Watch This: White Bird in a Blizzard Previews and Interviews

White Bird in a Blizzard is now available on iTunes, Amazon Prime, Google Play and in theaters. The film stars Shailene Woodley, Christopher Meloni, Eva Green, Gabourey Sidibe, and many others.

Here’s the official description of the film.

Kat Connors is 17 years old when her perfect homemaker mother, Eve, a beautiful, enigmatic, and haunted woman, disappears – just as Kat is discovering and relishing her newfound sexuality. Having lived for so long in a stifled, emotionally repressed household, she barely registers her mother’s absence and certainly doesn’t blame her doormat of a father, Brock, for the loss. In fact, it’s almost a relief. But as time passes, Kat begins to come to grips with how deeply Eve’s disappearance has affected her. Returning home on a break from college, she finds herself confronted with the truth about her mother’s departure, and her own denial about the events surrounding it.

The official trailer:

The star, Shailene Woodley, and the director, Gregg Araki, recently talked on AOL about how the film is sex positive and the sexual scenes are written from a woman’s perspective. According to Araki, it’s one of the first films to bring this perspective to a young woman’s coming of age tale. You can see that interview on HuffPost Video.

If the sex scenes are truly filmed from the female perspective and not for the infamous male gaze, that’s a very good thing. We need a lot more movies with this approach.

I have not watched the film and reviews are all midrange in ratings. Not too bad, but not too good either. I often really like the films the reviewers don’t like. Make up your own mind. I think big fans of Shailene Woodley will want to watch it no matter what the reviewers have to say. If you see it, please share your reactions below.

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New Preview for The Fall Season 2 Released by the BBC – UPDATED

Although we still don’t know an exact starting date for the 2nd season of The Fall on the BBC, it is definitely getting closer. Gillian Anderson herself mentioned the new preview on her Twitter account.

In addition to Gillian Anderson as a detective, the series also stars Jamie Dornan as a serial killer. The first season of The Fall was some of the best television I have ever seen in my many years watching TV. The Fall season 2 can’t be released soon enough to suit me.

Here’s hoping the date will be soon for the release of The Fall on BBC Two, possibly in November. The release date in the U.S. is going to lag behind that. I also published an earlier preview for season 2.

Update

Another preview released on Oct. 29 reveals the release day for iTV in Ireland as November 9. In England, the show begins on Nov. 13. This preview is different from the one above.

Watch This: Unbroken Trailer

Unbroken is not the type of story I normally talk about here. My mission is to promote female driven entertainment. However, I have three most excellent reasons for being eager to see Unbroken.

The film stars Jack O’Connell, Domhnall Gleeson and Garrett Hedlund in the story of Louis Zamperini. Louis Zamperini was an Olympic runner who served in the Air Force in World War II. He ended up in a Japanese prisoner of war camp. His endurance under horrifying conditions, and his ultimate survival are both testaments to the human spirit.

This is a new trailer for Unbroken.

There is another trailer for the film, which was released during the Olympics. Louis Zamperini himself can be seen in that trailer. He died in July of 2014 at the age of 97 and never got to see the film.

Unbroken is scheduled to release on Christmas day. If you like to get out to a movie on Christmas Day, there are many tempting choices. (Two I’ve already mentioned are Big Eyes and Annie.) Unbroken will make you believe in the power of never giving up.

Angelina Jolie photo by Vince Valitutti – © 2013 – Universal Pictures

Lila: Take a Moment to Brighten Your Day

Lila is a short film by Carlos Lascano that will make you smile and will brighten your day. The actress playing Lila is Alma Garcia. The film uses magic and art and reality to tell a brief but charming tale.

Lila is the conclusion of a trilogy beginning with A Short Love Story in Stop Motion and A Shadow of Blue. (The link to A Shadow of Blue is to the trailer. There are several versions  of the film with different music, but this is the only thing I could find with the original music.)

I wish I had Lila’s eyes in my life. I’d be grinning, too.

Watch This: 3 Upcoming Films Starring Women

Because I took a week off, I got a bit behind mentioning upcoming films that feature women in the leading role. To compensate, I combined them into this post featuring trailers for She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry, Miss Meadows, and The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1.

She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry is a provocative look at the birth of the women’s liberation movement between 1966-1971. It reintroduces the wide-reaching movement with poetry readings, women’s rock bands, and zaps (impromptu protest actions). The film links the previous era to today’s war on women. It makes an impassioned case for reviving feminism as a mass movement.

Miss Meadows is a school teacher with impeccable manners and grace. However, underneath the sweet exterior hides a gun-toting vigilante who takes it upon herself to right the wrongs in the world by whatever means necessary.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 finds Katniss Everdeen in District 13 after she literally shatters the games forever. Under the leadership of President Coin and the advice of her trusted friends, Katniss spreads her wings as she fights to save Peeta and a nation moved by her courage.

Review: Big Driver

From a story by Stephen King, Big Driver is the story of a novelist bent on revenge after falling victim to a brutal crime. It is a made for Lifetime TV film. It stars Maria Bello, Olympia Dukakis, Joan Jett, Ann Dowd and Will Harris.

There are spoilers ahead. Continue reading “Review: Big Driver”

Wisdom Sharing: A Week with the Goddess Spirit

I spent last week at a conference in Ghost Ranch, NM. The conference, called Wisdom Sharing, featured Alice Walker, Gloria Steinem and Dr. Chung Hyun Kyung. The marvelous moderator, shown on the left above, was Dr. Melanie Harris.

The location is stunning in its beauty and spirit. The women who were the star attractions were brilliant – powerful speakers, activists for women’s rights, funny, and centered in a forceful but calm wisdom. It was one of the best weeks of my life. My photos are on Flickr.

The speakers were so inspiring and wise and brilliant

In addition to the many talks, wisdom circles, and other activities, we watched 3 documentary films. (Trailers for the 3 films are below.)

The first evening was the film Jesus and Buddha which features Dr. Chung Hyun Kyung who is a lay theologian of the Presbyterian Church of Korea, and is also an Associate Professor of Ecumenical Theology at Union Theological Seminary in the U.S. Plus, she’s a Buddhist. Or as she put it, it was both predestination and karma that brought her to Ghost Ranch and her friendship with the other extraordinary speakers.

The film for the next evening was Beauty in Truth, a documentary about the life of Alice Walker. The film was written and directed by Pratibha Parmar, who was also present at the conference. That’s her below, listening to one of the speakers. (I reviewed Beauty in Truth earlier this year.) Parmar worked with Alice Walker on the book Warrior Marks: Female Genital Mutilation and the Sexual Blinding of Women and the ensuing 1993 film Warrior Marks.

Pratibha Parmar

The last film we watched was Miss Representation. This film was partly supported by The Women’s Media Center and featured Gloria Steinem. It is about how women and girls are portrayed in the media. The Miss Representation website has many resources and ideas if you are interested in learning more or taking action.

Beauty in Truth and Miss Representation are both available from various streaming sources and are available for screenings in schools or gatherings. PBS broadcast Beauty in Truth and keeps it available. You can get DVD’s of Jesus and Buddha from Old Dog Documentaries.

Jesus and Buddha

Beauty in Truth

Miss Representation

Fangirling Over Sarah Lancashire

There are many more videos on YouTube featuring Sarah Lancashire than there were only a few months ago. I enjoyed watching a bunch of them, but found these three to be the most interesting.

The first one is scenes from Happy Valley. The thing I loved most about Sarah Lancashire’s performance in Happy Valley was her kickass toughness, her physical strength and bravery. That is captured perfectly in this video from zanzibar. (Love the user name choice.)

Another fan video I found delightful, also from zanzibar, is called Au Naturel. It’s images of Sarah just being herself in interviews and at awards ceremonies.

The third one is fun because Sarah is singing and dancing. She’s performing “Nobody” from Betty Blue Eyes.

Thanks to the talented fans (especially zanzibar) who take the time to create these videos and post them so people like me can get a Sarah Lancashire fix.

Anita Sarkeesian Speaks at the XOXO Festival

Anita Sarkeesian from Feminist Frequency spoke at the XOXO Festival recently. This is her entire speech. It’s a bit over 15 minutes long, but worth listening to until the end for the simple conclusion that could change the culture very quickly.

Watch This: Olive Kitteridge

Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout, is a wonderful book – it won the Pulitzer. Olive is a stern New Englander, an aging former school teacher, and one of the best characters to ever inhabit the pages of a book. I cannot think of anyone more perfect to play her than Frances McDormand. If I were envisioning any actor to play Olive as I read the book, it would have been Frances McDormand.

According to HBO, “Olive Kitteridge tells the poignantly sweet, acerbically funny and devastatingly tragic story of a seemingly placid New England town wrought with illicit affairs, crime and tragedy, told through the lens of a woman whose wicked wit and harsh demeanor mask a warm but troubled heart and a staunch moral center.”

Richard Jenkins plays her husband Henry. Bill Murray will play Jack Kennison.

Lisa Cholodenko is directing the mini-series, which will air on two nights in November on HBO.

The only thing wrong with this mini-series is that it will be on HBO, which I don’t have. If you get HBO, I strongly urge you to get acquainted with the marvelous cast of interesting characters that surround Olive Kitteridge.

Olive Kitteridge photo by JoJO Whilden