Posts Tagged Jennifer Aniston
Lifetime TV movie review: CALL ME CRAZY [A FIVE Film]
Posted by Amy Steele in TV on April 19, 2013
Last year executive producer Jennifer Aniston and Lifetime started the FIVE film project which brought five female directors together to direct five short films about domestic violence. This year the focus switches to mental illness with films about bipolar disorder, depression, PTSD, schizophrenia and how the illnesses affect friends, family, partners and careers. Bryce Dallas Howard, Laura Dern, Bonnie Hunt, Ashley Judd and Sharon Maguire direct the films.
Brittany Snow plays Lucy, a schizophrenic, in three of the films. In this film she suffers a breakdown during law school as she goes off her meds. She’s institutionalized and meets and befriends Bruce [Jason Ritter]. They spent quite a bit of time in group therapy and walking around on the grounds of this really nice rehab facility. Lucy’s quite shook up and doubtful about her intended career as a lawyer due to her mental health. A psychotherapist [Academy-award winner Octavia Spencer] convinces her to use her illness to her advantage. Snow’s quite talented. Very impressive and emotive in this role. Not too theatrical or flat. She’s just right. Truly convincing.
With a single mom, played by the venerable Melissa Leo, suffering from bipolar disorder her teenaged daughter [Sarah Hyland] must effectively become the parent. When her mom endures manic and depressive episodes, she hides them from her friends as it’s difficult to explain and embarrassing as a teenager to have an abnormal mom. One afternoon her mom takes her friends on a shopping spree and Grace witnesses her becoming frighteningly unhinged. Hyland and Leo have a strong connection. Director Laura Dern captures the manic and depressive episodes quite well with colors and camera movement.
When Lucy [Snow] returns home it’s to the dismay of her younger sister Allison [Sofia Vassilieva] who brought her boyfriend to meet her parents and never expected to see her sister who she considers unstable. She’s not very understanding or supportive to Lucy. Finally she says, “I’m not afraid of you. I’m afraid of becoming you.” It turns out that Allison’s been worried that she’d develop schizophrenia just like Lucy.
Eddie [Mitch Rouse] is a comedian with depression. How could that be possible? He’s married and has plenty of friends too. Depression isn’t about one’s environmental situation. It’s about brain chemistry. Eddie’s in such despair and pain that he’s contemplating suicide. He’s become much darker than usual. Only his wife [Lea Thompson] recognizes this about him though.
Ashley Judd directs Jennifer Hudson as a soldier returning home after repeatedly being raped by her superior officer. She’s suffering from PTSD and ends up having her son taken away from her. Lucy is back and she’s representing Maggie. When Maggie isn’t too keen on it being Lucy’s first case Lucy explains that she understands what it’s like for others not to understand about her mental health. Lucy says: “I have seen thousands of spiders running up my best friend’s face.”
There’s such a strong stigma regarding mental illness that makes it difficult for people to honestly discuss. Anyone who has a mental illness or knows someone with a mental illness will understand and recognize the struggles faced by those in the films. There’s constant maintenance and vigilance. It takes a support system and perseverance. For someone who doesn’t know someone with mental illness perhaps these short films will dispel some misconceptions.
CALL ME CRAZY airs SATURDAY, APRIL 20 on LIFETIME at 8 PM ET/PST
The Switch: DVD review
Posted by Amy Steele in DVD on March 16, 2011
Ten reasons to see The Switch
1. Jason Bateman turns in extraordinary performance as Wally, a successful guy who falters with personal relationships and constantly worries.
2. Clever script by Allan Loeb.
3. Based on short story by Jeffrey Eugenides [Middlesex, The Virgin Suicides].
4. Seeing the film is a great FU to Bill O’Reilly who thinks that a film about single motherhood is a BAD thing.
5. As Kassie, Jennifer Aniston is not the typical desperate-to-get-married-and-have-a-family woman.
6. Aniston and Bateman have fantastic comedic timing.
7. Jeff Goldblum, Wally’s co-worker/ friend, is sexy and hysterical as always.
8. Multi-talented Juliette Lewis plays Kassie’s best friend.
9. Kassie [Aniston] makes her own plan to conceive.
10. The trailer doesn’t give away all the funniest parts of the film.
purchase at Amazon: The Switch
FILM: artificial insemination = film trend of summer
Posted by Amy Steele in Film on April 21, 2010
First: the awful, uncreative, predictable The Back-Up Plan opening this week.
Next up: Jennifer Aniston [She’s made it clear she wants children in real life, so why does she keep taking roles about single women who want to get pregnant? I’m just thinking it might be tough or perhaps she can tap into her own feelings and it’s not.] stars in The Switch.
Switch has promise–
1. the pedigree [based on a short story by Jeffrey Eugenides– Middlesex and The Virgin Suicides]
2. the cast of this film– Jennifer Aniston, Jason Bateman [Juno], Jeff Goldblum, Patrick Wilson [Little Children], Juliette Lewis [Whip It!]
3. the premise– Wally, the best friend [Bateman] switches his own sperm with Roland [Wilson] aka the “ideal specimen donor” and seven years later when Kassie [Aniston] returns to New York the similarities between the child and Wally are uncanny
4. instead of the standard rom-com, The Switch seems like a darker comedy with a much better cast
5. while the premise is far from original– The Switch might work– even if Paul Rudd and Jennifer Aniston did a twist on this theme ten years ago with The Object of My Affection
Juno (Special Edition + Digital Copy) [Blu-ray]
DVD review: He’s Just Not That Into You
Posted by Amy Steele in DVD on May 31, 2009
First off, I hated the book and couldn’t believe that Oprah found it so “fascinating” that she had to have Greg Behrendt on her show to discuss it and that women had all these “AHA!” moments over it. The film version is exactly what I expected. I saw it originally at a theatre of mostly women, who I could just tell “loved it.” It was there big outing. Why, I have no idea because it portrayed women as being clingy and clueless when it comes to men. A one night stand or kissing a guy just to kiss him and not have it turn in to a relationship, forget it. Women just don’t do those things [right!]. Perhaps in small town Alabama where everyone knows everyone else. Also, ALL women want to be married.
Beth [Jennifer Aniston] certainly has gotten fed up with seven years of Neil [Ben Affleck] who seems to be charming, devoted, easy going and sweet. So what is the problem. Oh yeah, where’s that ring to make it all “official-like.” You know what Beth, why ruin what’s already so perfect. The guy clearly adores you. I would love to be in that type of relationship. Look at your friend Janine [Jennifer Connelly– who let’s face it could have any guy she wanted] who has a cheating and lying college sweetheart husband Ben [Bradley Cooper]. But to make matters worse, she’s going crazy over the situation and becoming that woman who sniffs he’s clothes and waits up for him and asks where he’s been at night. UGH UGH UGH. No! Do not do it.
Scarlett Johansson’s character [Anna] knowingly befriends, flirts with and sleeps with that married man [Cooper]. And yet, she’s the most independent, strongest woman character because she acts like a guy. She does the best job of anyone. When she’s with a guy friend with benefits [Kevin Connolly] who she no longer sleeps with, she leaves him when she wants with him wanting way more. When she finally gives in to him and there’s a shot of him cuddling up to her, the dread on her face is priceless and when he shows her an apartment he wants to buy and hopes she might someday want to live with her, those blue eyes portray immense panic and she just says, “I can’t do this. Any of this.” THAT is realism. It is also brilliant acting for a flimsy “chick flick.”
But Boston University graduate Ginnifer Goodwin’s character, Gigi, who is the heart of the film, just wants a boyfriend so bad and is making every “mistake” possible. She’s too eager. You know what? Some guys like girls who are eager. Some guys are the caretakers in the relationships. Okay, she’s young and she needs to calm down a bit but dating is nerve-wracking and who doesn’t over-analyze every aspect of a date every now and again. She calls too much. She frets by the phone. Granted, that isn’t good for anyone. But she’s cute and educated and sweet. That’s certainly enough for some guy out there.
To be fair, in the end when all-knowing Alex [Justin Long] finds himself liking a girl, he keeps checking his email and voicemail so perhaps these rules actually go both ways. If someone isn’t into you, male or female, you should know it. The person will not show enough interest. The person will not call. The person will not want to go out with you on another date. I’ve had plenty of first dates. Plenty of second dates and I’m working on those third and fourth and long-term relationships.
film review: Management
Posted by Amy Steele in DVD, Film, TV on May 15, 2009
You’re incredibly sweet. Beneath the part of you that’s not.
Mike to Sue.
Mike [Steve Zahn] is the manager of his family’s motel and Sue [Jennifer Aniston] checks in while on a business trip. Mike nearly startles Sue by showing up at her door bearing a bottle of wine, “compliments of management,” which he proceeds to share. The next night he arrives with champagne. Confused with his aggressive tactics, Sue asks if his “game” ever works. He admits not that often. Sue asks: “What would be a success?” The seemingly mis-matched pair hook-up in the laundry room, and Mike develops an obsession for the eco-conscious, driven professional. Although Sue has accomplished many things, she remains insecure. Mike barely knows her and immediately notices that she takes care of everybody but herself. Impulsively, he jumps on a plane to Maryland and shows up at Sue’s office. She’s flattered but really only wants stability which ex-boyfriend Jango [a frightening Woody Harrelson], a wealthy yoga expert and dog breeder, offers. Sue moves to Aberdeen, Wash. to be with him. Upon hearing this, Mike follows her there. Mike is one uber-geeky, yet myopically determined dude. When Sue tells him that she’s truly back together with Jango, Mike settles in Aberdeen and waits Say Anything-style. He’s not really sure he can compete with Jango but finds himself so attracted to Sue that he will do almost anything to win her over.
Management is an off-beat, darker romantic comedy. The film has touching moments, awkward moments, and comical moments.
Whenever Aniston dyes her hair brown [Office Space, Friends with Money], she’s going for a more serious, darker comedic performance. It is never a bad thing. She often performs much better in these introspective roles instead of in some lighter, mostly forgettable roles [Marley and Me, He’s Just Not That Into You]. Zahn excels at the humble, sweet guy roles. He’s the best friend/boyfriend that every girl wants but doesn’t yet know she wants. He slips into these roles so effortlessly too. He’s simultaneously funny and charming. Management actually brought tears to my eyes at times. Who doesn’t want that kind of unconditional love and nearly blind commitment from someone?
DVD review: Marley and Me
Posted by Amy Steele in DVD on March 29, 2009
The film starts off predictably cute as newly married couple John [Owen Wilson] and Jen [Jennifer Aniston] Grogan move to Florida and get a golden retriever puppy. Marley is an incorrigible pup which leads to two talented stars chasing a dog around or being dragged by the dog or just being plain silly for a good chunk at the start of the film. But suddenly, Marley and Me becomes a sweet film that focuses on relationships and life choices. John watches his friend Sebastian [Grey’s Anatomy hunk Eric Danes] globetrot his way to super-journalist at the New York Times, while he writes a column about life in and around Florida and with his dog. Jen gives up her successful reporter position because, “When I’m home all I think about is work and when I’m at work all I think about is home, and I don’t want to do anything 50%.”
Marley and Me rings true in its exploration of those decisions that we make and that where we may end up may not be where we expected but it is all about what we do once we get there. Plus, we can continue to change and grow whenever and wherever we are. And everything might be easier with the support of a dog [perhaps a cat too? as I’m not a “dog person”].
extras include: focus on all the different Marleys used in the film (22!), deleted scenes and a gag reel.
Available on DVD March 31
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