By Jennifer Merin
WeNews Film Critic
Friday, September 20, 2013
This plot-twister starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus and the late James Gandolfini is not to be missed; ditto the very important documentary about abortion providers "After Tiller." But take a pass on the tiresome romcom "Baggage Claim."
Credit: Fox Searchlight.
(WOMENSENEWS)-- The second half of September starts off with writer-director Nicole Holofcener's "Enough Said," an utterly charming and delightfully quirky romcom.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus stars as Eva, a successful massage therapist. She's a divorcee who's not looking for a man – although her daughter is soon going off to college and she anticipates being dreadfully lonely. She meets Albert (James Gandolfini, whose performance in his last film is superb and makes us all miss him even more), a divorced man with a daughter who's going off to college. He's not interested in getting together with a woman. When they meet, something clicks. Mostly, it's that their senses of humor are so compatible; as expressed through Holofcener's wonderfully funny dialogue. Of course, there are complications, the biggest of which is that Eva's new best friend and massage client turns out to be Albert's former wife (Catherine Keener). By the time Eva figures that out, she's got herself all wrapped up in a quandary and a crisis of conscience that no woman would welcome. But enough said about the set up and no spoilers about the denouement. Suffice it to say that "Enough Said" should be high priority on your list of films to see when it opens on Sept. 20
"After Tiller," directed by Martha Shane and Lana Wilson, is a powerful documentary about the status of women's right to choose after the assassination of Dr. George Tiller in 2009. It includes insights on the difficulties of the four doctors who perform the late-term procedures openly, without hiding their practice. They are heirs to the work of Dr. Tiller, their friend and mentor. The filmmakers follow the physicians into their clinics, and interview them extensively, showing them to be exceptionally caring and dedicated people who live under constant threat of violence from anti-abortionists. The issue of abortion is still very much alive in the United States, and this important film gives us a poignant status update.
"Jerusalem," co-written by Sheila Curran Bernard, is an IMAX 3D documentary and travelogue that covers the history of the world's most fought-over city and provides rare access to many of its sacred sites. Benedict Cumberbatch narrates the spectacular National Geographic-distributed film that visits the Western Wall, the Dome of the Rock, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the Jordan River, the Sea of Galilee and the mountain fortress of Masada and offers exquisite bird's-eye overviews. After seeing the film, you really feel like you've been there.
Also at IMAX theaters, "The Wizard of Oz," the 1939 Judy Garland classic, is being re-released for a one-week-only run in IMAX 3D. These days, Dorothy's trip to somewhere over the rainbow is rarely shown on big screens, let alone super big IMAX screens. After the IMAX run, the film will be available on Blu-Ray.
Two femme-centric features also open:
"Haute Cuisine" is based on the true story of Daniele Delpeuch (in the film she's named Hortense Laborie and is played by Catherine Frot). The central character is a provincial restaurateur who becomes the private chef for French president Francois Mitterrand (simply called Le President in the film, and played by Jean D'Ormesson). The frothy romcom is spiced up a bit with behind the scenes political machinations. Good fun. Bon appetit.
"The Face of Love" stars Annette Bening as a widowed woman who falls in love with a man (Ed Harris), who could be her dead husband's doppelganger. This film is really about the performances. Bening and Harris are charming.
"The Secret Lives of Dorks," written and directed by Salome Breziner, is a slick, silly coming of age comedy. In it, Payton, a geeky teen obsessed with comic books, has a crush on his high school's most popular and arrogant cheerleader. She gets rid of him by redirecting his attentions towards the pudgy brunette who is just as socially awkward as he is. If you can get past the unbecoming stereotypes and predictable plot, you might enjoy the graphic style that introduces each scene with cartoon illustrations.
"Baggage Claim" stars Paula Patton as a 30-something flight attendant who is determined to land a significant other before attending her younger sister's wedding. She books flights that will reconnect her with former beaus or attract new ones. A ticket to this movie buys you a very long and tiresome trip.
"Inequality for All" is a documentary in which former U.S. Secretary of Labor Robert Reich analyzes and explains the widening income gap that is putting America's stability and way of life in jeopardy. It's an eye-opener. Reich delineates the issues very clearly and points out the practical as well as moral reasons why they must be dealt with. If you're interested in the future, it's important to see this film now.
In addition to covering film for Women's eNews, Jennifer Merin writes about documentaries for About.com and is president of the Alliance of Women Film Journalists, a nonprofit organization of the leading female film journalists in the U.S. and Canada. She is also a member of the prestigious Broadcast Film Critics Association.
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