Watch This: Trailer for The Meddler with Susan Sarandon

The Meddler looks like a knockout. Susan Sarandon and Rose Byrne as mother and daughter. Guess which one’s the meddler. Yeah, not too hard.

Written and directed by Lorene Scafaria, the film also stars Megalyn Echikunwoke and a Harley riding J.K. Simmons. A few other actors you may recognize in the film include Amy Landecker, Jason Ritter, Lucy Punch, Laura San Giacomo, and Harry Hamlin. It’s a big cast. Continue reading “Watch This: Trailer for The Meddler with Susan Sarandon”

Watch This: New Trailer for Spy

Spy starring Melissa McCarthy and a rasher of other tasty comedy stars has a new trailer.

Those other funny folks include Rose Byrne, Jason Statham, Morena Baccarin, Jude Law, Allison Janney, Bobby Cannavale, and Miranda Hart.

The film was received very well at SXSW. From the trailer it looks like there may be too many fat jokes and too many sexist jokes for me to get enthusiastic about it.

Not that I won’t watch it just to make sure. It is Melissa McCarthy, after all. I laughed myself silly at the fart jokes in Bridesmaids and the disgusting uneaten sandwich in the fridge in The Heat, so who am I to judge the political correctness of Melissa McCarthy jokes?

Spy is set for a June 5 release. Paul Feig is writer and director. He worked with McCarthy before on Bridesmaids and The Heat.

Watch This: Red Band Trailer for Spy

In Spy, Melissa McCarthy teams up again with writer and director Paul Feig in a comedy featuring McCarthy as a CIA Analyst. She works with agents played by Jude Law and Jason Statham.

Miranda Hart
Miranda Hart image from BBC

I’m more than a little excited to see that McCarthy is working with British comic Miranda Hart in Spy. These two should be fabulous together.

Here’s the G-rated version of the trailer, followed by the Red Band trailer.

Rose Byrne, Bobby Cannavale, Allison Janney, and Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson also star in the Fox release, which opens in theaters May 22.

Spy image © 20th Century Fox

Brain Dump: A Wife’s Nightmare, Annie, On My Way, Into the Woods

It’s time for a brain dump. My brain is teeming with thoughts about this and that – mostly movies I watched over the holidays. Short thoughts. Thoughts so short that combining them into one post seems like a grand idea.

A Wife’s Nightmare

Jennifer Beals in "A Wife's Nightmare"
Jennifer Beals

A Wife’s Nightmare gave us a Jennifer Beals who was unsure, compliant, nervous, and worried. The gaslighting part of the story was a new acting challenge for Jennifer Beals and she did it very well. I was happy she found her way to some backbone by the end of the story, however. Jennifer Beals is always a pleasure to watch. Here’s a full review.

Annie

dancing and singing on a rooftop
Rose Byrne and Quvenzhané Wallis in Annie

Annie is a wonderful update to the familiar story. The new songs were perfect contemporary music. The cast was excellent, particularly Quvenzhané Wallis. Hat tips to older versions of the story were well done.

I had the pleasure of going to the movie with a friend and her two grandchildren who danced in their seats and sang along. Afterwards they agreed that the movie was really good. These two biracial youngsters – ages 3 and 6 – wanted their hair freshly washed for the movie so it would look like “Annie hair.” The importance they placed on looking like Annie reminded me again how critical it is that we see someone who looks like ourselves represented on screens as smart, successful, talented, and worthwhile human beings.

On My Way

Catherine Deneuve and Nemo Schiffman in On My Way
Catherine Deneuve and Nemo Schiffman in On My Way

On My Way (French title Elle s’en va) is a French film with English subtitles I found on Netflix. Catherine Deneuve is the star, which is what caught my interest. It has 4 stars on Netflix, always a good indicator it’s worth watching. Catherine Deneuve is 71; she’s put on some weight. But whatever it was she had – she’s still got it. She’s still got ALL of it.

Into the Woods

Lilla Crawford as Little Red Riding Hood in Into the Woods
Lilla Crawford as Little Red Riding Hood in Into the Woods

When you start with talent like Stephen Sondheim and Rob Marshall, add in a screenplay by James Lapine, and cast fantastic people like Meryl Streep and Emily Blunt as the players – well, you end up with something utterly brilliant. That is all I have to say: brilliant.

Annie photo ©Sony Pictures. Into the Woods photo ©Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures.

Review: This is Where I Leave You

This is Where I Leave You is so rich and messy and complicated, I won’t even try to give you the details of the story. You get the basic story watching the trailer, which is that a family comes together to sit shiva for 7 days because of the death of the father.

Jason Bateman
Jason Bateman

In many ways, this is Jason Bateman’s film. As Judd Altman, the eldest brother, he carries us into and out of the story. His particular character gets more development than anyone else’s.

Writer Jonathan Tropper is an absolute genius at creating real feeling characters with just a few brush strokes.

Old man furry slippers do mean something.
Old man furry slippers do mean something.

Tina Fey as Wendy Altman is the big sister. She has two young children of her own. She’s the only sibling with kids – so far. Her son, played by Cade Lappin, regularly steals scenes with his potty chair and his attitude. She knows her brothers better than she knows herself, although she does make an effort to uncover some of her baggage while sitting on the roof with Judd.

Tina Fey and Jane Fonda
Tina Fey and Jane Fonda

Jane Fonda is the mother. She’s famous for writing a book about the foibles and intimate details of her 4 children. She overshares everything but the most important facts. She brings her children home and enforces her demand that they stay there for 7 days to sit shiva knowing how explosive and inappropriate it will get, but knowing it needs to happen.

Jason Bateman, Tina Fey, Adam Driver and Corey Stoll
Jason Bateman, Tina Fey, Adam Driver and Corey Stoll

There’s the responsible middle child played by Corey Stoll and the irresponsible baby brother, played by Adam Driver. They bring home with them assorted spouses, girlfriends, children, impending children, and discarded spouses. Once they are home they have to deal with old girlfriends, old boyfriends, surprising new girlfriends and many degrees of overshared sex.

Debra Monk, Kathryn Hahn and Connie Britton
Debra Monk, Kathryn Hahn and Connie Britton

As I mentioned, every character feels real. They may not have many moments of screen time, but every one of these actors knows how to make something big out of small moments. Especially the smaller parts, played by Connie Britton, Kathryn Hahn, Rose Byrne, Debra Monk, Abigail Spencer and Dax Shepard. Even as minor characters, they were nuanced people. I want Connie Britton’s character to have a whole movie of her own.

The only character that felt off was the Rabbi, played for comic relief by Ben Schwartz. The fact that everyone in the family insisted on calling him by his childhood nickname, Boner, even in Temple, tells you how that went. There was plenty going on that was truly laugh-out-loud funny without making the Rabbi into a joke.

With so many characters, each with their individual stories, the interactions were complicated. Each of the siblings had personal issues and responses to the loss of their father. The plot had lots of twists and turns and some elegant surprises. The film had humor, emotion, and touching moments of love and connection.

The beautiful thing about family dramas is there are no gun battles, no explosions, and no car chases. Instead, there are meaningful talks on the roof, ineffectual fisticuffs on the front lawn, and shared moments of revelation. This film has heart. It’s as good as any family drama you will ever see, probably better.

All images © 2013 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

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?

Annie Remake to Star Quvenzhané Wallis

A delightful looking remake of Annie is schedule for release on Christmas. It stars Quvenzhané Wallis as Annie with Jamie Foxx, Rose Byrne, and Cameron Diaz.

The producers are Jay Z and Will Smith. The director is Will Gluck.

It’s wonderful to see young Quvenzhané Wallis in a role that has traditionally gone to white actors. Ditto for Jamie Foxx. Looks like a fabulous film and one that I think everyone in my family will enjoy seeing on Christmas Day on our yearly holiday movie outing together.