Tag Archives: Ruth Paxton

New Shows + Movies by Women — May 27, 2022

We had a few weeks a month back where we were seeing 10-15 entries a week. Things have cooled off in late May, but it’s not as if major series like “Obi-Wan Kenobi” or “Stranger Things” are afraid to debut new seasons.

Anecdotally, I’d suggest that international, non-English series and films have eased off the last few weeks in the U.S. I’ve also seen a drop-off in straight-to-VOD releases. I know the theatrical approach is for these to find room at the beginning and end of the year. Some of this has to do with grouping around the awards season, when international and indie-styled films get their best chance at a marketing push.

Beyond this, summer tends to be occupied by tentpole franchises. If streaming follows the same logic as theatrical releasing for these, that could explain why major franchises are still debuting new content while there are fewer non-English and indie-styled releases. Summer break has a lot to do with this, as families find series and movies to watch together and, for whatever reason, things like Finnish noir tend not to make that list.

And look, I don’t know a good segue for this, but we’ve seen this week that not all families make it to the summer. In the wake of the Robb Elementary School gun massacre in Uvalde, Texas, attention’s been called to the fact that the leading cause of death among children is now due to guns – surpassing motor vehicles for the first time since the data’s been recorded.

I don’t mean to always make the intro here or commentary in my other articles touch on issues like these, but the U.S. never really left suffering a slow-motion coup. We may have gotten Biden elected and the January 6, 2021 insurrection may have passed, but the Republican party has become one of increasing terrorism. Even in the wake of the Robb Elementary School gun massacre, Senate Republicans voted against the Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act of 2022 just yesterday. They don’t want to see gun sales decreased or the white nationalism that feeds their coup impacted. Put plainly: they’d rather that domestic terrorists buy guns than lose a consumer for the gun industry. To see why, you only need look at the list of senators who receive funding from the NRA, starting with everyone’s favorite excuse for a moderate Mitt Romney at $13.6 million.

The right to an abortion, gun regulation, voting rights, single-payer healthcare, combating climate change…we could have these, but it takes an Uvalde to get engagement on our side back up to the levels it consistently hit under Trump. It shouldn’t take disasters like these to get us to fill up congressional voicemails. I’ve coordinated activism, and worked as a legislative aide and campaign manager. If we could manage the level of engagement we’re at now, or during the vote on the ACA a few years ago, we could steamroll Republicans. We could manage unprecedented turnout. It’s difficult and uncomfortable, and requires sacrifice in all of our lives, but better to sacrifice time and effort in our lives than the actual lives of elementary school children and their teachers.

This goes double for men. In every facet of activism, men have a tendency to show up to lead and not to work. Most activist calls to Congress are made by women. As men, we’re conditioned to armchair quarterback how someone else does activist work rather than to do it ourselves, as if we all haven’t complained about that exact same kind of useless manager at some point in our lives. It’s not women’s job to save children, it’s all our job. It’s not women’s job to fight for women’s rights, it’s all our job. It’s not women’s job to stave off a slow-motion coup, it’s all our job. As men, we need to show up, and listen to the voices that are leading activism in order to know what work needs doing. Then we need to actually do it, and we need to get other men to join us in this mentality.

Let’s awkward segue to the new show and film this week:

NEW SERIES

Obi-Wan Kenobi (Disney+)
showrunner Deborah Chow

Obi-Wan Kenobi lives in hiding as the Empire employs special hunters to run the rest of the Jedi down. Ewan McGregor and Hayden Christensen return from the prequels as Obi-Wan and Darth Vader.

Deborah Chow has directed on “The Mandalorian”, “American Gods, and “Better Call Saul”. She showruns and directs all six episodes of “Obi-Wan Kenobi”.

You can watch “Obi-Wan Kenobi” on Disney+. Two episodes premiere today, with a new one premiering every Friday.

NEW MOVIES

A Banquet (Shudder, AMC+)
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.

You can watch “A Banquet” on Shudder or AMC+, 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 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.