Posts Tagged ‘Lauren Holly’


Richard and CTV NewsChannel anchor Angie Seth discuss the family drama of “Tammy’s Always Dying,” the Cronenberg remake “Rabid,” the social commentary of “Blood Quantum” and the culinary adventure “Nose to Tail.”

Watch the whole thing HERE!


Richard and CP24 anchor Nick Dixon have a look at the new movies coming to VOD and streaming services including drunken dramedy “Tammy’s Always Dying,” the Cronenberg remake “Rabid” and the zombie braaiiiins of “Blood Quantum.”

Watch the whole thing HERE!


Richard sits in on the CFRA Ottawa morning show with host Bill Carroll to talk the new movies coming to VOD and streaming services including the drunken dramedy “Tammy’s Always Dying,” the Cronenberg remake “Rabid,” the guts and glory of “Blood Quantum” and the restaurant drama “Nose to Tail.”

Listen to the whole thing HERE!

TAMMYS ALWAYS DYING: 3 ½ STARS. “tough talking movie with a tender beating heart.”

At the bar Tammy (Felicity Huffman) is what’s known as a character. “I’m not a good person,” she says. “I’m a good time.” She’s always the life of the party, with a drink in her hand and a quip on her lips. When she’s too broke to afford booze she’s making her daughter Kathy’s (Anastasia Phillips) life miserable. Every month, when the money from her welfare cheque has run dry, Tammy goes through the same charade of marching down to the local bridge with the intention of ending it all. Kathy inevitably comes to the rescue and life goes on, repeating the cycle day in and out.

Kathy’s only respite from her mother’s lifestyle is a game of make believe she plays with her boss and old family friend, Doug (Clark Johnson). The two get dolled up, head to a fancy city bar and role play, pretending to be other, happier people. Their friendly bartender Jamie (Kristian Bruun) is in on the joke, and always goes along for the ride.

Just when it seems that Kathy is able to step away from the shadow of her mother’s influence, Tammy is diagnosed with terminal cancer. As a caregiver she’s drawn back into Tammy’s chaotic orbit but salvation may be around the corner. Television host Gordon Baker (Ali Hassan), a mix-and-match of Jerry Springer and Dr. Phil, is interested in the trashy aspects of Kathy’s story, and if she tells it well enough—with tears and all—he’s willing to make it worth her while.

“Tammy’s Always Dying” is a compelling character study anchored by remarkable performances. Huffman, almost unrecognizable as the narcissistic title character, makes sure that Tammy isn’t just a drunken spectacle, staggering through the film with a cigarette in one hand and a drink in the other. She brings humanity to a character who could have been a foul-mouthed Foster Brooks style caricature. As Kathy, Phillips finds the balance between heartfelt love for her mother and hatred for the way she has been treated. It’s a tricky balance but Phillips finds it in a carefully calibrated performance that generates much sympathy as Kathy carves a future for herself despite dire circumstances.

It’s not all doom and gloom. Bruun and Johnson provide a respite from the misery, giving the film two characters who try and improve Kathy’s life without controlling her.

In the hands of actor-turned-director Amy Jo Johnson (working from a script by Joanne Sarazen) “Tammy’s Always Dying” transcends poverty porn by presenting characters whose struggles feel real and fully realized. It’s a tough talking movie—“Killing herself would be the least selfish thing she’s ever done!”—that, underneath its bluster, has a tender beating heart.

AFTER THE BALL: 2 STARS. “aren’t many surprises in this fluffy commercial tale.”

Screen Shot 2015-02-25 at 4.50.22 PMLike the love child of “The Devil Wears Prada,” “Twelfth Night” and “Cinderella”—I know that doesn’t make sense, but either does much of this movie—“After the Ball” is a modern day fairy tale set against the backdrop of the fashion industry.

Portia Doubleday stars as fashion grad Kate Kassel. From the outside she seems to have it all, talent, drive and a father (Chris Noth) who is the CEO of a fashion line. Trouble is, the family name has been sullied in recent years and no one will hire her. Fashionable hat in hand she begs for a job at the family business, now being run by her evil stepmother (Lauren Holly) and talentless, vindictive stepsisters (Natalie Krill and Anna Hopkins). Her obvious talent doesn’t endear her to the sisters and soon she is framed for fashion theft and fired. Determined to set things right, and save the business, she dons a disguise—she’s now Nate—and returns to the fold.

The movie’s influences are beyond obvious—Kate is the princess, get it?—and there aren’t many surprises in the retelling of this light and fluffy commercial tale and while it is a movie probably best suited to the small screen VOD experience that doesn’t negate its modest charms.

“After the Ball” tries a bit too hard to please, but Doubleday has good chemistry with love interest/prince charming Marc-André Grondin and Holly has some one-dimensional fun as the villainous stepmother. Carlo Rota’s Stanley Tucci impression, however, brings us back to earth, reminding us we’re watching a copy of the kind of top-of-the-line rom coms that feature aerial views of Manhattan in their opening moments.