Let’s dive straight in this week, with quick mentions of an action film and a new short before we get to the main entries.
Director Reed Morano’s “The Rhythm Section” came out on both Hulu and Amazon. It got its full theatrical release last year, in the before-times prior to the COVID pandemic. It is worth mentioning as an actioner that flew under the radar, though. Blake Lively’s portrayal of a woman who trains to get revenge was well regarded.
There’s also a new short film on HBO Max. “Piter” is directed by Rossana Castillo. A boy steals a girls cell phone. He looks through it and becomes interested in her, thinking about how he can try to draw closer.
showrunner Jac Schaeffer
“WandaVision” continues the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s habit of stretching into additional genres. This time, superheroes Wanda Maximoff (aka Scarlet Witch) and Vision seem to be living out a dream life together through various eras of sitcoms. Of course, not all is as it seems. This is especially apparent if you’ve kept up with the “Avengers” films and know that there needs to be some serious explanation as to how all these heroes have made it this far.
Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany as Wanda and Vision already make a superb leading pair for a series. Add in actors like Kat Dennings, Randall Park, and Kathryn Hahn, and you’d have one of the most impressive sitcom casts in history if this were really a straight-up sitcom.
Showrunner Jac Schaeffer has co-written several scripts – including “Captain Marvel” and “Black Widow” within the MCU and 2019 Anne Hathaway/Rebel Wilson comedy “The Hustle”.
You can watch “WandaVision” on Disney+ with a subscription.
Trickster (The CW)
mostly directed by women
This is complicated. The premise of an indigenous teen who starts recognizing mythological and supernatural elements around him is deeply intriguing. The Canadian series is also a chance to see a series centered on First Nations people.
At the same time, Michelle Latimer served as showrunner and co-directed three of the six episodes. She was just found last month to have falsely claimed Algonquin and Metis heritage. In other words, she posed herself as an indigenous creator. This claim was key in getting the rights to Haisla and Heiltsuk First Nations writer Eden Robinson’s “Trickster” trilogy, as well as pitching the series in the first place. Latimer has since resigned.
I tend not to curate what’s included here. My judging what deserves to be featured or not would be an act of applying my own bias, no matter how aware of it I try to be. There are certain genres I don’t cover due to time and research accessibility, like kids shows or reality TV. I also cut out anything that’s utterly blatant propaganda, like nonsense about how Hillary Clinton conspired to steal your Happy Meal. Yet the very reason for featuring this show in a regular article like this – a woman’s involvement at the top – is in this circumstance a harmful act of colonialist abuse and theft that still takes place to this day.
One of the purposes of this article is to help make the names of women directors and showrunners more familiar, more sought after. Michelle Latimer’s involvement here is a cultural act of violence against indigenous people, however. Why still feature “Trickster” then? For reasons that this article series isn’t built around – not because of a woman’s involvement when her involvement itself is co-optation, but because it’s an opportunity to feature a show that highlights the work of indigenous actors and crew.
This includes actual First Nations women directors of two episodes, Penny E. Gummerson and Zoe Leigh Hopkins.
Is it right to watch in order to support the show’s First Nations story and actors, or wrong because of Latimer’s seizure of someone else’s identity? I’m interested and I plan to watch it. There’s still a ton of indigenous talent involved in this, and I’d like to see more indigenous stories told on TV. Is that the right decision? I don’t know, but it’s important to talk about this information as a part of the show’s development.
“Trickster” aired in Canada last Fall, but just came to the U.S. You can watch “Trickster” on The CW, with a new episode premiering every Tuesday.
Sk8 the Infinity (Funimation)
directed by Hiroko Utsumi
If you ever thought the problem with “The Fast and the Furious” was all the cars, and it would be better if Vin Diesel and Dwayne Johnson were just elbowing each other as they raced down the street on skateboards, I think this has you covered. The anime series follows a group of students who compete in forbidden skateboarding races.
Director Hiroko Utsumi has been directing on series since 2010, including on “Free!” and “Banana Fish”.
You can watch “Sk8 the Infinity” on Funimation with a subscription. It’s simulcast with Japanese premieres, which means new episodes will arrive each week rather than all at once.
Call Your Mother (ABC)
showrunner Kari Lizer
Kyra Sedgwick plays Jean, a mother who regrets living so far away from her children. She moves across the country to California to be closer to them, even though they don’t want this.
Series creator and showrunner Kari Lizer has been a series writer and producer since the 90s. Her biggest successes include “Will & Grace” and “The New Adventures of Old Christine”.
You can watch “Call Your Mother” on ABC, with a new episode premiering every Wednesday.
One Night in Miami (Amazon)
directed by Regina King
“One Night in Miami” is a film about a meeting between Malcolm X, Muhammad Ali, Jim Brown, and Sam Cooke in Miami, 1964. The meeting really took place, but the details of it have never been discussed in many specifics. It is known that it had a profound effect on Ali and the direction he took his public image afterward.
Singer Sam Cooke would be shot by a motel manager in L.A. later that year, an inquest finding that it was a justifiable homicide in self-defense despite the money he carried on him being missing and viewings of his body showing he had been severely beaten in a way that ran directly counter to a self-defense claim. Minister and activist Malcolm X would be assassinated the year after.
Director Regina King gained traction in the classic 80s sitcom “227” and continues acting – she was just in HBO’s “Watchmen”. She started directing in just the last decade, with a documentary and several series credits to her name. “One Night in Miami” is her first feature film.
You can watch “One Night in Miami” on Amazon Prime with a subscription.
Double Dad (Netflix)
directed by Cris D’Amato
A young woman lives in a hippie commune with her mother. When her mother is away, she takes the opportunity to sneak out and go on a journey to learn who her father is. There are two men who it might be, and she develops father-daughter relationships with both before she knows the truth.
The Brazilian film is directed by Cris D’Amato. She’s directed on several films and series in Brazil.
You can watch “Double Dad” on Netflix with a subscription.
directed by Renuka Shahane
“Tribhanga” follows women of three different generations in India, and tells the stories of how each raised the next. The title is derived from the name of a dance pose that’s often described as simultaneously beautiful and imperfect.
The film was originally envisioned as a smaller production, but gained momentum (and a Netflix deal) as major producers joined.
Director Renuka Shahane is a popular Indian actress. This is only her second film listed as director after 2009’s well-received “Rita”.
You can watch “Tribhanga” on Netflix with a subscription.
Take a look at new shows + movies by women from past weeks.
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