The Hollars

Review by Carla Renata for UBNRadio.com and TheCurvyFilmCritic.com There's always one family member who is the glue of the brood.  Without their presence, the family would fall apart.  For me that person was Mama Cleo.  She always brought the family together during the good, the bad and the ugly.  When she passed, the family would become distant and go on with their separate ways as if she were never here.

Shot in Jackson, MS in 22 days, The Hollars centers on a man returning to his hometown after his Mom is diagnosed with a brain tumor and scheduled for surgery. Originally screened earlier this year at the Sundance and Los Angeles Film Festivals, The Hollars will strike a chord for anyone that has a wacky, dysfunctional entertaining family.  I think that pretty much includes anyone reading this review.

Actor John Krasinski, puts on his director and producer hat and ensembles one of the best cast...ever.  Mostly known for comedy, the cast includes Charlie Day (It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia), Richard Jenkins, Anna Kendricks and the irrepressible Margo Martingale are flipping the script and displaying their drama chops.  Every last one of them are bringing their A-game!!!

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This is one of the best films I've seen in 2016! Although it is little reminiscent of Boyhood in terms of a family theme, it will make you all warm and fuzzy inside and break your heart all at the same time.

Margo Martingale will finally get that Oscar nomination that has eluded her for years.  Largely known for her stellar work on hundreds of television shows, Margo is giving the performance of a lifetime.  Her crafty recipe of comedy dashed with drama makes her role ring true from moment she appears on-screen.

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Richard Jenkins is the best crier I have ever seen!  But seriously, Jenkins' arc of being dependent and then having to deal with the possibility of his wife's demise is just speechless.  He literally took my breath away.

John Krasinski is the anchor of the film in more ways than one and his scenes with Martindale are heartwarmingly delicious.  The heavy comedy lifting was left to Charlie Day and Sharlto Copley.  They are simply hi-larious!!!!  And who knew that Grammy winner Josh Groban was such natural on the silver screen?

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If you have to see one film this year, The Hollars is definitely your best bet.  I guarantee you will be hearing more about it come awards season.

The Hollars will be in theatres on Friday, August 26th.

https://youtu.be/a1miyndmxAg

Digging For Fire

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DIGGING FOR FIRE REVIEW by Carla Renata for www.carlarenatascorner.com

Marriage, children nor the maintenance of both come with a "how to" manual.  It's a daily  surprise of events and constant discoveries.  Often times, when couples have children,  they feel as if they no longer have an identity beyond being Mom and Dad.  What happened to the person you brought to the marriage before the bundle of joy arrived?

Digging for Fire is not as obvious of a title as one might expect.  Tim's  (Jake Johnson) discovery of a bone and gun in the backyard sends him on a hunt to solve a mystery.  Meanwhile, Lee (Rosemarie DeWitt) is in a constant search of how to reignite the "fire" in their marriage.  As a matter of fact, in a very clever move by the filmmakers, Lee found a copy of David Schnarch's book Passionate Marriage: Keeping Love and Intimacy Alive in Relationships in almost every location she traveled. - her sister's house, her Mom's house, even the house of a complete stranger.

In essence, Tim is digging for the fire that has ignited his sense of curiosity of his new-found murder mystery and Lee is digging for the fire to re-ignite intimacy in her marriage.  In the process,they make discoveries about themselves, family and friends that bring them back to who they were before becoming parents - realizing that their relationship is not in as much trouble as they thought.

Jake Johnson did an exemplary job with this screenplay, which I peeped earlier this year at the Sundance Film Festival.  Even more impressive,  is the cast he was able to assemble as Producer, which includes Anna Kendrick, Sam Elliott, Orlando Bloom, Judith Light and Sam Rockwell just to name a few.  Johnson sure has come a long way since "New Girl".

Sam Rockwell (Ray) in a wild, eclectic performance layered with comedy and straight up craziness is  well worth the roller-coaster ride his character puts the audience through.

Mike Birbiglia (Phil) as Tim and Lee's  well-meaning, overprotective family friend provides us with many a comical line.

However, Orlando Bloom (Ben) is charmingly handsome as the bar stranger with all the right moves and qualities to sweep a girl off her feet.  That scene with the walk on the ocean is priceless

After making the film festival rounds, Digging With Fire finally makes its domestic theatrical release today!!!  It's a great indie film with a lot of heart.  Check it out!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3tPy8DM3h20