Preview Photos from Season 2 of Grace and Frankie

New photos from season 2 of Grace and Frankie are out now. The second season begins on Netflix on May 6. In the new season, Grace and Frankie continue the process of figuring out their own identities after they discover that their husbands are in love with each other.

Series creator Marta Kauffman told People, “It’s hopeful. You don’t have to be dead because you’re old, and there’s always good things out there in life.” That’s right, Marta, that’s right. Continue reading “Preview Photos from Season 2 of Grace and Frankie”

Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda Talk about Female Friendship

“Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin: A hilarious celebration of lifelong female friendship” is a TED Talk with Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin discussing friendship with Pat Mitchell.

Since so many of my top 10 picks for the year 2015 explore the power of female friendship, this conversation between them is especially relevant. Continue reading “Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda Talk about Female Friendship”

Reprint: A Good Year for Elder Actors

[This post originally appeared at Time Goes By, written by Ronni Bennett. Thanks to Ronni for allowing me to reprint it here.]

Not infrequently, I grumble out loud around here about how few roles, especially major roles, there are in film for elder actors. Our generation doesn’t get much representation on what in our youth was called the silver screen.

But not so in 2015. As the year-end round-ups of the arts are being published, it is gratifying to see how many of our contemporaries have been not only getting work but in some cases being nominated for awards.

This is a list of some of the biggest names and the movies they have starred in this year. It is in no way meant to be comprehensive, and I arbitrarily chose 65 to be the low-end age cutoff. Maybe you have seen some of these. (A few random trailers included) Continue reading “Reprint: A Good Year for Elder Actors”

45 Years and Still Having Sex

45 Years is a British drama about a couple preparing for a 45th anniversary of their wedding. Here’s the synopsis. Continue reading “45 Years and Still Having Sex”

Actors on Actors -UPDATED

Variety has created a series of conversations called “Actors on Actors” that are fascinating discussions between peers. Most of them are a man and a woman. I picked these three to include here because both the conversationalists are women, but don’t overlook the others at Variety Studio: Actors on Actors.

The women’s conversations are about art and craft and fame and the meaning of success.

 

 

UPDATE: Here’s another that just published with two women in conversation.

Review: Grace and Frankie Season 1

Grace and Frankie hit Netflix last weekend and I watched every episode. It was a bit uneven, but I loved it anyway.

Sam Waterston and Martin Sheen in Frankie and Grace

Spoilers ahead. Continue reading “Review: Grace and Frankie Season 1”

Grace and Frankie Coming in May – UPDATED

Grace and Frankie will release on Netflix on May 8. The new series stars Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, Martin Sheen and Sam Waterston. With such a great cast, I feel free to expect great things. Continue reading “Grace and Frankie Coming in May – UPDATED”

Sundance: She is a Best Director

Here’s a video from the Sundance Institute in which filmmakers including Jane Fonda, Greta Gerwig, Kristen Wiig, Lesley Headland, Mindy Kaling, Ava DuVernay and others discuss the importance of female voices.

I found it interesting and inspiring.

Watch a clip from Jane

Jane, a 57 minute documentary from Sundance Doc Club, is about the young Jane Fonda. You can watch it in full at docclub.com, but here’s a clip to let you know more about what you’ll be seeing.

The doc shows Jane Fonda rehearsing for a starring role in a Broadway play. When the play opens to harsh critical notices, her reaction is shown.

Sometimes I’m amazed that anyone survives the devastations of youth to reach the wisdom of age. Or maybe it’s the blows we take as young people that lead to the wisdom of age. Either way, Jane Fonda has endured many a hard knock to become the woman she is today. Her journey reminds us that it’s worth the effort to keep on going, to keep on keeping on.

Docclub has numerous documentaries on a variety of topics, all of which can be streamed if you join and pay a monthly fee.

Review: This is Where I Leave You

This is Where I Leave You is so rich and messy and complicated, I won’t even try to give you the details of the story. You get the basic story watching the trailer, which is that a family comes together to sit shiva for 7 days because of the death of the father.

Jason Bateman
Jason Bateman

In many ways, this is Jason Bateman’s film. As Judd Altman, the eldest brother, he carries us into and out of the story. His particular character gets more development than anyone else’s.

Writer Jonathan Tropper is an absolute genius at creating real feeling characters with just a few brush strokes.

Old man furry slippers do mean something.
Old man furry slippers do mean something.

Tina Fey as Wendy Altman is the big sister. She has two young children of her own. She’s the only sibling with kids – so far. Her son, played by Cade Lappin, regularly steals scenes with his potty chair and his attitude. She knows her brothers better than she knows herself, although she does make an effort to uncover some of her baggage while sitting on the roof with Judd.

Tina Fey and Jane Fonda
Tina Fey and Jane Fonda

Jane Fonda is the mother. She’s famous for writing a book about the foibles and intimate details of her 4 children. She overshares everything but the most important facts. She brings her children home and enforces her demand that they stay there for 7 days to sit shiva knowing how explosive and inappropriate it will get, but knowing it needs to happen.

Jason Bateman, Tina Fey, Adam Driver and Corey Stoll
Jason Bateman, Tina Fey, Adam Driver and Corey Stoll

There’s the responsible middle child played by Corey Stoll and the irresponsible baby brother, played by Adam Driver. They bring home with them assorted spouses, girlfriends, children, impending children, and discarded spouses. Once they are home they have to deal with old girlfriends, old boyfriends, surprising new girlfriends and many degrees of overshared sex.

Debra Monk, Kathryn Hahn and Connie Britton
Debra Monk, Kathryn Hahn and Connie Britton

As I mentioned, every character feels real. They may not have many moments of screen time, but every one of these actors knows how to make something big out of small moments. Especially the smaller parts, played by Connie Britton, Kathryn Hahn, Rose Byrne, Debra Monk, Abigail Spencer and Dax Shepard. Even as minor characters, they were nuanced people. I want Connie Britton’s character to have a whole movie of her own.

The only character that felt off was the Rabbi, played for comic relief by Ben Schwartz. The fact that everyone in the family insisted on calling him by his childhood nickname, Boner, even in Temple, tells you how that went. There was plenty going on that was truly laugh-out-loud funny without making the Rabbi into a joke.

With so many characters, each with their individual stories, the interactions were complicated. Each of the siblings had personal issues and responses to the loss of their father. The plot had lots of twists and turns and some elegant surprises. The film had humor, emotion, and touching moments of love and connection.

The beautiful thing about family dramas is there are no gun battles, no explosions, and no car chases. Instead, there are meaningful talks on the roof, ineffectual fisticuffs on the front lawn, and shared moments of revelation. This film has heart. It’s as good as any family drama you will ever see, probably better.

All images © 2013 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.