Mary McDonnell

Reviews

Blog Posts

Far Flungers

"Passion Fish:" A struggle of wills

Streaming on Netflix Instant

When I watched "The Intouchables" (2011) at the local movie theater several months ago, I got a nagging dissatisfaction with that crowd-pleaser, which was about the warm friendship between a disabled man and a caregiver hired by him. The movie was surely a pleasant drama with two amiable lead performances, but I found it too mild and superficial; it merely loitered around thin stereotypes and worn-out clich├ęs and it went no further than that.

Far Flungers

Lives across a great divide

Lawrence Kasdan's "Grand Canyon" didn't make a splash when it opened here in Mexico, and it's not the kind of feature that's ever shown on our TV, so hardly anybody I know has even heard about it. It's not an easy movie to describe. When people ask me about its subject, I say something like "It's about a group of people from Los Angeles living in despair who end up feeling better when they all get together and visit the Grand Canyon." Most of them seem to loose interest but the response of those who do see it is mostly overwhelming.

Watching "The Tree of Life" brought "Grand Canyon" to mind. The films couldn't be more different, but both deal with a search for a deeper meaning in our existence-- a sense of helplessness in trying to place ourselves in the grand scheme of things. They also lack defined plots or conventional structures.

May contain spoilers

Festivals & Awards

Sex, laughs and videotape

PARK CITY, Utah -- I've seen nine movies so far at this year's Sundance Festival, and can report with absolute certainty that there is no trend, unless it is that South American filmmakers are more relaxed around the subject of sex than North Americans. But then we already knew that.

Festivals & Awards

The vying game

Hollywood has been waiting a long time to give Clint Eastwood an Oscar, and my hunch is, the wait is over. Eastwood's "Unforgiven," an elegiac Western about a retired gunfighter who pulls himself together for one final campaign, will win the best picture award when the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences gathers on the night of Monday, March 29.

Festivals & Awards

Who'll Be Up for Oscars?

The ballots have all been returned and counted, and at 7:30 a.m. tomorrow this year's Academy Awards nominations will be announced at a press conference to be telecast, so they say, around the world. It will no doubt be an Oscar year like all years, filled with surprises and injustices, nominations deserved and undeserved.

Interviews

A filmmaker with 'Passion'

Things might be easier, John Sayles sometimes thinks, if he were just starting out--if he had no track record. Then investors might be quicker to roll the dice by putting money into one of his movies. But he's made eight films, establishing himself as a leading (but not often profitable) independent director, and that makes it harder. That's why the success of his newest film, "Passion Fish," comes as such a relief.

Roger Ebert

A perilous journey into urban 'Canyon'

LOS ANGELES -- It happened several years ago. Larry Kasdan was standing on a street corner, and he stepped off the curb and then a woman grabbed him by the collar and yanked him back toward her, and just then a big city bus thundered past, going fast.