Posts Tagged ‘Oliver Platt’

Please Give

Posted 06 Aug 2011 — by contributor
Category Film Reviews, Movies I Got

By Scott Martin

Please Give, USA, 2010

Written and Directed by Nicole Holofcener

Please Give is a darkly sweet comedy about the destructive and oddly uplifting power of guilt - and, subsequently, what it does to a person.When Melvin Udall (Jack Nicholson), the novelist main character in As Good as It Gets (1997) is asked “How do you write such great women?” he responds, “I think of a man, and I take away reason and accountability.” Nicole Holofcener didn’t take that advice, and she’s probably the best writer of women in Hollywood, behind the indelible Woody Allen, that is; I don’t think anyone can top him, but, as he’s in a class of his own (it can be said that Woody writes Woody’s women well, and that’s it), Holofcener might be the best in the game. For a further example, seek out Lovely & Amazing, her first feature from 2001, also starring Catherine Keener. Please Give and Lovely & Amazing aren’t too similar in content, but the aftertaste is the same; you’ve just witnessed something daring and tangible, something more exciting than most things studios push out these days. Please Give is a darkly sweet comedy about the destructive and oddly uplifting power of guilt and, subsequently, what it does to a person. Or, rather, a group of people.

Kate (Keener) and Alex (Oliver Platt) live an interesting life; they’re essentially ambulance chasers, but in the antique business. They run a local furniture shop and get their goods collecting from the children of the recently dead. Kate is a woman with a warped sense of guilt; she gives seemingly large amounts of money to the homeless and does her best to volunteer for charities. Nothing seems to help, especially because she’s married to the charmingly goofy Alex, who treats her like a partner in everything. Nothing seems to be enough for her. They live next door to a cantankerous old woman named Andra (Ann Guilbert) who is pushing 90 and who hates just about everything in everything she sees. She’s cared for by her two granddaughters, Rebecca (Rebecca Hall) and Mary (Amanda Peet), who have their own reservations, either because of prior plans or their own dispositions. Mary can’t stand the old woman, and Rebecca wouldn’t know who to care for without her. Sarah Steele plays Kate and Alex’s teenage witch, Abby. Read More

Frost/Nixon – The Reductive Power Of The Close-Up

Posted 16 Jul 2011 — by contributor
Category Film Reviews

By Scott Martin

Frost/Nixon, USA / UK / France, 2008

Directed by Ron Howard

Frost/Nixon is a 2008 historical drama film based on the 2006 play by Peter Morgan which dramatizes the Frost/Nixon interviews of 1977. By now, we’re all familiar with the story. Some of us have been fortunate enough to see the original interviews that inspired the Broadway play by Peter Morgan, which in turn served to inspire Ron Howard’s film, which plays itself out like a boxing match, so much so that Nixon is shown jogging in place in a track suit before the final interview. The underdog of the match is David Frost, a once famed but at that time practically defunct English talk show host, relegated to the kind of fare you might see on E! on a Saturday morning, in Australia. Richard Nixon, the man, was out of office and essentially hiding in his home in San Clemente at the time; Richard Nixon, the President, was no more – resigned, pardoned, and reviled by the majority of the American public.

I’ve always been a big fan of films that pit two intelligent men against one another. Roger Michell’s Changing Lanes (2002) is a personal favorite, as is Oliver Hirschbiegel’s Five Minutes of Heaven (2009), a terribly underseen film starring Liam Neeson. Christopher Nolan’s The Prestige (2006) is worth a mention as well. You can’t technically call this a cat-and-mouse film, as there’s no physical chase, but the mentality of the film might suggest otherwise. Nixon is set up as a heavyweight taking down a featherweight, David Frost, for a $600,000 prize bag. Read More

Love And Other Drugs

Posted 15 Jan 2011 — by contributor
Category Film Reviews, Movies I Didn't Get

By Scott Martin

Love and Other Drugs,USA, 2010

Directed by Edward Zwick

jake gyllenhaal anne hathaway in a new movie on movies i didnt getThe most comforting thing about director Edward Zwick’s new foray into the rom-com world is that we can be pretty sure he won’t be doing it again. Love and Other Drugs was far from a success, and it’s understandable why. Think back to Sweet November (2001), Autumn in New York (2000), Stepmom (1998), or even Love Story (1970). You remember how banal those films were? This really isn’t any better. That isn’t to say that the film is without merit, or not at all enjoyable. It has merit, and it’s a ridiculously easy watch. It’s medicine that goes down smooth, but never gets to the symptoms.

Of course, it’s based on a memoir, Jamie Reidy’s Hard Sell: The Evolution of a Viagra Salesman, so when I go back and think about the film, I have to constantly remind, or maybe convince, myself that these are real people. This happened, for what it’s worth, probably not in the way the film presents it, but so rarely is that ever the case. In any event, these things are true – there was a Viagra salesman who met a woman with Parkinson’s Disease and they fell in love. Also, and the film never lets us forget it, Jerry Maguire (1996) was released around this time; Jake Gyllenhaal’s constant costume of blazers, plain tee, and Raybans suggest that’s all Jamie had in his closet. Read More