A few brief comments on television and movies coming at you in this edition of a brain dump. I’ll talk about The Americans, Coco, and The Split. Continue Reading: Brain Dump: The Americans, Coco, The Split
When I was a kid I went to the movies every week. So many of those movies were Westerns. That was in the days of John Wayne and Gary Cooper, Roy Rogers and Gene Autry. Men on horses with six shooters.
As soon as I discovered there were options that went beyond the Western, I was happy to move on.
Now and then since those ancient decades, there have been Westerns starring women. The latest are Jane Got a Gun with Natalie Portman and The Keeping Room with Brit Marling.
Jane Got a Gun
Jane Got a Gun is more the traditional Western with a twist. In this story a woman asks her ex-lover for help in order to save her outlaw husband from a gang out to kill him. The film has male writers, a male director (Gavin O’Connor), and a majority male cast.
Starring with Portman are Ewan McGregor, Rodrigo Santoro, Joel Edgerton, and Noah Emmerich. The film went through all kinds problems before and after shooting – cast changes and problems with distribution. But it’s finally ready to go.
The film is releasing in France before the US (US release date is February 2016). The only trailer at this point has French subtitles. Have a look.
The Keeping Room
With Brit Marling, Hailee Steinfeld, Muna Otaru, and Sam Worthington in the lead, The Keeping Room is a more female point-of-view tale. The film was written by Julia Hart and directed by Daniel Barber. It released to theaters back in September 2015. You might have to wait for the streaming services to carry it before you can watch it, or catch it in a second run venue.
The plot synopsis is “Left without men in the dying days of the American Civil War, three Southern women – two sisters and one African-American slave – must fight to defend their home and themselves from two rogue soldiers who have broken off from the fast-approaching Union Army.”
Here’s the trailer.
If you caught The Keeping Room when it was first released, please share what you thought of it.
The Americans will start season 3 on FX on January 28. I’ve been watching this drama about Soviet spies in the U.S. during the Cold War in the 1980s since the first season. As unlikely as it sounds to say that I like a show about Soviet spies, I am saying it here.
Much of the reason this show is so good are the outstanding performances from Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys. They are brilliant in their parts as Elizabeth and Philip Jennings, two KGB officers who pose as a married couple living near Washington, D.C. They have two children, played by Holly Taylor and Keidrich Sellati. Their neighbor Stan (Noah Emmerich) is an FBI counter-intelligence agent who spends his days trying to catch people like them, and his evenings exchanging small talk with them over barbecue.
The spies have a “handler.” For a while their handler was played by Margo Martindale, an actress I simply love. This year Frank Langella is stepping into the role of handler. Richard Thomas is also a regular, playing another FBI agent.
There are recognizable events in the story, real characters and real happenings from the period, but ultimately – at least for me – the story is about Elizabeth and Philip: their relationship, their marriage, their family.
How about it? Are there any other fans of The Americans among readers?
Photos © Copyright FX Network