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This harrowing morality play is timely and riveting, but never remotely subtle. The setting is the mortgage crisis, during which savvy fast-talkers figured out how to make a fortune on the back of other people's tragedy. It's strikingly written and directed by Iranian-American filmmaker Ramin Bahrani with an attention to internalised detail, revealing an aspect of Western culture that's deeply disturbing.
It's 2010, and the economy is in freefall as families and small businesses struggle to survive. When Florida builder Dennis (Andrew Garfield) loses his job, he has no idea how he'll support his mother and son (Laura Dern and Noah Lomax). Unable to pay their inflated mortgage, they're evicted from the family home by ruthless estate agent Rick (Michael Shannon). Then Rick sees something in Dennis that he admires, and hires him to do some building work, eventually taking him under his wing and teaching him how to profit from the record number of repossessions. But this means taking advantage of government grants, banking loopholes and people whose lives have collapsed. And it isn't long before it starts eating away at Dennis.
Garfield gives an open, searching performance as this desperate young father who's grasping at any lifeline he can find for his family. It's a complex, difficult character, mainly because his moral dithering sits in contrast to Shannon's flashier, shark-like Rick, who's often scary in the way he's able to avoid empathising with people in pain. In a much smaller role, Dern is the polar opposite, a warm blast of straight-arrow morality who continually prods her son to do the right thing. Yes, these characters are somewhat constructed as three points in a triangle, but they beautifully highlight the issues involved. And the actors dig deep into the emotional ramifications.
Continue reading: 99 Homes Review
Dennis Nash is a struggling single father whose life is turned upside down when he's evicted from his home by a corrupt real-estate broker named Rick Carver. Facing life on the streets, Dennis is forced to work for Carver in the hope of reclaiming his home, but how will he cope carrying out the same ruthless eviction techniques that were used on him? As Dennis falls deeper into Carver's web, relationships suffer and his situation becomes more dangerous than he could have imagined.
Continue: 99 Homes Trailer
Patricia Arquette won the Best Supporting Actress gong for her role in 'Boyhood'.
Patricia Arquette has won the 2015 Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. She starred in Richard Linklater’s epic Boyhood, playing the role of Olivia Evans.
The 46 year old fended off strong competition from Laura Dern (Bobbi Grey in Wild), Keira Knightley (Joan Clarke in The Imitation Game), Emma Stone (Sam Thomson in Birdman) and Meryl Streep (‘The Witch’ in Into The Woods).
2015's Best Supporting Actress Patricia Arquette (L) with her 'Boyhood' colleagues Ellar Coltrane and Richard Linklater
Continue reading: Patricia Arquette Wins Best Supporting Actress At 2015 Oscars
Reese Witherspoon gives a beautifully stripped-back performance in this epic journey based on the memoir by Cheryl Strayed. The title has a double meaning, as it follows this wild child through the Wild West in a quest to find her centre. This metaphor is as obvious as Cheryl's badly over-loaded backpack, but while the messages are unmistakable the filmmaking and acting are raw and natural. And the settings are spectacular.
After a chaotic patch of wanton living, seen in flashback, Cheryl (Witherspoon) sets off to hike a thousand miles along the Pacific Crest Trail, from Mexico to Canada. She has no idea what she's doing, but bravely goes for it, overcoming feelings of loneliness before getting to know some fellow hikers along the trail as she traverses deserts, mountains and forests amid sunshine, rain and snow. All of this gives her a chance to make sense of a variety of memories involving her mother (Laura Dern), her ex-husband (Thomas Sadoski), her younger brother (Keene McRae) and her best friend (Gaby Hoffmann). And there are plenty of issues that need to be sorted out.
The film is structured in a way that lets us learn about Cheryl's past gradually. Important facts and events are dribbled in throughout the hike, shaping Cheryl's physical odyssey into a journey of self-discovery, which is more than a little gimmicky. Especially when "telling" quotes are printed right across the screen. Thankfully, Nick Hornby's script and Jean-Marc Vallee's direction never moralise about her history of promiscuity and drug abuse. These things are not the problem: they are symptoms of what's wrong with Cheryl. And this gives the film a maturity lacking in most Hollywood-studio films that are happy to find easy explanations and solutions.
Continue reading: Wild Review
'The Imitation Game' and 'The Theory Of Everything' stars among the 26th annual festival's honourees.
The 2015 Palm Springs International Film Festival Awards saw accolades going to some very well-deserved movies from the last year - with some even more well-deserved individuals picking them up.
Unsurprisingly, the Ensemble Cast Award went to the actors from 'The Imitation Game'; a movie depicting the era-defining career of codebreaker Alan Turing during World War II and his subsequent arrest for being homosexual. It stars Benedict Cumberbatch in the lead role, with the likes of Allen Leech, Matthew Beard and Alex Lawther - the latter of whom plays Turing's younger self. Directed by the BAFTA nominated Morten Tyldum, the movie has already been nominated for five Golden Globes, and it definitely looks to be in line for an Academy Award.
Continue reading: Biopics Win Big At 2015 Palm Springs Film Festival Awards [Photos]
When young Cheryl Strayed loses her beloved mother, her entire world seems to come crashing down around her. With her family members distancing themselves from each other in their mourning, she feels she has no-one left to turn to and starts taking heroin and indulging in promiscuous behaviour to comfort herself - if only temporarily. As expected, she and her husband soon divorce as her antics do not improve and she decides that she needs to find another outlet for her grief. Despite having had no previous experience, she decides to embark on a solitary journey across the Pacific Crest Trail; a 1,100 mile hike from California to Canada across brutal mountains and savagely dry desert. Has Cheryl made the biggest mistake of her life? Or will she finally be able to find peace with the world?
Continue: Wild Trailer
Based on the beloved novel by John Green, this film is so squarely slanted toward teen girls that it is likely to annoy everyone else. Written and directed in a way that never allows even a hint of ambiguity, each scene and line of dialogue is on-the-nose, pushing the audience to a specific emotional response. This of course leaves everything feeling manipulative and false. Even so, the movie is rescued by another wonderfully layered performance from Shailene Woodley.
She plays the 17-year-old Hazel, who has been dealing with aggressive cancer for three years and has only just been stabilised by a breakthrough treatment. As she still needs to carry oxygen to breathe properly, her parents (Laura Dern and Sam Trammell) are understandably protective, but she's happy to get out on her own whenever possible. Then in a support group she meets 18-year-old cancer survivor Gus (Ansel Elgort), who is immediately smitten with her and flirts so aggressively that she finally agrees to be his friend, but nothing more. As she hangs out with Gus and his pal Isaac (Nat Wolff), another cancer patient, she begins to open up to her innermost dreams. So she goes along with a make-a-wish plan to travel to Amsterdam with Gus and her mother to meet the author (Willem Dafoe) of her favourite novel. And the trip changes her life in several unexpected ways.
Sensitive audience members will be sobbing from the beginning to the end of this film, simply because director Josh Boone tells them to. More cynical viewers will find it impossible to believe anything on-screen. This isn't because the plot is bad (it's actually quite thoughtful and provocative) or the actors get their performances wrong. It's because Boone and the screenwriters can't resist punching every note as loudly as they can. It's been so tidily shaped into a cinematic structure that everything feels fake, which makes it impossible for the actors to create characters who could exist anywhere besides in a movie.
Continue reading: The Fault In Our Stars Review
Hazel Lancaster is a bright 16-year-old girl suffering from terminal cancer who is forced to carry an oxygen and breathing tubes with her wherever she goes. Her mother forces her to attend a nearby cancer support group in a bid to help her come to terms with her illness and make friends who understand her situation. She meets a charming former cancer sufferer and amputee named Gus who is immediately taken by Hazel and the pair become inseparable; he sees past her tragic illness and is the only person who makes her feel as if she has a lifetime ahead of her. However, she soon begins to realise that her feelings for him are becoming stronger and stronger and she attempts to distance herself from him to avoid hurting him in the future. But Gus is determined that he loves her, and will stay by her side until the very end.
Continue: The Fault In Our Stars Trailer
Shailene Woodley has cut her usually long hair for a role. She is donating her cut hair to a children's charity which makes wigs for children with hair loss.
Shailene Woodley, the actress best known for her role in The Descendants, has cut her long locks for a role. The 21-year-old actress has decided to donate her cut hair to a children's charity called Children With Hair Loss, an organisation which makes wigs for children suffering from hair loss due to cancer or other medical treatments.
Shailene Woodley at the 2013 San Diego Comic-Con.
This is appropriate considering the role Woodley is to play. She is set to play the lead role in The Fault in Our Stars as Hazel Grace Lancaster. Based on the book by John Green, Hazel suffers from cancer and falls in love with another ill child. The movie is due out next year and will feature performances from Nat Wolff (The Last Keepers), Andel Algort (Carrie) and Laura Dern (Englightened).
Continue reading: "Weird, Wonderful And Empathetic" Shailene Woodley Cuts Hair For Charity
Actress Laura Dern is snapped out shopping with her children in Manhattan. She briefly stops to sign autographs for a group of fans. Dern recently starred in the TV series 'Enlightened' for which she won a Golden Globe. The series was, however, recently cancelled due to low ratings.
Date of birth
10th February, 1967
Save them. https://t.co/wMNoZEHT3Z
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