The fabulous Lily Tomlin finally gets the lead role she deserves in this smart, engaging comedy-drama. Like her title character, the film itself refuses to play nice, tackling big issues like abortion and the strain between mothers and daughters without ever simplifying the topics or the people involved. The plot may feel a bit contrived, and the entire movie rather lightweight, but it's thoroughly entertaining. And the subtle approach to the big themes gives it a strong kick.
Tomlin plays Elle, a mature woman who has just broken up with her girlfriend Olivia (Judy Greer) for no real reason. Then her young granddaughter Sage (Julia Garner) turns up asking for money to terminate her pregnancy. Elle doesn't have the cash, but offers to help her find it, so they head off into Los Angeles in her rattling 1955 Dodge, visiting the unborn baby's stoner father (Nat Wolff) and some of Elle's colourful old friends (Elizabeth Pena, Laverne Cox and Sam Elliott). But both Elle and Sage are terrified that they might ultimately need to get in contact with Sage's workaholic mother Judy (Marcia Gay Harden), the daughter Elle never knew how to talk to.
The layers of mother-daughter interaction in this film are fascinating, and played with riotously jagged chemistry by the gifted cast. Tomlin punches every witty one-liner perfectly, capturing Elle's life-loving spirit and also her weary exhaustion at the way the world keeps changing around her. Tomlin finds terrific angles in each of Elle's relationships, drawing out Garner's wide-eyed yearning, Greer's steeliness and Harden's professional bluster. Each of the side roles feels like a fully formed person with a life of his or her own, which gives context to the humour and makes the entire film feel more weighty and meaningful.
Continue reading: Grandma Review
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.
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Sometimes, the fantasy world is more appealing than reality. For Davina (Natalia Dyer), this is certainly the case, as she often finds herself falling into a world of make-believe to escape into her childhood. In reality, caring for her disabled mother has forced her to grow up too fast, and she seeks to escape through a relationship with an older boy. When the world wind romance of excitement and adventure wears off, she finds herself at the mercy of his more volatile side, and forced to live up the strange new world that she now inhabits.
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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.
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It's all about revenge in Sin City now as the wounded (both physically and mentally) set out on a trail of death and destruction in a bid to make sure justice is served in their town. Dwight McCarthy is on another rescue mission to save an abused wife as Ava Lord claims she is a prisoner at the hands of her wealthy husband Damien. Unfortunately, it seems her intentions are of the dishonest kind. Thought to be have been executed, Marv wakes up among several corpses with little memory of his alleged crimes, but a strong desire for vengeance. Nancy is heartbroken to the point of insanity following police officer John Hartigan's suicide, and there's no stopping her when she decides to sentence the father of child-killer Roark Junior, Senator Roark, to death. Notorious gambler Johnny is a newbie in the town with his own scores to settle, but it isn't long before he realises he's messing with criminals much bigger than him.
The second instalment of the 'Sin City' film franchise 'Sin City: A Dame To Kill For' is due for release nearly ten years following the 2005 original. Author of the original graphic novel Frank Miller ('300', 'Batman: The Dark Knight Returns', 'Daredevil: Born Again') has adapted the screenplay and co-directs the movie with Robert Rodriguez ('Machete', 'Once Upon a Time in Mexico', 'From Dusk Till Dawn'). 'Sin City 2' is set to hit UK screens on August 25th 2014.
The everlasting trail of violence, death and deceit continues with the return of several characters from the original ‘Sin City’ movie. Dwight McCarthy is back, this time running to the rescue of his ex-girlfriend Ava Lord who claims she is being abused by her wealthy husband Damien; he has his own reasons for wanting to help her, but he could be in for a nasty surprise. The framed and punished Marv wakes up after supposed execution by electric chair only to find that he is lying amongst several dead bodies and can’t remember how he ended up there. Following, her near miss at the hands of serial child-killer Roark Junior, Nancy struggles to deal with the painful death of her rescuer, police officer John Hartigan. Plus, a new face shows up in Sin City, a gambler named Johnny who lands himself in mortal danger when he tries to take on the town’s most formidable villain.
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Gentle and very smart, this low-key comedy gets under the skin as it follows a smart young kid into the adult world. Without quite becoming either a frat-house comedy or coming-of-age odyssey, the film knowingly avoids cliches while telling a hugely engaging story with so much charm that it's virtually impossible to stop smiling.
The kid is 13-year-old frizzy-haired genius Eli (Wolff), who longs to attend Harvard but is instead stuck with 27-best choice Whittman College. His first friend there is the oldest freshman, 30-something Leo (Fraser), who is trying to reinvent himself and introduces Eli to the campus' party lifestyle. Then after a run-in with three Harvard snobs, Eli decides to teach his desired university a lesson: he joins Whittman's Mastermind team (alongside Bergman, Lee and de Jesus) and swiftly starts turning their losing streak around as they climb through the ranks and head to a showdown with Harvard at the national finals.
While the competition plot follows a fairly standard trajectory, writer Wierzbianski and director Kent refuse to indulge in trite formulaic melodramatics. Even the way Eli falls for a teen (Garner) from the local town feels fresh and unexpected. And while the humour is rarely laugh-out-loud funny, the smiles are earned because they are grounded in the characters rather than cheap jokes. It also helps that each character is a vivid bundle of complex energy and emotion, nicely played by an up-for-it cast.
Continue reading: Hair Brained Review
When you qualify your movie as the "last" anything, a sequel seems a bit out of the question, but these new filmmakers have essentially relegated the 2010 original to a mere backstory. They have moved on from the video-cam format and the whole debunking premise to make a much more straightforward horror romp. And while it's packed with cliches, it heads full-speed into a final act that's jaw-droppingly bonkers enough to make this a guilty pleasure.
After the carnage of that farmhouse exorcism, Nell (Bell) is the only survivor. She's taken to a New Orleans halfway house with other battered women, who begin to teach her how to live her life after growing up in isolation. She still has a sense of her religious roots, but learns to enjoy pop music and even starts flirting with a cute handyman (Clark). Even though she wants to believe that her demon-possession wasn't real, it becomes apparent that maybe that previous exorcism didn't quite take. "A piece of him is still inside you," says an occult expert (Jensen), completely without irony. Indeed the demon is back with a vengeance, and he has something awful in mind.
Filmmaker Gass-Donnelly keeps the atmosphere tense, throwing in elements from every horror film in recent memory, including creepy masked figures, staticky broadcasts, insidious phone calls, buzzing houseflies and even a sassy psychic (Riggs). The soundtrack is full of creep-out noises, while the images are intercut with flickers of the previous film. But all of this is done in that bland Hollywood style that makes us jump without actually freaking us out. Thankfully, the film has Bell on board to deliver a performance much better than the movie deserves: she's genuinely unsettling as the tormented innocent.
Continue reading: The Last Exorcism Part II Review
A group of three best friends from a New Jersey suburbia set up a rock band in 1964 after seeing The Rolling Stones perform on television and enlist one boy, played by John Magaro, as the lead vocalist. He changes his look and defies his father who is unimpressed with his son's big ambitions; especially when he expresses a desire to move away to where rock music is the main scene. When the band receive a contract to play seven nights a week for six months, things start to take a chaotic turn when he starts getting involved with a girl, fighting with his band mates and struggling to maintain a relationship with his father.
'Not Fade Away' is named after a Buddy Holly song that The Rolling Stones covered in the same year the movie is set. It is a story about living in the moment; not worrying about the future and forgetting about the past, taking every positive opportunity available. It has been written and directed by the genius behind New Jersey mob series 'The Sopranos', David Chase, in his feature film directorial debut. This emotionally charged drama flick is set for release this winter on December 21st 2012.
Starring: John Magaro, Jack Huston, Will Brill, Bella Heathcote, Brad Garrett, Christopher McDonald, James Gandolfini, Isiah Whitlock Jr., Molly Price, Julia Garner, Lisa Lampanelli, Alex Veadov & Justine Lupe.
Raised in an cloistered religious community in Utah, Rachel (Garner) has just turned 15 and believes that she's pregnant because she listened to some illicit pop music. Her parents (Watros and Zane) think otherwise, blaming her brother Will (Aiken) for this "immaculate" conception. But instead of face an arranged marriage to a stranger, Rachel runs off with Will to Las Vegas. There they meet Clyde (Culkin), a young rocker who challenges everything they've been taught and changes the way they see the world.
Continue reading: Electrick Children Review
The fabulous Lily Tomlin finally gets the lead role she deserves in this smart, engaging...
Elle Reid may be tough, but she's struggling coping with a recent break-up with her...
Sometimes, the fantasy world is more appealing than reality. For Davina (Natalia Dyer), this is...
Elle Reid is an ageing poet recovering from a broken heart following her break-up with...
It's all about revenge in Sin City now as the wounded (both physically and mentally)...
The everlasting trail of violence, death and deceit continues with the return of several characters...
Frank Parker is a formidable and highly religious man who takes his family traditions very...
Even though this is an extremely well-made film, it's difficult to know who will enjoy...
Gentle and very smart, this low-key comedy gets under the skin as it follows a...
When you qualify your movie as the "last" anything, a sequel seems a bit out...
After the last members of her family die in a horrific satanic ritual, Nell Sweetzer...
A group of three best friends from a New Jersey suburbia set up a rock...