July 12, 2021 | by Susan Granger
The Kominsky method
Created by Chuck Lorre (“Two and a Half Men,” The Big Bang Theory “,” Young Sheldon “), the comedy / drama series” The Kominsky Method “ debuted on Netflix in 2018, starring Michael Douglas as Sandy Kominsky, a compelling Hollywood actor trainer whose promising career as a performer never came to fruition, and Alan Arkin in the role of Norman Newlander, Sandy’s longtime agent and only friend.
Sandy’s long-suffering daughter Mindy (Sarah Baker) helps her organize her acting classes; her boyfriend is Martin Schneider (Paul Reiser). And Sandy’s ex-wife / Mindy’s mother is Dr Roz Volander (Kathleen Turner).
This third and final season sees Sandy mourn the death of his friend Norman and serve as Norman’s executor. Drinks and dinner at their favorite haunt, Musso and Frank’s, will never be the same.
“We are passengers on slow-sinking ships,” says Sandy.
There is inevitable sadness, even if life goes on. While trying to adjust to life without her closest confidante, the cranky Sandy also has to deal with the complicated inevitability of Mindy’s marriage to the much older Martin.
Their upcoming nuptials signal the arrival of sizzling Roz, as Douglas and Turner rekindle their “Romancing the Stone” and “Jewel of the Nile” charisma. Plus, there are fun encounters with Morgan Freeman and Barry Levinson, just like themselves.
Michael Douglas, with silver hair, has always had an effective gift for self-deprecation; his Sandy is absurdly conceited but extremely self-aware. And Alan Arkin is renowned for his impeccable comedic timing.
If you stream all three seasons, you’ll catch a glimpse of memorable appearances from Danny DeVito, as proctologist, Jane Seymour, as Norman’s past flame, Ann-Margret, as Norman’s friend Nancy Travis, as as a divorcee who plays the lessons role of Sandy and Lisa Edelstein as Norman’s estranged daughter.
There’s a lot of laughter – funny and sentimental – amidst the pathos, which the cast obviously enjoys. Sadly, the condensed six-episode season left me wanting more, knowing this is the final chapter.
On the Granger gauge of 1 to 10, “The Kominsky Method” bowed out with a bittersweet 8, broadcast on Netflix.
The ice road
Grizzled Irish actor Liam Neeson at 69 (“The Gray”, “Non-Stop”, “Cold Pursuit”) has become one of Hollywood’s most steadfast men, accustomed to dealing with catastrophic situations. In “The Ice Road,” he’s a tough, long-haul trucker based in North Dakota.
When there is a sudden explosion of methane gas, the hapless diamond miners are trapped deep below the surface in remote Manitoba, knowing their oxygen will soon run out.
Mike McCann (Neeson) and his younger brother Gurty (Marcus Thomas), a trained mechanic who suffers from PTSD and aphasia following an Iraq war injury, are summoned by truck driver Jim Goldenrod (Laurence Fishburne) to transporting rescue drilling equipment – 30 ton gas wellheads – through dangerous terrain in northern Canada during the spring thaw when “ice roads” are normally closed.
As part of an 18-wheeler convoy, they are joined by the spirited Tantoo (Amber Midthunder), a Native Canadian whose brother is one of the trapped miners, as well as Vernay (Benjamin Walker), an insurance adjuster from company headquarters.
As they take the only route that will allow them to reach the mine in time, they encounter cracks in the rapidly melting ice, pressure waves, storms, avalanches and disappointments as they battle for the traction.
Drawing inspiration from the success of the History Channel’s “Ice Road Truckers”, writer / director Jonathan Hensleigh (“Kill the Irishman”) has crafted a stereotypical action thriller, populated with predictable cliché characters … although I have learned the reason truckers keep minifigures on their dashboards.
And if the concept sounds familiar to you, you might remember the classic French thriller by Henri Georges Clouzot from 1953 “The Wage of Fear,” based on a novel by George Arnaud, about trucks carrying explosive nitroglycerin to through the mountains; in 1977 he was remade by William Friedkin as “Sorcerer”.
On the Granger Gauge, “The Ice Road” is a spooky and intense 6, airing on Netflix.
No sudden movement
Sometimes filmmakers go through a rough patch. Steven Soderbergh retired with the Oscars, feeling so secure in his assumption that Chadwick Boseman would win that he broke tradition by closing the series with the Best Actor award, only to find out that Anthony Hopkins won; Hopkins was in Wales and no film crew was on standby there.
Now, with “No Sudden Move,” Soderbergh has created an astounding “black” trip in 1954 to Detroit, where ex-con Curt Goynes (Don Cheadle) is eager to pocket $ 5,000 to reclaim the land he owned. been taken.
When he visits the barbershop of his pal Jimmy (Craig muMs Grant), he is sent to the alley where Doug Jones (Brendan Fraser) hires him to hold the Wertz family hostage while her husband / father, Matt (David Harbor), an accountant at General Motors, is forced to steal the technical specifications of a safe belonging to his boss, Mel Forbert (Hugh Maguire).
Matt is having an affair with Forbert’s secretary Paula Cole (Frankie Shaw), so getting the suit in the safe from her shouldn’t be a problem. But it does, especially when Matt’s wife Mary (Amy Seimetz) finds out.
For this job, Curt must team up with Ronald Russo (Benicio Del Toro) and Charlie Barnes (Kieran Culkin). But when it becomes a full-scale fiasco, Curt joins Ronald in a ploy to dupe Frank Capelli (Ray Liotta), whose wife (Julia Fox) is having an affair with Ronald.
Then there’s cynical police detective Joe Finney (Jon Hamm) and other “surprise” characters.
Ed Solomon’s sprawling storyline encompasses too many tricky, interlocking storylines and double characters, emerging as downright confusing in its tight two-hour time frame. It’s like trying to put together a complicated puzzle that you’ve completely lost interest in.
As usual, Soderbergh not only directs, but serves as director of photography, under the pseudonym Peter Andrews, and editor, under the name Mary Ann Bernard.
On the Granger Gauge, “No Sudden Move” is a Double Cross 4 – a tedious crime thriller, available on HBO Max.
Susan granger is a Hollywood product. His natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at MGM and Columbia Pictures. Her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced films at MGM
As a child, Susan appeared in films with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O’Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studied journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with the highest honors in journalism.
During her adult life, Susan was on radio and television as a presenter and film and theater critic, broadcasting her reviews and articles worldwide, including Video Librarian. She has appeared in American Movie Classics and Turner Classic Movies. In 2017, his book 150 timeless films was published by Hannacroix Creek Books.
Its website is www.susangranger.com. Follow her on Twitter @susangranger.