Woman Around Town’s Editor Charlene Giannetti and writers for the website talk with the women and men making news in New York, Washington, D.C., and other cities around the world. Thanks to Ian Herman for his wonderful piano introduction.

Rupert Graves

Five Flicks For Guy Fawkes Day


Remember, remember the Fifth of November/Gunpowder, Treason, and Plot/I see no reason/Why gunpowder treason/Should ever be forgot. Those immortal lines commemorate the British tradition of remembering an attempted attack on Parliament with an annual celebration of bonfires and fireworks. In solidarity with our friends across the pond consider commemorating the occasion by watching one of the following.

Gunpowder, Treason, and Plot (2004) This BBC mini-series directed by Scottish filmmaker Gillies MacKinnon (The Escapist, Hideous Kinky) is loosely based on the lives of Mary Queen of Scots (French actress Clemence Poesy of In Bruges, and War and Peace) and her son James VI of Scotland (the one and only Robert Carlyle of Trainspotting, The Fully Monty, and Once Upon A Time.  Catherine McCormack of Braveheart, Dangerous Beauty, and Shadow of the Vampire plays Elizabeth I and a young Michael Fassbender made one of his earliest appearances in the role of Guy Fawkes himself.

The Gunpowder Plot: Exploding the Legend (2005) This television series hosted by Richard Hammond and designed to coincide with the 400th year anniversary of the plot actually recreates elements of the Gunpowder Plot itself. The Houses of Parliament are reconstructed as they were in 1605, using period methods whenever possible. The “Houses” were then stocked with mannequins representing, commoners, nobles, and of course the King. Then they actually blow it up using the gunpowder materials in the original plot to see how the plan would have worked.  The next part of the program has Hammond going into a counterfactual speculation of the effect on British history had the plot succeeded.

V for Vendetta (2006) This dystopian political thriller directed by James McTeigue (The Raven, Sense8) and was written by the Wachowski siblings (The Matrix, Cloud Atlas, Sense8).  Based on the Alan Moore limited comic series it imagines an alternative future where Great Britain has been taken over by a neo-Fascist regime. Hugo Weaving (Lord of the Rings, The Matrix) is spellbinding as mysterious anarchist V who wears a Guy Fawkes mask and seeks to ignite a revolution against the current regime that will begin with his plans to blow up Parliament on Guy Fawkes Day the following year.  V enlists the unwitting Evey (young Natalie Portman) to his cause all the meanwhile being investigated by Detective Finch (Stephen Rea). You also get memorable turns by John Hurt, Stephen Fry, and Rupert Graves among many others and some great use of the 1812 overture.

Attack the Block (2011) This delightful sci-fi, comedy, horror adventure film was written and directed by Joe Cornish (Hot Fuzz, Ant Man.)  Starring John Boyega (Finn from Star Wars), Jodie Whittaker (Broadchurch) and Nick Frost (Shaun of the Dead) it takes place in a South London council estate. On Guy Fawkes night a young local street gang suddenly have to defend themselves from an alien invasion.  Fortunately the young gang members in question turn out to be very tough and very resourceful indeed. It became a massive cult hit with a 90% fresh rating from Rotten Tomatoes.

Gunpowder 5/11: The Greatest Terror Plot (2014)  Adam Kemp (Churchill’s First World War) wrote, directed, and produced this dramatization using the actual words of Thomas Wintour (Jamie Thomas King of The Tudors, and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy) Guy Fawkes (Jamie MacLachlan of Maleficent and EastEnders) and other interrogators.  It tells of the events from Wintour’s recruitment of Guy Fawkes and his brother to their capture and final days.

Top photo: Bigstock

When a Lost Son Returns, The Family Is Torn Apart


Familial relationships always come with challenges. The bonds developed with family members are undeniably complicated and no where is this subject better explored than in the new ABC physiological drama, The Family. When eight year-old Adam Warren goes missing from a park filled with locals, the remaining family members – a mom, dad, and two older siblings – are thrown into a new normal filled with grief, doubt, and uncertainty as police question their recollections, motives and whereabouts.

In the very first hour (the show premiered on March 6), the missing Adam (Liam James) miraculously reappears and lands back home with his family ten years after being declared dead. The acceptance is swift and suspicion only creeps in when Danny (Zach Gilford), the oldest Warren child and a raging alcoholic, questions Adam’s true identity. The family matriarch Claire (Joan Allen), now deeply entrenched in politics as the mayor of a fictional town in Maine, refuses to allow anyone in her family to bring Adam’s identity into question. In a momentary Keyser Söze twist, Danny discovers that only through the prominent display of photographs on the family mantle is Adam able to demonstrate knowledge of his past with the Warrens. The episode fades in and out from ten years ago to present time reflecting each family member’s memory of the past and feelings about Adam’s return. Which character’s recollections are to be believed? Before we can decide, another dramatic event adds further intrigue.

Hank (Andrew McCarthy), a neighbor who once lived across the street was tried and convicted for Adam’s murder and was given a life sentence. Adam’s homecoming brings this would be killer back to the house where his ordeal began. Frame by frame, details unfold of how each family member contributed to the events that led to the outcome that became the Warren family truth; the alleged death of the youngest Warren. Questionable parenting, sibling carelessness, youthful naiveté are all factors leading us down the crooked path of discovering different versions of reality. In a calculated move, Claire quickly announces her candidacy for Governor, to the surprise of her family and the heavy hearts of Maine constituents still reeling from Adam’s return. Meanwhile Claire’s husband, Adam’s father, John (Rupert Graves) is having an affair with Police Sgt. Nina Meyer (Margot Bingham), who was instrumental in putting Hank behind bars. How will this fractured family deal with further scrutiny as Claire fights not only for a new political office but to mend the broken bonds within her home?

The series boasts an impressive cast. Allen is fresh off her lauded performance opposite Oscar-winner Brie Larson in Room, while Graves is known for his role as DI Lestrade in BBC’s Sherlock. Alison Pill, who plays Adam’s religious-obsessed sister, Willa, most recently starred in HBO’s The Newsroom. And Andrew McCarthy has a long list of credits to his resume, making him instantly recognizable to his fans.

The series got off too a slow start, playing opposite presidential debates. ABC hopes that viewers will now tune in and get caught up as Adam’s story slowly unfolds. How did he disappear and how has he spent the last ten years? And is he truly Adam Warren or a doppelgänger who has taken his place? If he’s an imposter, then who is taunting the Warrens and why?

The Family can be seen at 9 p.m. Sundays on ABC.