Tag Archives: ray liotta

MARRIAGE STORY (2019) – My rating: 7.5/10

Marriage Story is a drama written, directed and produced by Noah Baumbach. The film follows a married couple going through a coast-to-coast divorce.
Marriage Story is probably an unlikely scenario for divorce but not impossible.  I was annoyed by their situation because I was hoping for better but didn’t get it.

Charlie Barber (Adam Driver) is a successful theater director in New York City. His theater company is currently producing a play that stars his wife Nicole (Scarlett Johansson), a former teen film actress. The film delves into happier days when the couple only had good analogies to define each other.  They have a son Henry Barber (Azhy Robertson)  that they both adore.  Suddenly things begin to go sour initiated by Nicole. The couple begins to experience marital troubles, which sends them to see a mediator, who suggests that they each write down what they like about one another. Charlie writes his feelings but Nicole refuses to read hers aloud so they decide to forgo the counseling.

Meanwhile, Nicole is offered a starring role in a television pilot in Los Angeles, and she decides to leave the theater company and temporarily live with her mother Sandra (Julie Hagerty) in West Hollywood, taking the couple’s young son, Henry with her. Charlie decides to stay in New York, as the play is in the process of moving to Broadway. Despite the couple agreeing to split amicably and forgo lawyers, Nicole hires the family lawyer Nora (Laura Dern).  Nicole tells Nora the full story of her relationship with Charlie and how she gradually felt neglected by him and how he rejects her ideas and desires.

Because I’m a happy ending kind of gal, I’m always looking for one.  I truly dislike endings that leave me in tears or unknowing what happened or “make it up yourself”, resulting in open-ended closures.  Marriage Story gave me semi-quasi closure but not the one I was hoping for.  Driver and Johanssen are two of the best actors around and played Nicole and Charlie excellently.  In some parts, the movie was a tad bit boring but was interesting for the most part.  I didn’t really care for their son’s attitude but I think it’s a cultural thing.  I’m not sure what message Marriage Story sends but it was well-acted.  An awful lot of people really liked it and that’s what counts.  Since Marriage Story is airing on Netflix, it’s easy to see it at your leisure, just remember the Oscars are presented on February 9th this year, so you don’t have that much time if you follow the award shows.  Check It Out!

[MARRIAGE STORY is Oscar-nominated for BEST: Picture, Actor, Actress, Supporting Actress,  Original Score and Original Screenplay — TOTALLING 6 OSCAR NOMINATIONS]


THE IDENTICAL (2014) – My rating: 6.5/10

TheIdenticalThis one almost got by me. The Identical is considered a really bad movie.  I disagree!  This story starts off in 1936 during the Great Depression and is about two families, a couple with twin boys and a childless couple who couldn’t have children. There was no work, no money and no promise of either, so William and Helen Hemsley (Brian Geraghty and Amanda Crew) respectively, decided to give up one of the boys to the childless family, Evangelist Reece Wade (Ray Liotta) and his wife Louise Wade (Ashley Judd) who was financially able to raise the child. As they grew, the boys were identical in every way.  One pursued music, becoming an iconic rock star named Drexel Helmsely (Blake Rayne) and the other, under the name of Ryan Wade (Blake Rayne) tried to please his father by studying the ministry, with plans to follow in his father’s footsteps. This is where the story stops making good sense. Both boys looked the same, sounded the same and had a connection even though they had never met. Eventually, together with his best friend Dino (Seth Green) Ryan breaks away from the ministry and his father’s wishes in order to peruse his dreams. He had memorized his brother’s songs and was able to start a career substituting as the great Drexel Helmsley.  All the while, Ryan never suspects Drexel Helmsley is really his twin brother. Drexel even comes to one of Ryan’s performances and still nothing clicks. No one else got it either. This is what ruins the movie for me. Some don’t like the idea that the voice and music mimics Elvis Presley but it’s authentic so I don’t mind. Good music is good music. How this ends up would be a huge spoiler so I won’t reveal any more but I will say, I waited and waited for the obvious to happen but something else happened that really made me unhappy with The Identical.  Overall, the movie was damned entertaining and not predictable. I think the rotten tomatoes and bad reviews were rotten and way over the top. The likelihood that this story (in real life) would go the way it went in this movie is extremely unlikely. However, I think The Identical is worth seeing, especially since it’s now on DVD.  Check it out, there’s so much more to the story I haven’t begun to to talk about!

JOHN Q (2002) – My rating: 8/10

Denzel is Doing Everything Right!      *** SOME SPOILERS ***
JohnQJohn Q is predictable but on purpose. The plot came together quite well because of our anticipated hope for a good resolution.  Denzel gives a stunning performance as a father who is both an obedient husband, down on his luck and as a loving, caring father. While I’m not sure if this movie was based on a true story or not, I found “John Q” guilty of the usual Hollywood antics like a news anchorman who happens to have the ultimate communications geek in his employ, enabling the national viewing of a police blunder, LIVE on TV. I have yet to see antics like this in real life. Kimberly Elise gives a believable performance as the desperate mom who demands that her husband “do something” to save their son after all hope has been yanked away by hospital bureaucrats.

After seeing “John Q”, Denzel is a shoe-in to win the Oscar for “Training Day”. If that sounds like an enigma, blame it on the academy. If you haven’t notice, that’s the way they operate.  James Woods, Anne Heche , Ray Liotta and Robert Duvall are so believable as die-hard, by-the-book, servants of the people who can’t take YES for an answer. I stayed on the edge of my seat and applauded twice before the movie was over. A good thriller.