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Stars: Katherine Heigl (Tessa), Rosario Dawson (Julia), Geoff Stutts (David)

Directed by Denise Di Novi

WARNING: IF you are a victim of domestic violence, identity theft OR cyber stalking, this film may not be for you.

Julia is a successful Editor and a victim of domestic violence. She escapes her old life and moves to a new town and a new man. The relationship is complicated by the presence of his unbalanced and controlling ex-wife, Tessa, who is not happy about the relationship. She will stop at nothing to destroy Julia’s new found happiness. This film is rated R and opens on Friday, 21 April 2017.

The following is a commentary about the film based on the screening dated Wednesday, 19, 2017 at AMC Theatres.

What happens when a beautiful woman, a victim of domestic violence, meets and settles in with a balanced, well-adjusted and loving man? She encounters his equally unbalanced, cyber stalking, child abusing ex-wife.

Denise Di Novi is better known for producing than directing. Her films have included Focus with Will Smith, Danny Collins, with Al Pacino and Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants movies with America Ferrera, Blake Lively, Amber Tamblyn and Alexis Bledel. Unforgettable stars two of Hollywoods most talented actors, Katherine Heigl and Rosario Dawson.

Unforgettable, which is rated R for violence and brief nudity, should also have a warning label for Domestic Violence and Cyber stalking. These two troubling social issues permeates throughout the film.

We know Julia (Rosario Dawson) is a victim of domestic violence since the film starts in the present, but goes back six months to set up the storyline. Julia is constantly troubled by a man in her past whom she had to get a restraining order against. Julia leaves her old life behind to start over in a new town.

Julia’s fear of being discovered by her abuser is multiplied when Tessa (Katherine Heigl) steals Julia’s identity and uses it to communicate with the abuser. Julia is unaware of the deception or what is in store for her next. Tessa assumes Julia’s identity, even setting up a fake social media site using Julia’s information and photos hacked from her smartphone. Tessa draws the abuser closer to his victim with every communication she initiates pretending to be Julia.

The film does not bring any surprising revelation or closure. It provides very little information about Tessa’s strange behaviour, other than a sealed juvenile record. We also know very little about Julia’s abuser (Simon Kassianides).

The film wraps up in an ending that may be satisfactory, but unsettling. A bit of creepy irony sweeps over as the film comes to a close….whether you knew it was coming or not.

NUGGETS: Cheryl Ladd

INTERESTING: Katherine Heigl sports a new “Ivanka Trump” hairdo.


©2017  |  Gabrielle Bourne – T.E.A.M. @gabriellebourne

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Remake of 1979 film of the same name

Stars: Michael Caine (Joe), Morgan Freeman (Willie), Alan Arkin (Albert)

Directed by Zach Braff

Going in Style is a heist comedy film with heart. It is a remake of the 1979 film starring George Burns. It also provides social commentary of the times; the plight of the working class person and; society’s forgotten elderly population. The film co-stars the zany Christopher Lloyd in an unforgettable role and the always gorgeous Ann-Margret. The film is rated PG-13 and opens on Friday, 7 April 2017.

The following is a commentary about the film based on the screening dated Thursday, 30 March 2017.

Joe, Willie and Albert are best friends who discover that the steel company they worked for over 30 years was cancelling their pension. They were told by the steel company executive it was due to restructuring and moving operations to Vietnam. In truth, as they learned in the media, the company was cancelling everyone’s pension to pay off their own debts.

Joe has more worries when he receives a “yellow” envelop from the bank. He was also in danger of losing his home too. When he meets with the banker who sold him the worthless mortgage, he is told to wait for the “red” envelop, then he would only have 30 days to pay or vacate. Joe worries for his family. He was supporting his daughter and grand daughter. Losing the house would put all of them in serious jeopardy. The banker ignores Joe’s concerns.

Meanwhile…three robbers in feline masks walk into the bank and fires off machine gun rounds. Everyone at the bank are forced to assume a feline position, with their hands and legs up in the air, while tellers are forced to load cash into bags. Joe and the banker assume the feline position too, but Joe is having a difficult time due to cramps. The banker becomes agitated of being robbed and draws attention to himself.

One of the robbers approach to investigate the commotion. He becomes annoyed at the vocal banker and tells him to be quiet. He also notices Joe having a difficult time and releases him from holding the position.

Joe hands the robber the yellow envelop received from the bank. The robber was all too familiar with the envelop and sympathises with Joe, acknowledging that greedy institutions rob the hard working. Joe then hands over his wallet and tells the robber to “Take it,” it was all he had. The robber refuses, making a statement that we in society are responsible for the elderly. The robber then turns to the banker and steals his wallet and cash, knowing all too well that the banker was responsible for Joe’s financial predicament.

The robbers make an exit and warn everyone not to call the police, since shootouts never end well. The banker relieves himself due to the stress.

The audience gets a close up expression of Joe’s face…a smile….a recognition….a brilliant thought…a plan….

The rest of the film could be summarized as Ocean’s 11 meets Now You See Me. The music sounds familiar too, as if we heard it before. The montage of the actual planning of the heist is brilliant. It will draw the audience in, as we see the three besties timing their moves, taking surveillance photos and getting in shape.

Even more impressive is what is revealed to the audience later in the film, when Joe and Albert are brought down to the police station and questioned by an over zealous and pompous detective played by Matt Dillion, whilst Willie provides his “cover story” to the FBI agent.

The audience will want to stick around for the finale. Anyone who has seen the George Burns’ version knows that no crime goes unpunished, even if you are robbing the bank that is helping to dissolve your pension. In this latest version, Joe, Willie and Albert’s humanity, humour and decency will get you to root for their success in the end. You don’t want to miss it!


The man in the feline mask


©2017  |  Gabrielle Bourne – T.E.A.M. @gabriellebourne

“I don’t need a Prince,” she stated

Screened and reviewed: Wednesday, December 23, 2015 

Theatrical release: Friday, December 25, 2015 

Joy is a revelation more than a “How to manual” for young girls with big dreams. We can also undo the mistakes that often trap us in a mundane and unfulfilling life cycle.

Joy tells the story of real life inventor of the “Miracle Mop,” Joy Mangano. You can Google her name and read more about her. She is quite the interesting personality.

Just like any other average CEO of her household, Joy too had challenges, such as mopping. Her mind went to work and her heart built useful products that addressed every day life and household challenges. Voila! The “Miracle Mop” that cleans floors, wrings without touching dirty water and; can be thrown in the wash and reused. It was billed as “The only mop you will ever have to buy.”

The film revealed Joy’s dysfunctional world. This included a mother who was trapped in her recorded soap operas; a father looking for a “love” connection and; oh yes, she was divorced too, with her ex-husband living in the basement. Life was further complicated by a dead-end job; a house that needed constant repairs and; life/life balance as a divorced mother of two.

One evening, Joy was reading to her young daughter about Cicadas, an insect with a strange life ritual. She was struck by the revelation that they spent 17 years of their life underground, then emerged above ground. This revelation was so “unsettling” to Joy. How could anything stay hidden for 17 years? Joy found the number too “random.”The book did not provide a reason why.

Could this life cycle mirror her own existence? In a related “dream” sequence, her younger self says they had been “hiding out for 17 years.” She continued by stating they used to make things 17 years ago and asked “What happened?” The “funny thing about hiding is that you are even hidden from your self.” Joy graduated Valedictorian of her high school but; her current job barely paid the mortgage.

Joy had several revelations throughout the film, an emotional roller coaster with a satisfactory resolution. The guiding force and narrations by her grandmother complemented Joy’s journey.

Joy was less a story of a dreamer and more about an activator. She learned from her first business mistake that when an idea comes, take it to market quickly. As a teenager, she failed to patent her fluorescent flea collar for dogs, which Hartz Mountain did the following year.

Joy is a pure pleasure of a film. It is a testament to resolve; celebrates creativity and; applauds fair trade practices! The film is also a guide on how we ALL should conduct business; where adversaries become well-intentioned “friends” and where we help each other to get ahead.

“I know what it feels like. I know what it feels like to be in that chair,” Joy stated knowingly to a fledgling inventor during a pitch meeting. Joy indeed understood!


©2015  |  Gabrielle Bourne – T.E.A.M. @gabriellebourne

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