The movies selected for review are the choice of the reviewer. Depending on your source for DVDs, they may or may not be available that particular week, so you may want to clip the SOFA CINEMA column for future reference. Suggestions for DVD titles are welcome. Enjoy the movies.
A good documentary is a compelling, true story, well-told. "Girl 27" is a compelling true story, but it is not well-told. In fact the moviemaking skills of director David Stenn leave a lot to be desired. Then why recommend this movie? Precisely because it is a compelling, true story.
Patricia Douglas was a 20-year-old dancer living in Los Angeles in 1937. This was the heyday of the movie business in Southern California and MGM was the major employer in town. The studio had such a profitable year; it invited all its salesmen across the nation to come to the city to share in the success with a huge celebration.
The catered affair was held at the Hal Roach Ranch, a filming location, and 500 cases of champagne and Scotch were delivered to entertain a scant 300 salesmen. Plus, MGM had put out a casting call for 120 young girls to report first to Western Costume and then to the ranch.
No filming occurred that night, but Patricia Douglas was raped and the aftermath of that night haunted her the rest of her life.
Director Stenn did manage to include legal commentary from Greta Van Susterern, who added perspective to the ramifications of the blatant abuses of power against the young woman. Most compelling is the limited on-screen time Douglas contributes. In her 80s and living basically in seclusion in a tiny Las Vegas apartment, the ravages of the rape have taken their toll.
In spite of its filmmaking flaws, the most blatant being the grandstanding of the filmmaker, "Girl 27" is worth seeing. It’s a raw exposé of power and the devastation it can cause to one person.
"Then She Found Me"
What to do? What to do? It is the "job" of a critic to give an honest candid opinion. For the most part, "SOFA CINEMA" is geared to recommending movies of various genres, ostensibly to help eliminate the endless choices that may befuddle the average viewer.
When I selected "Then She Found Me" from my Netflix list, it was with the intent to review it as a "Hidden Gem," one of these quirky little films that never grabbed the attention of the major distributors. Well, "Then She Found Me" technically qualities as a "New Release," but it’s hardly a "Hidden Gem."
Helen Hunt directs and stars as April in "Then She Found Me," a tale of a sad woman of 39. She’s sad because she thinks she can’t get pregnant. She’s sad because her husband has left her. And, by the looks of her gaunt physique, she may be sad because she hasn’t eaten a decent meal in the past few years.
Matthew Broderick makes a hasty exit from their marriage but not before finally making April pregnant. Bette Midler shows up as her wealthy birth mother and is the reason for the film’s title (I think). Colin Firth appears as the man of every middle-aged, single woman’s fantasy. This handsome, available hunk and loving father adores April. Go figure.
The question/answer to the Jeopardy clue, "Then She Found Me." "What movie evokes the question, "Who cares?"
Married life is really no different than single life. It’s the level of expectation that gets skewed. Having grown up on television versions of marital bliss (Lucy and Ricky, Ward and June, Mr. and Mrs. "C", Carol and Mike – depending on your generation), the reality of spending one’s "life" with one person can come with a rude awakening.
"Married Life" takes place in the late 1940s, which allows the viewer to ogle some pretty cool automobiles while the main characters in this soap opera determine how to change their mundane relationships.
Harry (Chris Cooper) is married to Pat (Patricia Clarkson), but Harry is in love with Kay (Rachel McAdams). Harry’s best friend, Richard (Pierce Brosnan) thinks Kay is hot (way too hot for Harry) and also finds Pat in a compromising romantic clinch with Tom (David Richmond-Peck), who isn’t married but travels in the same social circle as Harry and Pat and Richard. Confused, yet?
Not to worry. Director Ira Sachs delivers this tale at a very slow pace, unfolding sort of like an actual marriage.
If you’re under 50, maybe "Married Life" will be of interest as a period piece with lots of fedoras. If you’re over 50, you have probably seen it all and heard it all before in some other movie, no doubt one with more entertainment value.
One thing "Married Life" does have is very cool cars.
Rebecca Redshaw worked in the film industry in Los Angeles for 25 years. A novelist and playwright, she has published in numerous magazines and newspapers in addition to teaching fiction. She is the Arts & Entertainment critic for the international entertainment Web site NotesFromHollywood.com. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.