Tag: Brie Larson


Basmati Blues

February 1st, 2018 — 5:21am

****

Basmati Blues

Even before La La Land, which won five Oscars last season was released, the team behind Basmati Blues was planning this old fashioned musical. It was co-written and eventually directed by Danny Baron who worked with producers Monique Caufield, Jeffrey Soros and Ruedi Gerber, all experienced movie makers. Their idea was not just to make a Hollywood musical, but to come up with one that had a storyline which would take place in India and would meld that country’s culture, dance and music along with the traditional American musical. They put together a very talented casts starring Brie Larson, who won the Oscar for Best Actress in 2015 for Room. Miss Larson proves herself not only to be a talented actress but to be one who can sing and dance. She is paired with Utkarsh Ambudkar who is an All-American actor with an Indian heritage. The cast also includes Scott Bakula and Tyne Daly who are quite capable of singing and dancing along with Donald Sutherland who plays his villain type.

The storyline shows an American, very large seed manufacturing company that wants to sell its new product to the farmers of India. They send the young, brilliant, beautiful scientist (Larson) to India to convince the farmers to use this product (which did have a serious flaw). There is an Indian science guy (Ambudkar) who thought that he had a better idea. There is drama, intrigue, a little romance and of course, music, dance and song. It was a little disturbing that the people of India were being conned and weren’t as smart as they should have been. But you know (no spoiler alert here) that in the end there is a crescendo with happy, enjoyable music, dance and song in a beautiful setting. Everyone seemed to be leaving the theater with a big smile on his and her face which is the way it should be (2017).

Comment » | 4 Stars, Musical

Room

September 7th, 2016 — 6:44am

Screen Shot 2016-09-05 at 5.05.52 PM***

Room-nf

You probably have some idea of the plot of this movie as we did when we decided to view it one evening. A young woman is abducted and held hostage in an 11-foot by 11-foot room with only a skylight facing the real world. Her abductor has the code to the steel locked door. He visits her regularly in order to rape her. After about a year, she becomes pregnant and raises her son, Jack, in this confined space. We meet them when Jack is turning five years old. His television set is his only window on the outside but he doesn’t actually believe what he sees on it is “real”. This raises an interesting thought; do we all really know what is out there in the wide universe beyond our experience on our small planet Earth. For all we know, we have a very narrow perspective on “life”. We don’t think this was the overt theme of this film but it may have stimulated more than meets the eye.

More concretely, the movie takes us through the dramatic freeing of mother and child from their prison. We struggle with Jack and his mother as they attempt to reintegrate from this experience. In this regard, We found it incongruous that a mother who is so close to her child due to these circumstances could contemplate abandoning him. So, the story is one that tries to show the “power of guilt”.

The other power of this movie is the Academy Award-winning experience of Brie Larson as the mother and the amazing performance of the very young man, Jacob Tremblay who plays the child.

Thanks to the direction of Lenny Abrahamson and the novel and screenplay by Emma Donoghue, we are treated to a highly unusual story. Despite the great acting and the unusual plot, we felt that the film was lacking in drama and could have used more depth. We are only given a glimpse on the impact on the young woman’s parents played by Joan Allen and William H. Macy who lost their daughter for seven years ago when she was 17 years old. Overall, this movie could have been done better but it will be memorable to all who see it. (2015).

Comment » | 3 Stars, Drama

Trainwreck

July 26th, 2015 — 8:01pm

****Screen Shot 2015-07-26 at 12.09.42 PM

Trainwreck -rm

We were prepared not to like this film as we assumed it was geared for a much younger demographic than ourselves which may very well have been the case. However, we enjoyed it immensely.

The opening scene showed a father teaching his two young girls a mantra that “monogamy is not realistic” as he tells them about his pending divorce to their mother. One of the girls is Amy, played as a grown up young woman by Amy Schumer who also wrote the screenplay.

From the beginning we had the idea that Amy’s psychology was not founded on traditional family values. She had lots of boyfriends and sex seemed to be mainly an end into itself. It was also mixed with lots of drinking and smoking pot. Interestingly this was in contrast to her sister Kim (Brie Larson) who having heard the same message from her father was now married with an adorable stepson and a new pregnancy.

Amy works as a successful writer albeit with a magazine that seems to view life and sex in a manner similar to hers. With Judd Apatow (Bridesmaids) at the director’s helm we would expect Schumer’s comedic writing and her persona to provide lots of good laughs, which was certainly the case if we were to judge our own reactions and that of our theatre audience. However, the film developed much more than an extended Saturday Nite Live routine (which is where co-star Bill Hader achieved his renowned success). He plays Dr. Aaron Connors, a successful sports doctor, who Amy is assigned to interview for her magazine. The chemistry between them goes beyond the sex and they fall in love. Amy and the good doctor struggled with their differences and their attraction to each other. There are some very poignant and dramatic scenes, which Ms. Schumer carries off extremely well while staying within her character. We read somewhere that she is a classically trained actress and she certainly handled the tearful moments, angry outbursts and the comedy to perfection. The story uses satire especially in the sex scenes but also with the cameo appearances by Matthew Broderick, Marv Albert, Chris Evert, Daniel Radcliffe and some well-known professional basketball players.

We are left with a tour de force about the impact of childhood, falling in love, and growing up, which are all presented to us with a wonderful sense of humor.(2015)

Comment » | 4 Stars, Comedy, Drama, Romance

Short Term 12

September 3rd, 2013 — 6:33pm

****Short term 12

Short Term 12- rm This  film slices into the tragic plight of children who are deprived of a decent childhood because of circumstances of poverty and /or parental abuse.  The setting is a lovely group home that houses what appears to be a dozen youth for a varying amount of time who range  from preteen to age 18 when they must move on. We meet Sammy (Alex Calloway) a wide eyed young boy who is either trying to run for freedom or  is lost in his world of toy figures, Marcus,  (Keith Stanfield)an older teen boy who is filled with anger and hurt which he expresses through rapping and Jayden, (Kaitlyn Dever) a teenage girl who holds her story inside while she makes her self bleed or has terrifying fantasies. The staff seem to be mostly 20 something young people two of whom we get to know. Grace (Brie Larson) is a very capable counselor who related extremely well to her charges and who gradually reveals her own past life, mainly that her father is  serving a 10 year jail term for deeds he did to her and will be soon released. The other staff member who we come to know is Mason (William Gallager Jr, the actor who plays the likeable young news producer on the TV series Newsroom). Mason is a grateful success story, having been raised by foster parents who recently celebrated their 30th anniversary. Outside of work he and Grace are a couple whose relationship is tested when she reveals the old and a new important event  of her life that will impact on both of them. The screenplay by director/writer Destin Cretton shows how hurt, angry mistreated young people can feel. We also see the difference it can make when someone understands, empathizes and even identifies with them. From our experience as therapists we know how youthful traumatic experiences which can disrupt personality development may bring about cutting and self destructive behavior that were shown in this film. The road to a happy ending requires time in therapy that these characters were just beginning. While this piece of reality may have been somewhat minimized in this story, the overall film experience was absorbing, insightful and very uplifting. (2013)

Comment » | 4 Stars, Drama

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