Archive for the ‘Meg Ryan: SCREEN GODDESS’ Category

Public Enemies

14 Dec

Public Enemies – directed by Michael Mann – action adventure drama . Bank robber John Dillinger is hunted down by idealist G-man Melvin Purvis. 2 hours and 20 minutes color 2009.


Shot with an impenetrable suavity that dooms it, we are kept from this picture even as we try to penetrate its tricks, its angles, its lighting, its attitude of Aren’t We Making A Movie Though! For it is a movie, not about its characters or story, but about Movie Making. Yet, for all its technical virtuosity, it is badly recorded, so one cannot hear what people say. Christian Bale, he of the face of shattered glass, plays Melvin Purvis the man who tracks down John Dillinger in 1934 , but although false calling seems to be the key to his character, we have no sense that Purvis is in the wrong profession, beyond a certain natural distaste for the distasteful aspects of it. This is partly because Depp’s line to Bale about it is inaudible, and partly because Bale is an English actor playing a Southern aristocrat, and Southern aristocrats have hotter blood, hot blood being a gift beyond Bale’s capacity. Cold blood, yes, hot blood no. Johnny Depp is playing a part ideally suited to Brad Pitt, that is to say the part of a man whose sexual appeal seduces everyone in sight, male or female and who is a lot of fun. And Marion Cottillard is appealing but she too is not American. She brings a great deal to the part, and is probably the best actor up there, but she has everything but Van Camp’s Pork And Beans, which is the one thing you need in that role. The shame and the blame lies with the director, though. The nine-lives story of Dillinger’s elusive, cat-like, getaways and the drying up of his career are clear and interesting and cautionary for us all. On his deathbed, Dillinger, wearing a Clark Gable mustache, watched Gable in Manhattan Murder. Public Enemies needed to be shot with the simple plainness of the gangster movies of its era, the 30s, instead of as this affected and fancy farrago.



Hanging Up

05 Nov

Hanging Up –– directed by Diane Keaton –– light comedy in which three sisters swirl around the decline of their unpredictable father –– 95 minutes color 2000

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Diane Keaton is 54 when she acts in and directs this piece. By this time she is certainly the world’s greatest master of comic finesse. The peril for her is that this can decline into the candy of mere charm. For she has a smile the devil himself could not resist. Here, however she plays in support of Meg Ryan, whose movie this is, and which Ryan carries with a stride of certainty. A comic master herself, Ryan is 39 when she does this, and while she has mistakenly had something done to her lips that disconcerts somewhat, she still is an extraordinary artist: the most naturally appealing actress of her era. Lisa Kudrow rounds out the trio, and three more expert artists of light comedy can scarcely be imagined. The Ephron sisters wrote it, evidently on some autobiographical inspiration generated by their father, an Uproar Man, here played with daring and startling twists by Walter Matthau, probably at the very end of his career but not of his experience. Wow! The story wanders and wobbles indecisively at the end searching for a wrap-up, so don’t plan for it not to. The direction is sound, if the writing always isn’t. Asking Ryan to fall off the bed answering the phone is not what any human being would do, and therefore past the point of funny, and there are other excesses pressing for a laugh which fail, but never mind: be grateful for these three ladies, a quite interesting and eccentric comedy, and another useful challenge to our expectation of perfection.


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