Mary Agnes Donoghue

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Premiere Of IFC Film's "Jenny's Wedding" At 2015 Outfest Los Angeles LGBT Film Festival

Mary Agnes Donoghue - Premiere Of IFC Film's "Jenny's Wedding" At 2015 Outfest Los Angeles LGBT Film Festival at Director's Guild Of America - West Hollywood, California, United States - Saturday 11th July 2015

Mary Agnes Donoghue
Mary Agnes Donoghue
Mary Agnes Donoghue
Sam McMurray, Katherine Heigl, Linda Emond, Houston Rhines and Mary Agnes Donoghue
Sam McMurray, Katherine Heigl, Linda Emond, Houston Rhines and Mary Agnes Donoghue

White Oleander Review


Good
White Oleander is one girl's dramatic coming-of-age story -- emphasis on the word "dramatic." A bright teen bounces around some dreadful foster homes, gets street-tough while in a facility for abandoned kids, and witnesses more tragedy in three years than any person should see in a lifetime. With such relentlessly morose subject matter, you'd think director Peter Kosminsky's adaptation of Janet Fitch's bestseller would lean toward TV melodrama -- and while the script may do so, Kosminsky's deft direction and fine editorial choices make White Oleander an effective and well-paced story of self-realization and determination.

The novel White Oleander was a 1999 selection of the ubiquitous Oprah Winfrey Book Club and you can tell why: There are so many brutally dysfunctional people in the story that Dr. Phil could produce months of television delving into their sorry lives. Astrid (Alison Lohman) is an only child, growing up in the Hollywood Hills with Ingrid (Michelle Pfeiffer), her eccentric, urban-arty mother. After a series of events that Kosminsky smartly keeps off-camera, Ingrid kills her boyfriend. Or does she? And how? Regardless, the beautiful, hopeful, young Astrid is picked up by state services and sent to live in a double-wide with a foster family.

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Beaches Review


Unbearable
In the history of men going to the movies, there are few horrors as singularly terrifying as the movie Beaches. With its combination of precious tragicomedy plot, copious singing, and Bette Midler, the horror trifecta is already complete. But there's plenty more: Not only is Midler heard here singing about her tits (her words), Mayim "Blossom" Bialik plays the 11-year-old version of brazen Bette. Chills don't get much colder than this.

Watching the 1989 movie today, it's not just an unabashed chick flick, it's also revealed as a plain-old Bad Movie. For starters, it's not really about anything, instead preferring to work (or not) as a collection of loose scenes that illustrate the ups and downs of two friends (Midler and Barbara Hershey) from their pre-teens to the grave. Things happen, but not much. The film's only real plot point comes in the last act (spoilers ahead if you care), when Hershey's character croaks on us, sticking Midler with her daughter.

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Veronica Guerin Review


Good
Before we even get into talking about Veronica Guerin, one thing needs to be made abundantly clear: Cate Blanchett is most likely the greatest actress working in film today. Like pretty much every other performance she has given, Ms. Blanchett (how long it will be before she becomes Dame Blanchett?) buries herself so thoroughly in her role here as a real-life crusading Irish journalist that one wonders how she could ever dig herself out again. As for the movie, it's essentially a vehicle for Blanchett's tour de force performance, and while that's not always a great thing (there are several wasted opportunities in the film) it's not necessarily a bad thing (it stays the hell out of her way).

And from the looks of it, everyone stayed out of Veronica Guerin's way. The real Guerin (her story was previously made as the morose When the Sky Falls, starring Joan Allen) was a star columnist for Dublin's Sunday Independent in the 1990s who decided to start writing about the gangsters behind the explosion of drug trade sweeping across the city. As presented by Blanchett, Guerin was a pretty fearsome, fearless creature, not afraid to simply walk into Dublin's worst slums, stepping over the syringes carpeting the ground, and start asking questions of the junkies and even the dealers. She has a convenient stool pigeon in arch-criminal John "The Coach" Traynor (the marvelous CiarĂ¡n Hinds), whom she treats as an underworld rock star of sorts in her column, in exchange for information. It's an education in charm just watching Blanchett stalk into a room, fix on the person she needs to get something out of, be it The Coach, a friendly police detective, or even a member of Parliament, and just about always get what she wants. She's like a bulldozer in a sharp suit. And when Dublin's worst start pressuring her to back off the story - a fist to the face, a bullet through the window of her study - it just adds fuel to the fire.

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Paradise Review


Good
Paradise was supposed to be a star vehicle for Melanie Griffith and Don Johnson -- who were then on something like their eighth marriage and running on star power fumes. This was not exactly Burton and Taylor in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

The couple is not the reason to watch this down home drama; it's the secondary plot that resonates. When you're a kid, there are moments when the curtain gets pulled away from the world you know and reality starts making some unpleasant appearances. That realization is tenderly presented in the performances from a prepubescent Elijah Wood and Thora Birch (Ghost World).

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Mary Agnes Donoghue

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