In your "Women are Tragically Underrepresented" news of the day, the Washington Post's Christopher Ingraham blogged today that of the 39 major studio releases scheduled to hit the theaters this summer, only one single feature is directed by a woman. It's a statistic that isn't surprising — Hollywood is notoriously unkind to female directors and writers; but it's still frustrating.
Who says that women can't tell beautiful, funny, adventurous cinematic stories? To soften the blow of the hard and fast facts about the dearth of women directing summer "blockbusters," here are some female-directed films premiering this summer that are interesting, intriguing, hilarious, thrilling—you know, what you look for in summer films. Hey, it's a miracle: the two aren't mutually exclusive!
So while, of course, we're all going to go see Angelina Jolie's magnificent cheekbone action in Maleficent, consider supporting these female-directed films with your wallet, too. Because, as Ingraham notes, more than half of movie-goers are women, so why aren't women being funded for top-slated box-office pictures? These offerings provide a chance to support women at the box-office and a respite from all the typical, explosion-filled fare of the summer blockbusters (though those are fun, too).
Mila Kunis and Channing Tatum (with some questionable blonde facial hair) star in this big-budget galactic action film directed by brother-sister duo Lana and Andy Wachowski, who brought us The Matrix and more recently, Cloud Atlas. Kunis plays Jupiter Jones, who cleans toilets back on earth but, with the help of Caine Wise (Tatum), learns that she is the genetic heir to the planet Earth and must save it from being harvested by evil aliens. Kunis wears a whole bunch of great Queen Amidala-esque outfits, and judging by the Wachowskis' track record, Jupiter Ascending is going to be epic. Coming July 18.
From indie director Megan Griffiths, Lucky Them stars the wonderful Toni Collette as music journalist Ellie Lug who is hanging on to her job, but barely. Ten years after her rock star boyfriend dumped her, she's commissioned by her editor to track down her ex-boyfriend, who mysteriously disappeared. It also stars Thomas Haden Church as Charlie, who wants to make a documentary about Ellie's search for what's missing. Limited release on May 30.
A hit at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, Obvious Child is the feature-length film debut for director Gillian Robespierre (the film is based on her 2009 short). It starts comedian Jenny Slate as the incredibly charming and goofy Brooklyn comedian Donna Stern who's in a bad way — she gets dumped and fired all at once, and to top it all off, she has a one-night stand with a cute, innocuous dude that leads to an unplanned pregnancu. Obvious Child is about difficult choices, the misery of being a twentysomething, and refreshingly funny talk about abortion. Coming June 6.
Aaron Paul! Aaron Paul! Ahem, Aaron Paul stars in Hellion, directed and written by Kat Candler. Paul plays neglectful, depressed single father Hollis in the bleak, sun-parched landscape of South Texas. He struggles to deal with the grief of the loss of his wife while fathering his two sons, Jacob and Wes, but he can't stop 13-year old Jacob from rebellion and rage. Jacob is involved in a motocross gang and loves heavy metal, and his recklessness starts to become cause for concern with his family and the town. Juliette Lewis also costars. Coming June 13.
Friended to Death
A comedy directed and starring Sarah Smick, Friended to Death asks: if you died, who would come to your funeral? Friendless, semi-douchebag parking enforcement officer Michael Harris (played by lovable Ryan Hansen), fakes his own death and posts about it on Facebook, to see who's really his friend and who's just poking him online. Limited release May 2.
Almost but not quite: Tammy
Okay, so Tammy wasn't directed by a woman, unfortunately, but it was written by the illustrious Melissa McCarthy, and directed by her husband Ben Falcone. Plus it stars Susan Sarandon as Tammy's drunken grandmother which is, if unbelievable, still amazing. Tammy's down on her luck—she gets fired from flipping burgers, totals her ride, and loses her loser husband. Her only option is to take her grandma along for a ride to take control of her life (even if it means robbing gas stations). We bow down to thee, Melissa McCarthy. Coming July 2.