Ruth Charny

Ruth Charny

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Rick Review


Good
An update of Rigoletto as seen through the pen of the author of the Lemony Snicket books, Rick is mean-spirited and cruel, and borderline delicious. Bill Pullman is on target as the title character, a widower who plays a fierce game in the business world but who is really just a lackey for his even-bigger prick of a boss, Buck. But the real revelation here is Agnes Bruckner, turning in a nuanced performance as Buck's undersexed yet amazingly hot daughter, worlds away from her dormouse role in Blue Car, seen just a year earlier.

Grief Review


Weak
Horrible production values and some of the most stilted acting I've ever seen pretty much sink Grief completely -- and that's in the first two minutes, before we even get to the opening credits. The next 79 minutes don't offer much else in the way of memorable filmmaking, plot, or performance, either.

Bonus points for putting a few capable actors like Illeana Douglas and Lucy Gutteridge (who hasn't made a film since) in the mix, but it would've been much brighter to craft a movie around someone like one of them instead of the talent-free drag queen Kent Fuher (channeling Divine). Oh, the story? It's all about the high drama on the set of The Love Judge, a tawdry court-based soap opera, complete with office romances, authority issues, and copier trouble. When boss Jo (Fuher) announces she's moving abroad, there's a power grab for her job. But the bulk of the story concerns gay writer Mark (Craig Chester), who's distraught over work and home life and threatening to jump off the building when he's not providing "witty" voice-over for the movie.

Continue reading: Grief Review

The Sleepy Time Gal Review


OK
Midlife-crisis-ing woman searches for self while visiting an old flame and conming to grips with her newly-discovered cancer. Meanwhile, adopted girl searches for natural mother while also searching for self. Guess who's the mom? Laconic and very stilted in its dialogue, this indie flick never found its audience, probably because it's extremely hard to relate to any of the characters. Unless, I guess, you're also looking for your natural mother, who happens to be dying.

Love Liza Review


Very Good
Philip Seymour Hoffman is a great actor. I have loved his work ever since his repressed, awkward nurse-man in Boogie Nights. However, this type of awkward and odd guy seems to the only role he plays. What would be a real stretch for Hoffman's magnificent acting abilities would be to play an average, everyday Joe. But somehow, I imagine, that too would come across as eccentric and idiosyncratic. In his latest role in Love Liza, Hoffman plays a troubled and tender widower, attempting to reorient his life in the face of his wife's suicide and the letter she left behind. This role, then, is a bit different, if only because Hoffman appeared at one point to have been an average, everyday man: successful web designer and loving husband. However, the movie doesn't begin until after his wife's death and thus follows his mental breakdown and journey to oddville, which really for Hoffman is just a return to normality.

Gordy Hoffman's script, awarded best screenplay at Sundance 2002, offers little more in terms of plot. Rather I would characterize the developments of the script as taking place in well-defined and highly differentiated moments. Of course, they all flow together into a linear and cohesive story, but everything about the film, from the writing and the direction down to the lighting and music (a nice score by Jim O'Rourke) maintains a kind of individualization of scenes. These key scenes build like motifs defined by their content.

Continue reading: Love Liza Review

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Love Liza Movie Review

Love Liza Movie Review

Philip Seymour Hoffman is a great actor. I have loved his work ever since...

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