Review: Greenfingers

Imagine my delight when I cranked up Amazon Video and saw two Helen Mirren films sitting there side by side. Greenfingers from 2000 looked like a bit of fluff. Eye in the Sky from 2015 looked dead serious. I went with fluff. Continue reading “Review: Greenfingers”

Surprise! Old People are Underrepresented in Film

A new study from the Media, Diversity and Social Change Initiative at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism provides the data showing what we all know already – older people are ignored, underrepresented, or trivialized in film. Continue reading “Surprise! Old People are Underrepresented in Film”

Women Led Movies In Theaters this Weekend

Amid all the new movies out this week are three that feature female leads. If you are thinking of going to a theater as part of your weekend, one of these three would be a great choice. Continue reading “Women Led Movies In Theaters this Weekend”

Reprint: A Good Year for Elder Actors

[This post originally appeared at Time Goes By, written by Ronni Bennett. Thanks to Ronni for allowing me to reprint it here.]

Not infrequently, I grumble out loud around here about how few roles, especially major roles, there are in film for elder actors. Our generation doesn’t get much representation on what in our youth was called the silver screen.

But not so in 2015. As the year-end round-ups of the arts are being published, it is gratifying to see how many of our contemporaries have been not only getting work but in some cases being nominated for awards.

This is a list of some of the biggest names and the movies they have starred in this year. It is in no way meant to be comprehensive, and I arbitrarily chose 65 to be the low-end age cutoff. Maybe you have seen some of these. (A few random trailers included) Continue reading “Reprint: A Good Year for Elder Actors”

Watch This: Trailer for Eye in the Sky

Except for the star Helen Mirren, Eye in the Sky isn’t my usual movie type to promote. This military thriller explores some important current moral issues, however, and that makes it interesting to me. Eye in the Sky deals with drone warfare.

The US uses drones to kill people almost every day. It isn’t something that makes the news, but it’s happening. This film looks as the ethical and moral questions raised by this type of warfare. Continue reading “Watch This: Trailer for Eye in the Sky”

Watch This: Trailer for Trumbo

Trumbo is a slice of American history written through the lens of pop culture and Hollywood. The film details the life of Hollywood screenwriter Dalton Trumbo, who was blacklisted as a Hollywood writer in the 1940s for being a Communist. It’s based on the biography Dalton Trumbo by Bruce Cook.

Bryan Cranston and Diane Lane in Trumbo

The film stars Bryan Cranston as Dalton Trumbo. Louis C.K., John Goodman, Michael Stuhlbarg, Alan Tudyk and Helen Mirren are also in the film. Trumbo’s wife is played by Diane Lane with Elle Fanning as his daughter.

When Trumbo and many other Hollywood writers were called before House Un-American Activities Committee in Washington, D.C. and then blacklisted for their political beliefs, Trumbo orchestrated a fight against the U.S. government and studio bosses in a war over words and freedom. The blacklisting scandal eventually entangled everyone in Hollywood from Hedda Hopper (Helen Mirren) and John Wayne (David James Elliott) to Kirk Douglas (Dean O’Gorman) and Otto Preminger (Christian Berkel).

Helen Mirren and Bryan Cranston in Trumbo

Trumbo was one of several hundred writers, directors, producers, and actors who were denied the opportunity to work in the motion picture industry from 1947 to 1960 because of blacklisting over the Communist scare. Trumbo managed to win two Oscars for films written under other names during this time: Roman Holiday and The Brave One. His struggle ended when he finally saw his name on the screen again for the film Exodus.

Trumbo was directed by Jay Roach and written by John McNamara. It is set for a November release. Early reviews from film festival viewers have been mixed. I think the topic is interesting enough, and relevant to still occurring witch hunts in American life today, to merit giving it a chance and making up my own mind about it.

Review: Woman in Gold

Woman in Gold is getting mixed reviews. Once again I am going to disagree with the critics and Rotten Tomatoes users. I completely enjoyed this film. Even though I knew from the start how it would turn out, I was enthralled by the events and the telling. There was tension and excitement around all of it. When it was over, I felt emotionally wrung out.

Spoilers ahead. Continue reading “Review: Woman in Gold”

Watch This: Woman in Gold trailer

Woman in Gold stars Helen Mirren (and Tatiana Maslany) as Maria Altmann. Based on a true story about how Altmann fought the Austrian government to get back several paintings by Gustav Klimt that were stolen by the Nazis from her family during World War II. Ryan Reynolds plays her attorney.

Maria Altmann might have been called a “spitfire” in her day. She felt no restrictions on her behavior because she was female. Taking no for an answer from a bunch of male bureaucrats was not an idea that even crossed her mind.

Woman in Gold opens April 25, 2015.