Olds News

Jerry Garcia

Written for The Fix

“They were freewheeling people and drugs were the wheels.”
— Warner Bros. Records president Bob Smith

Amir Bar-Lev’s rockumentary, Long Strange Trip, about the Grateful Dead, is aptly named for what is arguably the band’s most famous lyric: What a long, strange trip it’s been. The film takes you on a four-hour ride (much like the band’s live shows) but this is not just another indulgent music doc. (read more…)

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Hillary Clinton

Written for the Forward

How did an extraordinarily well-qualified, experienced, and admired candidate — whose victory would have been as historic as Barack Obama’s — come to be seen as a tool of the establishment, a chronic liar, and a talentless politician?

That’s the question Pulitzer Prize-nominated author Susan Bordo, Ph.D., asked and answered in her new book, “The Destruction of Hillary Clinton” (Melville House Publishing, April 2017). Bordo, a media critic, cultural historian and feminist scholar, presents myriad reasons for Clinton’s shocking defeat. The biggest culprits included sexism, the right’s attacks on her, Russian interference in the election, and “media madness.” (read more…)

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Love

My movie pick for this year’s Tribeca Film Festival: Hounds of Love ★★★★★

At the start of this thriller, we’re introduced to a quiet, picturesque suburb in Perth, Australia where women are disappearing. It’s 1987 in this chilling, unforgettable film where killing couple John (Stephen Curry) and Evelyn White (Emma Booth) are abducting young female victims. The characters are based on real-life husband and wife murderers David and Catherine Birnie who killed four women in the 1980s in their home in Perth. The press dubbed the crimes the Moorhouse murders after the Birnie’s address.

Much to its credit, the movie shows very little gore. Most of the violence goes on your head—much like in Psycho‘s shower scene where you hear the horrifying music, spot the knife, see a flash of Janet Leigh’s terrified scream. The rest comes from your own mind, filling in grotesque images of what must be happening. Hounds of Love uses slow motion snippets to brilliantly introduce us to the quaint little town. A  carefully chosen and well-timed soundtrack merges with the slow-mo to create goose-bumpy fear. This is a shocking debut for writer-director Ben Young. It has the self-control and masterful storytelling you’d expect from a seasoned filmmaker.

Teenager Vicki Maloney (Ashleigh Cummings), 17, picks the wrong night to rebel against her mother. Emotionally distraught by her parent’s recent uncoupling, Vicki sneaks out to go to a party. She blames her mother Maggie (Susie Porter), an artistic free spirit, for blowing up their family unit. Vicki’s dad Trevor (Damian de Monemas) is a successful surgeon but Maggie felt smothered by him and chose a more bohemian lifestyle. Vicki is having a hard time adjusting despite her loving and supportive boyfriend (Harrison Gilbertson). She’s furious with her mom but pampered with gifts by her Dad, including an adorable puppy.

movie
Ashleigh Cummings as Vicki Maloney.

It’s easy to identify with Vicki in spite of, or because of, her broody moodiness as a teen. We watch helplessly as the serial killers lure Vicki into their car by offering to smoke a joint with her and bring her to a fun party. They look so normal and friendly. It’s not the tired device in a million B-movies where the soon-to-be imperiled character wonders who might be in a scary, dark dungeon of a basement and stupidly goes in alone to investigate. Ben Young’s writing is smart and believable. At Vicki’s age, I could’ve been easily swayed to hang with these peeps.

The acting is as superb as the script, cinematography (Michael McDermott), and soundtrack (Moody Blues, Cat Stevens, and a haunting score by Australian composer Dan Luscombe). It all fits together seamlessly to scare the bejeezus out of you. It also offers layered characters. Evelyn is a deeply disturbed woman who should’ve attended 12-step codependency meetings instead of worshipping John as her higher power. It’s reminiscent of girls like Patricia Krenwinkel and Susan Atkins who offered Charles Manson godlike worship and total submission.

Bound and gagged and secured to a bed in the White’s home, Vicki becomes their object to play with and taunt. Problems arise when John takes a special interest in this prisoner. Evelyn feels threatened by John’s obsessive fascination with their beautiful — and younger — captive. Vicki sees the manipulative hold John has on Evelyn and uses that to her advantage by appealing to the tiny, hidden piece of Evelyn that knows that John uses her. The females in the film are an intriguing contrast: weak, pathetic Evelyn versus strong, self-reliant, resourceful Vicki and her Mom.

After viewing multitudinous movies at Tribeca Film Festival, I cannot get this one out of my head, nor do I want to. It is that good.

AWARDS

Best Feature: Hounds of Love, The Overlook Film Festival
Best Actress: Ashleigh Cummings, Fedeora Award, Venice Film Festival
Best Actress: Emma Booth, Brussels International Film Festival
Best Director: Ben Young, Brussels International Film Festival


Video © Dorri Olds

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH THE STARS

Dorri Olds: Stephen, you were a really scary sociopath. And you’re a comedian, right?

Stephen Curry: Yeah. [Laughs]

DO: Are you one of those people that could get deep into character and then snap out of character on breaks?

Ashleigh Cummings and Emma Booth [in unison]: Yes!

Stephen: Yeah, well that’s the thing, that’s what I usually do but it was a lot harder on this because of how involved we became and how intrinsically we were working together to make this piece. To see the performances that were coming out of Ashleigh and Emma, it was increasingly harder to pull ourselves away. We were in that reality and the realization, and acceptance, that this stuff happens to real people is a really, really horrible thought. That was one of the reasons we had to tell this story. And we wanted to do it in as respectful a manner as possible. And that meant committing 100 percent to it.

Ashleigh: Stephen was amazing. He’d bring us out of it at lunchtime by playing his ukulele.

Emma: He was amazing! He used to write improvised songs for us with a ukulele, which we have on tape.

Ashleigh: We do.

Stephen: You’ve got that on tape?

Emma: Yeah, I do. Stephen is actually unbelievably hilarious and brilliant. Just having him there with that energy and humor, was great.

Ashleigh: Yeah, it was dark. It was almost suffocating the amount of grief and the location was a very claustrophobic place to work.

DO: Why?

Emma: Because that’s all we could afford. [Laughs] And we were going through this crazy heatwave in Australia.

Stephen: Yeah, we were confined to this small space and it was about 110 degrees—crazy hot. And the material itself was so claustrophobic as well.

Emma: We needed a location like that. It was perfect for it. But it was 30 crew members in there as well.

DO: Did you work on back stories for your characters? Emma, can you tell me how you became so demented?

Emma: [Laughs] I don’t know, do you got three hours? I don’t even know where to start. I think it started from a very young age. And this love story that started between John and Evelyn’s dependency on each other from 13 years of age.

movie
Stephen Curry as John White and Emma Booth as his wife Evelyn.

Stephen: Yeah, that’s what it is. I think he was a slightly older kid. He might have been 17 or 18 and he found this Evelyn, this metaphor of a bird with a broken wing, that he took under his wing and from that moment on provided Evelyn with the supposed love that she needed. But it was all only an affectation because he’s a sociopath.

DO: When did Evelyn have her two kids taken away to go live with their father?

Emma: She basically just left them for John. He kept manipulating her saying, “We’ll get the kids soon.” Although Evelyn and John met at thirteen, it was a kind of on and off relationship. So, Evelyn is just holding onto the hope that she’s gonna get the kids back. She’s trying to just appease John the whole time. He’s so obsessed, and she’s so reliant on John that she’d do anything for him. She gave up everything. What she ended up with was a devastating existence.

DO: Ashleigh, your character’s mother had an incredible instinct where she could just feel you. Then there was that scene—a great nod to Silence of the Lambs.

Stephen: Oh yeah. Absolutely.

DO: Did Ben Young do that as dark humor?

Stephen: I don’t know if it was necessarily dark humor but Ben has said many times that film is one of his favorites and he wanted to pay homage to it. But we don’t want to give too much away!

DO: Ashleigh, in one scene your character’s boyfriend doesn’t walk towards you. It was while you’re hugging your mom. Did he do that out of respect, to give your characters a private moment, or was he just too freaked out?

Ashleigh: A little bit of both. I’m not sure if you see it, but when we were shooting, the dad collapses and the boyfriend stays to comfort him. But also, I think it was out of respect.

DO: A boyfriend can have this weird macho feeling that he should have protected his girlfriend. Was it partly that?

Ashleigh: Maybe. That’s a question for Harrison. He’s a brilliant actor. He’s a very thoughtful and sensitive person and might have built all that into it.

DO: Stephen, was there a back story for John’s parents—to show how you become such an evil, no empathy kind of guy?

Stephen: I did a lot of study on sociopaths. Ben and I agreed that John received their love but any kind of “love” that he had received was an affectation. That’s all he ever knew. So, that fed his desire for power and control and a need to assume a hierarchy because he never received it as a child.

DO: I imagined John’s upbringing like Charles Manson’s, whose mother had him when she was a 16-year-old prostitute. Or like serial killer Henry Lee Lucas; his prostitute mother had sex with her “johns” in front of Lucas. Was John’s story similar, which might help explain why he hated women so much?

Stephen: Certainly, John felt like he never had control over his life. He saw anything that happened to him as a slight. He thought life was unfair and that no child should have to go through what he did. Thereby, even his sense of order, his need for control, emotionally and physically, and his OCD, made him need everything to be “right.” He even orchestrated it so Evelyn was doing the scouting and kidnapping for him. She is creating this order that he is orchestrating. He sees it as “allowing” Evelyn to be his slave.

DO: Emma, what was it like for you when you got off work and went back to your life?

Emma: Stephen would snap Ashleigh and me out of that stuff. There’s so much love between us that we’d just hug goodbye afterwards. There was an exhaustion, though, from bringing up that much emotional stuff all day. I’d go home and just stare at the wall and my husband would be like, “Hello? Are you there?” I’d be like, “Darling, please don’t talk to me.” I’d just sit there so tired but so wired.

Ashleigh: Yes, it tired and wired simultaneously.

Emma: It was bizarre but I wasn’t tortured.

Ashleigh: I was.

DO: I would’ve been.

Emma: What does that say about me? [Laughs]

Ashleigh: For me it was because I was playing the victim. Just knowing that there were other girls who had been in that situation. We were telling this story and I could feel them telling theirs, and fighting for their rights. I don’t know how to stop that kind of pain and torture. That was awful and I had to very consciously consider the notion of creation in the face of such devastation. That was the only thing that kind of got me through. I’d get very apocalyptic with my thoughts, quickly. I was like, “Look at all this pain in the world,” and it just expanded to a bigger picture thing.

DO: Wow, great answer. Now, about the title, “Hounds of Love,” was that because Emma was in love even though it was a very sick love? Was she a hound of love? Or was it because John was feeding the victims to their hound? Or was it a reference to the beginning of the film, when Ashleigh is struggling with her parent’s divorce and her father gives her a puppy as a way to express love?

Emma: It’s from the Kate Bush song.

Ashleigh: It’s about predators and prey, and the reference of the dog.

Stephen: And it’s a reference of the hound bought as a substitute for Evelyn’s children.

DO: Right, and those lyrics could be about Vicki: running in the night…afraid of what might be. Hiding in the dark, in the street. Totally interesting analyzing that song, and the psychology in the movie. I could talk to you guys all day long about this movie. It was my favorite at Tribeca Film Festival this year.

Emma: We love that.

DO: So many other would’ve overacted and none of you did. It could’ve really been ruined by that.

Emma: We were so careful.

Ashleigh: And Ben was amazing in orchestrating that and we kept talking about it.

Emma: For Stephen’s character, I don’t think there could be a more perfect person to play it. There’s so much power in silence. There were times when he actually took that to extremes. He just did nothing and it was terrifying.

Stephen: I’d forgotten a lot of that stuff. [Laughs]

Ashleigh: It’s so hard to do nothing.

Emma: It is! But that’s everything and it takes balls. You’re like, “Am I doing enough? Giving enough?”

Stephen: Clearly you gave it your all. Superb performances. What’s it been like to get all these awards and all this attention?

Stephen: Kind of surreal.

Ashleigh: So flattering.

Hounds of Love is now playing in select theaters and available online. Crime, Drama, Suspense, Thriller. 108 minutes. 

killer
Terrifying serial killer John White (Stephen Curry).

Hounds of Love
song lyrics by Kate Bush
© Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

It’s in the trees
It’s coming

When I was a child
Running in the night
Afraid of what might be

Hiding in the dark
Hiding in the street
And of what was following me

Now hounds of love are hunting
I’ve always been a coward
And I don’t know what’s good for me

Here I go
It’s coming for me through the trees
Help me someone
Help me please

Take my shoes off
And throw them in the lake
And I’ll be
Two steps on the water

I found a fox
Caught by dogs
He let me take him in my hands

His little heart
It beats so fast
And I’m ashamed of running away

From nothing real
I just can’t deal with this
But I’m still afraid to be there

Among your hounds of love
And feel your arms surround me
I’ve always been a coward
And never know what’s good for me

Oh here I go
Don’t let me go
Hold me down
It’s coming for me through the trees
Help me darling
Help me please

Take my shoes off
And throw them in the lake
And I’ll be
Two steps on the water

I don’t know what’s good for me
I don’t know what’s good for me
I need your love love love love love yeah
Your love

Take your shoes off
And throw them in the lake

Do you know what I really need?
Do you know what I really need?
I need love love love love love yeah

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therapy dog

Grab a tissue for this beautiful tail … er… tale of rescue written for Sniff & Barkens

Jack, a herding dog, was born in Kentucky and officially labeled a mutt. Part Australian Bernese Mountain Dog, he was mixed with Border Collie. At the age of one, Animal Control removed this malnourished pup from his home and transported him hundreds of miles to Michigan. There, his luck changed.

(read more…)

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Surge

Surge, cinema’s first out gay superhero, rocks it with his new star-studded movie, Surge of Power: Revenge of the Sequel directed by Antonio Lexerot and Vincent J. Roth.

Surge is back with over 50 stars. Laugh at zany antics from Big City to Las Vegas, enjoy familiar celebrities, and learn how intolerance can make you evil.

Watch the Trailer:

Vincent J. Roth, the film’s producer, describes the movie as fun entertainment with a clear message.

“As a filmmaker, I am compelled to present our genuinely groundbreaking characters and the fun world we created to a mainstream audience.”

The movie’s inspirational tagline, “Make a Difference Where You Can,” is the moral of the story. But to get there, evil and skullduggery must be dealt with heroically and hilariously.

In the Beginning

It has been over 10 years since cinema’s first gay out superhero movie, Surge of Power: The Stuff of Heroes, premiered. Fans have long awaited the sequel of this campy movie with a message. The sequel is an homage to superhero movies and an irreverent send-up of the genre. Surge of Power: Revenge of the Sequel has been well received by mainstream audiences. Viewers young and old have been laughing and cheering during its initial screenings. Fans love the cameo appearances of favorite actors and characters. The inside jokes add to the sublime movie experience—with special treats for the attentive sci-fi geek.

In the Sequel

Surge’s nemesis, Metal Master, struggles with his estranged parents (Linda Blair and Gil Gerard) and is tempted to continue a life of crime by Augur (Eric Roberts), arch enemy of Omen (Star Trek’s Nichelle Nichols and Robert Picardo), the sage superhero from the first Surge of Power movie. A host of other recognizable stars help Surge deliver the message that good triumphs over evil. Amid the laughs, Blair and Gerard are the heart of the movie, poignantly portraying Metal Master’s parents. They struggle with their homophobia and have to face the negative effects it has had on their family—including their son-turned-supervillain.

What Reviewers are Saying

“A leap forward for superhero films.”

“A positive role model in the LGBTQ community.”

“A film everyone can enjoy.”

“Pretty awesome”

“A Must See!”

In this story, we see Surge travel from his Big City home to Las Vegas in an effort to stop his nemesis, Metal Master from destroying Hoover Dam while on a quest for mysterious crystals for Augur. Surge enlists local friends and even Vegas headliner, Frank Marino to help find his way, which results in the inevitable battle. The skirmish forces Augur to emerge from the shadows, causing Omen to join in the struggle. Their epic confrontation awakens The Council, a league of retired supervillains. To battle this new threat Omen must call on her vigilant team. Find out what happens next with cinema’s first out gay superhero when legendary heroes and villains clash in this comical, star-studded movie!

The seventh screening of the Surge of Power sequel will take place on Saturday, May 20 from at 2:00 to 4:00 pm as a featured event at Joss Whedon’s sci-fi convention, WhedonCon, at Warner Center Marriott, 21850 Oxnard St., Woodland Hills, CA 91367 in the Screening Room. Other screenings and more information may be found on the movie’s website, Surge of Power screenings.

Comedy. 90 min. Los Angeles premiere.

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compliment

Thank you for the compliment, Wendy Toth and Power Pantsuiting. I feel honored to have been included in this great group of women.

How to Accept a Compliment with Grace

Getting a compliment is good for you. Science has proven that people perform tasks better, have improved memory, and feel happy after being complimented.

What many of us don’t know is how to accept a compliment gracefully.

If you’re getting such a nice boost, why is it so hard?

A couple of frustrating reasons have come to light in psychological circles.

  1. Your view of yourself doesn’t line up with the compliment. Put another way, you could lack the confidence to accept the compliment comfortably.
  2. You totally agree with the compliment, but don’t want put the other person off by seeming TOO confident.

Every human being on earth has likely felt both of these ways, depending on the subject matter of the compliment. At any given moment I feel good about some aspects of myself, and shaky about others. But either way, the compliment can cause me to feel uncomfortable!

I want that to end.

Compliments have too much going to for them to cause angst.

To help me formulate a plan for accepting compliments graciously, I reached out to a number of women I look up to, and asked for the word-for-word scripts they use to make compliment acceptance a breeze.

How to Accept a Compliment

Go Minimal

By Dr. Jessica Vogelsang, Founder of PawCurious

The more I try to respond or fill the space, the more I end up sticking my foot in my mouth.

The Script: I make a very conscientious effort to look the person in the eye, give them a heartfelt “Thank you. I really appreciate that!” and then stop talking.

Return the Favor

By: Lavanya Sunkara, Travel Writer

It’s all about reciprocity for me.

The Script: When others give me compliments, I usually say, “Thanks,” and if I have something to compliment them about, I will try to do so.

Enjoy the High

By Kaia Roman, author of The Joy Plan

I used to have a hard time receiving a compliment, always minimizing or deflecting because I felt self-conscious and undeserving. But then I learned about the physical mechanisms behind both giving and receiving compliments and I changed my ways. Compliments release dopamine in the brain, for both the giver and the receiver. And dopamine feels like a pleasure rush that is highly enjoyable!

If I didn’t let myself truly receive the compliment, I’d be missing out on this drug-free high.

Likewise, if I minimized the compliment from the giver, I’d be taking away their joy by turning an appreciative exchange into an awkward one. So now, when someone gives me a compliment, I think about the benefit they are receiving from that act of kindness and I do my best to amp up the effect so they’ll do it again for someone else. The world needs as many compliments as we can give!

The Script: “Thank you, that made my day.” or “Thank you, that was so nice of you to notice.”

I smile and let the dopamine soak in for both of us.

Go for Seconds

By Dorri Olds, Freelance Writer and Journalist

I was the youngest of three girls and was born a ham. I love attention—thrive on it really. So I’ve never been one to shy away from any limelight I can grab.

The Script: When somebody gives me a compliment I grin ear-to-ear and say, “Thank you!” I figure that’s like positive reinforcement. If their compliment is met with an enthusiastic response, then they will be more likely to compliment me again, right?

Take a Pause

By Jessica Remitz, Managing Editor, PawCulture.com

I am working on taking a beat to curb my knee-jerk “aw shucks” reaction. A friend of mine told me that she’d almost stopped complimenting other women because we’re so quick to brush them off, almost to the point of embarrassment. so I think it’s important to acknowledge to the other person on how nice a compliment is to hear—because it truly is.

The Script: I have begun looking directly at my complimenter (in a not creepy or adversarial way) and saying, “Thank you for noticing my [item of clothing/well-behaved dog/completed work project]. I appreciate you saying something, and worked hard to [find said item/raise a polite dog/go above and beyond].”

Split the Difference

By Talia Argondezzi, Director, Writing and Speaking Program at Ursinus College

In the case where accepting a compliment feels very unnatural, and almost impossible to do, it can be rude and awkward to just deny the praise you were given. Instead, take a baby step and challenge yourself by trying to split the difference. For instance, you might  accept what was said, but then make a funny remark, or even self-deprecating one, but only on something you DO feel confident about.

The Script:

“I like your glasses.”

“Thank you. Like Rick Perry, I’m trying to wear my glasses more so people will think I’m smart.”

Keep It Simple

By Victoria Schade, Dog Trainer and Author

Since directly turning down a compliment can be a way of telling a person, “Nope, you’re wrong about that,” I try to accept it gracefully and then move on.

The Script: “Thank you, it’s my favorite scarf/blouse/shoes/whatever!” is an easy way to acknowledge the person’s compliment, or “That’s so kind of you to say,” or if someone compliments my writing I might respond with, “Thank you, that means a lot!”

Look Forward

By Aly Semigran, Writer and Editor

I had a recent experience with this with someone saying, “You deserve a good guy.” It was a friend I hadn’t seen in awhile and I caught them up with my most recent terrible dating experience and they told me, sincerely, “You deserve a good guy.”

The Script: I responded with, “Thank you. It’s taken me a long time to realize that.”

I didn’t bitch and moan “Oh there’s no good guys out there,” rather I acknowledged they saw something in me that’s taken me 32 years to accept. I think it’s rare to tell someone you agree with them about a positive side of yourself, but I think in this case, especially because so much time had passed, it caught us up on where I am now.

BONUS SECTION!

On Giving Compliments

By Cheyenne Gil, Body Positive Boudoir Photographer

When it comes to GIVING compliments (which I also think is a great step in your self love journey), give a compliment that you truly mean, and give it without putting yourself down in the process.

The Script: For instance, say you love someone’s hair. All you have to say is, “Wow, I love your hair! It’s beautiful,” NOT, “Wow, I love your hair! It’s so beautiful! My hair is so blah. I need to change it. But your hair is just so nice!”

Now that you know exactly what to say, check out:
How to Get a Compliment Tomorrow, The Level-Up Method

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Tribeca Film Festival

Tribeca Film Festival’s feature narrative, One Percent More Humid, premiered last night in Chelsea at the SVA Theater. The haunting coming-of-age story centers on two childhood friends on a break from college who reunite in their New England hometown. It’s a sweltering, sticky summer, hence the title. Iris (Juno Temple) and Catherine (Julia Garner) find relief in the cooling waters of the local lake.

juno temple
Juno Temple as Iris in ‘One Percent More Humid’
Julia Garner
Julia Garner ©2015 Dorri Olds

It soon becomes clear that their seemingly carefree skinny-dipping at the beautiful secluded spot, runs deeper. Iris and Catherine are obviously troubled. Sensitively written and directed by Liz W. Garcia, the town and its characters are so palpable, filled with realistic details. I felt like she intimately knew this world.

“I grew up in Ridgefield, Connecticut,” said Garcia, “and was haunted by events in that town. I wrote One Percent to get these characters out of their dilemma.”

The beauty of this indie is its slow reveal. Under Garcia’s direction, the camera zeros in on hints, telling the story through breadcrumb snippets. In one scene, the two actresses subtly convey a hint of sabatoging their well-being. Iris, chain-smoking, confides to Catherine that she’s having amazing sex.

But, instead of bubbly, she’s under pressure. The weight is knowing the affair is ill-advised. “I’m seeing my thesis advisor. I’m sleeping with him. He’s married.” Her professor is played by the magnetic Italian actor Alessandro Nivola.

In another scene we witness Catherine, drunk, in a bar, throwing herself at the brother of what we learn later is an important connection. But eventually, the viewer discovers he’s manipulating Catherine to garner information that will sink her.

Details of the girls’ shared grief boils to the surface, and we see that this is more than typical college-aged angst. They are wading into a torrential storm of self-destruction. Every action they take—pot, pills, alcohol, obsessive sex—is an attempt to feel better. They’re numbing themselves because they can find no absolution for guilt that rains down on them.

One Percent More Humid is one of the fine offerings by women directors this year. Through the storytelling, Garcia gifts us with what’s lacking in so many blockbusters: the woman’s perspective. Temple and Garner rise to the level of A-list performers; they’re effervescent and make it look effortless.

Showtimes:

Sun., April 23, 4:15pm, Cinepolis Chelsea 03

Mon., April 24, 7:45pm, Cinepolis Chelsea 01

Tues., April 25, 10pm, Regal Battery Park Theater 11

Drama, 98 min.

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