Category: Family Films
Taglines: Be careful what you wish for.
Into the Woods is a modern twist on the beloved Brothers Grimm fairy tales in a musical format that follows the classic tales of Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Jack and the Beanstalk, and Rapunzel-all tied together by an original story involving a baker and his wife, their wish to begin a family and their interaction with the witch who has put a curse on them.
Set in an alternate world of various Grimm fairy tales, the film intertwines the plots of several Grimm fairy tales and follows them to explore the consequences of the characters’ wishes and quests. The main characters are taken from “Little Red Riding Hood”, “Jack and the Beanstalk”, “Rapunzel”, and “Cinderella”, as well as several others. When a Baker and his Wife learn they’ve been cursed childless by a Witch, they must embark into the woods to find the objects required to break the spell and begin a family.
The film is tied together to the original story of the baker and his wife and, their interaction with the Witch who has placed a curse on them, and their interaction with other storybook characters during their journey. What begins as a lively irreverent fantasy musical eventually becomes a meaningful tale about responsibility, the problems that come from wishes, and the legacy that we leave our children.
Into the Woods is an American fantasy musical drama film directed by Rob Marshall, and adapted to the screen by James Lapine from his and Stephen Sondheim’s Tony Award-winning Broadway musical of the same name. It features an ensemble cast that includes Meryl Streep, Emily Blunt, James Corden, Anna Kendrick, Chris Pine, Tracey Ullman, Christine Baranski, Lilla Crawford, Daniel Huttlestone, MacKenzie Mauzy, Billy Magnussen, and Johnny Depp. Inspired by the Grimm Brothers’ fairy tales of “Little Red Riding Hood”, “Cinderella”, “Jack and the Beanstalk”, and “Rapunzel”
About the Story
A Baker (James Corden) and his Wife (Emily Blunt) wish for a child but suffer under a curse laid upon the Baker’s family by a Witch (Meryl Streep) who found the Baker’s father (Simon Russell Beale) robbing her garden to appease his pregnant wife’s insatiable cravings. The Baker’s father also stole some beans which caused the Witch’s mother to punish her with the curse of ugliness. The Witch offers to lift the curse, but only if the Baker and his Wife obtain four critical items for her to make a certain potion: a cow as white as milk, a cape as red as blood, hair as yellow as corn, and a slipper as pure as gold. The Witch later tells the Baker that she asked him to do this task for her because she is not allowed to touch any of the objects.
The Witch’s demands eventually bring the Baker and his Wife into contact with Jack (Daniel Huttlestone), who is selling his beloved cow Milky White and to whom the Baker offers five magic beans left him by his father (the same ones stolen from the Witch) which grow into a large beanstalk when Jack’s mother angrily discards them in her garden; with Red Riding Hood (Lilla Crawford), whose ruby cape the couple notices when she stops to buy sweets on her way to her grandmother’s house; with Rapunzel (MacKenzie Mauzy), the Witch’s adopted daughter (the child that she took from the Baker’s parents in exchange for the greens stolen by the Baker’s father), whose tower the Baker’s Wife passes in the woods; and with Cinderella (Anna Kendrick), whose beautiful golden slippers catch the eye of the Baker’s Wife as she flees past pursued by a handsome Prince (Chris Pine) who danced with her at the King’s festival.
After a series of failed attempts and misadventures, the Baker and his Wife finally are able to gather the items necessary to break the spell. Meanwhile, each of the other characters receive their “happy endings”: Cinderella and Rapunzel marry their Princes; Jack provides for his mother (Tracey Ullman) by stealing riches from the Giant in the sky, and kills the pursuing Giant by cutting down the beanstalk; The Baker saves Little Red Riding Hood and her Grandmother (Annette Crosbie) from the Big Bad Wolf (Johnny Depp) by killing him; and the Witch regains her youth and beauty after drinking the potion.
Into the Woods
Directed by: Rob Marshall
Starring: Meryl Streep, Emily Blunt, James Corden, Anna Kendrick, Chris Pine, Tracey Ullman, Christine Baranski, Johnny Depp, Lucy Punch
Screenplay by: James Lapine
Production Design by: Dennis Gassner
Cinematography by: Dion Beebe
Film Editing by: Wyatt Smith
Costume Design by: Colleen Atwood
Set Decoration by: Anna Pinnock
Art Direction by: Andrew Bennett, Ben Collins, Chris Lowe, Mary Mackenzie
MPAA Rating: PG for thematic elements, fantasy action and peril, and some suggestive material.
Studio: Walt Disney Pictures
Release Date: December 25, 2014
Super spy teams aren’t born…they’re hatched. Discover the secrets of the greatest and most hilarious covert birds in the global espionage biz: Skipper, Kowalski, Rico and Private. These elitists of the elite are joining forces with a chic undercover organization, The North Wind. Led by handsome and husky Agent Classified (we could tell you his name, but then…you know). Together, they must stop the villainous Dr. Octavius Brine, from destroying the world as we know it.
Penguins of Madagascar is an American 3D computer-animated comedy adventure film, produced by DreamWorks Animation and distributed by 20th Century Fox. It is a spin-off of the Madagascar film series, and takes place right after the events of Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted, following the penguins Skipper, Kowalski, Rico and Private in their own adventure. Apart from the main characters, it is unrelated to the TV series of the same name.
The film was directed by Simon J. Smith and Eric Darnell, and written by Michael Colton, John Aboud, and Brandon Sawyer. It stars the voices of Tom McGrath, Chris Miller, Conrad Vernon, Christopher Knights, Benedict Cumberbatch, John Malkovich, and Ken Jeong. The film was released on November 26, 2014. It is the first film in the Madagascar franchise that is distributed by 20th Century Fox and the final film to be produced by Pacific Data Images before its closure in 2015.
Penguins of Madagascar
Directed by: Eric Darnell, Simon J. Smith
Starring: Tom McGrath, Chris Miller, Christopher Knights, Conrad Vernon, Benedict Cumberbatch, Ken Jeong, Annet Mahendru, Peter Stormare, John Malkovich
Screenplay by: John Aboud, Michael Colton
Production Management: Philip M. Cohen
Music by: Lorne Balfe
MPAA Rating: PG for mild action and some rude humor.
Studio: DreamWorks Pictures
Release Date: November 26, 2014
Taglines: Love thy neighbor.
St. Vincent is an American comedy-drama film written and directed by Theodore Melfi, making his feature film debut. The film stars Bill Murray as the title character with Melissa McCarthy, Chris O’Dowd, and Naomi Watts. The film had its world premiere at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival where it won 2nd runner up as “People’s Choice Award for Best Film”. It was released theatrically on October 24, 2014.
Filming began the first week of July 2013, with scenes filmed in Brooklyn, New York and at Belmont Park in Elmont, Long Island, New York. On December 26, 2013, Theodore Shapiro was hired to score the film. Sony Classical Records released the soundtrack album on October 27, 2014.
Vincent MacKenna (Bill Murray) is a Vietnam War veteran and retiree living in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, who is the son of Irish immigrants. He is a grumpy alcoholic who smokes and gambles regularly. His wife, Sandy (Donna Mitchell), developed Alzheimer’s Disease years ago and can no longer recognize him, but he still does her laundry for her at the nursing home where she lives and visits her every week, posing as a doctor. Otherwise, Vincent’s only other close friends are a pregnant Russian prostitute named Daka (Naomi Watts) and his cat, Felix, as he owes many people money. Despite leading a quiet and boring existence, Vincent has many acquaintances who like and respect him.
One day, after Vincent’s 30-year-old Chrysler Lebaron gets damaged by a tree branch resulting from his new neighbors moving in, Maggie Bronstein (Melissa McCarthy) and her 12-year-old son Oliver (Jaeden Lieberher), meet Vincent. Maggie is a single mother fighting for custody after her husband had several affairs. Despite this, she is doing her best to provide for Oliver, who is ostracised and bullied at his Catholic school, but is nonetheless knowledgeable and friendly. On his first day at his school, Oliver’s phone and house keys are stolen from his gym locker. Oliver asks Vincent if he can stay at his home until his mother comes home from work. Maggie is late and she pays Vincent for babysitting.
Now that Vincent has money coming in, Vincent starts babysitting Oliver every day after school because Maggie often has to work late hours. Vincent’s ideas of after-school activities involve visits to racetracks and bars, but eventually the mismatched pair begin to help each other mature. Vincent teaches Oliver how to fight, and he breaks his bully’s nose, but the two soon become best friends. Vincent and Oliver quickly become good friends and a lucky bet at the racetracks help Vincent to pay off some of his debts. But things do not get any easier for Vincent, as he gambles away the rest of his money, hoping to make more to keep Sandy in her nursing home, as he is behind on payments. Vincent is also interrogated in his home by his loan sharks Zucko (Terrence Howard) and Antwan (James Andrew O’Connor), who both attempt to take Sandy’s jewelry.
Directed by: Theodore Melfi
Starring: Bill Murray, Melissa McCarthy, Naomi Watts, Chris O’Dowd, Terrence Howard, Kimberly Quinn, Ann Dowd
Screenplay by: Theodore Melfi
Production Design by: Inbal Weinberg
Cinematography by: John Lindley
Film Editing by: Sarah Flack, Peter Teschner
Costume Design by: Kasia Walicka-Maimone
Set Decoration by: Jasmine E. Ballou, Graham Wichman
Music by: Theodore Shapiro
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for mature thematic material including sexual content, alcohol and tobacco use, and for language.
Studio: The Weinstein Company
Release Date: October 24, 2014
From producer Guillermo del Toro and director Jorge Gutierrez comes an animated comedy with a unique visual style. THE BOOK OF LIFE is the journey of Manolo, a young man who is torn between fulfilling the expectations of his family and following his heart. Before choosing which path to follow, he embarks on an incredible adventure that spans three fantastical worlds where he must face his greatest fears. Rich with a fresh take on pop music favorites, THE BOOK OF LIFE encourages us to celebrate the past while looking forward to the future.
The Book of Life is an American 3D computer-animated adventure musical comedy film produced by Reel FX Creative Studios and distributed by 20th Century Fox. Co-written and directed by Jorge Gutierrez, the film stars the voices of Diego Luna, Zoe Saldana, and Channing Tatum with supporting roles by Christina Applegate, Ice Cube, Ron Perlman, and Kate del Castillo. The film was theatrically released on October 17, 2014.
About the Story
A bus full of children arrives at a museum, where they are taken on a secret tour by a tour guide named Mary Beth (Christina Applegate), who tells them about the famous legends and myths of Mexican folklore. She leads them to a hidden room, containing the Book of Life, which holds the story of how the ways of their world were shaped.
She shows them a story that focuses on the Mexican town of San Angel and on two gods, La Muerte: Ruler of the Land of the Remembered (Kate del Castillo) where the spirits live on with their memories kept by their loved ones and Xibalba: Ruler of the Land of the Forgotten (Ron Perlman) where the forgotten souls decay into oblivion. During the Day of the Dead festival, the two spot three young children playing – Manolo and Joaquín, who are both in love with the same, free-spirited girl, María. Manolo comes from a family of bullfighters, but his real passion lies in music. Joaquín is more adventurous, hoping to avenge his father, a soldier who was killed by the sinister bandit Chakal (Dan Navarro).
Disguised as peasants, the two go down into the celebration. La Muerte, as an old woman, comes to Manolo (Diego Luna) and his father Carlos (Héctor Elizondo) who are at the grave of Manolo’s mother Carmen and is given a loaf of bread by Manolo. Xibalba, as an old man trades the bread for a mystical medal that will make Joaquín (Channing Tatum) invulnerable to harm. Xibalba then bets La Muerte that María (Zoe Saldana) will end up marrying Joaquín while La Muerte bets on Manolo. The winner will be allowed to rule over the Land of the Remembered.
María later sets free a group of animals into the town after seeing a cute baby pig (Carlos Alazraqui) much to the chagrin of her father General Posada (Carlos Alazraqui). A wild boar comes into town and nearly gets Posada, but Manolo manages to lure the boar like a bullfighter and cause it to crash, but Posada believes it was Joaquín that saved him ignoring Manolo in favor of him. As punishment for her actions, Posada orders María to be sent to a private boarding school in Spain. Manolo gives her the baby pig that she wanted to save which Manolo names Chuy. María gives him a guitar after his old one is broken. On it is an engraving that says “Always play from your heart.”
The Book of Life
Directed by: Jorge R. Gutierrez
Starring: Diego Luna, Zoe Saldana, Channing Tatum, Ron Perlman, Christina Applegate, Ice Cube, Kate del Castillo
Screenplay by: Jorge R. Gutierrez, Douglas Langdale
Production Design by: Paul Sullivan, Simon Valdimir Varela
Film Editing by: Steven Liu, Ahren Shaw
Art Direction by: Paul Sullivan
Music by: Gustavo Santaolalla
MPAA Rating: PG for mild action, rude humor, some thematic elements and brief scary images.
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Release Date: October 17, 2014
Taglines: For Alexander, life couldn’t get worse. For his family, life couldn’t be better.
Disney’s “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day” follows the exploits of 11-year-old Alexander as he experiences the most terrible and horrible day of his young life, a day that begins with gum stuck in his hair, followed by one calamity after another. But when Alexander tells his upbeat family about the misadventures of his disastrous day, he finds little sympathy and begins to wonder if bad things only happen to him. He soon learns that he’s not alone when his brother, sister, mom and dad all find themselves living through their own terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. Anyone who says there is no such thing as a bad day just hasn’t had one.
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day is a 2014 American comedy film directed by Miguel Arteta from a screenplay written by Rob Lieber. The film stars Steve Carell, Jennifer Garner, and Ed Oxenbould, and is based on Judith Viorst’s 1972 children’s book of the same name. Co-produced by 21 Laps Entertainment and The Jim Henson Company, the film was released by Walt Disney Pictures on October 10, 2014.
About the Story
The film follows the exploits of Alexander Cooper (Ed Oxenbould), an ordinary 11-year old boy, and his “terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.” Alexander is left out by his family; his older brother, Anthony (Dylan Minnette), his sister, Emily (Kerris Dorsey), his mother, Kelly (Jennifer Garner), his dad, Ben (Steve Carell), and their infant baby son, Trevor (Elise/Zoey Vargas).
The day before Alexander’s twelfth birthday, he wakes up and finds gum in his hair, clipping it off with a pair of scissors. Anthony is trying to earn his driver’s license so he can drive his girlfriend Celia (Bella Thorne) to prom, Emily is rehearsing for the title role in her school play of Peter Pan, Kelly is working for a publication company that is publishing a new children’s book, and Ben, who has been unemployed for several months, has landed a job interview as a game designer for a video game company.
That same morning, Alexander attends school where he experiences another series of misfortunes, as well as finding out that his friends, including his crush Becky Gibson (Sidney Fullmer), and friend Paul (Mekai Curtis), will all be attending Philip Parker’s birthday party instead of his, due to Philip’s expensive party entertainment and popularity.
Alexander tries to tell his family how miserably his day has gone, but none of them even listen to what he says. That evening, Anthony upsets Celia during a phone call while yelling at Alexander saying he is an “idiot brother”, and Emily rehearses her stage lines in Kelly’s Volvo while leaving the car’s light on. Alexander serves himself a makeshift birthday sundae and wishes his family could experience the disappointments he does everyday.
The next morning, Alexander wakes up to find his family in disarray; his parents have overslept, Emily is sick with a cold, and Anthony has found out that Celia has broken up with him. The battery in Kelly’s car is dead, because Emily left the light on all evening while rehearsing, therefore Ben has to take baby Trevor with him to the interview, after dropping Kelly off at work.
At school, Alexander is told that Philip Parker has cancelled his birthday party due to illness, and calls his father, asking him to plan a party for him. Kelly is informed of an embarrassing misprint in the book they are publicizing, and needs to stop Dick Van Dyke from reading the book at public reading later. Ben takes baby Trevor along to the office interview and meets Greg (Donald Glover) who seems impressed at his credentials, although the meeting is cut short after Trevor ingests a highlighter.
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day
Directed by: Miguel Arteta
Starring: Steve Carell, Jennifer Garner, Ed Oxenbould, Dylan Minnette, Kerris Dorsey, Sidney Fullmer, Bella Thorne
Screenplay by: Rob Lieber
Production Design by: Michael Corenblith
Cinematography by: Terry Stacey
Film Editing by: Pamela Martin
Costume Design by: Nancy Steiner
Set Decoration by: Susan Benjamin
Music by: Christophe Beck
MPAA Rating: PG for rude humor including some reckless behavior and language.
Studio: Walt Disney Pictures
Release Date: October 10, 2014
Each night, when Ben falls asleep, his Crayons jump into their magical Crayon Box that transports them to their home in Color City, a world of dazzling hues, soaring fantasy and the whimsy of childhood. This land is fed by an enchanted rainbow and waterfall that provides the City and its citizens with color.
When YELLOW, our timid heroine, is accidentally left behind in Ben’s room, she inadvertently awakens two Unfinished Drawings: KING SCRAWL, a huge, powerful, mute monster — and GNAT, Scrawl’s motor-mouthed, overactive sidekick. In search of color for themselves, they follow Yellow to Color City, causing panic and concern. If Scrawl and Gnat can claim the waterfall for themselves, Color City will fade, and along with it, our lovable crayon characters will disappear.
It’s up to Yellow and a motley crew of Crayons, bodacious and brave, BLUE, meticulous, fussy GREEN, satirical RED, pessimistic BLACK and overanxious WHITE to save the day. Meeting with fantastical creatures and fun adventures along the way, Yellow discovers she has more courage and strength than she knew and learns to believe in herself and to count on the support of her friends. Replete with valuable life lessons, this enchanting story will entertain and inspire in a stunningly rendered and utterly unique animated world.
About the Production
The Hero of Color City is an original production by Exodus Film Group. Founded in 2001 by John D. Eraklis and Delbert Whetter, the Venice, CA based company started out doing VFX and work for hire engagements while searching for original IP to produce.
The Hero of Color City was brought to John by his college friend Mick McCormick. John and Mick were good friends in the theater department at the University of Rhode Island. Mick hounded John to read a script written by his brother about a box of crayons that came to life.
The script sat on the shelf unread for several months but Micks persistence finally convinced John to read the draft. To his pleasant surprise, it was fun and well-written with great characters and witty dialogue and a heartfelt message about the power of a child’s imagination.
It was about this time that John had partnered with seasoned animation veteran Max Howard on the animated feature, Igor. Max shared John’s enthusiasm for the film but felt it could use the benefit of some additional writers. After several different teams of writers, John felt the script was strong enough to begin to approach distributors. It was around this time that Magnolia began making waves in the motion picture distribution space with its groundbreaking day-and-date release model by releasing content in theaters and on VOD/home video simultaneously.
Considering The Hero of Color City is geared to a very young audience, Magnolia’s day-and-date release model was particularly appealing. Many of these younger kids aren’t ready to sit through a feature length film in the theaters and, even if they do, they want to watch the film again almost immediately. Exodus knew that by partnering with Magnolia they could allow parents to access the film on multiple platforms almost immediately.
John brought the project to Tom Quinn and Eamonn Bowles in Cannes of 2006 and they jumped onboard. It was on the flight home from that Cannes that John overheard a young actress talking to a fellow passenger and thought “that’s our Yellow!” It was Christina Ricci. Soon after arriving back in Los Angeles, she accepted the role.
After a false start with production in 2008, the film resumed in earnest in the fall of 2012. Exodus had partnered with an up and coming Indian based animation studio called Toonz. Although this was to be their first US theatrical feature, Toonz had demonstrated the ability to deliver high quality animation. This, coupled with the addition of animation veteran Frank Gladstone as director, assured the look of the film would be of the highest caliber for a movie geared towards a younger audience.
The next challenge would be the music. Original songs and score play and integral part in animation and The Hero of Color City is no exception. John’s close friend and world-renowned composer Basil Poledouris had passed away, leaving a void in the production. It was at this time that Exodus reached out to Basil’s daughter, Zoë Poledouris-Roché, and her husband Angel Roché Jr. Zoe had been working with her father since she was a child. At the age of 9, one of her melodies was featured in the film Conan the Barbarian. However this would be the first time that Zoë and Angel would be entrusted with a theatrical feature. They rose to the challenge, and the score and original songs for this film are nothing short of fantastic.
In keeping with Exodus’ tradition of partnering with philanthropic organizations and missions in connection with its animated films, John joined with Sheila Michail Morovati, founder of the Crayon Collection, to promote and raise awareness of the Crayon Collection’s global initiative to repurpose and donate gently used crayons to elementary schools and organizations that help children in need.
Owen Wilson and Jessica Capshaw, supporters of the Crayon Collection, lent their voices to characters in the film and appear in a special PSA that Exodus / Toonz produced to benefit the charity that will appear at the end of the film and in marketing initiatives, with the hopes of raising national awareness and to further expand the program across the country.
The Hero of Color City
Directed by: Frank Gladstone
Starring: Christina Ricci, Owen Wilson, Rosie Perez, Elizabeth Daily, Jessica Capshaw, Tara Strong
Screenplay by: Jess Kedward, J.P. McCormick
Production Design by: Philip A. Cruden
Animation Department; Erin Humiston
Editorial Department: Josh Gladstone
Music Department: Erik Brena
Music by: Zoë Poledouris, Angel Roché Jr.
MPAA Rating: G for all audiences.
Studio: Magnolia Pictures
Release Date: October 3, 2014
Taglines: Welcome home. Get uncomfortable.
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.
This Is Where I Leave You is an American comedy-drama film directed by Shawn Levy. It is based on the book of the same name by Jonathan Tropper, who also wrote the film’s screenplay. The film was released on September 19, 2014.
About the Story
Judd Altman (Jason Bateman) works at a radio station for popular host Wade Beaufort (Dax Shepard). After work, Judd gets a cake for his wife Quinn’s (Abigail Spencer) birthday, only to come home and find her having sex in his bed with Wade. Judd asks how long this has been going on, and Quinn says a year. This is where Judd leaves her. Judd stays in another place, growing a sad beard and ignoring Quinn’s phone calls. His sister Wendy (Tina Fey) calls him to tell him that their father Mort has just died.
She is in the hospital room with their mother Hillary (Jane Fonda), who is trying to remove the tubing from her dead husband. The Altmans gather together for the funeral. There, Judd sees Wendy’s husband Barry (Aaron Lazar), who is too busy on his phone to notice the world around him. Judd also reunites with his older brother Paul (Corey Stoll) and his wife Annie (Kathryn Hahn). The Altmans’ childhood friend Charles Grodner (Ben Schwartz), AKA Boner is the rabbi speaking at the funeral. In the middle of his eulogy, the youngest Altman, Phillip (Adam Driver), rides in blasting a DMX song and running into the service loudly to hug his mom and siblings.
Hillary tells her four children that their father wanted them to sit shiva, meaning they must stay for a whole week with each other. Phillip gets a phone call and goes outside to bring a woman inside. Her name is Tracy (Connie Britton), and she is his therapist. She is a fan of Hillary, as Hillary is known for writing a tell-all book called “Cradle and All”, which overshares a lot of the siblings’ childhood, like Wendy being sexually active and Paul masturbating. Guests come over and the Altmans tell everybody what they’ve been doing since then.
Paul and Annie have been trying to conceive for a while, and it’s revealed that Annie used to be Judd’s girlfriend in high school. Also, only Wendy knows about Judd’s divorce, though he keeps telling people she’s not there because she has a bulging disk. Judd drives to his family’s sporting goods store. There, he finds Horry Callen (Timothy Olyphant), an ex-boyfriend of Wendy’s that suffered a brain injury, forcing him to stay home with his mother Linda (Debra Monk). Judd also reunites with Penny Moore (Rose Byrne), a girl that used to have a crush on him. Judd drives Horry home.
The next morning, Judd wakes up to hear Paul and Phillip arguing over the sharing of the sporting goods store. Paul has the majority of the store but Phillip wants to combine the remaining siblings shares and enter the business as well. The two of them get into a physical fight that pushes Judd into a glass cabinet, leaving him with some glass in his head. The family later has dinner and shares their favorite stories of Mort. Wendy tells one of when she first got her period. Judd cannot think of a single memory to share. Shiva time then comes and Wendy drunkenly keeps bugging Judd to tell the truth about Quinn. They argue until one lady asks Judd about Quinn, and he loudly admits that she cheated and that he’s divorcing her. Also, Tracy notices Phillip talking to a younger ex-girlfriend, making her feel challenged.
The siblings continue to bond rather reluctantly, between going to drinks and joining with Penny, and having to sit shiva. Phillip drives Judd around in his car and laments being seen as the family screw-up. He drives recklessly, making Judd nervous. Phillip abandons him at the skating center where Penny works and goes to sleep with his ex-girlfriend. Meanwhile Penny and Judd listen to Cyndi Lauper’s “Time After Time”.
Judd is surprised when Quinn shows up since he won’t answer her calls. She starts to feel sick and goes to throw up. She admits that she’s pregnant and that Judd is the father. She knows it’s not Wade because he is sterile. They are concerned because Quinn has already had one miscarriage. Phillip finds out about the pregnancy as well. Judd later goes to Penny’s house to talk and ends up sleeping with her. Phillip reveals the pregnancy over breakfast, to Judd’s displeasure. Annie angrily breaks several dishes, upset over still not having kids.
The family goes to temple for a service. Judd and Phillip sneak out to smoke joints Judd finds in his father’s suit jacket. Paul later joins them. Together, the brothers finally spend time and laugh together without fighting. Then the sprinklers go off and they get soaked. Boner scolds the brothers for this, but they just make fun of him. Annie goes downstairs to find Judd so that he can try and get her pregnant. He refuses. He goes outside and walks past Wendy and Barry arguing. At night, she joins Judd on the roof of the house to express her remorse over causing the accident that caused Horry’s brain injury and that she’ll never love Barry the way she loved Horry.
During another shiva sitting, the family hears the baby monitor kicking in to the sound of Paul and Annie having sex. Phillip lets it keep playing until Linda takes out the backup battery. Judd goes on a date with Penny and gets a phone call from Quinn, who says she is bleeding. This forces Judd to admit to Penny that Quinn is pregnant. She lets him go to her, but she is upset. Judd gets to the hospital to be with Quinn, only for Wade to show up moments later.
The nurse is able to find the baby’s heartbeat. Outside in the waiting room, Judd confronts Wade about Quinn sleeping with him, leading to them nearly physically fighting. The security guards pull them apart until Wendy comes in and settles everything. She even punches Wade in the face. Outside, Judd sees Wade’s car and gets a group of frat boys to push the car upside down after he says that Wade slept with his wife. Wade goes outside and sees the car. He admits that Judd was one of his few friends, even though Judd didn’t see him as a friend and he’s abandoning Quinn.
This Is Where I Leave You
Directed by: Shawn Levy
Starring: Jason Bateman, Tina Fey, Jane Fonda, Adam Driver, Rose Byrne, Corey Stoll, Kathryn Hahn, Connie Britton, Dax Shepard, Debra Monk
Screenplay by: Jonathan Tropper, Jonathan Tropper
MPAA Rating: R for language, sexual content and some drug use.
Production Design by: Ford Wheeler
Cinematography by: Terry Stacey
Film Editing by: Dean Zimmerman
Costume Design by: Susan Lyall
Set Decoration by: Chryss Hionis
Music by: Michael Giacchino
Studio: Warner Bros. Pictures
Release Date: September 19, 2014
Taglines: Winter’s amazing true story… now has Hope.
It has been several years since young Sawyer Nelson and the dedicated team at the Clearwater Marine Hospital, headed by Dr. Clay Haskett, rescued Winter. With the help of Dr. Cameron McCarthy, who developed a unique prosthetic tail for the injured dolphin, they were able to save her life. Yet their fight is not over. Winter’s surrogate mother, the very elderly dolphin Panama, has passed away, leaving Winter without the only poolmate she has ever known.
However, the loss of Panama may have even greater repercussions for Winter, who, according to USDA regulations, cannot be housed alone, as dolphins’ social behavior requires them to be paired with other dolphins. Time is running out to find a companion for her before the team at Clearwater loses their beloved Winter to another aquarium.
Dolphin Tale 2 is an American family drama film written and directed by Charles Martin Smith and sequel to his 2011 film Dolphin Tale. Harry Connick, Jr., Ashley Judd, Nathan Gamble, Cozi Zuehlsdorff, Kris Kristofferson, Morgan Freeman, Juliana Harkavy, Austin Stowell and Austin Highsmith all reprise their roles from the first film while Lee Karlinsky, Julia Jordan, and Bethany Hamilton join the cast. The film was released on September 12, 2014 and tells the story of another dolphin at the hospital named “Hope”.
About the Story
Sawyer, the boy who was once instrumental in saving “Winter” three years ago, is now an integral employee at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, and is training new volunteers at the aquarium. We are introduced to a new dolphin named “Mandy.” Clearwater Marine Aquarium (CMA) has rescued Mandy after she was stranded near a beach and discovered by a little girl. Mandy has a bad sunburn and some respiratory problems from being stranded in the sun too long with her blowhole mostly exposed. She is being rehabilitated at the aquarium.
Winter has a friend at CMA named Panama. Like Winter, Panama cannot return to the ocean. Panama is deaf and is quite old for a dolphin. She is expected to be at least 40 years old. It is alluded to that Panama has some health issues and it appears by Winter’s erratic actions that she is concerned about her dolphin friend. Sawyer is approached by a professor from Boston University about attending an elite SEA Semester program for three months.
Only one high school student per year is selected for this program, which takes place on a tall sailing ship and focuses on marine mammal research. It comes with a full scholarship and his family is excited for him to have this opportunity. Sawyer is unsure whether he wants to go, as he is concerned about leaving Winter for an extended period of time.
When Sawyer returns to the aquarium, Panama is lying dead at the bottom of the pool. Her death happened very quickly, but does not come as a complete surprise because of her old age. All employees of CMA are very upset. However, the death is the hardest on Winter. Winter stops eating much and refuses to wear her prosthetic tail. Her health starts to deteriorate for these reasons and tests show she is under stress.
An inspector for the USDA comes to visit CMA and check on the animals. He gives Dr. Clay a violation for keeping Winter in isolation and because of her deteriorating health. He issues as requirement that Dr. Clay matches Winter with another female dolphin within 30 days. In the meantime, Winter continues to be very unhappy. When Sawyer attempts to get her out of the tank for a new cast of her tail, Winter becomes aggressive and smacks Sawyer across the face with her rostrum, knocking him in the water. Phoebe jumps in the pool and rescues Sawyer. Winter then returns to floating at the bottom of the platform. The incident leaves Sawyer’s wrist injured, and a small bruise on his face. Dr. Clay orders that Sawyer has to take a break from swimming with Winter.
Everyone at CMA stakes their hopes on Winter being paired together with Mandy in order to satisfy the USDA and improve Winter’s health. However, Mandy has improved greatly and has a clean bill of health. Dr. Clay says Mandy can be returned to the ocean. Dr. Clay’s daughter Hazel is unhappy because she doesn’t want Winter to be transferred. She wants Mandy to stay with Winter for a short period of time to keep her from being transferred, even though she can return to the ocean. Dr. Clay makes clear that the goal of CMA is “Rescue, Rehabilitate, Release”, thus they cannot morally keep Mandy when she could return to the ocean. He has to make the call to return Mandy to the ocean, even though it becomes clear that doing so will cause CMA to lose Winter. Mandy is returned to the ocean and Hazel steps up to take a key role in her return.
Hazel and Sawyer break Dr. Clay’s rule and swim with Winter. The dolphin seems improved and is no longer aggressive. Sawyer and Hazel think she is improving. Dr. Clay then catches them and scold them for swimming with Winter. Knowing he has bigger problems, he changes the subject and tells Hazel and Sawyer that Winter will be transferred to a marine park in Texas. Meanwhile, Sawyer’s mom throws a party for him to congratulate him for being chosen to attend SEA Semester. However she wants to push him towards a decision but Sawyer is still too upset about Winter. While Sawyer is sitting outside, Dr. McCarthy sits next to him and gives him a small clock, but due to it sitting around for many years, it requires tapping to continue. Dr. McCarthy uses this as an example and tells Sawyer that he has to “shake it up now and then” and try other things in life.
Dolphin Tale 2
Directed by: Charles Martin Smith
Starring: Morgan Freeman, Ashley Judd, Nathan Gamble, Kris Kristofferson, Julia Winter, Cozi Zuehlsdorff, Juliana Harkavy, Bethany Hamilton
Screenplay by: Charles Martin Smith, Karen Janszen
Production Design by: David J. Bomba
Cinematography by: Daryn Okada
Film Editing by: Harvey Rosenstock
Costume Design by: Hope Hanafin
Set Decoration by: Jeffrey Scott Taylor
Art Direction by: Mark Garner
Music by: Rachel Portman
MPAA Rating: PG for some mild thematic elements.
Studio: Warner Bros. Pictures
Release Date: September 12, 2014
Taglines: Tagliness: Outcasts in life. Allies in suburbia.
Punk-rocker turned suburban mom, Kelly (a fantastic Juliette Lewis), is nostalgic for a life she can no longer have and uncertain of a future she doesn’t yet fit in. Seventeen-year-old Cal (Jonny Weston in a breakthrough performance) is frustrated at his lack of control over the hand he’s been dealt. When the two strike up an unlikely friendship, it’s the perfect spark needed to thrust them both back to life.
Kelly and Cal stars Juliette Lewis, Jonny Weston, Cybill Shepherd, Margaret Colin and Josh Hopkins, and premiered at the SXSW Film Festival in Austin, Texas, in March 2014. The film tells the story of a riot grrrl turned housewife (Lewis) who strikes up an unlikely friendship with her 17-year-old neighbor (Weston). The film opened at SXSW to positive reviews from Variety, The Wrap and other sites. It made best of the fest lists with Vogue and Variety. Senior writer Karen Valby at Entertainment Weekly compared Kelly & Cal to the work of filmmakers Nicole Holofcener and Alexander Payne.
Review for Kelly and Cal
This movie is like finding and enjoying a perfectly ripened piece of fruit, then taking a step forward, slipping on the peel, falling backwards and cracking your head on the pavement! Now what do I mean by that statement?
It’s very simple to understand – the film starts with Kelly meeting Cal, both are highly spirited and living lives very out of place for their charged up personalities. Kelly is confined by her new role as a mother living in a very American suburban middle class neighborhood after her punk rocker all girl band background. Cal is young, handsome, and full of the capacity to experience the ecstasy of life, but he too is confined in life by his disability, wheelchair, and a bitter outlook toward his future.
After they discover each other a glorious friendship develops with some of the finest dialog you can find in a movie. Kelly sees in Cal her youth which she obviously misses. Cal sees in Kelly everything he wants to experience in life but cannot or (more likely) is afraid to do because he fears failure more than his disability. Through Kelly, Cal breaks out of his shell and at the same time Kelly develops an empathy for Cal because he has projected his feelings toward her in sexual advances and his willingness to get back into his artistic abilities. Then reality strikes, and Kelly must step back from this complex and needy friendship. At this point the story starts to fall apart.
The movie turns into a ridiculous melodrama of Cal discarding everything Kelly helped him through both psychologically and physically. Kelly goes running after him as if she can save him from himself. Why the writer and director did this I do not understand because they took the relationship of a disabled youth and a frustrated older woman who both found an inner fulfillment in each other that could have been so compelling and bold this movie would have possibly been real box office material. Why not have the suburban housewife have an affair with a disabled youth? Could it possibly be that it was a ‘too European’ idea?
Kelly and Cal
Directed by: Jen McGowan
Screenplay by: Amy Lowe Starbin
Starring: Juliette Lewis, Jonny Weston, Josh Hopkins, Cybill Shepherd, Lucy Owen, Margaret Colin, Victoria Barabas, Alysia Reiner
Production Design by: Natasha Gerasimova
Cinematography by: Philip Lott
Film Editing by: David Hopper
Costume Design by: Sarah Beers
Set Decoration by: Philippa Culpepper
Music by: Toby Chu
MPAA Rating: None.
Studio: IFC Films
Release Date: March 7, 2014
Acclaimed Irish director Lenny Abrahamson follows up his award-winning films Adam & Paul, Garage, and What Richard Did with an offbeat comedy about a young wannabe musician, Jon (Domhnall Gleeson), who finds himself out of his depth when he joins an avant-garde pop band led by the mysterious and enigmatic Frank (Michael Fassbender), a musical genius who hides himself inside a large fake head, and his terrifying bandmate Clara (Maggie Gyllenhaal).
Written by Jon Ronson (The Men Who Stare At Goats) and Peter Straughan (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, The Men Who Stare At Goats), FRANK is based on the memoir by Jon Ronson. It is a fictional story loosely inspired by Frank Sidebottom, the persona of cult musician and comedy legend Chris Sievey, as well as other outsider musicians like Daniel Johnston and Captain Beefheart.
About the Film
In the world of alternative music, The Soronprfbs are the ne plus ultra of outsiders. A brilliant, ramshackle, barely functioning band, they are built around the eponymous Frank (Michael Fassbender), an unstable yet charismatic musical savant, who at all times wears a large, round fake head with crudely painted-on features – like Daniel Johnston hidden behind a cartoon smile. His closest musical collaborator is the forbidding Clara (Maggie Gyllenhaal); part caretaker, part jailer, Clara is the antithesis of all things mainstream. The band is completed by Nana (Carla Azar), a Moe Tucker-like drummer, and Baraque (Francois Civil), a beautiful Frenchman who plays bass.
Into this mix comes replacement keyboard player, Jon (Domhnall Gleeson), after the band’s original keyboardist is hospitalized following an attempt at drowning himself. In his head, Jon’s is a true creative, a maverick musical force; in reality he’s a very ordinary young man trying to escape his hum-drum, small-town life. For Jon, this is the break he’s been waiting for, his chance to climb through the looking glass and into the world of artistic collaboration, real music-making, and rock ‘n’ roll adventure that he’s always dreamed of. But he discovers (and perhaps has always suspected) that he lacks the one thing he needs to make his dream come true – genuine talent.
Desperate to belong, but hopelessly out of his depth, Jon becomes more and more infatuated with the enigmatic and talented Frank: if only he could understand him, what makes him tick, how he goes to those furthest, creative corners; if only he could ‘get inside that head inside that head’.
From a lakeside cabin, where the band spend 18 months – and all of Jon’s savings – recording their new album, to the stages of South by Southwest after the band becomes a viral internet sensation, FRANK tells the story of Jon’s struggle with Clara for control of Frank, his rise to power within the band, and how, ultimately, he comes close to destroying the thing he’s come to love.
About the Production
Acclaimed Irish director Lenny Abrahamson follows up his award-winning films Adam & Paul, Garage, and What Richard Did with an offbeat comedy about a young wannabe musician, Jon (Domhnall Gleeson), who discovers he’s bitten off more than he can chew when he joins an eccentric pop band led by the mysterious and enigmatic Frank (Michael Fassbender). Frank is a musical genius who hides himself inside a large fake head, and is always accompanied by his closest collaborator and fellow bandmate, the terrifying Clara (Maggie Gyllenhaal).
Written by Jon Ronson (The Men Who Stare At Goats) and Peter Straughan (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, The Men Who Stare At Goats), FRANK is a fictional story loosely inspired by Frank Sidebottom, the persona of cult musician and comedy legend Chris Sievey, as well as other outsider musicians like Daniel Johnston and Captain Beefheart. The idea sprung from a memoir by Ronson, who was himself the keyboard player in Sidebottom’s band.
Ronson teamed up with his The Men Who Stare At Goats co-writer Peter Straughan and wrote a screenplay about an aspiring musician who gets caught up in the world of an oddball band fronted by an unconventional genius who hides behind an enormous fiberglass head.
The project was brought to Tessa Ross and Katherine Butler at Film4 by producers David Barron and Stevie Lee. They then brought on board director Lenny Abrahamson and his long-time producer Ed Guiney. Abrahamson worked closely with Ronson and Straughan, developing and honing the script.
Abrahamson has a track record in films about oddball characters who have the uncanny ability to engage audiences, so it was no surprise that he would be drawn to the character of Frank. But he was also very taken by the Jon character, through whose eyes the story is told.
“We laugh at Jon because he clings to an idea of himself which is so ridiculously at odds with the person we see in front of us,” says Abrahamson. “But we also recognize ourselves in him; wanting to have, maybe kidding ourselves we really do have, capacities and talents we deep down know we lack. Most of us are smart enough to avoid situations where we might have to put our fantasies to the test, but the film takes Jon on a journey where he has to do just that.”
“It’s a hard film to categorize,” continues the director. “It’s very playful in tone and has some sequences of out and out, broad slapstick. But it has subtle, darker, more moving aspects as well. Frank is both a real, complex person and a kind of cartoon character. The head, with its fixed expression becomes a sort of blank canvas on which Jon can project his clichéd ideas of what creativity is all about. Jon, himself starts as the butt of the joke but evolves into something much more than that. So tonally the film is pretty rich – funny, tender, broad in parts, quiet and moving in others.”
Producer Ed Guiney concurs: “One of the things that is really striking about the film is the way it seamlessly combines various different types of comedy. Lenny has a great facility for using humor to get to the core of the characters, and can do so in a wonderfully entertaining and often very affecting way. You can see his love of pure, old-fashioned slapstick in some of the scenes, which hark back to old-fashioned comedies. The film also has some wonderful, delicate character comedy as well as being very poignant and emotionally resonant.”
“Frank is someone who wants to hide away from the world” continues Guiney, “and the film is about how he moves away from his trusted allies and collaborators and takes a step onto a bigger stage, and what happens when he does that. The head is a barrier but it’s also a comfort and protection to him.”
After reluctantly accepting that there may be limits to his natural creativity, Jon appoints himself the band’s Svengali, hoping to give them the recognition he thinks they deserve. Jon initially believes either Clara, or else the band’s chaotic disorganization is holding the them back, but he discovers that there are other, more poignant reasons for their inability to achieve mainstream exposure.
“Jon disturbs the band’s perfect equilibrium,” explains Guiney. “He’s got more worldly ambitions – he wants to be a rock star. That desire rubs up against a group of artists who are happy making music for its own sake, so there are two opposing creative drives.”
Directed by: Lenny Abrahamson
Starring: Michael Fassbender, Domhnall Gleeson, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Scoot McNairy, Phil Kingston
Screenplay by: Jon Ronson, Peter Straughan
Production Design by: Richard Bullock
Cinematography by: James Mather
Film Editing by: Nathan Nugent
Costume Design by: Suzie Harman
Set Decoration by: Marcia Calosio, Jenny Oman
Music by: Stephen Rennicks
MPAA Rating: R for language and some sexual content.
Studio: Magnolia Pictures
Release Date: May 9, 2014