Archive for the ‘Camryn Manheim: ACTING GODDESS’ Category

What Planet Are You From?

25 Sep

What Planet Are You From – Directed by Mike Nichols. Penis Comedy. An Alien is sent down to take over Earth by impregnating a woman. 105 minutes Color  2000.

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All the women in this picture are dressed badly, all the men are dressed so beautifully it is as though Fred Astaire had haberdashed them. Why is that? I can understand frump in Annette Bening’s case because her character’s a dither-head. But why would the sensationally sexy Linda Fiorentino stalk into her husband’s bank office in a see-thru skirt is baffling.

Anyhow, it probably fits with the monstrously minute mental elegance of Garry Shandling who wrote this one low joke comedy. Strange that no mature comedy is available for grown-ups, when Irene Dunne and Cary Grant were middle aged when they made their great ones.

Sir Ben Kingsley is present intoning orders from on high, meaning A Star Up There. While it is true that those gifts from the Gods, Camryn Manheim and Richard Jenkins, momentarily beguile us, this does not compensate for the presence before us of Shandling himself looking like a doomed sheep. What are his eyes always appealing for? What is that? Why does anyone find him funny? I mean funny in the sense of amusing, not in the sense of peculiar, which he certainly is.

This leaves us with the sleazy charms of Greg Kinnear, who is a master of them, and wins one’s heart with his vileness and his beautiful suits.

And with the great, the indissoluble, the loveable, the gifted, the sweet, the sexy, the imaginative, the tribute to American womanhood, and marvelous character leading actress, Dame Annette Bening, she who holds the Columbia torch!

One star for Annette Bening, one for Greg Kinnear, and one for John Goodman, who races around magnificently in chase of the answer to it all.





Dark Water

31 Mar

Dark Water — Directed by Walter Salles — Psychological Horror. A young mother moves into a new apartment whose ceiling has a sinister leak. 105 minutes Color 2005

* * * *

After the revelation and reconciliation scene, the film falls apart. This is because of a failure in the main actor and a failure in the script. The failure in the script derives from the fact that dirty water cascading from above is not an apt metaphor for a woman going insane. Nor is insanity something you die of. The script suffers from multiple personality disorder, so we have Childhood Abandonment, Ghosts, Filthy Water Cascading Down Walls, A Mean To-Be-Ex Husband Trying To Gain Control Of A Child, and Is This Woman Going Under, and our loyalties and attention are betrayed and disappointed by the failure of these to align at the end or all along. Also Jennifer Connolly is miscast. She is miscast because she is so ordinary and not strong in it. You need an actress who is both strong in her nature and unusual in her affect, vocally and physically, to play a woman who is going to become vulnerable before our eyes, a young Bette Davis. Connolly is a good workman-like actor, but nothing more. She does not have in her nature or her technical capacity the talent and the range to play a woman going insane. Being able to play migraine-headache doesn’t make it. Her big scenes with the water are simply an ordinary woman’s response to a pipe that won’t stop leaking, and the actress falls into the habit of having the character feel sorry for herself. Granted the script fails to supply her with anything but a mere external, kinematical spectacle: a flood. There is no drama in a flood. There is excitement, but there is no drama. The flood does not bring us inside the character at all, even were the actress capable of realizing the transformation and the salvation of insanity. The rest of the film is superb. The brown non-special effects drowning of the walls, the apartment house set, and all the set decoration, are superb. The music and sound are superb. The direction is excellent. The editing is particularly fine. And the acting of the supporting players could not be bettered. John C. Reilly is brilliantly detailed and funny as the rental agent. Pete Postlethwaite is brilliant in ambiguity as the concierge. Ariel Gade could not be bettered as the young daughter. Tim Roth is tops as the busy lonely attorney. And the great Camryn Manheim steals every scene she is in. It’s worth seeing for all of this and not worth for all the rest of this.


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