Tag: Catherine Keener


Little Pink House

May 4th, 2018 — 6:02am

****

Little Pink House

Whether you are an on-the-ground activist, a student of law, or an activist at heart, you will be drawn to this movie. It is a docudrama that tells the true story of Susette Kelo (Catherine Keener), a woman who worked as a dedicated EMT, had just been through a second divorce and found a quaint fix-up house in New London, Connecticut on the water where she decided to settle and build her life. Needless to say, the finishing touch on her hard work of fixing up the house was to paint the exterior pink (hence the film title).

And now the plot thickness. Pfizer pharmaceutical company begins to work out a plan with the town fathers to build a new large plant in New London. This has the potential to bring new revenue and jobs to this town which could well use the infusion. The viewer then becomes introduced to the term from the United States Constitution called Eminent Domain. A group of home owners, mainly elderly, are now threatened with either being forced to sell their home or be evicted.

Ms. Keener plays her character quite well as she becomes the symbol of the embattled home owners with the support of her boyfriend, Tim (Keith Rennie) and her lawyer Scott Bullock (Giacomo Baessato) against the Director of Corporate Development (Jeanne Tripplehorn), the city attorney (Jerry Wasserman), and the governor (Aaron Douglas).

Director and writer, Courtney Moorehead Balaker, leads this band of actors to the Supreme Court of The United States where the case is settled (at least for the time being). This adventure is a worthwhile cinematic experience (2018).

Comment » | 4 Stars, Documentary, Drama, History

Enough Said

September 22nd, 2013 — 1:24am

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Enough Said rm– Once you get over the fact that you are seeing the late James Gandolfini’s last performance you will find that you are watching a very insightful and touching romantic comedy. This is the story of two divorced middle age people with flaws and baggage who encounter each other and develop a romantic relationship. Eva (Julia Louis –Dreyfus), a masseuse, is as expected funny but yet poignant as she finds chemistry with her new friend Albert (Gandolfini) but yet is unsure of herself and doesn’t really appreciate what she has found. She is greatly influenced by her old friend Sarah (Toni Collette) who would rather change her furniture than consider changing her misfit husband (Ben Falcone) as well as by her new client and friend Marianne (Catherine Keener). This film also examines the interaction between parents and daughters at the point where the daughters (Tracy Fairaway and Michaela Watkins) are going off to college. Screenwriter and Director Nicole Holofcener has weaved this complicated and poignant relationship into the story as both main characters are in this situation. There are some great comedic moments, which play off the big coincidence of the story, which the audience becomes aware early on and watches the characters come to their own meaningful realization. This movie is also a showcase for Gandolfini to demonstrate his versatility in showing vulnerability as a gentle man as compared to that trait in his role as a tough guy, for which he will forever be remembered in the Sopranos. (2013)

 

Comment » | 4 Stars, Comedy, Romance

A Late Quartet

November 18th, 2012 — 9:37pm

***

A Late Quartet-rm

 A famous successful string quartet makes great music together for twenty five years but their individual lives are now on the verge of producing some very bad notes. We are introduced to this group as we learn that Peter Mitchell (Christopher Walken) the older, most mature and stable member of the group learns that he has  the early stages of Parkinson’s Disease and will probably have to step down from the group. The possibility of change and perhaps a new member of the group creates a window for Writer /Director Yaron Zilberman to show the audience the vulnerabilities and weaknesses of the other 3 characters. Robert (played magnificently as usual by Phiilip Seymore Hoffman) decides he doesn’t want to play 2nd fiddle anymore and wants to in the future alternate first violin with  Daniel (Mark Ivenir) who now has that role. Robert is devastated when his wife Juliette (Catherine Keener) also a member of the quartet doesn’t agree and has actually talked it over with Daniel. He of course, doesn’t want to share the role of top banana with Robert. In fact Daniel who probably has been a repressed musical genius has an affair with Robert and Catherine’s daughter Alexandra (Imogene Potts) to whom he has been giving violin lessons and who had been flirting with him. He seems devastated when she ultimately rejects him.  In the course of this situation her mother comes down hard on Alexandra’s poor judgment which leads Alexandra to vehemently respond what a failure Juliette has been as a mother especially since she and her father were  not around 7 months of the year, always being on tour. We are led to believe if they can really get into the music especially Beethoven’s opus 131, all be ok. It almost works because the music really carries the movie. When you see them play together (the actors were taught to move their fingers in the correct manner) you believe that everything is going to be back in balance with a new equilibrium. That is the power of music and some very good acting. (2012)

Comment » | 3 Stars, Drama, Musical

Trust

April 4th, 2011 — 10:56pm

*****

Trust- rm –  This is an important movie. It addresses a serious problem that every family with budding teenagers will have to face. We want our children to master the Internet and the unlimited horizons which it offers them in their education and future ability to navigate in this global world. We also don’t have any choice because this wonderful technology provides us instant communication with cell phones and the ability to stay in touch with family and friends. It also gives young people the ability and opportunity to meet and communicate with anyone and everyone. There are teen chats where teenagers can meet other teenagers anyplace in the world or in the next town. Of course teenagers, especially girls tend to develop crushes and infatuations and it is only natural that they might want to meet their computer/phone pal. What if it turns out that he isn’t really a teenager but a little or a lot older but still seems like a nice guy? This is the situation that a 14 year old from a very solid home with successful loving parents, a brother going away to college and a younger kid sister, found herself in. Teenage life being what it is, includes up pressures in one’s school and social life and a natural desire to be accepted, loved and to explore their new sexuality. This very relevant story written by Andy Billin and Robert Festing , produced and directed by David Schwimmer considers  the devastating consequences which befall this girl and  her parents. Liana Liberato captures the spirit of an enthusiastic teenager who just made the volleyball team but yet has the   uncertainty and vulnerability of so many girls who are trying to get hang of the complexities of socializing in their new school environment. Catherine Keener plays her impacted mom and  Clive Owen  is her dad originally from Great Britain and a successful  advertising  executive which is helping to create the tween market which he at one point ironically and sickenly realizes may be creating sexual interest in youngsters  the age of his daughter. He struggles with his own feelings of inadequacies as a father and rage at anyone who might threaten or hurt his daughter. You might expect this subject to best dealt with by a documentary which could provide statistics, interviews with therapists, police and FBI agents as well as some parents or victims. This movie had all of the above in the form of a fast moving drama which conveyed the emotional pain of everyone involved. Schwimmer, who actually is  on the board of directors of the Rape Foundation for the Rape Treatment Center of Santa Monica, with this film  may have ended up  protecting untold numbers of young girls  from being hurt because of knowledge and awareness gained by viewing this film.  In fact this is the ideal movie to be viewed by parents and teenagers together followed by a nice dinner or snack to provide the vehicle and a good discussion. (2011)

1 comment » | 5 Stars, Drama

Cyrus

September 8th, 2010 — 5:38am

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– sp – Brothers Jay and Mark Duplass are the screenwriters/directors of this movie which is their first relatively big budget independent film and it has been picked up by Fox for distribution. This skillful duo has a knack for providing interesting characters with very realistic dialog. They discourage rehearsal and let their actors work using the script but improvising to bring out their interpretation of the their characters. In this case they had John C. Reilly and Marisa Tomei playing two somewhat awkward people in their mid 40s who seem to be falling in love shortly after meeting and hopping into bed. Tomei’s character has a 22 year old son, Cyrus well captured by Jonah Hill who appears to be a regressed mama’s boy who is joined at the hip with his mom but yet has a cold calculating almost evil side who will do whatever he can to prevent John played by Reilly from taking her away. This is essentially the plot . As John gradually becomes aware of the intense relationship between his new girl friend and her son he seeks the advise of his ex-wife played by Catherine Keener . He ultimately tries to confront Cyrus which leads to some intense and comedic moments. The Duplass brothers acknowledge that they do not provide much back story so we see these weird but appealing characters as they are, without knowing how they got to be this way or why they undergo some change. Therefore the result is a “Johnny one note” film with a simple story. Despite the talented expressions and sensitivity of the actors, we are not greatly moved or enlightened. There were a few somewhat disorienting brief scenes in the movie where the characters were talking without moving their lips but yet it did not appear to be a representation of internal thinking. When we asked the directors about this, they acknowledged that in one case they were trying to correct and shift the dialog which they were doing in the editing room. They then decided to use this motif in a few other scenes. While we did not feel the net result of this film merited our recommendation, we will look forward to future work by these talented brothers. (2010)

Comment » | 2 Stars, Comedy, Drama, Romance

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