Double crosses, adultery, murder, mistaken identity, and revenge ensue when a mysterious power player and his sultry wife hire a disgraced Los Angeles property broker to discreetly market and sell their Malibu villa.
Thirty years after they served together in Vietnam, a former Navy Corpsman Larry "Doc" Shepherd re-unites with his old buddies, former Marines Sal Nealon and Reverend Richard Mueller, to bury his son, a young Marine killed in the Iraq War.
Bobby Platt (Christian Bale) is a mentally slow young man who escapes an abusive, hateful stepfather who has killed his pets one by one. To save himself, Bobby runs away and meets a strange... See full summary »
While transporting a dying man to the hospital, two paramedics find a million dollars in cash sewn into his clothing. When the man dies, they decide to keep it, setting them on a path for a hellish night of violence and mayhem.
Tom Everett Scott,
The sudden reappearance of his best friend Toni, after a ten year absence, causes Chris to remember his past, to question some of his lifestyle decisions and to re-evaluate his life and marriage to Marion.
Newly graduated psychiatrist Sam and his fiancee Alex move to Los Angeles for Sam's residency and into Sam's mother's house in upscale Laurel Canyon. Only problem is, Sam's mother is still there, supposedly finishing up a record that she's producing for the band of her new boy toy, Ian. She seems more interested in smoking pot and drinking than actually working though. Alex doesn't mind but Sam is quite upset. Alex starts off focused on her work (finishing a dissertation on genomics), but is soon distracted by the rock-'n-roll lifestyle going on around her. Meanwhile, Sam is equally distracted by beautiful Israeli intern Sara.Written by
Jon Reeves <firstname.lastname@example.org>
On the plane, Sam and Alex ask for scotch and juice, respectively. The stewardess hands them a bottle (presumably of scotch), a glass of ice, and an empty glass. See more »
I just... I don't really know you, I... I just feel connected to you, I feel... I feel safe with you. Like it's okay to be honest. It's just one of those things. I'm just attracted to you. And it's not just because I think you're incredibly sexy.
[laughs, exhales, scratches his head]
I think that you're incredibly attractive too, Sara, I do.
Yeah, I think about you. Trust me. A lot.
How do you think about me?
Yeah. Do you think about me having sex with you?
How do I think...
[...] See more »
Special thanks to Christie Gaumer & Shakespeare and to Red Hot Chili Peppers. See more »
Lisa Cholodenko's first film, 1998's "High Art," was a fascinating look at ambition and what some people will do to satisfy their need to get to the top. That made it a highly relevant film, especially for Americans.
This second feature is no where as powerful as her debut film and doesn't seem to say nearly as much, except maybe that even orderly lifes can encounter bumps along the way, and that the disorderly, the irresponsible and the drug addicted have morals, too, or at least, there are lines even they won't cross.
The film tells the tale of a young doctor who flies to LA with his fiancee to begin a residency in a hospital there. They intend to stay at his mother's Laurel Canyon home, only to discover that Mom, who is supposed to be in Malibu, is using the house and its home recording studio to produce a record for a rock band. Mom, it seems, is a highly successful record producer with a string of lovers both male and female that would apparently put Mick Jagger to shame. And like the Mick, she's also rarely without some controlled substance in hand.
Mom and her-son-the-doctor only tolerate each other and from the moment he and his girlfriend move in, doc is on the lookout for other digs. The girlfriend, a slightly up tight Ph.d. candidate working on her thesis, surprisingly enough immediately fits in with Mom and her rock band friends. She finds herself lured to the recording studio a lot more often than she is lured to her laptop to write about the mating habits of the fruit fly. Meanwhile, her boy friend finds himself attracted to a sexy second year intern who virtually throws herself at him.
That's essentially the story, and it is a very well acted and well directed one. Frances McDormand is very good as the mom. Christian Bale is Ok, although nothing special, as her son. Kate Beckinsale is excellent(and marvelous to look at) as the girlfriend and Allesandro Nivola is very good as the leader of the band.
So what are my gripes about this film? The big one is that it is a character study and nothing more, but unfortunately, its thin in the character building department. This film runs just 101 minutes and when it ended, I was quite surprised that it was over. That gave me the feeling that it suffered from a thin budget and that the director may have rung everything she could out of the bucks she had to work with. That's too bad, because another 10 to 15 minutes could have made all the difference in the world with this movie, lifting it from a good film to a very good film.
I just never quite got what the doc's gripe was with his mom, since she'd apparently nurtured him enough to get him through Harvard medical school, something most "abandoned kids" don't really accomplish. I also never got a clear picture of what Mom was after in life, save another hit record and a few more years of good sex with her current squeeze. Actually, maybe that was all that was on her mind, but she should have had some bigger goals to up the stakes a little.
The film's strength was that it was populated by people we don't meet everyday, from McDormand's quiet lioness of a mom, to Nivola's hedonistic, yet highly intelligent young rock singer. Even Beckinsale's character, a somewhat repressed intellectual who finds herself tempted to try a little hedonism herself, seemed different and intriguing.
But I needed a lot more back story or front story or something, because in the end, the infidelity that was supposed to be the big risk in this picture, really came off as a chance for nothing more than a little voyerism on the audience's part. I never really knew if Bale and Beckinsale were right for each other in the first place, so it never really mattered to me if one or the other of them strayed, or even moved on to other partners.
In the end, the story sort of sinks because of that, but survives anyway on the strength of the acting of McDormand, Beckinsale and Nivola, with Bale coming in a distant fourth in my view. Anyway, I give it a qualified thumbs up and hope Lisa Cholodenko can find a bigger budget to work with next time around.
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