with Bill Sokolic
Geezer Film News
Moriarty and Hilton-Jacobs Co-Star in Opioid Film
By Bill Sokolic
Shooting Heroin is one of those hard-driving examinations of the toll
taken by the opioid crisis on small town America. Written and directed
by Spencer T. Folmar, the cast includes two veterans, Cathy Moriarty,
who turns 60 in November, and 66 year-old Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs,
both New York natives.
Moriarty, nominated as Best Supporting Actress for Raging Bull, plays
Beth, the mother of lead character, Adam. She was asked to give her
opinion of the script before being cast. She says the opioid epidemic is
a huge problem in her town in suburban New York.
“Beth is not a good mother,” Moriarty says in a production release. “She’s white trash but tries to be a decent grandmother.”
Beth also blames herself for the situation. “What I hope the audience takes away from the film is that it reaches out to every generation. People need to step up.”
Susan Kandell, writing in the Irish Film Critic, says Moriarty “with her husky voice, was a perfect choice for the weary, bitter mom.”
According to Carlos Aguilar, writing in the Los Angeles Times, “ Alan Powell, Cathy Moriarty who plays Adam, is at his best in scenes opposite Moriarty.”
Christian Toto of Hollywood in Toto, said Hilton-Jacobs, the Welcome
Back, Kotter alum, "delivers a nuanced turn as the audience surrogate"
playing Edward, a correctional officer.
Director Folmar, called Hilton-Jacobs “out of nowhere," Lawrence says,
in a film production release. "Folmer is a family person who believes
you do the right thing,” the actor says. "He's blunt…I grew up in the
inner city where every tenth person was a junkie. I had friends who died
on me. You can't ignore it. It's too much in the news." Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs
In an interview in 2015 with The Guardian, Moriarty says she failed to see most of the films she made, including Raging Bull. As for her career, her co-ownership in a pizza chain allowed her to be more selective in her roles. But she didn't exactly receive the cream of the crop offers, she told The Rake in 2017.
She attributed this partly to Hollywood snobbishness: “I can only say that nobody likes an overnight success in this town. I went for a lot of interviews, auditions and even cattle calls. I tried for parts and attended meetings, but it seemed I wasn’t right for any of the roles I wanted. And the parts I was offered didn’t appeal to me. So I paid my dues, studying acting and losing my Yonkers accent. And, oh yes, I cried an awful lot.”
In 2017, she played a 75 year-old grandmother in Patti Cakes.
“I’m just a mom,” she tells Tre’vell Anderson, in the NY Times. “But after playing a grandmother, I kind of like it. But I didn’t really think about it. I just liked the development of the character and how what she did not do for her daughter she wanted to do for her granddaughter.”
Moriarty admitted she messed her career up a little at one point.
“Rejection is a huge part of acting. You can audition 100 times and only get two [jobs]. You've got to look at it like, `Wow, I got these two parts,’ not `I got a lot of No’s.’ You have to have tough skin. And just keep going, keep going, keep going.”
Moriarty appears in the comedy, Crabs in a Bucket and the crime drama, Flinch, both in post production. Hilton-Jacobs can be seen in the series, A House Divided, the comedy, The Perfect Mate, and the action-infused Escape from Death Block 13, which is in post-production.
photos courtesy of Zimbio and Facebook
Geezer Film News
Annette Bening earns a well deserved "Career Achievement Award" from Movies for Grownups
By Bill Sokolic
The American President celebrates its 25th anniversary this year, and one of the high points of the film belongs to Annette Bening’s portrayal of environmental lobbyist Sydney Ellen Wade. Hard to believe, but Bening is now 61, an age that earned her the cover story for the current issue of AARP Magazine. The centerpiece story, written by David Hochman, coincides with the annual Movies for Grownups awards January 19 on PBS, where Bening will accept a career achievement award. She joins previous recipients such as Kevin Costner, Morgan Freeman, Shirley MacLaine, Helen Mirren and her American President co-star, Michael Douglas.
The award does not suggest Bening is an actor resting on her considerable laurels. Far from it.
She’s currently shooting a remake of Death on the Nile. A four-time Oscar nominee, Bening and her husband of almost 30 years, Warren Beatty, 82, are new empty nesters as the youngest of their four children left for Juilliard.
Hochman writes, “For all her steely magnetism on-screen, from her early breakthrough in 1990's The Grifters to her latest film, The Report — a post-9/11 drama in which she plays Sen. Dianne Feinstein — Bening, in person, is refreshingly authentic, open and clearly excited about what she calls "a growing sense of freedom and groundedness I haven't felt at this level before.’“
At a time when Hollywood seems to have finally awakened to the potential of older actresses in substantial roles, Bening is a woman who is feeling her own potential, Hochman continues.
Bening sees herself as still evolving. “When you're younger, you think there's some point at which you arrive, but that's an illusion,” she tells Hochman. The truth, she notes, is that we're continually changing and growing; in some ways this part of her life feels like a beginning.
"A lot of women have a period of incredible growth after their children are no longer with them on a day-to-day basis,” Bening says. How that freedom and growth will manifest on-screen for Bening remains to be seen, but it can only enhance an already remarkable career that includes Bugsy, the 1991 gangster film where she met Beatty on the set, and 2010's domestic drama The Kids Are Alright.
Parenting at this stage is less about holding on than about letting go, Bening has found. “When I was younger, part of me thought I could save my children from having to suffer, which was, of course, ridiculous,” she says to Hochman. “They have to go through their struggles.”
Her kids recently helped guide Bening through the action-blockbuster role. Bening surprised even herself when she suited up in a formfitting metallic jumpsuit to play an intelligent cyborg in last spring's superhero movie Captain Marvel, Hochman writes. “My kids had to explain the character to me,” she admits.
Truth be told, Bening is drawn to films that speak to a mature audience. “So much of what we hear in Hollywood is that it's youth focused. But, hey, we're out here, too, right?” she says. “We're looking for films that are stimulating, provocative, intelligent and not exploitative in any way. When you make movies, you want to make an impact on people, not just entertain them," she explains. Sometimes a stranger in a shop or restaurant will grab Bening by the arm and tell her how much it meant to see a version of their own life's most important story on-screen. It happened after she played an older actress with a younger lover in Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool and also when she portrayed a birth mother reunited with the child she'd given up for adoption in Mother and Child.
"It's great when a movie can speak to someone,” the actress says simply. “Those moments stick with me."
Movies for Grownups Awards Nominees
Best Movie for Grownups Readers' Choice Poll
Bombshell A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
Marriage Story Bombshell
The Farewell Downton Abbey
The Irishman Joker
A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood Marriage Story
Little Women Little Women
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
The Two Popes Richard Jewell
The Two Popes
Best Actress Best Actor Isabelle Huppert, Frankie Antonio Banderas, Pain and Glory
Helen Mirren, The Good Liar Robert De Niro, The Irishman
Julianne Moore, Gloria Bell Eddie Murphy, Dolemite Is My Name
Alfre Woodard, Clemency Jonathan Pryce, The Two Popes
Renée Zellweger, Judy Adam Sandler, Uncut Gems
Best Supporting Actress Best Supporting Actor
Laura Dern, Marriage Story Jamie Foxx, Just Mercy
Nicole Kidman, Bombshell Tom Hanks, A Beautiful Day in the Jennifer Lopez, Hustlers Neighborhood
Zhao Shuzhen, The Farewell Anthony Hopkins, The Two Popes
Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey Al Pacino, The Irishman
Brad Pitt, Once Upon A Time in Hollywood
Noah Baumbach, Marriage Story
Kasi Lemmons/Gregory Allen, Howard,
HarrietAnthony McCarten, The Two Popes
Quentin Tarantino, Once Upon A Time in Hollywood
Steven Zaillian, The Irishman
Photos courtesy of AARP
Taut Thriller Brings Helen Mirren and Ian McKellen Together
By Bill Sokolic
The Good Liar, which opened November 15, brings together two celebrated British elder actors in a thriller. Helen Mirren, 74, and Ian McKellen, 80, told ABC News that the film casts aside clichés about older actors.
“Elderly characters are sort of there to be the lovely old grandfather or granddad that the kids go and visit,” Mirren said. “As you get older and you realize, 'You know what? I still have agency in my life. Things are still happening in my life. It doesn't all stop when you're 50.”
The film marks the first time in their illustrious careers they appeared in the same movie, although they played Broadway together. McKellen plays a lifelong swindler who sets his sights on a lonely widow played by Mirren, hoping to abscond with her life savings.
“This film could not happen unless these people were the age they were at,” said
McKellen, who expects audiences may balk at seeing two older leads. “What you
do get...on the whole is pretty good acting.”
At 64, director Bill Condon is not exactly a youngster. "There is nothing about
mortality in this movie and that I love," he told ABC News. "Putting them into a very
contemporary thriller, it's a good reminder of the fact that people should get to do
Condon said there is a dearth of parts for people of a certain age, but hopes Mirren
and McKellen do more films together. “They have an incredible kind of rapport."
In an Entertainment Weekly interview, Mirren said the chance to co-star with
and work with Condon played a major factor in accepting the part.
“It’s nice to do a film about old people that’s not about Alzheimer’s or cancer, if you
know what I mean,” she told EW.
Both Mirren and McKellen have some blockbuster projects on the horizon. McKellen appears in Tom Hooper’s Cats adaptation, and Mirren is set to appear in the ninth installment of the Fast and Furious franchise in 2020.
All photos courtesy of Warner Brothers
Eastwood Shows He Can Still Do It All at 88
By Bill Sokolic
To no one's surprise, Clint Eastwood's The Mule has garnered rave reviews.
As a man approaching 90, is Eastwood unique or does his success spark hope
to those of us on the other side of 60 who have or long to have a career in film?
"To praise The Mule by saying that it's the best film ever made by an 88-year-old
American director who also stars in it is to say nothing at all, because there's
never been such a thing before," writes Todd McCarthy in The Hollywood
Eastwood plays Earl Stone, a destitute aging man who agrees to run drugs from
Mexico to climb out of the hole he's in and repair relationships with his kids and
grandkids. "There's no guarantee that Earl is going to make it out of this mess alive, as the director has killed off his own character more than once in the past" McCarthy says.
Director Eastwood - this is his 37th feature since his screen debut 63 years ago - brings
in suspense in the late going. "The story's climax takes some twists and turns that are
both melodramatic and unexpected, with the generally prosaic Earl ultimately
concluding, `You can buy anything, but I couldn't buy time.' Persuasively expressive in
conveying an old man's regrets along with his desire to improve himself even in late
age, The Mule shows that Eastwood's still got it, both as a director and actor," McCarthy
The Mule fits Eastwood perfectly, writes Chris Nashawaty in Entertainment Weekly.
“Not just because there probably aren’t many roles for actors of his age out there these
days, but also because its lack of judgment makes sense for a star who’s always been as willing to play anti-heroes as heroes.”
Eastwood has a way of directing all his own. "You have to know what you're looking for
when you go after it and when you see it," Eastwood tells The IMDB Show.
Michael Pena, who plays a DEA agent in the film, says it gets real quiet on the set.
Speaking on The IMBD Show, he described the style as a cool respect among cast and
crew. "It's a very disciplined approach."
Critics cite the inevitable: Eastwood has aged from his last screen appearance six years
ago in Trouble With the Curve.
“His athletically lanky frame has become a bit more fragile and hunched, his gait a bit slower, and his one-of-a-kind voice raspier and more halting,” Nashawaty writes.
Still, few leading men in film history have been active this long and probably none has ever had star billing above the title for this long, McCarthy points out. "Eastwood has made some slack and overlong pictures over the years, but this is not one of them, and there is visual vitality here," he writes.
Clint Eastwood on the set of The Mule.
He Produced, Directed, and Starred in
the film at the ripe old age of 88.
Geezer Film News
A quick whirl through some exciting new films that rely on age and experience
Spike Lee’s satire, BlacKKKlansman, tells the true tale of Colorado Springs detective,
Ron Stallworth, who joined the KKK in 1978 even though he was black. He would send
a fellow white officer when he had personal meetings, but played the role of a white
supremacist himself on the phone.
Lee is a two-time Oscar nominee: for original screenplay for Do the Right Thing, and
best director for the documentary feature 4 Little Girls. He was also awarded an
honorary Oscar in 2015 for his lifetime achievement.
A script by David Rabinowitz and Charlie Wachtel already existed, but Lee and writing
partner, 58 year-old Kevin Willmott, had some additional ideas. "The biggest thing we
wanted," Lee, 61, said in a Kenneth Turan story in the L.A. Times, "was to put stuff in the script, very strategically, so it would not be a period piece."
In an interview this month with Jamil Smith of Rolling Stone, Lee spoke of his use of footage from the Charlottesville incident and the death of Heather Heyer at the end. "I felt I had to do it. The people had to see this," he says, referring to an act of homegrown terrorism. "An American terrorist drove that car down that crowded street.”
The film, which stars Denzel Washington’s son, John David Washington, and co-stars Adam Driver, opens August 10.
According to IMDB, an L.A. Minute is a satirical look at fame, success, the star-making
machinery and the karma that attaches to all those who worship at the altar of celebrity.
The movie, which opens August 24, stars 73 year-old Bob Balaban and 68 year-old
British character actor, Bill Nighy, 68, and soon-to-be 59 year-old New Orleans native,
Patricia Clarkson, co-star in The Bookshop, a drama set in a small East Anglian town in
1959. The plot pits a new bookstore owner against ruthless opposition from the locals.
Opens August 24.
Dennis Quaid, the 64 year-old with an impressive body of work that includes his portrayal of Jerry Lee Lewis in Great Balls of Fire, co-stars in the sci-fi thriller, Kin, out August 31. The IMDB description says “chased by a vengeful criminal, the feds and a gang of otherworldly soldiers, a recently released ex-con and his adopted teenage brother are forced to go on the run with a weapon of mysterious origin as their only protection.”
The Little Stranger
This is a dramatic horror film featuring 72 year-old Charlotte Rampling. In the story, set in a remote English village after the close of World War II, Rampling plays Mrs. Ayres, matriarch of the haunted family home. Catch it August 31.