Watch the Trailer for The Invisible Woman

Coming in December, The Invisible Woman stars Ralph Fiennes as Charles Dickens. Fiennes also directed the film. The title character is Nelly Ternan (Felicity Jones), a young actress whom Dickens met at the height of his fame and had a secret affair with. The costume drama also stars Kristin Scott Thomas, Tom Hollander, Michelle Fairley and Joanna Scanlan. It opens on Christmas Day.

The film is based on The Invisible Woman: The Story of Nelly Ternan and Charles Dickens by Claire Tomalin.

Does it look good to you?

Judi Dench Fights R Rating in M’s Persona – Updated

Judi Dench is not happy about the R rating Philomena received in the U.S. The rating was the result of a couple of utterances of the word fuck. According to Variety,

Harvey Weinstein geared up for a familiar ratings fight, appearing on “CBS This Morning” to announce that he and Philomena star Judi Dench are “in a battle” with the MPAA, since the drama was rated R, unjustly in many observers’ opinions, for using the F-word twice. Mr. W. gave the morning show the first look at a brief video with Dench as her M character from the James Bond series — with the M helping spell out the word “Philomena.” The 23-second spot is a teaser for an upcoming Funny or Die video.

I want to see Philomena, and I want to see the rest of this Funny or Die video! What a tease.

Updated!

Funny or Die has released more of the video. Here you go:

Watch the Trailer

Watch the trailer for Philomena here. It’s a film that looks perfectly wonderful with no violence, gun battles, overt sex or any other taboo you might worry about for younger kids, unless you’ve somehow managed to protect them from ever hearing the F-word uttered.

Updated Again. It worked!

The fight to get the rating lowered in the U.S. to PG-13 was won. Go see this great movie with your kids.

 

Watch the Trailer for Winter’s Tale

Winter’s Tale is coming on Valentine’s Day 2014. This generation jumping love story stars Colin Farrell, Jessica Brown Findlay, Jennifer Connelly, William Hurt, Eva Marie Saint and Russell Crowe.

If you go in for magical realism, true love despite all odds, the battles of good and evil, and a heart throbby Colin Farrell, this movie will make your Valentine’s Day perfect.

Winter's Tale Poster
Winter’s Tale Poster

Are you a sucker for a good love story? I am. Think you’ll go see this movie?

Lisa Kudrow Kicks Butt in Scandal

The last couple of weeks Lisa Kudrow has been on Scandal. She plays Congresswoman Josephine Marcus who wants to run for President. Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington) is helping with her image and her PR.

Their first hurdle was a child the Congresswoman had at age 15. That child, played by Sally Pressman from Army Wives is now 30 years old and thinks she’s the Congresswoman’s sister. Olivia is impressed by Congresswoman Marcus when she owns up to the birth on TV – even though she doesn’t reveal who the child is on TV.

Other hurdles involve the Congresswoman’s basic honesty and her desire not to accept big money contributions with all the strings that come attached to such contributions. Also, Olivia isn’t quite sure the Congresswoman is tough enough to get through a campaign.

Olivia gets the Congresswoman a TV interview with James Novak (Dan Bucatinsky), which is where this scene comes in.

I love so many things about this. I love every word that comes out of Lisa Kudrow’s mouth and the perfect way she delivers the lines. I love the look on Kerry Washington’s face as she listens. I love Shonda Rhimes for writing this and finding such an effective way to say it to the world. I love the way the sister/daughter character thinks she needs to shut the Congresswoman up and I love the way Darby Stanchfield’s character Abby says, “Don’t you dare.”

We may have a woman running for President in 2016. When that woman ran for the nomination in 2008, she faced sexism much more overt than what we saw in this scene from Scandal. That’s another reason why I love this scene. It isn’t about the big gender gaffes that get everyone’s attention. It’s points out the subtle sexism that is so insidious. It points out the quiet sexism that nobody rails against in The New York Times, that nobody editorializes about it in Salon. It’s about the framing: the lovely home, the feminine props with the iced tea – the subtle sexism escapes our overt notice but influences our worldview. It’s about the language: the Cinderella story wording – the subtle sexism doesn’t raise any red flags, but silently shapes our worldview.

Even the title of this clip, “Josi loses her temper on TV,” is sexist. I don’t know who titled it, but it’s not the title anyone would put on a clip like this if a man were pointing out inequality.

Congresswoman Josephine Marcus kicked butt. Lisa Kudrow kicked butt. I speak for every woman on the planet when I say, kick a lot more butt, Congresswoman. Can I vote for a fictional Congresswoman? I sure want to.

A big thank you to Shonda Rhimes for Congresswoman Josephine Marcus and a storyline on Scandal about gender in politics.

As an aside, the Congresswoman created in Scandal reminds me of the truly outstanding political role model in the Danish series Borgen. Once again, I recommend Borgen for your viewing pleasure.

That Wasn’t an Earthquake

That was the impact of 500 million lesbians all over the globe fainting at the sight of this tweet.

Some selfies attract more attention than others, ya know.

 

Sarah Lancashire in Rose and Maloney

I became a dedicated Sarah Lancashire devotee as I watched Last Tango in Halifax. Being an American who rarely gets to see British TV unless it’s broadcast on PBS, I had never heard of her before.

It’s surprisingly difficult to learn anything about British actors in America. Europeans don’t have much interest in filling out information for IMDB.com and places like Wikipedia are sketchy at best. When I saw that Sarah Lancashire was in a series called Rose and Maloney, I looked for it on Netflix and Amazon Prime but couldn’t find it. A couple of days ago, I discovered that YouTube runs full episodes of the series via All3Media and other kind souls who’ve shared.

Sarah Lancashire as Rose Linden in season 1
Sarah Lancashire as Rose Linden in season 1

The series, which premiered in 2002, is uneven: storylines get mysteriously dropped, the characters change in inexplicable ways. It feels like they tried the first two episodes (which amount to season 1), got some positive response, and did a bit of a makeover in season 2 and 3 to try to keep things going. Rose in particular gets a bit of a redo – new hair, a different look with jeans and checkered shirts rolled up to the elbows, and slightly less drunkenness and fewer diabetic meltdowns.

Sarah Lancashine and Phil Davis and Rose and Maloney
Sarah Lancashine and Phil Davis and Rose and Maloney

Sarah Lancashire is devastatingly real as Rose in every episode.Rose and Maloney (Phil Davis plays Maloney) work for a fictional agency called CJRA, which reviews cases to make sure that justice was served. Sarah Lancashire as Rose Linden is a hard-drinking, smoking, cursing, rule-breaking investigator with relentless doggedness when it comes to finding truth and justice. She’s diabetic, messy, brilliant, and unafraid. Even though the series itself is inconsistent, Sarah Lancashire is devastatingly real as Rose in every episode.

Phil Davis is the perfect suit-and-tie establishment foil to her excess.Maloney’s a straight and narrow kind of guy who can’t believe some of the stunts Rose pulls, but who admires her skills in finding the truth about the cases they review. Phil Davis is the perfect suit-and-tie establishment foil to her excess.

Here’s the complete first episode. If you like the characters here, you’ll enjoy the remainder of the series.

Rose changes a lot in season 2 and 3. Her appearance changes, the boyfriend in prison somehow vanishes from her mind. Her boss changes from a man she shags on his desk late at night to a woman she drives crazy with her rebelliousness. The woman playing her mother changes. Nevertheless, Rose still is the same basic person with her snarky attitude and her determination to find the truth about her cases.

There are some delightful guest stars, Anthony Stewart Head and Eamonn Walker being two examples.

I’m never exactly sure what on-screen chemistry is other than good acting, but whatever it is, these two have it.Anne Reid joins the cast as Rose’s mother in a couple of episodes. Seeing Anne Reid and Sarah Lancashire as mother and daughter in Rose and Maloney makes it obvious why they were cast together again in Last Tango in Halifax. Their chemistry, honed to razor sharpness in Last Tango in Halifax, is perfectly complementary. I’m never exactly sure what on-screen chemistry is other than good acting, but whatever it is, these two have it. Maybe they vibrate at the same frequency.

Here are links to the other episodes of Rose and Maloney on YouTube. I don’t know if this is every episode, but it’s every episode on YouTube. Have a binge watching party with Sarah Lancashire!

Trailer for Philomena

Philomena is a tale about an Irish woman searching for the son she was forced to give up. It stars Judi Dench and Steve Coogan and will open in late November in theaters.

In a month full of superhero releases, Philomena is one bright spot of a human-sized story about a real woman and her lifelong quest to find her son. If you’ve been thinking of scheduling a movie into your time off for Thanksgiving weekend but don’t want to see Thor or some other violent fantasy hunk bash people, Philomena looks like a wonderful choice.

Philomena poster
Philomena poster

If you go, please share your reactions.

Lost Girl Season 3 Pre Show

Spend 45 minutes with Jay Firestone, Lost Girl producer, and the main cast of Lost Girl as they talk about what to expect in season 3.

The video was made after season 3 was shot, but before it was released, so we didn’t know about Tamsin. Present in this interview were Anna Silk, Zoie Palmer, Rick Howland, K.C. Collins, Ksenia Solo and Kris Holden-Ried.

I think this only appeared on Showcase, I don’t think it was shown on SyFy.

Season 3 is over now, but this video was new to me and I enjoyed it immensely. I hope you do, too.

As far as I know Showcase has not released a similar season 4 pre show, but if I find one, I’ll bring it to your attention.

Lost Girl: Season Three will be available on DVD and Blu-Ray soon at Amazon. The trailer for the DVD set promises an hour of footage unseen in the show plus material from Comic Con.

Bomb Girls the Movie: It’s a Go

Bomb Girls was a Canadian series, canceled after 2 seasons. It was a WWII story about women who worked in a bomb factory called Victory Munitions. It ran in Canada on Global TV and in the U.S. on Reelz. It’s  available on Netflix.

The show had a huge and enthusiastic following. After it was cancelled, a #savebombgirls campaign started on social media, especially Twitter, lobbying for a movie. The campaign worked!

Here’s a report from The Star, Bomb Girls return with TV movie.

The original cast, including Jodi Balfour, Charlotte Hegele, Ali Liebert and Canadian Screen Award-winning actress Meg Tilly, are all back for the movie, which is set in spring 1943. The workers at Victory Munitions are tasked with making newly developed sonar equipment, but there may be a saboteur in their midst.

To celebrate the upcoming TV movie, I decided to rewatch the entire series on Netflix. I am up to season 2, episode 6, “Where There’s Smoke,” which is the episode these screen shots came from since that’s what I was about to watch when I started writing this post.

The series focuses mainly on a few of the many women who work at Victory Munitions. They are led by Meg Tilly as Lorna Corbett. Meg Tilly so seldom appears in movies or on TV, and she is so wonderful when she does. It’s worth watching this series just to see her in action.

Meg Tilly as Lorna
Meg Tilly as Lorna

Lorna has grown children – played by Natasha Greenblatt and Brett Dier – and a husband crippled by his service in “the great war,” WWI. The husband is wonderfully played by Peter Outerbridge. Brett Dier does a great job as the son, a tail gunner home from the war to go on a Victory Bond tour as a hero, but he suffers from what we now call PTSD.

Lorna comforts Gladys
Lorna comforts Gladys. Look at the perfect set.

Lorna is the “floor matron” and mother hen to all the young women who come away from their former lives to work in the bomb factory.

Part of the story deals with the fear and ostracism of Italian and German Canadians who were sent to camps as soon as Canada entered the war. Lorna’s character is involved with trying to get a particular Italian, Marco (Antonio Cupo) fired from the bomb factory as a security risk. Marco is a handsome Italian and is a temptation to Lorna as well as several other women in the story. I don’t want to give you any spoilers about Marco, but he is important to many storylines in Bomb Girls.

The theme of prejudice and bigotry appears in other ways in Bomb Girls, with German POW’s, Italian internment camps, Japanese-American soldiers, and an Indian doctor that Lorna’s daughter falls in love with.

Jodi Balfour as Gladys
Jodi Balfour as Gladys

Jodi Balfour plays the rich Gladys Witham. Her parents own Witham Foods, an important supplier of rations to the soldiers. Gladys is engaged to an American (Sebastian Pigott) who her father (James McGowan) is bringing into the company. When America, enters the war, Gladys’ fella enlists.

Gladys is a rebel and wants to work in the factory, on the floor, making bombs. She does this, although it causes a lot of family conflict. She becomes friends with the other girls who work on the floor. She also rebels against the sexual standards of the day in ways that her parents think “could ruin her.” She rebels against her parents view of the war as a great opportunity to make huge profits. If one member of the cast could fill the role of what modern women were set to become after the war, Gladys would fit the bill.

Tahmoh Penikett joins the cast as factory security head toward the end of season 2 and gets Gladys involved in security. This storyline apparently continues in the movie, because Tahmoh Penikett is in the movie and the mention of saboteurs would fit his and Gladys’ part of the story.

Charlotte Hegele as Kate
Charlotte Hegele as Kate

Charlotte Hegele is Kate, a runaway from her oppressive and abusive father. She’s using an assumed name and trying to find a new life. She’s a wonderful singer and performs a number of songs as the stories unfold.

A singing trio
A singing trio

One of the times Kate performs, she’s part of a trio doing a jingle for Victory Munitions. In those days, women’s trios all sounded like The Andrews Sisters, but Kate also sings jazz, religious songs, and ballads.

Kate spends a lot of time hiding her real identity and name, a habit which causes her problems when she finds a steady boyfriend.

Charlotte Hegele as Kate and Ali Liebert as Betty
Charlotte Hegele as Kate and Ali Liebert as Betty

Kate and Betty (Ali Liebert) live in the same rooming house, work the same shift at the factory, and soon become fast friends. Betty’s feelings for Kate run to love, not friendship. Kate is not able to return Betty’s feelings in the way Betty wishes she would, which causes some conflict between them. Even so, Betty is very protective of Kate and helps her escape from her father for good.

Rachel Wilson as Teresa
Rachel Wilson as Teresa

One of Betty’s ploys to try to fit in at the factory was to have a boyfriend – a very unsatisfactory relationship for her. About midway through season 2, episode 6 to be exact, Betty meets a soldier named Teresa (Rachel Wilson) who makes it plain very quickly that she understands Betty’s sexual inclinations and shares them.

Ali Liebert as Betty and Rachel Wilson as Teresa
Ali Liebert as Betty and Rachel Wilson as Teresa

When Betty is with Teresa, she finally has her first sexual experience that feels right to her. Betty is what might have been called “a tough cookie” in the 40s, yet she is complex and vulnerable in surprising ways.

Anastasia Phillips as Vera
Anastasia Phillips as Vera

Anastasia Phillips as Vera is the final major female character in the story. She is injured while working the line and has a terrible scar.

Vera and Lorna working together
Vera and Lorna working together

The scar affects Vera’s self-esteem in interesting ways – it brings her near suicide, but she comes out of it.  She uses sex to help heal herself on the inside as the scar heals on the outside. In her job at the factory, it turns out she’s really smart and capable and she ends up bringing all sorts of good ideas to Victory Munitions. Vera is the kind of woman who probably went on to run a business of her own after the war.

Themes of friendship and feminism permeate the stories in Bomb Girls. All of the women in Bomb Girls teach each other lessons and offer each other strength. They also teach their male bosses, boyfriends, and families exactly how vital and important women are to the war effort. It was an exciting time for women in Canada and everywhere, and their stories explain how women’s early steps into feminism and the workplace happened.

Rosie O’Donnell does a turn as a newspaper reporter who inspired Lorna to ask for raises for herself and the girls, making equal pay another theme in the series.

Gladys on the phone
Gladys on the phone, properly dressed in a hat

You may not be old enough to remember how things looked and sounded in the 40s, but I am. The details in Bomb Girls in costuming and sets and props and music and radio broadcasts and magazines and every other way are perfect. And all those women’s hats! It’s a complete treat to watch just for the way it looks and sounds.

If you haven’t watched this series about women’s lives during a pivotal period of history, I think you’ll enjoy checking it out.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire Final Trailer

This is the final trailer for The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, which stars Jennifer Lawrence. The film opens in the U.S. on November 22.

Are you planning to go see this film in a theater?