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Women and Hollywood Summer 2014 Preview

Women and Hollywood Summer 2014 Preview

Mark Wahlberg gave us all something to laugh about when he declared the Transformers movies to be “the most iconic franchise in movie history” at this year’s Cinema Con, the annual convention for members of the National Association of Theatre Owners. 
The rest of Cinema Con, though, has been a depressing reminder of how tentpoles get made (Step 1: Hire a bunch of dudes). But some of us want to watch something other than Spider-Man 2Jurassic Park 4, and The Fast and the Furious 7
So here are the fifteen films about women we are most looking forward to this summer, ranging from May to August releases. (As always, we wish there were more women-directed films on this list.) Descriptions below are from press materials unless otherwise indicated. 

Maleficent – written by Linda Woolverton (May 30) – Maleficent is the untold story of Disney’s most iconic villain from the 1959 classic Sleeping Beauty. A beautiful, pure-hearted young woman, Maleficent (Angelina Jolie) has an idyllic life growing up in a peaceable forest kingdom, until one day when an invading army threatens the harmony of the land. Maleficent rises to be the land’s fiercest protector, but she ultimately suffers a ruthless betrayal — an act that begins to turn her pure heart to stone. Bent on revenge, Maleficent faces an epic battle with the invading king’s successor and, as a result, places a curse upon his newborn infant Aurora (Elle Fanning). As the child grows, Maleficent realizes that Aurora holds the key to peace in the kingdom — and perhaps to Maleficent’s true happiness as well.
Tammy (July 2) – Tammy (Melissa McCarthy- the co-writer of the film) is having a bad day. She’s totaled her clunker car, gotten fired from her thankless job at a greasy burger joint, and instead of finding comfort at home, finds her husband getting comfortable with the neighbor in her own house. It’s time to take her boom box and book it. The bad news is she’s broke and without wheels. The worse news is her grandma, Pearl (Sarandon), is her only option—with a car, cash, and an itch to see Niagara Falls. Not exactly the escape Tammy had in mind. But on the road, with grandma riding shot gun, it may be just what Tammy needs.
Watch the Tammy teaser
Jupiter Ascending (July 18) – Directed by Lana and Andy Wachowski – Jupiter Jones (Mila Kunis) was born under a night sky, with signs predicting that she was destined for great things. Now grown, Jupiter dreams of the stars, but wakes up to the cold reality of a job cleaning toilets and an endless run of bad breaks. Only when Caine (Channing Tatum), a genetically engineered ex-military hunter, arrives on Earth to track her down does Jupiter begin to glimpse the fate that has been waiting for her all along — her genetic signature marks her as next in line for an extraordinary inheritance that could alter the balance of the cosmos.
Lucy (August 8) – Lucy (Scarlett Johansson), a woman living in Taipei, Taiwan, works as a drug mule. The drug she inadvertently takes goes into her system, changing her into a metahuman. She can absorb knowledge instantaneously, is able to move objects with her mind, and can’t feel pain and other discomforts. (Wikipedia)
Jane Got a Gun (August 29) – Natalie Portman plays a frontier woman who has built a new life with her husband (Noah Emmerich) after being tormented by the Bishop Boys’ outlaw gang. But when her husband gets into a fight with the Boys and their mastermind, Colin (Ewan McGregor), Jane is forced to turn to her former fiance (Joel Edgerton) to protect her family.

Belle (May 2) – Directed by Amma Asante – Belle is inspired by the true story of Dido Elizabeth Belle (Gugu Mbatha-Raw), the illegitimate mixed race daughter of a Royal Navy Admiral. Raised by her aristocratic great-uncle Lord Mansfield (Tom Wilkinson) and his wife (Emily Watson), Belle’s lineage affords her certain privileges, yet the color of her skin prevents her from fully participating in the traditions of her social standing. Left to wonder if she will ever find love, Belle falls for an idealistic young vicar’s son bent on change who, with her help, shapes Lord Mansfield’s role as Lord Chief Justice to end slavery in England.
Read our Athena Film Festival dispatch and our two-part interview with director Amma Asante here and here.

Tracks (May 23) – The remarkable true story of Robyn Davidson (Mia Wasikowska), a young woman who leaves her life in the city to make a solo trek through almost 2,000 miles of sprawling Australian desert. Accompanied by only her dog and four unpredictable camels, she sets off on a life-changing journey of self-discovery. Along the way, she meets National Geographic photographer Rick Smolan (Adam Driver) who begins to photograph her voyage. 
The Love Punch (May TBD) – A romantic caper about Richard (Pierce Brosnan) and Kate (Emma Thompson), a divorced couple who, after their pension is stolen by an unscrupulous businessman, reunite to steal it back.
The Fault In Our Stars (June 6) – Hazel (Shailene Woodley and Gus (Ansel Elgort) are two extraordinary teenagers who share an acerbic wit, a disdain for the conventional, and a love that sweeps them — and us — on an unforgettable journey. Their relationship is all the more miraculous, given that they met and fell in love at a cancer support group.
If I Stay (August 22) – The story revolves around a musician (Chloe Grace Moretz) and her boyfriend (Jamie Blackley), a rising star in the indie rock world. Already faced with a choice between her art and her relationship, she is forced to make a harder choice between life and death after being involved in a fatal car accident.

Palo Alto (May 9) – Directed by Gia Coppola – Palo Alto weaves together three stories of teenage lust, boredom, and self-destruction: shy, sensitive April (Emma Roberts), torn between an illicit flirtation with her soccer coach (James Franco) and an unrequited crush on sweet stoner Teddy (Jack Kilmer); Emily (Zoe Levin), who offers sexual favors to any boy to cross her path; and the increasingly dangerous exploits of Teddy and his best friend Fred (Nat Wolff), whose behavior may or may not be sociopathic.
We Are the Best! (May 30) – We Are the Best! is Lukas Moodysson’s adaptation of his wife Coco Moodysson’s graphic novel about three young misfits growing up in early ’80s Stockholm. Pixieish, mohawk-sporting Klara (Mira Grosin) and her best friend Bobo (Mira Barkhammar) are 13-year-old rebels looking for a cause. Despite having no instruments — or discernible musical talent — the two put all their energy into forming an all-girl punk band, recruiting their shy, classical guitar-playing schoolmate Hedvig (Liv LeMoyne) as the third wheel. With tender affection for his young characters and the period in which his film is set, Moodysson paints an ebullient and sharply observant portrait of DIY spirit and growing up different.

Obvious Child (June 6) – Directed by Gillian Robespierre – A comedy about what happens when Brooklyn comedian Donna Stern (Jenny Slate) gets dumped, fired, and pregnant just in time for the best/worst Valentine’s Day of her life.
The Congress (June 27) – An aging, out-of-work actress (Robin Wright) accepts one last job, though the consequences of her decision affect her in ways she didn’t consider. (Deadline)
Begin Again (July 4) – Seduced by dreams of making it in the big city, Gretta (Keira Knightley) and her long-time boyfriend move to New York to pursue their passion for music. She’s heartbroken when he dumps her for the fame and fortune of a big solo contract, leaving Gretta all on her own. Her world takes a turn for the better when a down-on-his-luck record producer (Mark Ruffalo) stumbles upon her singing in a local bar and is immediately captivated by her raw talent and inspiring authenticity — they may be each other’s last chance to turn their lives around. Somewhere between friendship and their love of music, the two strangers strike a chord that captures the hearts of everyone around them, proving that every great story has its own soundtrack.

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