Film Review: PRIVATE LIFE (USA 2018) ***

An author (Hahn) is undergoing multiple fertility therapies to get pregnant, putting her relationship with her husband (Giamatti) on edge.

Director:

Tamara Jenkins

PRIVATE LIFE is a Netflix original movie which normally means that the main studios will not touch the film.  The likely reason is the ‘difficult’ theme of the film, about the trauma a couple goes through in order to have a child of their own.  So desperate they are, that they try two options simultaneously – adoption and getting an egg donor.

Written and directed by Tamara Jenkins, her film begins as a comedy and a very sly and deadpan one at that.  As the film progresses and fertilization attempts fail, drama sets in and the comedy slowly gives way to a more serious film.

Richard (Paul Giamatti) and Rachel (Kathryn Hahn) are a childless middle-aged couple desperately trying to have a child.  After multiple failed attempts at artificial insemination they attempt in vitro fertilization where they learn that Richard has a blockage that is not letting him produce sperm forcing him to choose a quick surgery and go $10,000 dollars in debt to his brother Charlie (John Carroll Lynch) and Charlie’s wife Cynthia (Molly Shannon).  At the same time they are also attempting to adopt a child after having previously being matched with a pregnant teenager from Little Rock who was looking to give up her child and then stopped contacting them.

The drama continues as the plot thickens.  While still  maintaining a it of humour, the funny bits slowly fade away.  The IVF fails.  Their doctor, Dr. Dordick (Denis O’Hare who can be quite hilarious as well)  floats the idea of using a donor egg to inseminate Rachel which would raise their chances of success from 4 to 65 percent.  Rachel is initially vehemently against the idea, but slowly begins to contemplate it with Richard’s encouragement.

Into the picture arrives Cynthia’s 25 year old daughter, Sadie (beautifully played by Kayli Carter), who meanwhile decides to leave her college writing program to finish in absentia.  Sadie goes to live with Richard and Rachel, with whom she is already very close.  Rachel, who struggled with the idea of an unknown egg donor, decides that she wants to ask Sadie for her eggs. To their surprise Sadie quickly agrees, both because she loves Richard and Rachel and because she thinks the egg donation will bring meaning to her life.

Giamatti and Hahn are two actors that are comfortable with both comedy and drama.  Their transition to drama is therefore credible.  Comedienne Molly Shannon ditches her funny personality playing a dislikable opinionated mother,  Teen actress Kayli Carter who seems to be doing Saoirse Ronan is not half bad either.

Jenkins’ film at the end, the film clocking a full 120 minutes, is quite different from what is expected at the start.  In the same way, her characters change as well, i.e. there is quite a bit of character development.  Many of the characters develop for the better, which makes for one of the film’s greater pleasures.

Jenkins loves to poke fun at males.  Richard has one testicle.  Richard has a sperm blockage.  Still PRIVATE LIFE is an intelligent though more female oriented drama.

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yLuaXTPZdt8

1997 Movie Review: PRIVATE PARTS, 1997 (Howard Stern)

PRIVATE PARTS,  MOVIE POSTERPRIVATE PARTS, 1997
Movie Reviews

Directed by Betty Thomas

Cast: Howard Stern, Robin Quivers, Mary McCormack, Fred Norris, Paul Giamatti, Jackie Martling, Carol Alt, Allison Janney
Review by Jarred Thomas

SYNOPSIS:

The film tells the story of Howard Stern, the popular radio personality whose candor and crude humor revolutionized radio.

 REVIEW: 

One of the most controversial disc jockeys of all time, Howard Stern revolutionized radio for the masses and created a radio show that all other personalities try to emulate but fail in their attempts. The film is based on the popular book of the same name and chronicles the career of Howard from his childhood to high school and college to his early days in radio eventually leading to his radical career in broadcasting.

Love him or hate, Howard Stern is truly an entertainer and Private Parts shows not only his eccentric persona but also the struggles and challenges he faced from all angles. Whether it was local bullies or vindictive program directors, every obstacle was essential in developing the personality that would later become an iconic radio star.

Howard Stern plays, who else, but Howard Stern and while that may seem like an easy task considering he’s only playing himself, it’s not. He has to be able to convey his emotions and dramatic moment convincingly, no matter if he’s retelling an experience he went through. It still requires that he present a believable moment and this requires good acting, which he does.

Betty Thomas does an excellent job balancing the crude humor with the more heavy scenes. The supporting cast does a fine job as well. Paul Giamatti is great as spiteful program director, Lenny, or “pig vomit” as Howard refers to him. Together their scenes are absolute gold as both Howard and Paul play off each other perfectly.

There’s a memorable scene in which Paul addresses Howard and his gang (Robin and Fred) about the seven dirty words they are not allowed to say. This of course only entices Howard, who later develops a segment in which he says those exact words but in the context of a game show so as to make it seem innocent and appropriate for radio listeners.

Those who are familiar with the Howard Stern show can expect the typical naked sexy women and certain bits that are popular on his radio program. But there is also a heart to the film that provides warm moments between Howard and his wife Alison, played by the talented Mary McCormack. There’s one intense scene in particular that felt completely real as the two argue about a bit Howard did on the radio about a recent miscarriage the two suffered.

Howard has always made it clear that nothing in his life is private and he can at anytime use parts of his life to entertain his audience. The issue of the miscarriage is one of them. It’s interesting to see behind the scenes and the method to his madness.

With a strong supporting cast topped off with standout performances from both Howard Stern and Paul Giamatti, Private Parts is one of the funniest films filled with an abundance of pure entertainment. Even if you’re not a fan of the popular radio personality, I can assure you that this move will have you laughing and sympathizing with the famous disc jockey. By the end, you’ll have a better understanding of who Howard Stern is as a personality, but more importantly as a person.

 

 

MCDPRPA EC013
PRIVATE PARTS, Fred Norris, Howard Stern, 1997, (c) Paramount

Happy Birthday: Paul Giamatti

paulgiamatti.jpgHappy Birthday actor Paul Giamatti

Born: Paul Edward Valentine Giamatti
June 6, 1967 in New Haven, Connecticut, USA

Married to: Elizabeth Giamatti (13 October 1997 – present) (1 child)

Read reviews of the best of the actor:

PRIVATE PARTSPrivate Parts
1997
dir. Betty Thomas
Cast
Howard Stern
Robin Quivers

THE TRUMAN SHOWThe Truman Show
1998
dir. Weir
Starring
Jim Carrey
Ed Harris

PAYCHECKPaycheck
2003
dir. John Woo
Starring
Ben Affleck
Uma Thurman
Aaron Eckhart

Sideways
2004
dir. Payne
starring
Giamatti
Virginia Madsen
LADY IN THE WATERLady in the Water
2006
dir. M. Night Shyamalan
Cast
Paul Giamatti
Bryce Dallas Howard

THE NANNY DIARIESThe Nanny Diaries
2007
dir. Shari Springer Berman
Robert Pulcini
Starring
Scarlett Johansson

Fred Clause
2007
Directed by David Dobkin
Starring
Vince Vaughn
Giamati
Kathy Bates

DUPLICITY MOVIE POSTERDuplicity
2009
dir. Tony Gilroy
Starring
Roberts
Clive Owen

MOVIE POSTERROCK OF AGES
dir. Adam Shankman
Stars:
Julianne Hough
Diego Boneta

 moviesIRONCLAD
2011
dir. Jonathan English
Stars:
Paul Giamatti
Jason Flemyng

MOVIEAmerican Splendor
2003
dir. Shari Springer Berman
Robert Pulcini
starring
Paul Giamatti

WIN WINWIN WIN
dir. Thomas McCarthy
Stars:
Paul Giamatti
Amy Ryan
BARNEY'S VERSIONBARNEY’S VERSION
2011
dir. Richard J. Lewis
Starring:
Paul Giamatti
Rosamund Pike

MOVIE POSTERTHE IDES OF MARCH
dir. George Clooney
Stars:
Paul Giamatti
George Clooney

movie posterPLANET OF THE APES
2001
dir. Tim Burton
Starring:
Mark Wahlberg
Tim Roth

MOVIE POSTERCOSMOPOLIS
2012
dir. David Cronenberg
Stars:
Robert Pattinson
Juliette Binoche
MOVIE POSTERJOHN DIES AT THE END
2013
dir. Don Coscarelli
Stars:
Chase Williamson
Rob Mayes

MOVIE POSTERSAVING PRIVATE RYAN
1998
dir. Steven Spielberg
Stars:
Tom Hanks
Tom Sizemore
MOVIE POSTERTHE ANT BULLY
2006
dir. John A Davis
Stars:
Paul Giamatti
Nicolas Cage

MOVIE POSTERROMEO AND JULIET
2013
dir. Carlo Carlei
Stars:
Hailee Steinfeld
Douglas Booth
MOVIE POSTERSAVING MR. BANKS
2013
dir. John Lee Hancock
Stars:
Emma Thompson
Tom Hanks

MOVIE POSTERTURBO
2013
dir. David Soren
Stars:
Ryan Reynolds
Paul Giamatti
MOVIE POSTERTHE ILLUSIONIST
2006
dir. Neil Burger
Stars:
Edward Norton
Jessica Biel

MOVIE POSTERTHE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2
2014
dir. Marc Webb
Stars:
Andrew Garfield
Emma Stone
nudeDOWNTON ABBEY Season 4
2014
Starring:
Jim Carter
Brendan Coyle

MOVIE POSTERTHE CONGRESS
2014
dir. Ari Folman
Stars:
Robin Wright
Harvey Keitel

Movie Review: RATCHET & CLANK (USA/Canada 2016) ***

Deadlines to Submit your Screenplay, Novel, Story, or Poem to the festival:http://www.wildsound.ca

ratchet_and_clank.jpgRATCHET & CLANK (USA/Canada 2016) ***
Directed by Jericca Cleland and Kevin Munroe

Starring: James Arnold Taylor, David Kaye, Jim Ward, Paul Giamatti, John Goodman, Sylvester Stallone
Review by Gilbert Seah

One would definitely shudder of the news of yet another film based on a video game. Though the animated RATCHET & CLANK is one of those, the film is actually not that bad. It plays to what works best – safe bets as demonstrated in previous successful animated films.

The film’s protagonist, Ratchet (James Arnold Taylor) wants to be a Galactic Ranger – just as the rabbit protagonist in ZOOTPOIA wants to be a cop. While pursuing his ambition, Ratchet comes across a robot by the name of Clank (David Kaye) carrying important information on a planet with a desert landscape. The same premise happens with the character Rey and the robot carrying a message for Luke Skywalker in STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS. The most famous of the Galactic Rangers – Captain Owark (sounding like Captain Kirk) and voiced by Jim Ward has a figure modelled after the Buzz Lightyear character (Tim Allen) in the TOY STORY films. And the line of advice given by Grimroth Razz, Ratchet’s mechanic mentor (John Goodman) to Ratchet: “Don’t aim too high so that you will not get too disappointed,” is identical to the joke/advice given in ZOOTOPIA by the protagonist’s parents. It is uncanny how ZOOTOPIA and RACHET & CLANKS have these similarities.

One can keep on counting – the nods or similarities (depending how wants to look at it). But who really cares? The video game movie is well-intentioned for the kids and family and everything is done in relatively good taste without insult or injury.

The ‘original’ story begins with how the title characters first meet and how they attempt to save the Solana Galaxy from being destroyed by the villains of the piece, Chairman Drek (Paul Giamatti) and the Blarg. With Drek’s native planet Orxon having grown toxic and overpopulated, he sets about invading and plundering large chunks of rival planets to build a new super-sphere for his people. This is the same reason used by every film for an alien invasion of another planet.

The film features a number of the voice actors from the original video game series reprising their roles with a few new ones such as Giamatti, Taylor (as Ratchet) and believe it or not Sylvester Stallone.
The film is sufficiently colourful and the animation incentive enough providing harmless fun to entertain, without scaring the kids.

RATCHET & CLANK is a moderately budgeted independent animated movie. The film does will not outdo any Disney or other big studio animated features, but it should make a decent profit.

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Great way to get your story out: http://www.wildsound.ca/logline.html

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