Blu-Ray Review: “My Old Lady” With Kevin Kline & Maggie Smith

 

Now out on Blu-ray and DVDMy Old Lady (PG-13, 107 minutes) is based on a play by revered playwright Israel Horovitzand if you’re expecting a charming comedic confection with Kevin Kline and Maggie Smiththen you’ve just skimmed the surface.

Mathias Gold (Kevin Kline) is an embittered 57-year-old New Yorker who inherits his recently deceased father’s Parisian apartment. Thrice divorced and in desperate need of financial liquidity, Mathias is intent on selling the domicile at a huge profit.

Kevin Kline & Maggie Smith in "My Old Lady"
Kevin Kline & Maggie Smith in “My Old Lady”

Mathilde (Maggie Smith) and her daughter Chloé (Kristin Scott Thomas) are the apartment’s longtime residents, and under a French real estate law known as viager, Mathias must actually pay Mathilde, the previous owner of the state, rent until she dies. Once she passes, Mathias can immediately sell the apartment and live the rest of his life in the lap of luxury.

Although “My Old Lady” could have been framed as a light comedy wherein the initial combatants develop a profound friendship, Horovitz takes his narrative to more ambitious and darker territories, as Mathias’ flippant attitude masks a tragic past which is understandably hard to shake.

Dominique Pinon & Kevin Kline in "My Old Lady"
Dominique Pinon & Kevin Kline in “My Old Lady”

“Precision is the key to long life – precision and wine,” says Mathilde during her first dinner with Mathias. That similar quality is shared by debut filmmaker Horovitz, whose snappy and pinpoint dialogue are among “My Old Lady’s” many strengths.

With cinematographer Michel Amathieu, Horovitz bathes My Old Lady in the warmest of colors (almost as rich Mathilde’s preferred red wines), and while a healthy portion of the story is set within the apartment, there’s a refreshing sense of space within each frame. Whether it’s hitting thematic or visual notes, “My Old Lady” is that rare drama that allows the narrative, along with the characters who inhabit its universe, room to breathe.

Kevin Kline, Maggie Smith, and Kristin Scott Thomas are all Oscar winners, and watching them weave through Horovitz’s cleverly crafted words is a pleasure to watch.

I’m not going to spoil the unexpected turns you’ll discover in “My Old Lady” and let you luxuriate within, as one of the character describes, “the blood of Paris.” A deft and occasionally heartbreaking mix of comedy and drama, My Old Lady thankfully doesn’t go gentle into that good night.

SPECIAL FEATURES: 

92 Street Y Annette Insdorf Interview with Kevin Kline & Writer/Director Israel Horovitz (57:33) – This is a first rate and informative discussion that’s part of the Reel Pieces movie series, as Horovitz delves into his lifelong friendship with mentor/father figure Samuel Beckett. At the end of the conversation, Horovitz also explains how a chance meeting with Alma Singer (Isaac Singer’s widow) inspired part of “My Old Lady’s” story.

Kevin Kline also talks about why he’s very picky with his projects (He’s been dubbed Kevin “De-Kline”) and he elaborates about his extensive work in the theater.

My Old Lady - Universal Pictures Home Entertainment
My Old Lady – Universal Pictures Home Entertainment

 

Kevin Kline in "My Old Lady"
Kevin Kline in “My Old Lady”

 

Movie Notes:

***Kevin Kline and Kristin Scott Thomas previously played husband and wife in the drama “Life As A House.”

***Maggie Smith and Kristin Scott Thomas played mother and daughter in Robert Altman’s feature “Gosford Park.”

Giveaway: Enter To Win “John Wick” On Blu-Ray

 

Keanu Reevesalong with a talented ensemble (Ian McShane, John Leguizamo, Willem Dafoe, Dean Wintersand scene stealer Adrianne Palicki), were terrific in John Wick, and the feature comes out on Blu-ray and DVD via Lionsgate Home Entertainment on February 3.

I’m giving out three (3) Blu-rays of John Wick. To enter the Giveaway:

  1. Please “Like” our Deepest Dream Facebook Page. Current Deepest Dream Facebook members can also enter. Our Facebook link is: https://www.facebook.com/deepestdream
  2. In the Comments section below – name your favorite Keanu Reeves movie and briefly explain why you love it.
  3. Once you “Like” our Facebook page and Comment, send your Email info to editor@deepestdream.com – If you’re the Winner of the Giveaway, I will email you back and ask for your address & send the Blu-Ray.
  4. The GIVEAWAY, ends Tuesday, February 10, 2015 at 5:00 pm Pacific Time. Winners will be announced on the Deepest Dream Facebook Page. To qualify for the Giveaway, you must have a valid U.S. address. Good luck!!
John Wick - Lionsgate Home Entertainment
John Wick – Lionsgate Home Entertainment

 

Nick Carter Finds “Miracle” With “Backstreet Boys” Family

Backstreet Boys: Show ‘Em What You’re Made Of is a surprisingly unfiltered and even handed look at the iconic boy band that captured the hearts and imagination of millions. Twenty plus years as a group, these five men continue to tour and make music, as the documentary chronicles the making of In A World Like This (it also marked the welcome return of Kevin Richardson).

Part of the documentary has the group journeying to each of their hometowns, where they reminisce about their past while continuing to strengthen their brotherly bond.

“It was a lot of emotion,” says A.J. McLean at today’s press conference, held at Hollywood’s W. Hotel. “It was very therapeutic. We learned a lot more about each other that we didn’t know  for the last twenty plus years. And I think it actually made us stronger and it made us much more of a band.”

Nick Carter revisited Miles Elementary School in Tampa, Florida, the site where his musical dreams took flight, and his reunion with a special teacher is one of the doc’s more poignant moments. “It was hard for me to live during that five day period and sort of live through these other guys’ experiences,” adds Carter. “Seeing each one of them cry over a specific story or circumstance that occurred in their lives – it affected me and it really touched me in a lot of ways.”

During the press conference, I asked Nick Carter about returning to his childhood home and elementary school. Click on the media bar below to hear Carter:

Backstreet Boys: Show ‘Em What You’re Made Of hits theaters, VOD, and iTunes on Friday, January 30.

"Backstreet Boys: Show 'Em What You're Made Of" Press Conference - January 29, 2015.
“Backstreet Boys: Show ‘Em What You’re Made Of” Press Conference – January 29, 2015.

 

Exclusive: “Project Almanac” Interview With Jonny Weston

Opening January 30, Project Almanac centers on David Raskin (Jonny Weston), an intelligent high school student who finds a mysterious device left by his late father. Along with sister Christina (Virginia Gardner), potential girlfriend Jessie (Sofia Black-D’Elia) and best friends Quinn and Adam (Sam Lerner, Allen Evangelista), go on an uplifting, yet ultimately unnerving, time travel journey that profoundly alters their lives.

Jonny Weston, who will also be seen this year opposite Shailene Woodley in Insurgent and Zac Efron in the EDM drama “We Are Your Friends,” has started from couch surfing as a struggling actor to landing plum feature film roles (he played surfer Jay Moriarty in the inspiring drama “Chasing Mavericks”).

During our phone interview, Weston talked about his “Project Almanac” experience and explained why acting didn’t enter his life until he turned 18.

Sam Lerner is Quinn Goldberg, Jonny Weston is David Raskin, Allen Evangelista is Adam Le, and Virginia Gardner is Christina Raskin in PROJECT ALMANAC, from Insurge Pictures, in association with Michael Bay.
Sam Lerner is Quinn Goldberg, Jonny Weston is David Raskin, Allen Evangelista is Adam Le, and Virginia Gardner is Christina Raskin in PROJECT ALMANAC, from Insurge Pictures, in association with Michael Bay.
David’s a genius, but is a slightly insecure guy, especially when it comes to his budding relationship with Jessie.

It was frustrating at times, because in order to play David I had to kind of focus on a lot of my insecurities I was fed up with and held back from when I was in high school. To revisit that and live in that temperament was pretty off-putting.

Was doing Project Almanac an instant no-brainer for you?

You never really know how badly you want (to do) the film until you start reading with the other actors and you start working with the director and thinking, ‘I’m going to be stuck on set with these guys in a remote town for (a number of months).’

I loved the script and the more I got involved with the people, it just got better and better. But it was a good four or five months of being told “Maybe,” “No,” or “Yes.”

To be an actor, it must take a lot of perseverance to work in this business, especially going through the rigors of the audition process.

If you love what you do, all of those things fall to the ground and break. If you want to make films because you love it or you want to make something meaningful, failure is just kind of a speed bump. So yeah, perseverance is relative – it just depends on what you want to get out of this industry.

It is what you make it, but I’m constantly surprised. It was the best part of my day – I loved it. It’s really interesting to start getting paid for something that you feel is improving you as a person as well. It’s a real trip. If it doesn’t make you happy, I wouldn’t even recommend getting started.

 Jonny Weston is David Raskin and Sofia Black D'Elia is Jessie Pierce in PROJECT ALMANAC, from Insurge Pictures, in association with Michael Bay.
Jonny Weston is David Raskin and Sofia Black D’Elia is Jessie Pierce in PROJECT ALMANAC, from Insurge Pictures, in association with Michael Bay.

Is that the advice you give fellow actors?

Yes. I had a talk with one of my buddies the other day. Some of my friends who’ve started acting – I really want to give them that talk. I don’t want them to get frustrated for five years and find out that they’ve wasted all their time, you know? But the rewards are endless.

Is the best education for you as an actor seeing the world and applying it to your craft? Because in the end, the more you know about your job, the better.

That’s right. That’s why I didn’t even consider acting until I was 18.  I never even considered it once. And I took this theater class on a fluke and I’m really glad I had a normal high school experience. That really grounded me.

PROJECT ALMANAC

When you’re shooting a scene, is there a key in staying in the moment?

I think that comes to making it very personal to you. Making the world and the situation seem more personal to yourself. And then you forget you’re on a movie set.

You also have to remember there is, like you were saying, that along with the training comes the understanding that it is a job and there’s a camera and you have to play to it. If you do personal work on the character, then it doesn’t matter.

The funny thing about the human mind is it focuses on the most important thing. So if the most important thing is people thinking you’re great then you will not be able to focus on the scene and vice versa.

onny Weston is David Raskin in PROJECT ALMANAC, from Insurge Pictures, in association with Michael Bay
onny Weston is David Raskin in PROJECT ALMANAC, from Insurge Pictures, in association with Michael Bay

Do you like to watch your movies with an audience to get that visceral reaction?

I used to think that I’m never going to watch myself – but it comes down to a point where you’re kind of insulting everyone that you collaborated with if you don’t go and see it. It helps if the movie is really fun and the director did a great job.

Certainly it’s gratifying to see people have a real, guttural reaction to your film. But I try not to focus on that too much because I don’t want to be that person who’s looking at myself while I’m working.

Thank you so much for your time and good luck with the film.

Thank you man, I appreciate it.

“You didn’t care that all your friends could be hurt?” #ProjectAlmanac

A photo posted by Project Almanac (@projectalmanacmovie) on

Sophia Bush & Jesse Lee Soffer Talk “Integrity” On “Chicago P.D.”

Chicago P.D. members Sophia Bush (“Erin Lindsay”) and Jesse Lee Soffer (“Jay Halstead”) were at the Television Critics Association tour to promote the show’s upcoming One Chicago crossover event with Chicago FireDuring the interview, the pair talked about what they’ve learned from their research and first hand interactions with Chicago police officers.

For Bush, having integrity and a strong moral compass are key ingredients to being an effective officer. “Being a cop is tricky,” says the actress. “It’s hard and it’s dangerous and it’s stressful. We don’t take time very often to stop and think about the supreme amount of stress and anxiety these men and women are going through every day.”

Click on our video of Sophia Bush and Jesse Lee Soffer talk about what they see are the challenges of being a police officer:

Chicago P.D., which also stars Jason Beghe (“Sgt. Hank Voight”) and Jon Seda (“Det. Antonio Dawson”) airs Wednesday evenings on NBC (10 pm et/pt).

Jenny Lewis & Johnathan Rice Collaborate For “Song One” Soundtrack

Now playing in select theaters and available on VOD, Song One stars Anne Hathaway (who also produces) as Franny, an anthropology student who returns to Brooklyn after her brother Henry (Ben Rosenfield) is rendered comatose after a car accident.

After reading his diaries and listening to his compositions, Franny gradually see Henry’s passions with a less judgmental eye, and her bond to her sibling strengthens after meeting his music idol James Forester (Johnny Flynn).

Johnny Flynn & Anne Hathaway in 'Song One' - Cinedigm/Film Arcade
Johnny Flynn & Anne Hathaway in ‘Song One’ – Cinedigm/Film Arcade

Director Kate Barker-Froyland enlisted singer/songwriters Johnathan Rice and Jenny Lewis to compose original songs from the picture (the tracks were penned from the POV of James Forester).

“You have to proceed with a certain amount of openness to critique because we were creating these songs based on our idea of this character that Kate wrote. So it didn’t always resonate with her in the right way, and we would send them off in emails to (executive producer) Jonathan Demme who we’re huge fans of and to Adam (Shulman) and Annie (Hathaway), and Kate and (sometimes) the songs didn’t work. And we would have to go back to the drawing board.

But we would (often) start songs separately and then come together with the idea of the character where Johnathan would finish an idea or I would finish one of his ideas.”

The music’s tone is partly influenced by the reflective, acoustic driven musicianship of Elliott Smith. Though “Song One’s” music are unique in their own right, Lewis and Rice chose Rob Schnapf, a producer and former collaborator of Smith’s, to work on the soundtrack.

Here’s a clip of Jenny Lewis and Johnathan Rice collaborating with Ben Rosenfield on “Marble Song,” a track that’s featured on the Song One” soundtrack.

Kenya Moore Is Tough As Nails On “Celebrity Apprentice”

A new episode of The Celebrity Apprentice airs Monday night (NBC, 8 pm et/pt), and the past two installments have shown that Kenya Moore (The Real Housewives of Atlanta) can succeed as a project manager (she did a great job on the Ivanka Trump campaign) and she’s not afraid to speak her mind (as Brandi Glanville witnessed in last week’s episode).
Brandi Glanville, Kenya Moore -- (Photo by: Douglas Gorenstein/NBC)
Brandi Glanville, Kenya Moore — (Photo by: Douglas Gorenstein/NBC)

While sitting down with Celebrity Apprentice teammate Ian Ziering, Moore talked about the origins of her innate strength and resolve. “I was just always told to be tough,” says Moore, who was born and raised in Detroit. “And I think I’m just a natural fighter – not physically – but just fighting (and standing up) for myself.”

Click on the video below for Kenya Moore’s full answer as well as Ziering’s admission that going against Moore would simply be a bad idea!