Zoe R. Cassavetes and Brooke Smith - 2015 Los Angeles Film Festival - "Day Out Of Days" - Screening at Regal Cinemas L.A. Live, Los Angeles Film Festival - Los Angeles, California, United States - Sunday 14th June 2015
With one of Kate Winslet's most layered, resonant performances, this film is definitely worth a look, even though the indulgent filmmaking style pushes it perilously close to Nicholas Sparks-style sappiness. Clearly, writer-director Jason Reitman (Juno, Up in the Air) is shifting gears as a filmmaker, but the movie is in dire need of just a hint of his usual jagged wit.
It's set in 1980s New Hampshire, as the agoraphobic Adele (Kate Winslet) is struggling to raise her sensitive teen son Henry (Gattlin Griffith) on her own after her husband (Clark Gregg) left. Then one night escaped convict Frank (Josh Brolin) arrives at their house in need of a place to hide. The next day, Frank offers to help with some repairs on the house. He also notices that Henry needs to learn how to throw a baseball. And that Adele needs some affection. So over the long Labor Day Weekend, he becomes the badly needed man of the house. Then when a neighbour (J.K. Simmons) and a cop (James Van Der Beek) start snooping, they make a plan to run for the Canadian border.
Instead of a dark, menacing edge, Reitman washes the film in sun-dappled earnestness, ramping up the soapy emotions rather than the grittier issues these people so badly need to deal with. This reaches a low point when Frank teaches Adele how to bake a peach pie in a scene reminiscent of the lusty pot-spinning sequence in Ghost: laughably ridiculous. Fortunately, Winslet and Brolin generate some uneasy chemistry, and Griffith is a fine young actor in a very difficult role. Together, they pull the film back from the sudsy brink just in time for a genuinely tense final sequence.
Continue reading: Labor Day Review
When Adele Wheeler lost her husband, her life started slowly deteriorating. Suffering from depression and having developed a slight tremor, she is rarely able to leave the house except for emergencies. When she finally has to face the streets to go last minute shopping with her 13-year-old Henry, they meet a scary-looking injured man named Frank who requests a lift to their house. Too frightened to argue, they accept and later discover that he is an escaped prisoner wanted for murder. However, the mother and son can't help feeling less and less frightened as the hours pass by when he shows them remarkable kindness, despite insisting on tying them up for his and their own safety. It's not long before Adele falls in love again and she, Frank and Henry embark on a dangerous adventure together to finally escape a world that has become so cruel to them - but will the threesome get away before the cops get suspicious?
This romantic drama is set in 1982 and is based on the novel of the same name by Joyce Maynard and has been written and directed by Jason Reitman ('Thank You for Smoking', 'Juno', 'Up in the Air'). 'Labor Day' made its premiere at the 2013 Telluride Film Festival and is set to be released in the UK on February 7th 2014.
Adele Wheeler is the single mother of 13-year-old Henry and suffers from depression, rarely leaving her house except for reasons she can't avoid. One of those reasons arises when she has to take Henry last minute school shopping over the Labor Day weekend at the end of the summer. Whilst out, they bump into Frank; a not so cuddly looking man who is bleeding profusely and asks for their help. Adele and Henry are hesitant to come to his aid, but eventually drive him to their home where the situation takes a strange turn when they become his hostages. It turns out that Frank is a convicted killer who has escaped jail and is desperate to get on the move in spite of his injuries. Initially terrified, Adele and Henry soon realise that they are not in any danger and help him win freedom once again.
Continue: Labor Day - Clip
The only thing more puzzling than this scenario is the fact that this movie, Vanya on 42nd Street, is a fabulous film. "Uncle Vanya" is the play in question, a tragicomic tale of family members plagued by broken hearts, lost youth, and missed opportunities. The film's premise is that "Uncle Vanya" is being performed by a small theatrical group, and the film simply captures the last rehearsal of the play before the costumes arrive.
Continue reading: Vanya On 42nd Street Review
This satire couldn't be more cutting edge. Former tabloid TV producer Daniel Minahan (and co-screenwriter of I Shot Andy Warhol) takes dead aim on glib, pre-packaged network formulas for success. A terse narrator (Will Arnett) offers mock-sympathetic encouragement for the contestants as well as in-depth play-by-play ring coverage. Opponents are given screen time for weepy confessions to their assigned guerrilla cameramen, dispassionately filming their fight or flight confrontations on hand-held digital video.
Continue reading: Series 7 Review
While these bookend scenes are uncharacteristically clunkyand deliberate, full of exposition designed to set the fictional stage,the two parallel stories are pure Woody Allen at his ironic, neurotic,romantic, poignant and peculiar best -- and they're deftly woven togetherto compliment and play off each other.
The underappreciated Radha Mitchell (she played wives in"FindingNeverland," "PhoneBooth" and "Manon Fire") may now get the recognition shedeserves with her remarkable performances in the dual title role as a flighty,suicidal beauty who arrives in each story by crashing a dinner party.
One Melinda is a new downstairs neighbor who knocks onthe Upper East Side door of wannabe filmmaker Amanda Peet (who flirts withrich men hoping they'll fund her independent movie "The CastrationSonata") and her husband, neurotic out-of-work actor Will Ferrell(the picture's requisite Woody surrogate, although with unpredicted nuanceFerrell makes the role his own). Pratfalling into the dining room, Melindaannounces she's just taken two dozen sleeping pills. The comical chaosthat ensues leads to friendships, infidelities and unrequited love, allorbiting around Melinda -- although she's largely unaware of the upheavalshe's wrought.
Continue reading: Melinda & Melinda Review
Satire has never been as ugly and unpleasant as it is in "Series 7," an extreme "what-if" spoof of reality TV that oversteps its intentions by making its plot, its atmosphere and its characters all so abhorrent and grating I walked out of the press screening after 20 minutes. And I had to really force myself to stay that long.
The movie isn't really a movie at all -- it's just shaky, "Cops"-style video footage from "The Contenders," a fictitious "reality show" in which common Americans are picked by lottery to try to assassinate each other.
The show's reigning champion (10 kills in two "tours") is Dawn (Brook Smith), a hard-bitten loser with a million axes to grind from her screwed-up upbringing. She's nine months pregnant and willing to do whatever it takes to make it through a third tour and thus free herself and her baby from the grip of the show.
Continue reading: Series 7 Review
Even if it did drop the ball on tracking Sept. 11 terrorists, the real CIA still looks a whole lot smarter than their movie counterparts who recruit Chris Rock as a temporary agent in the dumb, loud and flashy action-comedy "Bad Company."
A high-gloss, low-IQ product of an unholy union between producer Jerry Bruckheimer ("Pearl Harbor," "Coyote Ugly," "Armageddon") and director Joel Schumacher (who helped bury the "Batman" franchise), the film plays like somebody spliced random moments of a Chris Rock stand-up routine into what is otherwise a cliché-riddled but self-serious spy thriller -- and did a poor job of it to boot.
Standing out like a circus clown at a funeral, Rock plays the long-lost twin brother of a CIA operative killed in the middle of negotiating a deal for a stolen Russian nuclear suitcase bomb. To keep the deal on track, a high-ranking spook played by the venerable Anthony Hopkins (what was he thinking?) taps Rock with the old "your dead twin brother was a spy and we want you to take his place" speech.
Continue reading: Bad Company Review
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