November 29, 2010

Love Me Or Leave Me (1955)

Doris Day and James Cagney as torch singer Ruth Etting and her gangster husband are nothing short of electric in Love Me Or Leave Me, the artistically and commercially successful biography film from 1955. Cagney is pathetically empathetic in a role he's played before but it is Day who leaps out of her ingenue comfort zone and slinks her way to the heart of the woman. The musical numbers - covers of Etting's hits of the 20s along with the Oscar-nominated original I'll Never Stop Loving You - are bright and vivacious in a film that's fascinating from Day's first appearance accepting 10 cents for a dance to her final performance of the title tune.

November 27, 2010

It's Complicated (2009)

In It's Complicated, Meryl Streep plays a divorcee who runs an extremely successful pastry business, raises three wonderful children (one of whom is enfianced to an adorable John Krasinski), buys her own beautiful 2000 square foot home to which she is now adding 1000 square feet of kitchen and living space and begins an affair with the (now) re-married husband that had left her for a younger woman. On top of the incredulity of her life, the story tries too hard and the script is so hackneyed and mundane that I wonder why seemingly intelligent actors like Streep, Alec Baldwin, and Steve Martin would agree to make this clinker. It must be complicated.