June Squibb - AARP's 15th Annual Movies for GrownUps Awards held at the Beverly Wilshire Four Seasons Hotel - Arrivals at Beverly Wilshire Hotel, Beverly Hills - Los Angeles, California, United States - Monday 8th February 2016
This may look like it's going to be a zany Christmas romp, but it's really a warm exploration of family connections, essentially an American take on Love Actually's multi-strand comedy-drama. At least it has an unusually strong cast and moments of hilarity scattered throughout the story. And while it's never very deep, the themes are strongly resonant.
The Cooper family is gathering for what Charlotte (Diane Keaton) hopes will be one last perfect Christmas together. She knows that her 40-year marriage to Sam (John Goodman) is on the brink, but is ignoring that to plan a massive dinner. Their son Hank (Ed Helms) is stinging from divorce and unemployment, while daughter Eleanor (Olivia Wilde) has picked up a hunky soldier (Jake Lacy) in the airport and asks him to pose as her boyfriend so her family will stop asking about her love life. Meanwhile, Charlotte's father Bucky (Alan Arkin) is trying to cheer up his favourite waitress (Amanda Seyfried), and Charlotte's sister Emma (Marisa Tomei) is delayed when a cop (Anthony Mackie) arrests her for shoplifting.
Narrated with wry joviality by Steve Martin, the interwoven stories are fairly simplistic, but each touches a raw nerve. And the above-average cast brings out the underlying themes without overplaying their scenes. Keaton and Goodman add subtle shades to the slightly undemanding central roles, while Arkin finds a couple of new textures to his usual twinkly grandad persona. Helms and Wilde strike the right balance in their intriguingly unlikeable roles, while Tomei gets the most complex character as a woman who feels like she's merely watched her life drift along. By contrast, the outsiders played by Seyfried, Lacy and Mackie are much less defined, but each actor brings just enough magnetic energy. The most wasted performer is June Squibb, as a ditzy old aunt who's little more than the requisite gross-out relative.
Continue reading: Love The Coopers (aka Christmas With The Coopers) Review
Charlotte Cooper is determined to make this Christmas the best holiday the family has ever had, given that it's the only time of year when everyone's together. But, of course, while she and husband Sam are struggling to get everything perfect, everyone is equally struggling with other areas of their lives. Daughter Eleanor has been single for a while now, and the last thing she wants to do is arrive home without a boyfriend - again! And so, she convinces a soldier she meets at the airport to accompany her to her Christmas family reunion and pretend to be her partner, to which he reluctantly agrees. Meanwhile, the other daughter, Emma, gets in trouble with the police for jewel theft, and their son Hank has his work cut out when it comes to caring for his young daughter Madison alone; especially when she starts to learn some seriously unfriendly words.
Continue: Love The Coopers Trailer
Old age is usually seen as a sad time to reflect on your life's work and morn you past friends. For Carol (Blythe Danner), an elderly widow, this is the case. That is, until her friends force her back into the dating game. She is beginning to realise that her day to day life is becoming monotonous, yet she soon enough meets Bill (Sam Elliot). A retiree himself, Bill reminds her that even at the supposed twilight years of your life, there is still a chance to begin all over again.
Continue: I'll See You In My Dreams Trailer
Golden Globes successes brought Oscar nominations speculation this week as movie awards overshadow all other news.
Golden Globes Glory: Last weekend's Golden Globe awards set hearts racing ahead of March's Oscars with plenty of deserving winners next to a few jaw-dropping snubs. 12 Years A Slave predictably came out on top with the big gong but a few unpredictabilities set award odds and Oscars speculation askew. Newbie comedy Brooklyn Nine-Nine saw off rivals to claim two awards whilst Blue Jasmine's Cate Blanchett took the leading lady award alongside Dallas Buyers Club's for the men.
Gravity's Alfonso Cuarón stole Best Director from Steve McQueen whilst Breaking Bad and Behind The Candelabra snatched the big TV awards. The surprise wins also made for some truly memorable speeches too, with Elisabeth Moss exclamation of "Oh s**t!" and Jacqueline Bisset's sweary ramble marking two particular highlights. Read about all the winners here.
The 79 year-old 'Philomena' actress heads a talented field of old Oscar-nominated actors.
Dame Judi Dench has been nominated in the Best Actress category ahead of this year's Academy Awards for her lead role in the British film Philomena, which has also been nominated for Best Film. The nomination marks Dench's seventh Oscar nomination, having won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for 1998's Shakespeare In Love.
Judi Dench Has Been Nominated For Her Seventh Oscar.
Dench, 79, heads up a promising league of talented older actors at this year's Oscars, which also includes Nebraska stars Bruce Dern, 77, and June Squibb, 84, who have been nominated for Best Actor and Best Supporting Actress respectively.
Continue reading: Judi Dench Leads Veteran Oscar Nominees June Squibb And Bruce Dern
After travelling to Hawaii with George Clooney for The Descendants, Payne returns to middle America for this gentle, enjoyable exploration of family connections. Featuring an award-winning performance from Bruce Dern, the film harks back to Payne's About Schmidt as well as David Lynch's The Straight Story in the way it tracks straightforward characters across a rural landscape.
Dern plays Woody, a ramshackle drunk who lives in Montana and is convinced by a marketing mail-out that he has won a million dollars. His wife Kate (Squibb) has given up trying to talk to him, and son Ross (Odenkirk) is distracted by his new anchorman career. But younger son David (Forte) tries to explain the scam before giving in and agreeing to drive Woody to Nebraska to claim his prize. After all, this gives him a rare chance to bond with his rascally dad. Along the way, their journey takes some unexpected sideroads as they visit Woody's hometown, meeting friends and relatives from his past.
The film has a timeless quality thanks to Payne's strikingly astute direction and the elegant black and white photography by Phedon Papamichael. It also has a rhythmic pace, boosted by Mark Orton's tuneful score, infused with both spiky wit and understated sentiment. The key here is David's discovery of who his father really is: an unusually generous man who can't quite balance the reality of how his family and friends have treated him over the years.
Continue reading: Nebraska Review
Woody Grant is an alcohol-swigging old man who's never had much in the way of luxury over his long life, but when he receives a letter from a marketing company about a huge sweepstakes prize, he believes that things are about to change for good. Thus, he starts to travel by foot from Billings, Montana to Lincoln, Nebraska in order to claim his $1 million award, accompanied by his supportive but extremely sceptical son David who believes it's all a scam. Along the way, they meet various relatives and old friends of Woody desperate for a piece of his wealth as the gossip spreads around the neighbouring towns like wildfire. Some are interested in being paid back with interest, and Woody's about to see just how far his debts spread.
Continue: Nebraska Trailer
Brad Harris is having what he calls a 'no-life crisis'. He is stuck in a soul destroying job and he is still living with his parents, despite him being in his mid-thirties. The one thing that holds any interest for him is bird watching. When he discovers that this year is known to 'birders' as 'The Big Year' - one year where birders set out to find as many birds in the country as possible - Brad is determined to beat the record previously set by Kenny Postick.
Continue: The Big Year Trailer
Attention anyone who has ever complained about the lack of movies for adults and about adults: Now is your chance to prove to the studio suits a great film about growing old is economically viable.
"About Schmidt" is an unaffected, quietly ingenious, wonderfully melodious, melancholy comedy starring Jack Nicholson in what may be the most tactile, nuanced and natural performance of his exalted career. He plays Warren Schmidt, a former insurance actuary from Omaha, Neb., whose life has become untethered in the double-whammy wake of recent retirement and sudden widowhood.
Trying to cope with a glut of old emotional baggage, Schmidt sets out on a soul-searching trip -- the eventual destination of which his daughter's unfortunate wedding to a mullet-headed waterbed salesman -- in the monstrous, 35-foot deluxe motor home he'd reluctantly purchased at his loving late wife's behest.
Continue reading: About Schmidt Review
"Welcome to Mooseport" is a fusty, rusty, laugh-track-lame comedy about two petty, immature men running for mayor of the same stereotypically idyllic small town and vying for the affections of the same apparently undiscriminating small-town woman.
One of them (an unusually humdrum Gene Hackman) is the newly termed-out President of the United States, who has retired to the little Maine burg and enters the race as a PR stunt that goes awry. The other (torpid TV star Ray Romano) is a plumber who owns the local hardware store and hasn't the backbone to commit to anything -- and yet he's persuaded to run for office. Or so we're told. Even though it's pivotal to the plot, this cajoling takes place off-screen for no good reason.
But the rivals' stations in life hardly matter since, once you get past the screenplay's fresh paint, these two guys are the same stale, odious, infantile jerks that have been pawned off as Everyman heroes in every other ill-conceived comedy from the last 20 years.
Continue reading: Welcome To Mooseport Review