#52FilmsByWomen, Denzel Washington, and More: January 2016 in Films

In case you missed it, here’s my wrap-up for A Year With Women one more time. As I slowly ease myself back into watching films directed by men, I’ve definitely felt a bit of a culture shock. I’ve tried to keep my watching very women-centric, because I don’t know if I could handle a lack of women characters too. It’s been a relatively steady transition, although you will see my favorite films I watched last month were still mostly those directed by women! As always, you can see all the films I watched as well as a few favorites after the cut.


  1. Paddington
  2. Star Wars: The Force Awakens
  3. Tangerine
  4. Rocky Balboa
  5. Creed
  6. Khaneh siah ast (The House is Black)
  7. Carol
  8. Boxing Helena
  9. Mad Max: Fury Road
  10. While We’re Young
  11. Mistress America
  12. Far from the Madding Crowd
  13. Get Your Man (1927)
  14. The Blazing Trail (1921)
  15. Above Suspicion
  16. Red Riding Hood
  17. Youth
  18. Swing!
  19. Hallelujah!
  20. Valerie a týden divu (Valerie and Her Week of Wonders)
  21. Ayanda and the Mechanic
  22. Begin Again
  23. Impromptu
  24. A Soldier’s Story
  25. Mo’ Better Blues
  26. The Great Debaters
  27. Saving Face
  28. TiMER
  29. Kung Fu Panda 3

1880s: 0
1890s: 0
1900s: 0
1910s: 0
1920s: 3
1930s: 1
1940s: 1
1950s: 0
1960s: 1
1970s: 1
1980s: 1
1990s: 3
2000s: 4
2010s: 14

I don’t really want to spend too much time on the films I watched in January that were “catch up” films from 2015, but I will say that I highly enjoyed them, with major props to Paddington, Tangerine, Creed, Carol and Mad Max: Fury Road. I also watched all of Jane Campion’s brilliant mini-series Top of the Lake. Cannot wait for the next installment! Which brings me to the other new-to-me films I really wanted to highlight that I watched this month:

Rocky Balboa, 2006 (dir. Sylvester Stallone)


I am an unabashed Rocky fan and I can’t believe it took me ten years to get caught up on this film! I actually watched it doubled with Creed (watch me cry a lot about these films here). I just love this character so much and I love that Stallone has kept him alive for us for forty years. I really enjoyed watched these films back to back because there are several visual cues from Rocky Balboa that show up in Creed that perhaps the casual viewer may have missed, but in watching them together I noticed and made the emotional impact of the other all the greater.

The Great Debaters, 2007 (dir. Denzel Washington)


I have decided this year I am finally going to finish off Denzel Washington’s filmography. Before the start of this year I had seen 19; I have now seen 22. I plan to keep going because he such a great actor and one of my favorites. Of the three I watched this month, this one was by far my favorite. It’s a great performance from him, but it’s also a great directorial effort. It features very strong turns from Nate Parker (whose directorial debut The Birth of a Nation just made history at Sundance) and Jurnee Smollett.

Saving Face, 2004 (dir. Alice Wu)


This is just a great (and super queer) romantic comedy. It’s also one of the few films about the Chinese-American experience I have ever seen. It’s a pity we claim we’re proud that we’re a country made of so many fabrics, yet our entertainment continues to mostly be made from bleached muslin.

TiMER, 2009 (dir. Jac Schaeffer)


Speaking of great romantic comedies! I loved everything about this film until the last ten minutes (terrible ending!) If you like sci-fi and smart, feminist romantic comedies, this is the film for you!

Kung Fu Panda 3, 2016 (dir. Jennifer Yuh Nelson, Alessandro Carloni)


I cried watching this movie. Several times. It’s simple, but it contains some really beautiful wisdom that I really needed to hear. It also features some truly gorgeous animation. So good!

So that was January! I can’t believe we’re already one month into 2016. If you haven’t yet, it’s never too late to sign up for Women In Film – Los Angeles’ #52FilmsByWomen challenge!


About Marya E. Gates

Cinephile to the max.

Posted on February 1, 2016, in 2016 in Films and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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