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Grey Gardens (2009) Review


Extraordinary
Most serious film fans know the story of Grey Gardens: how documentarians Albert and David Maysles were investigating the life of Jackie Kennedy Onassis's sister Lee Radziwill for a film and stumbled upon the unforgettable duo of Edith Bouvier Beale and her daughter Little Eddie; how it took a year of "convincing" before the women would allow them to film in their manor; how the resulting motion picture turned the plight of these discarded society matrons into the stuff of living legend; and how since the movie's success, the Beales' story has been adapted into books, a Broadway musical, and a stage play. Now HBO puts its spin on the material, bringing Jessica Lange and Drew Barrymore to the small screen for the TV version of this intriguing tale -- and it's also amazing, just like the subjects.

When they are approached by the Maysles (Arye Gross, Justin Louis) about making a movie of their life, Big Edith Beale (Lange) and her daughter Little Edie (Barrymore) are a tad suspicious. After all, they have let few people in their decaying Hamptons home, and the last time anyone showed up, it was the county health inspector threatening to condemn the mansion. Intrigued by the idea of being in a movie however, the duo agree, and soon we are whisked back to the days when Big Edith suffered through her straight-laced husband Phelan (Ken Howard) as Little Edie wooed Truman Cabinet member Julius Krug (Daniel Baldwin). As she ages, the sullen matriarch wants more freedom. Instead, she becomes a virtual recluse in her home, calling on her jet-setting offspring to come home and care for her. Thanks to relative Jackie Onassis (Jeanne Tripplehorn), they have enough money to live on. But their life is still one of misguided dreams and internalized strife.

Continue reading: Grey Gardens (2009) Review

Blood & Donuts Review


OK
Oh, those darned Canadians! Who would think to put a vampire movie in a donut shop!? 25 years after "going to sleep in a bag," our nightcrawler Boya (Gordon Currie) decides to wake up, whereupon he gets into all kinds of trouble with a local cab driver, two bumbling cops, a bowling alley owner (played by David Cronenberg!), and a waitress at the aforementioned donut shop. How any of this fits together, what it has to do with anything, and why someone thought it would make a good movie is all beyond me, but the few very dry and wry comedic touches make it, well, more fun than having someone suck out your blood.

Everything Put Together Review


Weak

There is a gripping, sorrowful, quietly on-edge performance at the center of "Everything Put Together," in which Radha Mitchell plays a sunny young suburbanite and first-time mother thrown into the throes of psychological horror by the loss of her newborn baby to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

Mitchell ("High Art," "Pitch Black") is a yuppie Alice in Anguish-land, falling down a rabbit hole of despair and denial after her social support system is yanked out from under her. Ostracized by her fellow young mother gal-pals, who convince themselves they're being helpful by letting her have her space, she finds no comfort from her suddenly apprehensive husband (Justin Louis) either, and she begins to withdraw into a subconscious world of fear and fantasy that threatens to slide into true madness.

Mitchell's portrayal is powerful, but writer Catherine Lloyd Burns (who plays one of the girlfriends) and director Marc Forster (who after shooting this 2000 film went on to make "Monster's Ball" [review coming this week]) don't let her raw, tragic performance speak for itself.

Continue reading: Everything Put Together Review

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Everything Put Together Movie Review

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There is a gripping, sorrowful, quietly on-edge performance at the center of "Everything Put Together,"...

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