Tag Archives: Catherine Keener

Adaptation: The Truth About Charlie

FROM THE CREATOR OF BEING JOHN MALKOVICH, COMES THE STORY ABOUT THE CREATOR OF BEING JOHN MALKOVICH.  In 1994, Jonathan Demme bought the rights to journalist Susan Orlean’s book ”The Orchid Thief”, where she investigated the arrest of John Laroche who was dealing illegally in rare plants. Neither she nor Demme could have predicted what … Continue reading Adaptation: The Truth About Charlie

Get Out

JUST BECAUSE YOU’RE INVITED, DOESN’T MEAN YOU’RE WELCOME.  Chris (Daniel Kaluuya) and his white girlfriend (Allison Williams) go to see her parents (Bradley Whitford, Catherine Keener) who live in a secluded mansion; this is a very liberal family, but something is definitely off… Comedian Jordan Peele’s directing debut is a horror-comedy with a fresh twist. … Continue reading Get Out

Show Me a Hero: American Skin

HOW DOES A POLITICIAN KNOW HE’S DOING THE RIGHT THING? WE MAKE HIM PAY. This miniseries is not like binge-watching a new season of House of Cards. It takes some effort. A co-worker of mine saw the first episode and gave up, but that’s normal. No one wants to see more after the first episode. … Continue reading Show Me a Hero: American Skin

A Late Quartet

NO ARRANGEMENT IS MORE BEAUTIFUL… OR MORE COMPLICATED.   Approaching its 25th anniversary, a string quartet is shaken when the cellist, Peter Mitchell (Christopher Walken), announces that he’s retiring because of a debilitating illness. Documentary filmmaker Yaron Zilberman brings a sense of honesty and carefulness to his first dramatic feature, which is obvious in the … Continue reading A Late Quartet

Captain Phillips: Attack on the Alabama

OUT HERE SURVIVAL IS EVERYTHING.   In my review of Bloody Sunday (2002), I wrote that director Paul Greengrass has a knack for making reality-based dramas look like documentaries. He repeated the same feat in the overwhelming United 93 (2006). Captain Phillips lands somewhere between these excellent films, a surprisingly strong retelling of actual events … Continue reading Captain Phillips: Attack on the Alabama

Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa

When 86-year-old Irving Zisman (Johnny Knoxville) finally becomes a widower he’s ready to go looking for some prime black tail, but is suddenly saddled with his young grandkid (Jackson Nicoll). The fourth entry in the jackass franchise takes a different approach as it focuses solely on a character from earlier movies and the TV show, … Continue reading Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa

Please Give

  One of director Nicole Holofcener’s most successful ensemble pieces is low-key but charming, funny and even moving, featuring characters that behave like real people. It’s a perfect marriage between perceptive writing and gifted acting; the entire cast is wonderful, but Catherine Keener is the standout as a New York City furniture dealer who doesn’t … Continue reading Please Give

Synecdoche, New York

New York theater director Caden Cotard (Philip Seymour Hoffman) tries to understand his life and relationships while fretting over dying without having accomplished something lasting. Charlie Kaufman’s directing debut was hailed as a masterpiece by some, but it is a frustrating experience. Wildly ambitious, with elements that are more or less brilliant, Kaufman as a filmmaker … Continue reading Synecdoche, New York

About Last Night…

MAKING LOVE WAS EASY… BEING IN LOVE DIFFICULT. It’s hard to think of this film as based on a David Mamet play – the dialogue is far from memorable and the story has nothing original or interesting to say. We follow a Chicago couple from the moment they first meet, throughout the occasional rough patches, … Continue reading About Last Night…

What Just Happened

IN HOLLYWOOD, EVERYBODY CAN HEAR YOU SCREAM.  This movie, which chronicles a Hollywood producer’s harried life as he’s trying to please studio bosses, egotistical movie stars and two ex-wives is easy to believe as it was based on real-life producer Art Linson’s book. Everybody involved here must have had plenty to bring to the table; … Continue reading What Just Happened

Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief

New York City teenager Percy Jackson (Logan Lerman) learns that he is actually the son of Poseidon, the Greek god, and that he’s in danger since Zeus believes that Percy stole his famed lightning bolt. This version of Rick Riordan’s first book in the Percy Jackson series is an obvious attempt to start another successful … Continue reading Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief