Tag Archives: Mike Nichols

Angels in America: Love and Suffering

THE MESSENGER HAS ARRIVED. In the early 2000s, the AIDS epidemic had not been portrayed on TV and in movies in a fully satisfying way. There were respectable attempts, such as Philadelphia (1993) and the TV movie And the Band Played On (1993), but they also faced criticism for various reasons. It seemed as if … Continue reading Angels in America: Love and Suffering

Primary Colors: All the Governor’s Men

HOW MUCH SPIN DOES IT TAKE TO WIN? In 1996, the novel ”Primary Colors” was published, a roman à clef depicting then-Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton’s 1992 presidential campaign, with a Southern governor called Jack Stanton standing in for Clinton. The author was anonymous, but considering the insight into the campaign it had to be someone… … Continue reading Primary Colors: All the Governor’s Men

Wolf

INSIDE EVERY MAN THERE ARE TWO PEOPLE – ONE GOOD, ONE BEAST. Publishing editor Will Randall (Jack Nicholson) is bitten by a wolf in Vermont; in the following days, as he falls victim to workplace intrigue, Will realizes that he’s going through strange changes… Jim Harrison, who came up with the story, wasn’t happy about … Continue reading Wolf

The birdcage

COME AS YOU ARE. When Armand Goldman’s (Robin Williams) son is getting married to the daughter of an arch-conservative Republican senator (Gene Hackman), there is one detail that needs to be covered up – the fact that Armand is a gay club owner. This Americanized, Miami-set version of the French La Cage aux Folles (1978) … Continue reading The birdcage

Heartburn

THEY THOUGHT IT WAS LOVE. IT WAS REALLY HEARTBURN. New York City food writer Rachel Samstat (Meryl Streep) and columnist Mark Forman (Jack Nicholson) fall in love and start a family… but she soon learns that he’s back to his old womanizing ways. Nora Ephron based the novel on her own experiences with Carl Bernstein, … Continue reading Heartburn

Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf: Marriage, No Mercy

YOU ARE CORDIALLY INVITED TO GEORGE AND MARTHA’S FOR AN EVENING OF FUN AND GAMES. When Elizabeth Taylor passed away two weeks ago, the one film that all commentators would return to was Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966). Sometimes actors fail to win Oscars for the movies everybody recognizes as seminal parts of their legacy, but … Continue reading Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf: Marriage, No Mercy

The Graduate: Still As Seductive

THIS IS BENJAMIN. HE’S A LITTLE WORRIED ABOUT HIS FUTURE.   Reading Roger Ebert’s two reviews of The Graduate, written thirty years apart, is a little strange. In my view he gets almost everything about this classic film right the first time round. However, in the second review he’s seen the movie with new eyes and … Continue reading The Graduate: Still As Seductive

Closer: Bodies in Motion

IF YOU BELIEVE IN LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT, YOU NEVER STOP LOOKING. Mike Nichols was lauded for turning Tony Kushner’s play “Angels in America” into a great miniseries. It comes as no surprise that the esteemed director subsequently turned his interest to another play, this time a British one, Patrick Marber’s “Closer”. Kushner had updated … Continue reading Closer: Bodies in Motion

Charlie Wilson’s War

WHEN THE WORLD WASN’T WATCHING, THEY CHANGED IT FOREVER. In 1980, wealthy and deeply conservative Houston socialite Joanne Herring (Julia Roberts) sets up a meeting between her old buddy, Congressman Charlie Wilson (Tom Hanks) and Zia-ul-Haq (Om Puri), the military ruler of Pakistan; Herring wants to see something done about the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. … Continue reading Charlie Wilson’s War