August: Osage County opens in wide distribution today. Are you going to be there? I can’t wait!
What Maisie Knew is based on the Henry James novel of 1897. It stars Julianne Moore and Steve Coogan as Maisie’s horrifyingly bad parents. Maisie is played by Onata Aprile.
Alexander Skarsgård and Joanna Vanderham are also in the film. After Maisie’s parents divorce, her father marries the former nanny (Joanna Vanderham). Her mother marries a convenient bartender (Alexander Skarsgård) and these two surrogate parents are left largely in charge of the neglected and forgotten Maisie.
Moore and Coogan do not sugar coat their performances as the unlikeable adults. They are as selfish and unfit as two people could possible be to fill their roles as parents.
Like the book, the film is told from Maisie’s point of view. Onata Aprile is remarkable as Maisie. She’s natural and real, completely childlike rather than actory. It’s hard to remember she’s performing – saying lines, taking direction. She absolutely makes the film work. It breaks our hearts as we watch her trying to survive in her often awful situation.
Like all neglected children, Maisie loves her parents. But when she’s with Margo, daddy’s new wife, or Lincoln, mommie’s new husband, Maisie recognizes that this is the way it’s supposed to be. Lincoln bumbles his way into child care – he doesn’t even know that you should hold a child’s hand when you cross a Manhattan street. But he does naturally all the things her mother does not do. He listens to her, he plays with her, he makes sure she has something to eat.
If a film about something so depressing can be called beautiful, this is a beautiful film. The performances are outstanding, the way the camera follows Maisie and lives in her world is brilliant. The ending is emotionally satisfying even though it is unrealistic to expect Maisie’s situation to be wrapped up in a red bow for any length of time.
The film was released on DVD in May 2013 and is available on most streaming services now.
Although we’ve been getting all kinds of pre-release peeks at Veronica Mars, this is the first actual official trailer. It gives you a lot more insight into what’s going on in the movie’s plot.
Saw a tweet from Zoie Palmer about this trailer and thought it was worth sharing. A lot of familiar faces in this comedy, plus it looks really funny.
The difficulty for those of us in the U.S. is that I don’t know where it’s playing. It’s been on the festival circuit in Canada, Australia and the U.S., but I’m not sure about release in theaters. According to the Sex After Kids website, it has shown in some U.S. theaters, but they don’t have a 2014 calendar update (or didn’t on the day I looked.)
Follow @SexAfterKids on Twitter for updates such as this one:
SEX AFTER KIDS starts its Canadian theatrical run in Toronto on February 7th, 2014! We’ll have a new trailer and details on Q&As soon. 🙂
— Sex After Kids (@SexAfterKids) December 22, 2013
Girl in Progress is a coming of age story about a girl who writes her own coming of age story based on research on the coming of age genre, then attempts to live it out according to plan.
Starring in this 2012 film are Eva Mendez as the mother, Cierra Ramirez as the girl in progress, Matthew Modine as the mother’s married boyfriend, and Patricia Arquette as the girl’s teacher.
Ansiedad, the girl in progress, is Cierra Ramirez; you may know her from The Fosters. She’s an extremely bright and creative teen who is captured by a remark her English teacher makes about coming of age tales. She has an interesting reltionship with her English teacher.
The mother of this wise but naive teen is often gone, either working or conducting inappropriate relationships with married men. In her absence, Ansiedad plots out a complete coming of age story for herself which includes stealing, hanging with the mean girls, dumping her best friend, losing her virginity and leaving home. She then proceeds to live this plan out so she can have the needed epiphany that will carry her into adulthood.
The movie is out on DVD and available from streaming services now. Take a look at the trailer for the film.
I have to admit I watched the film because my granddaughter recommended it to me. She’s in the throes of her own coming of age saga right now, which is why the movie appealed to her. I found it good as well, even at my advanced stage in life. On a scale of 10 stars, I would give it at least 7.
The Golden Globe nominees for 2014 were announced last week. It’s worth mentioning the number of names in the female categories that are women over 40. There were at least 2 of the 5 nominees in each category who are over 40.
I have to confess that one of my favorites, Tatiana Maslany, is in the under 40 group. That said, I’m loving how many of the nominations went to women over 40 – some of them several decades over 40. I celebrate them all!
Look at the names of women over 40 who scored awards nominations this year.
Best Actress in a Mini-Series or TV Movie: Helena Bonham Carter, Jessica Lange and Helen Mirren
Best Actress in a Motion Picture, Drama: Cate Blanchett, Sandra Bullock, Emma Thompson and Judi Dench
Best Actress In A Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy: Meryl Streep, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Julie Delpy
Best Actress in a TV Series, Comedy: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Amy Poehler and Edie Falco
Best Actress in a TV Series, Drama: Julianna Margulies and Robin Wright
Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture: Julia Roberts and June Squibb
Best Supporting Actress in a Series, Mini-Series or TV Movie: Jacqueline Bissett, Janet McTeer, Monica Potter and Sofia Vergara
The Hot Flashes was directed by Susan Seidelman and stars a slew of women, chief among them Brooke Shields, Daryl Hannah, Virginia Madsen, Camryn Manheim and Wanda Sykes. That attracted me before I even had a clue what the film was about.
It turns out The Hot Flashes is about the efforts of a group of Texas women who were once state high school champions in basketball to raise money to save a traveling mammogram truck. This was before Texas decided to close nearly all the clinics in the state where a woman could get a mammogram because they also offer birth control services. The mobile mammogram service was desperately needed even then.
The former champs are now a varied assortment of housewives, car salesmen, aspiring mayors, drug mavens, and oft married grocery store clerks. They’re old, out of shape, and have resentments remaining from years ago when they played together in high school.
Somehow Beth, the Brooke Shields character, manages to wrangle them into playing 3 games against the current high school women’s basketball team – which includes her daughter (played by Charlotte Graham) in an effort to raise $25,000 to save the traveling truck.
Mark Povinelli, a little person, is convinced to become the coach. The woman who works in the mammogram truck becomes the team manager. Eric Roberts is Brooke Shields husband – who is not a bit supportive of what she’s trying to do, by the way.
I’d give the film 3 out of 5 stars, meaning I liked it even if it isn’t Oscar material for best picture. It was fun to watch. It was inspiring. For a tale about overcoming all odds, it’s original and worthy of your time.
The Hot Flashes is available on DVD and from Netflix and Amazon. It was released in 2013.
Go for Sisters is the latest film from my absolute favorite writer and director, John Sayles. The movie’s web site describes the story like this:
Bernice (LisaGay Hamilton) and Fontayne (Yolonda Ross) grew up so close people said they could “go for sisters”, but time sent them down different paths. Twenty years later, those paths cross: Fontayne is a recovering addict fresh out of jail, and Bernice is her new parole officer.
When Bernice’s son Rodney goes missing on the Mexican border, his shady associates all in hiding or brutally murdered, Bernice realizes she needs someone with the connections to navigate Rodney’s world without involving the police… and turns to her old friend. The pair enlist the services of disgraced ex-LAPD detective Freddy Suárez (Edward James Olmos) and plunge into the dim underbelly of Tijuana, forced to unravel a complex web of human traffickers, smugglers, and corrupt cops before Rodney meets the same fate as his partners.
As much a story of relationships as a story of crime, GO FOR SISTERS is a welcome return to the border for master filmmaker and two-time Academy Award nominee John Sayles (“Lone Star,” “Passion Fish”).
I love 97% of what John Sayles does. I loved Lone Star, Passion Fish, The Secret of Roan Inish, and more of his work. (Limbo made me angry – the only John Sayles effort I’ve ever been unhappy with.)
The indie Go for Sisters has a limited opening this weekend and will spread across the country to select theaters through April. I may have to wait for it on DVD, judging from the list of theaters where it’s scheduled, so if you have a chance to see it in a theater, please let me know what you thought.
I went to The Hunger Games: Catching Fire the first weekend it was out, unlike the elders they interviewed for this film. I was not the only person in the theater with gray hair, either.
It was very exciting, dramatic and suspenseful – as you would expect from a film like The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.
Yes, there is gratuitous killing in the story. The deeper story is about revolution and change, about oppression and exploitation, about freedom and fairness. Katniss represents the power to energize people to make the world a better place. She symbolizes leadership and love and justice. She does it all while being female. It’s extraordinary. It’s important.