Workin’ Moms is a half-hour Canadian comedy show about a group of moms. The first three seasons of the series are streaming on Netflix now.Continue reading “Review: Workin’ Moms, seasons 1-3”
I’ll say it right off the mark: I didn’t think season 2 of The Handmaid’s Tale was as strong as season 1. I’m not sure I can pinpoint why, but I’ll offer several theories as to why anyway. You can join in with a comment if you think you have a better sense of why. This review is fairly spoiler free. Continue reading “Review: The Handmaid’s Tale, season 2”
The Handmaid’s Tale was originally a novel from prolific writer Margaret Atwood. I read it about 30 years ago when it came out, but my memory is sketchy. My sketchy memory left me free to watch the new television series The Handmaid’s Tale with fresh eyes. This is a review of season 1. Continue reading “Review: Season 1 of The Handmaid’s Tale”
Hearing about Room, even knowing that it garnered big awards and nominations, doesn’t prepare you for the exhausting impact of Room. It’s a stirring, emotional ride. Both Brie Larson as Ma and Jacob Tremblay as 5 year old Jack deliver inspired performances.
In the first half of the film, we are in the room with Ma and Jack. We see Ma’s strength in keeping Jack a happy, healthy child. When Old Nick (Sean Bridgers), Ma’s kidnapper and rapist, comes into the room at night, Ma hides Jack in a wardrobe. Continue reading “Review: Room”
Room is based on a best selling novel by Emma Donoghue. The film stars Brie Larson as Ma and Jacob Tremblay as Jack. Here’s the synopsis.
Room’ tells the extraordinary story of Jack, a spirited 5 year old who is looked after by his loving and devoted Ma. Like any good mother, Ma dedicates herself to keeping Jack happy and safe, nurturing him with warmth and love and doing typical things like playing games and telling stories. Their life, however, is anything but typical—they are trapped—confined to a windowless, 10-by-10-foot space, which Ma has euphemistically named ‘Room.’ Ma has created a whole universe for Jack within Room, and she will stop at nothing to ensure that, even in this treacherous environment, Jack is able to live a complete and fulfilling life. But as Jack’s curiosity about their situation grows, and Ma’s resilience reaches its breaking point, they enact a risky plan to escape, ultimately bringing them face-to-face with what may turn out to be the scariest thing yet: the real world.
In the novel Jack is 5, but Jacob Tremblay is a bit older than that so his age may be upped for the film
The film is directed by Lenny Abrahamson. Joan Allen and William H. Macy play the grandparents and Amanda Brugel plays Officer Parker. Sean Bridgers plays Old Nick, the man who visits the room every night after Jack is asleep.
The film is scheduled to release on October 16.
You can follow on @RoomTheMovie on Twitter.
This Fall, love knows no boundaries. pic.twitter.com/FwzxC3v8Ho
— Room (@RoomTheMovie) July 30, 2015
Orphan Black, episode 7 of season 3, “Community of Dreadful Fear and Hate” is part thriller, part mystery and part slapstick. Most of the episode centers around Alison, (Tatiana Maslany, a multitude) Donnie (Kristian Bruun) and Felix (Jordan Gavaris) at a meeting for the school trustee election.
Sarah and Helena
Helena and Sarah are in a Mexican cantina waiting for a ride. Helena wins money playing dominoes with the some local hombres and buys food.
In walks Mrs. S (Maria Doyle Kennedy) looking like something straight out of a Clint Eastwood western. I love this shot and her entrance through the cantina door.
Helena wants to kill Mrs. S for betraying her. After throwing a few punches, she allows Mrs. S to hug her and ask her forgiveness. Then Helena goes outside to walk it off.
Sarah is upset about Paul and utterly exhausted by everything. She turns to Mrs. S for support.
The final scene suggests that Helena might be in trouble again because both she and her domino playing buddies are out of sight.
Delphine (Evelyne Brochu) brings Rachel to Scott (Josh Vokey) for testing. Scott shows Rachel the “The Island of Dr. Moreau.” She wants to get her hands on it. He wants to get Rachel alone to ask her about the code. She stays to play a board game with him as a cover story. (Cosima made him promise not to let Delphine know about the book or that Rachel may hold the key.)
Although Rachel says the code was a secret between her and her father, Scott points out that he didn’t leave the book for her. Rachel starts writing out the way the symbols are used to decode the book. We don’t get the full explanation, but it’s a start on that lingering mystery.
Cosima and Shay (Ksenia Solo) are very, very naked when Delphine arrives at Shay’s door. Shay lets her in and the two rivals look each other over. They talk as if they don’t know each other, as if they’re just meeting for the first time. I can’t decide if that is the truth or an act for Cosima’s benefit.
Shay pretends to give them privacy, but she’s listening to their conversation. Delphine wants urine from Cosima, who is coughing a lot more now. Cosima tells her never to come to Shay’s again. She’s distrustful of Delphine to the point of paranoia.
Cosima calls Alison because she wants to use Alison’s urine instead of her own. Alison tells Cosima to come find her at the school trustee election meeting.
Alison and Donnie have two things going on today. 1. The school trustee election meeting where Alison will give a speech. 2. The payment of $30K to the drug dealer for more pills. They have a manila envelope ready for each of these events.
Felix is helping Alison prepare for her photo shoot, her speech and all the other meet and greet politicking she will be doing at the event. He meets Marci Coates (Amanda Brugel) and tells Alison, “We will dismantle that bitch.”
Everything happens at once with the Alison ensemble.
Jason takes Donnie to meet the drug supplier. Donnie, of course, takes the wrong envelope to the drug supplier, Pouchy (Tony Cianchino). Pouchy wants to cut off Donnie’s nose with the same paper cutter he used to remove Vic’s finger. Jason (Justin Chatwin) heads off to find Alison and the envelope with the money.
Alison’s mother (Sheila McCarthy) calls and claims to be having a heart attack. Alison rushes off to Bubbles. That’s about the time Cosima arrives, wanting Alison to pee for her. Since Alison is temporarily absent, Cosima ends up posing for photos as Alison and almost giving a speech for her. Alison comes back. Her mother shows up. It’s one of those sequences only Felix and two clones can pull together for hilarious results.
Jason is babysitting Alison’s mom while Felix plays Keystone Cops with Alison and Cosima. Mom remembers Jason fondly from high school when he and Cosima were a couple. Jason convinces Mom that Alison will take good care of the store, even though she’s married to Mr. Chubbs. (Donnie took Alison’s name when they married. His given name was Donald Chubbs.) So Mom, who was holding out, finally agrees to sell Bubbles to Alison and Donnie.
Alison arrives after Cosima is already mid speech. She takes over when Cosima walks to the side pretending to need a drink (she’s coughing a LOT). Alison wows the crowd and they give her a standing ovation.
Alison refuses to pee for Cosima. Alison says they need to let Dyad monitor their health. Once Alison takes the signed Bubbles contract from her mom, she introduces pee-less Cosima to her mother – as her clone. Her mother cannot grasp the whole thing and decides that Cosima is Alison’s mulatto half sister – it’s the hair, just go with it – and that the whole thing is due to a mixup at the fertilization clinic.
Cosima heads for Shay’s where she hops in the bath. She’s ready to reveal her health problems to Shay as the tub darkens with blood that’s gushing between her legs. That’s where the episode ends.
I was mislead by the previews from last week into concluding that Shay is Cosima’s monitor. There’s still something mysterious or dishonest about her, but that may not be what it is.
The Castor clones were not around in this episode. We don’t know if Virginia Coady or Rudy survived the hand grenade explosion from last week.
I’m happy that we are finally getting into the code in “The Island of Dr. Moreau” but I’m still thinking about that tank of liquid nitrogen that Helena left at Felix’s apartment. These little details nag at me. According to Wikipedia, “depending on the size and design, the holding time of vacuum flasks [of liquid nitrogen] ranges from a few hours to a few weeks.”
It’s already episode 7. There are only 3 episodes left in this season of Orphan Black. They are no closer to finding an answer to the sicknesses affecting the clones. Therefore, I’m starting to think that we may end this season the way we did season 2 – wondering if Cosima is going to survive.
The Kissing Question
Donnie and Jason are facing off over Alison like two dogs over a bone. While Donnie is busy protecting his face from Pouchy’s paper cutter and Jason is trying to collect the real envelope from Alison, Jason plants a big kiss on Alison. Except is isn’t Alison; it’s Cosima. When Cosima tells Alison about it, Alison wants to know if Jason’s lips are still soft.
It’s pretty funny that Jason picks Cosima to kiss. Of all the clones, he picks Cosima. Of course, he doesn’t know it’s Cosima, but it still strikes me as funny.
Tatiana Maslany has to kiss almost everyone who comes on the show. Sarah, Alison, Helena, Cosima, even Rachel – they all kiss someone at some point. I think Tatiana has kissed almost everyone in the cast except Mrs. S and Art Bell. I wonder if they go to Tatiana before they add a new face to the cast and ask her if there is someone she’s been dying to kiss.
How about an informal poll? Leave a comment naming the recipient of Tatiana Maslany’s sexiest, most perfect kiss. Paul, Cal, Felix, Vic, Donnie, Delphine, Shay, Jesse, Jason, Rudy – who got the very best kiss?
The Title Quotation
Again from Dwight D. Eisenhower, here’s the source of this week’s title:
“Down the long lane of the history yet to be written America knows that this world of ours, ever growing smaller, must avoid becoming a community of dreadful fear and hate, and be, instead, a proud confederation of mutual trust and respect.”
“Formalized, Complex, and Costly” is episode 3 of Orphan Black season 3. There’s a big reveal in this episode about the cloned boys and girls.
Let’s start with Seth (Ari Millen, an army), cooling downstairs in Felix’s (Jordan Gavaris) apartment building. For some reason Rudy just leaves him lying there, so Sarah (Tatiana Maslany, a multitude) and Felix drag him upstairs so he can bleed out in Felix’s tub.
Art Bell (Kevin Hanchard) shows up and sees the body. Sarah immediately tells him, “First off, it wasn’t us.”
Sarah Skypes Cosima and shows her and Scott (Josh Vokey) the body. Cosima wants the brain. She’s coming to get it.
Art, who should be doing real cop stuff now, wants to help Sarah find Mark. Off they go. Later, he reveals to Sarah that he was in love with Beth Childs. This explains a lot about why he’s so involved in solving all the mysteries the clones bring him.
Mark and Gracie (Zoé De Grand Maison) are holed up in a motel, being honeymooners between making sure they aren’t followed. Mark confesses he’s still in the Army and wants to find Willard Finch (Nicholas Campbell) because he knows that Henrik Johanssen, Gracie’s father, stored something at Finch’s.
Gracie goes to Finch’s and returns with a locked strongbox.
The box contains notebooks and paper, which Mark dismisses as useless. Probably a big mistake there, buddy. Mark wants something cold, like a tank. (I keep yapping about cold tanks that are as yet undiscovered by anyone, but where is it getting me?)
Paul (Dylan Bruce) delivers Rudy to the military camp. Rudy apologizes to Mother Coady (Kyra Harper) who chews him out for killing Seth. He says, “I had to put him down – protocol.”
Later she hugs him and we discovered how fond he is of his thumb.
Dr. Coady tells Paul he has to delay the folks in Washington who want to shut them down because their weapon is defective. She tells him she can cure the soldier boys if she has more time.
Helena is locked in a cell. So much for Dr. Coady being all warm and friendly. Helena tells Rudy he’s the ugliest Mark yet. Helena tells Paul she’s going to machine gun him down one day. She seems calmer and her friend the scorpion isn’t in this episode. She’s keeping a sharp eye on everything going on around her.
Allison and Donnie (Kristian Bruun) are manufacturing soap in the garage, which they use to disguise the pills they are selling all over the neighborhood. Donnie thinks they should have become drug dealers long ago, they are making so much money. But – you want drugs from the Hendrix machine, you gotta vote right in the school trustee election.
Alison’s election rival Marci (Amanda Brugel) stops by the garage to attempt a bribe. She offers the Hendrix family a great deal on a piece of real estate. Alison tosses the deal back at her. It’s in another school district. Devious, Marci, but Alison is twice as devious.
Rachel is in therapy for her aphasia. She’s a bit limp and passive, but when she realizes Delphine is now in charge of Dyad, we see a spark of the old Rachel.
Alexis the midwife (Kathryn Alexandre) gets another turn in front of the camera (she’s also the mostly unseen clone double) when Sarah and Art find her as part of their search for Mark.
Alexis tells Sarah that both Helena and Gracie are carrying Henrik’s miraculous babies. Alas, she’s still a true believer. When Sarah and Art are gone, Alexis runs to Bonnie Johanssen (Kristin Booth) and rats them out.
Cosima and her minion have increased the mess in Felix’s bathroom by removing Seth’s brain from his body.
Sarah finds Gracie in a cafe where she and Art stopped while searching for Mark. She tells Gracie that the baby she’s carrying will be Kira’s cousin. Then she shows Gracie a photo of the other boy clones. Gracie freaks out because she thinks the clones are abominations.
Gracie heads back to the motel, hides the strongbox under the bed, and packs to run. The honeymoon is so over. She looks up to see her mother at the door. Momma Johanssen wants to find Mark, and Gracie tells her where to look.
Back in the lab Cosima – who is coughing again – realizes from the genetic markers in Seth’s brain that the boy and girl clones are sisters and brothers. Holy DNA, Batman. They are family!
Sarah gets the big news bulletin from Cosima just as she sneaking into Willard Finch’s barn. Mark is already there. He’s managed to scare Finch into having a heart attack while trying to get him to talk.
Sarah tells Mark they are brother and sister. He has to care about Helena now, because she is his sister.
Mark runs to find Gracie. He’s almost to his truck when he’s shot in the leg by Mrs. Johanssen. He crawls into a corn field. She follows. Sarah, hiding in the barn, hears another gun shot.
One of the advantages of being old is you remember how actors looked long ago. Like tonight’s bad guy Willard Finch. He used to be scorching hot, as I recall.
Felix has a lot of cleaning to do. His apartment is a bloody mess. Kira’s blanket fort is still intact. What is he going to do with the majority of Seth still ensconced in his bathtub? Much of the plot hangs on when Felix cleans.
Much of the plot also hangs on what’s in the undiscovered tank of liquid nitrogen, the strongbox under a motel bed that nobody in the cast will stay in again, and the still unread “The Island of Dr. Moreau.”
Now that the clones know the original genomes came from a sister and brother, are they going to be united in the search for an answer to their defects?
The cliffhanger of the final gunshot was somewhat ruined by a preview of next week showing a live but bloody Mark.
The Title Quotation
From Dwight Eisenhower’s Farewell Address to the Nation in 1961.
In this revolution, research has become central, it also becomes more formalized, complex, and costly. A steadily increasing share is conducted for, by, or at the direction of, the Federal government.
Orphan Black’s “Transitory Sacrifices of Crisis” begins where the last episode left off, with Sarah (Tatiana Maslany, a multitude) still looking for Helena and the male clone Rudy, AKA Scarface, (Ari Mullen, an army) freed from his basement prison and on the loose with Seth, AKA Mr. Moustache. The time between episodes appears to be just a few hours.
Rudy and the Boys
Ari Millen as Rudy and the other soldier boys gets all the wow scenes with multiple clones in this episode. There are several.
Rudy picks up a willing young woman named Patty (Natalie Krill) for sex, but she nixes the idea when Seth shows up and wants to join in. Later Patty reports the incident to Detective Bell (Kevin Hanchard) – yeah, he’s back on duty. Bell informs Sarah that the boys are loose and on the prowl and they both have a double headed horse tattoo on their left forearms.
Paul (Dylan Bruce) shows up and tells Rudy and Seth to report to base. Rudy asks if the orders come from “Mother.” I’m thinking mother is Dr. Virginia Coady (Kyra Harper). We glimpsed her last week and see more of her this week. She seems to be in charge of the military side of the clone experiments.
Rudy is the rebel. He’s a lot like Sarah in that way. He decides not to follow orders, but to finish the job and get the original genome from Sarah.
Rudy hides in Kyra’s (Skyler Wexler) blanket fort in Felix’s (Jordan Gavaris) apartment. He grabs Kyra and tries for force Sarah to talk. She knows nothing. When he realizes that Seth, who is waiting downstairs, is fritzing out like a bad transister, Rudy leaves and releases Kyra. Downstairs he sees that Seth is suffering a hopeless glitch and shoots him. Then he leans down and says, “I love you, brother.”
While we are on the subject of Felix’s apartment, it looks like the tank of liquid nitrogen is inside the blanket fort and has not come to the attention of any of the adults yet.
We also see another male clone at the military base where Helena is held. His name is Miller. More on Miller later.
Mark makes a brief appearance in this episode. He removes the horse tattoo from his arm in the most painful way possible.
Sarah and the Girls
Cal (Michiel Huisman) rents an apartment where he and Sarah and Kyra can play house. Sarah and Kyra love the idea, but it isn’t meant to be. Paul comes by to tell Cal that Sarah better get outta Dodge. Cal goes to Felix’s to warn her and sees Rudy shoot Seth.
Sarah sort of forgives Mrs. S (Maria Doyle Kennedy) for giving up Helena, but only if she will use her contacts to find Paul and get info on where Helena is. Sarah also wants to go after Mark in hopes he knows where Helena is hidden.
I think Mrs. S is the one who inspired the “transitory sacrifices of crisis” choice for the episode title.
Felix is taking care of Mrs. S, but he joins Sarah in urging her to do something about Helena.
Sarah decides to send Kyra to safety with Cal. They will go to Iceland.
When Ramone (Alex Ozerov) tells Alison that he’s closing down his business to go off to college, Alison and Donnie (Kristian Bruun) buy him out. They buy almost $80,000 worth of pills from him. Alison sees it as a way to make money now that Donnie is out of a job, but also a way to defeat Marci (Amanda Brugel) in the school trustee race. Seems most of Ramone’s clients are soccer moms like Alison. Her new voter base awaits drug delivery, yes indeed.
Cosima is feeling much better. She makes reference to some sort of spiritual effect in her recovery. She says as a scientist she needs to be open to everything, which I see as foreshadowing the arrival of Ksenia Solo as a guest. Neither Scott (Josh Vokey) or anyone else can quite explain her rapid recovery. She’s back in the lab looking for answers, and giving Sarah info on the two-headed horse mythology about Castor.
Helena is in a military compound. The male clone, Miller, is torturing her as part of a stress test. Helena is given the same strange eye test that earlier cause Seth to glitch out in a minor way. It drives Helena have a conversation with her spirit animal, the scorpion, about wanting to see the mango mentioned in the test.
Dr. Coady stops all the testing because she’s learned that Helena is pregnant. She’s warm and friendly to Helena, gives her food, treats her with respect. Look out for that one, Helena.
At the end of the episode, Sarah is no closer to finding Helena. Cal and Kyra are doing a geographical in hopes of keeping Kyra safe. Cosima and Josh haven’t yet started in on decoding “The Island of Dr. Moreau.” We’ve learned that the male clones have some sort of mental connection – Rudy knew what Seth was feeling & Mark decided the tattoo had to go.
I’m eager to see Alison interact with Marci. Amanda Brugel has had fleeting scenes so far, but I think the time is coming when we’ll see more of her and Alison together. I’m also eager to see Ksenia Solo appear.
The Title Quote
The title again comes from Dwight Eisenhower. In his farewell to the nation speech in 1961, there was this paragraph.
“Progress toward these noble goals is persistently threatened by the conflict now engulfing the world. It commands our whole attention, absorbs our very beings. We face a hostile ideology global in scope, atheistic in character, ruthless in purpose, and insidious in method. Unhappily the danger it poses promises to be of indefinite duration. To meet it successfully, there is called for, not so much the emotional and transitory sacrifices of crisis, but rather those which enable us to carry forward steadily, surely, and without complaint the burdens of a prolonged and complex struggle – with liberty the stake. Only thus shall we remain, despite every provocation, on our charted course toward permanent peace and human betterment”
Orphan Black kicked off season 3 with “The Weight of This Combination.” The ride was both delightful and scary. We begin mere seconds from where season 2 stopped.
The Female Clones
The episode opens with a 4 clone scene. It’s a candy colored world where a very pregnant Helena (Tatiana Maslany, a multitude) is surrounded by love and food at her baby shower. Cosima is dressed in a Ukranian folk outfit, Sarah is in black leather, Alison is all in pink and Felix (Jordan Gavaris) grills in a tennis outfit with a martini in his hand.
Helena wakes up from this hallucination trapped in a big coffin-like box, where she conducts a conversation with a scorpion. The scorpion was played by Tatiana Maslany – both voice and all the other noises the scorpion made. I got the idea that the scorpion was as imaginary as the baby shower. Yep, Helena is losing her marbles.
Cosima is feeling better and staying at Felix’s place. She amuses herself playing with Kira (Skyler Wexler) and hiding “The Island of Dr. Moreau” from everyone but Scott (Josh Vokey) because she no longer trusts anyone, including Delphine.
Delphine (Evelyne Brochu) breaks up with Cosima but still loves her. Delphine is taking over Rachel’s job and is living a double life as 1) a corporate drone, 2) the protector of all the sisters.
At the now united Hendrix household, Alison can’t stop touching newly jobless Donnie (Kristian Bruun). Alison plans to run for school trustee against the evil Marci (Amanda Brugel).
Mrs. S (Maria Doyle Kennedy) confesses to sending off Helena to wherever the scorpions talk, so Sarah is obsessed with getting Helena back throughout the episode. Helena does not get rescued in this episode, in spite of all Sarah’s efforts.
Nobody is paying any attention to the big container of liquid nitrogen Helena left in Felix’s apartment. But Kira starts to play with it, so hopefully it will come to Cosima’s attention the same way she discovered the gold mine inside “The Island of Dr. Moreau.”
Fun with Ferdinand
A creepy guy named Ferdinand (James Frain) shows up at Dyad intending to carry out “Helsinki” which translates to: Kill All The Girl Clones. First he wants to have S & M sex with Rachel. Except Rachel is in a hospital bed with her eye poked out, so Sarah pretends to be Rachel. And while she’s doing that, Alison pretends to be Sarah. Tatiana Maslany is so fabulous at this stuff, it all makes perfect sense.
Somehow Rachel (AKA Sarah) gets rid of Ferdinand, gets Helsinki canceled, and makes sure everyone knows she’s looking for Helena. By the way, Sarah in a Rachel wig is talented with a belt, as the marks on Ferdinand’s butt and neck prove.
The Male Clones
There are apparently a whole army of male clones (Ari Millen, an army). Last season we met Mark the Prolethean, the ugly haircut guy who followed Helena into the bar, Scarface the crazy guy in the basement, and a grim soldier outside Helena’s plane. Now we also meet Faux Mohawk and Mr. Moustache. (Scarface and Faux Mohawk may be just one guy. I’m still trying to get a good count of the boy clones.)
Mr. Moustache, who may be named Seth, beat the crap out of Mrs. S while trying to find Ethan Duncan. Mrs. S put up a good fight, though! Mrs. S: ever badass.
The male clones – the soldier boys – are not warm and fuzzy fellows. The male clones run around trying to find and kill the female clones. This lets us meet Krystal Goderich, a previously unknown female clone. We see Krystal making out with Faux Mohawk in an elevator, then going into a hotel room with him. There is one more male clone in this scene. Delphine reports that Krystal survived, so maybe we’ll meet her again.
The male clones all know about each other. The Orphan Black terminology here is “self aware.” Now, if I were a male clone and my job was to kill female clones, I might start to get a little worried about job security. Not these boys.
The Title Quote
Last year the titles were all quotes from Francis Bacon. The first episode this year uses a quote from Dwight D. Eisenhower:
“In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.”
We’ve left nature vs. nurture in season 2 and are moving on to the military-industrial complex. Project Castor is the military side of the clone experiment, so it follows quite logically.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.