Elizabeth Pena

Elizabeth Pena

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Grandma Review

Excellent

The fabulous Lily Tomlin finally gets the lead role she deserves in this smart, engaging comedy-drama. Like her title character, the film itself refuses to play nice, tackling big issues like abortion and the strain between mothers and daughters without ever simplifying the topics or the people involved. The plot may feel a bit contrived, and the entire movie rather lightweight, but it's thoroughly entertaining. And the subtle approach to the big themes gives it a strong kick.

Tomlin plays Elle, a mature woman who has just broken up with her girlfriend Olivia (Judy Greer) for no real reason. Then her young granddaughter Sage (Julia Garner) turns up asking for money to terminate her pregnancy. Elle doesn't have the cash, but offers to help her find it, so they head off into Los Angeles in her rattling 1955 Dodge, visiting the unborn baby's stoner father (Nat Wolff) and some of Elle's colourful old friends (Elizabeth Pena, Laverne Cox and Sam Elliott). But both Elle and Sage are terrified that they might ultimately need to get in contact with Sage's workaholic mother Judy (Marcia Gay Harden), the daughter Elle never knew how to talk to.

The layers of mother-daughter interaction in this film are fascinating, and played with riotously jagged chemistry by the gifted cast. Tomlin punches every witty one-liner perfectly, capturing Elle's life-loving spirit and also her weary exhaustion at the way the world keeps changing around her. Tomlin finds terrific angles in each of Elle's relationships, drawing out Garner's wide-eyed yearning, Greer's steeliness and Harden's professional bluster. Each of the side roles feels like a fully formed person with a life of his or her own, which gives context to the humour and makes the entire film feel more weighty and meaningful.

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Grandma Trailer


Elle Reid may be tough, but she's struggling coping with a recent break-up with her girlfriend. If that wasn't enough to contend with, her 18-year-old granddaughter Sage has just shown up at her house, and she needs over $600 immediately. She's pregnant and Elle's financial situation isn't at its best, but she's determined to do everything she can to help her granddaughter. She takes her on a roadtrip to recover cash from Sage's ex-boyfriend - and while her method of extracting money could be more polite, Sage is glad of her company when she manages to obtain it. Elle gives Sage a lesson in tough-talking as she continues to tour the country selling her possessions and begging cash of some old friends. When the pair arrive to see Sage's mom, it's another story; she's a high-flying business woman and the complete opposite of her mother and daughter - and it's clear to see why Sage chose Elle to help her out.

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Actress Elizabeth Pena Dies At Age 55


Elizabeth Pena

Actress Elizabeth Pena, who starred in films such as Jacob’s Ladder and La Bamba, has died at the age of 55. According to her nephew Mario-Francisco Robles, who writes for Latino Review, she passed away at Los Angeles’ Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. The cause of death is currently unknown.

Elizabeth Pena
Elizabeth Pena, a recent guest star in 'Modern Family', has died suddenly in Los Angeles aged 55

Pena was born in New Jersey to Cuban immigrant parents in 1959. In her career spanning four decades, Pena began performing in New York theatre as a teenager before securing a breakthrough onto the big screen with 1979’s cult favourite El Super, a moving comedy drama about Cuban immigrants adjusting to life in America.

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Elizabeth Pena and Carlos Mencia Sunday 17th May 2009 'To Be Or Not To Be...Carlos Mencia' - East L.A. Classic Theatre Benefit held at The Conga Room at L.A. Live Los Angeles, California

Elizabeth Pena and Carlos Mencia
Elizabeth Pena and Carlos Mencia
Elizabeth Pena and Carlos Mencia

Goal II: Living The Dream Review


Weak
As its name implies, Goal II is a sequel, but what you may not know is that it is actually the second part of what will likely be the only European soccer trilogy ever filmed. In this episode, young Mexican-American soccer genius Santiago Munes (Kuno Becker), having made it from LA to one of Britain's top "football" clubs in Goal I, now gets to "live the dream" as a world-famous soccer star.

No sooner is he Britain's brand new sensation than Santi is traded away to the Valhalla of European soccer, Real Madrid. He's happy to go, even if it means putting stress on his relationship with his British fiancée Roz (Anna Friel). Whisked off to Spain, he finds himself sharing a locker room with Beckham, Ronaldinho, Zidane (all appearing as themselves), and Gavin Harris (Alessandro Nivola), an old-time and rapidly aging British soccer star who shows Santi what this world of Ferraris, mansions, and bosomy Spanish sluts is all about. The painfully sincere Santi is wide-eyed but virtuous and only gets into trouble when photographers catch him in what they mistakenly believe to be naughty acts. After seeing the photos herself, poor Roz is bereft in rainy Newcastle.

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Nothing Like The Holidays Review


OK
Caucasians have not cornered the market on festive dysfunction. It may seem like every Christmas family in freefall is as white as the snow that symbolizes the season, but that's not true. All ethnicities have their yuletide horror stories, and it looks like Tinseltown is finally working its way out of the WASP-ish wilds of the suburbs. Last year, This Christmas focused on an African-American clan's tell-all Noel. In 2008, it's the Hispanics' turn to celebrate. Nothing Like the Holidays uses Chicago's Humboldt Park as the backdrop for a great deal of warmth, a little comic craziness, and a whole lot of biology-based nerve fraying. The result is something decent, if not delightful.

For the Rodriguez family, this Christmas is more trying than others. Father Edy (Alfred Molina) is still trying to talk his way out of the doghouse with wife Anna (Elizabeth Peña). She's angry over a past infidelity and is hinting at a divorce. He's angry that their Iraq War veteran son Jesse (Freddy Rodriguez) doesn't want to take over the family business. Wannabe-actress daughter Roxanna (Vanessa Ferlito) is anxious over the possibility of landing a prime role in a television series, while ignoring the local boy Ozzy (Jay Hernandez) who clearly pines away for her. But the couple's biggest concern is Mauricio (John Leguizamo) and his non-Puerto Rican wife Sarah (Debra Messing). Their marriage has yet to produce grandchildren, and for Edy and Anna, family is everything.

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Elizabeth Pena Wednesday 3rd December 2008 'Nothing Like The Holidays' Los Angeles Premiere - Arrivals Los Angeles, California

Elizabeth Pena
Elizabeth Pena
Elizabeth Pena
Elizabeth Pena
Elizabeth Pena
Elizabeth Pena

Keep Your Distance Review


OK
About 45 minutes into Stu Pollard's Keep Your Distance, I finally flipped over the DVD case to see exactly what I was watching. Turns out this is a thriller about a couple of stalkers, though the lazy pace of the beginning of the film would hardly tip you off to that.

Gil Bellows headlines as David Dailey, a local Louisville talk radio jock who, we soon find out, is involved in a loveless marriage. Turns out his wife is carrying on a lesbian affair, which is messing with David's rep in town. Meanwhile, young Melody (the always radiant and underexposed Jennifer Westfeldt) isn't quite in love with her boyfriend, but he keeps pushing for fancy trips and even marriage. Soon, David starts getting cryptic cut-out-of-magazine notes and Melody spies a towncar with tinted windows always keeping watch over her. Could these two events be related? Well, never mind that David and Melody meet when he runs her over with his car, the answer is a qualified maybe.

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Transamerica Review


Weak
From the moment that Felicity Huffman comes on screen in Transamerica, with her rumbling voice and the cloistered manners of a 1950s housewife, it's apparent you're in for something rarely seen before in American film. Playing the transsexual Bree, who is getting ready for the final gender reassignment surgery that will complete her transition to true womanhood, Huffman creates a character who isn't terribly interested in gender politics but just wants to be allowed to live on her own terms. As such, it's a brave and tough piece of acting - a woman playing a man aching to become a woman - that truly breaks barriers. Unfortunately, there's a lousy movie wrapped around her that one must suffer through to see her.

Conceived by writer/director Duncan Tucker as the kind of wacky road movie being churned out by Sundance-grubbing indie studios about 10 years ago, Transamerica has a strong conception of Bree's character but little idea of what to do with it. Living in a small, rundown house and working two jobs to save money, Bree puts all her hopes and dreams into her long-awaited surgery, doing everything she can to convince her therapist (Elizabeth Peña) that she's ready for the change. All that gets put on hold, though, when she finds out that a relationship she had back when she was still living as a man resulted in a child, Toby (Kevin Zegers, hardly up to the task), now a teen runaway calling from a New York jail looking for his dad. Since her therapist won't consent to the surgery until she deals with her past, Bree hops a plane to New York. That's where the road trip comes in.

Continue reading: Transamerica Review

Transamerica Review


Weak
From the moment that Felicity Huffman comes on screen in Transamerica, with her rumbling voice and the cloistered manners of a 1950s housewife, it's apparent you're in for something rarely seen before in American film. Playing the transsexual Bree, who is getting ready for the final gender reassignment surgery that will complete her transition to true womanhood, Huffman creates a character who isn't terribly interested in gender politics but just wants to be allowed to live on her own terms. As such, it's a brave and tough piece of acting - a woman playing a man aching to become a woman - that truly breaks barriers. Unfortunately, there's a lousy movie wrapped around her that one must suffer through to see her.

Conceived by writer/director Duncan Tucker as the kind of wacky road movie being churned out by Sundance-grubbing indie studios about 10 years ago, Transamerica has a strong conception of Bree's character but little idea of what to do with it. Living in a small, rundown house and working two jobs to save money, Bree puts all her hopes and dreams into her long-awaited surgery, doing everything she can to convince her therapist (Elizabeth Peña) that she's ready for the change. All that gets put on hold, though, when she finds out that a relationship she had back when she was still living as a man resulted in a child, Toby (Kevin Zegers, hardly up to the task), now a teen runaway calling from a New York jail looking for his dad. Since her therapist won't consent to the surgery until she deals with her past, Bree hops a plane to New York. That's where the road trip comes in.

Continue reading: Transamerica Review

Things Behind The Sun Review


Excellent
Allison Anders not only has enough balls to revisit one of the worst experiences of her life in Things Behind the Sun, but she travels through emotional territory normally unheard of in films based on rape -- namely a male character who is a victim and a perpetrator at the same time.

As a woman, it is always difficult to watch a movie involving rape. When filmed realistically, as Things is, it's impossible to distance yourself from the onscreen pain. And when a film is not constructed with realism the result is anger from shoddy storytelling, or with a filmmaker failing miserably to grasp the emotional honesty in a situation they can't understand.

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Tortilla Soup Review


Very Good
This fairly remake of the Chinese film Eat Drink Man Woman puts the father-and-his-daughters comedy in the kitchen of a Mexican-American family instead. Hector Elizondo lords over his uniquely messed-up offspring with a knowing twinkle in his eye. He's having fun, and so are we. Elizabeth Peña's supremely anal Leticia is a highlight, as is Raquel Welch's vixen putting the moves on dad.
Elizabeth Pena

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Elizabeth Pena Movies

Grandma Movie Review

Grandma Movie Review

The fabulous Lily Tomlin finally gets the lead role she deserves in this smart, engaging...

Grandma Trailer

Grandma Trailer

Elle Reid may be tough, but she's struggling coping with a recent break-up with her...

Nothing Like the Holidays Movie Review

Nothing Like the Holidays Movie Review

Caucasians have not cornered the market on festive dysfunction. It may seem like every Christmas...

Transamerica Movie Review

Transamerica Movie Review

From the moment that Felicity Huffman comes on screen in Transamerica, with her rumbling voice...

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