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Netflix streams women-empowering films

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By RICA AREVALO

Alfre-Woodard-stars-in-Juanita

Alfre Woodard stars in Juanita

Since March is Women’s Month, we scrolled over to Netflix to check new movies about the femme fatale. Actress Alfre Woodard is worth seeing in Juanita, a story about a fed-out single mom out to explore Butte, Montana for a fresh start. Juanita works at a Columbus, Ohio hospital doing dirty jobs, while talking to the camera, “I’m a ghetto cliché.” We all know her past life and we get excited about her road trip to reinvent and rediscover herself. She gets a spur-of-the-moment Greyhound ticket to an unfamiliar place—working with Jess, a Native American chef (Adam Beach) who specializes in French and she even gets a new friend in Peaches (Ashlie Atkinson), a lesbian truck driver. When Peaches asks her why she ended up on the bus, she answers, “’Cause if I stayed, I’d end up hating the people I’m supposed to love.” She has three grown up kids—one son is a “half thug,” one daughter is an irresponsible unwed mother, and the other son is in prison. Juanita is afraid of the outdoors, occasionally having panic attacks while her love interest Jess has an “E-Day,” where he experiences PTSD nightmares since he joined Dessert Storm 23 years ago. The two try to work out their odd relationship. Blair Underwood stars as himself, teasing Juanita with his sexy body throughout the film. This is clearly a feat for Woodard, an African-American woman, and Beach, a Native American, both in lead roles. Juanita is based on Sheila Williams’ novel, Dancing on the Edge of the Roof.  

Rebel Wilson and Liam Hemsworth in Isn't It Romantic

Rebel Wilson and Liam Hemsworth in Isn’t It Romantic

Charming Rebel Wilson is allergic to the romantic comedy genre in Isn’t It Romantic, but after being mugged in the subway, she finds herself starring in one! Growing up, Natalie (Wilson) is told by her mother, “They don’t make movies about girls like us.” Natalie, an unappreciated, plus-sized architect in New York City, is suddenly the Pretty Woman in Notting Hill and 13 Going on 30. NYC now smells of lavender and the streets are blooming with colorful flowers in her alternate universe. Hunk Liam Hemsworth plays a real estate developer who becomes her boyfriend (minus sex). Her ever supportive BFF and soul mate Josh (Adam DeVine) falls head over heels in love with yoga ambassador Priyanka Chopra Jonas and plans on marrying her. This opens Natalie’s eyes to see what she is longing for life—to be with Josh! But first she must love herself. Will she stop her best friend’s wedding? The movie mocks, rants, and pokes fun at the formula being used in rom-coms. Surely, watching this parody is a guilty pleasure. Wilson will make everyone laugh with her crazy antics, like singing Whitney Houston’s I Wanna Dance with Somebody.

 

Lady J stars Edouard Baer and Cécile de France

Lady J stars Edouard Baer and Cécile de France

Lady J or Mademoiselle de Joncquières is a French period drama film, directed by Emmanuel Mouret. Madame de la Pommeraye (Cécile de France) is a wealthy widow who meets the Marquis des Arcis (Edouard Baer), a charming womanizer who tries to pursue her. With every visit, the Madame slowly succumbs to his charm. They enjoy reading books and walking in the vast gardens together. The courtship lasts for six months until they become lovers. She truly loves him, but the Marquis’ business trips to Paris put a strain in their long distance relationship.

To exact revenge, the Madame hires an “innocent” destitute Mademoiselle de Joncquières (Alice Isaaz) to entice and trap the Marquis. The Madame is successful in manipulating her “puppets.”

The Marquis gets smitten with the young lady’s purity and claims his “literal life is at risk.” He gifts her with his vast wealth—jewelries, properties to proclaim his love, and offers of marriage.

After the marriage ceremony, the Madame exposed to the Marquis that his wife is a “whore.” Here we can see how power is abused in this emotional and moral complexity of the French aristocracy. The film’s location is impressive. If you like Dangerous Liaison,s then this merits streaming.

If you follow Kathryn Bigelow’s career, director of The Hurt Locker, you would know that she is the first woman to win the Academy Award for Best Director. The celebrated director is now back as executive producer of Triple Frontier.

Lady J stars Edouard Baer and Cécile de France;

Ben Affleck, Oscar Isaac, Charlie Hunnam, Garrett Hedlund, and Pedro Pascal

Five former US soldiers band together to steal millions of dollars from a South American drug lord, Lorea. Pope Garcia (Oscar Isaac) contacts his friends, Redly (Ben Affleck) who’s a so-so realtor; Ironhead (Charlie Hunnam), an inspirational speaker; Ben (Garrett Hedlund), a mixed martial arts fighter; and Catfish (Pedro Pascal), an ex-pilot, to join the heist. Is their act moral to rob $75 to $250 million dollars hidden in a safe house? They flee off with the cash in a rented helicopter, crashing in the Andean Mountains. More trouble faces the group when Redly shoots some villagers, thinking that he is going to be attacked. The group then buys some donkeys to help carry their stash over the mountains. This plan proves disastrous. We’ve seen a lot of war films about soldiers and yes, Triple Frontier lacks the element that makes it a “spectacular” soldier film.

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