Billy Gray

Archive for April, 2010|Monthly archive page

Joan Rivers: A Piece Of Work

In Movie Reviews on April 22, 2010 at 1:21 pm

You only see Joan Rivers without makeup during Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work‘s opening credits. But that stripping away is sustained throughout, even if the documentary (playing at the Tribeca Film Festival), could use more unflattering close-ups and less near-beatification. –

Directors Ricki Stern and Anne Sundberg follow Joan for a year in her life, from standup gigs at shabby downtown clubs (and one in Wisconsin) to her reluctant appearance onCelebrity Apprentice, which she won, to a lukewarmly received play that she’d hoped would earn her credibility among critics who, as Rivers puts it, “always make sure comedienne is proceeded by something, like crass or Borscht Belt”, when they describe her. Read the rest of this entry »

Minor Baumbach

In Uncategorized on April 13, 2010 at 11:10 am

Roger Greenberg (Ben Stiller) never wears scuba gear in Noah Baumbach’s Greenberg. No dense, well-meaning neighbor tells him to go into plastics. But Roger is like a 40-year old Ben Braddock. Marooned in a Los Angeles idyll, he’s selfish, self-destructive and dismissive of everyone around him. All he’s missing is Ben’s redeeming (if naïve) idealism and the undimmed potential of youth.

Greenberg doesn’t tiptoe around being an L.A. movie. And its depiction of the city is about as fresh as the smog that takes up the film’s opening wide shot of Los Angeles sprawl. Greenberg introduces Florence (Greta Gerwig) as she weaves her way through the town’s infamous gridlock—“Will this guy let me in?”

Florence is 26-years old (“It’s weird, I’ve been out of college for as long as I was in it”).  When she’s not singing in empty Silver Lake bars she daylights as Phil and Carol Greenberg’s assistant. They’re a fantastically bobo couple about to head off with the kids for a month in Vietnam. (These aren’t the Disney types.) While Phil’s away, his brother Roger will be crashing in his well-appointed home in the Hills. Florence’s employers give her vague, weary warnings about Roger, telling her he just got out of the hospital. “No, not that kind of hospital” Carol says when Florence asks if he was sick. Read the rest of this entry »