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Tag Archives: Austin Lysy

And So It Goes

Oren Little (played by Michael Douglas) is trying to sell his house. It’s a grand mansion, in a beautiful town on sprawling marvellous grounds. It used to be his home, until his dear wife died a couple of years ago after a battle with cancer. Now he can’t bear to be there. As a real estate agent, he knows the market, so he’s holding out for the best price he can get. These days he lives in a small holiday home nearby and exists for his own purposes. He’s become self-centred and gruff towards the outside world – he’s not strong on tact and doesn’t think about others’ feelings in the slightest. Most people have lost their patience with him and think he’s just a grouchy old so-and-so. As soon as his house is sold, he’s moving to a quiet part of Vermont to retire – and that can’t come soon enough. One day out of the blue, he’s suddenly saddled with Sarah (by Sterling Jerins) – his 9 year old granddaughter that he never knew he had. Now what’s he supposed to do? He relies on the goodwill of his tiresome neighbour, Leah (by Diane Keaton), who thankfully has a sensitive and loving nature, so she takes Sarah under her wing. Through his interactions with both Leah and Sarah, the world suddenly comes back into focus for Oren as he realises that there’s still some sweetness in life and some happiness to experience.

I didn’t have high hopes for this movie. I’d seen reviews that it was completely awful – but I was very pleasantly surprised. The mood is as relaxed as the setting – a lovely holiday town with a great lifestyle and beautiful properties. Oren Little is not a very nice person and Michael Douglas depicts him well. Diane Keaton’s character is sweet and kind-hearted – this fits well with Diane’s performance – but to hear her sing for the first time is a revelation to me – who knew? She’s a very enjoyable singer. It’s interesting – I’m not sure if it’s by design or by luck – but to watch Michael Douglas’ wardrobe, style and look get progressively more appealing – he gets well groomed, stylish and somehow younger looking as his character warms up and becomes more pleasant … I guess this is part of the Director’s plan. Some have said that Rob Reiner’s appearance in the movie is a mistake and he’s just awful, but I think that’s the idea – his character, Artie, is cringe-worthy, yes, but that’s appropriate for the story. There are two gems in this too – first, Frances Sternhagen’s character, Claire, is a breath of fresh air – she pulls no punches with Oren; second – the cameo by Frankie Valli – that’s almost uncredited, but still great to see. Overall, this is an enjoyable, sweet movie.

Made in 2014. Directed by Rob Reiner

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Posted by on June 29, 2015 in Movies

 

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Everybody’s Fine

Eight months ago, Frank Goode (played by Robert De Niro) lost his wife of many years. It has been difficult for him to keep going without her as she was the glue that held his family together. She had great relationships with all of their four adult children and Frank is now finding that it’s hard to maintain good contact with his children as he just doesn’t feel he knows any of them well enough, but he’s very proud as he has pushed each of them to achieve their best in life. He now lives on his own and we meet him just as he is preparing for a visit by all four of the children at once. He’s all ready for them to arrive, but then one by one each of them calls to let him know they’re not coming. Bitterly disappointed, but trying to be understanding, Frank decides that if they can’t come to him then he will go to them. So, even though he’s plagued by heart trouble, he sets out on a road trip around the country to surprise each of them with a visit in their home town. First, he calls on David (by Austin Lysy) the artist, in New York City. Then he moves on to Amy (by Kate Beckinsale), an advertising executive in Chicago. After this, he’s off to Denver to see Robert (by Sam Rockwell) an orchestra conductor, then to Las Vegas where his youngest daughter Rosie (by Drew Barrymore) is a dancer in a big show. Things don’t quite go according to Frank’s hopes, but he does learn a lot about himself and communication within his family.

This is a very poignant drama. Robert De Niro is beautiful as the everyday Frank who just wants to know his children are okay and happy. He defies his doctor to travel because his urge to see them is so strong. He is so authentic, I could see every father in him. Of course, each of the adult children has their own life issues to deal with and while they each had a trusting and open relationship with their mother, things with their father aren’t quite as open and easy. The two daughters, played by Kate Beckinsale and Drew Barrymore, seem to be more relaxed and natural in their characters – the actors seem to “fit into” these roles a bit more easily than Sam Rockwell does into his. He doesn’t really seem to be comfortable, nor gel well with the rest of the family group.  We really only see David fleetingly, so no view can be formed about Austin Lysy. The directing is good and the film-making is done well – so we see the children through Frank’s eyes, as well as in their actual state. There is a journey, primarily for Frank, but by the story’s conclusion, everybody is fine and it concludes nicely on this point. It’s a good movie.

Made in 2009. Directed by Kirk Jones

 
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Posted by on May 2, 2012 in Movies

 

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