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tom moody

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Lovely and Amazing, directed by Judith Holofcener (Walking and Talking) is highly recommended: it helps to clean the toxins out of your system if you've recently seen the awful Minority Report. Don't go see the film expecting a neat narrative arc, though: it just kind of ends. But the details and performances are wonderful. Think Ghost World without the male menopausal bile; Magnolia without the apocalyptic pretensions; Short Cuts without the length. Stroke of genius: casting the formerly dapper Michael Nouri (Jennifer Beals' sugar daddy in Flashdance) as Brenda Blethyn's liposuction doctor. The man has a gentle voice, competent bedside manner, and eyes of pure burning hate. Blethyn plays a wealthy woman with grown daughters who adopts a little black girl; the kid freely tells everyone her own mom is a "crack addict." The stolid, Buster Keaton face of this 8-year-old, passive-aggressive Holy Terror has to be seen to be believed. In one of the running story lines, Blethyn enrolls the kid in the Big Sister program so "she can have contact with black people"; the family is outraged, however, when the Big Sister straightens the girl's hair. Artists should get a kick out of the scenes where the oldest daughter, knickknack sculptor Catherine Keener, shops her wares around various arty retail outlets: the rejections she gets are priceless. ("Fine, get out of my store," says a snotty German in a fashionable eyewear, after Keener backtalks him.) In another awkward scene, the middle daughter, a neurotic, starting-out actress, stands nude in front of a Brad Pitt type she's just slept with and asks him to critique her body. He briefly wakes up from his narcissism to tread through this dangerous minefield, in a scene women should find amusing and men captivating. (She's the "lovely and amazing" of the title.)

- tom moody 7-05-2002 12:55 am [link] [1 comment]