House of Cards: Trailers, Posters and Dates

The release date on Netflix for House of Cards is Friday, February 27. All 13 episodes of season 3 will be available then.

Poster for House of Cards

In season 3, Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey) is the President, Claire (Robin Wright) is First Lady. I forget the exact details of how Frank Underwood manipulated himself into the Presidency. I must go back and review season 2 before Feb. 27.

Most of the season was filmed in Maryland, but the finale was filmed in northern New Mexico in the Santa Fe and Las Vegas area. I’ll definitely be on the lookout for places I recognize in the finale!

Netflix calls this preview a moving poster. It doesn’t show much of anything except the Underwoods looking Presidential.

The official season 3 trailer is much more exciting – and drum laden.

Marvel’s A.K.A. Jessica Jones Set for Netflix

Marvel’s A.K.A. Jessica Jones is a comic book come to life featuring a female character. Marvel Television in association with ABC Studios for Netflix have stepped up to the heroine based story with this upcoming series.

Here’s the story from Marvel about the female leads.

After a tragic ending to her short-lived super hero stint, Jessica Jones is rebuilding her personal life and career as a detective who gets pulled into cases involving people with extraordinary abilities in New York City. Trish is a syndicated radio talk show host, former model and child TV star known to her adoring fans as “Patsy” Walker.

The 13 part story will air in the spring on Netflix, but I don’t know an exact date.

Krysten Ritter
Krysten Ritter

Krysten Ritter stars as Jessica Jones. She’s hung up her cape and opened a detective agency.

Rachael Taylor in a scene from "Crisis."
Rachael Taylor in a scene from “Crisis.”

Her best friend Trish will be played by Rachael Taylor. According to the publicity about Trish, she helps Jessica embark on the most dangerous case of her career.

Also in the cast are Mike Colter as Luke Cage, and David Tennant as Kilgrave.

Netflix has a deal with Marvel for 4 series. Fingers crossed, they are all lead by female characters. Melissa Rosenberg is the woman behind Marvel’s A.K.A. Jessica Jones.

Most women in actual comic books are just there because their boobs are falling out of their bras. Let’s hope that Jessica Jones on television can button her blouse and be an interesting lead character in a fun heroic romp. Krysten Ritter’ getting billing ahead of David Tennant, for heaven’s sake. She better be THE BOSS. She better be something this man can let his 7 year old daughter watch.

Rachael Taylor photo from Crisis by NBC – © 2013 NBC Universal Media. Krysten Ritten photo via IMDB.

Netflix Doc: What Happened, Miss Simone?

Available later this year only on Netflix will be Liz Garbus’ documentary What Happened, Miss Simone? about the life of singer Nina Simone. Here’s the publicity blurb about the film.

Classically trained pianist, black power icon and legendary recording artist, Nina Simone lived a life of brutal honesty, musical genius, and tortured melancholy. In the upcoming Netflix original documentary, Academy Award® nominated filmmaker Liz Garbus interweaves never-before-heard recordings and rare archival footage together with Nina’’s most memorable songs, creating an unforgettable portrait of one of the least understood, yet most beloved artists of our time.

There’s another film about Nina Simone in the works – a biopic starring Zoe Saldana. This Netflix documentary will show Nina singing her own songs and shouldn’t be confused with the other film.

The two films will bring the attention of young people who might not be familiar with Nina Simone into her fandom. It seems to be the moment to rediscover the wonderful talents of the singer who died at age 70 in 2003.

Here’s the first official trailer for the documentary.

Learn more about the film and about Nina Simone at ninasimone.com.

Lila: Take a Moment to Brighten Your Day

Lila is a short film by Carlos Lascano that will make you smile and will brighten your day. The actress playing Lila is Alma Garcia. The film uses magic and art and reality to tell a brief but charming tale.

Lila is the conclusion of a trilogy beginning with A Short Love Story in Stop Motion and A Shadow of Blue. (The link to A Shadow of Blue is to the trailer. There are several versions  of the film with different music, but this is the only thing I could find with the original music.)

I wish I had Lila’s eyes in my life. I’d be grinning, too.

Fangirling Over Sarah Lancashire

There are many more videos on YouTube featuring Sarah Lancashire than there were only a few months ago. I enjoyed watching a bunch of them, but found these three to be the most interesting.

The first one is scenes from Happy Valley. The thing I loved most about Sarah Lancashire’s performance in Happy Valley was her kickass toughness, her physical strength and bravery. That is captured perfectly in this video from zanzibar. (Love the user name choice.)

Another fan video I found delightful, also from zanzibar, is called Au Naturel. It’s images of Sarah just being herself in interviews and at awards ceremonies.

The third one is fun because Sarah is singing and dancing. She’s performing “Nobody” from Betty Blue Eyes.

Thanks to the talented fans (especially zanzibar) who take the time to create these videos and post them so people like me can get a Sarah Lancashire fix.

Entangled

Orphan Black writer Tony Elliott’s short film Entangled tells the story of woman whose lover is suffering the debilitating side effects of a quantum device he’s created. Elliott both wrote and directed the film. It features an excellent performance from Christine Horne. The film is proof than Tony Elliott is a perfect writer for Orphan Black.

This is the plot synopsis:

A scientist initiates her brain-dead partner’s secret experiment to find out what happened to him. But what she experiences is a mind-bending reality that threatens both their lives.

Also in the film are Aaron Abrams, Joey Klein, and Tennille Read.

Here’s the entire Entangled.

After watching the film, I think we can agree that Tony Elliott should not propose this solution for the multiplicity of Maslanys on Orphan Black.

Review: Transparent

Transparent was fascinating and compelling. I watched it all the first weekend it was out on Amazon Prime. It’s a coming out story for the character brilliantly played by Jeffrey Tambor.

I’ll try to review it without giving away too many surprises that can’t be gleaned from simply watching the trailer. The review has some mild spoilers.

Maura at her leisure
Maura at her leisure

Late in life, Mort decides to come out and live full time as a woman – Maura. Season 1 was about coming out. If there are hormones or other options in Maura’s future, that will come later. It’s more than Maura’s coming out story. It’s a story about the repercussions for everyone around the transgendered person, particularly the children and the ex-spouse.

Tambor plays Maura with great dignity and sadness. There is occasional joy, but also considerable pain. I’ve seen Tambor in many parts where he is ridiculous, but here he is quiet, vulnerable and stately.

Judith Light as Shelly
Judith Light as Shelly

Judith Light as the ex-wife, Shelly, is absolutely outstanding. In my opinion, it’s the best role she’s ever had in many years as an actor, and she doesn’t waste a second of it. She’s wonderful in the part.

Each of the children has their own particular anguish to deal with in addition to the big news from dad. The 3 children of Mort and Shelley are Sarah (Amy Landecker), Ali (Gaby Hoffmann) and Josh (Jay Duplass). Maura comes out to each child in a different way, and each of them deals with it in a different way. There’s a lot of gender stuff in this story, and not all from Maura.

Sarah with her kids
Sarah with her kids

Sarah leaves her husband Len (Rob Huebel). She takes up with a former lover named Tammy, who is played with verve and charisma by Melora Hardin. Melora Hardin is so good in this part I’m making up a new rule: Melora Hardin should play only butchy parts from now on! As the season progresses, Sarah wobbles a bit between Tammy and Len and the negotiations between her kids and Tammy’s kids. One of Tammy’s ex step children enters the story late in the season and may turn out to be significant in Josh’s life. That isn’t the only child who may turn out to be important in Josh’s life.

Josh and Ali bonding over old vinyl
Josh and Ali bonding over old vinyl

Josh screws just about anything that moves but not for particularly good reasons. He has sexual issues going back to his early teens that still haunt him. Toward the end of season 1 he meets and falls for a rabbi, played by Kathryn Hahn, but this romance is confused by Josh’s past. Here’s wishing Josh and the Rabbi some good luck for season 2!

Ali is the flake. Rootless, jobless, confused, frequently high, self-centered and perhaps the most loyal and loving of the bunch. She’s clueless about who she is or what she should do with her life, but she’s trying really hard to get it figured out. She might have an undiagnosed mental illness. Carrie Brownstein plays Syd, Ali’s best friend.

Jill Soloway

Transparent was created, written, produced, and sometimes directed by Jill Soloway. Soloway has a trans parent and the story has been brewing in her for years. That’s her in the photo at the top during an interview with Jeffrey Tambor.

Soloway’s other credits include Six Feet Under and United States of Tara.

Issues

The girls out shopping
The girls out shopping

Most of the issues in the series revolve around gender identity and sexual orientation, or both at once. I mentioned that a lot of the story was about the kids’ reactions to dad switching gender roles, but there are moments showing what Maura goes through. For instance, Maura, Ali and Sarah go shopping. Where does Maura go to pee without causing a riot?

There are issues with getting the right gendered pronoun, questions about what you call your dad when dad is a woman or when Uncle Mort is now – what – Uncle Maura?

Maura and friend Marcy (Bradley Whitford) have some wonderful scenes in flashbacks to the 80s when they identified as cross dressers. Marcy thinks he’s a man who likes dressing up like a woman. But Maura doesn’t feel like a man and she doesn’t know what to do about it when cross-dressing is as close as she can come to what feels real. The flashbacks add understanding to what Mort had to endure to finally decide to become Maura to the entire world.

Jeffrey Tambor is not a Trans Actor

Before the series came out, there was a considerable amount of criticism because Jeffrey Tambor is not a trans actor. There were, in fact, 12 speaking parts for trans actors in the series. Among them, Alexandra Billings plays Davina, one of Maura’s closest friends in the trans community and the trans support group Maura attends.

Soloway has been quoted as saying that she always had Tambor in mind for the part because he reminds her of her father. Her father came out as transgender several years ago, just as Maura struggles to do in the series.

After seeing all of season 1, I think the criticism over the choice of Tambor will fade away. So much of the story is flashbacks to times when Tambor is seen as Mort. Even as the story begins, Mort is still there, struggling to explain to his 3 adult children that he is actually she.

Soloway was quoted on NPR saying about the criticism,

The world knows so little about being trans, and I know very little about being trans — I just know what it’s like to be the child of a trans person. But there’s so little trans representation [and] so few trans people who are creating content, so we really depend on the trans community to help us get it right.

If you have Amazon Prime you should definitely watch this series. It’s listed as a comedy and has comic moments, but it’s also about real and powerful issues that are much on the national consciousness now. Every performance is masterful, the writing is brilliant. As a bonus, the music choices for every episode were perfect. This show needs a soundtrack album. Watch it if you can.

Update

I just discovered this short video, which I think is relevant to the review and adds to it.

Watch This: Trailer for Transparent

Amazon released a trailer for the Amazon-only Transparent, which will begin on September 26. Right now you can see the 1st episode free, even if you don’t have Prime.

This very complicated tale stars Jeffrey Tambor as a man making a gender transition late in life. There’s a huge and wonderful cast supporting Tambor with plenty of complexity to make up a family of interesting characters.

I don’t know how old Tambor’s character is supposed to be in this show, but in real life he is 70. That puts him in a generation when the opportunity – even the idea – that one could change genders was somewhere in the realm of impossible. Young people today who feel compelled to transition manage to accomplish it at a much earlier age. I think the series title, Transparent, is a clue that the reactions of his grown children to the transition will be important.

poster for Transparent

The series was created by Jill Soloway, who has worked on such great shows as Six Feet Under, Afternoon Delight and United States of Tara.

All 10 episodes of Transparent will be available on Amazon Prime on September 26.