Watch This: Trailer for About Ray

Elle Fanning stars as a transgender (female to male) teen in About Ray. Ray’s mother is played by Naomi Watts and Susan Sarandon plays his grandmother. Tate Donovan is his absent father. It’s an incredible cast, although there may be some criticism that an actual transgender actor didn’t get the part of Ray.

The film looks to be partly about Ray’s journey, but also about how Ray’s family reacts and reaches acceptance of his transition. It appears to be a bit of a bumpy ride, as you might expect. Ray is still in high school – does he want to change schools? Oddly, Ray’s grandmother Dolly, who is herself a lesbian, doesn’t understand the distinction between sexuality and gender. But Ray’s younger siblings might get it immediately. Here’s rooting for Dolly to figure it out.

The director is Gaby Dellal, who also wrote the story for the film. The screenplay was written by Nikole Beckwith. The story is set in New York City. The release date for About Ray is September 18, 2015.

Review: Dear Frankie

Dear Frankie is a 2004 film, but just joined the features available on Amazon Instant Video. It was new to me, and thoroughly enjoyable.

Emily Mortimer is Lizzie, the mother of 9 year-old Frankie (Jack McElhone). Lizzie’s mother Nell was played with chain-smoking verve by the late Mary Riggans. The three of them have been on the run from Frankie’s father for years. Lizzie and her mother are guarded and restrained and remain that way throughout the film. The film is emotionally charged, but in a vigilant and contained way. Lizzie and her mom are holding it in, but just barely.

Spoilers ahead. Continue reading “Review: Dear Frankie”

Watch This: Trailer for By the Sea

By the Sea not only features the most beautiful people in the world, it looks like the most beautiful settings and images in the world. Written and directed by Angelina Jolie (or Angelina Jolie Pitt) and starring Angelina and Brad Pitt it looks emotionally powerful but tensely contained. This couple is emotionally distant but perhaps violently connected.

Filmed in Malta, the setting is 1970’s France. Here’s the film’s description:

Set in France during the mid-1970s, Vanessa, a former dancer, and her husband Roland, an American writer, travel the country together. They seem to be growing apart, but when they linger in one quiet, seaside town they begin to draw close to some of its more vibrant inhabitants, such as a local bar/café-keeper and a hotel owner.

poster for By the Sea

Judging from this trailer, every scene is exquisitely composed and shot. This is Angelina Jolie’s 6th effort as a director. I think it’s time to add her to the list of masters at the craft.

The film is due out in November.

One More Lost Girl Teaser

Lost Girl starts again on Canadian TV on Sept. 6, so we are getting teasers now. Here’s the latest one.

The first preview contained some stuff from earlier episodes of the show that we’d already seen. This one is all new scenes.

We know Lost Girl would be nothing without Anna Silk. Here she’s her usual heroic leader and also involved in some sort of long distance chi swap with Zoie Palmer’s Lauren.

Tamsin survived the lightning strike from Zee (Amanda Walsh) so Rachel Skarsten is still around looking healthy. I’m happy indeed to see Ksenia Solo back with the gang, fighting fires and doing all the other gang adventures. Kris Holden-Ried as Dyson is still there leading the fight, trailed by son Mark (Luke Bilyk) and the daddy from hell (Eric Roberts). We get a glimpse of Trick (Rick Howland) in this preview but no hints about where Vex (Paul Amos) or Evony (Emmanuelle Vaugier) might be.

Every time Anna Silk is interviewed about the end of the series, she comments that they finished “really strong” and in a good place for everyone, so I have high hopes for how it will all turn out.

I need to get busy and review the first part of season 5 so I can remember what’s going on in the plot.

Review: Song One

Song One is about family. Anne Hathaway plays Franny, a PhD student who gets a call to come home when her brother Henry (Ben Rosenfield) is hit by a car. Their mother is played by Mary Steenburgen.

Spoilers ahead. Continue reading “Review: Song One”

Watch This: Trailer for Room

Room is based on a best selling novel by Emma Donoghue. The film stars Brie Larson as Ma and Jacob Tremblay as Jack. Here’s the synopsis.

Room’ tells the extraordinary story of Jack, a spirited 5 year old who is looked after by his loving and devoted Ma. Like any good mother, Ma dedicates herself to keeping Jack happy and safe, nurturing him with warmth and love and doing typical things like playing games and telling stories. Their life, however, is anything but typical—they are trapped—confined to a windowless, 10-by-10-foot space, which Ma has euphemistically named ‘Room.’ Ma has created a whole universe for Jack within Room, and she will stop at nothing to ensure that, even in this treacherous environment, Jack is able to live a complete and fulfilling life.  But as Jack’s curiosity about their situation grows, and Ma’s resilience reaches its breaking point, they enact a risky plan to escape, ultimately bringing them face-to-face with what may turn out to be the scariest thing yet: the real world.

a scene from Room

In the novel Jack is 5, but Jacob Tremblay is a bit older than that so his age may be upped for the film

The film is directed by Lenny Abrahamson. Joan Allen and William H. Macy play the grandparents and Amanda Brugel plays Officer Parker. Sean Bridgers plays Old Nick, the man who visits the room every night after Jack is asleep.

The film is scheduled to release on October 16.

You can follow on @RoomTheMovie on Twitter.

Review: Catastrophe Season 1

Catastrophe is an Amazon original series. The first 6 episodes are available now on Amazon Prime.

Rob (Rob Delaney), an American, and Sharon (Sharon Horgan), an Irish teacher working in London, meet in a pub. They have sex as often as possible while Rob is in London. Then he goes home, only to be called back by a catastrophe – she’s pregnant.

Spoilers ahead. Continue reading “Review: Catastrophe Season 1”

Watch This: Trailer for The 33

The 33 is not the kind of story I usually talk about. It isn’t about a woman or women. It’s about men. 33 men. It’s based on the 2010 Chilean mine disaster in which 33 men were trapped underground for 69 days.

I read Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Hector Tobar’s book Deep Down Dark on which the film is based and I got to know those men and the people in their lives – their wives, lovers and children. The book was utterly compelling and nerve wracking. If you are a reader, read this book before the film is released.

You don’t have to read the book to be interested in the movie. It’s an amazing story. Patricia Riggen directs. Patricia Riggen is a native of Mexico, known for directing such films as Under the Same Moon, Lemonade Mouth, and Girl in Progress.

the poster for The 33

It’s a big cast, including Cote de Pablo, Antonio Banderas, Rodrigo Santoro, James Brolin,  Juliette Binoche, Kate del Castillo, Lou Diamond Phillips, Gabriel Byrne, Mario Casas, Adriana Barraza, and Bob Gunton.

The film opens on November 13.

Watch This: Trailer for After Words

After Words features the brilliant actress Marcia Gay Harden, which gives me hope that it is going to be more than what it looks like from the previews.

Here’s how the film is described:

Academy Award® Winner Marcia Gay Harden (50 SHADES OF GREY) stars as a librarian who attempts to escape her mid-life crisis by traveling to Costa Rica. There she meets a younger man (Óscar Jaenada – CANTINFLAS) who takes her on an unexpected journey filled with adventure and romance.

The trailer is a bit worrisome in that it hints that the film might be nothing but another one of those ugly duckling has a makeover and finds love as a swan stories. But there’s an undercurrent of something else in the trailer that brings hope for more. Is Jane going to Costa Rica to die? Is this really a story about romantic love?

The film was directed by Juan Feldman. It’s his first stint as a full length feature film director. It was filmed in Costa Rica.

After Words opens on August 21.

Watch This: Trailer for Addicted to Fresno

I don’t know when I’ve been quite this excited about a movie. Addicted to Fresno is so perfect!

Judy Greer and Natasha Lyonne are co-dependent sisters in "Addicted to Fresno."
Judy Greer and Natasha Lyonne are co-dependent sisters in “Addicted to Fresno.”

What exactly do I mean by perfect? Well, it stars Judy Greer and Natasha Lyonne as sisters who are completely nutso – funny already, that. Then there’s the rest of the cast: Molly Shannon, Aubrey Plaza, Clea DuVall, Allison Tolman and Jessica St. Clair. Don’t forget the writer Karey Dornetto and the director Jamie Babbitt. It’s an explosion of brilliant women. See? Perfect.

Oh, wait. I think there are some guys in the film, too. Maybe Ron Livingston, Fred Armisen, and Malcolm Barrett.

Lyonne’s character is a hotel maid. Her sister, Greer’s character, is a sex addict who blows into Fresno and gets a job in the hotel with her sister. They have a mishap of sorts with a dead body. It isn’t clear from the trailer what the mishap is or why a cart full of sex toys is the solution, but I cannot wait to find out.

Addicted to Fresno will be available on demand September 1 and will be released in theaters October 2. Laughter will be allowed.