Review: Miss Virginia

Miss Virginia is based on a true story about a Washington D.C. mother who wanted a chance at a better education for her son. It stars Uzo Aduba as the inspirational Virginia Walden. There are spoilers ahead.

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Review: Stranger Things 2, also known as season 2

Stranger Things is back on Netflix with season 2. It’s hard to say anything about season 2 that doesn’t include spoilers. You’ve been warned. Continue Reading: Review: Stranger Things 2, also known as season 2

Watch This: Trailer for Season 2 of Stranger Things

The big news is Stranger Things from Netflix will have a second season. The teaser is just a series of words. They look like chapter titles to me. The series doesn’t have episodes, it has chapters. Continue Reading: Watch This: Trailer for Season 2 of Stranger Things

Review: Stranger Things

Stranger Things, an 8 part series on Netflix, is a fun filled adventure that every age group will enjoy. It’s a reunion with the 80s, with early Steven Spielberg charm, wit, and kid-centric adventurous storytelling. Beware, spoilers ahead.

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How Episode 3 Hooked Me on Proof

I’ve been watching Proof. Episode 3 “Showdown” was on last week. Although I had no specific gripes with Proof, I wasn’t really hooked yet.

Joe Morton, Matthew Modine and Jennifer Beals in a scene from Proof

The cast is terrific. Joe Morton, Matthew Modine, Jennifer Beals – all pretty much wow. And there’s Dr. Tyler’s ex-husband played by David Sutcliffe, her intern played by Edi Gathegi and her daugher played by Annie Thurman – it’s all good. But that isn’t what hooked me.

Episode 3 hooked me. (There are spoilers ahead.)

A scene from Proof with David Chisum, Ryan Robbins and Josh Cooke

These three guys show up in episode 3. On the right is Dr. Daniel Powell (David Chisum). The other two guys (Ryan Robbins & Josh Cooke) are undergoing a past life regression with him in this scene.

The episode opens with a battle during the Korean War. It’s being told as a past life regression story in a lecture being given by Dr. Powell. Dr. Carolyn (Cat) Tyler is there with her intern to “keep an open mind.” Dr. Tyler is skeptical of everything about the idea of finding proof of life after death, even though she agreed to investigate it. Past life regression is one of the things the billionaire played by Matthew Modine insists she investigate.

When the lecture ends, we learn that Cat and Dr. Powell went to med school together and have warm feelings for each other. As they exit the lecture venue, another man comes up and accuses the man who told the Korean War story of stealing it from him. Dr. Powell does more past life regressions with these two. We go back again and again to the battle scene, the two men, the explosions and wounds and soldiers falling. Finally, in a joint scene where the two are hypnotized together, we find out both of them were there in past lives, and they were in love. One said it out loud as he was dying, the other man couldn’t get the words out.

Hence, lingering emotional trauma for the past life regressions to dredge up. Dr. Tyler is watching all this and trying to keep an open mind, even though she thinks it is a crazy hallucination. Meanwhile, Cat and Daniel Powell have been reminiscing and flirting and talking a lot. They end up in a sex scene that was fascinating. Jennifer Beals made an L Word joke about it on Twitter, but I found it remarkable.

The scene opened looking over the surface of a still-made hotel room bed with sex happening on the floor on the other side of the bed. We see Jennifer Beals’ back as she raises up, some obviously sexual motions, the moving hands of the man under her and that’s it. No pounding music, no loud moaning, no heavy breathing. In fact, no kissing.

I hope other network shows look at this and think about what can be done with sexy scenes.Later we see them in the bed, talking, holding hands, touching. They are relaxed. This was not a sex scene for the male gaze (and this is from a male director, Alex Graves). I thought it was really sexy and hope other network shows look at this and think about what can be done with sexy scenes.

In this relaxed moment, the camera circles round and shoots them from above their heads, as if Dr. Tyler’s world is turned upside down. That’s when Daniel Powell convinces Cat Tyler to try hypnosis and regression herself.

The regression takes Cat Tyler to the day her son was killed in a car wreck. She was driving. She woke in the emergency room, frantic about her son. The whole memory is violent and chaotic and emotionally charged, with Jennifer Beals doing a stunning acting job.

The woman in the green scarf played by Gabrielle Rose

In every episode so far, Cat Tyler catches a glimpse of a woman in a green scarf. It’s confused her because she knows rationally that the woman isn’t there. She’s there again in the ER in Cat’s memory of the day her son died. Cat asks Dr. Richmond (Morton) about brain processes that could create a vision of something that isn’t there are he gives her a rational explanation.

When Cat comes out of the hypnosis, she literally runs from the hotel room. Outside on the sidewalk, she is almost brought to her knees by the impact of what she re-experienced.

There is really no way to actually know if there is life after death. I like that Proof isn’t taking a position on it. But here’s this science-based skeptic of a physician who experienced near death herself and who has now done this regression exercise. Her intellect and her emotions are in conflict.

Everything about Jennifer Beals’ acting in this series has been outstanding. Her skepticism, her confidence as a doctor, her concern for her family, her grief over her son’s death, her own near death experience, even her talent as a flirt – all believable and masterfully done. Her performance in this episode goes beyond that excellence into a category deserving recognition. Awards, people, I’m talking awards. And shit if I’m not good and hooked on this show.

So, tell me. What’s your reaction to Proof?

UPDATE: In case you missed Proof when it was live you can buy it on Amazon Video [Proof]

All Images @TNT

Watch This: Extended Trailer for Proof

Proof released an extended preview for the show which begins on TNT on June 16. We get a bit more of scenes with Jennifer Beals, Matthew Modine, and Joe Morton than the previous previews.

I’ve tried to identify faces in the trailer. There’s no need to explain who Jennifer Beals, Matthew Modine, and Joe Morton are. I think the young woman playing Dr. Russo’s daughter is Annie Thurman, if the character Sophie is Russo’s daughter. The youngish looking African American man is played by Edi Gathegi. Callum Blue is in the cast; I think he’s another doctor.

Three of the 7 producers on Proof are women, including Kyra Sedgewick. Alex Graves is director and Rob Bragin is the writer.

Watch This: Kyra Sedgwick Talks about Casting Jennifer Beals in Proof + Trailers

The new TNT series Proof will begin this summer, on the schedule right after Rizzoli and Isles. Series producer Kyra Sedgwick recently talked about casting Jennifer Beals as a thorasic surgeon, the lead character in Proof.

A couple of trailers for Proof have been released, which I didn’t post here yet. This seems like a perfect time to make up for that omission.

Joe Morton and Matthew Modine are other well-known actors in this series.

The following one you may want to click off at the end so further video from Yahoo doesn’t keep playing.

Watch This: Trailer for Proof

Proof, the new Jennifer Beals drama coming to TNT, released an official trailer. Looks like there’s going to be some action built into the this character’s story. I don’t know if you follow Jennifer Beals on Twitter, but she shows a strong interest in science in her Twitter life. I’m thinking this whip-smart scientist part is going to fit her perfectly.

Also starring in Proof are Matthew Modine and Joe Morton. Check out Matthew Modine in this preview. Why do men look so good with gray in their hair while women aren’t supposed to be gray? I hope Joe Morton has time to do this and still be Olivia Pope’s dad on Scandal because he is the essence of danger there.

The producer for this show is Kyra Sedgwick. In case you thought acting was her only gig, she’s been producing since 1996.

Upcoming TV Series with Female Leads

New TV series in the works with women in the lead or co-lead roles look very good. Some start as soon as summer, some are scheduled for fall.

Starting in June on TNT is Murder in the First, which stars Teye Diggs and Kathleen Robertson. Kathleen Robertson may not continue throughout the series as lead, because she’s only in 7 of the 9 episodes that comprise the first season, but it’s worth checking out. Murder in the First is a Steven Bochco production. Bochco has a long string of successful police dramas behind him, including NYPD Blue, Hill Street Blues, and LA Law.

Also coming to TNT, but not until fall or possibly 2015 is the new Jennifer Beals supernatural medical drama Proof. Proof also stars Matthew Modine and Joe Morton. The series is produced by Kyra Sedgwick. Of everything that’s coming, and a lot of it looks really good, I’m very excited about seeing Jennifer Beals back on my TV every week.

Jennifer seems excited about working with Matthew Modine.

TNT announced casting Julia Stiles in a legal drama called Guilt by Association but I haven’t seen any follow up news about the pilot being picked up.

Red Band Society

Red Band Society is a remake of a Spanish series. Octavia Spencer leads the cast of this tale about teenagers living in a pediatric wing of a hospital. It will be on Fox.

Taraji P Hanson

Fox also scheduled Empire starring Taraji P. Hanson and Terrance Howard. This series is about a family who runs a hip hop empire. The music is supposed to be excellent, if you’re a hip hop fan. The show is by Lee Daniels and features many well-known African American actors including Gabourey Sidibe.

Another new show with a woman of color in the lead is Shonda Rhimes new drama, How to Get Away with Murder. Viola Davis will star in this legal thriller as a criminal defense professor who gets tangled up in a murder plot. Anything Shonda Rhimes does is going to make a big impression. This one should be a hit for ABC for sure.

State of Affairs

NBC brings us State of Affairs starring Katherine Heigl as a CIA Agent who reports to the U.S. President. The President is Alfre Woodard, who is one of my all-time favorites. These two should be fabulous together.

Anna Friel

Another political drama on NBC is Odyssey. It stars Anna Friel as a soldier. Odyssey is described as a sprawling international conspiracy that ties together three very different characters – a female soldier, a corporate lawyer and a young political activist. The other two characters in this threesome are played by Peter Facinelli and Jake Robinson.

TV is where women are making a mark these days, and these upcoming shows are part of that trend. Do any of these shows look especially interesting to you? What are you planning to watch? Did I miss anything new with a female lead?

Review: Girl in Progress

Girl in Progress is a coming of age story about a girl who writes her own coming of age story based on research on the coming of age genre, then attempts to live it out according to plan.

Starring in this 2012 film are Eva Mendez as the mother, Cierra Ramirez as the girl in progress, Matthew Modine as the mother’s married boyfriend, and Patricia Arquette as the girl’s teacher.

Girl in Progress poster

Ansiedad, the girl in progress, is Cierra Ramirez; you may know her from The Fosters. She’s an extremely bright and creative teen who is captured by a remark her English teacher makes about coming of age tales. She has an interesting reltionship with her English teacher.

Lunch with the English teacher
Lunch with the English teacher – doesn’t everyone?

The mother of this wise but naive teen is often gone, either working or conducting inappropriate relationships with married men. In her absence, Ansiedad plots out a complete coming of age story for herself which includes stealing, hanging with the mean girls, dumping her best friend, losing her virginity and leaving home. She then proceeds to live this plan out so she can have the needed epiphany that will carry her into adulthood.

The movie is out on DVD and available from streaming services now. Take a look at the trailer for the film.

I have to admit I watched the film because my granddaughter recommended it to me. She’s in the throes of her own coming of age saga right now, which is why the movie appealed to her. I found it good as well, even at my advanced stage in life. On a scale of 10 stars, I would give it at least 7.