February 17, 2011
Review - " Ellen Page films " - (in theaters) By Roland Hansen
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I've seen as many movies as possible featuring the talents of the wonderful Ellen Page. She first came to my attention in the
complex, disturbing and haunting film "Hard Candy". Since then I have made it a point to see everything possible that she
has appeared in. Of course her Oscar nominated and Delta Award winning performance in "Juno" is widely considered her
breakthrough performance (and possibly pinacle of her career so far). It's difficult for me to NOT compare everything else
she's done to that.
So, "submitted for your approval", here are short reviews of every Ellen Page movie I have seen so far.
Moving as well as exciting, a cat comes to the rescue movie with Margaret the ghost cat foiling Boyd's and Riker's sinister
plans. Margaret not only saving the lives of Natalie Kurt as well as the animal's in Brenda's animal shelter but taking off after
the fleeing arsonists and giving them the shock to end all shocks that they'll never forget for the rest of their lives.
I was pleasantly surprised and enjoyed it from beginning to end. A fun family film, tongue in cheek not meant to be taken
realtor whose controlling behavior is pushing her and others around her on the verge of a nervous breakdown; the Mayor,
Brent Fisher, who is secretly planning for his life post politics; dyslexic Duck McDonald.
What a little life-affirming gem this is; if it does nothing else, it leaves you with hope. Performances are everything in a film of
this nature........and, here, not one of them lets you down. The cast acquits themselves well, and despite the relatively large
number of characters, I didn't feel like I was distracted by too many story lines, or that any one character received more
attention than the others. And despite the limited timeframe of the movie, a single day, the story did not feel rushed or
hurried. I thought the resolutions found or not found by the characters followed from what was seen and felt on screen, and
didn't come out of the blue.
All the actors do a great job. Ellen Page is solid and appealing; Sandra Oh is heart-breaking, contained and gorgeous.
Rebecca Jenkins and Ellen Page, play Sandra and Emily with great ease. Their scenes together are marvelous.
Wilby Wonderful is a generous-hearted dark comedy drama with down-to-earth characters in realistic, hum-drum,
inescapable life situations. The pace of the film lets us see into the emotional lives and conflicts the characters must deal
with; there's a lot of quirky humor, and lovely shots of people's faces slowly changing as their feelings catch up with their
only two people with lines in the film, aside from some brief appearances by Sandra Oh and Jennifer Holmes. You would
think a movie consisting of 2 characters in a house would have it moments of tediousness, but not at all. To me THIS is truly
Ellen Pages breakout performance. So many psychological thrills it will set your mind a boggling. "Hard Candy" is such an
amazing film with powerful, intense scenes and great acting. The script is extremely fresh and takes the idea of a pedophile
film to a new level. This film allows its audience to think and also be shocked by what's going on. A truly intense and
become a part of something and the mother who follows her into a dangerous cult. It has so much more depth than I
expected. The movie's hero is clearly Bat from beginning to end. However, other characters who the viewer does not expect
become heroes as well. The movie shows a very scary and a very real descent into the lifestyle of a cult. The characters are
unique and are uniquely duped into this life.
"Mouth to Mouth," Alison Murray's chaotic, semiautobiographical account of a teenage girl's misadventures in a traveling cult,
occupies its own stylistic niche. Its antiheroine, Sherry (Ellen Page), is a sullen rebel recruited from the streets of Berlin
into Spark, a roving band of recovering addicts, former prostitutes and damaged runaways. As they drift around Europe in a
van, scavenging food from Dumpsters and working as grape pickers, their charismatic leader, Harry (Eric Thal), rants about
giving "homeless people a course in intellectual self-defense."
The total freedom he promises is really oppression. The girls' heads are shaved, and cult members are encouraged to take
part in a paranoid system of spying, lying and tattling on one another. Rule breakers are lowered into a pit for 36 hours.
When Sherry's mother, Rose (Natasha Wightman), arrives to fetch her, she becomes an enthusiastic cult member, much to
her daughter's chagrin.
Adherence to the guru's manifesto is paramount; and in good communal interdependence, if not communistic, everyone who
idolizes him will relate to the group, not to each other as individuals. Sex is forbidden, though good old Harry, despite all his
discipline, will succumb to the virginal charms of his young participant in need of emotional contact and then punish her for it.
The acting in it is phenomenal. Ellen Page, who we now know as Juno, shows another side of herself as the resilient teen.
The character shows real strength in the face of confusion.
This movie entices and rattles the viewer. It dares to ask the question, What is a perfect world? Mouth to Mouth is bizarre and
is really "out there" so you need to watch it with an open mind.
Grammar), Angel (Ben Foster), and Juggernaut (Vinnie Jones). While Ben Foster handles his role well, but nothing much,
Kelsey Grammar and Vinnie Jones show up as the exact right options for the respective roles of Beast and Juggernaut.
Kelsey Grammar does a superb job in making Beast a charismatic mutant, with many memorable moments. Vinnie Jones is a
whirlpool of rage as Juggernaut and, while the role is not exactly a Shakesperianish one, it surely provides great moments-
like the amazing scene where he rushes after Kitty Pride (Ellen Page), the mutant who is able to pass through any solid
objects. Ellen's part is faIrly small but she does the most with what little screen time she has.
While all the cast is great (especially Patrick Stewart, Halle Berry, and Famke Janssen), I'd say the movie belongs to Ian
McKellen and Hugh Jackman. Once again, Sir McKellen proves to be the best thing in a blockbuster as the mutant/tyrant
Magneto. He is calm and wise (yet again), but knows the right time to be mean. I can think of no actor who can pull the role of
The X-Men trilogy ended up really well. "X-Men: The Last Stand" is a marvelous, action-filled comic book brought to life, with
loads of drama and lots of surprises.
riveting and horrific, leaving one child dead and the rest scarred for life.
This film was very sad, and the outcome; slightly unpredictable. It makes you look at the screen, confused and slightly
horrified. The direction of the film is very good, somehow it makes you feel like you're involved, but like you cant be of any
help, which I think reflects the feelings of the majority of the characters. Ellen Page's Acting is on top-form in this film. She's
very convincing. In fact, all the acting in this film is extremely good. And the amount of violence, isn't heavy at all, although
some people find some scenes hard to watch. However, everything in the film, is crucial to the story. And ultimately, this is a
story of a girl, who was stricken by misfortune. Intense, bitter and sorrowful, it is definitely one worth watching.
riding in the back of a city bus wrapped in a shower curtain.
Tracey’s journey leads us into the dark underbelly of the city, into the emotional cesspool of her home, through the brutality
of her high school, the clinical cat and mouse of her shrink and her soaring fantasies of Billy Zero, her boyfriend and rock
‘n roll savior. Her travels also put her in contact with the seedier inhabitants of the city. Ellen Page is an incredible actress
with, hopefully, a long brilliant career ahead of her. She once again gives us a magnificent stunning performance of a teen
girl shattered by the tragic events in her life. The bullying and the family life and the emotions Tracey experiences are
portrayed pretty realistically by Ellen Page. She is fantastic, portraying the life of this 15 year old Tracey perfectly. Her
performance was flawless and there was not a moment in the film where she wasn't totally believable as the audience learns
more about her.
The film is done mostly through multiple split-screen representing the fragments of Tracey’s shattered psyche. The split
screen often shows the same events from different angles and perspectives. We see snippets of events, some real, some
imagined, jumping around the narrative, revisiting scenes over and over, revealing different aspects of what went on. By
piecing together the fragments of the story we discover what truly transpired to get Tracey to where we find her in the
beginning of the film. Eventually enough of the truth is revealed so that we can see for ourselves the underlying reality.
Tracey Fragments is not for the casual movie viewer. It is necessary to really pay attention to what is going on and is often
difficult to do with the multiple video clips playing on the screen and occasional overlapping sound. It’s hard to know where to
direct your attention. It’s a fairly heavy drama. Most moviegoers should probably stick to the standard Hollywood fair. But if
you’re in the mood for something different, something bold and innovative, You wont be sorry.
wisecrack for every occasion that might arise in her small Minnesota town. But her bravada masks deeper emotions. The film
goes beneath the hipster surface and gives many of its characters an extra dimension that goes beyond Juno's perception of
them. This film empathizes with all of its main characters. The heart of Juno is Ellen Page, and her coming to terms with her
feelings for Michael Cera. Sure, it takes getting pregnant for her to realize the man of her dreams is the wimp in yellow
shorts, but then, the characters in Juno aren't like normal people anyway. Page's heavy-lifting deserved every bit of that
Oscar nomination. Ellen Page’s touching performance and Jason Reitman’s skillful direction that make it a fantastic movie.
Like its title character, Juno is funny, charming, honest and incredibly smart.
and out of the present. We experience with her the defining moments, hidden passions and characters of her past - her
affluent but cold and demanding father; her husband Bram Shipley, a man who unleashes her passion for love and life, yet
refuses to meet the rigid social standards she is driven by; and the children she bears, sons whose future becomes ruled by
the past. While hiding in the dilapidated house, she meets a young man, Leo, who unwittingly causes Hagar to face her
Throughout the course of the movie, we get insight. We find out why she doesn't like petunias, why she favors one son over
the other, how her losses have formed her character. This isn't a "feel good" movie, but it is certainly a movie that brings the
viewer to empathy. You understand more clearly that hard edges in a person's life are there to protect, they are there for a
It's fun to see Ellen Page acting in this movie. She is so very different than the young woman that she plays in Juno. It gives
me an even broader appreciation for her acting ability. If you loved her in Juno, you'll love her in The Stone Angel.
The Stone Angel pulls out all the emotional stops but never fully develops its characters to the point where you really feel
any stake in the story's outcome, although the spirited performance by Ellen Page as John's devoted but naive girlfriend and
the moving final scenes bring a new energy to the film's second half.
dysfunctional family life even worse.
Three of four lead performances were great (Sarah Jessica Parker's, seemed stilted and uneven), but Thomas Haden
Church and Ellen Page definitely stood out (and got the most laughs). Church's timing was dead on and Ellen's incredibly
telling facial expressions never cease to amaze. What she can say with just a smirk… Thomas Hayden Church and Ellen
Page were great together. They had such good chemistry. The scenes between the two of them were the best in the film.
The best and wittiest dialogue came in the few scenes with Vanessa and Dr Hartigan. Especially good was the "fucking
patients is against the Hippocratic oath" line. This movie would have been much better had their been more interplay
between Sarah Jessica Parker’s and Ellen's characters
All around “Smart People” is a really enjoyable experience. This film is definitely more geared towards an adult audience with
such intellectual, incredibly dry-witted haracters. It connects best with intelligent individuals and won't resonate well with those
looking for a typical Hollywood comedy, but if you're in the mood for something smart, funny, and fulfilling, then Smart People
but to also spend time with a musician named Oliver (Landon Pigg) who she met at a game. Bliss takes the name "Babe
Ruthless" (all the players make up names the play under) and becomes a league sensation. But just when things are going
well and it seems that our heroine has finally found her own personal bliss, it's only a matter of time before things begin to
For Ellen Page the role is similar to that of "Juno" in that she plays a character with an independent spirit, but the
comparisons stop there. There's something that's more vulnerable about Bliss. She's a girl looking to discover who she is.
The movie gets major bonus points simply for being a rare female-driven movie that doesn't completely revolve around
romance or getting the guy. And while there is a climactic big game, the outcome is almost beside the point. Best of all, the
film refuses to indulge in the sort of 'hey look, it's girls kicking ass - how progressive!' pandering that is often found in
allegedly feminist films. The fact that these women really do whack the stuffing out of each other is simply accepted as a
matter of course. Like the sport it is based on, the thing that "Whip It" has going for it is that it is fun. It's not going to win any
Oscars, and you're probably not going to wish your kids would grow up to play roller derby, but it's the story of a girl having a
dream and her parents needing to find the courage to allow her to follow that dream. And I can't really imagine a better
actress to have played that girl. Ellen Page cements herself as a lifelong actress if she so chooses, and Drew Barrymore
cements herself as a triple-threat (acting, producing, and directing). This is the most promising directorial debut by a famous
actor since Ben Affleck's Gone Baby Gone two years ago. The film looks great, it's exceptionally well-acted by a large game
cast, and the screenplay by Shauna Cross (a real-life roller derby player) is filled with smart dialogue and genuine wit.
"Whip It" is a just-plain fun movie.
house on the edge of town. An accident unveils the female to the town, they never guess she's him, and as she gets drawn
out into the doings of the town, the two personalities battle for control.
Sure, split personality is gimmicky. Aren't we tired of movies using severe mental/psychiatric conditions as the premise for a
movie, especially a dark one? The saving grace here is Murphy who brings humanity to the situation. You understand that he
was abused on childhood and believe the psychotic break could have occurred. And he humanizes both characters. John,
the guy, is a great performance in its own right, one that would get lots of attention if it weren't for the other character, who is
kind of a jaw-dropper, Emma.
You buy her as a totally separate character, you believe the town buys her as a separate character, and somehow, and I
don't really understand how Murphy did this, but you also find yourself sympathizing with her agenda, even as you
understand it is selfish and dangerous. You just somehow LIKE her. It's a strange to have your own morality turned on
itself by sympathy. Ellen Page plays Maggie, a struggling single mother trying to escape this futureless town, really by any
means necessary. As usual Page is an endorsement for any film & this indie role suits her to a tee.
It's not a masterpiece, but it is a slow-building and amazing character study. The suspense of such a psychologically deep
and suspenseful story will keep anyone with the intellectual capacity to understand said story on the edge of their seats.
reality and heartbreak and choosing how to best live our too-brief lives. The fact that Inception is also fun and emotional and
thrilling, even with all those eggheady concepts wrapped inside it, makes the movie a true marvel. It’s not quite perfect, but it’
s uncommonly ambitious and courageous, which is close enough. At its core Inception is a heist movie, about a team of
operatives led by haunted soul Dom Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) to venture into peoples’ minds and extract the darkest
secrets from their subconscious. In this particular mission, which will be Dom’s last, the goal is a little different. Japanese
business mogul Saito (Ken Watanabe) has assigned them to the perilous task of Inception, planting an idea so deep in the
subconscious of rival CEO Fischer (Cillian Murphy) that he believes he thought of it himself.
Ellen Page plays a budding architectural prodigy Ariadne. Every performance is pitch-perfect with some strong support by
Ellen Page and Joseph Gordon-Levitt particularly who have grown up right before our eyes into undeniable movie stars.
Leonardo DiCaprio gives a typically flawless performance as the muddled, grieving man who we never quite trust to be living
in the real world.
Possibly the most important thing of all about Inception is that it is easily the most original film of the summer and likely to be
the most successful as well, a clear reminder that big budgets can be spent on new ideas and risky filmmaking, and that with
true imagination, the limitless resources of Hollywood can accomplish real magic. Nolan has done this with all of his studio
films, but Inception ups the ante in nearly every way, reminding us, as Eames tells Arthur, “You mustn’t be afraid to dream a
little bigger.” Inception doesn't just dream bigger than most movies even dare, but it leaves the audience feeling inspired to
do the same.
Ghost Cat (2003)
Wes Merritt and his daughter Natalie (14) get more
than they bargained for when they buy an old
house that was formerly inhabited by the nice old
Mrs. Ashboro and her pet cat, Margaret. When
strange things start happening in the house, all
fingers point to the presence of Margaret, who died
the same day as Mrs. Ashboro.
This is a simple children's movie with all the classic
Disneyesque components, evil nephew trying to get
his hands on his late aunts estate, kind hearted
woman trying to save all the animals and implants
from the big city relocating to "start over".
Wilby Wonderful (2004)
"Faith is believing something you know isn't true."
Wilby is the name of a small island in the Canadian
Maritimes and the name of the main town located on
the island. According to residents, there are two
types of people who live on Wilby: islanders (people
who were born on Wilby) and non-islanders. Among
the townsfolk of Wilby are: single mom and recently
returned islander Sandra Anderson, who was known
as the girl in town with the reputation, something
that has not changed in her adult years; Sandra's
teen-aged daughter, Emily, who doesn't want to end
up like her mother but can only think about making
out with her new boyfriend; Buddy French, the local
police officer who is having unspoken marital
problems with his non-islander wife, Carol, the town
Hard Candy (2005)
"I am every little girl you ever watched, touched,
hurt, screwed, killed."
After three weeks of chatting with the thirty-two year
old photographer Jeff Kohlver over the Internet,
fourteen year old Hayley Stark meets him in the
Nighthawks coffee shop. Hayley flirts with him in
spite of the age difference and proposes to go to his
house. Once there, she prepares a screwdriver for
them and Jeff passes out. When he awakes, he
is tied up to a chair, and Hayley accuses him of
pedophilia. Jeff denies the accusation, and Hayley
begins to torture him in a dangerous and often cruel
cat and mouse game.
Hard Candy is an intense psychological drama, with
incredible performances by both Ellen Page and
Patrick Wilson. The two actors are practically the
Mouth to Mouth (2005)
"Close your eyes.... and picture the perfect world"
A runaway teen becomes involved with a cult - the
radical street collective SPARK: Street People
Armed with Radical Knowledge - while she is living
on the streets of Europe. They introduce her to an
amazing and radical life as they travel towards the
vineyard compound that will be their home.
Manipulation abounds and Sherry comes of age
realizing that individuality has its costs.
This film is not about some rebel girl who runs away
from home and has insane adventures. This is a
movie about a girl who is desperately trying to
X-Men Last Stand (2006)
"Einstein said that ethics are an exclusive human
concern without any super human authority behind it."
The rift between humans and mutants had finally
reached the boiling point. When humans discovered
what causes humans to mutate, they have found a
cure for the mutation. The X-Men were appalled at
this idea. It was not long at all until the news about
the cure came to Magneto. He decides to organize
an army of mutants and wage his war against the
humans. Then, it became clear that Jean Gray
evolved into the Pheonix, her new mutant powers are
so strong that she can not control her own body.
Many new characters are introduced to thefranchise.
Three of them are worth notice: the Beast (Kelsey
An American Crime (2007)
"She sacrificed me to protect her children, and she
sacrificed her children to protect herself."
The true story of suburban housewife Gertrude
Baniszewski, who kept a teenage girl locked in the
basement of her Indiana home during the 1960s.
The film recounts one of the most shocking crimes
ever committed against a single victim. Sylvia and
Jennie Fae Likens, the two daughters of traveling
carnival workers are left for an extended stay at the
Indianapolis home of single mother Gertrude
Baniszewski and her six children. Times are tough,
and Gertrude's financial needs cause her to make
this arrangement before realizing how the burden
will push her unstable nature to a breaking point.
What transpires in the next three months is both
The Tracey Fragments (2007)
"How do you know what's real and what's not when
the whole world is inside your head? "
15-year-old Tracey Berkowitz is naked under a
shower curtain at the back of a bus, looking for her
little brother Sonny, who thinks he's a dog.
Tracey Berkowitz, 15, a self-described normal girl,
loses her 9-year old brother, Sonny. In flashbacks
and fragments, we meet her overbearing parents
and the sweet, clueless Sonny. We watch Tracey
navigate high school, friendless, picked on and
teased. She develops a thing for Billy Zero, a new
student, imagining he's her boyfriend. We see the
day she loses Sonny and we watch her try to find
him. In bits and pieces, we see what leads up to her
"I don't really know what kind of girl I am."
Faced with an unplanned pregnancy, an offbeat
young woman makes an unusual decision regarding
her unborn child. A tale told over four seasons,
starting in autumn when Juno, a 16-year-old
high-school junior in Minnesota, discovers she's
pregnant after one event in a chair with her best
friend, Bleeker. In the waiting room of an abortion
clinic, the quirky and whip-sharp Juno decides to
give birth and to place the child with an adoptive
couple. She finds one in the PennySaver personals,
contacts them, tells her dad and step-mother, and
carries on with school. The chosen parents, upscale
yuppies (one of whom is cool and laid back, the
other meticulous and uptight), meet Juno, sign
papers, and the year unfolds. Juno MacGuff is a tiny
force of nature. An intelligent, articulate, teenager
with a sardonic wit who seemingly has a ready
The Stone Angel (2007)
"She's got one of those hearts that just keeps on
working... no matter what else is gone."
In Manitoba, Hagar Shipley is nearing 90. She has
little, she tells us, but her memories. The witty,
irascible and fiercely proud Hagar escapes from
home when her son Marvin and daughter in law
Doris tell her she must move into nursing care. She
sets out on a journey to reconcile herself to a
tumultuous past. Through her memories, we come
to know her as the passionate and rebellious bride
in a remote prairie town whose proud father disowns
her when she marries the "wrong sort". Struggling to
get to the safe haven of an abandoned house she
remembers near the ocean, memories take her in
Smart people (2008)
"I don't think fucking patients is in the Hippocratic
Dennis Quaid plays Carnegie-Mellon English
professor Lawrence Wetherhold, a cranky know-it-all
hated by his students, faculty and family alike, who
ends up in the care of a former student, Dr. Janet
Hartigan (Sarah Jessica Parker), after a dumb
accident leaves him injured. Having not been with a
woman since his wife died years earlier, he decides
to pursue Janet, much to the annoyance of his overly
ambitious 17-year-old Young Republican daughter
Vanessa, played by Ellen Page, who immediately
dislikes the doctor. Things are even more
complicated since Larry's good-for-nothing adopted
brother Chuck (Thomas Haden Church) has decided
to move in, making the Wetherhold's already
Whip It (2009)
"One day it will be your time, Ruthless, but it's not
your time now. And if I was you, I wouldn't even
bother lacing up those skates."
It just so happens that "Whip It" stars Ellen Page as
teenager Bliss Cavender who, as the movie opens, is
competing in a Miss Bluebonnet beauty pageant. It is
something that her mother (Marcia Gay Harden)
wants her to do, but beneath the gown lies a girl who
is trying to break free. Later, while shopping with her
mother, a group of roller derby players skates by,
handing out flyers for an upcoming event. Bliss grabs
a flyer and later secretly heads to nearby Austin with
her best friend Pash (Alia Shawkat) to check out the
action. Soon, Bliss is breaking out her own pair of
skates and trying out for the league. When she
makes the cut, she must find time not only to play,
"She made him do... horrible things."
A train accident in rural Nebraska gradually unveils a
mystery involving the town's bank clerk. John Skillpa,
a quiet bank clerk living in tiny Peacock, Nebraska,
prefers to live an invisible life. This might have to do
with John's secret: he has another personality no
one knows about, a woman who each morning does
his chores and cooks him breakfast before he starts
his day. Then, in a moment, everything changes
A guy in a small midwestern town who upon the
death of his abusive mother, invents a second
personality, a woman who puts on mom's wig and
dresses and cooks, cleans, gives him grocery lists,
etc from behind the tall wooden fence of their gloomy
"You mustn't be afraid to dream a little bigger,
In a world where technology exists to enter the
human mind through dream invasion, a highly
skilled thief is given a final chance at redemption
which involves executing his toughest job to date:
Inception is a movie about ideas, quite literally –
stealing them, creating them, their power and their
ability to linger. But this is a Christopher Nolan
movie, so of course it’s about Big Ideas, about
“You tell everyone you know! That anytime some
stupid fucking bastard wants to commit some gay
ass crime that Crimson Bolt and Boltie are gonna
be there to crush their little fucking evil heads in! ”
In the world of the Crimson Bolt, heads are bashed
and bloodied, and sometimes enemies are blown
up completely. The film, written and directed by
Slither’s James Gunn, doesn’t shy from violence,
but don’t assume it’s just another Kick-Ass: For all
that movie’s love of guns and little-girl assassins,
Super is like its darker, more twisted, utterly gleeful
older sibling. Even the Crimson Bolt’s eager
sidekick, Boltie, is angrier (if more sloppily lethal)
than Kick-Ass’ Hit-Girl. “I could get claws like
Wolverine,” Boltie gushes. “And then I could cut up
Super’s mix of humor and bloodletting is Pulp
Fiction-perfect. “Shut up, crime!” is the Bolt’s
catchphrase, and he dispenses advice to criminals like “Don’t deal drugs!” and “Don’t molest kids!” after he beats them to
within an inch of their lives with a pipe wrench. Wilson, excepting a crying jag or two, is as deadpan as his character on The
Office, Dwight Schrute. But while Page’s hyper (and amusingly ungraceful) Boltie just wants to bludgeon and kill the bad
guys, Frank’s mission is to get Sarah back.
The film, like Kick-Ass, builds to a hyperviolent end, but Super doesn’t exchange its heart for shoot-outs and big explosions;
it ends on melancholy note, lending the narrative a more realistic, if sinking, oomph. Its sentiment is surprising—almost as
much as the first time Gunn counters a laugh with bloodied brains.
It’s definitely not for the squeamish and will probably go down like a gallon of battery acid if you’re expecting the feel good
comedy of the year – it’s dark and powerful.
The East (2013)
"We are The East, we don’t care how rich you are.
We want all those who are guilty to experience the
terror of their crime. It’s easy when it’s not your life,
easy when it’s not your home. But when it’s your
fault, it shouldn’t be so easy to sleep at night."
A social-conscience espionage film that has
actually thought about its “eco-terrorism” themes
beyond figuring out how to mine them for
suspense, The East sends a straight-laced
overachiever undercover with a violent eco-
Marling plays Sarah, a former FBI agent now
seeking her fortune in the private sector. Her
assignment for Hiller Brood, a secretive company
providing undercover risk assessments for corporations, requires her to infiltrate an anarchist group, The East. Telling her
boyfriend (Jason Ritter) she’s off to Dubai for business, Sarah actually hits the streets not far from her Washington, D.C.,
home — getting grubby with freegans and hobos while watching for someone whose political rants sound likely to produce
The group looks a bit like a cult, especially given the Jesus-like appearance of head strategist Benji (Alexander Skarsgard).
Members like Doc (Toby Kebbell) and Izzy (Ellen Page) offer villains from their own pasts — a reckless drug manufacturer,
say, whose wares injured loved ones — and decide how to get close enough to do that company well-publicized harm.
Sarah will inevitably be changed by this group. But will it be in the expected, manageable way — some sympathy is inevitable
when you devote every waking moment to earning someone’s trust — or will she go rogue?
The actors bringing this band of anarchists to life project enough wounded, uncertain self-righteousness to distance them
from the generic zealots more often seen in this kind of tale, and Marling, working behind a couple layers of role-playing,
keeps audiences guessing about what Sarah actually believes.
help thinking this was somehow John replaying his earlier life in his head and interacting with himself. Baldwin advises his
lovestruck protégé (Eisenberg) who's stuck between two women (Ellen Page and Greta Gerwig). It's a familiar mentor role, but
Baldwin and Eisenberg have real chemistry. I really loved Ellen Page’s interactions with Jesse Eisenberg (just ‘cuz she’s SO
Another story-line sees (Oscar Winning actor, writer, director) Roberto Benigni as Leopoldo Pisanello, a married clerk and
father who suddenly finds himself famous for no apparent reason. I found this one the most amusing given my thoughts on
Hollywood fame, how fickle/fleeting it can be and the way stars cope with gaining or losing the burden of unwanted attention.
Woody Allen’s character (Jerry) is a retired producer of avant-garde Operas who flies to Rome with his psychiatrist wife
(Phyllis); to meet their American daughter (Hayley), her new Italian fiancé (Michelangelo) and the prospective in-laws.
Michelangelo’s father (Giancarlo) has a fine operatic singing voice, but is so shy that he can only sing in the shower. How that
thread continues is pure class.
The final thread has Penelope Cruz as one of Rome’s more popular ladies of ill-repute (Anna); interacting with the male half
of a newly-wed couple. The couple are in town so that he (Antonio) can impress some well-to-do Aunts and Uncles and land a
dream job in the City. The farce that ensues sees Antonio caught in a compromising situation with Anna. He of course
pretends that she’s his wife (Milly) and continues with his original plan. Meanwhile Milly is off in search of a hairdresser, but
one thing having lead to another, is actually having adventures/complications of her own.
To Rome With Love (2012)
"Well, there's a great deal of pleasure in money.
You know, you... it's green and crinkly. You can
fondle the bills."
To Rome With Love shows us four unconnected
stories dealing with the romances, adventures and
predicaments of visitors and residents of Rome.
Alec Baldwin stars as an architect (John) that takes
a walk down memory lane, in a part of Rome where
he lived as a young architect. He bumps into Jack,
a younger version of himself (played by Jesse
Eisenberg) and pops almost ghost-like in and out of
Jack’s tale of an ill-fated a love triangle. He mostly
appears out of no-where; making side-comments to
Jack. Despite some scenes that show us the two
completely different characters interacting; I can’t