LEAVING A LEGACY
Bella Abzug was one of the most influential feminist politicians in 1970s NYC. This month, PBS’ popular American Masters series is premiering Bella! This Woman’s Place is in the House, a documentary on the activist’s life.
“At this moment in our country’s history, when the great experiment of democracy is being given its biggest stress test, Bella Abzug is a very timely figure,” pointed out writer/ director JeL. Lieberman.
Throughout her decades-long career, Bella advocated against corruption and the misuse of power. “She spoke out against the injustice of gender inequality, and marched for reproductive freedom. She felt nobody’s rights were secure until everybody’s rights were achieved.”
Lieberman noted that if she were alive today, “She would be organizing daily marches and protests to ensure that these issues do not fade from our attention.”
During the documentary, Hillary Clinton, Shirley MacLaine, Barbra Streisand, Gloria Steinem, and Marlo Thomas all make appearances.
Any fans of Ginger the British chicken out there? Netflix hopes so. One of the most anticipated animated movies this year is Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget.
Featuring voices from Zachary Levi and Thandie Newton, the movie is a jovial sequel to Chicken Run, the highest grossing, stop-motion animated fi lm of all time
“They say a movie is only as good as its villain and Ginger’s nemesis, Mrs. Tweedy, is one of the all-time greats!” enthused Academy Award and BAFTA nominated director Sam Fell. “Now she’s out to take industrial-scale revenge on all chicken-kind with the Dawn of the Nugget. We’ve had so much fun working with Miranda Richardson to transform Melisha Tweedy into the ultimate 1960s super-villain.”
Fell said that Miranda has a unique understanding of drama and comedy, “Making you laugh while scaring the pants oyou in the exact same moment!”
The fi lm will be released on Netflix on December 15.
Next month, the Montclair Film Festival will present its 2023 Filmmaker Tribute to Martin Scorsese with talk show host Stephen Colbert interviewing the iconic actor on stage at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center.
“Over the course of his career as a filmmaker, preservation advocate, and fi lm historian, Martin Scorsese has made an unparalleled impact on the art of cinema,” said Tom Hall, co-head and artistic director of Montclair Film.
Scorsese’s latest feature, Killers of The Flower Moon, made its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year.
“All of us at NJPAC are delighted to partner with our friends at Montclair Film to host this extraordinary evening,” said John Schreiber, president and CEO. “Stephen Colbert’s insightful conversations with the artists who inspire us all have become an annual highlight of the Arts Center’s fall season, and this celebratory event with the inimitable Martin Scorsese promises to be especially exciting.”
One of the most hotly anticipated shows coming to Netflix during freight season is the deliciously weird The Fall of the House of Usher, premiering on the streaming giant October 12. From horror fi lm creator and rising star Mike Flanagan (The Haunting of Hill House), the mini-series is based on Edgar Allan Poe’s chilling short story of the same name but with a fresh, modern twist.
The show follows crooked CEO Roderick Usher (played by Bruce Greenwood, Star Trek, 13 Days) as he frantically tries to figure out how and why each of his children begin to die in mysterious, morbid ways.
“It’s batshit crazy in the best possible way,” said Carla Gugino, who plays Verna, a supernatural villain. “It has quite a lot of very dark humor, but also really touches the soul. There is a fantastical supernatural element to the story, and she [Verna] is the manifestation of that.” Mary McDonnell, Willa Fitzgerald, Carl Lumbly, Mark Hamill, and Henry Thomas round out the cast.
QUEEN OF FOLK
A new documentary on Joan Baez is premiering next month, celebrating the 60-year career of the iconic folk singer and activist. “Tackling a biography for the first time, as we did with I Am A Noise, was a daunting but exciting film making challenge, especially with a legend like Joan Baez,” said director Karen O’ Connor.
She continued: “Baez, who has been a good friend of mine since 1989, was ready like never before to take an unflinching look at her own life free of hagiography and dewy-eyed nostalgia. Although Joan understood from the beginning that she wouldn’t have any control over the fi lm, there was never a time when she held back or hesitated from digging into the harder, darker truths of her life, which gave us a rare opportunity to make a fi lm about Joan that could be as honest, complicated, funny, and layered as the woman herself.”
Baez was famous by 18, on the cover of Time Magazine at age 21, and dubbed the “Queen of Folk.” She became the icon of a new generation of musicians, from Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen to Joni Mitchell and Patti Smith.