Things don't get better, they get worse.
Star – Katherine Keener
Genre – Comedy
Run Time – 87minutes
Certificate – 1
Country – USA
Amazon – £6.81 DVD
Awards – 16 Nominations & 5 Wins
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One of my jobs is helping my mum’s antiques business. She sells mostly low grade oldly worldy brown stuff and collectables at fairs and carboots etc and her house is full of stock she will never actually sell but refuses to move on as she insists everything is valuable one day. There is some truth in that, of curse, the subject of this sophisticated indie from America, about a high end antiques store in Manhattan selling the contents of recently deceased old people in the city, people, like my mom, who never throw anything away. Grannies décor and curios has become trendy and cool in the Big Apple and the hipsters and the young professional class are kitting out their pads like a 1970s British sitcom. I’m not a big fan of anything old, brown or decorative and prefer repurposing old things to be useful in the present than the concept of staring at something on the mantelpiece because it’s old. A lot of people enjoy that staring though and there is a lucrative resale trade out there. Not that we are making much money from it.
In the old fairgrounds the carneys would put chalk on their hands and pat the back of gullible fairgoers willing to handover their money for the various cons and rides, the chalk mark handprint signaling to other stall holders there is even money to make from them, shortened to ‘The Mark’ in many conman films. But you don’t have to be on a fairground as modern day marketing campaigns and the more unscrupulous traders continue to slap those chalk marks on us. Jewish New Yorker Nicole Holofcener, a director who bought us similar style comedies in Enough Said and Friends with Money, about young middle class professionals trying to understand the world and give as much as they take from it, gets that and places the deception and exploitation at the heart of the community she lives in and knows so well in her latest movie. This is a talented lady and when she finally gets the funding she has an Oscar winner in her.
Rebecca Hall ... Rebecca
Elizabeth Keener ... Cathy
Elise Ivy ... Marissa
Catherine Keener ... Kate
Josh Pais ... Adam
Sarah Steele ... Abby
Ann Morgan Guilbert ... Andra
Amanda Peet ... Mary
Oliver Platt ... Alex
Middle-class 40 something couple Alex (Oliver Platt) and Kate (Catherine Keener) live in nice area of New York and have a teen daughter called Marissa (Elise Ivy). They have a lucrative antiques business in Soho, New York, buying up furniture and curios from the apartments of the recently deceased or movers. The grown-up children are only too eager to be rid of what looks like junk that carry painful memories so Kate cherry-picking the best items to sell on at a big profit in their retro-antique store in the Village. Punters are literally paying three grand for brown wardrobes that would go for fifty quid in Kettering.
They are smart but decent people but can’t resist the chance to buy up the neighboring apartment belonging to their financially secure 90-year-old neighbor Andra (Ann Guilbert), on the understanding that she can see out of the rest of her days there rent free ad they get first dabs on the antiques. The ‘arrangement’ brings a friendship of sorts with Andra's grand-daughters, sweet and charming radiology technician Rebecca (Rebecca Hall) and tense and tetchy cosmetologist-cum-masseuse Mary (Amanda Peet). The sisters have become wary of Kate and Alex because of the deal and moved in with granny to protect her interests, quietly expressing a nagging resentment to each other of this exploitative business deal.
Things are complicated by a spark of flirtation between Mary and Alex, Alex booking in treatments to be closer to her. For Kate, her middle-class guilt is about being well off through exploiting people's ignorance at a vulnerable time in their lives and its beginning to eat away at her and compensates by giving money to charity. Kate constantly worries they will be in trouble with the law for their mark ups and so increases that charity, offering to work with vulnerable kids or giving bums cash on the street, her spoilt young daughter jealous that the down and outs get more cash to spend than she does from mom. Everyone in the family can’t seem to accept they have it good and should stop worrying about others.
A talky clever film about guilt and compassion is nothing new in American indie film. In fact its most of it. Filmmakers have a heart and often use their medium to express their emotions, definitely the case here with Holofcener, who is married to a more notable film director and so living that comfortable life.
The film doesn't have much plot, just characters interacting and developing, and its lack of a need for drama is refreshing in the genre. Nobody gets cancer, killed or pregnant. The cast is excellent and Catherine Keener always good, the middle aged angst that the likes of her and Julian Moore do so well on screen. These actresses earn those lines on their forehead though their intense performances. The writing is desert dry funny and the relationships between the family and neighbors on screen having a certain realism to it. If you have money and spend it on nice things you probably don’t really need, and others have nothing, you can see how that guilt bubbles up. I, personally, don’t have much money and buy only want I need, not so much what I want, which makes occasionally buying what you want all the more rewarding.
It cost $3 million bucks to make and did $4.6 million back, any sort of profit on low budget indies a plus as they generally break even these days in the era of the comic book blockbuster. You get the feeling with this one that the director and writers worked for industry minimum to make sure this vanity project got made. I’m guessing they feel bad about possibly making a movie that isn’t worth the $5 dollar Manhattan multiplex cinema admittance fee.
If you enjoy your low budget and intelligent American indie movies then you will enjoy this. It’s not the best I have seen but its all there for the talky smart movie you would expect. Where it doesn’t quite work is the fact that an actor that looks like Adrian Childs, Oliver Platt, would be married to someone who looks like Catherine Keener, and furthermore he would get off with Amanda Peat. But hey, it’s a movie…
Imdb.com – 6.6/10.0 (9,445votes)
Rottentomatos.com – 86% critic’s approval
Metacritic.com – 78% critic’s approval
-Behind the Scenes-
The excellent cast and director talk about the making of their interesting move.
Jolly japes bumbling those lines. Oh how we didn’t laugh.
Cast members and the director answer questions from journo’s at the after premier slot.
NY Post –‘Keener has become Holofcener's artistic alter ego. In Please Give, the sharp-eyed filmmaker sends her vibrant representative out into the world to explore what it means for a woman to be lucky and still feel itchy
Movies.com –‘You have to be smart and funny and really aware of yourself to write and direct a film like this, which is exactly what director Nicole Holofcener is’.
ABC Radio –‘Its conclusions are thoughtful and non-judgmental; satisfying even if it pulls a few punches’.
Concrete Playground –‘Holofcener takes pretty much everything you're not supposed to talk about at a dinner party and spins it into a ruefully awkward, bone-dry comedy’.
Little White Lies –‘Three dimensional characters, direct no nonsense dialogue and a dry sense of humor combine to create an understated thoroughly enjoyable feel-good film that leaves viewers with an invisible glow’.
Herald Sun-‘Keener never lets us lose sight of something possibly redeemable about Kate, a move which ultimately saves her performance from lapsing into an easy social caricature’.
I was quite excited when this cinema was built as I like to go see new movies, and its so much easier than going to Basingstoke or Guildford to see a movie.
The Vue in Camberley is part of the new Atrium shopping centre, and has only recently been built, some of the centre is still to be opened its that new!
The cinema itself is actually very nice, good layout and clean with easy access to parking, although the car park is quite tight and small.
As with most cinemas these days, I find Vue to be very expensive, but for a night out once in a while and a good movie, its worth it.
The first movie I saw in this cinema was Twilight, and I chose to pay an extra 50p and sit on the bean bags as I thought this sounded like a comfy idea - not quite so. The bean bags are at the very front and you actually have to look up to see the screen, so you get a sore neck, and everyone in the film looks like an upside down triangle! I practically ended up lying on the floor just to stop my neck from hurting so bad.
The usual seats are actually quite roomy, for arms and legs, and the arm rests are moveable, so you dont have to have them there if you dont want them to be. You also get a drinks holder attached to your chair. The cinema screens are always of a good temperature, no matter what the time of year, so you can be assured you will be warm and comfortable throughout the movie,
I personally think this is a very nice cinema and is a good place to visit to sit through a good film and have a good time out, even if a little bit overpriced.
Vue Camberley is a good cinema and is ideally located meaning I don't have to go all the way to Basingstoke or Guildford when I want to see a film. The Cinema (as is common with other cinemas)is very expensive to become too much of a habit, although for the occasional night out, to see the latest release, it's great.
Parking in the new Atrium car park is £1.50 for the night, but it should be free, tempting people to come into town at night and not pushing them out into the suburbs with a rental DVD.
For an extra 50p in the cinema you can sit on beanbags and for an extra £1 you will be able to sit in premier seats, however both are unnecessary, and I strongly recommend NOT sitting on the beanbags unless you love looking up at the screen, and like the feeling of a sore neck.
Food/drink/sweets etc are a rip off on the cinema, get them in the centre before you go in, as there are a few convenience stores located nearby.
Vue sometimes run offers so look out for cheaper seats at non peak times. Great cinema overall with friendly staff and comfortable seats. Great for not having to travel to Basingstoke or Guildford
We aren't expert cinema-philes, but have visited a couple in our area. Several have closed over the years, so when the new Atrium shopping centre was being built, we waited for Vue to open with a lot of anticipation. We parked in the new park house, wondering how easy it was to find. The lift doors opened, and there we were!
It is a bit disorienting, as there is no ticket window - there you are right in the concession area, wondering where exactly you buy your ticket. There are ticket machines on the wall, but no helpful information like, just how old is a child for a child ticket? The machine doesn't give you that information, either. We did find out that if you do not wish to use the ticket machine, you simply buy your ticket when you are getting your popcorn and drinks!
Being newly opened, the screening rooms are still in very good condition and the seating is lovely. The premium seating is right in the front, and to be honest, I don't know how anyone could actually watch the movie from that close to the screen. Wouldn't it give you whiplash looking back and forth? But the two screens we have been in were a lovely size - big enough to be comfortable, small enough to be close to the screen, but not too close.
The most cool thing, though, is their "mystery movies". They send out an email alert about the "mystery movie" only tell you the genre and age rating, and that it will be a newer movie. When we turned up, it turned out the Mystery Movie was Ice Age 3 in 3D - days before it actually was out in the cinemas!!!!! I would have done a review of the film, too, but it doesnt look like you can do them here. Unfortunately, the Mystery Movie costs the same as the normal ticket prices, but you can get your money back within the first 20 minutes of the movie if you don't want to stay.
Disadvantage is that some cinema's validate your parking and this one doesn't.
All in all, an excellent cinema with excellent facilites and staff, easy to get to and convenient.