Tag Archives: Patricia Clarkson

Friends with Benefits

Dylan (played by Justin Timberlake) is a media art director in Los Angeles who has just come out of a relationship and has sworn off any more, preferring the “no strings” approach to his social life. Jamie (by Mila Kunis) is an Executive recruitment agent in New York – she’s also just ended a relationship that’s left her feeling the same – no more relationships for her, they’re just too complicated and hard work. Dylan is approached by Jamie’s recruitment agency for an Art Director’s role at GQ magazine in New York. He’s never been to NYC, so he visits to explore the opportunity. Jamie persuades him to take the job and he leaves his father (by Richard Jenkins) and sister (by Jenna Elfman) behind and moves to NYC. With no friends or any family in NYC, Dylan is at a bit of a loose end at first, so Jamie invites him out socially just until he gets his feet on the ground.  They hit it off and form a great friendship, then one day, they wonder what sex together would be like, but “just sex”, not a relationship – just like playing tennis.  So their  “friends with benefits” relationship starts. This works well and they happily continue, they even date other people for a while and Jamie’s mother (by Patricia Clarkson) is totally okay with it. Then when Dylan invites Jamie to spend fourth of July weekend with his family in LA, things take a different turn … do they really want to keep up the ‘friends with benefits”? or will they be much happier with either “all or nothing”?

As romantic comedies go, this is a good one. It is entertaining and there is a nice chemistry between Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis. They both perform their roles well – with a good banter and balance between them. The supporting cast of Jenna Elfman, Richard Jenkins and Patricia Clarkson is very strong – but it needs to be to provide a solid base for the movie as the two main characters could not sustain this movie on their own. I think Justin Timberlake has good potential as an actor and Mila Kunis is already clearly a talent on the rise (after her performance in “Black Swan” also). Overall, it’s a better than average rom-com.

Made in 2011. Directed by Will Gluck

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Posted by on May 14, 2012 in Movies


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One Day

In 1988, Emma Morley (played by Anne Hathaway) and Dexter Mayhew (by Jim Sturgess) are in the same year at Edinburgh University. On their Graduation Day, during celebrations all their friends pair-off and although they don’t know each other very well, they are left behind to carouse. They spend the night together and the next morning, although Dex wants to flee, he stays longer than planned so he doesn’t hurt Emma’s feelings. It is July 15th. After University, Emma and Dex keep in contact and we observe as their lives twist and turn for two decades. Dex is a party-boy who has had a priviledged upbringing and he soon lands himself a television role. He spends most of his years lurching from one disaster to another – and along the way he messes up most of his significant relationships. Smart and beautiful Emma dreams of becoming a writer, but successes don’t come easily for her and her life doesn’t progress quite as well as she had planned. Through the ensuing years (to present day) we revisit both of them on 15th July to observe the status of their lives.

This movie is a straightforward romance, with which you could easily while away an hour or two – but it’s not quite enough for me. There is potential for it to be much more. The role of Dex’s mother (by Patricia Clarkson) could have been developed much further, as her involvement in the story should have been more impactful. Dex’s party lifestyle is depicted, but it’s pedestrian, as it the way he is portrayed as he faces the challenges in his life. Emma’s disappointment at her life is rather superficially treated also – and none of their relatiohships are particularly explored. Anne Hathaway is nice as Emma and Jim Sturgess is fine as Dex – they do make a very nice combination when they spend time together and there is a nice chemistry between them.  Overall, this movie is okay.

The movie is adapted from the novel by David Nicholls.

Made in 2011. Directed by Lone Scherfig

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Posted by on April 12, 2012 in Uncategorized


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The Station Agent

Fin McBride (played by Peter Dinklage) is a train buff who works in a city-based train hobby store with his friend and boss Henry Styles (by Paul Benjamin). Fin keeps to himself, but as he has dwarfism he is hounded by unwanted attention from the curious and the heartless. Henry suddently dies in the store and he bequeaths to Fin some land and an old abandoned train depot in Newfoundland, New Jersey. As Fin will be left to find another job anyway, he decides to move to Newfoundland and investigate what Henry saw there. Upon his arrival in the little town, Fin begins to explore his new surroundings. Of course, everyone pays attention to him and although he finds this irritating, he tolerates it. One guy, Joe Oramas (by Bobby Cannavale) is particularly persistent – he operates a nearby coffee stop and eagerly wants to be friends with Fin much to Fin’s bewilderment. Another resident, Olivia Harris (by Patricia Clarkson), is distracted by her own deep emotional stress and accidentally encounters Fin several times. Emily (by Michelle Williams) is the sweet young local librarian and Cleo (by Raven Goodwin) is a schoolgirl neighbour who is a fellow train lover and accepts Fin without question. This collection of people all feature far more often in Fin’s life than he would prefer, but somehow they each permeate his thick skin and some meaningful friendships develop in the small weird community.

I like this movie. Although he is not very sociable, Fin seems like a nice guy and Peter Drinklage beautifully portrays the hard edges of Fin accompanied later by his more sensitive side. You can really empathise with his preference for solitude in his life. Joe is totally unaware of the irritation he causes in his earnest attempts at friendship, but he’s a sincere fellow with good intentions and Bobby Cannavale is perfect as Joe. Olivia Harris is played well by Patricia Clarkson – she is first presented to us as a flighty, clumsy woman – but we learn that there is a lot more to her situation. Michelle Williams is lovely as Emily and Raven Goodwin is also great as the innocent Cleo. My favourite part of this series of encounters and the building relationship between these people is that they are all so honest and just being themselves – “warts and all”. This is nice and it means the relationships develop almost by accident as each person (apart from Joe) is not really focussed on being friends with anyone. The characters all strike a chord in their own way and become endearing.  It’s a nice movie – it is well made and tells the unfolding and curious story very well. 

Made 2003: Directed by Thomas McCarthy

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Posted by on March 1, 2012 in Movies


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