Co-creator of Reddit and political activist Aaron Swartz fought for a free, open Internet. He committed suicide at a young age. This documentary looks at his life and contributions.
The film was shown at Sundance and SXSW, but I’m not finding a schedule or any updates about where it can be seen now. Watch your local small cinema and keep an eye on places like Netflix for a chance to learn more about Aaron Swartz.
Season one of the BBC period drama The Paradise is available now on Netflix and DVD or from Amazon, YouTube, Google Play, and iTunes. Season 2 has shown on BBC One, but it isn’t available in the U.S. yet at any of the sources I mentioned.
The series is about the people who work in the first department store in England, The Paradise, and others who are connected to the store as friends, customers or family. Set in the second half of the nineteenth century, with all the British class issues of the time at front and center, The Paradise teems with interesting characters and events.
Carrying us into the story is Denise (Joanna Vanderham from What Maisie Knew). She is hired as a shopgirl at The Paradise.
Denise is a brilliant salesperson and quickly becomes an asset to The Paradise and a threat to her her colleagues and her immediate supervisor, Miss Audrey (Sarah Lancashire). Denise is smarter about sales and business than anyone in the store, including the owner, and quickly realizes that she wants to BE the owner. She has a gift for describing fabrics and colors in the most sensuous terms that make customers almost fall over themselves to buy.
Unmarried and an early example of what would now be called a career woman, Miss Audrey has been at The Paradise for many years. This is the show Sarah Lancashire left to play Caroline in Last Tango in Halifax. While I’ll miss her when season 2 finally makes it across the pond, I applaud her wisdom is seeing the opportunity and star potential of Last Tango in Halifax over this interesting but typical costume drama. Miss Audrey is well played and pivotal to Denise’s career, but not the best thing about The Paradise. Caroline Elliot is definitely the best thing about Last Tango in Halifax.
The owner and mastermind behind the concept of retail department store selling in England is the boss, Mr. Moray (Emun Elliott). Mr. Moray is charming and handsome and persuasive where business is concerned. He’s in mourning for his first wife while half-heartedly courting Katherine and falling in love with Denise. It might be more accurate to say he’s courting Katherine’s father who has the money to be a business investor in the store, while paying attention to Katherine in the process.
Katherine (Elaine Cassidy) is in love with Moray and rejects other more suitable men in favor of this fellow who really doesn’t care for her at all. She may grow a bit bitter about her situation in season 2.
Swirling around this key cast of characters are workers at The Paradise, members of the British upper class who revolve around Katherine’s family, and some family and friends of the characters. One in particular who is important is Edmund, (Peter Wight) who is both Denise’s uncle and a former suitor of Miss Audrey’s. Edmund runs a failing shop directly across the street from The Paradise. By the end of season 1, Denise is using her business smarts to help bring his business back.
Here’s an official trailer.
This is a fan trailer. It’s good, but the ‘viewer discretion advised’ line is kinda silly.
You can read more at the BBC One site for The Paradise. I recommend the show wholeheartedly if you have access to it on any of the streaming services I mentioned.
From Twitter Friends
I asked if any of my Twitter followers had comments about the show, and NptexasNancy responded with a comment about the shortcuts used at the end of season 1:
@OldAintDead i watched that. I like stuff about that era, even the badly done ones. I liked it actually tho ending was a bit pat.
Season 2 of Orphan Black begins with “Nature Under Constraint and Vexed.” It’s a rip-roaring beginning to the new season. Every moment of the opening show was exciting, dangerous, tense, high-stakes, fast paced drama.
Watch a preview of the first episode.
I’m not going to recap the episode, just offer a few remarks. Spoilers ahead.
Tatiana Maslany has honed her performance to a more focused and nuanced rendition of each of her characters. Each of them is a distinct and unique woman. She’s sharpened them and made them more themselves. Tatiana Maslany is amazing as these clones, simply amazing.
The monitors for the clones, particularly Cosima’s monitor Delphine (Evelyne Brochu) and Sarah’s former monitor Paul (Dylan Bruce) are walking double edged swords. Both seem to be cooperating with the enemy while trying to help their clones.
And who is the enemy? Is it Dr. Aldous Leekie (Matt Frewer) and his bioengineering firm? Or is it the clone Rachel Duncan – who gives orders to Dr. Leeki and everyone else? Or is it the religious group of Prolethians behind Helena who may be the ones who stole young Kira (Skyler Wexler) away?
And speaking of Helena, she makes a dramatic entrance in the last few seconds of the episode, trailing blood as she walks into a hospital and announces that her sister shot her. I’m really glad Helena is still around; she is fascinating and feral and vulnerable and terrifying.
Other interesting points in this episode include Sarah giving a measure of trust to Detective Art Bell (Kevin Hanchard), who is trying to help and protect her – maybe. Her decision to be honest with him will have future consequences. Felix (Jordan Gavaris) is still Sarah’s mainstay, even when he’s high and dressed in nothing but chaps. Alison is doing community theater and we see her in a song and dance routine. We don’t see anything of Mrs. S (Maria Doyle Kennedy) in this episode. Too bad, because she adds a degree of mystery to the plot. Making up for the missing Mrs. S, we do get a lot of Detective Angela Deangelis (Inga Cadranel) as compensation.
A powerful start for season 2. Every moment is electric.
Alison and Her Musical Muse
Enjoy this photo from Orphan Black, which refers to Alison’s community theater performance as well as to Felix’s 4 AM visit to Allison’s place in search of a gun for Sarah.
Decoding Annie Parker stars an Oscar nominee and an Oscar winner right off the top: Samantha Morton and Helen Hunt. They are patient and doctor. It’s sensible to expect fabulous performances from these two.
The story is based in fact and tells about the pioneering doctor who first helped science understand the genetic link to breast cancer and the patient who was part of her testing.
Decoding Annie Parker is due out May 2. Also in the cast are Aaron Paul, Alice Eve, Bradley Whitford, Chris Mulkey, Corey Stoll, Maggie Grace, Marley Shelton, Rashida Jones and Richard Schiff. I’m looking forward to discovering what Maggie Grace does in this film, since I just discovered who she is recently and think she’s a terrific actor.
Here is the trailer. If you go to the film, please let us know what your opinion of it is.
Steven Bernstein, who has more credits as a cinematographer than as a director, is the writer and director of the film.
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Belle will be in theaters May 2. It looks good to me and has a terrific cast. The film stars Gugu Mbatha-Raw from Touch, Undercovers, and Larry Crowne. The film is based on a true story about an illegitimate mixed race daughter of a Royal Navy Admiral who is raised by her aristocratic great-uncle.
Also featured in the cast are Emily Watson, Miranda Richardson, Tom Wilkinson, Penelope Wilton, Sarah Gadon, James Norton, Tom Felton and several more well-known actors.
Themes around race, class, and the status of women promise to make this film meaningful. The mindset of the British in the 18th Century is under the microscope here, but the same issues are still with us today.
I hope it isn’t one of those films where the good white folks save the poor helpless mulatto girl – the preview doesn’t sound like it will be.
The cast talks about the film in this interview with The Hollywood Reporter. The director Amma Asante also appears in this interview.
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One of the greatest living writers, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is the author of Half of a Yellow Sun, as well as Purple Hibiscus, and most recently, Americanah. If you have not read her books, I urge you to give them a reading.
Half of a Yellow Sun has been adapted into a movie. It’s a story set in Nigeria and stars Thandie Newton, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Anika Noni Rose, Joseph Mawle, and John Boyega.
The story involves personal relationships and intersection of the personal and the political. The political story deals with the Nigerian civil war that created the Republic of Biafra between 1967 and 1970.
Here is a preview:
The film has not been released on DVD yet and isn’t available on any streaming services at this time. That gives you plenty of time to check out the books by Adichie in preparation for watching the film when it is released for home markets. The film released in the UK, Canada, and the United Arab Emirates in October 2013. The American release is set for July 2014. The film may be called Half a Yellow Sun in some areas.