After Silver Linings Playbook and American Hustle, mercurial filmmaker David O. Russell reunites with Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper and Robert De Niro for an offbeat biopic about the woman who invented the Miracle Mop. It's such a quirky movie that it's destined to divide audiences, but there's magic in Russell's loose, inventive filmmaking style. And this lively story has a lot to say about the tenacity required to achieve the American dream.
Joy Mangano (Lawrence) is the only sensible person in her family, so she's been running the household most of her life. But now things are getting a bit too complicated, as her father Rudy (De Niro) moves back into the house after his second marriage fails, Joy's mother Terry (Virginia Madsen) does little but watch her favourite soap opera, Joy's ex-husband Tony (Edgar Ramirez) lives in the basement pursuing his dream of becoming a pop star, and her sister (Dascha Polanco) undermines everything she does. As Joy cares for her own children, it's only her grandmother (Diane Ladd) who has any confidence in her. And when she has a flash of inspiration and creates a self-wringing mop, getting it on the market is an uphill battle. Finally, she catches the attention of Neil (Bradley Cooper), who runs a brand new shopping network called QVC.
The story spans some 40 years, during which Russell gleefully parallels Joy's family chaos with the lurid soap on Terry's television. Of the people around Joy, only Grandma, Tony and her childhood buddy Peggy (Elizabeth Rohm) believe in her. So even though her dad's new girlfriend (the fabulous Isabella Rossellini) invests in her mop, no one thinks she'll achieve any real success. This means that Joy's journey is a series of sometimes outrageous obstacles both within and outside her immediate circle. And of course the biggest barrier is her gender, because almost no one accepts the idea that she might be a genius.
Continue reading: Joy Review
Joy Mangano always wanted to be an inventor and, after getting married, having three children and then getting divorced, she finally decides to follow her dream. It's often the male entrepreneurs that people remember in history, but Joy proves that women can be just as powerful as she rises to become president of her own company, Ingenious Designs, and invents the cutting edge cleaning system, 'Miracle Mop'; all while taking care of a family on her own and running into some difficult circumstances along the way. Betrayed, occasionally on the wrong side of the law and suffering from many losses, Joy is the living embodiment of what doesn't kill you makes you stronger - and with millions of dollars in sales, she's certainly stronger.
Continue: Joy Trailer
The shift from bright comedy to rather grim drama is gradual enough to carry the audience along, but it's rather startling to end up somewhere so serious after such a cheeky start. Director Anna Mastro and writer Paul Shoulberg set this up as a breezy coming-of-age movie before adding a supernatural twist and quietly moving the goal posts. Fortunately, the strong cast and assured filmmaking carry the audience along. So even if it ultimately begins to feel melodramatic, it's also surprisingly moving and meaningful.
Convinced that he has been called by God to decide who goes to heaven and hell, 18-year-old Walter (Andrew J. West) is a perfectionist who maintains order in his life both at home with his over-concerned mother Karen (Virginia Madsen) and at his job taking tickets in the local multiplex. At work, he has his eye on the smart-sexy Kendall (Levin Rambin), but is too shy to speak to her and is teased mercilessly about this by bullying colleague Vince (Milo Ventimiglia). Then a ghost named Greg (Justin Kirk) starts taunting him as well, and Walter finally agrees to see a shrink (William H. Macy) in the hopes of restoring order to his life.
Of course, the point is that Walter doesn't need order: he needs to face up to the truth about the death of his father (Peter Facinelli in flashbacks). But the more he acknowledges, the more his life seems to unravel around him. This is played beautifully by West, a likeable actor who manages to get even more engaging as Walter falls apart. His interaction with the rest of the cast is pointed and witty, packed with knowing commentary and some sharply funny observations. And all of the actors around him bring layers of emotion and energy to the film.
Continue reading: Walter Review
Robert Axle is a wealthy infomercial master. However, when one of his latest inventions has a design fault that chops users' fingers off, his empire shatters. After spending eight years in federal prison, he is released, and begins to attempt to rebuild his fortune.
Continue: Father Of Invention Trailer
Jack Stanfield (Harrison Ford) is the prosperous head of security at a Seattle bank. His wife, Beth, (an utterly wasted Virginia Madsen) is a successful architect who designed their gorgeous home. They have two lovely stereotypical kids and a dog, and in our first five minutes with them just about every major plot point of the film is telegraphed in 28-point blinking bold script.
Continue reading: Firewall Review
Never mind all that, this is a journey of self-discovery, as Martin has some demons he's obviously trying to exorcise. He's got a granddaughter to atone with, a wife who's a bit distant, and a dead daughter, of course. By the end we've got a whopper of a secret in store, but still it's a little hard to swallow this Twenty Bucks-style road trip.
Continue reading: American Gun Review
Today, 18 years, four sequels, two TV shows, and one video game later, Highlander has become a bit of a joke. And here's where the joke started: Highlander II: The Quickening -- retitled simply Highlander 2 for what is the most inexplicable double-DVD release ever to hit video stores.
Continue reading: Highlander II: The Quickening Review
Dunno if it's a very good book, but it's not a very good movie. While Selleck's acting muscle is always a special treat solo, contending with co-stars Virginia Madsen, Wilford Brimley, and Mark Harmon(!), all in period costume and/or moustaches makes for a very rare juxtaposition of atrocious acting from the school of Schmaltz.
Continue reading: Crossfire Trail Review
After Silver Linings Playbook and American Hustle, mercurial filmmaker David O. Russell reunites with Jennifer...
Joy Mangano always wanted to be an inventor and, after getting married, having three children...
The shift from bright comedy to rather grim drama is gradual enough to carry the...
Robert Axle is a wealthy infomercial master. However, when one of his latest inventions has...
Just nutty enough to be entertaining, this fairy tale would have benefitted from a more...
Watch the trailer for Diminished CapacityCooper is the editor of a politics section in a...
There are at least 23 ways in which The Number 23 sucks. The most important...
The Astronaut Farmer taught me that, according to the Polish brothers, I am a dream-crushing...
The Number 23 Trailer The psychological thriller "The Number 23" stars Jim Carrey as a...