Reviews written by registered user
|251 reviews in total|
In the early 80's, the Reaganites were making much of the decay of family values and problems caused by the women's movement and affirmative action. Hollywood's play on these angles was one of muted amusement. Of the bland comedies made on the subject matter during this period, "He's Fired, She's Hired" is probably blander than most and rather typical of the genre. The chemistry between old TV-vets Valentine and Rogers is funny and, at times, surprisingly hot. Howard E. Rollins as a good supporting turn as an executive. Painless, unchallenging, and thoroughly unoriginal fare, and certainly more fun as a time capsule than "That '80's Show."
The premise is intriguing. The parallel structures work for two-thirds of
the film. So much effort was put in by Cage in distinguishing the physical
expressions and deportments of Charlie and Donald that he neglected to
create a true working intimacy with Donald's soul. Hence, Donald's soul does
not exist for the viewer, and he seems more like a gimmicky parlor trick
than Charlie's actual brother. This, in turn, makes it difficult to care
about Donald. But, Charlie is such a whiny one-note ball of angst that he
doesn't come close to engaging our real interest for an entire movie. Where
director Spike Jonze still has captured our imagination with his mastery of
duality is with the Chris Cooper character. Cooper's performance was indeed
worthy of the Oscar he won. Meryl Streep seems at times to be reprising her
portrayal of author Mary Fisher from She-Devil. At times, this is engaging
and amusing, but given the gravity the situation soon assumes, it proves to
be too shallow a guise to sustain her character's dark side. The cameos
featuring Malkovich, Keener, and Cusack are brilliant.
But, the last half hour falls apart so completely that anything positive that preceded it is deluged by its excesses.
Jeffrey Tambor plays a middle-aged man who plays jazz in the evenings. His
relationships (so typical of guys like this!) are sex-only with 25-year-old
bimbos and jazz groupies. Then, when he loses interest (Hello, you have
nothing to talk to them about) and has a disturbing dream, he decides he
might be gay, and goes to a gay bar by accident. I'd dismiss this as
slapstick absurdity, but the truth is that I've met too many guys like this,
and Tambor is 100% right on the mark. Bill Duke is excellent as his
jazz-playing buddy. He also has a poignant scene with Michael McKean as a
lonely transsexual. When he meets Jill Clayburgh (in the gay bar by
mistake with girlfriends Sandy Duncan and Caroline Aaron), he thinks she is
a transvestite or transsexual. She is so amazed at what an ass this guy is,
she decides to give him enough rope to hang himself, and winds up, much to
her surprise, enjoying his company, and thus, the romance
To say much mire would spoil it, but their chemistry is magnificent, and despite a few unnecessary slapsticky moments with Tambor's mother in the film, most of it is refreshing and enchanting. If you're over 40, and especially if you've ever been a single woman dating in a big city, watch and enjoy!
The performances by the male leads make this long-hard-journey west interesting throughout. The soundtrack by the Sons of The Pioneers is one of the most beautiful I have every heard. The journey itself is somewhat episodic, and Joanne Dru is badly miscast. Overall, this is a very heartwarming and heartfelt western.
This is a winning and whimsical tale of a girl coming-of-age in rural Louisiana in the 1950's. Kelsey Keel has a winning debut as Tiger Ann, the central character. And her chemistries in the three main relationships with her grandmother (Shirley Knight), retarded mother (Amelia Campbell), and sophisticated aunt (Juliette Lewis) are superb. The costumes are delicious. And the emotions are genuine. Adam Arkin does a great job getting an honest salt-of-the-Earth feel from building a brilliantly realized Canadian abstraction of the time and place. This is one movie worth watching even if you already read the book.
Ginger Rogers holds court as Mafia bigwig Lorne Greene's brassy ex-moll. Edward G. Robinson is ideal as her police protector. But, a young and ruggedly handsome Brian Keith steals the movie as a cynical police officer. The tension is very real in the stuffy hotel room. All the while, an absurd country-western singer croons the same song on a telethon over-and-over again. This is a classic.
Tom Wilkinson and Jessica Lange give very memorable performances. But, the episodic nature in which the small-town intolerance unfolds, and the sacrosanct way the director shields the principals, together make this seem like a clinical documentary warning the transsexual what she will encounter. In many ways, it tried so hard not to be exploitative, it was too sanitized. Clancy Brown's character was internally inconsistent and too charicatured. I was engrossed enough to watch, but found too many scenes too tough to swallow. This is as well-meaning a slice-of-life film as you'd ever want to see, but it's simply too distant to engage.
Before he became defined as Nick Charles in the Thin Man Series, William Powell played another urbane detective named Philo Vance. The supporting cast is strong in this early talkie, and Powell's star quality is evident. Mary Astor, who eight years later would be defined by her portrayal of Brigid O'Shaughnessy, does a good job here as the featured woman who finds herself in the middle of it all.
Barbara Harris is terrific as Dinette Dusty, and supporting vets Shirley Stoler and Bert Remsen give her plenty of help setting the atmosphere in her hash-house for losers. The score also does a good job in helping set the mood. Once Robert Blake's character comes on the scene, the chemistry between the two stars takes center stage. Some of the writing makes little sense, and the direction seems unfocused in the first half of the film. But, overall, worth watching once.
Yes, this is directly derivative of Soul Food, What's Cooking, My Family, and many others. Who cares? It's a lot of fun on its own terms. Elizabeth Pena is marvelous as the repressed older sister, and the other two actresses more than hold up their roles. Hector Elizondro (Pretty Woman, American Gigolo, etc.) is one of my all-time favorite character actors, and seeing him in a co-starring role is a real treat. And, Raquel Welch's send-up of the predatory Hortensita nearly steals the film. I enjoyed this trifle immensely.
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