Nora (Posey) is a thirty-something hotel concierge specializing in VIP guests, but her life has little glamour. When not tending to the VIPs, she's home drinking red wine, popping sleeping pills, and wondering why she can't find just one nice man. A fifth-anniversary party for her best friend Audrey (Drea DeMatteo) adds insult to injury, even as her own mom (Gena Rowlands, director Zoe Cassavetes's mother) tries to cheer her up.
Continue reading: Broken English Review
Shainberg imagines Arbus, played by Nicole Kidman, as a faithful housewife, very self-conscious of her strange stares and off-putting manner. She's also a devoted assistant to Allan (a superb Ty Burr), her photographer husband who captures the poppy pastel colors of 1950s dresses and various appliances for catalogs. Her life gets a shock of electricity when she catches the eye of a strange neighbor named Lionel (Robert Downey Jr.). Lionel was featured in a freak show when he was younger as a dog boy, scientifically diagnosed as hypertrichosis. The relationship that builds between Arbus and her hairy friend accounts for her artistic awakening and liberation of feminine constraints.
Continue reading: Fur: An Imaginary Portrait Of Diane Arbus Review
Secretary explodes with juicy innuendo, even from its opening moments. An extending establishing shot plays against mischievously sensual music as a woman seductively strolls through a business office performing secretarial duties. She approaches a desk, staples a few papers, pours fresh coffee into a mug, and then returns to her employer. Sounds ordinary, except that she does these things while locked inside a weird S&M device.
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Eigeman is Gus, who starts out the film having the worst possible day. On his way to an important meeting, battered portfolio in hand, his wallet is swiped by a swindler escaping from subway havoc. The interview goes poorly with gallery owner Arthur Pomposello (an unrecognizable Farley Granger, of beloved Hitchcock fame) because Gus just doesn't "catch you." His shading shows talent and his composition is pleasant to look at, but he doesn't display the normal despondence and stereotypical artistic pain seen in his peers.
Continue reading: The Next Big Thing Review
"She" (Joan Allen) is a London-based scientist (born in Belfast, raised in America) whose open marriage to her stoic, stuffy husband (Sam Neill) is dying a slow, painful death. "He" (Simon Abkarian) is a cook from Beirut, who meets her at a party, beginning a torrid affair that puts both on a physical and emotional trek taking them to Beirut, Belfast, New York, and a groovy Cuba.
Continue reading: Yes Review
Oh: But watch for Jared Harris's Walken impersonation at the 42 minute mark.
Continue reading: The Eternal (1998) Review
This updated 20th century Hamlet is brought to vivid realism by independent director Michael Almereyda. Almereyda places the play in the year 2000, creating the state of Denmark as a huge conglomerate, the slain king a CEO, and Hamlet as a digital video maker. This interpretation sounds almost like it's going to be as much fun as a ten-car pileup on the expressway; you want to turn your head away from in disgust but are strangely curious about what happened.
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One admires Kerrigan's rigorous cinematic technique, which stays perched on Keane's face or right over his shoulder for most of the film's running time. It's a "you are there" aesthetic that demands the viewer identify with the camera's subject. Perhaps influenced by British filmmaker Alan Clarke (who used similar tactics to brilliant effect following around skinhead Tim Roth in Made in Britain and football hooligan Gary Oldman in The Firm), Kerrigan manages to make Keane bracing, compelling, and mostly watchable even as you realize the character is on a long, slow, tortured journey to nowhere.
Continue reading: Keane Review