Review: Frankie and Alice

Frankie and Alice was panned by the critics, often for reasons that had nothing to do with the film itself. One critic panned it because it was finished in 2010 but not released until 2014. <sarcasm>Well, that sure seems like a good reason to hate a film to me. </sarcasm>

Spoilers ahead. Continue reading “Review: Frankie and Alice”

The Dovekeepers

Tonight and tomorrow night, the four-hour mini series The Dovekeepers airs on CBS.

At once epic and intimate, The Dovekeepers is based on the novel by Alice Hoffman about the seige of Masada. Masada was a Jewish stronghold atop a mountain in the Judean desert. The key part of the story involves women whose roles were to care for the doves in a large dove cote.

With food and water available, the Jews at Masada managed to hang on for a very long time, but eventually were overwhelmed. Masada was set upon by Roman armies in 70 C.E. Almost everyone died. The dovekeepers were among the few survivors.

The novel, which told this famous historical tale from the point of view of women, was published in 2011. I read the book and found it excellent, so I have high hopes for this mini series.

Here are previews and interviews about the mini series.

The starring roles are played by Cote de Pablo, Rachel Brosnahan, and Kathryn Prescott as the dovekeepers.

Roma Downey is the executive producer of the mini series.

Images © 2014 CBS Broadcasting, Inc.

Several Peeks at Orphan Black Season 3

The latest preview for Orphan Black season 3 indicates that a theme of the new season will be what happens when the male clones and the female clones interact. Based on this clip of a meeting between Sarah (Tatiana Maslany) and Rudy (Ari Millen), things might be a bit fraught in the extended family.

Sarah doesn’t like that the probably insane clone we saw a glimpse of at the end of season 2 knows all about her family, including Kira (Skyler Wexler), Felix (Jordan Gavaris) and Mrs. S (Maria Doyle Kennedy). Sarah knows nothing about this guy, not even his name, and he knows everything about her.

Oh dear, does that glimpse of Delphine (Evelyne Brochu) mean she’s running things regarding all the clones, not just Cosima? Very mysterious.

The, “Count your sisters,” line is ominously suggestive as well. Are there more clones? Another of the previews below suggests that there might be more female clones as well.

We’ve enjoyed the virtuoso performance as a number of clones from Tatiana Maslany for two seasons. It looks like Ari Millen is prepared to do an equally outstanding job with his batch of characters. I suspect the number of male clones will be revealed slowly. That’s how it was done with the females, and it builds suspense through the season.

Much as I want to see where the addition of the male clones to the story takes us, I’m still interested in several things from season 2:

  • What about Sarah and Cal (Michiel Huisman)?
  • Does Cosima recover and what about her relationship with Delphine?
  • Where is Helena and what’s happening to her? Will she ever see Jesse (Patrick J. Adams) again?
  • Will Allison get her act together?
  • Will Tony be back?

I hope the male clones don’t steal too much story time from the characters we already know and love.

In an article from Spoiler Room, producer John Fawcett talked about Cosima and answered at least one of my questions about season 3.

…This season will really be focused—at least for Cosima—on the nature of science vs. faith. “The interesting thing about Cosima is she came very close to dying and that wasn’t something that we took lightly,” executive producer John Fawcett says. “That wasn’t something that we did to try and scare the audience, that really was the beginning of a new journey for Cosima in season 3. The fact that she has come that close to death, that she essentially had a near-death experience, changes her because she can’t explain what happened to her. It puts this character, who is so entrenched in the science, in this place where she’s now looking for answers beyond science.”

Here are some previews that were released earlier than the one above.

The “This is War” Preview

The “Calling All Clones” Preview

The First Official Trailer for Season 3

I already published this one, but it doesn’t hurt to see it again.

Orphan Black begins on BBC America on April 18. In case you are like me and don’t have BBC America, you can buy the season on iTunes or Amazon Prime. The episodes are usually available on those platforms the morning after they air live.

Review: Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt caught my eye because it was created by Robert Carlock and Tina Fey. The Netflix-only series stars Ellie Kemper as the title character.

The set-up is that 4 women have been held in an underground bunker for 15 years by a crazy reverend (Jon Hamm) who told them there was an apocalypse above them and nothing was left. Kimmy Schmidt (Ellie Kemper) survived her 15 years by being determinedly happy and cheerful. She was unbreakable. Now that she’s out in the world, Kimmy’s brand of sunny cheerfulness influences everyone she meets.

This is a season 1 only review. Spoilers ahead. Continue reading “Review: Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”

Season 3 of Orphan Black: First Trailer

The first trailer for season 3 of Orphan Black is here. The series returns Saturday, April 18th on BBC America.

Series 3 begins right where the finale for season 2 left off. Tatiana Maslany, playing all the female clones of Project Leda, will face off against the Project Castor males, played by Ari Millen.

Season 3 will feature new cast additions like James Dominic Frain, Justin Chatwin and Ksenia Solo.

The scenes in the trailer go by so fast, it’s a bit hard to make sense of what we are seeing. There may be more female clones than we have met already. We saw 3 male clones in the finale of season 2, but there are a couple of others in the trailer. Are they shipping clones around in trunks now? A clone in a cage acts like Helena but has brown hair. Intrigue!

No matter the clone count, the new season looks tense and exciting.

Sarah may have a bad feeling about this, but I cannot wait!

Watch This: Trailer for Welcome to Me

I think winning $86 million in the lottery would make everyone go a little crazy, but in Welcome to Me, the main character is already crazy. Welcome to Me stars Kristen Wiig as a woman with Borderline Personality Disorder. She spends her winnings on buying herself a TV show which is about her and stars her. Oh, yeah, and she goes off her meds.

The cast in this indie production is simply outstanding: Kristen Wiig, James Marsden, Linda Cardellini, Wes Bently, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Alan Tudyk, Tim Robbins, Joan Cusack, Thomas Mann, Loretta Divine and more.

There is also a long list of producers, among them is Will Ferrell. The film boasts a female director:  Shira Piven.

When you think about it, what Wiig’s character does in this show is a little like starting a blog where all you want to do is share your opinions on things. Like, say, this blog. (Except I don’t have any money, and Kristen Wiig, James Marsden, Linda Cardellini, Wes Bently, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Alan Tudyk, Tim Robbins, Joan Cusack, Thomas Mann, and Loretta Divine don’t want to come and play with me.)

The film will get a wide release on May 8, 2015, with limited openings on May 1. It looks good and you don’t have to win the lottery to afford it. Go see it.

Image Credit: Kristen Wiig TIFF 2014” by GabboTWelcome to Me 46. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Review: An Invisible Sign

You say the critics hated it? Yeah, I probably loved it.

An Invisible Sign got terrible reviews from all the critics. And, as often happens, I love the very movie the critics hate.

Spoilers ahead. Continue reading “Review: An Invisible Sign”

Review: Obvious Child

Obvious Child was advertised as “The most winning abortion themed rom-com ever made.” The title comes from the Paul Simon song of the same name.

Donna Stern (Jenny Slate) is trying to be a comedian. She gets on stage and talks about everything from her sex life to her dirty underwear. She’s kind of funny on stage but much funnier in real life. One of her problems is she hasn’t figured out how to translate her natural humor into something that works when she has a microphone in her hand.

Donna has more problems. Her boyfriend just dumped her and the bookstore where she works is closing. Her friend Nellie (Gaby Hoffmann) gives her grown up advice on how to deal, but Donna is far from grown up.

Jenny Slate and Jake Lacy in Obvious Child

Donna deals by getting roaring drunk and picking up a buttoned-down guy named Max (Jake Lacy) for a one night stand. They have fun while having sex, but the results are not fun. Donna’s preggers.

Jenny's in a box at the bookstore when Max asks her out.

Max, instead of disappearing like a good one night stand should, hangs around. He asks Donna out. They tentatively like each other. He turns out to be a student of her mother’s. Her super-smart and highly organized mother is played by the fabulous Polly Draper. Donna’s flaky father is played by Richard Kind. Let’s just say Donna didn’t fall far from the old man’s tree.

Donna, Nellie, Mom: everyone agrees abortion is the only option. Should Max be told?

I won’t give you any more plot spoilers, but I will say that the actual romance part of this rom-com doesn’t begin until the end of the film. There may be a romance in the future of Donna and Max – it’s possible but not guaranteed.

Gillian Robespierre wrote and directed the film. Big cheers to female writers and directors making films! Support it for that reason alone if you want, but it’s also a funny film that you will enjoy seeing.

Watch the Trailer

Obvious Child was released in the U.S. in October 2014. It’s available on DVD and from streaming services.

Review: Barefoot

Barefoot can now be steamed from services like Netflix and Amazon Prime. It’s a rom-com starring Evan Rachel Wood and Scott Speedman, released in 2014.

Spoilers ahead. Continue reading “Review: Barefoot”

Watch This: Latest Trailer for Pitch Perfect 2

A new trailer for Pitch Perfect 2 is here. Starring Rebel Wilson, Anna Kendrick, Elizabeth Banks and many others, the film releases on May 15, 2015.

I spotted Birgitte Hjort Sørensen in the this trailer. She’s a favorite from the Danish series Borgen. She is the blonde from the World Champion Team who are the archenemies of The Barden Bellas.

I am hopelessly addicted to musicals of any kind. Promise me songs and I’ll be watching. I love an underdog story, which this is. So I’ll be watching Pitch Perfect 2. As a plus, the Pitch Perfect franchise has a female director (Elizabeth Banks) and a female screenwriter (Kay Cannon). What’s not to like?