Ann Dowd

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St. Vincent Review


Excellent

Bill Murray shines in this story of a cynical grump whose life is changed by his friendship with a bright young kid. Writer-director Theodore Melfi makes an assured debut with this hilariously astute, emotional punchy drama, which may sometimes feel a bit over-planned but gives the audience plenty to think about. And along with Murray, the film has especially strong roles for Melissa McCarthy, Naomi Watts and promising newcomer Jaeden Lieberher.

It's set in a New York suburb, where the neighbourhood grouch Vincent (Murray) is already having a bad day when he discovers meets the perky family next door: Maggie (McCarthy) and her curious son Oliver (Lieberher). She has just fled from her unfaithful husband (Scott Adsit) and is working extra hours to make ends meet, so she reluctantly agrees to let Oliver stay at Vincent's house after school. Intriguingly, Oliver is one of the few people Vincent can bear to be around, aside from the pregnant Russian stripper Daka (Watts) and his lively cat Felix. And Oliver is like a sponge, happily soaking up Vincent's knowledge about things like swearing, fighting and betting on the horses. Oliver has no real idea that all of this makes Vincent a seriously unsuitable role model.

Yes, the central point is that good people are sometimes hard to spot. Vincent may smoke, swear, gamble and hang out with hookers, but he also has a deep soul that Oliver witnesses in the way he takes care of Daka, or how he regularly visits his wife in a nursing home even though she has long forgotten who he is. Melfi makes the most of this perspective, seeing everything through the eyes of perceptive young actor Lieberher. And Murray shines in a role that adds clever shadings to the actor's usual on-screen bluster. The interaction between Oliver and Vincent snaps with personality, and sharp roles for McCarthy and Watts offer meaningful wrinkles, as do other side characters such as Chris O'Dowd's schoolteacher.

Continue reading: St. Vincent Review

The Drop Review


Excellent

A slow-burning intensity sets this crime thriller apart from the crowd, directed by Belgian filmmaker Michael Roskam with a sharp focus on flawed characters who continually surprise each other. It's also a strikingly involving screenplay by Dennis Lehane, an author known for flashier thrillers like Mystic River and Shutter Island (this is his first film script, based on his short story Animal Rescue). All of this pays off with terrific performances from an excellent cast and situations that genuinely shake up the audience, even if it remains moody and subdued right to the end.

It's set in Brooklyn, where bars take turns acting as the mafia drop point for the day's takings. And after Cousin Marv's Bar is robbed on a non-drop day, Chechen gangster Chovka (Michael Aronov) is furious. Even though he has assumed ownership of the bar from Marv (James Gandolfini), Chovka orders him to get the $5,000 back, implying that Marv knows the thieves. So Marv turns to his mild-mannered barman Bob (Tom Hardy) for help. Bob knows how to keep his head down, and as he works on finding the cash, he discovers an abused puppy abandoned in a trash can outside the home of Nadia (Noomi Rapace), who helps him nurse the dog back to health. But the puppy - and Nadia - were both cast aside by the thuggish Eric (Matthias Schoenaerts), who doesn't want to let anything go.

Viewers expecting an action-packed crime thriller might be disappointed by the muted tone of this film, but it's the kind of story that worms its way under the skin, creating complex characters who are constantly revealing new details about themselves as the situation inexorably escalates around them. Hardy is simply superb, layering all kinds of emotions into Bob's actions as he struggles to maintain his composure while everyone around him does something inexplicable. As a result, the film's final act is a sequence of heart-stopping moments that make the most of the witty, nervy and darkly gritty scenes that went before.

Continue reading: The Drop Review

Is HBO's 'The Leftovers' The New Breaking Bad, True Detective, Etc?`


Justin Theroux Damon Lindelof Liv Tyler Amy Brenneman Christopher Eccleston Michael Gaston Ann Dowd Peter Berg

Fans of Game of Thrones who bothered to pay attention to the ads before last night's season premiere were treated to a preview for HBO's new show The Leftovers, which looked pretty awesome. The handy work of Lost's Damon Lindelof, the forthcoming drama series is based on the bestselling 2011 novel by Tom Perrotta.

Justin TherouxJustin Theroux Stars in 'The Leftovers'

It stars Justin Theroux as police chief Kevin Garvey who attempts to maintain calm in the wake of a global Rapture that causes two per cent of the world's population to suddenly disappear. The show focuses on the members of Garvey's suburban community, who are left confused, angry and traumatised by the disappearance of their loved ones. 

Continue reading: Is HBO's 'The Leftovers' The New Breaking Bad, True Detective, Etc?`

From Disney To Delinquency: Vanessa Hudgens Goes All Out With 'Gimme Shelter' Makeover


Vanessa Hudgens Rosario Dawson Ann Dowd

Vanessa Hudgens makes a drastic transformation as she chops her locks and piles on the pounds for upcoming teen drama Gimme Shelter.

Vanessa Hudgens Gimmie Shelter
Vanessa cut her hair to play Apple

The 25-year-old 'High School Musical' star is set to truly establish herself as a serious, grown-up actress by ironically playing a 16-year-old girl. Apple is a poverty stricken young woman struggling to cope with her life having been in and out of foster homes due to neglect from her drug-addicted mother (played by Rosario Dawson). After seeking out her rich, estranged father and his family, she tries to make a life with him, but she's less than welcome when she discovers that she's pregnant and thus finds her way to a refuge specifically for pregnant teenage girls.

Continue reading: From Disney To Delinquency: Vanessa Hudgens Goes All Out With 'Gimme Shelter' Makeover

Gimme Shelter Trailer


Apple is a tenacious 16-years-old who's been in and out of foster care since the age of eight, after her mother, a junkie prostitute, was arrested for a drug-related crime. Consistently abusive, her mother has tried her best to turn Apple into what she wants her to become, but Apple runs away determined to lead a better life. With no money and barely any possessions, she decides to track down her father who she has never before met and ask him to take care of her until she can do so herself. As it turns out, he is now a huge persona in the financial world, with millions of dollars to his name. Initially reluctant, he agrees to take her in, but when she learns that she has become pregnant after a brief tryst with a boy, it's clear that she's not welcome anymore. Seeking comfort elsewhere, will she finally find the family she's been wishing for?

Continue: Gimme Shelter Trailer

Compliance Review Roundup – Critics Comply


Ann Dowd

With Compliance hitting cinemas tonight (March 22) in the U.K, we thought we’d help you out by rounding up all the reviews, and telling you if it’s worth braving the sleet, snow, wind and pollution to see Craig Zobel’s new drama. And you can check our review out here.

Grab that jacket, get that windbreaker, put a dust mask over your silly mouth; Compliance is a hit! Well, the critics say it is, and whom else are we going to trust? Ourselves? Don’t be ridiculous. “A punchy and effective drama,” hark Empire Magazine. “This is a well-made film, with plausible performances by all the leads, especially Ann Dowd. We feel we know people like this,” trill The Chicago Sun Times.

Ann DowdAnn Dowd plays Sandra

Continue reading: Compliance Review Roundup – Critics Comply

Compliance Review


Excellent

If a movie's success is measured by its ability to get under our skin and provoke a reaction, then this might be the film of the year. Designed to make us furious, this drama pushes us to the brink as we shout at the characters for being so naive. But the events depicted are based on actual experiences, and the more we think about this, the more unnerving it becomes. It might be impossible to believe that anyone could be this stupid, but can we really be sure we'd make better decisions?

Award-winning actress Ann Dowd (who also played Channing Tatum's mum in Side Effects) stars as Sandra, manager of a ChickWich fast-food outlet in Ohio. She has the usual issues with her young employees, who think she's out of touch, but is happy because she expects her boyfriend Van (Camp) to propose tonight. Then she gets a phone call from Officer Daniels (Healy) telling her that her young employee Becky (Walker) has stolen cash from a customer. He asks Sandra to detain Becky in the office and search her belongings. Sandra makes sure the assistant manager (Atkinson) is present, but she becomes more hesitant about Daniels' more extreme demands. And over the next few hours, he pushes things much further, getting Becky's young colleague Kevin (Ettinger) involved, as well as Van.

Writer-director Zobel structures the film perfectly to strike a nerve. As outsiders we are naturally more suspicious, wondering how Sandra knows that the man on the phone is actually a cop, especially when be begins to bully her with threats. She just wants to do the right thing, and questions all of Daniels' requests, but for us looking in we can't help but think that what he's saying is so preposterous that she needs to just put a stop to it. Cleverly, each character has a very distinct reaction when they get on the phone with Daniels. But as the situation escalates into something unthinkable, we can't understand why no one becomes a voice of reason.

Continue reading: Compliance Review

Side Effects Review


Excellent

Thrillers don't get much more enjoyable than this one, which shifts cleverly from an issue-based drama to an intriguing mystery and finally into riotously camp mayhem. Over his career, Soderbergh has proven himself adept at all three approaches, and the way he and writer Burns morph from one to the other is so mercilessly entertaining that we can't help but smile. And the cast is having a great time playing along with them.

It starts as an expose of psychotropic drugs, as Emily (Mara) struggles with depression after her husband Martin (Tatum) is released following a four-year prison term for insider trading. Emily's therapist Dr Banks (Law) prescribes a series of anti-anxiety pills to help her, adjusting the medication until the side effects even out. But something still isn't right, and a fatal incident leads to a criminal trial. Meanwhile, Banks begins his own investigation into the case, consulting Emily's previous therapist (Zeta-Jones). But the fallout from all of this is threatening both his career and his marriage to Dierdre (Shaw).

Soderbergh gives the film a seductive tone that's irresistible, with his own gleaming cinematography and witty editing, plus a teasing Thomas Newman score. This allows the actors to create layered characters who can constantly surprise us along the way. Law holds our sympathies as a desperate man trying against all odds to get his life back, while Zeta-Jones is icy and dismissive until her character takes a lively turn about halfway in. But it's Mara who's the real revelation in a tricky role. As Emily's world seems to shift and collapse around her, she reveals an astonishing array of emotions and intentions.

Continue reading: Side Effects Review

Picture - Ann Dowd , Thursday 10th January 2013

Ann Dowd Santa Monica, California, United States 18th Annual Critics' Choice Movie Awards held at Barker Hangar Thursday 10th January 2013

Ann Dowd

Picture - Ann Dowd , Tuesday 8th January 2013

Ann Dowd and National Board of Review Awards New York City, United States The 2013 National Board of Review Awards Gala - Arrivals Tuesday 8th January 2013

Ann Dowd and National Board of Review Awards
Ann Dowd and National Board of Review Awards
Ann Dowd and National Board of Review Awards
Ann Dowd and National Board of Review Awards

The Art Of Getting By Trailer


George is a senior at a private high school in New York. He has never done a day's work in his life and sees no point in trying to do anything because sooner or later he will die. When he should be working on assignments for school, he watches TV, listens to music or does anything that isn't what he should be doing. Despite never taking Art classes seriously, George shows talent at drawing and it's his favourite subject, but his untapped talent isn't enough to save him from the principal who puts him on academic probation due to constant slacking.

Continue: The Art Of Getting By Trailer

Picture - Ann Dowd and Tommy Nohilly New York City, USA, Thursday 6th January 2011

Ann Dowd and Celebration - Ann Dowd and Tommy Nohilly New York City, USA - Cast party and celebration for the New Group's World Premiere production of 'Blood from a Stone' held at 404 party space Thursday 6th January 2011

Picture - Ann Dowd New York City, USA, Thursday 6th January 2011

Ann Dowd and Celebration Thursday 6th January 2011 Cast party and celebration for the New Group's World Premiere production of 'Blood from a Stone' held at 404 party space New York City, USA

Apt Pupil Review


Good
Controversy shrouded the production of Apt Pupil for years. In fact, the setting of the film subtly belies its age: It's set in 1984, for no readily apparent reason other than that was contemporary when it was written. Given its subject matter -- star student becomes obsessed with the Nazi down the street -- a little controversy is expected. McKellan is pretty far over the top in his role as a member of the Hitler Silver club, and the story doesn't completely gel. The dynamic between he and Renfro is fun -- probably the best part of the film. It's a fairly good rental, but little more than that.
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