Cindy and Jim Green is a young, married couple who are looking forward to starting a family. They try everything they can but it doesn't work. After the couple find out they can never conceive, it leaves them devastated.
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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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Chris Eigeman makes an impressive debut as writer/director of Turn the River, ably abetted by an intense, edgy star turn from Famke Janssen as a pool hustler who wants to grab her abused son away from his weak, alcoholic father and get the hell out of town fast.
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In a vaguely present time, we meet old Inge (Lois Smith), mourning the dealth of husband Olaf. After much wringing of hands, she remembers back to the time of their meeting in 1920. Fresh of the boat from Deutschland, young Inge (Elizabeth Reaser) is picked up as a mail-order bride by young Olaf (Tim Guinee) and best pal Frandsen (Alan Cumming), and they head straight to the church to get married. When the preacher (John Heard) finds out she's German, he refuses to marry them. This becomes the central conflict of the film: Inge is shunned in town, can't return home, and can't live with Olaf out of wedlock (darn society!!!). They're soon both outcasts, and harvest time approaches...
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Ryder plays the cheeky Finn, a precocious grad student pondering a marriage proposal. Having second thoughts, she decides to spend the summer with a gaggle of quilting relatives and their friends, just to sort things out. Well, we see right off the bat that this probably wasn't such a great idea, because each and every one of these people is completely insane.
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The similarities between Tumbleweeds and Anywhere But Here (the corpse of which is not even cold) are astonishing. In Tumbleweeds, Mom Mary Jo (McTeer) is a put-upon single mother; daughter Ava (Brown) is brash and headstrong. The two drive to California, intent on "starting over," -- in the case of Tumbleweeds, an escape from physical abuse, or at least the threat of it. Anywhere But Here: same story, sans the abuse.
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Oh: But watch for Jared Harris's Walken impersonation at the 42 minute mark.
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From the opening shot, where we see the top of Nicholson's half-bald, hair-transplanted head, The Pledge is an exercise in stomaching an ugly truth. Body parts, pony-tailed girls splotched with blood and bruises -- this isn't a film about happy endings and human triumph. Suspected sex perverts lurk down every road in The Pledge, causing Nicholson's character, a retired homicide detective, so much angst that he becomes his own worst enemy.
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The premise is a mind-bending puzzle on the scale of Memento, courtesy of sci-fi legend Steven Spielberg and his first collaboration with a stellar Tom Cruise. It's also Spielberg's best work since 1993's Schindler's List and flirts with threatening Blade Runner and A Clockwork Orange as the best paradoxical utopic/dystopic view of the future.
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Hey, look at me! A gay kid got beaten to death in Laramie, Wyoming, so let's go there and interview people... and write a play using their words.
Continue reading: The Laramie Project Review