Watch This: Trailer for Welcome to Me

I think winning $86 million in the lottery would make everyone go a little crazy, but in Welcome to Me, the main character is already crazy. Welcome to Me stars Kristen Wiig as a woman with Borderline Personality Disorder. She spends her winnings on buying herself a TV show which is about her and stars her. Oh, yeah, and she goes off her meds.

The cast in this indie production is simply outstanding: Kristen Wiig, James Marsden, Linda Cardellini, Wes Bently, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Alan Tudyk, Tim Robbins, Joan Cusack, Thomas Mann, Loretta Divine and more.

There is also a long list of producers, among them is Will Ferrell. The film boasts a female director:  Shira Piven.

When you think about it, what Wiig’s character does in this show is a little like starting a blog where all you want to do is share your opinions on things. Like, say, this blog. (Except I don’t have any money, and Kristen Wiig, James Marsden, Linda Cardellini, Wes Bently, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Alan Tudyk, Tim Robbins, Joan Cusack, Thomas Mann, and Loretta Divine don’t want to come and play with me.)

The film will get a wide release on May 8, 2015, with limited openings on May 1. It looks good and you don’t have to win the lottery to afford it. Go see it.

Image Credit: Kristen Wiig TIFF 2014” by GabboTWelcome to Me 46. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Advertisements

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.

Review: An Invisible Sign

An Invisible Sign got terrible reviews from all the critics. And, as often happens, I love the very movie the critics hate.

Spoilers ahead. Continue reading “Review: An Invisible Sign”

Review: Obvious Child

Obvious Child was advertised as “The most winning abortion themed rom-com ever made.” The title comes from the Paul Simon song of the same name.

Donna Stern (Jenny Slate) is trying to be a comedian. She gets on stage and talks about everything from her sex life to her dirty underwear. She’s kind of funny on stage but much funnier in real life. One of her problems is she hasn’t figured out how to translate her natural humor into something that works when she has a microphone in her hand.

Donna has more problems. Her boyfriend just dumped her and the bookstore where she works is closing. Her friend Nellie (Gaby Hoffmann) gives her grown up advice on how to deal, but Donna is far from grown up.

Jenny Slate and Jake Lacy in Obvious Child

Donna deals by getting roaring drunk and picking up a buttoned-down guy named Max (Jake Lacy) for a one night stand. They have fun while having sex, but the results are not fun. Donna’s preggers.

Jenny's in a box at the bookstore when Max asks her out.

Max, instead of disappearing like a good one night stand should, hangs around. He asks Donna out. They tentatively like each other. He turns out to be a student of her mother’s. Her super-smart and highly organized mother is played by the fabulous Polly Draper. Donna’s flaky father is played by Richard Kind. Let’s just say Donna didn’t fall far from the old man’s tree.

Donna, Nellie, Mom: everyone agrees abortion is the only option. Should Max be told?

I won’t give you any more plot spoilers, but I will say that the actual romance part of this rom-com doesn’t begin until the end of the film. There may be a romance in the future of Donna and Max – it’s possible but not guaranteed.

Gillian Robespierre wrote and directed the film. Big cheers to female writers and directors making films! Support it for that reason alone if you want, but it’s also a funny film that you will enjoy seeing.

Watch the Trailer

Obvious Child was released in the U.S. in October 2014. It’s available on DVD and from streaming services.

Review: Barefoot

Barefoot can now be steamed from services like Netflix and Amazon Prime. It’s a rom-com starring Evan Rachel Wood and Scott Speedman, released in 2014.

Spoilers ahead. Continue reading “Review: Barefoot”

Watch This: Latest Trailer for Pitch Perfect 2

A new trailer for Pitch Perfect 2 is here. Starring Rebel Wilson, Anna Kendrick, Elizabeth Banks and many others, the film releases on May 15, 2015.

I spotted Birgitte Hjort Sørensen in the this trailer. She’s a favorite from the Danish series Borgen. She is the blonde from the World Champion Team who are the archenemies of The Barden Bellas.

I am hopelessly addicted to musicals of any kind. Promise me songs and I’ll be watching. I love an underdog story, which this is. So I’ll be watching Pitch Perfect 2. As a plus, the Pitch Perfect franchise has a female director (Elizabeth Banks) and a female screenwriter (Kay Cannon). What’s not to like?

Review: Fort Bliss

Fort Bliss is a film about what it means to be a soldier, to serve in the Army. It was written, directed, and produced by Claudia Myers.

Spoilers ahead. Continue reading “Review: Fort Bliss”

33 Experts and Me Share Notable Female Characters

Bo from Lost Girl and the words 33 experts and me

I read a wonderful article called 33 Experts Share Their Notable Female Characters Of Recent Years at Bang2Write.

Bang2Write asked screenwriters, directors, literary agents and other industry pros to talk about the female characters they thought were most important in recent years.

The names they mentioned were absolute favorites of mine: Carrie from Homeland, Kalinda from The Good Wife, Lizbeth from the Millennium Trilogy, Catherine from Happy Valley, Stella from The Fall, the women from Scott & Bailey and Last Tango in Halifax, Hushpuppy from Beasts of the Southern Wild, Michonne and Carol from The Walking Dead, various clones from Orphan Black, practically everyone from Orange is the New Black.

There were many more names mentioned by these experts. I loved reading their reasons and explanations for why they picked certain characters. I loved the females they named.

As I read each of the picks by the 33 experts I was surprised that no one mentioned Bo from Lost Girl. There are some awesome female characters on Lost Girl. Particularly Bo, who is strong and growing increasingly more powerful. She wears her power with grace and uses it with heart. She’s unaligned with either side in her world. She’s protective of those she loves. She makes mistakes – huge ones. She’s less than perfect, but she’s searching, yearning to improve.

Bo’s bisexual. As far as I know the only other female bi characters on television are Callie on Grey’s Anatomy and Kalinda on The Good Wife. Bisexual women are misunderstood and mistreated by the culture at large and even by the LGBT community. Since I’m a believer that #RepresentationMatters, I think having a bi character portrayed in a positive light is a powerful thing.

So while I agree with every single female named by the experts, I want to mention Bo as one they forgot. I’m not an expert. I’m merely a consumer of movies and television with notable female characters – I look for them every day. I seldom watch anything that does not have notable female characters. I support notable female characters with enthusiasm.

But don’t forget Bo on Lost Girl.

Brain Dump: State of Affairs, Ghostbusters, After the Wedding, Five Days

It’s a brain dump day. Random stuff falls from my head in bits and pieces.

State of Affairs

Courtney B. Vance and Alfre Woodard in State of Affairs
Courtney B. Vance and Alfre Woodard in State of Affairs

Why do men married to powerful women always get portrayed in the media as whiney, needy irritations? A powerful man probably didn’t get where he is without a good spouse behind him. Why should a powerful woman get where she is without a good spouse behind her? Enough with this whiney-husband-of-a-woman-in-power trope. Come on State of Affairs, you can do better.

Ghostbusters

Kristen Wiig, Leslie Jones, Kate McKinnon, Melissa McCarthy
Kristen Wiig, Leslie Jones, Kate McKinnon, Melissa McCarthy

All female Ghostbusters. Yes! To the men who had the nerve to say that this ruins Ghostbusters for them, I say, “Sod off, you dozy pillocks!” Oops, I’ve been watching too many British dramas.

After the Wedding

Sidse Babett Knudsen and Mads Mikkelsen in After the Wedding
Sidse Babett Knudsen and Mads Mikkelsen in After the Wedding

I watched After the Wedding on Netflix. The original title is Efter brylluppet. I enjoyed it very much. It’s an interesting plot and well acted. The film is in a mix of Danish, Swedish, Hindi and English. Part of it takes place in India, part in Denmark. The main character is played by Mads Mikkelsen, but I decided to watch it because of the wonderful Sidse Babett Knudsen. If you enjoy foreign films, you may like this one. It was nominated for an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film of the Year in 2007.

Five Days

Posters for 2 seasons of Five Days

Thanks to A Celtic-Dragon’s Blog for turning me on to Five Days. This British mystery series, written by Gwyneth Hughes, had a season in 2007 and another in 2010. Each series is 5 separate days from a police case. There are wonderful actors: Penelope Wilton, David Oyelowo, Janet McTeer, Hugh Bonneville, Suranne Jones, Anne Reid, Nina Sosanya and many others. I didn’t find anywhere that you can stream it, but Five Days, series 1 is available from Amazon on DVD.

Watch This: Red Band Trailer for Spy

In Spy, Melissa McCarthy teams up again with writer and director Paul Feig in a comedy featuring McCarthy as a CIA Analyst. She works with agents played by Jude Law and Jason Statham.

Miranda Hart
Miranda Hart image from BBC

I’m more than a little excited to see that McCarthy is working with British comic Miranda Hart in Spy. These two should be fabulous together.

Here’s the G-rated version of the trailer, followed by the Red Band trailer.

Rose Byrne, Bobby Cannavale, Allison Janney, and Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson also star in the Fox release, which opens in theaters May 22.

Spy image © 20th Century Fox