Amy Wright

Amy Wright

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Excellent
Writer-director Holofcener cleverly keeps the emotions gurgling right under the surface of this engaging interpersonal comedy. It's more about smiles than laughing out loud, but the superior cast members get terrific characters to play with.

Kate and Alex (Keener and Platt) are socially active New Yorkers, supporting charities and trying to help their feisty teen daughter (Steele) understand what's important. But Kate's beginning to feel guilty about their work; they buy furniture from families with recently deceased relatives and resell it at a profit. This is taken to the extreme as they wait for their aging neighbour (Guilbert) to die so they can annex her apartment, and Kate and Alex struggle with how to interact with her very different granddaughters (Hall and Peet).

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Wise Blood Review


Excellent
John Huston's Wise Blood isn't bold-faced Americana. Rather, it is an alien planet of such thick perversity and everyday grotesqueries that one has to take pause and consider how close Mr. Huston's dystopia is to the American South. It is adapted from the fine first novel by Flannery O'Conner of the same name and it is the only time an American director has successfully translated the late O'Conner's haunting prose. Completed in 1979, it is also perhaps the most ballistic of Huston's late-period films.

Hazel Motes, played by Brad Dourif in a brilliant, physical performance, is a character John Huston would have had to create if O'Conner hadn't already written him. Aggressive and hissing like an angry cobra, Motes slithers his way into town from a stint in the army and begins yelling about a "Church Without Christ" that he will begin. He finds a believer in the young, brainless Enoch Emory (Dan Shor) who tells Hazel about the "wise blood" in his veins that tells him things no one else can hear.

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Inside Moves Review


Bad
Director Richard Donner became a name by making big, action-packed blockbusters like Superman and the Lethal Weapon quartet. So watching Inside Moves, his 1980 character study about outcasts who find salvation in a watering hole, is mesmerizing for all the wrong reasons. It's like watching Michael Jordan missing a curveball by a country mile, Garth Brooks rocking out as Chris Gaines, or George W. Bush handling foreign policy.

The lead outcast here is Roary (John Savage), who attempts to end his life by jumping from a 10-story window. Through dumb luck he survives, but emerges months later from the hospital with a crippled leg and a broken spirit. Desperate for something to do, he heads over to the local bar, Max's, which looks like the kind of place that serves nothing but procrastination and broken dreams.

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Besotted Review


Good
This exceptionally strange romantic drama masquerades as a supernatural comedy, but at heart it's another hyper-realistic story of mature romance (as opposed to the usual teen rom-com). Director Holly Hardman plays a witch of sorts who gets tapped to aid in a case of unrequited love that local town drunk Shep (Jim Chiros) has for lady lobster fisher and ex-lover Vicky (Susan Gibney). Hardman moves statuettes around a magic chessboard of sorts for 90 minutes, with unpredictable, yet not terribly compelling results. Strangely, the DVD case describes this as "an illuminating experiment with the creative process," but there's nothing experimental on the screen. Besotted comes across as just another indie romantic drama that didn't really go anywhere. (If something kooky is happening behind the scenes -- like they shot the movie without a script or something -- I'm clueless about it.)
Amy Wright

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