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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.
Continue: Grandma Trailer
While this geriatric romance is too simplistic and sentimental to be anything remarkable, its lively central performances add some badly needed subtext and make the film worth a look. Meanwhile, the supporting cast add some spark to their scenes, elevating the warm, silly drama with quirky humour and some more resonant themes. It's also remarkably honest about how it feels to grow older.
Set in New Orleans, the story starts as 80-year-old Fred (Christopher Plummer) is moved by his hyperactive daughter Lydia (Marcia Gay Harden) into a small apartment building. Fred's wife has recently died, but they didn't get along very well, so he's enjoying being on his own. Although Lydia's husband (Chris Noth) has yet another crazy business scheme he wants Fred to invest in. And his new next door neighbour is Elsa (Shirley MacLaine), a larger-than-life 74-year-old who claims to have once known Picasso. Her son Raymond (Scott Bakula) looks in on her from time to time, while she secretly supports her younger son Alec (Reg Rogers) in his artistic career. She also immediately starts trying to coax Fred out of his shell.
Obviously, the main idea is that you're never too old to fall in love, so director-cowriter Michael Radford (Il Postino) tries to balance a comedy about ageing with a sweet love story about an engagingly mismatched couple. The blend of genres is somewhat uneven, as the script never quite decides whether it's about making the most of the time you have left, being open to unexpected romance or accepting your family members for who they are. All of these big themes are in here, most with a fairly heavy-handed touch. But at least this means that the film is about more than just a bunch of goofy characters interacting in rather silly ways.
Continue reading: Elsa & Fred Review
Elle Reid is an ageing poet recovering from a broken heart following her break-up with her long term girlfriend. When her troubled 18-year-old granddaughter Sage turns up on her doorstep one day, she thinks she finally has the distraction she needs. However, Sage needs $600 and Elle, now being pretty much broke, can't give it to her. Instead, she offers to drive her around on a long road trip to recover cash from various friends and ex-boyfriends; though it's not only cash they find on the way. Numerous secrets are uncovered and old conflict is resurfaced, and Sage is forced to face responsibility and start becoming an adult. At the same time, Elle knows it's time for her to start thinking about the most important things in life, accept the troubles of her past and stop living under the 'tough woman' guise.
Continue: Grandma - Clip
After all the hype, it's impossible not to expect steam from this adaptation of E.L. James' mommy-porn bestseller, but the average episode of Red Shoe Diaries is friskier than this movie. Still, it's a well written and played drama, building an unusual romance with a series of scenes that are sometimes sexy but never actually transgressive. And the nicest surprise is that in the hands of director Sam Taylor-Johnson it becomes a witty tale of female empowerment.
It's set in the American Northwest, where Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson) is finishing her studies as an English literature major when she's asked by her journalist roommate Kate (Eloise Mumford) to interview Seattle's most eligible bachelor, billionaire Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan). Ana's awkwardly confident approach immediately gets under his skin, and he pursues her as if she's a corporate acquisition, complete with non-disclosure agreements and a contract that would make her submissive to his dominant. But she isn't so sure about all of this, and as she falls for him, she begins to make him break his own rules. Of course he thinks she should be punished for that.
Essentially, this film is mere foreplay, as the push and pull between Ana and Christian cycles through various set-pieces on the way to an ending that is clearly designed to get fans in a lather for films based on the second and third novels in the trilogy. And the studio would be wise to keep Taylor-Johnson and screenwriter Kelly Marcel (Saving Mr Banks, another story of male-female control) on board, as they have clearly beefed up James' novel with a strong dose of wry humour, bringing out the deeper themes rather than focussing on the under-developed plot and characters.
Continue reading: Fifty Shades Of Grey Review
When reserved college girl Anastasia Steele meets mysterious businessman Christian Grey for an interview, she ends up feeling rather foolish, fearing that she's messed up the opportunity. Mr. Grey doesn't see it that way however; on the contrary, he develops a strong romantic fixation with her. Anastasia is flattered, but soon realises that this guy isn't the sort to take her to take her out for romantic meals or shower her with gifts. Nonetheless, he is an enigmatic presence in her life that she cannot hope to resist, and she soon finds herself treading deeper and deeper into this man's life. As their relationship progresses, he reveals his unusual sexual desires which involves Anastasia signing a written document in order to give him permission to do whatever he likes with her. Enchanted and seduced by the sense of unknown that lies ahead, she agrees.
Sometimes, a single favour to a friend can end up changing you entirely. When a young literature student, Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson) attends an interview on behalf of her sick friend, she is totally unaware of the consequences. Steele meets with the illusive, enigmatic and intimidating young billionaire businessman, Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan), and almost immediately finds herself wildly attracted to him. Grey is insistent on controlling every aspect of his life, business and personal feelings, yet Steele represents a problem for him: he, too, is attracted to her, yet it is because of her free nature. As the couple clash, their futures are thrown into jeopardy with the revelation that neither of their lives will ever be the same again.
Budding journalist and college student Anastasia Steele has never been the adventurous type in any respect, so when she is faced with the prospect of interviewing the handsome and frighteningly mysterious young entrepreneur Christian Grey, she is more than a little nervous. The interview doesn't go quite as well as she'd hoped, but it seems Christian has other interests in her. While he doesn't pander to the usual expectations of romance in a relationship, there's something utterly captivating and addictive about him that Anastasia just can't resist - even when he reveals to her his innermost unusual sexual desires. Thriving on the feeling of being in control, all he wants to do is tie Anastasia up and introduce her to a whole new world of sensual experiences. But is she curious enough to sign away her body to a stranger?
Continue: Fifty Shades Of Grey - Extended Trailer
Hilarity for Charity, the 3rd Annual Los Angeles HFC Variety Show to benefit the Alzheimer's Association
Fred Barcroft is an old man struggling to find much good in his life following the death of his wife. While he feels terribly lonely, he hates being around people, and while he despises the tiny apartment his daughter Lydia has moved him into, he can't bear to enjoy the world outside. Soon he meets Elsa Hayes from a nearby apartment; a free spirit of similar age determined to enjoy the last years of her life in the most spectacular ways possible, be it running from an expensive restaurant without paying or going dancing like she did when she was young. She teaches Fred that death is not something to be feared, rather a motivation to live the life you have. While Lydia disapproves of her father's newfound romance, he starts to open up, cheer up and realise that his life is far from over.
Continue: Elsa & Fred Trailer
After the high of last year's Blue Jasmine, Woody Allen is back in playful mode for this rather goofy comedy, which only works for audience members willing to abandon their cynicism and just go with the flow. A solid cast makes the most of Allen's cleverly barbed dialogue, even if the performances and filmmaking sometimes feel a bit slapdash. And Allen's deeper existential themes add a hint of depth to the silliness.
It opens in 1928 Berlin, as the magician Stanley (Colin Firth) is convinced by his friend Howard (Simon McBurney) to travel to the South of France to debunk a young American mystic named Sophie (Emma Stone), who has a wealthy family in her thrall. Not only has Sophie convinced the matriarch (Jacki Weaver) that she can communicate with her dead husband, but she has also attracted the puppy-dog devotion of Brice (Hamish Linklater), the sweetly dim heir to the family fortune. But no matter how hard Stanley tries, he can't prove that Sophie is a fraud, and accepting her supernatural powers completely upends his relentlessly pessimistic view of humanity. Although it's even trickier to convince himself that he might be falling for Sophie.
Allen sets all of this up in a very simple way, prodding Firth to a hilariously ridiculous performance as a repressed Englishman for whom life has to be completely rational. Facing him off against Stone's young, free-flowing American is a bit obvious, but the script makes sure that their barbed banter overflows with witty repartee. This includes astute commentary on Allen's favourite theme: exploring the meaning of life through the contradictory blending of science, religion and human emotion. So even if the performances are rather oddly matched, Firth and Stone find some superb chemistry along the way. Although the snappiest role belongs to Eileen Atkins, as Stanley's beloved aunt, who has a wonderfully dry way of speaking the truth.
Continue reading: Magic In The Moonlight Review
When Kate (Hillary Swank), a concert pianist, is diagnosed with ALS (also known as Motor Neurone Disease or Lou Gehrig’s Disease), she realsised that not only does she have to give up on her career, but only a short time left to live. As she will steadily lose the ability to walk and care for herself, she is entrusted to the care of Bec (Emmy Rossum), a reckless college student. The two steadily begin to develop a strong bond, as Kate is able to see Bec’s true appreciation for every part of life, and feels a little more alive because of it.
Continue: You're Not You Trailer
Date of birth
14th August, 1959
Please follow the Official Twitter of #MarciaGayHarden at @MGH_8!
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