Remembering Carrie Fisher: Princess, General, Badass

Portrait of the Actress Carrie Fisher member of the jury in the 70 Edition of Venice International Film Festival 2013 by Riccardo Ghilardi

2016 has been a rough year for everyone. It doesn't seem to be interested in slowing down on its way out, since it has taken one of the biggest badasses of our time: Carrie Fisher. She blew up at the age of nineteen when she hit the screen in Star Wars, becoming one of the biggest first geek screen crushes of all time. She later was put in a space bikini outfit and then used her own chain to choke the Hutt that imposed it on her. In her time, she also stuck an automatic weapon in John Belushi's face, did not marry Billy Crystal and became a harbinger of the future for Tina Fey, among other things. She was also a blisteringly funny writer, creating a series of autobiographies and semi-autobiographies.

And that's all well and good, but the thing Carrie Fisher did for me wasn't her acting on screen...it was her being on screen--being herself--and giving no fucks about doing so. And this isn't easy for anybody, much less someone who has had to grapple with bipolar disorder and addiction. I didn't know specifically what she was dealing with until seeing her discuss it with Stephen Fry in his docuseries, The Secret Life of the Manic Depressive. But seeing how she was able to deal with it--and do so fairly openly and with tremendous strength--has made her a serious role model for dealing with mental illness as well as a personal hero of mine.

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By |December 28th, 2016|Stuff You Need to Know|1 Comment

Headsup: Game Changers in History

Royal Wives WarIf you've been enjoying The Crown on Netflix (or if you're just generally a history buff like me), you're probably aware that the current queen of England (Elizabeth II) was not actually born to be queen, nor her father born to be king. In Great Britain in 1936, it was soap opera central: Edward VIII, the charming, handsome crown-prince-turned-king, announced that not only was he in love with a divorcee (a no-no for the Church of England) who also happened to be American, but that he wanted to marry her at any cost, including the throne itself. This turned everything upside down for his brother George VI (Elizabeth II's father), who was forced to take the throne after Edward VIII abdicated in order to marry as he wanted. In Royal Wives at War, the story is told through the eyes of the women behind the men: Elizabeth, wife to George VI (and later the "Queen Mother"), and Wallis Simpson, the object of affection and eventual wife of Edward VIII. The two women could not have been less alike in looks, temperament, or character, but one thing they shared was a fierceness of will and a determination to take the other down in any way possible.  The docudrama is part reenactment, part roundtable discussion from British historians, and part dramatic monologues (set in 1967) beautifully presented by Emma Davies as Elizabeth and Gina McKee as Wallis, who certainly don't hold back with their cinematic-quality performances. The film is available on DVD on Amazon for $15.18 or as a digital purchase for $4.99. While it is only 60 minutes, a lot is packed into the hour, and if you're a fan of this era of history, it's an hour you won't want to miss.

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By |December 23rd, 2016|Headsup|0 Comments

Headsup: Heroes and Antiheroes

Based on the historical novels by Winston Graham, Poldark follows the adventures (and misadventures) of the Poldark Season Twotitle character as he returns from war to a home and a life turned upside down in his time away and his ensuing struggles to piece together a new business, new friendships, and a new family. Aidan Turner stars as Ross Poldark, who I might venture to say gives Mr. Darcy a run for his money when it comes to being a flawed British costume drama hero (I wouldn't say it too loudly, of course). The show has received multiple award nominations and wins (including a BAFTA this year) and has a loyal fan base, however this year in the UK it had to compete for their attention against fellow historical drama Victoria (both showing on Sunday nights), so if you're a fan, keep your fingers crossed that the show won't be pushed out any time soon.

Out now is a DVD and Blu-ray set for Season 2, which in addition to all of the episodes includes over 30 minutes of extras. Notable bonus features include a behind-the-scenes featurette (with cast and crew discussing their love of Cornwall, the challenges of shooting on location and at a studio simultaneously, and tricks of the trade to help the show end up seamlessly stunning as it does), Portrait of a Marriage (an examination of the union of Ross and Demelza, whose passionate and stubborn natures both cause the pair to [...]

By |December 23rd, 2016|Headsup|0 Comments

Headsup: Two Titles from Sailor Moon

 

Sailor Moon (or Usagi Tsukino, as many know her), is the princess of the Silver Millennium moon kingdom, leader of the Sailor Soldiers, and on her off days, a regular school girl. The Sailor Moon universe has been part of popular culture worldwide since its introduction in 1991 and is still going strong; fans never tire of watching Usagi and her friends fight against their enemies and protect Earth (and each other).  Out now from VIZ Media are two new home media sets for fans hungry to add to their library: Sailor Moon Crystal Set 1, which includes the first fourteen episodes of the Dark Kingdom arc, and Sailor Moon S, the third season (episodes 90-108) from the anime series. Both include English and Japanese audio and English subtitles.

Fans interested in Crystal Set 1 have a few format options (all available on Amazon): a Limited Edition Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack ($64.89), a Standard Edition Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack ($54.90), and a Standard Edition DVD Set ($26.99). Both combo packs (2 Blu-ray and 2 DVD discs) feature Blu-ray extras including a digital art gallery, trailers, and a featurette with the English voice actors ("Introduction to Sailor Moon Crystal"). The Limited Edition combo pack includes an 88-page color art booklet and seven color collectible art cards. The DVD set doesn't have any bonus features (except for trailers), but for those who just [...]

By |December 23rd, 2016|Anime, Headsup|0 Comments

Headsup: Buried Secrets

American Gothic Season One DVDIn American Gothic, the Hawthorne family, the epitome of “the haves”, are sent reeling from the death of their
patriarch—- not only with the discovery that he may have been a serial killer, but also the possibility that one of them may have been his partner in crime. Starring the ensemble cast of Juliet Rylance (Alison), Antony Starr (Garrett), Justin Chatwin (Cam), Megan Ketch (Tessa), Elliot Knight (Brady), Stephanie Leonidas (Sophie), Gabriel Bateman (Jack), and Virginia Madsen (Madeline), the series made it through its original order of 13 episodes but was cancelled after the first season.

Even with its one-season run, the show does have a faithful base of fans, and those who are Amazon Prime and/or CBS All Access members will be happy to know that they can stream the season for free. As to paid options, while Amazon and iTunes often match each other’s prices for paid streaming content, in this case, they do not— individual HD episodes of the series on Amazon are $2.99 each and on iTunes are $3.49. Fans can get the whole season on iTunes for $29.99, while Amazon, interestingly, does not even offer a “whole season” streaming purchase option (which means to get all the episodes digitally there, viewers would have to spend $39.00). Considering that the DVD set (which in addition to all 13 episodes also includes some extended / deleted scenes, coverage of American Gothic at Comic-Con, and a blooper [...]

By |December 21st, 2016|Headsup|0 Comments

Headsup: Animals Acting Like People and People Acting Like Animals

Zoo Season 2 DVDBased on James Patterson's novel, Zoo tells the story of a pandemic of animals turning the tables on humans, going from the hunted to the hunters.  In Season 2, everything is ramped up a level--the team not only discovers that the cure they fought so hard for in Season 1 has become obsolete due to the mutation's rapid evolution, but that the animals are actually executing coordinated attacks geared toward destroying human civilization itself.  Jackson is busy trying to keep his sanity amid major family issues and a biological identity crisis, ties to the Noah Objective are becoming ever more convoluted, and the team must tackle challenges like crashing a black tie event in Vancouver, tracking down a saber-tooth tiger, and, of course, constantly avoiding becoming prey.  Jackson (James Wolk), Jamie (Kristen Connolly), Abraham (Nonso Anozie), and Chloe (Nora Arnezeder) have certainly had a busy season.

Now available on DVD is a 4-disc set that includes all 13 episodes of Season 2 plus some bonus features, including a gag reel, deleted scenes, and two featurettes: Metamorphosis: A Look at Season Two of Zoo and Welcome to the Bird. Subscribers to CBS All Access have access to the entire season and it is also available on Netflix (a bit surprising as CBS is becoming ever more choosy about what they allow to be released on platforms other than All Access).  As to streaming options, Amazon Video and iTunes both offer the season (without bonus features) [...]

By |December 20th, 2016|Headsup|0 Comments

Headsup: Downton Abbey: The Complete Collection

Downton Abbey Cast

So full disclaimer of bias: I'm crazy for costume dramas, I love pretty people walking around in pretty clothes saying pretty things, and I'm a history buff, with a particular adoration of stories about Britain in the Edwardian and post-Edwardian eras. So unsurprisingly, I'm a sucker for Downton Abbey and all its trappings. I also grew up on Sesame Street and Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood and as an adult I'm in love with Great Performances, Antiques Roadshow, American Experience, Masterpiece, and all the other wonders of PBS. So I was very happy to see how Downton Abbey not only became the most-watched series in the history of PBS (45 years!), but a television colossus in its own right, with people tuning in all around the world (including Russia, Sweden, South Korea, and the Middle East) to the tune of tens of millions of viewers; the sixth season opened to 9.9 million viewers in the U.S. alone (Season Six of Game of Thrones, for example, opened to 7.9 million). The show's viewership crossed lines of age, race, economic status, education level, and prompted people who previously didn't even know what their own PBS television channel was to follow the story with the kind of rabid fandom that most had until then only exhibited for mainstream TV. It brought millions of new eyes and new interest to PBS, and on this point, I am especially pleased.

Downton Abbey Complete Series <a href=[...]

By |December 15th, 2016|Headsup|0 Comments

Rogue One - Movie Review

Felicity Jones - Rogue One

If you are reading this, chances are high you are at least a casual fan of Star Wars. It comes with the territory. Let's assume you've come here to find out how good Rogue One is without reading spoilers. I think I can be of help.

To summarize the story briefly: Agents of the Rebellion seek out Jyn Erso, daughter of the Death Star's architect. They want to use her to gain access to information about that rumored, terrific weapon. When they find out that the Death Star is real, a group of soldiers tries to steal the blueprints to the space station in order to find a hidden vulnerability in the design. If this is not what you expected then...where have you been the last couple of years?

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By |December 15th, 2016|Reviews|1 Comment

Headsup: 2016 World Series Doubleheader

Unless you were living under a rock the first week in November, you probably heard about the Chicago Cubs winning the World Series for the first time in a while--108 years, to be precise (which many ascribe to the curse placed on the team by a fan angered when his billy goat was denied entry into Game 4 at Wrigley Field in 1945...).

In a year that's been shaded heavily with loss of life, natural disasters, social tensions, and political strife, the Cubs' win after the longest dry spell in MLB history was at the least very refreshing. It was also life-changing, not only for the players but also for fans, many of whom have kept the faith in their team for generations without any return until now.  Over the years a popular catchphrase among them became "just one before I die"... ESPN published a touching story about a man who drove from North Carolina to his father's gravesite in Indiana to keep a pact that they would listen to the Cubs play the World Series together (and was there for the win), and there have been many reports of the iconic blue-and-white W "win pennants" decorating cemeteries nationwide.  There have also been multiple projections about a rise in births nine months after the win as a result of other celebrations.

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By |December 15th, 2016|Headsup|0 Comments

Your Weekend Justice #246: They Recorded a Podcast... You'll Never Believe What Happened Next!

Doctor Who gingerbread by Metallicar-67

It's Weekend Justice: the Internet's #1 audio trainwreck...and after a hiatus required to allow the new meds to adjust, we continue to claw out of the 2015 archive. Considering how much fun 2016 has been, I'm almost glad we haven't gotten there on the show yet. Yeesh.

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By |December 9th, 2016|Podcasts, Weekend Justice|1 Comment