Watch This: Trailer for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Pt. 2

As if Katniss Everdeen didn’t already have my heart sewed up in an eternal mockingjay bundle of love, check out all the buttons that get pushed in this blood-stirring trailer for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Pt. 2.

Let’s see, we have martial music, synchronized gun waving worthy of the Marine Corps, and a savior in a cape who makes a grand entrance. Honey, I’m yours. Damn right I’ll stand with District 13.

I love that several faces in the crowd of uniformed boot stompers are female.

Can you believe we have to wait until November to see Katniss and her freedom fighters?

Review: Little Accidents

Little Accidents is about huge, life-altering accidents. There are two such accidents in this grim tale about the interconnected life of a small coal-mining town.

Spoilers ahead. Continue reading “Review: Little Accidents”

Watch This: Trailer for Jenny’s Wedding

Jenny’s Wedding stars Katherine Heigl and Alexis Bledel as a gay couple who decide to get married. But Jenny’s (Heigl) parents don’t know she’s gay.

Now that the Supreme Court has made it possible for gay people in all 50 states to marry, I suspect we will see a lot of these types of films: coming out to the family, planning a wedding.

This version of the story has a particularly good cast, with Tom Wilkinson as Jenny’s father, Linda Emond as her mother and Grace Gummer as her sister. The film was written and directed by Mary Agnes Donoghue, who also wrote Beaches, White Oleander and Veronica Guerin.

Despite all that pedigree, the trailer looks like a highly sanitized version of a story. There isn’t much chemistry between the two women who are supposed to be in love, is there? I want to like it – women in the lead, a female writer and director. Maybe I’m coming at it from the wrong perspective. The story seems to be more about the way Jenny’s family reacts than it is about Jenny and Kitty. I’m looking for sparks in the wrong places – it’s not about two people in love, it’s about family acceptance.

The film is scheduled for a July 31 release. I’d love comments on what you thought of it after you’ve had a chance to see it on the big screen.

Review: Cake

This isn’t a review of Cake. This is a great big squee about Cake. If you haven’t seen it, watch it now. A big thank you to @joyfulng on Twitter for urging me to watch it.

Spoilers ahead. Continue reading “Review: Cake”

Review: The Trouble with the Truth

The Trouble with the Truth stars John Shea and Lea Thompson in a 90 minute conversation that maintains a sense of flow for the entire film. The way the cameras follow them, the way the two actors deliver thousands of lines apiece as if each one just occurred to them, and the chemistry between the actors somehow makes this long conversation work.

Spoilers ahead. Continue reading “Review: The Trouble with the Truth”

Review: Boy Meets Girl

Boy Meets Girl is a love story as the title suggests, but it’s also a bit of a transgender play on words. It has romance, sex, heartbreak, and a transgender lead character. It’s one of the sweetest love stories I’ve seen in a long time.

I found this indie gem on Netflix. It was written and directed by Eric Schaeffer.

Spoilers ahead. Continue reading “Review: Boy Meets Girl”

Watch This: Trailer for Unexpected

Unexpected is the story of not one, but two, unexpected pregnancies. The first is teacher Samantha Abbott (Cobie Smulders) and the second is her student Jasmine (Gail Bean). Fans of Cobie Smulders (like me!) are sure to enjoy seeing her take the lead in a film of her own.

The film is written by Megan Mercier and Kris Swanberg, and directed by Kris Swanberg.

Cobie Smulders and Anders Holm in Unexpected

Playing Samantha’s mother is Elizabeth McGovern, with Anders Holm as her husband John. To summarize, the film is a woman’s effort in every way.

Neither of the mothers-to-be are quite sure what they want to do about their situations after their babies arrive, and they develop an unusual friendship as a result.

The film has received good reviews from the men who saw it at Sundance and elsewhere, but I haven’t seen any reviews by women. If you see it, please stop by and let us know what you think.

The film is due out on July 24.

Watch This: Trailer for Grandma

Grandma stars Lily Tomlin, which is all anyone needs to know before laying their money down at a theater box office. The film release date is August 21.

Tomlin plays Elle Reid, who just lost her longtime partner, Val. Her 18 year old granddaughter Sage (Julia Garner) appears one day asking for help. The two embark on a money gathering journey together which is mind expanding for both of them. Continue reading “Watch This: Trailer for Grandma”

Rita: A Danish Series about a Teacher

Rita premiered 2012 on Danish TV and has run for three seasons so far.

The poster for Rita

The series stars Mille Dinesen in the lead role as Rita, a free-spirited teacher and single mother. Netflix in the U.S. currently has all 3 seasons of Rita available. Season 3 was actually funded by Netflix!

Rita is a 40-something woman with 2 adult children and another still in his teens. She’s a rebel, an anarchist, and a wonderful teacher. She’s a pretty good parent, but is sometimes more of a mess than her children are. She’s a train-wreck in the personal realtionships department. Her sex life is a disaster, she’s a bitch to her mother, she does absolutely everything she can to break every rule put before her. She smokes, something that was highly criticized in Denmark as being unsuitable for the children who watched. I would think watching her sex life would be more unsuitable for children. But that’s my American brain thinking, I’m not up on Danish moral standards.

I love Rita. She’s a well developer character with many moving parts and a wonderful charm about her. Other characters in the story including her children, her lovers, her ex-husband, her mother and many teachers at her school are less developed but no less interesting. Each of them do have their moments when we see into who they are in more depth.

Lise Baastrup as Rita’s fellow teacher Hjørdis, for example, grows through the 3 seasons from an unsure new teacher to a woman who is in command of her job and effective with the kids.

Writer and Director Christian Torpe created a 4 part mini-series featuring Hjørdis, which is now available on Netflix.

Themes addressed in the series include acceptance of gay children, treatment of immigrants, integrating “inclusion” students (we call it “mainstreaming” in the U.S.) in the regular classroom, abortion and pregnancy, priorities in education, sexual mores, parenting, drug use and other topics. Rita does something in regard to standardized testing (a big topic here in the U.S.) in season 3 that creates a wonderful cliffhanger at the end of the season.

Unless you are an educator like me, you probably won’t be as interested in the Danish school system as I was. I found it really fascinating to peek into how the school ran, what the students did, and how the teachers (and students) dressed. I realize it’s TV and not “real” school, but the differences were interesting.

The series has accumulated over 17 nominations for best drama, best actress and actor, best production and more. Mille Dinesen scored one win as Best Actress in the Golden Nymph awards. Watch the Facebook page for updates and to check out dozens of photos from the show.

Related:

Watch the trailer

Here’s a season 3 preview. Sorry there are no English subtitles.

Images from IMDB

Watch This: Trailer for GTFO

[Ed. This post is reprinted from Web Teacher.]

GTFO, the movie, premiered at SXSW in 2015 and is now available from a number of outlets. Created by Shannon Sun-Higginson, the documentary takes a look at sexual harassment in gaming.

The description of the film is,

Sparked by a public display of sexual harassment in 2012, GTFO pries open the video game world to explore a 20 billion dollar industry that is riddled with discrimination and misogyny. In recent years, the gaming community has grown more diverse than ever. This has led to a massive clash of values and women receive the brunt of the consequences every day, with acts of harassment ranging from name calling to cyber vandalism and death threats. Through interviews with video game developers, journalists, and academics, GTFO paints a complex picture of the video game industry, while revealing the systemic and human motivations behind acts of harassment. GTFO is the beginning of a larger conversation that will shape the future of the video game world.

You can buy or rent GTFO on iTunesVimeo, BitTorrentGoogle Play, Xbox, Playstation, and Vudu. The film is available for educators at the movie web site, which has resources for women who are being harassed.

Time Magazine interviewed Sun-Higginson in Meet the Woman Helping Gamergate Victims Come Out of the Shadows. It’s worth reading.