Review: Gloria Bell

Before I get into the review of Gloria Bell, let me tell you a story. I’ve been a member of AARP for a few decades now – joined up when I turned 45. They’ve always had a feature called Movies for Grownups within AARP. Lately they’ve started taking movies for grownups on the road with free screenings of various movies all over the country. The latest is Gloria Bell.

Continue reading “Review: Gloria Bell”
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Watch This: Trailer for Gloria Bell

Chilean director Sebastián Lelio’s Spanish language hit Gloria is reborn as an English language indie with Julianne Moore in the lead role. The English version is called Gloria Bell. Continue reading “Watch This: Trailer for Gloria Bell”

Watch This: Trailer for Bel Canto

I remember thinking the novel Bel Canto by Ann Patchett was excellent when I read it several years ago. Now there’s a film version of the story starring Julianne Moore and Ken Watanabe. Continue reading “Watch This: Trailer for Bel Canto”

Review: Wonderstruck

Wonderstruck has been on my radar for quite a while. I like the director Todd Haynes past work very much, especially Carol and Far From Heaven. His films have such a distinctive artistic look that the mere looking becomes almost as important as the story. Continue reading “Review: Wonderstruck”

Review: The Hunger Games Mockingjay Part 2

The Hunger Games Mockingjay Part 2 was the only one of the series I missed seeing in the theaters. It’s been a long wait for it to reach a streaming service, but it is at last on Amazon Prime. This film seemingly ends the saga of Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) and her quest to save the world. Continue reading “Review: The Hunger Games Mockingjay Part 2”

Watch This: Trailer for Maggie’s Plan

Maggie’s Plan has a great cast, a female writer and director, and a plot idea that seems original in concept.

Here’s the plot synopsis: Continue reading “Watch This: Trailer for Maggie’s Plan”

Watch This: Freeheld Previews and Interviews

Freeheld is an important story that I inadvertently never mentioned yet on the blog. I’m going to make up for that with a big catch-all post.

The film opens October 2, 2015. Julianne Moore, Ellen Page, Michael Shannon, and Steve Carell star in this true story. It’s based on an Oscar winning documentary about Laurel Hester (Julianne Moore) and Stacie Andree (Ellen Page). Peter Sollett directs.

Julianne Moore and Ellen Page in Freeheld

It’s a love story, but it’s also a story about the couple’s fight for justice. I think the actual events surrounding Laurel’s fight with cancer and the county officials, Freeholders, took place in 2006 or 2007. Her fight to be treated as equal by the Freeholders is part of a direct line from then until the recent Supreme Court decision on same-sex marriage.

The film description: “A decorated New Jersey police detective, Laurel is diagnosed with cancer and wants to leave her hard-earned pension to her domestic partner, Stacie. However the Freeholders conspire to prevent Laurel from doing this. Hard-nosed detective Dane Wells (Michael Shannon), and activist Steven Goldstein (Steve Carell), unite in Laurel and Stacie’s defense, rallying police officers and ordinary citizens to support their struggle for equality.”

The story of these two ordinary women who struggled for respect and justice mirrors so many more stories. It brings an important moment in history to a wide audience. I hope the film will be huge. I hope it makes a shit-ton of money and send the message to Hollywood decision-makers that a movie about two women – two gay women – can rock the world. Stacie Andree, the real woman who worked with the director and cast to make sure the movie told the truth, brings honor to her partner Laurel with this work. She deserves her spot in the history of the equality movement.

Here’s the first official trailer.

Another trailer with some of the same material, but shorter, features “Hands Of Love” performed by Miley Cyrus and written by Linda Perry.

Ellen Page describes her feelings about the importance of the story and about working with Julianne Moore.

Julianne Moore talks about the film and about working with Ellen Page.

The Old Ain’t Dead Best Actress of All Time Award

We just watched the 2015 Oscars. The two women who won Best Actress Awards this year were Julianne Moore and Patricia Arquette. Both wonderful actresses – accomplished, talented and deserving.

Sometimes the Oscars give Lifetime Achievement Awards. I want to give an award like that. I want to give the Old Ain’t Dead Best Actress of All Time Award. (There are no prizes and the award means nothing. Sorry.)

How do we judge the best actress of all time? Wins or nominations? Or some variation thereof? Why don’t we look at stats?

Is it Oscar wins? If so, the best actress of all time is Katharine Hepburn with 4 wins and 12 nominations.


Katharine Hepburn promo pic” by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer studio (work for hire) – [7] alt source: [8]. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

Is it Oscar nominations? If so, the best actress of all time is Meryl Streep with 3 wins and 19 nominations.


Meryl Streep by Jack Mitchell” by Jack Mitchell. Licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Either record is phenomenal. To be in 12 films, or 19 films, and do such an outstanding job that your performance is considered worthy of consideration for an Oscar – that’s phenomenal. That’s talent and skill and hard work and love.

I do have an opinion in this stats-based contest between Hepburn and Streep. I’m picking Streep as the winner and here’s why.

Meryl Streep disappears into a part. I’ve seen her in parts where I didn’t even realize it was her, she was so in character. She can be completely different from one film and one character to another.

Katherine Hepburn seems to always be Katherine Hepburn. Not that she couldn’t act – she could. But there was some essential Hepburnness to her voice, her movements, and her posture that was always there no matter the part.

With Meryl Streep, nothing stays the same. There’s no Streep there.

To be fair, Katherine Hepburn was performing in movies in a time when the costuming, the make up, the prosthetics, the technology and techniques were far less sophisticated than they are now.

Even taking that into consideration, I’m still giving the award to Meryl Streep. The Best Actress of All Time is Meryl Streep!

Meryl Streep as 4 different characters

Applause. Applause. Applause. Applause. Applause. Applause.

Watch This: Clip from Still Alice

Still Alice stars Julianne Moore as Dr. Alice Howland, a renowned linguistics professor who starts to forget words because of early onset Alzheimer’s disease. The film is based on Lisa Genova’s 2007 bestselling novel of the same name.

Still Alice will have a limited release in December, which means Julianne Moore will be in the running for an Oscar nomination for the film for 2014. The major release for the film will come in January 2015. There’s some talk that Moore might be nominated for an Oscar for Maps to the Stars for 2014. Two Oscar worthy performances this year! Those make for pretty good odds for Moore to win a long-deserved but illusive Oscar for 2014. She’s been nominated 4 times, but has no wins yet. I remember watching her back in 1999 in Cookie’s Fortune, thinking what an amazing performer she was. I think same thing every time I watch her in anything. She’s an enormous talent.

In Still Alice, the Howland family around Alice include her husband John (Alec Baldwin) and her 3 grown children: Lydia (Kristen Stewart), Anna (Kate Bosworth) and Tom (Hunter Parrish).

From mostly glowing reviews for Still Alice from TIFF, the film appears to be quiet and subdued, but honest and touching.

There isn’t an official trailer yet, but this brief clip was released. It shows something of the relationship between Alice and daughter Lydia.

I’ll be on the lookout for trailers and other information about this film as year’s end draws closer.

Watch This: Our Leader the Mockingjay

A new trailer for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1 released. Looks like Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss is getting herself an ragtag army and a rebellion whether she wants one or not. The suggested hashtag from the trailer is #OurLeaderTheMockingjay.

I caught a glimpse of Julianne Moore in this trailer. She’s a nice addition to The Hunger Games franchise. She’s a nice addition to anything.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1 is scheduled for release in November. What a good way to spend the Thanksgiving weekend. I’m ready to drop my dollars going to see this female-led drama. What about you?