Review: Season 1 of GLOW

Season 1 of the Netflix Original comedy GLOW wasn’t a total romp. It had plenty of serious moments. The overall impact, however, is one of R rated campy fun and female empowerment via headlocks and body slams. Continue reading “Review: Season 1 of GLOW”

Bette Porter on the Current Political Situation

Jennifer Beals played the magnificent Bette Porter in The L Word. She perfected the art of the curse in this role. A fan video of her exercising that talent expresses exactly my sentiments about what’s going on in Washington DC right now. Continue reading “Bette Porter on the Current Political Situation”

Watch This: Trailer for The White Orchid

The White Orchid is a popular name for films. The 2017 version you’re seeing the trailer for stars Olivia Thirlby in a dark thriller about a murdered girl. Continue reading “Watch This: Trailer for The White Orchid”

5 Female Directors Who Should be Better Known

These five women directors have amassed 64 directing credits between them. Some are foreign and/or women of color. All are talented and should have names as easily recognized as those of male directors.

I picked these 5 women almost randomly from the many sources listing talented and available women with directing experience who seem to be invisible to Hollywood studio heads. This is another nudge to those same studio heads (because they seem need nudging) that women are out here and can do the job. Continue reading “5 Female Directors Who Should be Better Known”

3 Reasons to Love Dark Matter

Dark Matter stars Roger R. Cross, Jodelle Ferland, Anthony Lemke, Zoie Palmer, Melissa O’Neil, Marc Bendavid, and Alex Mallari Jr. as the characters Six, Five, Three, The Android, Two, One, and Four. Here are 3 reasons why I love this sci fi space drama.

1. Nobody Knows Who They Are

Six people and and a ship-running android find themselves awakening in space with no memory of who they are or where they are going. Unlike stories where strangers get stuck in an elevator or on a bus or a ship, these people are not only strangers to each other but to themselves. They assign themselves numbers because they don’t know their own names.

Melissa O'Neil as Two is one badass character
Melissa O’Neil as Two is one of the badass characters.

Personalities, character, and backstories are revealed slowly. We get to know everyone as they get to know themselves. It’s a delightful concept. The characters turn out to be badasses or wusses, sweethearts or assholes, brilliantly inventive or overly aggressive as problem solvers.

As storytelling devices go, this one works beautifully. Every new situation, every new memory, every new learned fact adds a layer to the characters and the direction of the story as a whole.

2. The Nonhuman(s) are Awesome

Zoie Palmer as The Android
Zoie Palmer as The Android

Obviously, The Android is not human. Other characters may not be human, either, but I won’t spoil it by revealing names (or numbers). The Android speaks in a somewhat mechanical voice, sports a ridiculous curl atop her head like one of those hard plastic baby dolls from the 1940s, and controls the entire running of the ship with some sort of bluetooth messaging service from her brain to the ship’s computers.

She’s more than a machine however, and shows signs of emotion. She listens to criticism and develops new characteristics. In one episode she creates a default version of herself and has a conversation with her default personality (a clone scene!) to determine exactly what is different about her now.

She gets jealous when another android, played by Ruby Rose, is found in the hold and assembled.

She’s not merely well-toned. This android can toss a much bigger person right up against the hull of the ship like a wet towel.

3. Six is a Sweetie

Roger R Cross plays Six
Roger R. Cross plays Six

Roger Cross plays Six. Six has an open, tolerant, kind heart. I’m firmly in favor of men being sweethearts, especially big, strong men like Six. (See Give Us More Charming and Lovely Men on TV.) Six is always the one with the kind word, the generous gesture. Make no mistake, he’s no wimp, he can be tough when it’s needed. Still, it’s nice to have a male character like this on television.

I’m so happy that it’s Roger Cross who got this role because I’ve loved him ever since he donned an evening gown and stole Kit Porter’s heart in The L Word. I’ve watched him play all sorts of gun-toting bad guys, soldiers, businessmen in suits, and Mrs. S’s favorite former fella in Orphan Black. He’s been in almost every sci fi series to come out of Canada and a whole lotta movies.

The one role I always wanted Roger Cross to have was an incubus opposite the succubus Bo in Lost Girl. I’m getting a little squozzy just thinking about Roger Cross and Anna Silk making blue eyes together. Why, oh why, was Roger Cross never in Lost Girl? (Nothing personal against Anthony Lemke or Zoie Palmer, who did get to enjoy Anna Silk at her blue-eyed best in Lost Girl.)

It’s Not Too Late

SyFy is just about the air the season finale of Dark Matter, but it isn’t too late to catch up on this series, because all the episodes of Dark Matter are available at the SyFy site. My fingers are crossed hoping for a season 2 of Dark Matter.

If you’ve been watching all along, please share your reasons for loving this series.

Images © Prodigy Pictures

Women Directors, Oh L

Reading over Little White Lies list of the 100 Greatest Films directed by women gave me an idea. I decided to start using the tag Women Directors on all my blog posts when I write about films or TV shows with women directors.

I went back through a lot of old posts and added the tag. (Hope I didn’t miss anything, but I probably did.) I had to add the tag to every one of my series of posts about the opening credits of The L Word and I realized that one of the revolutionary things nobody mentions when they continue to write about The L Word still today is the sheer number of women directors they used on that show.

Remarkable, indeed.

Gloria Steinem on “Chick Flicks”

Gloria Steinem blogs about books at Open Roads Media. The blog is called “Reading our way to the Revolution.” The once monthly column looks at a timeless and timely book.  Her latest review is about The Group, a 1963 novel by Mary McCarthy.  The Group is the latest review of a book that helped start the feminist revolution.

The Group book cover

I read The Group back in 1963. If you haven’t read it, I recommend you do. It’s a great read. This story of 8 women who graduated from Vassar in 1933 lead directly to the more current Sex and the City. And it was a bestseller, destroying the myth that chick lit would never make it. The Group was made into a movie, dubbed a chick flick.

I love what Gloria Steinem has to say about chick flicks and want to quote it:

In truth, anything that has more dialogue than deaths, more emphasis on how we live than how we die, may be called a “chick flick.” Hollywood’s preference for movies full of high-tech chases and gun battles rests mainly on the fact that they can be exported without language problems. Yet dollar for dollar spent on production, so-called “chick flicks” are equally or more profitable than those “prick flicks” seen multiple times by teenage boys.

I am so sick and tired of prick flicks. All that killing, all that shooting, all that violence. And for what? How does it help anything, fix anything, cure anything, change anything?

It’s the stories about people, about real life, that change the world. Stories that reach into our hearts and make us think. Stories create change. Think about The Color Purple or Glee or Transparent or My Left Foot or The L Word or Selma or a hundred other stories that impacted our culture in a positive way. We need more stories that help us understand each other, see each other, accept each other, learn from each other.

Long live the chick flick! Thank you to every filmmaker, every writer, every director, every actor who tells a story that would qualify as a chick flick.

Watch This: Trailer for Cinemanovels

Cinemanovels is a Canadian film starring Lauren Lee Smith. Also in the film are Jennifer Beals, Ben Cotton, Kett Turton, and Katharine Isabelle.

The film was written and directed by Terry Miles, who also wrote and directed A Night for Dying Tigers and the short They Wore Pink, which you can watch here. Lauren Lee Smith worked on both these projects, so this is the 3rd time together for Miles and Smith. Jennifer Beals was in A Night for Dying Tigers. Beals and Smith also worked together in The L Word.

I contributed to the Kickstarter campaign for the film. A perk was getting the chance to actually watch the film. I hope you can find a way to see it as well.

This film belongs completely to Lauren Lee Smith as Grace. It’s the inner journey and inner work of a daughter coming to grips with her relationship with her dead father. After his death, she agrees to help with a memorial film retrospective of his life and work as a filmmaker.

There are people around Grace – husband, friends, the man who helps her edit and create the retrospective, her father’s former lover. Her interactions with these people help her process and understand what she’s learning about her father from looking at the films she avoided for most of her life.

It’s very much the style of Terry Miles to show, not tell. In this film, he shows you Grace doing things, thinking about things, reacting to what she learns, struggling with what she learns. There’s never any telling, explaining, or interpretation. Grace is living this chapter in her life in her own way and we see it unfold. We are left to decipher the reasons, the motivations, and the understanding of Grace in our own terms.

The film is slowly making its way into American Theaters. I’m hoping it will be released to streaming services like Amazon Prime and Netflix. Soon. You can preorder a copy of Cinemanovels right now on Amazon.

Some Terry Miles films are available for purchase at cinemanovel.com.

Funny Stuff: The L Word

Let’s talk about the funny stuff on The L Word. Showtime is celebrating Gay Pride Month by showing full seasons of The L Word and Queer as Folk in June. Episodes of both will be on Monday through Friday in June, and then on Thursday nights through November.

There are a lot of serious things one could say about The L Word, but I only want to talk about this: it could be hilarious!

There were plenty of funny exchanges by eye contact only between Bette and Tina. Like when Phyllis showed up at their door with Joyce to annouce they were a couple. Or when the carpenter didn’t seem to realize she was a dyke. Yeah, comic eye contact.

The things Shane would do for Carmen were definitely funny. Love the shoes though, Shane.

The basketball game was a scream. Jenny with her coffee. Alice in her pearls, squeeking when she got the ball. Bette being ultra-competitive. Helena making baskets behind her back. Papi talking trash.

Alice. That’s all. Alice.

Share. What made you laugh the hardest on The L Word?

The Baby Bump

Everyone has something to say about the way Scandal has tried to hide Kerry Washington’s pregancy. Here are a few of the articles on the topic:

There are more articles like that. That is one interesting baby bump. As you can see, the pundits have found many examples of ways the baby gets hidden.

The technique I’ve noticed on Scandal is the abundant use of close up head shots of Kerry Washington. In fact, there was a sex scene with Olivia and Jake (Scott Foley) a week or two back that was all head shots. I found it one of the more intimate and downright sexy sex scenes ever. Forget the rest of the anatomy, the future of sex is above the neck!

What's behind that file, Olivia?
What’s behind that file, Olivia?

Actually, Shonda Rhimes, there are more ideas you could use. As a public service, I wanted to point out a few ideas to you. These worked for Jennifer Beals on The L Word.

  • Carry two large paper grocery bags everywhere you go.
  • Spend time in the snow so large bulky coats are required.
  • Stand behind everyone else in the scene and peer through their heads at the action.
  • Stay behind the kitchen counter.
  • Put a pillow on your lap when you’re sitting down.
  • Prop yourself up in bed with a ton of pillows and bedding around you.
  • Stand with your back to the camera.

Here’s to all the future babies whose growth is hidden in creative ways from the television cameras. Here’s to the moms. May you all be healthy and happy.