August: Osage County (2013)

August: Osage County
Director: John Wells
Writer: Tracy Letts
Based on: his play
Cast: Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Chris Cooper, Ewan McGregorMargo Martindale, Sam Shepard, Dermot Mulroney, Julianne Nicholson, Juliette Lewis, Abigail Breslin, Benedict Cumberbatch, Misty Upham

Plot:
When their father (Sam Shepard) dies, Barbara (Julia Roberts), Ivy (Julianne Nicholson) and Karen (Juliette Lewis) all gather home with their mother Violet (Meryl Streep). Everyone comes with their baggage: Barbara and her husband Bill (Ewan McGregor) are separated but haven’t told their family and their daughter Jean (Abigail Breslin) doesn’t deal very well. Ivy has a secret lover. Karen brings home her newest fiancé (Dermot Mulroney). And Violet, a mean-spirited pill-addict, likes to stir things up.

August: Osage County isn’t always easy to watch but it is always well-acted and engaging. Toward the end I thought that it got a little much but altogether it was a really good film.

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Jimmy P. (2013)

Jimmy P. aka Jimmy P: Psychotherapy of a Plains Indian
Director: Arnaud Desplechin
Writer: Arnaud Desplechin, Kent Jones, Julie Peyr
Based on: Georges Devereux‘ book Reality and Dream: Psychotherapy of a Plains Indian
Cast: Benicio Del Toro, Mathieu Amalric, Gina McKeeMichelle Thrush, Larry Pine, Misty Upham
Part of: Viennale

Plot:
Jimmy Picard (Benicio Del Toro) returned from the war a changed man. His panic attacks have his sister Gayle (Michelle Thrush) worried, so she takes it upon her to find a good doctor for him. They’re referred to a hospital where the doctors think it best to involve an anthropologist, Georges Devereux (Mathieu Amalric), who might be able to tell if Jimmy is actually schizophrenic or just an “Indian”.

Jimmy P. had an excellent cast and the story is really interesting, but everything else was rather “eh”.

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Frozen River (2008)

Frozen River
Director: Courtney Hunt
Writer: Courtney Hunt
Cast: Melissa Leo, Misty Upham, Charlie McDermott, Michael O’Keefe, Mark Boone Junior
Part of: Real America

Plot:
Ray (Melissa Leo) dreams of a house for herself and her family. But when her husband takes off with the balloon payment and leaves her and her two sons (Charlie McDermott, Dylan Carusona) without any money whatsoever, her dream (and down-payment) seem lost. But then Ray happens upon Lila (Misty Upham), a Mohawk who also fights to get by. Circumstances throws the two of them together as they start smuggling people into the US through the Mohawk territory.

I’m not exactly sure why and how I missed Frozen River so far, but I really am cursing myself for it. It is absolutely fantastic. Writing, story, cast and general filmmaking actually left me breathless a couple of times.

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