Watch This: Trailer for Pitch Perfect 2

Pitch Perfect 2 won’t be in theaters until May 2015, but the first trailer has already been released.

The second installment of this teen-power anthem to women stars Elizabeth Banks (who also directed), Anna Kendrick, Hailee Steinfeld, Rebel Wilson and many more. My granddaughters loved this musical tale of the triumph of the underdog in the first Pitch Perfect. So did I. It looks as if Pitch Perfect 2 is going to uphold the standard set for the series.

The first poster for the movie is also already out.

Pitch Perfect 2 poster


Review: Still Mine

Still Mine is simply exquisite. The actors, the story, the drama: everything about it is beautifully done. It’s a gem!

The Canadian film stars James Cromwell and Geneviève Bujold as a couple married for 60+ years. They live in a big drafty house in New Brunswick. The husband, Craig, decides to build a smaller house nearby that will serve his wife Irene better. Irene is in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease. It’s starting to affect the way they live and the way they interact.

A poster for the film Still Mine

The beautiful relationship between Craig and Irene is inspirational. They even have a sex scene! I stand up and cheer when I see a movie where people in their 70s and 80s are allowed to remain human and still be the sexual creatures they’ve always been. This movie would have my vote based just on that one scene.

However, there’s much more to the movie. There are excellent performances from all the actors, particularly James Cromwell and Geneviève Bujold. There is the stiff-backed stubbornness of a man who knows what he’s doing and doesn’t take kindly to people telling him he can’t. There’s the worry, fear, confusion, and anger of a woman who knows she’s losing her memory. There’s the concern of the couple’s children. There’s the bureaucratic ass who tries to put the kabosh on every single thing Craig does to build his wife a better place to live.

The film was written and directed by Michael McGowan. It is based on a true story. It was released in the U.S. in 2013.

I absolutely recommend this lovely film. Look for it on Netflix and Amazon Prime.

Dad’s Army Stirs Up the Folks in East Yorkshire

The original Dad’s Army was a BBC sitcom about the Home Guard during WWII. It broadcast on BBC television from 1968 to 1977. The new version of Dad’s Army is a movie, currently being filmed in East Yorkshire.

Scene from shooting Dad's Army
Scene from shooting Dad’s Army

The film will be released in 2015 and stars Sarah Lancashire, Catherine Zeta Jones, Emily Atack, Bill Nighy, Toby Jones, Tom Courtenay, and Michael Gambon.

The town of Bridlington, East Yorkshire was used as a scene for a military parade recently. The folks there got quite excited about it. I thought you might enjoy the dozens of photos of the event. Each link will open in a new window or tab.

Image of Sarah Lancashire and Emily Atack ©Crosby Fame/

AARP Interview with Laura Hillenbrand on Unbroken

The AARP Bulletin ran an interesting story with Laura Hillenbrand talking about her book Unbroken and her relationship with World War II hero Louis Zamperini.

Louis Zamperini inspects his bomber during World War II.
Louis Zamperini inspects his bomber during World War II.

The book is being made into a movie, directed by Angelina Jolie.

I thought this quote from Laura Hillenbrand from the AARP Bulletin article was worth repeating here.

“I wanted to tell the story of the Pacific war through the eyes of one man. He said, ‘Go to it!’ ”

It was a huge responsibility to have Zamperini and his fellow POWs share their stories, Hillenbrand says. “You have to do justice to someone’s most searing memory.” Often she spoke with men who had never described their ordeal. “They would weep on the phone,” she says.

Unbroken has given solace to families of veterans returned from the Pacific. Hillenbrand recalls that “I started getting thousands of letters and emails from family members who would all say the same thing: ‘I never understood my father or my husband or my grandfather, what he went through, why he was in so much pain, why he drank.’ People were able to find forgiveness, and that is terribly moving to me.”

There is much more interesting material in the article as well as a link to a radio interview with Hillenbrand.

Louis Zamperini image — War Department via Fold 3

Watch This: Two Days, One Night

Two Days, One Night opens in the U.S. on Christmas Eve. The film stars Marion Cotillard as a working-class mom, Sandra. She’s faced with the horrifying situation that her co-workers are going to vote on whether or not to let her keep her job. She’s in a race against time over the course of one weekend to convince each of her fellow employees to give up a big bonus for themselves so that she can keep her job.

The film is directed by Belgian brothers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne. Two Days, One Night is Belgium’s submission for Best Foreign Language Film at the Oscars. It’s received excellent reviews on the film festival circuit with praise for Cotillard and the outstanding supporting cast.

The best I can tell from searching, Two Days, One Night will be in French when shown in the U.S. Therefore, you may have to look for it in the smaller theaters where foreign language films are shown. It looks worth the effort.

Review: Stay

Stay stars Taylor Schilling and Aidan Quinn. It’s a quiet tale about an older man (Dermot) and a younger woman (Abbey) living together in a remote section of Ireland. There’s a lot of unspoken story, or story slowly revealed in this movie. The film is based on a novel by Aislinn Hunter.

The plot begins when Abbey finds out she’s pregnant. Dermot is opposed to becoming a parent. Actually, both of these characters have issues with parenting, but the reasons why are slow in being explained. Abbey leaves and goes home to Canada and her father, who is played beautifully by Michael Ironside. While at home, Abbey makes decisions about whether to keep the baby and whether to stay with Dermot.

The film was released in 2013. (There are several other movies by the same name.) It isn’t a great movie, but it’s a decent movie. I’m not recommending it enthusiastically, but I found it engaging enough to watch all the way through and you might enjoy it, too.

I’m fond of  Taylor Schilling and Aidan Quinn and both their performances here were excellent. If you feel the same way about either actor, that’s reason enough to watch this movie.

If you only just discovered Taylor Schilling with Orange is the New Black you will be pleased by her performance here. If you’ve never seen her in Mercy you should watch that series. Speaking of great things to watch, Aiden Quinn is absolutely fantastic in Songcatcher.

Stay is available for streaming from places like Netflix, Amazon and iTunes.

Hot Diggity! Another Lost Girl Season 5 Promo

Lost Girl teases us with another very short promo for season 5. Oh my, does this look interesting!

Brain Dump: Elementary, The Fall, State of Affairs

Short thoughts on lots of unrelated media. That’s a brain dump.


Lucy Liu looks great but does Dr. Joan Watson dress like this?
Lucy Liu looks great but does Dr. Joan Watson dress like this?

In Elementary, I like Watson (Lucy Liu) being off in her own place with a hunky guy in her bed. I’m not sure I like the flirty little outfits she’s taken to wearing. The clothes aren’t quite serious enough. Maybe the whole clothing makeover and hunky guy in the bed routine have to do with the fact that Watson is so pissed off with Sherlock (Jonny Lee Miller). Think she’ll ever forgive him for running off to London for 8 months?

The Fall

The Fall stars Gillian Anderson
The Fall stars Gillian Anderson

Season 2 of The Fall is now showing in the UK. Netflix announced that it will stream season 2 for North American audiences beginning January 16, 2015. Thank you, Netflix for making the trip over the pond so speedy! This cerebral series stars Gillian Anderson and Jamie Dornan. Here’s the official blurb about the new season.

Following Season 1’s gripping cliff-hanger and despite Gibson and Spector never actually meeting on screen, the chemistry between the two characters was electric and the escalating rivalry became the lynchpin of the first season and left the audience crying out for more. This critically-acclaimed series picks up immediately from where series one left off, with Gibson in pursuit of Spector. A personal link from Spector’s past opens up some clues for Gibson but provokes Spector in a way that threatens to jeopardize the whole investigation. Gibson is forced to take ever greater risks but the closer she comes to capturing him, the more Spector trespasses into her private world, delighting in taunting and provoking her. As the net gradually tightens around him he becomes psychologically ever more dangerous and destructive.

I’m planning to review season 2 after it’s been on Netflix for a few days and people have had time to watch it.

State of Affairs

Katherine Heigl and Alfre Woodard in State of Affairs
Katherine Heigl and Alfre Woodard in State of Affairs

State of Affairs has me all worked up and I haven’t seen the first episode yet. Why am I worked up? Because the ads show Katherine Heigl and Alfre Woodard working together, but when the ad is over the only name that gets mentioned is Katherine Heigl.

What is Alfre Woodard – invisible? Alfre Woodard has 106 acting credits listed on IMDB, compared with Katherine Heigl’s 40. Woodard has a ton more acting awards than Heigl has.

But let’s only mention the pretty blonde lady in the ads, okay? That seems really fair.

Just the other day I saw an interesting article at Business Insider saying the way Firefly was promoted basically ruined the show’s chances for success. It’s Amazing How Badly Fox Screwed Up Joss Whedon’s ‘Firefly.’ I hope State of Affairs isn’t doing the same thing.

Aggravation aside, I will be watching when State of Affairs begins tonight. Fingers crossed that the show is better than the promos for the show.

Alfre Woodard photo by Johnson C. Smith University

A Rant about Person of Interest

Sarah Shahi in Person of Interest
Sarah Shahi in Person of Interest

I didn’t watch in Person of Interest when it began. I think I started watching when I noticed Sarah Shahi tweeting about it. From the first glimpse I saw a very different Sarah Shahi from anything I’d ever seen before. That was intriguing.

Amy Acker in Person of Interest
Amy Acker in Person of Interest

Then I saw Amy Acker being very mysterious – almost mystically gifted – and thought to myself, “Why haven’t I been watching this show?” Sarah Shahi, Amy Acker: two long-time favorites. What’s not to like?

I started watching. To be honest, I didn’t quite understand what was going on in that first episode I watched. I still don’t. I get that it has themes around privacy and Big Brother watching our every move, and people who decide on how our lives will be lived without consulting us in the matter. However, the details are obscure, especially the little matter of how the characters can go around killing people willy nilly. Shaw and Reese (Jim Caviezel) manage to fill people with lead in every episode. No one seems to mind.

Sarah Shahi and Amy Acker in Person of Interest
Sarah Shahi and Amy Acker in Person of Interest

It took a long time before the two actresses had any scenes together. I’ve figured out a few things about the characters since then. Shaw (Shahi) is good with a gun, likes dogs, makes a great thief, and seems attracted to men. (More on this later.) Root (Acker) is somehow connected to ‘the machine.’ She shows up unexpectedly, seems to know everything before anyone else, and can help out with the action in a pinch.

I think the machine is something invented by Harold Finch (Michael Emerson). It sends them on the missions they undertake. Somehow. Or maybe that’s a different machine from the one Root communes with telepathically. Or somehow. Even worse: now the bad guys (AKA, the government) have a machine, too.

Amy Acker and Sarah Shahi in Person of Interest
Amy Acker and Sarah Shahi in Person of Interest

I keep wishing there would be an episode with only Amy Acker and Sarah Shahi doing whatever the mission of the week is. A whole episode with only the two of them. Who cares if I don’t understand what the heck is going on in this inexplicable drama when the two of them are on my screen! Couldn’t they be trapped in an elevator or held captive in a cargo ship or put in mortal peril in an underground bunker for a whole episode? Together?

Nobody in the show seems to have a private life or a sex life. Once in a while Shaw seems interested in a man she’s pursuing as part of a mission. So maybe she’s straight. Root, on the other hand, likes to come on to Shaw every chance she gets. Root seems attracted to Shaw. So maybe she’s not straight.

Shaw never says, “Hey, leave me alone, I like guys.” She just lets Root flirt and listens in her stoic manner without responding in any way. So maybe Shaw’s not so straight as she seems.

These few seconds of flirting, of sexual tension, are the only really clear parts of each episode. Nobody is shooting anyone or doing crazy action scenes on rooftops. Just two people standing in front of each other and one of them is hoping for a connection. Hey, the characters run around and do crazy stuff and have machines in their heads, but they’re really just regular folks. See, they have sexual sizzle between them.

Person of Interest isn’t the kind of show where we are suddenly going to go off into the personal lives of the characters. They don’t have any personal lives, they are merely extensions of the machine. I don’t know whether to thank Person of Interest for these few seconds of sizzle between Shaw and Root, or scream bloody hell because it’s driving me crazy.

Is the tease from Root really just teasing the audience? Throw in the lesbian question to keep the audience coming back? Or is this little subplot heading somewhere? If we are going to get subplots peeking into the personal lives of the characters, why aren’t Reese and Finch and everyone else getting these little subplotty moments?

What do you think is going on between Shaw and Root?

UPDATE: January 2015. Shaw and Root have their first kiss, and possibly their last.

Watch and Listen: New Trailer for Homesman and a Listen to the Music

The Homesman starts this weekend in theaters. It’s a film about women, but the title talks about a man. Go figure. The film stars Tommy Lee Jones and Hillary Swank. Tommy Lee Jones is also the director and wrote the screenplay.

I’m thinking Mary Bee Cuddy might turn out to be one of the more interesting characters to appear in a film in a very long time. Tough, independent, brave and real. In this film, there’s no flying through the air like The Dauntless, no 16 year old girls saving the world with a bow and arrow. Nothing against that kind of female heroine, but this story is much more down to earth. It’s about how real women endured (or failed to endure) the hardships of the prairies during the mid 19th Century.

The International trailer has some scenes that we haven’t seen before.

The music from the movie uses several unusual instruments that reflect the sounds of the beautiful New Mexico countryside where it was filmed. Tommy Lee Jones and composer Marco Beltrami discuss how the haunting melodies were conceived and recorded.

You can see an earlier trailer for The Homesman here.

Images ©Roadside Attractions