Arye Gross

Arye Gross

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Grey Gardens (2009) Review


Extraordinary
Most serious film fans know the story of Grey Gardens: how documentarians Albert and David Maysles were investigating the life of Jackie Kennedy Onassis's sister Lee Radziwill for a film and stumbled upon the unforgettable duo of Edith Bouvier Beale and her daughter Little Eddie; how it took a year of "convincing" before the women would allow them to film in their manor; how the resulting motion picture turned the plight of these discarded society matrons into the stuff of living legend; and how since the movie's success, the Beales' story has been adapted into books, a Broadway musical, and a stage play. Now HBO puts its spin on the material, bringing Jessica Lange and Drew Barrymore to the small screen for the TV version of this intriguing tale -- and it's also amazing, just like the subjects.

When they are approached by the Maysles (Arye Gross, Justin Louis) about making a movie of their life, Big Edith Beale (Lange) and her daughter Little Edie (Barrymore) are a tad suspicious. After all, they have let few people in their decaying Hamptons home, and the last time anyone showed up, it was the county health inspector threatening to condemn the mansion. Intrigued by the idea of being in a movie however, the duo agree, and soon we are whisked back to the days when Big Edith suffered through her straight-laced husband Phelan (Ken Howard) as Little Edie wooed Truman Cabinet member Julius Krug (Daniel Baldwin). As she ages, the sullen matriarch wants more freedom. Instead, she becomes a virtual recluse in her home, calling on her jet-setting offspring to come home and care for her. Thanks to relative Jackie Onassis (Jeanne Tripplehorn), they have enough money to live on. But their life is still one of misguided dreams and internalized strife.

Continue reading: Grey Gardens (2009) Review

Big Eden Review


Weak
Arye Gross plays the shortest gay man alive in Big Eden. In this little indie, Gross returns to a small Montana town to care for his grandfather where he finds that gays are -- gulp -- embraced, not shunned. He quickly gets involved in a love triangle with two men who literally tower over him. If this wasn't so absurd and corny it might be sweet. But it cetainly doesn't look like any Montana town I've ever heard of.

Burning Down The House Review


Weak
Most curious: Joanne Baron produces and stars Burning Down the House (not to be confused with Bringing Down the House).

Trashy and foul-mouthed (and playing with her boobs throughout the film), I wracked my brain to figure out where I'd seen her before. Turns out Baron was Mitch Taylor's mother in the cult classic Real Genius. Here she's reunited with Dr. Hathaway himself, William Atherton.

Continue reading: Burning Down The House Review

Mother Night Review


Excellent
As a critic, I try to do justice to a film. If the film is bad, this is incredibly easy. It is much easier to destroy than to create, to rip than to extol. As I have often mentioned, it is the good reviews that are difficult to write. I have a conflict between the desire to write a review worthy of the movie as well as to write a review different than the ones that I see every day.

You see, bad reviews vary endlessly. When faced with the raw anger one feels towards a bad movie it is easy to channel this rage into a sort of maligned creativity and to bring forth a new, humorous, and often refreshing movie review. When a movie is good, however, the critic is faced with the difficulty of coming up with something good to say about it. Put in layman's terms, we are often faced with writer's block.

Continue reading: Mother Night Review

Seven Girlfriends Review


Weak
Tim Daly is forgettable as a west coast dude evaluating his past loves after yet another relationship disaster. Studded with don't-I-know-her? Starlets, you aren't likely to learn anything new about romance, though you might find the trip not entirely awful. So-so.

A Midnight Clear Review


Excellent
Keith Gordon's scant few films -- including Mother Night, Waking the Dead, and A Midnight Clear -- rank among some of the biggest cult fan pics ever made. For my money, Clear is his best work, a scathing anti-war tale set in the final days of WWII, when both sides were scared shitless. A group of Germans attempts to surrender to an American intelligence patrol, with disastrous consequences. An all-star cast makes it wholly worthwhile.

The Opposite Sex, And How To Live With Them Review


Weak
Hardly a classic, but Brown and Pollak provide decent comic relief, and Courteney Cox fans will enjoy the many scenes shot with her in a half-open blouse.
Arye Gross

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