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.
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It's the same old story for Laura Dern's Enlightened, a show that won praise from critics though failed to maintain big audience numbers.
HBO has cancelled Laura Dern's dramedy 'Enlightened' after just two seasons. Though critics loved the series, it failed to pull in large audience numbers and - as we're now well aware - that won't cut it in the ruthless world of American television. "It was a very difficult decision," a rep for HBO told E! Online in a statement. "We've decided not to continue Enlightened for a third season. We're proud of the show and we look forward to working with Mike White and Laura Dern in the future."
In fairness, Enlightened was expected to get the chop during HBO's bloody cull last year when Hung, How To Make It In America and Zach Galifianakis' Bored To Death were all cancelled. As mentioned, the show was a big hit with critics and Dern - one of America's finest television actresses - won the Golden Globe for Best Actress In A Comedy Series for the first season. The show was also nominated for Best Comedy Series that same year.
The show followed the story of Amy Jellicoe (Dern), a self-destructive executive who tries to get her life back together after the implosion of her professional life and a subsequent philosophical awakening in rehabilitation. She moved back in with her mother (played by her real-life mom Diane Ladd) and reconnects with her ex-husband Levi (played by Luke Wilson) who is also struggling with his own demons and addictions.
Continue reading: HBO Cancels Laura Dern's 'Enlightened' After Two Seasons
Wild at Heart was puzzling, because it was screwed up and it was hard to figure out why. Time - and, 14 years later, the DVD release - helps to clear up that central enigma. Based very loosely on Barry Gifford's novel, this manic, Southern Gothic road movie now seems too deliberately weird. And in retrospect the cause seems to be that its creator, a strange man if the available evidence of his films is to be believed, and one who then was only recently revered as a certain type of genius, was trying so hard just to be himself.
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Ain't homework painful?
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Director Betty Thomas' name in the opening credits of "28 Days" came as a big relief leading in to what looked like a soft-pedaled, politically corrected comedy about a happy-go-unlucky drunk -- played by button-cute Sandra Bullock -- wise-cracking her way through rehab.
It was reassuring to see that the woman holding the reins was a filmmaker who certainly knows how to turn a sow's ear into a silk purse. I mean, if she could make Howard Stern not only presentable but borderline sentimental (and without a hint of saccharine whitewash) in "Private Parts," surely a touchy subject like alcoholism is safe in her hands.
And so it is. Striking a sure-footed balance between its addiction woe and impudent humor, Thomas isn't afraid to scoff at twelve-steppers and include jests of questionable taste while still pulling off a story of a woman's difficult personal journey toward sobriety.
Continue reading: 28 Days 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...