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Archives for : January2014

Interview: ‘Labor Day’-Gattlin Griffith And Joyce Maynard Discuss Josh Brolin’s Pie Making Skills

“When life gives you peaches, make peach pie!”  I guess that’s not exactly the way the saying goes.  But in Jason Reitman’s latest film, one “crucial” pie making scene proves to be a turning point for a broken family that gets a second chance to become whole.

The film is an adaptation of author Joyce Maynard’s critically acclaimed novel.  

Star Gattlin Griffith (Changeling, The Green Lantern) and Joyce Maynard both visited Dallas to talk about the film, the movies that make them cry, and of course, pie.

What was your initial reaction when you got this role?

Gattlin: “I was out of this world!  I was stunned you know?  I couldn’t really get my head wrapped around it.  You always want a role like this, but like once you have it, you’re like: Can I do this role?  I mean you start to think: I don’t know if I’m ready.  But you know, I prepared a lot.  I read over the script a lot.  I don’t really do a whole lot of acting lessons.  But I read over it, and I did my homework.”

Now Joyce, I heard that you taught Jason how to make a pie?

Joyce: “First Jason called me up.  He read my book, and he said the words that I love to hear.  “Your book made me cry.”  Um, then he said, “Can I come over to your house, and see how you make a pie.”  Which if people haven’t seen the movie, they may not understand why.  But it’s a crucial scene in the movie that Josh Brolin’s character, the convict hiding out in Kate Winslet’s house, makes a pie for and with them.  And Jason realized that this was a really important scene, and came over to my house and made a little Iphone movie of my pie.  And then on the first day of the shoot, actually before Gattlin showed up, they flew me to this little town in Massachusetts to teach Josh how to make the pie.  Because I didn’t want it to look like one of those perfect pies that you see on the cover of a magazine, they had, in fact, brought in consultant who was wearing the perfect white jacket.  And that’s not me at all.  I’m a very messy pie maker, and my pies are messy.  My pies look like a pie made by a convict on the run.  But they taste really good, which is sort of what the story is about.  It’s people piecing together, you know, this imperfect thing that ends up turning out good.  You don’t expect it.  If you just looked at my pie, you would say what on earth is this?!  And then you taste it!”

Did you teach him (pointing to Gattlin) how to make a pie at all?

Gattlin: “I kind of just, I guess I winged it.”

Joyce: “And I wouldn’t have wanted to teach him, because, you know, he was learning in the scene. So if he had already been a good pie maker, that would have been a problem.  The person who needed, in fact, Kate didn’t even want to pay too much attention to the lesson.  The person who needed to have command of that pie was Josh, and so I took the tough job of teaching him, and as I understand, I wasn’t around but you (pointing to Gattlin) were…”

Gattlin: “Yeah, he uh, all he talked about was pie making (laughs).  He was like, ‘yeah after my two hour workout I’ll go home and make a couple pies.’ (laughs)  He’d bring them to set everyday.”

Joyce: “Supposedly, by the end he couldn’t give them away, although he makes a really good pie.”

Gattlin: “No, everybody at first was like, ‘Oh my God Mr. Brolin made me a pie!’  By the end of it, everybody was like kind of swaying away (laughs) in the mornings from him bringing pies.”

My favorite line in the film is, “Nothing misleads people like the truth.” I love that line.  Why do you guys think that statement’s so true?

Gattlin: “Well I mean, I don’t know what you went for. (looking at Joyce)  I kind of took it as, there’s so many dishonest people in the world.  I guess that when somebody is telling the truth, it’s so rare.”

Joyce: ”There’s a great scene at the end of this movie, and I’m not going to give away what happens.  But when Gattlin and Kate are there trying to make their getaway, and they go to the bank.  And it’s a question of whether this is going to work or not?  And we’re rooting for them!  We’re rooting for these people to be together and make a family.  And the bank manager is looking really suspicious, and he says, you know, ‘I’m sorry, I don’t know what’s going on?’ And then Gattlin’s character, Henry…” (she points to Gattlin to finish)

Gattlin: “Mmhmm, I mean, can I say it?”

Joyce: “Yes, please!”

Gattlin: “Ok, um, I actually had a really hard time with this line.  It was something about stacking up all our money, and we’re going to make a break for the border, you know, like Bonnie and Clyde .”

Joyce: “Which is exactly what they were going to do.” (laughs)

Gattlin: “And it’s quiet for a second, and then it’s like, did he just give away the secret? And then the bank manager’s like laughing, ok, yeah sure.”

I remember that scene. That’s why I was like, thinking, “God, it’s so true.”

Joyce: “The other great line that I love in this movie, and it is the Valentines day line is, ‘I’d take another 20 years, for 3 more days with you.’  And that’s what we want to hear from the person that loves us.”

It’s one of those films that when you come out of the theater, you’re in a romantic mood and you just want to love love.

Joyce: “Luckily, Valentines day is coming!” (laughs)

For you guys, what other films give you that feeling?

Joyce: “Um, The Way We Were is one that always gets to me, and it has some of that feeling.  And I didn’t sit down and say, I want to make a movie with Kate Winslet and Josh Brolin.  I said, I want to give people a love story that will make them cry and make them feel.”

Gattlin: “You know there’s this old movie called Fluke.  And it’s actually about a dog, and he has all these friendships.  And he loves all these people, but everybody that he loves goes away at some point.  It’s an old movie.  And I don’t know if anybody’s heard of it, but it’s called Fluke.  It was sad cause he’d make a friend, she’d be lost; he’d make another friend she’d be lost.  And I remember that movie use to make me cry all the time as a kid.”

Rated PG-13 for thematic material, brief violence and sexuality.

Labor Day hits theaters today.

Joyce Maynard and Gattlin Griffith Video Interview

gattlin and joyce

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Interview/Review: Gabby Douglas Talks Lifetime’s “The Gabby Douglas Story”

She became the house-hold name that everyone could not stop talking about during the summer of 2012.  Olympian Gabrielle Douglas was the first African American ever to be named Individual All-Around Champion in artistic gymnastics at the Olympic Games.   Lifetime is bringing Gabby’s story to life with the television première of “The Gabby Douglas Story.”

When the odds were against them, Gabby and her family still didn’t give up until she was able to her reach her dream.  Regina King plays the struggling single mother of four who goes through extreme obstacles to keep her daughter’s dreams alive.  As she fights through illness and financial problems, her other three children have no reservations when it comes to sacrificing what they need to in order to pay for Gabby’s gymnastics classes.  Her family knows she has a gift.  Their belief in her, combined with her incredible drive and passion, leads to one emotional journey of determination and success in this inspiring true story.  Imani Hakim and Sydney Mikayla share the role of playing the two-time Olympic Gold Medalist.

In honor of her anticipated biopic, Gabby Douglas spoke with us to discuss the upcoming film that will premiere this Saturday night on Lifetime.

Thank you for taking time to speak with me today.  I enjoyed the movie and it was really inspiring.   I especially liked the quote your mom would always tell you and your siblings, “Today should always be better than yesterday.”  How do you continue to live by that quote today?

“I live by that quote because I feel like, you know, it’s motivation that keeps me going. You have to find something that motivates you and drives you.   You want to do the thing that you love.  The Olympics is driving me to the gym and busts my butt every single day, just by giving 100%.”

It was so amazing watching the unbelievable support that your family gave you in order for you to pursue your dreams.  How has life changed for you and your family since winning the gold medals?

“Wow.  Life has changed so much for us and we’re just so blessed and so honored.  I’m really honored that they could be apart of this journey, too.  And life is just different.  It changed so fast.  Everyone and the world was like who is Gabby Douglas?  And then I won the Olympics and it was like an overnight celebrity thing.  I never thought it would happen so fast.”

Did your family ever give you an “I told you so” after your wins? Because I feel like they believed in you so much, even when you wanted to quit. 

“Yes. (Laughs) Well not I told you so exactly, but they believed in me when I didn’t believe in me.  But yes at the end, they were kind of like see, we told you!  It was great, just having people around you that believe in you when you don’t, and they inspired me to believe in myself.”

And finally, I thought one of the greatest parts in the film was watching the workout montage while the song, “Hall of Fame” by The Script is playing in the background.  If you could choose any song to be the soundtrack of your life, what song would it be?

“Mmm, I think I’d pick…um “Hall of Fame” is a good one, and I think I’d pick “Girl on Fire.”

“The Gabby Douglas Story” will air on Saturday, February 1st at 8pm ET /PT on Lifetime.

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Feature film about Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird, an inspiring underdog tale of misfit cowboys and their long shot racehorse, starring Skeet Ulrich, Christian Kane, William Devane, Madelyn Deutch, Todd Lowe and jockey Calvin Borel.

Hollywood, Calif. (Jan. 29, 2014)  — The cast and filmmakers of ‘50 to 1’ will hit the road rock-star style on a cross-country tour beginning March 17 to promote the major motion picture’s release, says the film’s producer, director and co-writer Jim Wilson, Oscar®-winning producer of ‘Dances with Wolves.’

“We’re bringing ‘50 to 1’ to the people of America,” Wilson says. “The group will travel in a tour bus from New Mexico to Kentucky, making stops in cities and towns along the way, mirroring the trip racehorse Mine That Bird took on his way to the 2009 Kentucky Derby.

Cast members joining the tour will be Skeet Ulrich (Jericho, ‘Scream,’ ‘As Good As It Gets’), Christian Kane (Leverage, ‘Friday Night Lights,’ ‘Secondhand Lions,’ ‘Just Married’), Todd Lowe (True Blood, ‘The Princess Diaries,’ Gilmore Girls) and Hugo Perez (‘Machete,’ ‘The Longshots,’ ‘Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay’). Also on tour will be Wilson and co-producer, co-writer Faith Conroy. The real Mine That Bird will make special appearances along the tour.

“When was the last time Hollywood’s leading men hopped on a bus and toured the country from town to town, introducing their film to the people of America?” Wilson says. “It’s unprecedented.”

“I’m extremely excited to hit the road with a film I’m very proud to be a part of,” Ulrich says. “It seems fitting we’d be selling our wares from a gypsy-like caravan, given the underdog nature of our story, and I’m hoping this journey answers three burning questions. One, are audiences tired of the blockbuster and ready to be uplifted by the values of hard work and integrity? Two, can we inspire our audiences to stick to their guns and do what they love at all costs? And three, does Christian snore louder than Todd?”

“Man, this almost feels like we’re carnies or something. Or an old whistle-stop political campaign,” Lowe says.

“I’m looking forward to rolling into different towns and shaking hands and kissing babies.”

“Personally, I’ve always wanted to be a rock star,” Conroy says. “And seriously, traveling across the country for weeks on end with a busload of gorgeous cowboys? Sign me up!”

“I’ve done tours before. I’m excited!” Kane says. “It’s old hat for me in the sense that when you love something so much, you will put 18 wheels and lives in motion just to bring it into town and say, ‘I hope you like this. I made this for you.’”

“It’ll be a fun, fun road trip vacation for me, part of the dream-life I want to live,” Perez says. “It’s also an honor and I’m so fortunate to be a part of this adventure.”

Inspiration for the tour came during a brainstorming session by Wilson and Conroy. “I thought, why not meet the audience this movie is intended for, introduce them to the stars and shake their hands,” Wilson says. “It’s the audience that matters the most. It’s why we make these stories, to share them with the world.”

‘50 to 1’ is based on the inspiring true story of Mine That Bird and the cowboy trainer and owners who became the ultimate underdogs in a showdown with the world’s racing elite at the 2009 Kentucky Derby. The film was shot in 40 locations across New Mexico, Kentucky and California, and will open theatrically in roll-out fashion beginning in New Mexico March 21, followed by Texas and Louisiana April 4, Oklahoma and Arkansas April 11, Tennessee and Kentucky April 18, and will then expand across the country.

The tour mirrors not only the true story, but also the release, and will weave its way from town to town through the initial seven states. “This is just for starters,” Wilson says. “We have every intention of crisscrossing America, but it’s dependent on demand. If you want us to come visit your city, let us know.”

People interested in having the ‘50 to 1’ tour stop in their town can email their requests to

Include in the subject line: 50 to 1 Movie Tour – First and Last name, Town, State and Zip Code.

Special Features: “The Nut Job” already Lands Sequel!



LOS ANGELES, CA, January 23, 2014 – Open Road Films, Redrover Co., Ltd., ToonBox Entertainment Ltd., and Gulfstream Pictures are pleased to announce that THE NUT JOB 2, a sequel to the hit film THE NUT JOB – which opened on January 17, 2014, taking in over $25,700,00 at the holiday weekend box-office as the biggest independent animated film opening of all time – will hit theaters January 15, 2016.  The announcement was made today by Tom Ortenberg, CEO of Open Road Films and Hoe-jin Ha, CEO and President of Redrover Co., Ltd.

In animated 3D, THE NUT JOB is an action-packed comedy that follows Surly (voiced by Will Arnett), a mischievous squirrel, who must plan a heist to get into his town’s biggest nut shop in order to help his pals in the park gather food to survive the winter. Together with his sidekick, Buddy, Surly assembles a ragtag crew to help him get inside – and takes them on a fun-filled adventure that they’ll never forget.  In addition to Will Arnett as Surly, THE NUT JOB also features the voices of Brendan Fraser, Liam Neeson, Katherine Heigl, Maya Rudolph, Stephen Lang, Jeff Dunham, Gabriel Iglesias and Sarah Gadon.

Directed by Peter Lepeniotis from a screenplay by Lorne Cameron and Lepeniotis, the hit film THE NUT JOB was produced by Wookyung Jung and Graham Moloy.  Executive producers are Daniel Woo, Hong Kim, and Jay Ahn as well as Bill Bindley and Mike Karz of Gulfstream Pictures. THE NUT JOB was a collaboration of Redrover Co., Ltd., ToonBox Entertainment Ltd. and Gulfstream Pictures.

“We couldn’t be more thrilled about THE NUT JOB,” stated Ortenberg.  “It has been a pleasure working with the teams at Redrover, ToonBox and Gulfstream and we are delighted to re-team with them for THE NUT JOB 2.”

“We are very proud of what we have accomplished in Hollywood as an independent production company,” commented Ha. “Our compliments go out to ToonBox and Gulfstream for their endeavor in the co-production and to Open Road for their successful campaign and teamwork. We are looking forward to working with them on THE NUT JOB 2.”

“We’re thrilled that audiences have embraced these characters and it is exciting to anticipate their return for another adventure in THE NUT JOB 2,” said Karz. “The entire team behind this movie did a fantastic job and we’re looking forward to working with them again.”

The deal was negotiated on behalf of Open Road Films by Ortenberg, Elliott Kleinberg, COO and Peter Lawson, Executive Vice President of Production and Acquisitions.  Susan Williams and Stephen Zager of Loeb and Loeb negotiated on behalf of Redrover Co., Ltd., ToonBox Entertainment Ltd., and Gulfstream Pictures.

Interview: Vanessa Hudgens talks “Gimme Shelter”

A couple weeks ago I got to sit down with Vanessa Hudgens, director Ronald Krauss, and Kathy Difiore to discuss their new film, “Gimme Shelter.”  The piece aired on ICTN’s entertainment show,  About Towne. 


Movie Review: ‘I Used To Be Darker’ Is Essentially About The Music


Who needs a complex story-line when you’ve got talented musicians to carry a film?

Matthew Porterfield’s official Sundance selection, I Used To Be Darker, is truly a beautiful and expressive piece of art starring and featuring music by singer-songwriter Kim Taylor.  The songs played throughout the film are not only for background, but also an extension of the dialogue.

When Taryn (Deragh Campbell), a Northern Irish runaway, finds herself in trouble in Ocean City, she decides to stay with her aunt (Kim Taylor) and uncle (Ned Oldham) in Baltimore hoping to escape her problems.  But little does she know her aunt and uncle are having problems of their own. Tayrn’s visit happens to be at a time when the two are trying deal with the end of their marriage.  The couple and their daughter, Abby (Hannah Gross), are having an even harder time than they expected.  Abby can’t even look at her mother.  Her father is heart broken and trying to maintain a positive demeanor.  All the while, Taryn does everything she can to avoid telling her own parents where she is.

The premise itself is intriguing, and I believe Porterfield accomplished the goal he was trying to achieve in the film.  Everyone is trying to avoid dealing with their issues or talking about their problems.   Some of the characters express their feelings through song, while others bottle up their emotions until finally unleashing it during a random outburst.

The most enjoyable scenes were when the characters finally expressed their frustration verbally.  More specifically, one of the best scenes is performed by the exceptional Hannah Gross, when she randomly barges into Taryn’s room shouting at her to call her parents.  In that moment, you are able to connect with Abby and the pain she is going through.

Articulated through song and music, I Used To Be Darker tells a heart-breaking story of family tribulations, people finding each other and letting each other go, and how to hopefully find love again. Though I can’t say this film will appeal to all audiences, music and indie film lovers should find it deep and touching.

I Used To Be Darker is  out on DVD January 28th.

I Used To Be Darker Trailer HD

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Special Features: Fox Searchlight Acquires ‘Calvary’ And ‘I Origins’

Fox Searchlight Pictures Presidents Nancy Utley and Stephen Gilula announced today that the company has acquired U.S. rights as well as select international territories to the blackly comedic drama CALVARY. Written and directed by John Michael McDonagh, CALVARY’s ensemble cast includes Brendan Gleeson, Chris O’Dowd, Kelly Reilly, Aidan Gillen, Dylan Moran, Isaach De Bankolé, M. Emmet Walsh, Marie-Josée Croze, Domhnall Gleeson, David Wilmot, Pat Shortt, Gary Lydon, Killian Scott, Orla O’Rourke, Owen Sharpe and David McSavage. The film was produced by Reprisal Films’ Chris Clark and Flora Fernandez Marengo and Octagon’s James Flynn, and is an Irish Film Board and BFI presentation in association with Lypsync Productions. The film is scheduled to be released in 2014.

“Brendan Gleeson gives a tour de force performance in a film that John Michael McDonagh has written and directed with perfection, taking us into a world with distinctive characters where the stakes are high,” said Gilula and Utley.

“We made a great film. In Fox Searchlight, we now have a great company behind us to send that film out into the world. Thank you, Sundance. Thank you, bourbon! Onward,” said McDonagh.

“We were impressed by the passion and commitment of Fox Searchlight towards Calvary, and look forward to the next chapter for the film,” said Clark.

“We’ve found the perfect home for the film and are thrilled to be working with Steve and Nancy and their wonderful team at Fox Searchlight,” said Fernandez Marengo.

CALVARY’s Father James (Brendan Gleeson) is a good priest who is faced with sinister and troubling circumstances brought about by a mysterious member of his parish. Although he continues to comfort his own fragile daughter (Kelly Reilly) and reach out to help members of his church with their various scurrilous moral – and often comic – problems, he feels sinister and troubling forces closing in, and begins to wonder if he will have the courage to face his own personal Calvary.

Fox Searchlight Pictures Presidents Stephen Gilula and Nancy Utley announced today that the company has acquired worldwide rights to the existential drama I ORIGINS. Directed and written by Mike Cahill, I ORIGINS is his second feature following ANOTHER EARTH which Fox Searchlight acquired at Sundance in 2011. The film stars Michael Pitt, Brit Marling, Astrid Bergès-Frisbey, Steven Yeun and Archie Panjabi with Cahill, Hunter Gray and Alex Orlovsky serving as producers. The film is scheduled to be released in 2014.

“Mike Cahill’s impressive second feature makes you question our very place in the universe by merging the scientific and emotional worlds in a deeply affecting way,” said Utley and Gilula. “The film boasts a superb cast led by Michael Pitt, and it is great to be reunited with Mike and Brit.”

“I am so excited to once again be home at Fox Searchlight, a place that I believe embraces creative passion and the future of cinematic storytelling,” said Cahill.

“I ORIGINS is a very special film for us at Verisimilitude. We know that Fox Searchlight is the perfect home for Mike’s innovative and utterly original work,” said Gray and Orlovsky.

Written and directed by Mike Cahill, and starring Michael Pitt, Brit Marling, and Astrid Bergès-Frisbey, I ORIGINS follows a molecular biologist whose study of the human eye points to evidence with far reaching implications about our scientific and spiritual beliefs.

Movie Review: “Besties” is a Friendship I’m Glad to be Done With

For many of us, films about the overly obsessive best friend who eventually goes on to have a psychotic rampage tend to be an enjoyable guilty pleasure.  However, director/writer Rebecca Cutter fails to give an equally entertaining script with her latest project.

Besties tells the story of Sandy (Olivia Crocicchia), a dorky underclassman who idolizes the babysitter that has lived next door to her for years.  Ashley (Madison Riley) is a gorgeous, fun, and popular senior.   She is also manipulative bitch.  On the night that her dad goes out of town for work, Sandy excitedly asks Ashley to baby-sit her.  Ashley takes advantage of this opportunity to throw a party in which a destructive ex makes an unexpected visit.  When things get out of hand, the night ends with deadly results.  To make sure she never reveals the secrets of that night, Ashley entices Sandy with a “friendship” she wouldn’t dare want to risk losing.

The premise sounds interesting enough.  I even appreciate the slight originality of role reversal with who is actually good and bad in this film.  Movies like Single White Female and The Roomate focus on the pretty and sweet girl who has unknowingly become a victim to the crazy, obsessive new friend.  Sandy is very much the victim in Besties.  The problem with this film, in comparison to its predecessors, is the tamed and boring actions that follow after the two girls become best friends.  Yes, Ashley is mean but there really isn’t a boiling point for Sandy that makes the audience: one- want to sympathize for her, and two- really want her to overcome Ashley.

Maybe if there were more talented actors, the movie could have been a bit thrilling.  Crocicchia was tolerable, but her attempt to act drunk was almost as embarrassing as watching Bobby Soto try to play a convincing love interest for her character.  A couple shots of vodka for Crocicchia, and a few acting lessons for Soto could have made for a better film.  Thank goodness for Riley’s performance as the conniving antagonist.  She is truly the only reason I was able to keep watching this movie.  Although, if Ashley’s mom (Jackie Debatin) and Sandy ’s dad (Corin Nemec) would have played a bigger part, I think we could have had an interesting side story.

Besties is a low-budget drama/thriller that starts out with so much potential, but falls incredibly flat.

Watch Besties on demand at

 Besties Trailer HD

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TV Movie Review: “Lizzie Borden Took an Ax” Features a Spine-Chilling Performance by Christina Ricci

“Lizzie Borden took an axe, and gave her mother forty whacks. When she saw what she had done, she gave her father forty-one.”

We’ve all heard the infamous skipping rhyme many times that was based on the true story of the girl who allegedly killed both her parents gruesomely with an ax. Well now, Lifetime has taken the bleak tale and turned it into one of their highly anticipated TV movies.

Starring Christina Ricci in one of her most disturbing roles yet.  She gives an unforgettable performance in an otherwise tedious film.  For those of you who don’t know the story of Lizzie Borden, she was an American woman who was tried and acquitted in 1892 for the axe murders of her father and stepmother in Fall River, Massachusetts.  There were other theories that surfaced trying to explain who might have killed Lizzie’s parents.  But with no one else being as strong or as likely of a suspect, the murders of Andrew and Abby Borden still remain a mystery.  Heavy speculations about the crimes still continue today.  However, it is clear that director Nick Gomez has made up his mind about who the murderer is.

The story itself is an interesting one.  But when told through a made for television movie, it can be pretty boring.  Lifetime tends to do a good job with respecting the known facts of any true story they turn into film.  This is great for accuracy, but not always engaging enough for audiences.  Luckily, “Lizzie Borden Took an Ax” is less than half an hour long.  But even the short running time doesn’t make this film any more exciting.

The film starts off well.  We get thrown into to the murders fairly quickly, but not before we get a good amount of character development from the Borden family.  It is once the murders have happened that this film starts to go down hill.  Trying to hook the audience back in with as many random bloody axing shots, the film still has trouble trying to stay entertaining.  By this point, the audience knows all the facts and the end results.  It just becomes a matter of how the movie will handle the ending.  The last 35 minutes is a repetitive mess.  The film throws in various shots of unexplained scenes with never before scene characters.  In an effort to explain other possible scenarios, this sequence becomes confusing and a bit of tease.  Some of those shots would have been fun to watch had they fully played out, even if they were just theoretical.

What I can not complain about is the haunting performance Ricci gives as an unhinged, Lizzie Borden.  Ricci, no surprise, shines in this film.  From her creepy head tilts, to her untrusting wide eyes, she nailed this potentially dreadful role.  As long as she is on the screen, you will be kept amused until the unexpected and satisfying ending.  With all the information the filmmakers knew, they handled the end scene in the best way I could imagine; tasteful, realistic, and eerie.  No matter how you feel getting through “Lizzie Borden Took an Ax,” you will be content with the acting and conclusion.

“Lizzie Borden Took an Ax” premieres on Lifetime January 25th at 8PM ET/PT.

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Movie Review: “The Past” Is A Storytelling Masterpiece

Academy Award winner Asghar Farhadi once again showcases his unpredictable and enticing storytelling skills in his latest drama thriller.

Four years ago Ahmed (Ali Mosaffa) left his French wife, Marie (Bérénice Bejo), and her two daughters from a previous marriage, to return to his homeland, Iran.   Now he has come back to France to finalize his divorce so his wife can remarry.  Upon his arrival, he comes to find out that Marie’s oldest daughter, Lucie (Pauline Burlet), can not stand the future husband to be, who also has his own son.  As Ahmed begins to discover the reasoning behind Lucie’s hate, secrets of how Marie and her fiancée got together start to unfold; leading to one shocking truth after another.

I think it’s best to not go into too much detail of the events that occur in this film.  The beauty and brilliance of the bilingual movie, spoken in both French and Persian, is how you are not able to figure out what will happen next.  In fact, you will probably assume that you have the entire story pegged out already.  It is definitely laid out that way in the beginning.  But like his format in A Separation, Farhadi makes the audience suspect multiple scenarios while keeping them on the edge of their seats.

The Past features spellbinding performances by the entire cast, with a stand-out performance by Bérénice Bejo.  Famously known for her role in The Artist, Academy Award nominee Bejo is even more captivating with sound.  Alongside her remarkable acting is the exceptional direction.  Farhadi not only writes a scintillating, detailed script without heavy dialogue, he also shoots his scenes in the most creative, yet subtle technique.

For anyone who enjoyed A Separation, I guarantee you will not be disappointed with The Past.  Following the same style and tone, this film draws you in and keeps you guessing till the very end.  The magnificent final shot will leave audiences experiencing various emotions when the last character that you would expect, sheds a tear.

Rated PG-13 for mature, thematic material and brief strong language.

The Past hits theaters on January 17.

The Past Trailer HD

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