Watch This: Trailer for The Post

Are you old enough to remember The Pentagon Papers? Just in case that was before your time, they were 700 pages of secret government documents about the Viet Nam War. They made the government look very bad. Very bad. Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks star in The Post to tell the story of how those pages  were published creating the biggest news story of the 1970s. Continue reading “Watch This: Trailer for The Post”

Surprise! Old People are Underrepresented in Film

A new study from the Media, Diversity and Social Change Initiative at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism provides the data showing what we all know already – older people are ignored, underrepresented, or trivialized in film. Continue reading “Surprise! Old People are Underrepresented in Film”

On the Need for Female Reviewers

I’ve tried several times to leave comments on posts such as the most recent “Why It Matters That Male Film Critics Vastly Outnumber Female Film Critics” at Bitch Media. The remarks never seem to make it into the comments. My comments are rather lengthy, too. I decided to follow the rule of my friend Elisa Camahort Page and make my lengthy comments on female reviewers into a post on the topic. Continue reading “On the Need for Female Reviewers”

Review: Ricki and the Flash

Lucky for me I’m not a critic. It seems to me that the main job of a critic is to watch a fun and enjoyable movie or TV show and find things wrong with it so as to make it unenjoyable for anyone else to watch. Which leads to my point: Ricki and the Flash is fun and enjoyable. Lukewarm reviews be damned.

Spoilers ahead. Continue reading “Review: Ricki and the Flash”

Review: The Homesman

The Homesman showed up recently on Netflix. I watched immediately.

The movie annoyed me. And the more I think about it, the more annoyed I become.

Spoilers ahead. Continue reading “Review: The Homesman”

Watch This: Trailer for Ricki and The Flash

I am somewhat (okay, a whole lot) excited about Ricki and The Flash. The first excitement is the star Meryl Streep. Next, there’s the writer Diablo Cody.

But wait! There’s more! Check this out:

“Meryl Streep takes on a whole new gig – a hard-rocking singer/guitarist – for Oscar®-winning director Jonathan Demme and Academy Award®-winning screenwriter Diablo Cody in Ricki and the Flash. In an original and electrifying film loaded with live musical performances, Streep stars as Ricki Rendazzo, a guitar heroine who made a world of mistakes as she followed her dreams of rock-and-roll stardom. Returning home, Ricki gets a shot at redemption and a chance to make things right as she faces the music with her family. Streep stars opposite her real-life daughter Mamie Gummer; Rick Springfield, portraying a Flash member in love with Ricki; Kevin Kline as Ricki’s ex-husband; and Audra McDonald as Kline’s new wife.”

Oh, my, what a cast. Meryl Streep singing rock and roll and slinging a guitar around like she knows what to do with it. Oh, my.

There is something so magical about Meryl Streep. Just a glance at this image of her in her costume and you know she’s going to kill in this part. In real life she’s 65, matronly, wearing glasses and a not very exciting dress. Put her in front of a camera, yell action, and something special happens. I feel lucky to be able to watch what Meryl Streep does and be amazed by it again and again.

Mamie Gummer lets herself look like hell in this film. I love that. I love the smacking that Ricki gets from her family, from her ex husband’s new wife. I love the Rick Springfield, the Kevin Kline, the Audra McDonald. This film better be good, because I love it.

Enough already with the gushing. See what you think of the trailer. The film opens August 7.

The Trailer

Meryl Streep images © 2015 – Sony Pictures Entertainment

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”

The Old Ain’t Dead Best Actress of All Time Award

We just watched the 2015 Oscars. The two women who won Best Actress Awards this year were Julianne Moore and Patricia Arquette. Both wonderful actresses – accomplished, talented and deserving.

Sometimes the Oscars give Lifetime Achievement Awards. I want to give an award like that. I want to give the Old Ain’t Dead Best Actress of All Time Award. (There are no prizes and the award means nothing. Sorry.)

How do we judge the best actress of all time? Wins or nominations? Or some variation thereof? Why don’t we look at stats?

Is it Oscar wins? If so, the best actress of all time is Katharine Hepburn with 4 wins and 12 nominations.


Katharine Hepburn promo pic” by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer studio (work for hire) – [7] alt source: [8]. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

Is it Oscar nominations? If so, the best actress of all time is Meryl Streep with 3 wins and 19 nominations.


Meryl Streep by Jack Mitchell” by Jack Mitchell. Licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Either record is phenomenal. To be in 12 films, or 19 films, and do such an outstanding job that your performance is considered worthy of consideration for an Oscar – that’s phenomenal. That’s talent and skill and hard work and love.

I do have an opinion in this stats-based contest between Hepburn and Streep. I’m picking Streep as the winner and here’s why.

Meryl Streep disappears into a part. I’ve seen her in parts where I didn’t even realize it was her, she was so in character. She can be completely different from one film and one character to another.

Katherine Hepburn seems to always be Katherine Hepburn. Not that she couldn’t act – she could. But there was some essential Hepburnness to her voice, her movements, and her posture that was always there no matter the part.

With Meryl Streep, nothing stays the same. There’s no Streep there.

To be fair, Katherine Hepburn was performing in movies in a time when the costuming, the make up, the prosthetics, the technology and techniques were far less sophisticated than they are now.

Even taking that into consideration, I’m still giving the award to Meryl Streep. The Best Actress of All Time is Meryl Streep!

Meryl Streep as 4 different characters

Applause. Applause. Applause. Applause. Applause. Applause.

Brain Dump: A Wife’s Nightmare, Annie, On My Way, Into the Woods

It’s time for a brain dump. My brain is teeming with thoughts about this and that – mostly movies I watched over the holidays. Short thoughts. Thoughts so short that combining them into one post seems like a grand idea.

A Wife’s Nightmare

Jennifer Beals in "A Wife's Nightmare"
Jennifer Beals

A Wife’s Nightmare gave us a Jennifer Beals who was unsure, compliant, nervous, and worried. The gaslighting part of the story was a new acting challenge for Jennifer Beals and she did it very well. I was happy she found her way to some backbone by the end of the story, however. Jennifer Beals is always a pleasure to watch. Here’s a full review.

Annie

dancing and singing on a rooftop
Rose Byrne and Quvenzhané Wallis in Annie

Annie is a wonderful update to the familiar story. The new songs were perfect contemporary music. The cast was excellent, particularly Quvenzhané Wallis. Hat tips to older versions of the story were well done.

I had the pleasure of going to the movie with a friend and her two grandchildren who danced in their seats and sang along. Afterwards they agreed that the movie was really good. These two biracial youngsters – ages 3 and 6 – wanted their hair freshly washed for the movie so it would look like “Annie hair.” The importance they placed on looking like Annie reminded me again how critical it is that we see someone who looks like ourselves represented on screens as smart, successful, talented, and worthwhile human beings.

On My Way

Catherine Deneuve and Nemo Schiffman in On My Way
Catherine Deneuve and Nemo Schiffman in On My Way

On My Way (French title Elle s’en va) is a French film with English subtitles I found on Netflix. Catherine Deneuve is the star, which is what caught my interest. It has 4 stars on Netflix, always a good indicator it’s worth watching. Catherine Deneuve is 71; she’s put on some weight. But whatever it was she had – she’s still got it. She’s still got ALL of it.

Into the Woods

Lilla Crawford as Little Red Riding Hood in Into the Woods
Lilla Crawford as Little Red Riding Hood in Into the Woods

When you start with talent like Stephen Sondheim and Rob Marshall, add in a screenplay by James Lapine, and cast fantastic people like Meryl Streep and Emily Blunt as the players – well, you end up with something utterly brilliant. That is all I have to say: brilliant.

Annie photo ©Sony Pictures. Into the Woods photo ©Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures.

Watch This: Trailer for Into the Woods

Into the Woods opens on Christmas Day. The prospect of seeing another musical directed by Rob Marshall, who directed Chicago, makes me quite excited. And this one has music by Stephen Sondheim!

Into the Woods is based on a Broadway musical by Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine. It stars Meryl Streep, Emily Blunt, James Corden, Anna Kendrick and Chris Pine. The story is a mash up the classic tales of Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Jack and the Beanstalk and Rapunzel. These classics are wrapped with an original story involving a baker and his wife, their wish for a family and their interaction with a witch who put a curse on them.

I caught a glimpse of Christine Baranski in the previews. Her vocal talents landed her parts in Mamma Mia (with Meryl Streep) and Chicago. This time she’s playing Cinderella’s stepmother.

And, my, doesn’t Johnny Depp look fabulous as The Big Bad Wolf?

A background feature is also available.

I grew up in the heyday of musicals with stars like Gene Kelly, Doris Day, Gordon MacRae, and Shirley Jones. Musicals make me happy! Let’s all sing and dance, shall we?

Images © 2013 – Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures