Watch This: Trailer for What Happened, Miss Simone?

Netflix will release the documentary What Happened, Miss Simone? on June 26. Here is the first official trailer. The film features rare interviews and footage from the legendary singer’s performances.

And Kalinda Just . . . Disappears

When I wrote about what I wanted for the way Kalinda would exit The Good Wife, I knew it would be miles from whatever the writers dreamed up, and it was.

But it was perfect.

Archie Panjabi as Kalinda Sharma
Archie Panjabi as Kalinda Sharma

Kalinda Sharma, played by the wonderful Archie Panjabi, personifies mysterious. She keeps everything carefully guarded and holds her secrets close. That’s the way she departed.

She just left.

No explanations. No obvious goodbyes.

It was perfectly Kalinda.

Well, she may have told Alicia (Julianna Margulies) goodbye. The reason Alicia burst into tears after reading a note from Kalinda at the end of the episode was not clear. Alicia breaking down into tears is extraordinary. I cannot wait to find out what the note said.

Well done writers Michelle King and Robert King!

And, damn it all, I’m really going to miss Kalinda.

I hope any new show Archie Panjabi has lined up is a huge hit and makes us all glad she gave up Kalinda to take the new role.

A Newsy Footnote

Entertainment Weekly says Kalinda will make one final appearance on the show in the season 6 finale, but doesn’t explain if it will be a return visit or what. Much as I’d like to see her hug it out with Alicia, I actually hope for a series of flashbacks. Grey’s Anatomy just used a series of flashbacks to honor Patrick Dempsey’s years on that show. I don’t want The Good Wife to feel like an imitation of that. Yet, while everyone is discussing what happened to Kalinda and why she disappeared, it seems like a perfect time for a series of flashbacks of Kalinda’s prime moments.

Orphan Black S3 E2: Transitory Sacrifices of Crisis

Orphan Black’s “Transitory Sacrifices of Crisis” begins where the last episode left off, with Sarah (Tatiana Maslany, a multitude) still looking for Helena and the male clone Rudy, AKA Scarface, (Ari Mullen, an army) freed from his basement prison and on the loose with Seth, AKA Mr. Moustache. The time between episodes appears to be just a few hours.

Rudy and the Boys

Ari Millen as Rudy and the other soldier boys gets all the wow scenes with multiple clones in this episode. There are several.

Rudy and Seth think they should share sex.
Both Rudy and Seth think they should share sex with the lovely Patty.

Rudy picks up a willing young woman named Patty (Natalie Krill) for sex, but she nixes the idea when Seth shows up and wants to join in. Later Patty reports the incident to Detective Bell (Kevin Hanchard) – yeah, he’s back on duty. Bell informs Sarah that the boys are loose and on the prowl and they both have a double headed horse tattoo on their left forearms.

Paul (Dylan Bruce) shows up and tells Rudy and Seth to report to base. Rudy asks if the orders come from “Mother.” I’m thinking mother is Dr. Virginia Coady (Kyra Harper). We glimpsed her last week and see more of her this week. She seems to be in charge of the military side of the clone experiments.

Rudy is the rebel. He’s a lot like Sarah in that way. He decides not to follow orders, but to finish the job and get the original genome from Sarah.

Rudy holds Kira and points a gun at Sarah
Rudy tries to get the genome info from Sarah by threatening Kyra.

Rudy hides in Kyra’s (Skyler Wexler) blanket fort in Felix’s (Jordan Gavaris) apartment. He grabs Kyra and tries for force Sarah to talk. She knows nothing. When he realizes that Seth, who is waiting downstairs, is fritzing out like a bad transister, Rudy leaves and releases Kyra. Downstairs he sees that Seth is suffering a hopeless glitch and shoots him. Then he leans down and says, “I love you, brother.”

While we are on the subject of Felix’s apartment, it looks like the tank of liquid nitrogen is inside the blanket fort and has not come to the attention of any of the adults yet.

We also see another male clone at the military base where Helena is held. His name is Miller. More on Miller later.

Mark holds a blow torch to his tattoo
Mark removes his tattoo with a blow torch.

Mark makes a brief appearance in this episode. He removes the horse tattoo from his arm in the most painful way possible.

Sarah and the Girls

Sarah and Cal in the new apartment
Our little family pad

Cal (Michiel Huisman) rents an apartment where he and Sarah and Kyra can play house. Sarah and Kyra love the idea, but it isn’t meant to be. Paul comes by to tell Cal that Sarah better get outta Dodge. Cal goes to Felix’s to warn her and sees Rudy shoot Seth.

Mrs. S has a black eye
Poor Mrs. S is bashed up

Sarah sort of forgives Mrs. S (Maria Doyle Kennedy) for giving up Helena, but only if she will use her contacts to find Paul and get info on where Helena is. Sarah also wants to go after Mark in hopes he knows where Helena is hidden.

I think Mrs. S is the one who inspired the “transitory sacrifices of crisis” choice for the episode title.

Felix
Felix takes great care of Mrs. S

Felix is taking care of Mrs. S, but he joins Sarah in urging her to do something about Helena.

Kira looks at her mom.
Kyra says goodbye to everyone

Sarah decides to send Kyra to safety with Cal. They will go to Iceland.

Alison and Ramon
Alison sees Ramon at a soccer match.

When Ramone (Alex Ozerov) tells Alison that he’s closing down his business to go off to college, Alison and Donnie (Kristian Bruun) buy him out. They buy almost $80,000 worth of pills from him. Alison sees it as a way to make money now that Donnie is out of a job, but also a way to defeat Marci (Amanda Brugel) in the school trustee race. Seems most of Ramone’s clients are soccer moms like Alison. Her new voter base awaits drug delivery, yes indeed.

Cosima in the lab
Cosima is well enough to work

Cosima is feeling much better. She makes reference to some sort of spiritual effect in her recovery. She says as a scientist she needs to be open to everything, which I see as foreshadowing the arrival of Ksenia Solo as a guest. Neither Scott (Josh Vokey) or anyone else can quite explain her rapid recovery. She’s back in the lab looking for answers, and giving Sarah info on the two-headed horse mythology about Castor.

Helena with an eye tracking device over her right eye
Scorpions like mangos, too

Helena is in a military compound. The male clone, Miller, is torturing her as part of a stress test. Helena is given the same strange eye test that earlier cause Seth to glitch out in a minor way. It drives Helena have a conversation with her spirit animal, the scorpion, about wanting to see the mango mentioned in the test.

Dr. Virginia Coady talks to Helena
Have something to eat, my dear.

Dr. Coady stops all the testing because she’s learned that Helena is pregnant. She’s warm and friendly to Helena, gives her food, treats her with respect. Look out for that one, Helena.

In Summary

At the end of the episode, Sarah is no closer to finding Helena. Cal and Kyra are doing a geographical in hopes of keeping Kyra safe. Cosima and Josh haven’t yet started in on decoding “The Island of Dr. Moreau.” We’ve learned that the male clones have some sort of mental connection – Rudy knew what Seth was feeling & Mark decided the tattoo had to go.

I’m eager to see Alison interact with Marci. Amanda Brugel has had fleeting scenes so far, but I think the time is coming when we’ll see more of her and Alison together. I’m also eager to see Ksenia Solo appear.

The Title Quote

The title again comes from Dwight Eisenhower. In his farewell to the nation speech in 1961, there was this paragraph.

“Progress toward these noble goals is persistently threatened by the conflict now engulfing the world. It commands our whole attention, absorbs our very beings. We face a hostile ideology global in scope, atheistic in character, ruthless in purpose, and insidious in method. Unhappily the danger it poses promises to be of indefinite duration. To meet it successfully, there is called for, not so much the emotional and transitory sacrifices of crisis, but rather those which enable us to carry forward steadily, surely, and without complaint the burdens of a prolonged and complex struggle – with liberty the stake. Only thus shall we remain, despite every provocation, on our charted course toward permanent peace and human betterment”

Brain Dump: Characters We Love to Hate

A brain dump is a series of short thoughts on this and that. Today I have a theme: characters we love to hate.

American Crime

The cast of American Crime. Photo © 2014 American Broadcasting Companies
Some of the cast of American Crime. Photo © 2014 American Broadcasting Companies

I have not discovered one likeable character in American Crime. Every person in the story – from the cops to the victims to the families to the criminals – is truly fucked up. I can admire the acting. I can say, “Wow, Felicity Huffman (or Timothy Hutton or Caitlin Gerard or Richard Cabral) is doing a fantastic acting job.” Huffman’s character in particular is the most distasteful person. I cannot bring myself to like her.

Since this drama is a reflection on the American legal system, on American racial (in)justice, and on American family values it makes sense that there isn’t much to like. But, dang, I wish there was some little thread to hold on to.

Nashville

Hayden Panettiere in Nashville
Hayden Panettiere in Nashville

Well, they haven’t dubbed her “The Queen of Mean” for nothing on Nashville. Hayden Panettiere as Juliette Barnes has never been a sweetheart, but pregnancy and motherhood have turned her into a complete shrew. Why Avery (Jonathan Jackson) loves her is beyond understanding. Why her employees put up with her is a mystery. That Rayna (Connie Britton) maintains Juliette on her record label is amazing. Hayden Panettiere deserves much credit for being so convincing as a super-bitch season after season.

Scandal

Joe Morton in Scandal. Image © 2014 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc.
Joe Morton in Scandal. Image © 2014 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc.

Everyone in Scandal has questionable ethics. It’s the ends, not the means, that count on Scandal. Let’s face it, neither of Olivia Pope’s (Kerry Washington) parents are good role models. The people who work for her are truly scary. But Joe Morton as Rowan Pope has always been the worst of the worst.

Lately on the show Olivia has needed a white hat, a good guy. As Mrs. S (Maria Doyle Kennedy) said in Orphan Black, she’s hoping for one good person in a corrupt world. Olivia’s having trouble finding even one good person. She’s turned on her dad, hoping to see him jailed for his multitude of crimes, but he’s so powerful he may either kill or destroy everything in Olivia’s world if she persists.

I’d hate to see Rowan Pope eliminated from this show. Joe Morton is outstanding in the part. But once in a while, even in the putrid world of Washington politics, don’t the good guys win? Or are there no good guys in Washington politics?

Media Coverage and Female Athletes

Female Athlete

Media Coverage and Female Athletes is a documentary from the University of Minnesota Tucker Center and Twin Cities public television. “Forty percent of all athletes are women, but only 4% are represented in the media – and too often how they look is more important than their skills. Explore the issue with scholars, the media, coaches at collegiate, Olympic and professional levels; and female athletes themselves.”

Female Athlete

A systemic problem we have in our culture is that if something isn’t about men, it doesn’t matter. This applies to all aspects of culture, including athletics. This documentary lets you take a look at the problem from another perspective. On this blog, I usually talk about this topic in terms of female roles in films and on television or in terms of women in tech or women gamers. Here is a look at the problem in a way you may not have thought about before.

Female Athlete

Because it deals with women athletes, it addresses many questions of gender portrayals and sexuality in the way women athletes are looked at or objectified in the media. There is a really interesting discussion of the idea that “sex sells.”

Bloggers who write about women’s sports are making an impact. To my blogging friends, I suggest this as an avenue you could consider as a niche.

The documentary runs for just under an hour. Close captions are available.

If you have any sort of playback problems with the video, it is available at video.tpt.org/video/2365132906/. You can also purchase DVDs of the video if you want to use it for a group discussion or teaching tool.

Orphan Black: S3, E1 The Weight of This Combination

Orphan Black kicked off season 3 with “The Weight of This Combination.” The ride was both delightful and scary. We begin mere seconds from where season 2 stopped.

The Female Clones

Tatiany Maslany as Cosima in Orphan Black

The episode opens with a 4 clone scene. It’s a candy colored world where a very pregnant Helena (Tatiana Maslany, a multitude) is surrounded by love and food at her baby shower. Cosima is dressed in a Ukranian folk outfit, Sarah is in black leather, Alison is all in pink and Felix (Jordan Gavaris) grills in a tennis outfit with a martini in his hand.

Helena wakes up from this hallucination trapped in a big coffin-like box, where she conducts a conversation with a scorpion. The scorpion was played by Tatiana Maslany – both voice and all the other noises the scorpion made. I got the idea that the scorpion was as imaginary as the baby shower. Yep, Helena is losing her marbles.

Jordan Gavaris in Orphan Black

Cosima is feeling better and staying at Felix’s place. She amuses herself playing with Kira (Skyler Wexler) and hiding “The Island of Dr. Moreau” from everyone but Scott (Josh Vokey) because she no longer trusts anyone, including Delphine.

Delphine (Evelyne Brochu) breaks up with Cosima but still loves her. Delphine is taking over Rachel’s job and is living a double life as 1) a corporate drone, 2) the protector of all the sisters.

At the now united Hendrix household, Alison can’t stop touching newly jobless Donnie (Kristian Bruun). Alison plans to run for school trustee against the evil Marci (Amanda Brugel).

Maria Doyle Kennedy in Orphan Black

Mrs. S (Maria Doyle Kennedy) confesses to sending off Helena to wherever the scorpions talk, so Sarah is obsessed with getting Helena back throughout the episode. Helena does not get rescued in this episode, in spite of all Sarah’s efforts.

Nobody is paying any attention to the big container of liquid nitrogen Helena left in Felix’s apartment. But Kira starts to play with it, so hopefully it will come to Cosima’s attention the same way she discovered the gold mine inside “The Island of Dr. Moreau.”

Fun with Ferdinand

A creepy guy named Ferdinand (James Frain) shows up at Dyad intending to carry out “Helsinki” which translates to: Kill All The Girl Clones. First he wants to have S & M sex with Rachel. Except Rachel is in a hospital bed with her eye poked out, so Sarah pretends to be Rachel. And while she’s doing that, Alison pretends to be Sarah. Tatiana Maslany is so fabulous at this stuff, it all makes perfect sense.

Somehow Rachel (AKA Sarah) gets rid of Ferdinand, gets Helsinki canceled, and makes sure everyone knows she’s looking for Helena. By the way, Sarah in a Rachel wig is talented with a belt, as the marks on Ferdinand’s butt and neck prove.

The Male Clones

Ari Millen in Orphan Black

There are apparently a whole army of male clones (Ari Millen, an army). Last season we met Mark the Prolethean, the ugly haircut guy who followed Helena into the bar, Scarface the crazy guy in the basement, and a grim soldier outside Helena’s plane. Now we also meet Faux Mohawk and Mr. Moustache. (Scarface and Faux Mohawk may be just one guy. I’m still trying to get a good count of the boy clones.)

Mr. Moustache, who may be named Seth, beat the crap out of Mrs. S while trying to find Ethan Duncan. Mrs. S put up a good fight, though! Mrs. S: ever badass.

The male clones – the soldier boys – are not warm and fuzzy fellows. The male clones run around trying to find and kill the female clones. This lets us meet Krystal Goderich, a previously unknown female clone. We see Krystal making out with Faux Mohawk in an elevator, then going into a hotel room with him. There is one more male clone in this scene. Delphine reports that Krystal survived, so maybe we’ll meet her again.

The male clones all know about each other. The Orphan Black terminology here is “self aware.” Now, if I were a male clone and my job was to kill female clones, I might start to get a little worried about job security. Not these boys.

The Title Quote

Last year the titles were all quotes from Francis Bacon. The first episode this year uses a quote from Dwight D. Eisenhower:

“In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.”

We’ve left nature vs. nurture in season 2 and are moving on to the military-industrial complex. Project Castor is the military side of the clone experiment, so it follows quite logically.

Watch This: Trailer for Suffragette

Suffragette boasts a dream cast including Meryl Streep, Carey Mulligan, Helena Bonham Carter, Ben Whishaw, Brendan Gleeson and Romola Garai in a story about the early British suffrage movement. Meryl Streep plays the leader of the Suffragettes Emmeline Pankhurst. Continue reading “Watch This: Trailer for Suffragette”

Watch This: Trailer for Amy

The first trailer for the documentary about Amy Winehouse, Amy is available. Stories of brilliantly talented people who crash and burn in the spotlight of fame are nothing new, alas. This tale doesn’t look any more cheerful than reports on such brief and tragic lives have in the past.

The preview shows scenes from her childhood, interviews, still photos, recording sessions and more.

Here’s the publicity information on the film.

“From BAFTA award-winning director Asif Kapadia (SENNA), AMY tells the incredible story of six-time Grammy-winner Amy Winehouse – in her own words.

“Featuring extensive unseen archive footage and previously unheard tracks, this strikingly modern, moving and vital film shines a light on the world we live in, in a way that very few can.

“A once-in-a-generation talent, Amy Winehouse was a musician that captured the world’s attention. A pure jazz artist in the most authentic sense – she wrote and sung from the heart using her musical gifts to analyse her own problems. The combination of her raw honesty and supreme talent resulted in some of the most unique and adored songs of the modern era.

“Her huge success, however, resulted in relentless and invasive media attention which coupled with Amy’s troubled relationships and precarious lifestyle saw her life tragically begin to unravel.

“Amy Winehouse died from alcohol poisoning in July 2011 at the age of 27.

“For all the latest information got to AmyFilm.co.uk.”

Amy will be out in the UK and Ireland on July 3. No info yet on availability in the U.S.

If you want to have a long listen to Amy Winehouse, here is a video of her singing her greatest hits, over an hour and a half of listening. She had so much talent, her death was a great loss.

Watch This: New Trailer for Spy

Spy starring Melissa McCarthy and a rasher of other tasty comedy stars has a new trailer.

Those other funny folks include Rose Byrne, Jason Statham, Morena Baccarin, Jude Law, Allison Janney, Bobby Cannavale, and Miranda Hart.

The film was received very well at SXSW. From the trailer it looks like there may be too many fat jokes and too many sexist jokes for me to get enthusiastic about it.

Not that I won’t watch it just to make sure. It is Melissa McCarthy, after all. I laughed myself silly at the fart jokes in Bridesmaids and the disgusting uneaten sandwich in the fridge in The Heat, so who am I to judge the political correctness of Melissa McCarthy jokes?

Spy is set for a June 5 release. Paul Feig is writer and director. He worked with McCarthy before on Bridesmaids and The Heat.

Review: Woman in Gold

Woman in Gold is getting mixed reviews. Once again I am going to disagree with the critics and Rotten Tomatoes users. I completely enjoyed this film. Even though I knew from the start how it would turn out, I was enthralled by the events and the telling. There was tension and excitement around all of it. When it was over, I felt emotionally wrung out.

Spoilers ahead. Continue reading “Review: Woman in Gold”