Tag Archives: Mary Steenburgen

Book Club

THE NEXT CHAPTER IS ALWAYS THE BEST. Four friends (Diane Keaton, Jane Fonda, Candice Bergen, Mary Steenburgen) have had a book club for the past 30 years, but the latest literary choice, ”Fifty Shades of Grey”, turns their lives upside down. A romantic comedy for mature audiences in the vein of Nancy Meyers, complete with … Continue reading Book Club

Parenthood

IT COULD HAPPEN TO YOU.  One of the director’s most beloved films is a drama-comedy that feels genuine and relevant precisely because it was conceived by him and the writing duo who all poured their combined rich experiences of being parents into the script. The conflicts that the Buckman family are going through feel believable … Continue reading Parenthood

A Midsummer Night’s Sex Comedy

SIX CHARACTERS IN SEARCH OF LOVE. In the early 1900s, an inventor (Woody Allen) and his wife (Mary Steenburgen) invite two other couples for a weekend in the country. The director’s admiration for Ingmar Bergman wasn’t limited to earnest dramas, but showed in comedies as well. This enjoyable but slight exercise was inspired by Smiles … Continue reading A Midsummer Night’s Sex Comedy

Philadelphia

NO ONE WOULD TAKE HIS CASE… UNTIL ONE MAN WAS WILLING TO TAKE ON THE SYSTEM. When Philadelphia attorney Andrew Beckett (Tom Hanks) is suddenly fired from his law firm after the senior partners realize that he has AIDS, he enlists the support of a homophobic colleague (Denzel Washington). After the success of The Silence … Continue reading Philadelphia

Last Vegas

IT’S GOING TO BE LEGENDARY. When Billy (Michael Douglas) is about to marry his 40 years younger girlfriend in Las Vegas, his childhood buddies (Robert De Niro, Morgan Freeman, Kevin Kline) gather to throw him a bachelor party… but there are unresolved issues between them. It may be easy to label this a Hangover for … Continue reading Last Vegas

The Help

CHANGE BEGINS WITH A WHISPER.  In early 1960s Mississippi, young “Skeeter” Phelan (Emma Stone) wants to be a writer and secretly starts interviewing black maids to find out what their lives are like in the segregated South. Tate Taylor was friends with author Kathryn Stockett, secured the rights to her novel and had a massive … Continue reading The Help

Sunshine State

GREETINGS FROM SUNSHINE STATE. John Sayles has always been a socially conscious filmmaker, which is obvious also in this amusing and engaging movie about a small town in northern Florida where race relations and environmental issues surface. There’s no lead character, but an ensemble of people who are all equally interesting to follow. Sayles’s message … Continue reading Sunshine State

Four Christmases

HIS FATHER, HER MOTHER, HIS MOTHER AND HER FATHER ALL IN ONE DAY. Brad and Kate (Vince Vaughn, Reese Witherspoon) have no intention of spending Christmas with their families, but a getaway attempt fails and they’re forced to face the music. The King of Kong (2005) director was hired for his first fiction feature, a Yuletide comedy that … Continue reading Four Christmases

The Proposal

HERE COMES THE BRIBE… When publishing exec Margaret Tate (Sandra Bullock) is about to be deported to Canada, she talks her assistant (Ryan Reynolds) into agreeing to marry her… but meeting his family in Alaska complicates everything. Anne Fletcher follows up on her 27 Dresses (2008) with another romantic comedy that adheres strictly to a … Continue reading The Proposal

In the Electric Mist

Louisiana detective Dave Robicheaux (Tommy Lee Jones) is juggling two murder cases, one involving a young girl and the other a chained black man who was shot in a swamp 40 years ago. We’ve met Robicheaux on screen before in Heaven’s Prisoners (1996), but in Jones’s guise he becomes a more compelling figure. Director Bertrand … Continue reading In the Electric Mist

Did You Hear About the Morgans?

WE’RE NOT IN MANHATTAN ANYMORE. Affluent New Yorkers Paul and Meryl Morgan (Hugh Grant, Sarah Jessica Parker) are considering divorce, but after witnessing a murder they have to hide together in rural Wyoming as part of a witness relocation program. The third movie Marc Lawrence made with Grant has a lazy fish-out-of-water story that no … Continue reading Did You Hear About the Morgans?

Ragtime

THE PASSION, THE VIOLENCE, THE BIRTH OF AMERICA’S GILDED AGE.  In the early 1900s, a well-to-do family in New Rochelle, New York agrees to care for an abandoned black baby that, it turns out, belongs to a washwoman; later, the stubbornly proud father (Howard E. Rollins, Jr.) makes himself known. Adapting E.L. Doctorow’s sprawling novel … Continue reading Ragtime