Watch This: Trailer for The Women’s List

The Women’s List is on your local PBS or PBS online. Fifteen women are featured in this one hour film by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders.

Featured women include Madeleine Albright, U.S. Secretary of State, 1997-2001, Gloria Allred, lawyer, Laurie Anderson, artist, Sara Blakely, entrepreneur, Margaret Cho, comedian, Edie Falco, actor, Elizabeth Holmes, scientist and entrepreneur, Betsey Johnson, fashion designer, Alicia Keys, singer-songwriter, Aimee Mullins, athlete and fashion model, Nancy Pelosi, politician, Rosie Perez, actor, Shonda Rhimes, writer-producer, Wendy Williams, talk show host, Nia Wordlaw, pilot. This is a diverse list of women, some of whom you may know, some of whom may be new faces to you.

The women share their experiences struggling against discrimination and overcoming challenges to make their voices heard.

 

Watch This: New Trailer for Carol

I’m way behind the times with this trailer for Carol. It looks like an emotional and possibly heartbreaking ride.

Carol stars Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara in a story set in 1952 New York City. It tells the story of a young female clerk and her love affair with an older, married woman. Also in the film are Sarah Paulson and Kyle Chandler.

The film is based on a novel “The Price of Salt” by Patricia Highsmith. The screenplay was written by Phyllis Nagy. Todd Haynes is the director.

The film looks very stylish and moody and 1950ish, if there is such a thing as 1950ish. The publicity stills have been a love affair with Cate Blanchett’s face, so I expect lots of beautiful shots of her in the film.

Late November will be the release date. Adding to the excitement over the release, the film received rave reviews at the Cannes Film Festival and at other festivals where it has appeared.

Watch This: Trailer for Truth with Cate Blanchett and Robert Redford

Truth is based on the real newsroom drama detailing the 2004 CBS 60 Minutes report investigating then-President George W. Bush’s military service. The subsequent firestorm of criticism cost anchor Dan Rather and producer Mary Mapes their careers. The film is based on Mary Mapes memoir, “Truth and Duty: The Press, the President, and the Privilege of Power.” She was one of the screenwriters.

A scene from Truth with Robert Redford, Cate Blanchett and Bruce Greenwood.
A scene from Truth with Robert Redford, Cate Blanchett and Bruce Greenwood.

Cate Blanchett plays Mapes, with Robert Redford playing Dan Rather. Other actors appearing in the film include Bruce Greenwood, Elisabeth Moss, Topher Grace, John Benjamin Hickey, Stacy Keach, and Dennis Quaid.

Dan Rather had worked at CBS since 1962 when this story broke. At TIFF, Rather appeared after the film screened and gave his full endorsement of Truth.

Release date for the film is October 16, 2015. The first-time director is James Vanderbilt.

I remember this event clearly and I’m sure many others do too. It’s fairly recent history to already be the subject of a movie. Of course, from our side of the camera, the story we heard was only the news as first presented and the ensuring controversy. The behind-the-scenes story this film tells was not part of what I knew about. It should be a fascinating movie.

I noticed the enthusiastic reception the film got at TIFF, including this endorsement from Christine Horne. She was there for her own film Hyena Road, but found time to watch Truth.

To be fair, maybe we should add a couple of cheers for Robert Redford in there, too. I’ll let you know about that after I see the film.

Into the Forest with Ellen Page and Evan Rachel Wood

Starring Ellen Page and Evan Rachel Wood and written and directed by Patricia Rozema, Into the Forest is the rare disaster movie told from a woman’s point of view.

The film is based on a novel by Jean Hegland. Also featured are Max Minghella, Callum Keith Rennie, and Michael Eklund.

Here’s a bit of the synopsis, which sounds tense and scary:

“In the not too distant future, two ambitious young women, Nell and Eva, live with their father in a lovely but run down home up in the mountains somewhere on the West Coast. Suddenly the power goes out. Over the following days, the radio reports a thousand theories: technical breakdowns, terrorism, disease and uncontrolled violence across the continent.

Then, one day, the radio stops broadcasting. To battle starvation, invasion and despair, Nell and Eva fall deeper into a primitive life that tests their endurance and bond.”

There is video of the two main characters and the director in a interview at the Toronto International Film Festival.

The director Patricia Rozema told Indiewire in response to a question about people changing in films, “In some movies, this is one, where the world around them changes a lot and that brings out something in them. I love that when Evan’s character says, “let’s use the gas,” you think she’s nuts. Everyone’s on Ellen’s side, but by the time they use the gas to watch the home movie and watch dance, we’re entirely convinced, or at least I am, that that’s the right thing to do. We need the nourishment of art.”

That part of the film reminds me of a story one of my uncles used to tell about riding the rails during the depression. He and his brother, another uncle, arrived in a town with 10 cents between them. One brother wanted to use it to buy food. The other wanted to go to a movie with it. Decades later, when I heard the story, there was still that conflict between them – one wanting the practical, one wanting to find some respite in art.

I’ve actually made a decision to do films with female leads now for the rest of my life.Another comment that Patricia Rozema made during her interview with Indiewire really struck a chord with me. She said, “I’ve actually made a decision to do films with female leads now for the rest of my life. The history of cinema is so horrifically unbalanced, that the little that I can do to rebalance it – I love seeing women be interested and complicated and strong. If the men are doing male characters and I am doing male characters, then who is going to do the female characters?”

Watch the Trailer for Into the Forest

Review: Grandma

Grandma stars Lily Tomlin as Elle. The entire story takes place in one day. It starts when Elle breaks up with her girlfriend Olivia (Judy Greer). Then Elle’s granddaughter Sage (Julia Garner) unexpectedly shows up needing $600 before sundown.

Spoilers ahead. Continue reading “Review: Grandma”

Quantico: The First 8 Minutes Offers a Look at Priyanka Chopra, an Exciting New Star

I’ve been ready to watch Quantico from the first preview because of the interesting lead actress, Priyanka Chopra, playing Alex Parrish. Now that ABC released a teaser showing the first 8 minutes, I’m even more sure I’m going to love this show. It’s about a class of recruits heading for the FBI Academy to learn to be agents.

The series begins on ABC on September 27. Star Priyanka Chopra is a former Miss World, a huge Hindi films success in her home country, and winner of a National Film Award — the equivalent of an Oscar — for Best Actress. She can sing, too. She lived in the U.S. with an aunt during her high school days, and recorded music at that time.

Quantico is Chopra’s first step into the American market as an actress. I predict great success for her here. She’s gorgeous, she’s talented – she’s a winner. She told The New York Times, “After being in movies for 13 years in India, I’m suddenly a debutante all over again. I’m scared and nervous — petrified, actually.”

Female FBI recruits played by Johanna Braddy, Yasmine Al Massri, and Priyanka Chopra
Female FBI recruits played by Johanna Braddy, Yasmine Al Massri, and Priyanka Chopra

She’s not the only thing Quantico has going for it. I’m sure you noticed other interesting characters in that 8 minute clip. Jake McLaughlin plays Ryan who never learned how to shave, Yasmine Al Massri is Nimah, Johanna Braddy is Shelby, Tate Ellington is Simon, Graham Rogers is Caleb, Anabelle Acosta is Nathalie, and Aunjanue Ellis is Miranda Shaw, one of the FBI trainers on the stage. Brian J. Smith is in this clip, but it looks like he doesn’t make it past the first episode, if IMDB has the correct information the number of episodes in which each actor appears.

ABC wanted Priyanka Chopra for something. They didn’t know what, exactly, but were willing to keep trying until they found the right show for her. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Chopra said ABC sent her 26 scripts before she picked Quantico. She didn’t want to be in a box labeled “Indian.” She commented, “ABC was sure they would find the right fit for me, and I think Quantico is. It’s me as an actor. Alex wasn’t written for someone with my ethnicity, but I am Indian in the show, so I’ve been rooted with my culture in the show, but that’s not what the show is about.” Chopra describes her character on the show as a female Jason Borne, smart and tough, but also feminine.

The series doesn’t waste a second getting Alex into hot water. She’s the FBI trainee suspected of masterminding the biggest attack on New York since September 11. I’m already rooting for her to get herself out of this mess, Jason Borne style.

A diverse cast, several leading parts for women, a high stakes story promising lots of action: all that adds up to an appealing season for Quantico. Will you be watching?

[Note: This post was syndicated at BlogHer in a slightly different form.]

Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries on Netflix

Netflix has finally obtained season 3 of Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, the Australian series that I first reviewed some time ago. Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries season 3 has 8 episodes.

With Essie Davis as the fabulous, free-spirited sleuth Phryne Fisher leading the cast, everything about this series is a romp. The series is set in 1920s Melbourne. Phryne’s a detective when a woman shouldn’t have been, at home in society or in a back-alley jazz club. She’s smarter than the police most of the time, and absolutely delightful all of the time.

The costumes are just luscious! The music is exceptionally good. I always sit through all the credits at the end, just to hear the final song playing the episode out. I don’t know Melbourne, so I can’t speak for the outdoor landmarks shown, but the indoor sets and the props are meticulously detailed and rich.

Detective Jack Robinson (Nathan Page) is her crime-solving helper in the police department, as are many others around her from all sorts of social levels. Miss Fisher’s companion/protégé Dot (Ashleigh Cummings), in particular, gets called upon to do detective assistant chores for the dashing heroine.

Nathan Page and Essie Davis in Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries
Nathan Page and Essie Davis in Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries

This is the season 3 trailer for the Australian ABC network.

In season 3, Phryne deals with her slick-talking father’s escapades in several episodes, all the while trying her best to send him back to England. I particularly enjoyed the episode in which Phryne’s Aunt Prudence (Miriam Margolyes) opens her home to a shady doctor who is running a sanatorium for ‘hysterical’ women. His method of treatment is a new invention that we now call a vibrator.

Here’s the season 2 trailer. Ignore the dates and channels mentioned, those applied to Australian TV.

Another season 2 promo offers glimpses behind the scenes.

If you haven’t yet learned to love Phryne Fisher and her elegant world, get over to Netflix and let her transport you into 1920s Melbourne.

There are full episodes of some of Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries on YouTube, no doubt illegally, if you don’t have Netflix.

Watch This: Freeheld Previews and Interviews

Freeheld is an important story that I inadvertently never mentioned yet on the blog. I’m going to make up for that with a big catch-all post.

The film opens October 2, 2015. Julianne Moore, Ellen Page, Michael Shannon, and Steve Carell star in this true story. It’s based on an Oscar winning documentary about Laurel Hester (Julianne Moore) and Stacie Andree (Ellen Page). Peter Sollett directs.

Julianne Moore and Ellen Page in Freeheld

It’s a love story, but it’s also a story about the couple’s fight for justice. I think the actual events surrounding Laurel’s fight with cancer and the county officials, Freeholders, took place in 2006 or 2007. Her fight to be treated as equal by the Freeholders is part of a direct line from then until the recent Supreme Court decision on same-sex marriage.

The film description: “A decorated New Jersey police detective, Laurel is diagnosed with cancer and wants to leave her hard-earned pension to her domestic partner, Stacie. However the Freeholders conspire to prevent Laurel from doing this. Hard-nosed detective Dane Wells (Michael Shannon), and activist Steven Goldstein (Steve Carell), unite in Laurel and Stacie’s defense, rallying police officers and ordinary citizens to support their struggle for equality.”

The story of these two ordinary women who struggled for respect and justice mirrors so many more stories. It brings an important moment in history to a wide audience. I hope the film will be huge. I hope it makes a shit-ton of money and send the message to Hollywood decision-makers that a movie about two women – two gay women – can rock the world. Stacie Andree, the real woman who worked with the director and cast to make sure the movie told the truth, brings honor to her partner Laurel with this work. She deserves her spot in the history of the equality movement.

Here’s the first official trailer.

Another trailer with some of the same material, but shorter, features “Hands Of Love” performed by Miley Cyrus and written by Linda Perry.

Ellen Page describes her feelings about the importance of the story and about working with Julianne Moore.

Julianne Moore talks about the film and about working with Ellen Page.

One More Reason to Like Longmire: An Age Appropriate Relationship

I’m a dedicated Longmire fan. I’ve previously mentioned several reasons why.

  1. Filmed in beautiful New Mexico
  2. Katee Sackhoff is in it
  3. Native American culture is treated with respect
  4. Very interesting complicated characters

After watching season 4 of Longmire on Netflix, I have another reason for loving the show.

Let’s back up a bit. Walt Longmire (Robert Taylor) is the sheriff of a mythical county in Wyoming where there is a new murder to investigate in almost every episode. In a long story arc starting in season 1 and stretching all the way into season 4 Walt is coming to terms with his wife’s murder. He tries to find her murderer. His best friend Henry Standing Bear (Lou Diamond Phillips) is accused of killing the man who murdered Walt’s wife. It takes time to prove Henry innocent. They have to find the real killer. That someone was tied to people in his county. He tries to find who gave the orders. Who had his wife killed and who killed her murderer?

In season 4, episode 3 we finally get the answer to that question. It isn’t the answer anyone expected. At last, Walt gets the closure he’s needed. It’s a brilliant episode. Tense, beautifully shot, amazing acting. It reminded me of the scene in The Fall where Stella interrogates Paul Specter.

Walt, finally, is at a place where he can let go of his wife and his desire for revenge. He might be open to letting a woman into his life again.

Katee Sackhoff and Robert Taylor in Longmire

Deputy Vic Moretti (Sackhoff) has visions of it being Walt’s new woman. Walt is not of the same mind. She is his deputy. Full stop.

Ally Walker

That’s about the time Walt meets the gorgeous Dr. Donna Sue Monahan (Ally Walker). She’s an overworked psychiatrist who works with PTSD cases and victims of trauma.

Walt is smitten. She’s reluctant. She’s busy. He’s busy. It takes them a while to figure it out.

I’m very interested in the feminist issue of age appropriate relationships in the movies and on TV. Older men with younger women seems to be the norm. But not on Longmire. Robert Taylor and Ally Walker are both over 50. Katee Sackhoff is 35.

Reason number 5 to love Longmire: he picks the woman his own age to court. Go, Walt!

Walt and Donna are in each others arms in the last few seconds of episode 10 for the big season 4 cliffhanger, so I’m hoping Ally Walker will be back if there is a season 5. I enjoyed her character in season 4 and she would be good for the story. My fingers are crossed.

The Final Season

The 6th and final season begins on Netflix on November 17, 2017.

Watch This: Premier Announcement of Marvel’s Jessica Jones

An arty and mysterious video for Marvel’s Jessica Jones was released by Netflix. It announces the premier date for the series: November 20, 2015. The first season contains 13 episodes.

The series synopsis is “Ever since her short-lived stint as a Super Hero ended in tragedy, Jessica Jones has been rebuilding her personal life and career as a hot-tempered, sardonic private detective in Hell’s Kitchen, New York City. Plagued by self-loathing, and a wicked case of PTSD, Jessica battles demons from within and without, using her extraordinary abilities as an unlikely champion for those in need… especially if they’re willing to cut her a check.”

Krysten Ritter will play Jessica Jones. In all 13 episodes with her will be David Tennant, Mike Colter, Rachael Taylor, Carrie-Anne Moss, Eka Darville, and Erin Moriarty.

See also: Marvel’s AKA Jessica Jones Set for Netflix.