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Posts Tagged ‘Billy Crudup’

Greta Gerwig, Annette Bening, Elle Fanning

Lucas Jade Zumann, Greta Gerwig, Annette Bening, Elle Fanning

“20th CENTURY WOMEN” My rating: B

118 minutes | MPAA rating: R

In his 2011 film “Beginners,” writer/director Mike Mills presented a fictionalized portrait of his father, who at age 75 announced that he had cancer and, by the way, was gay, too.

With “20th Century Women” he does a similar service for his mother, delivering a funny and emotionally substantive look at an unconventional household of feminists in the mid-20th century.

Much as Christopher Plummer won a supporting actor Oscar as the father in “Beginners,” Annette Bening is gaining awards buzz as the divorced matriarch in “20th Century Women.”

Set in the ’70s, the film centers on 55-year-old Dorothea (Bening) and her 15-year-old son, Jamie (Lucas Jade Zumann).

Dorothea is a curious case, a chain-smoking, mildly eccentric traditionalist in her personal life but a low-key crusader when it comes to social issues. (That conflict is reflected in the musical soundtrack, which pits the likable Talking Heads against the snarling punk of the Germs and Suicide.)

Dorothea lives in a big crumbling house undergoing perennial restoration. She’s got a hunky, laid-back boarder, William (Billy Crudup), who serves as carpenter, mason and auto mechanic.

There’s another renter, the henna-headed Abbie (Greta Gerwig), a blend of punk and hippie sensibilities who is undergoing a cancer scare.

And then there’s the young beauty Julie (Elle Fanning). Two years older than Jamie, she uses his bedroom as her refuge from an unhappy home life and a series of apparently joyless sexual couplings. At night she often enters through his second story window, scrambling up the construction scaffolding that surrounds the house.

Jamie is desperately in love with Julie (so are those of us watching the movie), but she keeps it platonic. She needs a friend and sounding board, not another young dude who wants to paw her. (“It was so much easier before you got so horny,” she sighs.) (more…)

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Anton Yelchin, Billy Crudup

Anton Yelchin, Billy Crudup

“RUDDERLESS” My rating: C (Opens Oct. 24 at the Tivoli)

105 minutes | MPAA rating: R

“Rudderless,” actor William H. Macy’s feature writing/directing debut, is a pretty good movie — until suddenly it isn’t.

I will not spoil the experience  (the movie does that all by itself) by giving away the late-second-act revelation that turns the picture inside out , making you indignantly realize that the filmmakers (Macy wrote the script with Jeff Robinson and Casey Twenter) have been less than forthright.

It’ll leave you feeling you’ve been had…and not in a enjoyable “Sixth Sense”/gotcha way.

It’s a grief movie.  Early on advertising exec Sam Manning discovers that his son Josh (we see the kid early on…he’s played by “Parenthood’s” Miles Heizer) was one of seven fatalities in a college campus shooting rampage.

Sam hits the skids: heavy drinking, beard growing, dropping out, moving permanently onto his sailboat (he’s already divorced from Josh’s mother, played by Felicity Huffman, aka Mrs. William H. Macy), and in general behaving like a seedy boor.

Then he gets a box of his late son’s belongings, among which are demo CDs and handwritten lyrics of Josh’s songs. The father is deeply moved and begins performing them on his acoustic guitar at a local bar’s open-mic night (Macy portrays the saloon owner).

 

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Clive Owen, Billy Crudup

Clive Owen, Billy Crudup

“BLOOD TIES” My rating: C (Opening March 21 at the Leawood)

127 minutes | MPAA rating: R

The crime drama “Blood Ties” has a hell of a pedigree.

The cast boasts of Clive Owen, Marion Cotillard, Billy Crudup, Mina Kunis, Zoe Saldana, James Caan and Lili Taylor. Behind the camera is the French director Guillaume Canet, whose 2006 “Tell No One” was one of the most satisfying thrillers of recent years.

And yet the movie is a mutt.

Marion Cotillard

Marion Cotillard

Okay, so maybe that’s a bit extreme. “Blood Ties” is  competent. It’s just totally uninspired. There’s more oomph in five minutes of, say, “Goodfellas,” than in two hours of this effort.

The setup isn’t exactly original. Two brothers. One is a cop. The other is a crook.

Chris (Clive Owen) is finally released from prison after doing time for murder. He’s greeted at the gates by his sister (Lili Taylor) and younger brother Frank (Billy Crudup), an NYPD detective. They take Chris home for a reunion with their dying father (James Caan).

Chris claims he wants to go straight, but he has lots of baggage to deal with.  His ex-wife, Monica (Marion Cotillard) is a call girl and periodic junkie. She has managed to raise their two kids, who are now young teens and virtual strangers to Chris. But she wants money, lots of it.

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