Tag: Kevin Kline


April 26th, 2017 — 1:21am

Dean -sp

We learn at the beginning of the story that a father and his grown son have just lost a wife and mother and are about to begin the grieving process. The father is played by two time Oscar winner Kevin Kline who turns in an outstanding performance. Likewise Dean, the son, is played by Demetri Martin in a excellent break through performance. So is the director, screenwriter and producer also in the person of Demetri Martin. An important part of the story are single panel cartoons which are interspersed throughout the film and focuses the mood and irony of various situations in the movie. These drawings are also by Demetri Martin. So who is Demetri Martin? He has been a stand up comic for many years, has worked with Conan O’Brien on TV and has published a book of his own cartoons. He is obviously very talented and was able to draw upon his own experience of having lost a parent at a young age and his understanding of the universal search for love combined with a finely honed sense of humor.

Despite the initial premise of the story, this is really not a sad or tearjerker of a story, except the few times that Dean listens to a saved message on his iPhone of his late mom giving him words of encouragement. This is more a story of exploring different ways of grieving, as well as budding love of both a young and older man. It also uses two great exciting American cities that traditionally have been a backdrop for cinematic romance, New York (Brooklyn) and Los Angeles. The two respective women who have stirred the potential of deep romantic feelings in father and son at a time that they were on opposite coasts were Nicky (Gillian Jacobs) and Carol (Mary Steenburgen). Many of Dean’s buddies in the movie, are played by actors and comics who have captured the beat of his generation.

The net result of this 87 minute film is a feel good experience which reminds us that the connection between loss and new love is natural and inevitable. We highly recommend this movie. It is funny and poignant with surprising depth. (2017)

Comment » | 4 Stars, Comedy, Drama

Ricki and the Flash

December 12th, 2015 — 7:29pm


Screen Shot 2015-12-12 at 10.32.25 AMRicki and the Flash-nf

If you are a “streeper” (nickname Meryl Streep’s fans often called themselves) you are going to enjoy her in this performance. As usual Ms. Streep who is known as a perfectionist in preparing for her roles, appears to have mastered her character down to the last note.

In this case, it is as an aging rock musician who has only made one album and now spends the daytime being a grocery checkout lady and the evenings being a grooving rock musician leading her band “The Flash” playing in a local club in Tarzana, California. Her fellow guitarist Greg is played by Rick Springfield, known to be quite a successful musician in real life. Ricki left her husband and children when her kids were quite small to follow her dream as a rock musician and had very limited contact with them over the years. One of them Julie (played by Mamie Gummer , a rising actress who in real life is Ms. Streep’s real daughter) has just had a traumatic marital breakup and Ricki returns to Indianapolis to support her. Her daughter and two grown sons one of whom is about to get married are not very thrilled to see her at first. Her former husband (Kevin Kline) has married a very lovely woman (Audra McDonald) who confronts the rock musician with her failure as a mother. There is a lot of sadness in this film and also a lot of rocking music led by Ricki (alias Ms. Streep) and Greg (alias Mr. Springfield) and some very fine backup musicians.

The story by Diablo Cody and the direction by Jonathan Demme lead us on a fanciful trip but in the end it is feel good stuff. We don’t think it will lead to Ms. Streep’s 20th Oscar nomination but you never know. (2015)

Comment » | 3 Stars, Drama, Musical

The Grand Canyon

May 27th, 2012 — 7:30pm


The Grand Canyon nf– After recently seeing Director/Writer Larry Kasden’s latest film Darling Companion and liking it very much we decided to view this 1991 film also directed by Kasden and co- written with his wife Meg Kasden. This film was nominated for an Oscar for best screenplay. It is set and made in Los Angeles about one year before the LA Riots. It is about people from different parts of town whose lives intersect due to some random circumstances. Kevin Kline plays Mac, a successful attorney who goes off the beaten path in more than one way but finds himself seemingly rescued by Simon (Danny Glover), a tow truck driver. Their lives and their life styles reflect their different social, racial and economic settings. The important people in each of their lives are struggling with their own identities and life crisis. Mack’s wife Claire (Mary McDonnell) questions her marriage and tries to deal with her feelings as she is watching her teenage son grow up and have his first romance. She has to decide how to fulfill her own life as well as that of a newborn abandoned child who she discovers while out jogging. Simon’s sister (Afre Woodard), on the other side of town is trying to figure out how to raise her teenage son who can’t see any other choices than being a gang member. Everyone’s lives are intersecting. Not only does the film contrast different life styles in Los Angeles that are only a few minutes car ride away from each other but also puts a mirror to the personal decisions that each person has to make. Kasden uses an ensemble cast of excellent actors and it seems that he has chosen Steve Martin to play the character closest to himself. In a non-comedic role Martin is Davis, a movie producer who wants to make honest films that show the human condition even if they contain realistic violent action that he does best. We come away from this movie reflecting that we are each a tiny spec in this universe that we can’t control but we still have decisions to make that can make a difference. (1991)

1 comment » | 4 Stars, Drama, Romance

Darling Companion

April 22nd, 2012 — 6:48am


Darling Companion- sp  This is a wonderful “ feel good “ movie that everyone can enjoy. It will be especially meaningful to anyone who has been part of a family when the last child is married off and the parents deal with their  adult relationship  with each other and other members of their families. It was directed  and produced by Lawrence Kasden (Big Chill, Grand Canyon and many more big time hits) who also wrote the script along with his wife Meg Kasden . They  put together an honest story that showed love, romance and  every day comedy in a way that most people should be able to relate to and immensely enjoy. They assembled a cast of actors who were able to embody the characters they created in a skillful and very authentic manner. Beth (Diane Keaton) and Joseph (Kevin Kline) are the newly “empty nested” parents  as their daughter Grace (Kate Moss of “Mad Men” fame) ,the youngest of their children, finally finds Mr. Right and gets married. Joseph  is a spine surgeon whom Beth acknowledges may have always been a little full of himself but is shown to ultimately be a good guy. Penny is Joseph’s divorced  sister (Diane Wiest) who has found her new love Russell  (Richard Jenkins) who is a bumbling guy who wants to marry Penny and open an English pub in Iowa. Bryan (Mark Duplass) is Penny’s son who is also a spine doctor and  has a touching flirtation with a gypsy like housekeeper (Ayelet Zurer) of the family’s vacation house in the beautiful Colorado mountains (which was filmed in the beautiful Utah mountains) . Sam Sheppard is Sheriff Morris who adds further warmth to the already tender story. What we haven’t told you yet is that the story is tied together by a loveable  dog – that almost magically appears and then disappears ! The movie is the story about the search for the dog which occurs while the characters are finding themselves and their own bearings. The story is just right at 103 minutes . The acting is perfect-Diane Keaton is at her mature best, the country type music hits the spot and the film features a a dog! How can it go wrong? (2012)

1 comment » | 4 Stars, Drama, Romance

The Conspirator

April 7th, 2011 — 7:25pm


The Conspirator- sp You may think you know the story about the assassination of Abraham Lincoln but you don’t know Jack ! You probably most certainly don’t know the story of one of the so called conspirators Mary Surratt who ran the boarding house where John  Wilkes Booth met with his friends one of whom was her son. Producer Brian Falk is part of a new production company called the American Film Company, which has a mission to make films about American history. When he came across this 18 year old screenplay by James D. Solomon  about this story, the company decided it should be their debut movie. They took a chance and showed the script  to producer Bill Holderman who is a partner in Robert Redford’s company and the next thing they know they have Redford directing it and they were able to put  together an all star  cast. It then seems that they became obsessed about the authenticity and had a team of historians not only vet the script but were on speed dial for every detail of the film from the courtroom trial transcripts to the exact buttons on the soldier’s uniforms. The story starts off focusing on Frederick Aiken (James McAvoy) a young wounded Union officer on the battlefield. It turns out that he is a lawyer in civilian life and shortly after he leaves the military he is being pressured by his senior law associate (Tom Wilkerson) to defend Mary Surratt (Robin Wright). The trial is being conducted by a military court ( think Guantanamo) with judge and jury being Union soldiers and an ace prosecutor Joseph Holt  (Danny Huston ) with Secretary of  War Edwin Stanton (Kevin Kline) trying to call the shots from behind the scenes. Besides being a  fascinating piece of little known history, the film is beautifully photographed, with near perfect period costumes but yet it draws the viewer in and makes you feel that you are watching a very real life high stakes drama. Of course this is also a thinking person’s movie and you have to come away appreciating how the strength of our constitution gets tested from time to time and you wonder if it passed the test after Lincoln got shot as we sometimes wonder how it is doing today. Speaking of Lincoln, this movie opens April 15th on the day of his death. We highly recommend it as one of the best films we have seen this year.(2011)

Comment » | 5 Stars, Drama, History

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