayan Moodley’s very successful Kandasamys franchise. The franchise is a South African-Bollywood co-production. This is the kind of thing that we American viewers are badly educated on, but South Africa is actually home to 1.3 million people of Indian descent, and Durban has one of the largest Indian populations outside India itself.

You can watch “Trippin’ with the Kandasamys”, as well as the two previous Kandasamys movies, on Netflix.

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

If you like 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 16, 2020

It’s a varied week. One series was filmed entirely remotely. One movie is a filmed Broadway production. There are monster hunting babysitters, struggling con women, and more than a few tragic romances.

New documentaries will once again get their own article next week. Right now it looks like there are eight documentary entries alone, which is awesome. Combined with today’s eight new shows and movies, that starts to make a single article unwieldy. Today: shows and movies. Next Monday: documentaries. Next Friday: we start all over again.

Let’s get to the fiction side of things:

NEW SERIES

Social Distance (Netflix)
showrunner Hilary Weisman Graham

“Social Distance” is a series that adheres to its name. The entire series was produced, cast, and filmed remotely. It covers a collection of families and friends doing what they can to endure sheltering in place during this pandemic.

The show was created by Jenji Kohan, the creator and showrunner of “Orange is the New Black” and “Weeds”, and producer of the recently canceled “GLOW” and “Teenage Bounty Hunters” (read my review). Nearly everything she’s touched in the last decade has been phenomenal.

Showrunner Hilary Weisman Graham is the creator of “Social Distance”. She’s previously worked as a writer on “Bones” and writer and producer on “Orange is the New Black” and Jim Carrey vehicle “Kidding”.

You can watch “Social Distance” on Netflix with a subscription.

Grand Army (Netflix)
showrunner Katie Cappiello

I share this entry with extreme hesitance. Please understand that this article is informational, to highlight as much as I can about what’s showrun and directed by women. An entry is neither an endorsement nor a recommendation.

“Grand Army” is a series about five high school students standing up for themselves against misogyny and racism. That sounds good so far. My hesitancy is because three writers of color quit “Grand Army” amid claims of racist abuse committed by showrunner Katie Cappiello. This includes Ming Peiffer, a Taiwanese-American writer, as well as Latinx and Black writers who objected to the way characters of color were being written as a type of cathartic, white-gaze, poverty porn.

Not only this, Cappiello also stands accused of calling Netflix’s HR on a Black writer for the act of getting their hair cut. (This happened well before the pandemic and quarantine, so the conversation about hair cuts or other public outings having an impact on public health has no bearing here.)

To quote Peiffer’s most pressing points, three writers of color including herself “quit due to racist exploitation and abuse. The show runner and creator went full Karen and called Netflix hr on the Black writer in the room for getting a haircut. Yes you read that correctly…Netflix was fully aware of it all and did nothing except hire more writers of color to lend their names to the show. Then had the audacity to reach out 2 years later in anticipation of the release to ‘hear our concerns’…tried to underpay the LatinX writer who just won an Emmy meanwhile creator had never worked in tv b4 but the 3 of us had”.

Read Peiffer’s longer Twitter thread regarding behind-the-scenes racism with “Grand Army” right here.

You can watch “Grand Army” on Netflix with a subscription.


NEW MOVIES

Nocturne (Amazon)
directed by Zu Quirke

Juliet is a pianist who can’t quite measure up to her twin sister Vivian’s accomplishments. When Vivian is seen as the better pianist, the world seems to open up to and adore her. Juliet just exists as her understudy. One day, Juliet finds the diary of a classmate who recently died. This sets off a Faustian tale of ambition.

This is the first feature from writer-director Zu Quirke.

You can watch “Nocturne” on Amazon Prime with a subscription.

What the Constitution Means to Me (Amazon)
directed by Marielle Heller

“What the Constitution Means to Me” is a play written by and starring Heidi Schreck. It tells twin stories at different points of her life. She talks about the Constitution and its impact on her life both as her adult self, and as a 15-year old Constitutional debater. This further expands into the experiences of others, including a World War 2 veteran who attended her early competitions and today’s young Constitutional debaters.

The play tackles who the Constitution was written for, and whether it can be expanded to protect more than just wealthy, white men.

“What the Constitution Means to Me” isn’t being adapted as a film in the typical sense, but rather this is the filming of a live Broadway cast production of the play.

Director Marielle Heller is a perfect choice for this kind of adaptation. If you don’t know her name, you really, really should. She has a classical eye for a scene that gives exceptional room and support to her performers. Her last two films earned Oscar nominations for their actors – “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” for Melissa McCarthy and Richard E. Grant, and “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” for Tom Hanks.

You can watch “What the Constitution Means to Me” on Amazon Prime with a subscription.

Kajillionaire (VOD)
directed by Miranda July

A young woman named Old Dolio Dyne and her parents grift, con, and heist as a living. They’re not very successful and they owe rent on a ratty old apartment. They need a new mark, who soon comes along and develops a deeper relationship with Old Dolio than the parents have. The cast is pretty interesting, with Evan Rachel Wood as Old Dolio, Debra Winger and Richard Jenkins as her parents, and Gina Rodriguez as their new mark (Rodriguez has had a problematic history with anti-Black statements, FYI).

Writer-director Miranda July has an abstract storytelling style that centers on off-kilter, somewhat invisible characters, and the humanity in what’s ‘unremarkable’ about them. She’s known for “Me and You and Everyone We Know” and “The Future”.

“Kajillionaire” is currently at that same-as-theaters price of a $20 rental. You can see where to rent “Kajillionaire” via streaming right here.

A Babysitter’s Guide to Monster Hunting (Netflix)
directed by Rachel Talalay

You go on a regular babysitting job. The child gets abducted by the Boogeyman, who looks suspiciously like Tom Felton. Now you’ve got to find the kid. While you’re at it, you end up meeting a secret society of child-protecting, babysitting, monster hunters. Look, we’ve all been there at some point in our childhood. I’m sure when you joined your local chapter of babysitting monster hunters, it was just like my own experie– what’s that? You don’t know what I’m talking about? You never joined any secret soci– oh, of course it’s not real. Not really. It’s uh, just the plot to a movie. Jeez. That’d be like, ridiculous or something.

Director Rachel Talalay is one of my favorite people in the universe. This is the woman who directed “Tank Girl”. During Steven Moffat’s high-risk, high-reward run as showrunner of “Doctor Who”, she directed all three of the Peter Capaldi series (season) finales. Each was a two-parter, essentially a “Doctor Who” movie in sum. All were among the best episodes in the show’s history. And frankly, two pair (“Heaven Sent” into “Hell Bent”, and “World Enough and Time” into “The Doctor Falls”) were among the best and most emotionally compelling (dismantling, impactful) science-fiction I’ve seen on TV.

On a connected thought, I maintain “World Enough and Time” is a complete argument as to why whoever has the rights to a “Bioshock” movie just needs to get it together and put her in charge of it.

She’s also directed episodes of “Chilling Adventures of Sabrina”, “American Gods”, and “Riverdale”. I don’t know quite how her mature, gothic, horror bonafides will factor into what looks like a family friendly movie, but I’m willing to find out.

You can watch “A Babysitter’s Guide to Monster Hunting” on Netflix with a subscription.

Love Like the Falling Rain (Netflix)
directed by Lasja Fauzia

Two childhood friends in Indonesia promise to remain connected no matter what happens. Kevin wants to be with her, but can’t find the courage to confess his feelings. Nara finds love with someone else, and Kevin needs to decide if he’ll hold out hope or move on.

Of course, being a new trailer for a movie from another country on a streaming service, there’s always a good chance that despite having an English trailer for the film, they never even bother to take the remarkably simple, easy, and cost-nonexistent step of putting that trailer on YouTube or anywhere else where you can embed it. That’s why you’re watching a trailer in Indonesian subtitled in German. The film itself does offer English subtitles if you need them.

If it seems like this riles me, it’s not because everything should be in English. It’s because this would be a simple step to making viewers in the U.S. seek out more films from other, non-English speaking countries, and good god, we need to be doing more of that.

Director Lasja Fauzia has directed seven films in Indonesia, many of them about star-crossed romances.

You can watch “Love Like the Falling Rain” on Netflix with a subscription.

The Second Sun (VOD)
directed by Jennifer Gelfer

In the years after World War 2, destiny brings together two people. They meet late at night in Manhattan. Both have tragic histories and haunted pasts, but perhaps they can find some understanding in each other.

This is actually director Jennifer Gelfer’s first film, though it comes out after her second – the thriller “DieRy” which arrived earlier this year. Both are low-budget features that nonetheless tackle ambitious genre stories.

You can rent “The Second Sun” for $3 on Google Play.

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

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