How Best to Show Texting in a Film

I need the huge ridiculous Grandma fonts to be able to read texts in a film, so I appreciate the solutions that make the text nice and big. I could read almost none of the tiny-sized texts in House of Cards, but I did appreciate the looks that Kevin Spacey threw at the camera after he read one.

I want it big, yes I do. However, I’m rooting for something that keeps the focus on the actor and not a phone.

This is going to continue to happen in films and on television. Soon we’ll be trying to read from wearable devices like tiny screens worn on the wrist. What do you think is the best solution?

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7 Upcoming Films with Female Protagonists

Over the next few months there will be several films with women leading the cast coming to your theater. I celebrate every one! Here are a few – I probably missed some. Let me know in the comments if there’s something I missed that shouldn’t be missed.

Laggies

Keira Knightley and Chloë Grace Moretz head up the cast of Laggies.

You’re Not You

You’re Not You features Emmy Rossum and Hilary Swank with Josh Duhamel providing the male lead.

The Good Lie

The Good Lie belongs 100% to Reese Witherspoon.

Gone Girl

In Gone Girl, Rosamund Pike is the gone girl. We also get lots of Ben Affleck. Did you read this book? It must have been hard to adapt as a movie because of the unreliable narrator issue. Be interesting to see if they can make it work.

The Skeleton Twins

The twins in The Skeleton Twins are played by Kristen Wiig and Bill Hader. Luke Wilson is also in this one.

The Congress

Oh dear, some really serious stuff is going on with Robin Wright who is playing Robin Wright in The Congress. Is it too soon to start drawing interconnections with every woman on the planet?

The Last of Robin Hood

I hesitated to include The Last of Robin Hood because it’s really about Errol Flynn (played by Kevin Kline). And it’s about an old Errol Flynn taking a young woman as a lover. All kinds of YUK. But there seems to be enough of Dakota Fanning and Susan Sarandon justify it.

A Few More Films Mentioned Recently

Several more upcoming films featuring women in the leading roles have been mentioned here lately. Just as a reminder, they are:

Watch This: Trailer for God Help the Girl

God Help the Girl is in theaters this week. It has music! It should make you happy! The film stars Emily Browning and Olly Alexander. The British musical drama was written and directed by Stuart Murdoch of the band Belle and Sebastian.

The film got mixed reviews after Sundance, but if you love anything with music guaranteed to make you tap your toes in the theater, you’ll probably enjoy this one.

Image © 2014 – Amplify Releasing

Watch This: Trailer for The Calling

In The Calling Detective Inspector Hazel Miscallef (Susan Sarandon) realizes there’s a serial killer loose in her area of Ontario, Canada. Generally all I need to know about a film is that Susan Sarandon is in it to be interested.

Susan Sarandon in The Calling
Susan Sarandon in The Calling

From the trailer the film looks grim and a bit gruesome.

However, the thriller does have a great cast. In addition to Sarandon, there’s also Gil Bellows, Ellen Burstyn, Topher Grace, and Donald Sutherland.

Here’s the plot description:

Detective Hazel Micallef hasn’t had much to worry about in the sleepy town of Fort Dundas until a string of gruesome murders in the surrounding countryside brings her face to face with a serial killer driven by a higher calling.

The film opens August 29 but it’s a limited release, so you may have to watch for it to make it to most locations.

Watch This: A Thousand Times Good Night

A Thousand Times Good Night will be released in the US on October 24. It looks to be a marvelous film. Continue reading “Watch This: A Thousand Times Good Night”

RIP Robin Williams

Robin Williams in Mrs. Doubtfire
Robin Williams in Mrs. Doubtfire

Robin Williams brought much joy and laughter to the world. He touched us all. As we mourn his passing I want to provide a few links to help those dealing with depression and to remind us of what Robin Williams gave to the world with his genius.

Watch This: The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

I absolutely cannot wait to see The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. The first one was arguably the best movie on planet Earth, and in 2015 we’ll have yet another best movie on planet Earth. Such riches.

Among the riches: the best cast on planet earth, including Judi Dench, Bill Nighy, Maggie Smith, Richard Gere, Penelope Wilton and Dev Patel.

John Madden is directing, with the screenplay written by Ol Parker.

I love these people! Wait, am I gushing too much? I’ll restrain myself and simply say it looks good.

Not to take away from The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, because I know it will be good, but I have a question. Why are women in shows about older people always chasing after men? Why isn’t it the other way around? Why aren’t the men chasing after the women? So Richard Gere is handsome and attractive – so what! Aren’t the women gorgeous and attractive, too? What’s up with this trope about women needing to be sexually predatory in their old age if they want to be with someone?

Brain Dump: Short Thoughts on Movies and TV

Brain Dump_ Short Thoughts on Movies and

I’ve had many pop culture thoughts that I’ve neglected to actually write down in the last few weeks. It’s time for a brain dump.

Movies

I absolutely loved Peace, Love and Misunderstanding! This 2011 indie film was directed by Bruce Beresford. It starred Jane Fonda as an aging, free-spirited hippie and Catherine Keener as her daughter. Also featured are Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Elizabeth Olsen, Nat Wolff, Chace Crawford, Kyle MacLachlan, and Rosanna Arquette. It was filmed in the town of Woodstock, New York, where the movie is set.

It was a feel good story about family and love and acceptance. I completely recommend it. If you see it wander past in your Netflix new releases, click play.

I also loved The Immigrant, although it was not a fun romp in any way. This grim slice of reality starred Marion Cotillard, Joaquin Phoenix, and Jeremy Renner, all of whom gave outstanding performances.

The Immigrant poster

Joaquin Phoenix was particularly powerful as a man who preyed on helpless and desperate immigrant women, tricking them into prostitution for his own gain. I won’t explain the twists in the plot in this tale – there are several – except to say that it brought out some amazing acting from the 3 stars. Again, watch it if you see it in your streaming choices.

TV: The Winners

Hally Berry in Extant
Halle Berry in Extant

I haven’t given an opinion about Extant, starring Halle Berry yet. I’m enjoying this sci-fi drama about astronaut Molly Woods who returns pregnant from a 13 month mission alone in space. The sci-fi aspects of the show are a bit iffy, but the cast is giving it their all. Goran Visnjic plays her husband. Pierce Gagnon plays their son, who happens to be a robot. Grace Gummer and Camryn Manheim also have significant parts in the drama. I hope this one makes it to a second season.

Murder in the First is a a full season story arc involving one crime. It stars Teye Diggs and Kathleen Robertson as cops and Tom Felton as the billionaire murderer they struggle to convict. The characters are particularly well drawn, considering this is just the first season. Again, I hope this one makes it to a second season.

The BBC’s Lark Rise to Candleford has me hooked. I’m most of the way through the first season. There are 4 seasons. It’s a period drama with many great female characters. It’s only available on streaming services, since it’s been off the air for a while now.

Stephanie Leonidas as Irisa on Defiance
Stephanie Leonidas as Irisa on Defiance

The women of Defiance, oh my. The character Irisa on Defiance, played by Stephanie Leonidas, is becoming more and more layered. She’s taken on some kind of supernatural power – perhaps alien power would be a more accurate term. It’s given her interesting abilities and she’s attracting followers. She’s starting to remind me of the kind of strong leader that we have in Bo in Lost Girl or Buffy in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Defiance has allowed Stahma Tarr, played by Jaime Murray, to evolve into a powerful woman. Julie Benz’s character of Amanda Rosewater is turning out to be full of twists and intricacies. Julie Benz really shines in this role, in ways that are new for her.

TV: The Losers

I gave up on Under the Dome. The story makes no sense in sci-fi terms, no sense in religious terms. None of the characters really grab me. Enough.

I watched one, and only one, episode of Seed and thought it was too stupid to ever watch again. I wanted to watch it because of Amanda Brugel. Zoie Palmer likes Amanda Brugel, so I wanted to watch something with Amanda Brugel in it because – well, I like Zoie Palmer. Sorry, Zoie, this isn’t the place where I’m going to become a fan of Amanda Brugel. I’ll give her another chance some other time.

Woman in Gold: Tatiana Maslany will be Young Helen Mirren

There are no trailers or preview images for Woman in Gold yet. Based on a true story, it’s due to release in 2015. The film is described this way:

Maria Altmann, an octogenarian Jewish refugee, takes on the government to recover artwork she believes rightfully belongs to her family.

The film features Helen Mirren, Tatiana Maslany, and Ryan Reynolds. Tatiana Maslany is playing the younger Maria Altmann, Helen Mirren is playing the older one. In addition to the fact that both of these actresses are impressively talented, there’s also the fact that they look believably similar.

Helen Mirren and Tatiana Maslany
Helen Mirren and Tatiana Maslany

Tatiana Maslany famously has received no Emmy nomination for her stunning performance(s) in Orphan Black, but the people doing the casting for Woman in Gold obviously weren’t worried about casting her as a younger version of the powerhouse Helen Mirren. Dame Mirren has won an Academy Award for Best Actress, four BAFTAs, three Golden Globes, four Emmy Awards, and two Cannes Film Festival Best Actress Awards.

Maslany’s racked up a few awards already, but none so impressive as Dame Mirren’s. Maslany won an ACTRA and a Phillip Borsos Award. For Orphan Black she’s won two Critics’ Choice Television Awards, a Television Critics Award, and a Canadian Screen Award. So far. That freakin’ Emmy better be coming at some point.

Woman in Gold is directed by Simon Curtis and written by Alexi Kaye Campbell. The film also stars Daniel Brühl, Katie Holmes, Charles Dance and Max Irons.

Aquadettes: A Short Documentary

Aquadettes – On Life, Death and Synchronized Swimming is a short documentary about a group of elders on a synchronized swimming team in California. One particular swimmer, 76-year-old Margo Bauer, is featured. Margo has MS and is helped with her condition both by the swimming and by medical marijuana.

The women on this swim team are my kind of women. Recently I’ve joined a YMCA and have been following my doctors orders to get up off my lazy ass (she didn’t word it quite like that) and get more exercise. So the aquatics exercise program at the Y is now part of my weekly schedule and I’m loving it. Plus, I’m feeling stronger, better and less plagued with aches and pains.

This is the complete film. I hope you enjoy it.

The film is by Drea Cooper & Zackary Canepari and is part of the California is a Place series of  documentaries about California. You can read more about Drea Cooper and Zackary Canepari and their documentary series in this article at “Filmmaker.”