Sunday, May 24, 2015

I'll See You in My Dreams - Movie Review

I'll See You In My Dreams (PG-13) 92 mins A-
Comfortably Numb

Starring: Blythe Danner, Martin Starr, Sam Elliott, Rhea Perlman, June Squibb, Mary Kay Place, Malin Akerman

I'll See You In My Dreams created a lot of buzz at this year's Sundance Film Festival and now I see why. Co-written by Marc Basch and director Brett Haley, this romantic dramady about a gracefully aging widow is quietly one of the best films of 2015 so far.

Carol (Blythe Danner) is a preppy, upper middle class, retired school teacher whose husband died 20 years ago. She has comfortably settled into a drama-free life with an unvaried routine. A routine that mostly consist of golf and hanging with her three besties played by Rhea Perlman, June Squibb, and Mark Kay Place. But, Carol's life is interrupted when her dog becomes ill and has to be euthanized. Consciously or unconsciously she realizes how lonely her life is and befriends her new pool boy, Lloyd (Martin Starr). This relationship is easily the most complex and intriguing to me. However, that friendship is slightly complicated when she is swept off her feet by the most eligible silver fox around, Bill (Sam Elliot).

I'll See You In My Dreams may appear to be tailor-made for the The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel set. However, anyone who can appreciate an honest, sensitive, and realistic film about the uncertainty of aging, loving and dying will love this film. Not to mention, this film might be the most memorable of Blythe Danner's career which spans 40+ years.

Lovely and amazing.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Everyman - Book Review

Published May 2006
Everyman - Philip Roth B+
The Life and Death of Everyman

Everyman is my favorite Philip Roth novel to date. It made me squirm in my seat, it entertained me, and it made me reflect on my own mortality. Dark but effective.

The link below is a 2006 NPR interview with Philip Roth. Enjoy!

Sunday, May 10, 2015

5 Flights Up - Movie Review

5 Flights Up (PG-13) 91 minutes C+
Love and Real Estate
Starring: Morgan Freeman, Diane Keaton, Cynthia Nixon

Alex (Freeman) and Ruth (Keaton) Carver are an aging couple who have survived racism, 40 years of marriage, and the mean streets of New York. But, can they survive the New York real estate market? What was once their run-down apartment in a crime ridden Brooklyn neighborhood, is now a highly sought after gem in a trendy gentrified neighborhood. Adapted from Jill Ciment's 2009 novel, Heroic Measures. I found 5 Flights Up interesting and timely considering today's real estate frenzy. However, for general audiences this film is nothing more than mild entertainment and gentle fun.

Recommended for Diane Keaton and Morgan Freeman fans.

The New York Times
book review of Heroic Measures


Saturday, May 9, 2015

Welcome to Me - Movie Review

Welcome to Me (R) 105 mins B-
Breakdown, go ahead and give it to me

Starring Kristen Wiig, Wes Bentley, Linda Cardellini, Joan Cusack, Loretta Devine, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Thomas Mann, James Marsden, Tim Robbins and Alan Tudyk

Alice Klieg (Wiig) has borderline personality disorder.  She hasn't turned off her television in 11 years. Welcome to Me is an awkward dark comedy about the power of mental illness and millions of dollars. Alice, an infomercial and Oprah addict, wins the lottery and goes off her meds. What follows is a funny, but sad train wreck that you can't stop watching.

Directed by Shira Piven (Jeremy Piven's older sister), Welcome to Me is not as dark as last year's Skelton Twins which starred Wiig in a dramatic role. But, it is a little unsettling because I felt like I was laughing at a mentally ill person. That's not to say the film is isn't. But, there are moments when sh*t gets real and you realize that you're laughing at someone's pain and tragedy. I liked this film despite it feeling thin and hollow at times. Wiig fans probably won't be disappointed. Everyone else should proceed with caution.