Eleanor Ringel Cater

Movie column by Eleanor Ringel Cater

Tribute to Mike Nichols: a talent who bridged Broadway and Hollywood

The glamour names were Spielberg, Coppola and Scorsese. But not one of them contributed more to the cinematic zeitgeist of the last 50 years than Mike Nichols.

How did a Berlin-born Jewish refugee become the voice of a generation? A generation he wasn’t even part of. Nichols was in his late 30s when he made “The Graduate,” which became the iconic film for the “Never trust anyone over 30” crowd.
Continue reading

Posted in Eleanor Ringel Cater | 1 Comment

‘Interstellar’ – director Nolan takes audience to infinity and back

“Interstellar” isn’t interminable. It only seems that way.

Further, it only seems that way during the second hour. That’s the Geeks Gone Wild part during which some intrepid astronauts do some extremely high-tech fiddling around with fancy dials. They also engage in daunting sci-fi dialogue about relativity, space-time continuums and all that other stuff that made many of us so very glad we’d chosen English Lit as our college major.
Continue reading

Posted in Eleanor Ringel Cater | Leave a comment

‘Before I Go to Sleep’ – Colin Firth steals focus in suspense thriller

The last time we saw a movie about an amnesiac who needed to be reminded every morning who she was and what was what, Adam Sandler was courting Drew Barrymore in “50 First Dates.”

“Before I Go to Sleep” turns that concept on its head.  And casts it in a much darker hue.

This suspense thriller starring Nicole Kidman and Colin Firth is an efficiently unpleasant little exercise in paranoia and manipulation and spousal abuse — though not necessarily in that order or importance.
Continue reading

Posted in Eleanor Ringel Cater | 2 Comments

‘Birdman’ – a weighty and weightless movie that’s the best of the year so far

As its parenthetical subtitle implies, “Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)” wraps a cautionary tale inside its pitch-black comedy. Be careful what you wish for — especially if it involves Hollywood or Broadway.

Sometime in the last century, Riggan Thompson (Michael Keaton) seemed to have everything he could wish for.
Continue reading

Posted in Eleanor Ringel Cater | Leave a comment

‘Kill the Messenger’ – movie reveals questions about ‘hell of a story’

In another time — say, another century — “Kill the Messenger” would be the talk of the town.  Or at least the talk of the water cooler.

It’s the true story of Gary Webb, a reporter for the San Jose Mercury News, who, in the mid 1990s, uncovered a hell of a story.
Continue reading

Posted in Eleanor Ringel Cater | 1 Comment

‘Two Faces of January’ – with Dunst, Mortensen – has brilliant moments

When we first glimpse Chester MacFarland (VIggo Mortensen), the protagonist of “The Two Faces of January,” he could well be a Master of the Universe from “The Bonfire of the Vanities,” Tom Wolfe’s classic chronicle of greed run amok.

For that matter, he could be Wolfe himself, in his creamy white suit and snazzy broad-brimmed hat. Plus, on his arm, is the proper accoutrement: a drop-dead gorgeous blond. As it turns out, she’s his wife — much younger and properly adoring — Colette (Kirsten Durst).
Continue reading

Posted in Eleanor Ringel Cater | Leave a comment

‘A Walk Among the Tombstones’ – quiet hero Liam Neeson carries movie

The girl who’s gone in “A Walk Among the Tombstones” isn’t married to Ben Affleck. Her hubby is a drug dealer who, relatively speaking, is a pure-cut hero compared to the scum who kidnapped his wife.

She is also pretty much gone — aside from those lip-smacking bondage close-ups and tape-recorded screams so many thrillers traffic in these days — before the credits are over. She’s merely a catalyst to set the plot…make that, to set Liam Neeson … in motion.

Neeson has become quite the late-blooming action hero in recent years. “Taken,” “The Grey,” “Non-Stop,” and “Unknown” have catapulted the sensitive hunk from Oscar-bait roles to “Death Wish” material.
Continue reading

Posted in Eleanor Ringel Cater | Leave a comment

‘This is Where I Leave You’ – Jane Fonda helps younger actors shine

As the matriarch of the dysfunctional family in “This is Where I Leave You,” Jane Fonda, does a very clever thing.

She sports a pair of boobs so perky and, well, sizable, that almost everyone on screen makes a joke about her new enhancements. I have no idea whether these babies are real or photo-shopped, but either way, they serve an important function.

They distract us from wondering how much cosmetic work she has or has not had on her face.
Continue reading

Posted in Eleanor Ringel Cater | Leave a comment

‘The Equalizer’ – Denzel takes on weapons of home improvement

All things being equal, Denzel Washington’s new movie, “The Equalizer,” gets things done. Taking a page from the “Taken” playbook, Washington posits himself as a mild-mannered (on the surface) AARP-ready guy a la Liam Neeson’s recent career swerve into action heroism.

Not that Washington hasn’t flexed those muscles before — in movies like “Man on Fire,” “Safe House,” “2 Guns,” and more.

However, “The Equalizer,” is far more focused on the contrast between the regular-guy, who works as a manager at the local Home Mart — hmm….yellow themed as opposed to orange.
Continue reading

Posted in Eleanor Ringel Cater | Leave a comment

‘Love is Strange’ – getting married causes gay couple to live separately

The strange thing about “Love is Strange” is how very un-strange it is.

It’s the story of two people in love, newly married, who, due to financial difficulties, must live apart until said difficulties are solved.

One goes to stay with a nephew, married to a writer, with a shy, awkwardly adolescent son. The problem (s)? She works at home and their houseguest is inevitably in the way (plus, he must share a room with the aforementioned teen).

And, they live in Brooklyn. Not the Brooklyn of the Times or New York Magazine, but an older, more staid, more not-Manhattan Brooklyn.
Continue reading

Posted in Eleanor Ringel Cater | Leave a comment