History in Film: 19th Amendment Ratification

On this day 97 years ago the 19th Amendment was ratified by the fifty states. This amendment forbid discrimination on voting based on sex. The landmark case was hard fought for by suffragettes like Susan B. Anthony, Alice Paul, and Ida B. Wells. The fight took many years and even after the amendment was passed through Congress in June of 1919, it still took over a year for the states to finally ratify it.

Even then, not all women were granted the right to vote with this amendment; it would take until 1924 for Native American women to gain the right to vote, 1943 for Chinese-American women, 1965 for barriers restricting voting access for African-Americans to be outlawed, and 1975 for barriers restricting voting access for Latinos to be outlawed.

Decades of fighting and lobbying and protesting all for a Constitution-given right is something that should be honored. Check out some of our movies and documentaries on the various fights for this important right as well as movies about other pioneers for women’s rights.

Iron Jawed Angels

iron jawed angels

Chronicling the suffragette fight in the 1910’s of Alice Paul, Iron Jawed Angels is a brutally honest look at the barriers these women faced. The women faced their very Constitution given rights being violated with their ability to protest being curbed, cruel and unusual punishment used in lockup, and the denial of access to a lwayer. It’s a disturbing look at the lengths people will go to to prevent justice being served – but also a look at how far these women were willing to go for what they believed in.

Selma

selma

Though the focus is put on Martin Luther King Jr. and the racial tensions surrounding the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the fact of the matter is that African-American women were barred from voting just the same as African-American men. The film chronicles Dr. King’s fight to gain these rights for men and women both. It should be noted that director Ava DuVernay is a woman and has made history in her own way; with her upcoming project, A Wrinkle In Time, having a budget of over 100 million, she will become the first black woman to direct a live-action film with a budget of that size.

Hidden Figures

hidden figures

Based on the true events of the work done by a group of three African-American women for NASA, Hidden Figures gives viewers a glimpse into the lives of these women during the Civil Rights movement, when many places were still segregated. The film also goes into the barriers the women faced for their gender – from the obnoxious comments about women not being smart to the more serious moments of the women being barred from important meetings. This double hit of racism and sexism made it seem nearly impossible for these “women computers” to get their work done but through their perseverance and spirit, they broke barriers and paved the way for the women who came after.

North Country

north country

Based on the true events of the landmark case, North County details the fight of a woman to ban sexual harassment in the work place. As a worker in a mine and a single mother of two, Josie is subject to much ridicule and harassment, as are her female coworkers. When the higher up s refuse to help, Josie takes matters into her own hands and tries to build a class action lawsuit against the mining company for sexual harassment. The film condenses the time it took for the suit to settle in real life – while the movie seems to take place over little more than a year, the real suit took fourteen years to win. Still, it’s a realistic look into the lives of working women – and a stark reminder that fighting for civil rights didn’t end with the 19th Amendment.

written by: Kassie Marie

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Family Fridays: Muppet Treasure Island

Picking a movie for family night can be a monumental task when you’ve got a bunch of people to please. Finding the balance between something kid friendly and funny and something that won’t put the adults to sleep can be difficult, especially when little ones want nothing more than to watch the same movie at least fifty times in a day. Rather than give up and put in The Lion King for the 18th time today, try browsing for something new in our kid’s DVD section.

An easy way to change up the movie pick is by looking at movies that are a bit older but underrated. A personal favorite would be Muppet Treasure Island.

Muppet Treasure Island is an underappreciated Muppet movie that features some well known actors as well as the typical Muppet characters. An upbeat take on the classic novel, Muppet Treasure Island follows the story of young Jim Hawkins as he searches for the long lost treasure of the notorious Captain Flint. Along the way he and best friends Rizzo and Gonzo come across a plot by pirates to steal the treasure away and finds himself pulled into an adventure he never expected.

Tim Curry, starring as the villainous Long John Silver, finds himself perfectly cast as he hams it up alongside his Muppet costars, showing equal parts over-exaggerated villainy and sweet sentimentality. Baby-faced Kevin Bishop is a sweet Jim Hawkins, just longing for a simple adventure.

Beyond the human leads, Kermit the Frog takes a turn as the serious and anxious Captain Smollett, but it’s Kermit’s friends Fozzie and Miss Piggy that shine in the movie. Fozzie stars as the dimwitted Squire Trelawney who spends most of the movie conversing with Mr. Bimble, the man who lives in his finger. It’s a silly gag but a funny one nonetheless. Miss Piggy, meanwhile, makes a grand and hilarious turn as Benjamina Gunn, ex-fiance of Kermit’s Captain Smollett. Since their breakup, she has found herself the leader of an island of wild pigs – and has her own glamorous secrets in true Miss Piggy style.

Of course, the movie features classic Muppet humor with characters such as Gonzo and Rizzo frequently breaking the fourth wall and references to real world events.

muppets

It’s all in all a cute movie with a humor that appeals to both children and adults in that typical quirky Jim Henson style.

written by: kassie

Now In Theaters: War for the Planet of the Apes

War for the Planet of the Apes (2017)

Dir. Matt Reeves

Starring Andy Serkis, Woody Harrelson, Steve Zahn

The eagerly anticipated threequel in the Planet of the Apes saga does not disappoint – if you know what it is you’re watching.

Backed by a haunting score that lingers long after the movie is over, the film chronicles Cesar’s navigation of a devastating war between apes and humans.  After a disturbing attack by the humans, Cesar leaves his people to find the Colonel, played by Woody Harrelson, to demand vengeance. Aided by old friends Maurice, Rocket, and Luca, Cesar finds himself haunted by the violence around him as well as his own moral failings.

The film focuses then not on violence, but on the effects of war. The story takes viewers through the war-ravaged countryside as the characters, portrayed brilliantly by their actors, attempt to cope with what has happened to them. As the film goes on, the story lingers on scenes where characters simply talk to each other. Sometimes about the plot, but oftentimes about their past traumas and the ways they deal with their own history.

andy serkis

The performance given by Andy Serkis (shown before CGI effects are added on the left) as Cesar is stunning as he brings a quiet but tired anger to a character made entirely of CGI effects. His performance isn’t the only standout; Woody Harrelson plays a terrifying but sympathetic villain as the Colonel, and newcomer Amiah Miller packs clarity and wisdom into Nova, a mute human girl taken in by the group.

Of course, there is fighting and some pretty awesome explosions at the end in the final battle, but even then, the violence is grounded in the anger, empathy, and history of the characters. Even the climactic scene involves not violence, but a scene between two characters connecting.  And admittedly, if what you’re buckling in for is something more lighthearted, the movie will drag a bit as Cesar and his group interact slowly with every plot point. But if you’re looking for poignancy, War for the Planet of the Apes has this in spades.

(Note that the library does not have this movie available to check out as it is still in theaters. It is currently on order). 

written by: kassie marie

 

Now In Theaters: Wonder Woman

Wonder Woman (2017)

Director: Patty Jenkins

Starring: Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Robin Wright

If you grew up in the 70s, you may have watched Wonder Woman the TV series. You know, Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman? Cool arm bracelets that deflect bullets? Golden lasso which can submit any human to tell the complete truth? I watched the TV series in my youth, and LOVED it. I was not convinced this film would do the TV series justice, but it has. Rest easy Lynda Carter fans, the original Wonder Woman went to the Wonder Woman(2017) premiere, and gave the film (and star) her own stamp of approval.

Wonder Woman 2017 - Hollywood Premiere
Star Gal Gadot, Director Patty Jenkins and original Wonder Woman Lynda Carter at the Wonder Woman (2017) Hollywood Premiere – May 2017.

Gal Gadot stars as Amazon Princess Diana (a.k.a. Wonder Woman) in this modern reboot, and she really brings it to the big screen. We get a chance to learn about the origin of Wonder Woman, just in case you are not a comic book reader. The film opens in modern day settings, with Diana receiving a special package at work. She starts to reminisce about her childhood, and the island she grew up. We watch as Diana is learning the truth of who she is, and what she is capable of. With the training, and mentoring of her mom and aunt, she is now ready to set out to fulfill her purpose.

Chris Pine stars as American pilot Steve Trevor, who is on a very important mission when he crashes on Diana’s island. Steve and Diana become friends and allies (and maybe more?). The film is a visual feast for the eyes, so I urge you to catch it on the big screen. At 2 hours and 21 minutes, it may seem long, but it is fast paced and holds your attention. The fight and battle scenes are griping, every frame a cinematic work of art. I am hoping the cinematographer (Matthew Jensen) gets at least an Oscar nomination.

 

Supporting cast members Robin Wright (as Aunt Antiope), and Connie Nielsen as Hippolyta (Diana’s Mom), are strong, smart, and give Diana everything she needs to make it on her own . The training scenes are amazing. Nothing falls flat in this film, from the soundtrack, to the costumes, to all the brilliant performances, you will not be disappointed. Brava to director Patty Jenkins.

written by: Sandie Neri