Posts Tagged Allison Anders

Lifetime TV movie review: Ring of Fire


Apart from her famous spouse Johnny Cash, June Carter led an intriguing musical life. The first 20 minutes of the movie show June’s early singing career with her mom “Mom Maybelle” [played by the talented Frances Conroy] and the Carter Family. It glosses over the years she sang with her sisters and her own vaudevillian comedic/singing act. More of June’s life pre-Johnny would’ve added depth and range to this movie. Anyone who saw Walk the Line will recognize June Carter Cash’s story — the decades-long romance between June Carter [Jewel] and Johnny Cash, particularly the rocky times when Johnny Cash struggles with his addiction to pills.

During a show at The Grand Ole Opry, June meets Johnny Cash backstage. Six years later she’s on tour with Cash and married for the second time. One night, June comes home to her race driver husband. She sends him off to bed and stays up writing “Ring of Fire” on her acoustic guitar. There’s not quite enough chemistry between Jewel and Matt Ross. It’s not palpitating as one expects. If June Carter’s driven to write a song about Johnny Cash while her husband sleeps, audiences need to see it, feel it on the screen and it’s just lacking. Also the movie doesn’t get into her first two marriages and her daughters hardly garner enough screen time for credits. Based on the book Anchored in Love: An Intimate Portrait of June Carter Cash by John Carter Cash, the movie focuses on June’s relationship to her son and not to her daughters from previous marriages.


Jewel sings confidently and brings tenderness to the role. She’s putting in the effort to show emotional range. There’s a particularly effective, moving scene when June finds Johnny at home extremely high with things smashed completely around him. She packs her things to leave with their son John Carter who discovers his father passed out. June holds an intervention in his hospital room. Directed by Allison Anders [Grace of My Heart], the movie’s got heart with some vibrant musical segments; it just needed to delve a bit farther in order to show more facades to June.

Ring of Fire premieres Monday, May 27, 2013, at 9 pm ET/PT on Lifetime.

, , , ,

Leave a comment

Women’s History Month: some of my favorite films by women

Grace of My Heart [1996]
written and directed by Allison Anders
–Loosely based on the tumultuous rise of singer/songwriter Carole King, Grace of My Heart is a tour-de-force and one of my favorite films ever. Starring Illeana Douglas, Grace of My Heart takes viewers through the music biz from the famed Brill Building to communes and the hip 60s and beyond as one woman strives to find her own voice in a male-dominated industry.

Waitress [2007]
written and directed by Adrienne Shelly
–a charming and heart-warming film about an independent, spirited small-town woman [Keri Russell] determined to leave her abusive husband and make it big on her own.

Monsoon Wedding [2001]
directed by Mira Nair

Away from Her [2006]
written and directed by Sarah Polley
–a graceful love story about a woman with Alzheimer’s

Searching for Debra Winger [2002]
directed by Rosanna Arquette
–documentary on women in film, which includes amazing and very honest commentary from stars from Gwyneth Paltrow to Whoopi to Vanessa Redgrave to Salma Hayek to Charlotte Rampling to of course Debra Winger. It’s great that these women feel comfortable with age but sad to see the frustration and that there still is the issue of great roles for women over 30.

Broken English [2007]
Written and directed by Zoe Cassavetes
— story of Nora [formidable, immensely talented Parker Posey], a 35-year-old who seems stuck in a rut—both personally and professionally. Nora has become complacent and settled at her hotel job. She is beginning to delve into the Bell Jar after years of seeming to know what she wanted and now being at the age where she feels she should already be there.

The Namesake [2006]
directed by Mira Nair
–the story revolves around Gogol [Kal Penn], a mid-twenties architect who has been fighting against his traditional Indian family and heritage. He gets pulled back in by an unforeseen family crisis and it changes his outlook and future forever.

Bright Star [2009]
written and directed by Jane Campion
–wondrously languid, romantic and exquisitely filmed. It tells the story of the tender and tragic love affair between poet John Keats [Ben Whishaw] and his muse and love Fanny Brawne [Abbie Cornish] as told through her eyes.

Come Early Morning [2006]
written and directed by Joey Lauren Adams
–a woman [Ashley Judd] who struggles with alcoholism tries to get her life on track

Fire [1996]
Earth [1998]
Water [2005]
written and directed by Deepa Mehta

scene from Water

2 Days in Paris [2006]
written and directed by Julie Delpy
–an American and a Parisian talk a lot, fight a lot

Girlfight [2000]
written and directed by Karyn Kusama
–focus on female boxers

Somewhere [2010]
written and directed by Sofia Coppola
–a wayward actor [Stephen Dorff] and his heartfelt relationship with his daughter [Elle Fanning]

The Parking Lot Movie [2010]
directed by Meghan Eckman
–three years following the ins and outs of the attendants at a parking lot in Virginia. truly riveting. really.

SherryBaby [2006]
written and directed by Laurie Collyer
–after serving a three-year prison sentence, Sherry [Maggie Gyllenhaal] returns to New Jersey to try to re-establish family ties, including one with her daughter

The Hurt Locker [2009]
directed by Kathryn Bigelow
–heart-pounding thriller about the guys who diffuse IEDs in Iraq

The Kids Are All Right [2010]
co-written and directed by Lisa Chodolenko
–the teenage children of lesbian parents decide to contact the sperm donor and meeting him has implications on the entire family

Please Give [2010]
written and directed by Nicole Holofcener

Winter’s Bone [2010]
written by Debra Granik and Anne Rosellini
directed by Debra Granik
–a teenager [Jennifer Lawrence] searches for her father in dangerous, bleak meth-country

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

%d bloggers like this: