In this summer of sequels where titles are likely to have a number attached to their name, I have to admit the one sequel I anticipated was Despicable Me 2. In the original film, we are introduced to Gru, an ersatz villain, with baldpate and pointy-nosed visage, who has grand plans to steal the moon. Gru, as brilliantly voiced by Steve Carrell, is sidetracked from his villainy by finding himself involved with three young girls in need of a parent. The film had tons of charm and lots of laughs as Gru’s humanity is revealed bit by bit, despite his potential villainous proclivities.
Did you ever wonder where the faux famous come from? You know… the ones who are famous for just being famous. Perhaps you may get some insight from Sofia Coppola’s new film The Bling Ring. It’s based on true events in Los Angeles, with, as they say, only the names changed.
Four street magicians answer a mysterious summons and within a year have been transformed into The Four Horsemen, a big, new glitzy Vegas act that promises to rob a bank in France while standing on the stage. As in all works of illusion, nothing is really what it seems. But in the film Now You See Me, the talented cast pulls off this scam in a very enjoyable manner. The Four Horsemen are played by Jesse Eisenberg, Dave Franco… yes, James Franco’s younger brother, Isla Fisher, and Lebanon’s own Woody Harrelson, in what is probably his best performance since The People vs. Larry Flynt. Working for the law we have Mark Ruffalo as an FBI agent, who is saddled with a novice partner from Interpol, played by Melanie Laurent who gained worldwide attention in Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds. And naturally there has to be a couple of elder statesmen to follow the action, comment on and drop clues to what’s going on. Or so we think. Those roles fall to hard-working old pros Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman.
In 2006, talented Canadian actress Sarah Polley took a chance on making her first feature as a writer-director. The film was Away From Her, a sad yet hopeful story about a woman with Alzheimers, which managed to nab Oscar nominations for both Polley for her screenplay, and her star Julie Christie for Best Actress. Now Polley is back with another journey of discovery, but more about her than anyone else, in Stories We Tell. Polley’s mother died early, and as she grew up, kept hearing rumours that her father might not actually be her father. Both parents had been actors and stories abounded. Dad was an introvert, who could do well without a lot of people around. Mom was a loving, living free spirit who needed to express herself.