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?

House of Cards: Trailers, Posters and Dates

The release date on Netflix for House of Cards is Friday, February 27. All 13 episodes of season 3 will be available then.

Poster for House of Cards

In season 3, Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey) is the President, Claire (Robin Wright) is First Lady. I forget the exact details of how Frank Underwood manipulated himself into the Presidency. I must go back and review season 2 before Feb. 27.

Most of the season was filmed in Maryland, but the finale was filmed in northern New Mexico in the Santa Fe and Las Vegas area. I’ll definitely be on the lookout for places I recognize in the finale!

Netflix calls this preview a moving poster. It doesn’t show much of anything except the Underwoods looking Presidential.

The official season 3 trailer is much more exciting – and drum laden.

Watch This: Red Band Trailer for Spy

In Spy, Melissa McCarthy teams up again with writer and director Paul Feig in a comedy featuring McCarthy as a CIA Analyst. She works with agents played by Jude Law and Jason Statham.

Miranda Hart
Miranda Hart image from BBC

I’m more than a little excited to see that McCarthy is working with British comic Miranda Hart in Spy. These two should be fabulous together.

Here’s the G-rated version of the trailer, followed by the Red Band trailer.

Rose Byrne, Bobby Cannavale, Allison Janney, and Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson also star in the Fox release, which opens in theaters May 22.

Spy image © 20th Century Fox

Netflix Doc: What Happened, Miss Simone?

Available later this year only on Netflix will be Liz Garbus’ documentary What Happened, Miss Simone? about the life of singer Nina Simone. Here’s the publicity blurb about the film.

Classically trained pianist, black power icon and legendary recording artist, Nina Simone lived a life of brutal honesty, musical genius, and tortured melancholy. In the upcoming Netflix original documentary, Academy Award® nominated filmmaker Liz Garbus interweaves never-before-heard recordings and rare archival footage together with Nina’’s most memorable songs, creating an unforgettable portrait of one of the least understood, yet most beloved artists of our time.

There’s another film about Nina Simone in the works – a biopic starring Zoe Saldana. This Netflix documentary will show Nina singing her own songs and shouldn’t be confused with the other film.

The two films will bring the attention of young people who might not be familiar with Nina Simone into her fandom. It seems to be the moment to rediscover the wonderful talents of the singer who died at age 70 in 2003.

Here’s the first official trailer for the documentary.

Learn more about the film and about Nina Simone at ninasimone.com.