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Joy Review

Extraordinary

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.

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Virginia Madsen - New York premiere of 'Joy' at the Ziegfeld Theater - Arrivals at Ziegfeld Theater - New York, United States - Sunday 13th December 2015

Virginia Madsen
Virginia Madsen
Virginia Madsen
Virginia Madsen
Virginia Madsen
Virginia Madsen

Virginia Madsen - "Joy" New York Premiere - Red Carpet Arrivals - New York, New York, United States - Monday 14th December 2015

Virginia Madsen
Virginia Madsen
Virginia Madsen

Virginia Madsen - New York premiere of 'Joy'- Red Carpet Arrivals - New York City, New York, United States - Sunday 13th December 2015

Virginia Madsen
Virginia Madsen

Joy Trailer


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

Walter Review


Very Good

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.

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Zach Gilford, Kiele Sanchez and Virginia Madsen - Photos from the Hyperion public bar for the "We Are Limitless" second Annual Celebrity Poker Tournament in Los Angeles, California, United States - Tuesday 23rd September 2014

Zach Gilford, Kiele Sanchez and Virginia Madsen
Zach Gilford, Kiele Sanchez and Virginia Madsen
Zach Gilford and Kiele Sanchez
Zach Gilford and Kiele Sanchez
Zach Gilford and Kiele Sanchez

Virginia Madsen - The Los Angeles premiere of 'The Hot Flashes' - Outside Arrivals - Los Angeles, California, United States - Thursday 27th June 2013

Virginia Madsen

Father Of Invention Trailer


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

Raw Heat Review


Bad
Somewhere between Remington Steele and James Bond, Pierce Brosnan had a little lull in his career... that is, if you can call eight years a lull. Made in the dead center of that lost decade, Brosnan turns in a lifeless, blood-drained performance in Raw Heat, a tepid psychological thriller that feels borrowed from such films as Fatal Attraction, Basic Instinct, and Color of Night -- the worst parts of each.

Stop me if you've heard this one before: Female psychiatrist (JoBeth Williams) finds herself falling for a tall, dark stranger (Brosnan), only one of her crazy patients (Virginia Madsen) claims that stranger is actually a madman! Do you believe the rich, sexy widower or the nutcase who keeps showing up when fires are started and blood is thrown all over your kitchen.

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American Gun Review


OK
James Coburn's final film went straight to video, and alas it's nothing special. American Gun tells the story of Martin Tillman, whose daughter (Virginia Madsen) is suddenly shot and killed. (On Christmas, no less.) He then does possibly the least sensible thing on earth: He goes on a nationwide journey to find out where the gun that killed her came from, and whose hands it passed through on the way to his neck of the woods. This leads him from the gun factory to the dealer to various thugs until he gets all the way back home. Putting aside the fact that it would be next to impossible to follow such a chain of ownership, we immediately wonder how a geriatric like Coburn is going to handle all this travel -- and it ain't exactly to the most scenic parts of the country.

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

The Florentine Review


Weak
The Florentine has that desperate desire to be Reservoir Dogs, with a rogues' gallery of ex-cons, mobsters, and sad sacks all trying to make a go at life and intersecting at their favorite bar. Alas, few of their stories are worth paying much attention to, though James Belushi is (unintentionally) hysterical as a scam artist taking advantage of poor Luke Perry.

Highlander II: The Quickening Review


Terrible
I make no secret of the fact that I think The Highlander is the greatest action film ever made. Awesome swordfights might awesome score (by Queen, people!), and a time-bending plotline that only a philistine could dislike.

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

Crossfire Trail Review


Weak
Quigley Down Under comes up and over for this old west extravaganza, with Tom Selleck hamming it up the best he can in a tale adapted from a book by Louis L'Amour.

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.

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The Haunting Review


Weak

Sooner or later, somebody had to make a super-spectacular CGI horror movie. I suppose it might as well be Jan DeBont, the guy who helped pioneer the F/X-over-substance, computer-generated blockbuster with his second movie, "Twister."

But lest he be mistaken for a director with any sense of moderation, DeBont lets his Intel-inside ghosts and goblins run rampant and unchecked in "The Haunting" -- a neo-classic horror remake with special effects so distractingly, excessively cool that you'll completely forget to be scared.

The plot of "The Haunting" -- that an unethical psychology prof (Liam Neeson) doing a study in fear bunks a trio of volunteer insomniacs at a haunted house under the guises of a sleep study -- is ridiculous and practically irrelevant against the backdrop of the manically over-decorated Xanadu in which hundreds of iron-cast, zombie-eyed cherubs, lions and deformed human sculptures morph to life and terrorize the cast.

Continue reading: The Haunting Review

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Virginia Madsen Movies

Joy Movie Review

Joy Movie Review

After Silver Linings Playbook and American Hustle, mercurial filmmaker David O. Russell reunites with Jennifer...

Joy Trailer

Joy Trailer

Joy Mangano always wanted to be an inventor and, after getting married, having three children...

Walter Movie Review

Walter Movie Review

The shift from bright comedy to rather grim drama is gradual enough to carry the...

Father Of Invention Trailer

Father Of Invention Trailer

Robert Axle is a wealthy infomercial master. However, when one of his latest inventions has...

Red Riding Hood Movie Review

Red Riding Hood Movie Review

Just nutty enough to be entertaining, this fairy tale would have benefitted from a more...

Red Riding Hood Trailer

Red Riding Hood Trailer

Valerie is a young woman who lives in a village that has been haunted by...

Amelia Trailer

Amelia Trailer

Watch the trailer for Amelia Amelia Earhart was a true hero to many men and...

Diminished Capacity Trailer

Diminished Capacity Trailer

Watch the trailer for Diminished CapacityCooper is the editor of a politics section in a...

The Number 23 Movie Review

The Number 23 Movie Review

There are at least 23 ways in which The Number 23 sucks. The most important...

The Astronaut Farmer Movie Review

The Astronaut Farmer Movie Review

The Astronaut Farmer taught me that, according to the Polish brothers, I am a dream-crushing...

The Number 23, Trailer Trailer

The Number 23, Trailer Trailer

The Number 23 Trailer The psychological thriller "The Number 23" stars Jim Carrey as a...

A Prairie Home Companion Movie Review

A Prairie Home Companion Movie Review

Even among NPR fans - already a rather specific group - there is somewhat of...

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