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Entries in Caitlin FitzGerald (2)

Thursday
Oct 18 2018

Months of Meryl: It's Complicated (2009)

JohnandMattheware watching every single live-action film starring Meryl Streep.

#42 —Jane Adler,a successful bakery owner caught in a love triangle with her ex-husband and her architect.

JOHN: Quick: name a recent American movie starring a 60-year-old woman who,in attempting to enliven her long-deferred sex life,is pursued by not one but two enamored men.Additionally: name a film like this that grossed over $200 million worldwide.Perhaps the only correct answer is Nancy Meyers'It's Complicated,which is itself a testament to both the rarified and barrier-breaking career of its leading lady,the one and only Meryl Streep."Only"because,well,who else but Streep could get a movie like this off the ground and steward it toward a box office tier reserved almost exclusively for inane,teenager-courting blockbusters?In her 2011Voguecover story,Streep remarked that "in the period ofSilkwood,[It's Complicated] could never have been made,with a 60-year-old actress deciding between her ex-husband and another man.With a 40-year-old actress it would never have been made."It's Complicatedis a star vehicle that is in some ways completely uncomplicated,but in other ways downright revolutionary,showcasing the effervescent charisma of its beloved star while also demanding that audiences consider a woman who undoubtedly exists in the real world but hardly ever graces the big screen...

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Friday
Apr 22 2016

Shine On,Beautiful Murder

Team Experience is at the Tribeca Film Festival.Here'sJasonon"A Kind of Murder"and "Always Shine"

I know it's blasphemy in these parts to speak ill ofMad Men(cue 90% of you automatically clicking away in disgust) but I could never really get into it because it felt too slavishly obsessed with 60s posturing - I love Mid-Century Design as much as the next Eero Saarinen disciple but I couldn't ever see the forest for the tulip chairs.That said,the new Patricia Highsmith adaptationA Kind of Murder(from the 1954 bookThe Blunderer,kind of a suburban copycat criss-cross ofStrangers on a Train) makesMad Menseem positively restrained in its period affectations - how you manage to turn a walking talking charm like Patrick Wilson into a walking talking turtleneck I'll never figure.

The turtlenecks!The martini glasses!The heavy salmon drapes and stone fireplaces!There were moments of such monumental airlessness,as if a plastic sofa cover was wrapped over every scene,where I felt it might be purposeful - where I thought of Todd Haynes'[safe]and the way that movie was built to make the audience hyperventilate while watching it...butA Kind of Murderis no[safe].What it is is is an occasionally jazzy low-key thriller,with Eddie Marsan skulking about effectively making his case as our modern day Peter Lorre or Raymond Burr.But it ends up more of a put on,a face of perfectly applied make-up cast halfway in noirish shadow,than any sort of artful smear.Grade:C

Part of me wishes I had seen Mackenzie Davis and Caitlin FitzGerald in Sophia Takal'sAlways Shinebeforehaving seen Elisabeth Moss and Katherine Waterston in Alex Ross Perry'sQueen of Earthlast year,because while I'm more inclined towards Takal's smoky and sinister edged film...that's a whole lot ofPersonariffing in the space of twelve months.

Always Shinetells the tale of two actresses in one of those friendships so fraught with complications it would have doctors reaching for thedefibrillation paddles - the pendulums of success and resentment,professional jealousy and personal affection,flinging through space so close that something's bound to rub off and muck up everything.

And inevitably,muck.In this case the the muck under the misty cliff-faces and mossy canyons of Big Sur,California,an L.A.getaway close enough that when the sun sets the shadows from the Hollywood sign are yet still the first harbingers of nightfall.Here these ladies make their escape,a weekend coffee klatsch under the guise of nursing emotional distance,their carry-on's stacked with comedy and tragedy masks,plus sundresses.Inevitably,tragically,the two women end up flashing their SAG cards in each other's faces instead of laying bare their hearts,a battle of wiles not wills.

You know,actresses.And who doesn't love a movie about actresses?I think I'm preaching to the choir here.The performative commingling of these two still fresh talents is a blast - Davis I've already fallen head over for onHalt and Catch Fire(please tell me you're all watching that show) andFitzGerald is always fine despite a frustratingly written role onMasters of Sex;here these two fold into and under each other in smart - and,in this movie's true blessing,in unexpectedly funny - ways.Grade:B+