Tracy Letts adapts his own prize-winning play into a blistering depiction of one of cinema's most dysfunctional families ever. It's still rather theatrical, throwing a mob of top actors into a room for what feels like a fight to the death, but it's so well written and so beautifully observed by the actors that we can't look away. And of course Meryl Streep walks off with the show.
Everything kicks off when Beverly Weston (Shepard) goes missing, leaving his ruthlessly straight-talking, pill-popping wife Violet (Streep) to assemble the family in their rambling Oklahoma home. They have three equally feisty daughters: Barbara (Roberts) is a tightly wound bundle of anger with an estranged husband (McGregor) and surly teen daughter (Breslin) in tow; Karen (Lewis) is a free-spirited floater with yet another random boyfriend (Mulroney); and Ivy (Nicholson) is fed up with being the dutiful daughter who stayed close to home. Also on hand is Violet's sister Mattie Fae (Martindale), whose husband (Cooper) is the family patriarch now that Beverly is gone, which means their son (Cumberbatch) feels even more useless than normal.
What plot there is centres on skeletons rattling out of closets and relationships imploding spectacularly. The film is a series of brutally intense encounters between people who probably still love each other in vaguely undefined ways and express it through bitter bursts of witty cruelty. Streep has the meatiest role as the imperious Violet, who knows a lot more than she's letting on. And her chief rival is Barbara, played with unnerving intensity by Roberts. The only person we even remotely like is Mattie Fae, and the always-superb Martindale finds all kinds of layers in the character.
Continue reading: August: Osage County Review
Austin Pendleton, Michael Shannon, Tom Wirtshafter, Scott Morfee, Jean Doumanian, Eric Hoff, Ike Holter, Tracy Letts, Mare Winningham, David Cromer and Josh Schmidt - The premiere of 'Hit The Wall', held at the Barrow Street Theatre - New York City, United States - Sunday 10th March 2013
An unabashed comedic fable, Small Time Crooks presents Woody as Ray Winkler, an ex-con living in a New York rathole and scraping by as a dishwasher. His wife Frenchy (Tracy Ullman) does nails by day, gives Ray a whole lot of lip by night. And when Ray comes home with a new "master plan" that promises to make them rich so they can retire to Florida (the dream to end all dreams in Small Time Crooks), Frenchy becomes a reluctant partner.
Continue reading: Small Time Crooks Review
Pretty much taking pot-shots at everyone he's ever known, every establishment he can think of, every vice there is, and--mostly--himself... that's your basic summary of Deconstructing Harry. Allen is vulgar and crass, wholly unlikeable... but hysterical. Maybe the funniest part of the film is the cast of stars he's lined up, all of whom do nothing but get spit upon the whole time! Suckers! (The movie is told half in reality, half as visualizations of writer Harry Block's (Allen) stories, thus, the large cast.)
Continue reading: Deconstructing Harry Review
Shot in black and white and filled with about 30 big-name stars, Celebrity is a welcome return to old-school Allen, his first really good film since 1994's Bullets Over Broadway.
Continue reading: Celebrity Review
I love Woody Allen, really I do. I'm probably the only living critic who enjoyed Celebrity. I love jazz, too. Every Wednesday for two years, I saw a classic jazz quartet play tunes like "All of Me," "Rosetta," and "Old Man Time" in a dank cellar bar.
Continue reading: Sweet And Lowdown Review
Paul (Paul Schneider) is a local guy working for his uncle and living with his mother in the same house he's always called home, and his abundant sexual conquests have earned him a well-deserved reputation as a licentious heartbreaker. He spends his free time with a group of lifelong buddies, drinking and looking for his next female conquest. As one former girlfriend wisely observes, Paul's the type of sleazy good-for-nothing who'll never amount to more than what he is now: a drunken, childish buffoon with no ambition. His mother puts it more bluntly: Paul is "not educated, honest, or strong."
Continue reading: All The Real Girls Review
Just Looking is the story of Leny (played perfectly by Ryan Merriman) who is a boy like any other 14 year old, curious about sex. So much so that his goal for the summer of 1955 is to see two people "engaged in the act of love" as he puts it. But his innocent curiosity ends up getting him caught and his mother (Patti LuPone) and stepfather decide to ship him off to "the country" (also known as the Bronx) where he meets a new set of friends who just happen to share a similar interest.
Continue reading: Just Looking (1999) Review
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