Review: Camilla

Camilla, from 1994, stars Jessica Tandy and Bridget Fonda in a delightful road trip tale. Two women, several generations apart in age, take off together leaving a son and a husband at home to wonder where they are. They have an adventure that takes them from Georgia to Toronto.

Jessica TAndy in Camilla
Jessica Tandy in Camilla

Camilla, played by Jessica Tandy, tends to embellish her career as a concert violinist with imagined feats of greatness, while Freda (Bridget Fonda) tends to minimize her talents as a musician.

Somehow doing the irresponsible thing and setting off on a vacation together brings them both closer to an appreciation of what their talents really are.

Bridget Fonda in Camilla
Bridget Fonda in Camilla

Freda’s clueless husband is played by Elias Koteas. Camila’s beleagured son Harold is played by Maury Chaykin. Waiting in Toronto, making violins by hand, is Ewald (Hume Cronyn).

The two adventurers meet some interesting characters along the way. The relationship between the two of them is full of warmth and understanding: that’s the heart of the story.

Something I love about films in which both Jessica Tandy and Hume Cronyn appeared together in their old age is that they always include love scenes. Sex – it’s not just for youngsters, and they make sure you aren’t foolish enough to think it is. They let you know sex happens among elders, too.

I completely enjoyed this movie and recommend it to you. It’s available on Netflix.

Have you seen Camilla? What did you think?

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Watch This: Trailer for This is Where I Leave You

This is Where I Leave You boasts an incredible cast. It looks hilarious. It’s based on a novel by Jonathan Tropper, who also wrote the screenplay for the film. It’s scheduled for a September release.

Look at this cast: Rose Byrne, Abigail Spencer, Adam Driver, Timothy Olyphant, Connie Britton, Jason Bateman, Kathryn Hahn, Tina Fey, Jane Fonda, Dax Shepard, Corey Stoll, Ben Schwartz, Aaron Lazar, and Debra Monk.

Really, Tina Fey alone would have been enough for me, but all those fabulous actors – oh, my, yes.

This is Where I Leave You
This is Where I Leave You

Here’s how Warner Bros. describes the film.

When their father passes away, four grown siblings, bruised and banged up by their respective adult lives, are forced to return to their childhood home and live under the same roof together for a week, along with their over-sharing mother and an assortment of spouses, exes and might-have-beens. Confronting their history and the frayed states of their relationships among the people who know and love them best, they ultimately reconnect in hysterical and emotionally affecting ways amid the chaos, humor, heartache and redemption that only families can provide-driving us insane even as they remind us of our truest, and often best, selves.

Take a look.

It sure looks good to me. What do you think?

Watch This: Trailer for Clouds of Sils Maria

When Clouds of Sils Maria showed at the Cannes Film Festival, the Hollywood Reporter dismissed the film with,

Given its narrow range of concerns, Clouds of Sils Maria will be mostly of interest to aficionados of theater, acting and the notion of how real and fictional lives can blur to those involved.

Based on what I’m seeing in descriptions of the film and the fact that Kristen Stewart is huge, I’m thinking it may draw in more viewers than that. The film stars Juliette Binoche, Kristen Stewart and Chloe Grace Moretz. I suppose it’s easy for some to dismiss a film with three female names at the top of the cast, but this attracts me.

Poster for Clouds of Sils Maria

The themes in the film deal with acting and how real life and fictional life intersect, but they also deal with aging, with relationships, with hubris, and with power.

The basic plot: a 40ish actress played by Juliette Binoche is offered a part in a play that made her famous 20 years ago. Only this time, she will play the older woman in the story, with her former part going to a tabloid-feeding ingenue played by Chloe Grace Moretz. Kristen Stewart is Binoche’s assistant. Binoche and Stewart go to a remote location in Switzerland called Sils-Maria during the process of deciding whether or not to take the part.

Juliette Binoche in Clouds of Sils Maria
Juliette Binoche in Clouds of Sils Maria

As I mentioned, part of the dilemma the Binoche character faces is accepting her age, but there is also a strong parallel between the plot of the play wherein  “an older woman falls in love with a scheming girl who has her wrapped around her little finger” and the relationship between Binoche and her assistant.

Any story about the relationships among women should be given a look, in my opinion. Here’s a preview.

If you’ve seen it already, or go see it, please share your reactions.

Watch This: Trailer for The Hundred Foot Journey

The Hundred Foot Journey will be released in theaters in August. The film stars Helen Mirren, Manish Dayal, Om Puri, and Charlotte Le Bon.

Helen Mirren in The Hundred Foot Journey
Helen Mirren in The Hundred Foot Journey

The plot centers around Le Saule Pleureur, a Michelin starred, classical French restaurant run by Madame Mallory (Helen Mirren). Across the street from this magnificent place an Indian family headed by the father (Om Puri) opens the Maison Mumbai. Young Hassan (Manish Dayal) has the magic touch with food. Maison Mumbai attracts attention and hungry diners. You can imagine the reaction from the icy Madame Mallory. Add a love story, and you’ve got the perfect combination for a great tale.

Here’s the first official trailer.

The Hundred-Foot Journey is based on a novel written by Richard C. Morais. Steven Spielberg will produce the film with Oprah Winfrey and Juliet Blake. Lasse Hallström is the director.

Dreamworks and Harpo Studios are producing the film.
Dreamworks and Harpo Studios are producing the film.

Anything with Helen Mirren involved captures my attention, even goofy films where she’s jumping over cars and shooting machine guns. But this film promises to be warmer and more human, a tale about opening the heart and senses to embrace the unknown.

I’m definitely looking forward to it. What about you? Think it looks good?

Recommended: Unfinished Sky

Unfinished Sky is an Australian film from 2008. It absolutely swept the Australian film awards with best actor, best actress, best cinematography, best director, best screenplay and more. It’s about two gentle people struggling to cope with the harshness of life.

Lonely sheep farmer John Woldring (William McInnes) awakens one morning to the barking of his dog and sees a battered woman staggering down the road toward his isolated outback farm.

William McInnes as John
William McInnes as John

The woman (Monic Hendrickx) speaks no English. She’s bruised and frightened. Slowly it’s revealed that she’s an Afghan with a child she wants to recover. She’s a sex slave, held captive and abused by local men John knows. As time passes, the two learn to trust each other and communicate. John keeps Tahmeena safe and hidden. Eventually violence erupts as her former captors try to take her back.

Monic Hendrickx as Tahmeena
Monic Hendrickx as Tahmeena

From the moment you see Tahmeena stumbling her way toward John, you know that this will be a love story, but the underlying themes of forced labor, kidnapping, danger, and violence make it a bit of a thriller as well.

I found the film on Netflix, it’s probably available from other streaming services as well.

Interesting trivia about the film is that it’s an adaptation of the 1998 Dutch film De Poolse bruid. Monic Hendrickx, a Dutch actress, played the Polish character in the original Dutch film and played the same part again as an Afghani in Australia.

I give the film 5 stars and recommend it highly.

Watch This: Trailer for The Internet’s Own Boy

Co-creator of Reddit and political activist Aaron Swartz fought for a free, open Internet. He committed suicide at a young age. This documentary looks at his life and contributions.

The film was shown at Sundance and SXSW, but I’m not finding a schedule or any updates about where it can be seen now. Watch your local small cinema and keep an eye on places like Netflix for a chance to learn more about Aaron Swartz.

Hat tip to Spydergrrl’s Trailer for The Internet’s Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz Hits the Big Screen.

Image credit: Aaron Swartz Documentary

Watch This: Another Trailer for Tammy

The preview made me laugh so much, I cannot wait for Tammy! And, if Melissa McCarthy wasn’t enough to make you love this movie, it also has Susan Sarandon and Kathy Bates.

Continue reading “Watch This: Another Trailer for Tammy”

The Brain Dump: Random Short Thoughts

A brain dump is one of those things I do when I have just a thought to share on something. It’s a random mess.

Neil deGrasse Tyson is so genial and agreeable on Cosmos. He states the science in the friendliest possible way. But, underneath his low-key style is the knowledge that he’s showing all the misguided fools who don’t believe in science the truth. It’s very effective.

The Bletchley Circle
The Bletchley Circle image © World Productions 2013

The Bletchley Circle from PBS is brilliant. I wish there were more than 4 episodes to a season. It captures the time and place with perfect clarity and the women are smart and courageous.

Divergent was good. Not as good as The Hunger Games, but good enough to create a new young female heroine and to guarantee that the next movie in the series will be well attended. Going out to see it was my birthday present to myself, and it was the perfect gift. It felt too long, but that was mostly because there were at least 30 minutes of previews of coming attractions before the film started. THAT was definitely too much.

20 Feet From Stardom is an absolute delight! Wonderful music, fascinating women with so much talent and who are so under appreciated. You must watch it.

Pink: The Truth About Love Tour – Live from Melbourne. Spectacular film! I’m glad I wasn’t there with all the yelling and screaming. I completely enjoyed seeeing it on film, however. A concert for elders via the TV! What a performance and what brilliant stunts and athletic feats. And, hey, I’d just watched 20 Feet From Stardom so I gotta tell you that I looked up Pink’s backup singers and learned their names.

Last night’s live concert in Nashville from the cast of Nashville was fabulous. Missed Connie Britton, but it was great to see these actors just sing. So much musical talent.

It’s my week for music, because I also watched The Punk Singer, a film about Kathleen Hanna. I’d heard of her but didn’t know much more than that she was associated with a women’s movement and made music. The film was my education into both Kathleen Hanna and the Riot Grrl movement. An inspiring woman and a great leader. I wish her well and hope her health continues to improve.

 

Joss Whedon Announces Direct Distribution to Viewers of In Your Eyes

Joss Whedon announced that the film In Your Eyes will be available to everyone worldwide for $5 via Vimeo. No waiting, no big bucks at the multiplex. Just watch the film whenever you want. When you rent the film, you get to use it for 72 hours.

The times, they are a changin’.

This is the announcement.

Watch the preview for the film.

See also: Vimeo Tries Out a New Video On Demand Idea.

Watch This: Trailer for Lucky Them

Lucky Them stars Toni Collette as a rock journalist in danger of losing her job. To hang on to it, she’s forced to go after a story involving an old boyfriend.

Continue reading “Watch This: Trailer for Lucky Them”