Posts Tagged Famke Janssen

some favorite films about love [not always happy] for Valentine’s Day

Though I rarely have a valentine on Valentine’s Day and am not a particular fan of the holiday, I’m hopeful to find LOVE someday. Here are some of my favorite love stories on film.

Brokeback Mountain
“I can’t quit you.” That just says it all. Jake Gyllenhaal and the late Heath Ledger show what unconditional love is all about.

Love & Sex
Kate [Famke Janssen] is a magazine writer given the assignment to write about love and sex: a guide for single women. She hasn’t dated since she broke up with Adam [Jon Favreau]. In writing the article she recalls past romances and Adam keeps coming back. It’s hysterical and Janssen and Favreau are great together.

Romeo & Juliet
Shakepeare’s classic story of star-crossed lovers gets the updated treatment with Claire Danes and Leonardo DiCaprio.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
When a romance goes awry, would you want to erase all memories of it and that person you loved? That is the unique concept behind writer Charlie Kaufman’s script. Under the astute direction of Michel Gondry, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, starring Kate Winslet and Jim Carrey, ranks as one of my favorite films. It is a fabulous and romantic film. It’s amazing and thoughtful and the performances are brilliant all around [Kirsten Dunst, Mark Ruffalo and Elijah Wood].

The Apartment
Love Shirley MacLaine and Jack Lemmon together here. Such a romantic classic and it won Best Picture in 1960. Fran [MacLaine] is an elevator operator in CC. “Bud” [Lemmon] Baxter’s office building. She keeps having affairs with married men. Bud falls for Fran and wants to protect her at all costs.
“That’s the way it crumbles . . . cookie-wise.”

Roman Holiday
Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn together. I need not say much more. Audrey won an Oscar for her performance as a rebellious princess who sets off to explore Rome on her own. She meets an American newspaper reporter who wants a real scoop. He pretends he doesn’t know who she is to get the story but then they fall in love. Oh so romantic!

Love and Basketball
Friends since they were children, both Monica [Sanaa Lathan] and Quincy [Omar Epps] are ace basketball players. Both make very different decisions about their relationship, the sport and their academic careers. It’s a fantastic sports film and feminist love story [written and directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood].
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Kate & Leopold
Meg Ryan and Hugh Jackman make time travel so appealing. Do you ever wonder if you were born at the wrong time or in the wrong place? I’ve thought about it. This is a fun and sweet film.

Pride & Prejudice
Keira Knightley stars as Lizzie Bennet in this Jane Austen classic. This is probably my favorite adaptation [excluding the miniseries with Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth].

Possession
Two literary scholars are studying Victorian poets who had an affair. This brings together Maud [Gwyneth Paltrow] and Roland [Aaron Eckhart] as they attempt to uncover the mystery of the Victorian affair. Based on the wonderful novel by A.S. Byatt.

The Whole Wide World
Writer Robert Howard [Vincent D’Onofrio] created the Conan the Barbarian series. This is the true story of his love affair with a small town school teacher Novalyne Price [Renee Zellweger].

Before Sunrise/ Before Sunset
It’s imperative that you do a double feature of these Richard Linklater romantic films starring Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy.

Once
A brokenhearted street musician [Glen Hansard] meets a keyboardist [Marketa Irglova] and for a week they make music together and fall in love. The soundtrack is spectacular too.

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CELEBS: Fabulous Forty-somethings

Since I’m turning 41 on August 5, I thought I’d round up some female celebs I like who are in their 40s.

Renee Zellweger
Bridget Jones’s Diary, The Whole Wide World

Illeana Douglas
Grace of My Heart, Wedding Bell Blues

Halle Berry
Monster’s Ball, Things We Lost in the Fire

Juliette Binoche
Breaking and Entering, The English Patient

Parker Posey
Party Girl, Best in Show, Broken English

Julianna Margulies
The Good Wife

Christy Turlington
–model/ activist

Naomi Watts
The Painted Veil, Eastern Promises

Salma Hayek
Frida, Ugly Betty

Rachel Weisz
The Brothers Bloom, The Fountain, The Constant Gardner

Jennifer Connelly
Little Children, Blood Diamond, The House of Sand and Fog

Taraji P. Henson
Karate Kid, I Can Do Wrong All By Myself, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Marisa Tomei
Cyrus, The Wrestler

Lucy Liu
Charlie’s Angels, Kill Bill Vol. 1

Portia de Rossi
Arrested Development, Ally McBeal

Vivica A. Fox
Curb Your Enthusiasm, Kill Bill Vol. 1

Kristin Davis
Melrose Place, Sex & the City

Helena Bonham-Carter
Alice in Wonderland, A Room with a View

Famke Janssen
Love & Sex, Nip/Tuck

Elizabeth Hurley
Double Whammy, The Weight of Water

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film review: Turn the River

When he introduced the film at this year’s Independent Film Festival of Boston, writer/director Chris Eigeman said, “If handmade is the opposite of corporate, I hope this feels handmade.” It does. It has its charms. Eigeman starred in the Wilt Stilman trilogy: Metropolitan, Barcelona and The Last Days of Disco. He’s very good at playing the buttoned-up, upper crust preppie type. So it’s somewhat surprising that he wrote and directed a film like Turn the River. But then again not that surprising as in those films, the characters drew the interest. Turn the River is a character study. Eigeman met Famke Janssen when they starred in the indie In Treatment together. Eigeman wrote the character in Turn the River specifically for Janssen. That tells a lot about her acting talent. She’s a tall, beautiful woman, yes. If you’ve only seen her in the X-Men films, you are missing out. She’s fantastic in little films like Monument Ave. and Love and Sex. [I’d love to see a film with Janssen and Elizabeth Hurley playing sisters.] While effortlessly beautiful and cool, Janssen can delve into nearly any role with conviction. She’s fearless. And there’s no Charlize Theron-technique of hiding her beauty to play serious roles either. Those beautiful, expressive eyes carry her character through this film. She turns in a gritty, natural performance as a pool hustler mom in Turn the River.

Kailey lost her custody of her son Gulley (Jaymie Dornan) to her ex-husband about a decade ago. We’re not exactly sure why but can guess. She seems from the other side of the tracks. She plays a lot of pool, isn’t educated in the conventional way and shuffles from place to place like many a grifter. Life experience shapes her and provides her with that hard edge. Yet her heart remains open to her son. Kailey has suffered losses at a young edge when she may wasn’t even enough of an adult to realize their implications. She’s not “book smart” like her son but certainly appreciates the virtues of his private schooling. Rip Torn plays the owner of one of her regular joints. He’s the father she’s always wanted. He doesn’t ask her too many questions and he supports her and unconditionally loves her and cares for her. It’s sweet. She spends most of her time at pool houses, sizing up potential marks, storing wads of cash in the back of a pick-up truck she won in a card game. When she finally decides to make the big move with her son, she’s going to risk everything.

Turn the River is a quietly moving film. It’s not flashy but is direct and complex. It slowly unfolds to show this street savvy woman who’s so on the edge and so close to going over the top. Will she make it? The ending may leave you completely confused and even asking, “Why did that just happen?” It’s flawed, absolutely. There are holes throughout but also plenty of heart. Overall though, this is a fine little film with stellar acting from Janssen.

STEELE RECCOMENDS: SEE THIS IN THE THEATER!

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