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Flash Movie Review: Can You Ever Forgive Me?

WE WERE SITTING IN A CIRCLE with each of us prepared to read what we had wrote the past week. There was one student in the writing group who consistently wrote violent action into his stories. If he mentioned a car crash he could not just leave it at that, letting the listener use their imagination. He had to describe in detail every broken bone, laceration or bloody death associated with the crash, fight, murder or accident. The rest of us in class had a difficult time paying attention to his stories because the scenes he created were uncomfortable to hear spoken. There was another student who already had a book published about his time in the military during a major conflict. His stories continued the same theme; there was always a military presence in his stories. When it was my turn to read, I had my typed pages neatly stacked on my lap; so, it was easy for me to handle the length of time we were allowed to talk. After reading my story out loud a fellow student said my writing style was similar to Vladimir Nabokov. I was stunned; mainly because he was one of my top favorite writers, along with Charles Dickens, Yukio Mishima and Herman Melville.      WHAT AN HONOR FOR A PEER to say such a thing to me. I would never compare myself to Nabokov, but I must tell you I was flying high the rest of the day. It started me thinking about the times I compared someone I knew to a famous or well-known celebrity. To the best of my recollection I only did it when it would be compliment. I mean really, how rude would it be to tell a friend they are acting just like so and so, who did a similar thing that got them arrested. Think about all the times sportscasters compare an athlete to a former one; it really must be an honor for an athlete to hear such a thing I would imagine. There is that proverb that states: “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.” For the most part I would agree with this, but I do have an issue with it when someone is doing it without putting in any effort or thought. There was an employee I taught with who never took the time to learn the reasons and mechanics behind weight training. All they wanted to do was go to other instructors’ classes and see what exercises they were doing. Once memorized this person would do the same ones in their classes. I did not think that was right, just as I thought the author in this film festival nominated biography was not right for what she did.      WHEN HER CELEBRITY BIOGRAPHIES FELL OUT of favor the only way author Lee Israel, played by Melissa McCarty (Life of the Party, The Boss) thought she could earn money was to add her words to the letters of famous deceased celebrities. It turned into a lucrative business. With Richard E. Grant (Penelope, Gosford Park) as Jack Hock, Dolly Wells (45 Years, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies) as Anna and Jane Curtin (I Love You, Man; Third Rock from the Sun-TV) as Marjorie; this comedic crime film was based on Lee Israel’s memoir. The story came alive due to Melissa and Richard; they were so good together and I must say this was a smart move for Melissa after her recent dreadful movie, The Happytime Murders. She was wonderful in this role, assisted by the beautiful direction and script. The story slowly unfolded as Lee sinks to a desperate state and yet, she remains a somewhat sympathetic character. I really enjoyed watching this unbelievable story and might not be far out on a limb to say Melissa may earn a nomination this award season.

 

3 ½ stars

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Flash Movie Review: Enough Said

Meeting friends is an important component of the dating process, but it is something I prefer holding off from until I see we are getting comfortable with each other. You can say what you want but that first initial meeting with your or their friends will partially be an interview procedure for a 2nd opinion. Do not get me wrong, I do not have a problem with that; however, I prefer having some quality time for the two of us to get some solid footing underneath before bringing in other personalities. I have been in situations where friends were involved too early at the beginning of the dating phase and personalities clashed immediately; it was truly an uncomfortable situation. As one gets older I do not know if it gets easier. If you do not believe me just see what happens in this touching comedy. Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Deconstructing Harry, Veep-TV) played Eva, a middle-aged divorcee with a daughter. When one of her clients Marianne, played by Catherine Keener (Into the Wild, A Late Quartet), began complaining about all the things her former spouse used to do; it started to have a negative affect on Eva’s budding relationship with Albert, played by James Gandolfini (Killing Them Softly, Welcome to the Rileys). There were several reasons why this movie was enjoyable to watch. The acting was wonderful; Julia and James made a real connection with their characters. Also, I had a twinge of sadness while watching James since this was his last movie before he died. The dialog never went over the top; keeping things at an emotive, sweet level. Even when scenes were dramatic the director let the actors use physical communication to convey their feelings. It really worked well in my opinion. Toni Collette (The Way Way Back, Little Miss Sunshine) as Eva’s best friend Sarah was a solid addition to the cast and story. Known more for her comedic skills, I thought Julia did a beautiful job with her character’s full range of emotions. Is the story believable? I believe so, I just hope I will never have to experience something similar. This was a well done film that was a fitting tribute to the illustrious career of James Gandolfini.

 

3 1/4 stars

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