Posts Tagged ‘Catherine Keener’
Tuesday, September 20th, 2022
I’ve been trying to put my finger on the specific vibe I sense in early ‘90s (pre-Tarantino) indie-cinema. We hit on the topic with GAS FOOD LODGING, RUBIN & ED and NIGHT ON EARTH (though the latter is almost too accomplished a version of it to feel like the same category). These are movies that are very different from each other in most respects, but they share a lack of interest in traditional Hollywood storytelling or narrative structure. They’re a little more like dreams, or real life, or poems, or at least meandering novellas than tightly woven tales of adventure. You’re following a story, picking up on themes, wondering what it’s building to, or what it’s saying. But often you have to face that it’s more stream-of-consciousness than that. It’s not about that. It’s more about spending some time with some odd characters, in a specific place, with a distinct tone. What you get out of the experience is up to interpretation.
My instinct is to want a tighter narrative, but there’s something appealing about movies like this too. Some freedom in letting go of any expectation that it’s gonna make itself clear.
I was thinking about it last month on my vacation/Covid isolation in Knoxville, Tennessee. My aunt-in-law showed us writer/director Tom DiCillo’s third film, BOX OF MOONLIGHT (1996), because it was filmed around there. And now, coincidentally, here I am watching his debut, JOHNNY SUEDE, in the final stretch of my summer of ’92 retrospective. It was released August 14, 1992, but DiCillo says on the DVD commentary that it played for a week and a half in New York and then a week and a half in L.A. and that’s it. Somehow we all knew about it when it was on video, though. (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Alison Moir, Brad Pitt, Calvin Levels, Catherine Keener, Link Wray, Nick Cave, Samuel L. Jackson, Tina Louise, Tom DiCillo
Posted in Comedy/Laffs, Drama, Reviews | 13 Comments »
Thursday, May 20th, 2021
May 10, 1991
Okay, I’m looping back a little here. I initially skipped SWITCH because it didn’t look very fun to me. But as I think about MADONNA: TRUTH OR DARE and a couple of the movies coming up later I’m realizing that changes in the portrayal of women in pop culture will be a major theme of this series, so it seems like a mistake not to look at a movie about a sexist guy waking up in the body of a woman. Also, Bryan in the FX2 comments wrote, “I don’t blame you for not wanting to review SWITCH but I was excited to hear your thoughts about it. It seems it could teach us a lot about 1991.” Good point. So I’m doing it.
SWITCH is late period Blake Edwards. That’s not a period held in high regard by anyone I’ve come across, but I did kind of like BLIND DATE (four years and three movies before this), which got terrible reviews. So you never know.
Steve Brooks (Perry King, CLASS OF 1984, MANDINGO) is “one hell of an advertising man,” which of course means he’s introduced in his office putting golf balls into that thing that business assholes putt into in all ‘80s and ‘90s movies. Then he gets an an unexpected call. Three of his ex-girlfriends, Margo (JoBeth Williams, POLTERGEIST), Liz (Lysette Anthony, KRULL, Bryan Adams videos) and Felicia (Victoria Mahoney, Brewster Place) invite him over for “a surprise party.” (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Blake Edwards, Bruce Hornsby, Bruce Payne, Catherine Keener, Ellen Barkin, Faith Minton, gender switch, Henry Mancini, Jim J. Bullock, Jim Lovelett, Jimmy Smits, Jobeth Williams, Linda Gary, Lorraine Bracco, Lysette Anthony, Perry King, Summer of 1991, Tea Leoni, Victoria Mahoney
Posted in Comedy/Laffs, Reviews | 35 Comments »
Monday, July 2nd, 2018
SICARIO: DAY OF THE SOLDADO, like its predecessor SICARIO, is a bleak, uncomfortable peek into a hellish world of violence depicted near our southern border. Cartels go about their business with savage brutality. U.S. agencies blur and push and blatantly leap across every legal or moral line they ever heard of. The Americans hire a Mexican lawyer turned killer to do the dirty stuff because he wants revenge on those who murdered his family. But they also seem pretty okay with doing the dirty stuff themselves.
Criminals, cops and soldiers all ride on the backs of humvees or pickup trucks or in helicopters, some of them caravanning across the border with impunity, wrapped in armor, strapped with high capacity rifles, hiding behind their sunglasses and gritting their teeth until something pops off and then they pound hundreds of rounds through glass, metal and meat, leaving the wreckage of vehicles and their inhabitants to bake under the hot sun on the pavement or in the dirt. (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Benicio Del Toro, Catherine Keener, Josh Brolin, Matthew Modine, Taylor Sheridan
Posted in Crime, Reviews | 19 Comments »
Tuesday, February 28th, 2017
GET OUT is a crazy, racially themed horror-thriller written and directed by Jordan Peele of the comedy duo Key & Peele. And you know how sensitive I am about this, so I’ll just say right here that I consider this a horror movie that’s funny, not a horror-comedy. That’s how I prefer it. There are some big laughs, but they come out of the characters and situations, not at the expense of taking them seriously.
Chris (Daniel Kaluuya, SICARIO) is a young photographer who’s going on a trip with Rose (Allison Williams from Girls), his girlfriend of five months, to meet her parents. One thing he’s nervous about: she hasn’t told them he’s black. She swears it won’t be a big deal. Swears it. (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Allison Williams, Betty Gabriel, Bradley Whitford, Caleb Landry Jones, Catherine Keener, Daniel Kaluuya, Jordan Peele, LaKeith Stanfield, Lil Rel Howery, Marcus Henderson
Posted in Horror, Reviews, Thriller | 43 Comments »
Monday, April 13th, 2015
“Have you ever been to a military-media moonbase event before?”
I don’t know if you guys remember this, but a long time ago David O. Russell was supposed to be doing a new comedy called NAILED, about Jessica Biel getting a nail stuck in her head. This was about seven years ago actually, so at the time Russell was coming off of I HEART HUCKABEES, which I really liked, but it didn’t seem like he was on the verge of becoming one of the big directors. I’m talking five years before he directed Jennifer Lawrence in an Oscar winning performance, when she was still playing the daughter on The Bill Engvall Show. That’s how long ago this was.
He was filming and everything but he kept having disasters with the financiers going bankrupt, not having enough money to pay the cast and crew, who repeatedly walked off. Eventually it got so bad Russell decided he had no choice but to close up shop with a day or two of filming left. He just gave up and took his first for-hire directing gig, subbing for Darren Aranofsky as a favor to Mark Wahlberg… but then that was THE FIGHTER, and all the sudden he had an Oscar nomination for best director, and then he did SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK and AMERICAN HUSTLE so he had three of those nominations and all the sudden he’s more known as that guy with the glasses at the Oscars than that mean guy who yelled at Lily Tomlin. Things are so good for him now he probly sometimes forgets that he wasted years of his life almost making NAILED.
But now all the sudden there’s this movie called ACCIDENTAL LOVE that’s on V.O.D. and will be on actual video soon. It’s written and directed by one Stephen Greene and it happens to have the exact same cast and premise as NAILED. You may be thinking “Stephen Greene, you hustlin sonofabitch, how the fuck did you achieve what three time Academy Award nominee for best director David O. Russell could not?” Actually my immediate assumption was that some guy named Stephen Greene did that last bit of shooting, slapped the thing together and credited himself as the director. But it turns out there is no Stephen Greene, he’s like Keyser Soze. They let Russell use a pseudonym for this release, which from what I hear takes some doing.
Ha. Both the director and the movie itself wanted to use pseudonyms. (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Catherine Keener, David O. Russell, Jake Gyllenhaal, James Marsden, Jessica Biel, Kirstie Alley, Kristin Gore, Kurt Fuller, Paul Reubens, Tracy Morgan
Posted in Comedy/Laffs, Reviews | 6 Comments »
Thursday, January 9th, 2014
CAPTAIN PHILLIPS is a tense and well made thriller based on a simple real life incident: a small band of Somali pirates board an American cargo ship to try to hold the crew for ransom, the crew tries to not be held for ransom. I remember when this happened. I mean, I’m sure this sort of thing happens all the time, but this was the famous one because of how things ended up. So that’s all I really knew about the story, so I was in suspense about how things ended up how they ended up.
Tom Hanks (HE KNOWS YOU’RE ALONE) plays the titlional captain, portrayed as an ordinary sorta schlubby working man married to Catherine Keener (in a part only slightly bigger than she had as the dead body in BAD GRANDPA). There’s a sense of inevitable doom as he takes his boat around the horn of Africa. We’re not the only ones who know he’s gonna get hijacked. He spends the first part of the movie suffering from an acute case of That Sinking Feeling until sure enough a suspiciously close skiff shows up on the radar. (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Barkhad Abdi, Billy Ray, Catherine Keener, Max Martini, Michael Chernus, Paul Greengrass, Tom Hanks, true story
Posted in Reviews, Thriller | 40 Comments »
Wednesday, October 26th, 2005
In the type of acting tour de la force that everybody loves unless they’re some kind of a dick, Philip Seymour Hoffman plays Truman Capote, the famous writer and weirdo. Although the use of only his last name as the movie’s title seems to imply that it will tell the entire story of his life and maybe even the entire story of the life of everybody with the last name Capote, this is actually not a full on biography. The story is narrowed down to the 4 or 5 years when he was working on his famous book IN COLD BLOOD, starring Robert Blake.
The movie starts out with a young girl discovering the dead bodies of a family murdered in a farmhouse. And before you know it Capote and his research assistant Harper Lee (author of the book TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD, starring Gregory Peck) are nosing around asking everybody questions. So at first I thought this was gonna be kind of a LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN thing with famous authors going around solving crimes. I bet the Marquis De Sade did these murders. Or Edgar Alan Poe. (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Bennett Miller, Catherine Keener, Chris Cooper, Clifton Collins Jr., P.S. Hoffman
Posted in Drama, Reviews | 1 Comment »
Sunday, August 21st, 2005
I am no expert on comedy or laughing, and you know that. But not too long ago I reviewed a movie called “THE WEDDING CRASHERS” which I said was lazy formulaic forgettable throwaway crap that will be forgotten forever about 20 minutes after the last time they advertise the dvd on tv. The movie is already considered a smash hit but I still stand by my evaluation. If you want to see Owen Wilson lie to a girl to get laid and then really fall in love and go riding bikes onbeaches and saying cutesey shit and then having his secret discovered and being hated but then proving himself by going and making a long humiliating speech about how much he really loves her and that other horse shit, please, by all means, go watch it. You’ve never seen anything like it, unless you have a TV or grew up in a country where there are TVs.
I wanted to say a few words about STEVE CARRELL IS… THE 40 YEAR OLD VIRGIN though because in my opinion this is a movie that could be a good influence on WEDDING CRASHERS and teach it how to grow up and become a man and contribute to society. (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Catherine Keener, Elizabeth Banks, Judd Apatow, Kat Dennings, Paul Rudd, Romany Malco, Seth Rogen, Steve Carrell
Posted in Comedy/Laffs, Reviews | 1 Comment »