Katie Roumel

Katie Roumel

Katie Roumel Quick Links

Film RSS

Savage Grace Review


Grim
Savage Grace, the new film from Swoon director Tom Kalin, attempts to dissect the early tremors of obsession and dependency in Antony Baekeland, the homosexual heir to a major plastics company, which overflowed when he snapped and murdered his would-be Hollywood starlet and erstwhile model mother Barbara Baekeland in their London home in November 1972. As his previous films and his involvement in the New Queer Cinema movement would have you guess, Kalin's study of the events leading up to the Baekeland stabbing is linked to a familial fear of homosexuality and confused sexual identity.

Kalin kicks things of in New York, not long after young Antony's birth and right in step with the early disintegration of the Baekeland marriage. Barbara (Julianne Moore) dotes on both her cold genius husband Brooks (Stephen Dillane), the grandson of the Bakelite plastics magnate Leo Baekeland, and little Antony with equal aplomb. By Antony's fourteenth birthday, the Baekelands are discovering naked teens in their son's bed and settling their disputes with carnal bouts in hotel rooms. By Antony's 21st, Brooks has left Barbara for Blanca (Elena Anaya), who's also been with Antony.

Continue reading: Savage Grace Review

Then She Found Me Review


Weak
"Don't be glib with me!" declares a character in Helen Hunt's ticking-biological-clock panic comedy Then She Found Me, and it's too bad Hunt didn't take her character's advice in the shaping of the film. For most of its running time, Then She Found Me stays safely within television sitcom glibness, the edges softened and motivations rigged into idiot-box coincidence and artificiality. It's Mad About You with home pregnancy test swabs.

Hunt is April Epner, a 39-year-old schoolteacher, married to Ben (Matthew Broderick), the puffy, neighborhood schlub. April is childless and longs for "a baby that is really hers." Being an adopted daughter in a close-knit Jewish family (she envies Ben Shenkman's Freddy, the biological family brother), she wants the biological connection of a birth child. As the film begins, her mother Trudy (Lynn Cohen) is in the hospital, her father has died, and April's comfortable world is about to explode. Things go awry from the get-go when April, obsessed with getting pregnant, greets Ben at home with a nightie under her coat, eager for a surprise tumble. But Ben tops her by announcing his decision to leave their months old marriage. Things continue falling apart -- April juggling the death of Trudy, having an affair with the embittered, divorced Frank (Colin Firth), and -- to top it all off -- the sudden appearance of April's biological mother, Bernice Graves, a brassy, unpretentious loudmouth and local talk-show hostess, played by Bette Midler (who else?).

Continue reading: Then She Found Me Review

The Notorious Bettie Page Review


Weak

Whether she knew it or not, Bettie Page was breaking a lot of taboos when she started posing in bondage films and photos (maybe she knew but just decided to not care?). Current trends in modeling, including Dita Von Teese and Suicide Girls, often cite Page as an inspiration for their work. In Von Teese there is a certain comparison, but Suicide Girls, whether they like it or not, are not celebrating taboo. If anything, they are destroying taboo and making everything normal, even the strange and macabre. The trick with Page was that she didn't really see it as a bad thing; she never had it in her mind to exploit the idea of "the bad girl." Whether this was on director Mary Harron's mind when she opted to take on the life story of Bettie Page is up for debate.

Raised in Tennessee to a strict, religious family and a father with a fondness for bathing suit areas, Bettie Page (Gretchen Mol) is set to become a teacher at college when she marries an army man and promptly leaves him when he hits her. After being sexually assaulted by a group of men, she makes her way to New York City to become an actress. The moment of fate comes when an off-duty police officer and amateur photog decides to take her picture. Soon enough, she's being sought out by famous photographers like Bunny Yeager (Sarah Paulson) and specialty photography siblings Irving and Paula Klaw (Chris Bauer and Lili Taylor, respectively). Her friends, mostly male, are astonished by her nonchalant attitude towards nudity and bondage. She just sees it as "silly pictures," but the Senate, led by Senator Estes Kefauver (David Strathairn, absolutely wasted), thinks it's warping the youth of America. Mostly, Bettie just wants to make a nice, God-fearing life for herself with a man who doesn't judge her.

Continue reading: The Notorious Bettie Page Review

Series 7 Review


Excellent
The title Series 7 stands for the seventh season of the highest-rated reality based show on television, The Contenders. Set a few years from now, the program rules are laid out with unsparing precision: Six average, everyday citizens are chosen via random lottery to mercilessly kill one another. This will continue until one survivor remains. Sound familiar? When historians chart the downfall of human empathy, they will see that we were only one step away from moral paralysis in our increasing apathy to Survivor, Temptation Island, and The Real World. Here we are, now entertain us.

This satire couldn't be more cutting edge. Former tabloid TV producer Daniel Minahan (and co-screenwriter of I Shot Andy Warhol) takes dead aim on glib, pre-packaged network formulas for success. A terse narrator (Will Arnett) offers mock-sympathetic encouragement for the contestants as well as in-depth play-by-play ring coverage. Opponents are given screen time for weepy confessions to their assigned guerrilla cameramen, dispassionately filming their fight or flight confrontations on hand-held digital video.

Continue reading: Series 7 Review

Camp Review


Grim
If movies were the only thing we had to go on, nobody in their right mind would go to a summer camp. You either wind up with an axe in your back or spend two weeks with dim-witted counselors wearing ill-fitting shorts who Just Don't Understand Kids. There's oppressive heat, poison ivy, and lots of god-awful dialogue. So it's to Todd Graff's credit that he tried to make a summer-camp movie that gleefully tries to tweak the genre's conventions. Camp refers to its subject - a summer camp for teenaged would-be Broadway stars - as well as to the inherent silliness (i.e. campiness) of the summer-camp genre. In Camp, characters pointedly don't do the things they usually do in movies. But it's so over-earnest in its approach that the results aren't much fun.

Camp's story centers on three young performers attending Camp Ovation: The sincere but unconfident Ellen (Joanna Chilcoat), the cross-dressing Michael (Robin De Jesus) whose homosexuality ires his parents, and the charming yet arrogant hunk Vlad (Daniel Letterle). Vlad has a winning smile and a straight-boy bravado that everybody else at Camp Ovation lacks, which makes him the subject of a half-dozen crushes. But there's work to be done: The assembled kids have to put on a new production every two weeks, managed by Bert (Don Dixon), a washed-out alcoholic whose stage successes are years behind him.

Continue reading: Camp Review

Katie Roumel

Katie Roumel Quick Links

Film RSS
Advertisement

Suggested

Youth - Trailer

Youth - Trailer

Set in the beautiful Swiss Alps, Youth sees Michael Caine & Harvey Keitel in a fine piece of work.

Straight Outta Compton - Movie Review

Straight Outta Compton - Movie Review

This biopic gallops through the career of groundbreaking gangsta rappers N.W.A, working its way through a checklist of the major events.

We Are Your Friends Resonated With Zac Efron

We Are Your Friends Resonated With Zac Efron

While talking about his new drama We Are Your Friends, Zac Efron has been unusually thoughtful.

Advertisement
New Adele And Coldplay Albums Due For Release In The Next Few Months?

New Adele And Coldplay Albums Due For Release In The Next Few Months?

New reports indicate that eagerly awaited albums by Adele and Coldplay are set...

45 Years - Movie Review

45 Years - Movie Review

Like an antidote to vacuous blockbusters, this intelligent, thoughtful drama packs more intensity into a quiet conversation than any number of...

Z For Zachariah Pushed Robbie, Ejiofor And Pine As Actors

Z For Zachariah Pushed Robbie, Ejiofor And Pine As Actors

Z for Zachariah was a welcome challenge for high-profile stars Margot Robbie, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Chris Pine.

Daniel Craig Talks About The Pressures Of Celebrity Superstardom

Daniel Craig Talks About The Pressures Of Celebrity Superstardom

Ahead of his fourth turn as James Bond in Spectre later this year, Daniel Craig has spoken...

Advertisement