Friday, November 21, 2014

VANITY FAIR. THE NIGHT MIKE NICHOLS TOOK ME TO MEET JACKIE O

Remembrances

The Night Mike Nichols Took Me to Meet Jackie O

Courtesy of Carole Mallory.
In the early 70s, I had the honor of dating Mike Nichols. It was long before he met and fell in love with the beautiful Diane Sawyer, and in no way is my remembrance meant to take away from the love he had for her. But I feel sharing a historic moment about him is important, and, sadly so, newsworthy, after his passing.
At the time I was dating Claude Picasso, Pablo’s son, who had moved into my apartment on our first date. He was going through a divorce and so was I. One day he announced he was going to Paris to do an article on Chagall, and would be staying with his wealthy Grandmother Gilot in Neuilly. “Cherie, I won’t be long. Hold the fort,” he said as he tapped me on the bum.
I was miffed. He did not invite me, and I was not running a hotel. A top model at the time, recently photographed for the covers of Newsweek, Cosmopolitan, New York magazine, I was enjoying life in the fast lane. At a party, I met Buck Henry, who introduced me to Mike Nichols. Claude’s stay in Paris seemed like an eternity, and I had no word from him; meanwhile Mike had invited me to lunch at the Russian Tea Room and to several dinners. Over dinner one night, Mike said, “Would you like to come with me to a party Jackie Onassis is giving for Ari at El Morocco?”
“Of course,” I said. Mike picked me up in his limousine and off we went. I wore a floor-length black gown from Norma Kamali with a Mongolian lamb coat draped over my shoulders. Press lined the entrance and Life magazine snapped our photo. As a cover girl, I was used to being photographed, but not by paparazzi. “They’ll all be here,” Mike said in his slightly edgy tone.
Courtesy of Carole Mallory.
I was nervous. Mike had a calm about him and a presence that reassured me and reassured all who came into his life. He was always most cordial to the waiters, the maître d’, the cab drivers, etc. They all treated him with utmost respect. His wit was his greatest gift, along with his astute observation of life and sense of irony illustrated by his films. My favorite was Charlie Wilson’s War, written by Aaron Sorkin, a 2007 drama based on a Texas congressman Charlie Wilson's covert dealings in Afghanistan. Mike chose material that was important. Had value. Had a message. Even if sometimes that message was only to laugh, which he accomplished with The Graduate.
When I was with him at dinner, he made me feel special, beautiful, and intelligent, not like an object. Given my line of work, many people looked at me and through me, but did not listen to me. Mike Nichols listened to me and made me feel he cared and that I, indeed, had something to say. Mike was the essence of respect. And he was great fun.
When we met Jackie O in the long receiving line, she curtsied and reminded me of a giant swan. When she shook my hand, she looked into my eyes with a laser-beam-like focus that made me feel she cared, though we had never met, and that I was the only one in the room. It was apparent that she was a woman who knew what she wanted and could confront with a calm and a poise that stopped traffic. You did not mess with Jackie O. Or Mike Nichols for that matter. But why would one want to?
After the dinner, Mike invited me to his apartment in the Beresford, where we met Jack Nicholson for a drink. Laughs were shared and a good time was had by all. When I returned to my apartment at 333 East 69th Street, I was happy Claude had stayed in Paris so long, but when he returned, I was also happy to be with him and we became engaged in 1973. He never left me alone in New York again. So much for how to train a Picasso.
Gallery: Mike Nichols’s Life in Photos

MOVIE REVIEW: THE HUNGER GAMES; MOCKINGJAY --PART ONE ENOUGH ALREADY!

Movie Review: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay -- Part 1. Enough Already!

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Not sure about this one. Bleak. Lacking in the sparkle-plenty splendor of the glittering self-indulgence of previous films in The Hunger Games series that juxtaposed the grey and the ominous against the vile splendor. Mockingjay is like an ominous one note. Jennifer Lawrence who goes to District 13 after her home District 12 is destroyed carries the film with her sensitive understanding of her role and of the devastation of humanity. Woody Harrelson (Haymitch Abernathy) is a highlight in that he livens up a dullness of watching space ships and war torn cities. Elizabeth Banks (Effie Trinket) adds pizzazz that is much needed, and does not need her many colorful wigs or outrageous make up to make her interesting or to make you care about her. Whereas Julianne Moore who portrays President Alma Coin, a new character to the series, is wooden and arch. She is determined to recruit Katniss to be the Mockingjay symbol to organize the rebellion in the District of Panem. Peeta (Josh Hutchinson) has the greatest transformation and tries to warn Katniss not to be a pawn of the President Alma Coin. Philip Seymour Hoffman, to whom the film is dedicated, is Plutarch Heavensbee's staid, manipulative self, but is directed by director Francis Lawrence pretty much in a vacuum of monotone monotony along with Julianne Moore.
Meanwhile, Liam Hemsworth as Gale does not ignite the screen. His kiss with Katniss is less than passionate as is his performance. The dynamic actors have too small parts and the weight of the film rests on Ms. Lawrence and at times it seems to fall off of her shoulders. Donald Sutherland is such a powerful, mesmerizing and sinister character as President Snow, but, alas, his presence is all too brief.
The costumes and sets are inventive, but, again, bleak and lacking in any color. And while, granted, this is not a remake of The Sound of Music, I longed for relief from the extended suffering. We get that this is a grim situation, but we do not get that we have to sit through a muddied palette of beige, brown, and grey for the entire film. When the Capitol was shown on the screen and broadcast to the throngs, this was the moment and the time to show the contrast of the colorful, repugnant in its opulence Capitol to the severe, poverty-stricken Panem. But this did not happen. Stanley Tucci (Caesar Flickerman) has a few brief appearances, but he does not have the terrifying impact of previous Hunger Games films. Perhaps I am just getting used to the 'No Exit' Camus-like endings in this series.
We have Katniss's sister's cat for some comic relief, but not much else. And when Katniss is warned that she may die if she tries to be the Mockingjay, the symbol of rebellion intent on saving Peeta from the Capitol, she is asked how she would feel about this harsh reality. With her courageous sense of irony, she replies, "Well, get it on film." How long can this fight against the evil Capitol continue? Katniss Everdeen's nerves are shot and so are mine. Enough already!

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Thursday, October 23, 2014

MOVIE REVIEW' JOHN WICK....OUCH!

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Movie Review: John Wick...Ouch!

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Lordie, lordie what an ex-hit man won't do for the love of his dog. Keanu Reeves is back in this slam-bam-thank-you-mam kind of violent, IMAX, computer game film with witty dialogue. As bloody as this film is, it is funny. Great dialogue at bizarre moments keeps you on the edge of your neighbor's seat. If there is too much blood, you can always go to the loo for some relief.
This film is about revenge. And after John Wick, who is a retired hit man, witnesses his dog killed by some sod, you just want him to get all of those cruel, sadistic S.O. B.s. His wife is murdered in the opening and she has sent him a dog to remember her by. Well, who knows who sends the dog, but a note from her accompanies the dog even though she is dead.
Now if you think written apologies are the solution for vengeance, this is not your film. John Wick is a wild west, let's put guns, knives, bullet proof vests on our bodies and get the creeps who 'done us wrong' John Wick's motto. He has tried the world in which violence is swept under the anger and does not agree with forgiveness. No. He is going to get 'em. At all costs. And a new dog, too.
And you will root for John Wick who has been trying to lead a clean, normal life after apparently being a premiere world renowned hit man. This is an action, adventure film with a limited plot, but creative visual effects that make the action vivid and visceral.
Directed by David Leitch and Chad Stahelski, the rest of the cast stars Michael Nyqvist, Alfie Allen and Willem Dafoe who is always menacing, but not always in such a small part. John Wick needed more Dafoe. Derek Kolstad wrote the thinnest story line ever, but hip dialogue. Adrianne Palicki plays hitwoman Ms. Perkins with real gusto and John Leugiziamo and Ian Shane again are in too brief roles as their acting is top notch. Clearly this is a Keanu Reeves vehicle and no other star is going to get in his way. Or else! Basta. End of him, them and the film. If blood, guns, violence is not for you, It is no surprise that John Wick will be a playable character for the game Payday 2, complete with his own perk tree, notably giving the ability to dual wield gun. This film is pure merchandising. So buy the game and skip the film, if knitting is more to your liking. Or a good book.

MOVIE REVIEW' FURY...LOVE BETWEEN SOLDIERS

Movie Review: 'Fury' ... Love Between Soldiers

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While Fury is about the atrocities of World War II, it is really about heroic bonding between soldiers. Brad Pitt as Army Sergeant Wardaddy nurtures Norman (Logan Leman) who is a typist forced into combat under Wardaddy's "grow up or die' command of The Fury, a M4A3E8 Sherman tank. Norman has never fired a gun. Wardaddy teaches Norman how to fire a gun. Norman has never killed a soldier and refuses to. Wardaddy teaches Norman how to kill and how to survive. Fury stars four leading Jewish actors Logan Lerman, Jon Bernthal, Shia LaBeouf, and Jason Isaacs playing soldiers fighting Nazi Germany. Michael Pena and Scott Eastwood, yes the son of Clint Eastwood,who proves he is not just another handsome face, round out the cast. The ensemble acting is terrific.
It is the end of the war and the Allies are making a final push into the European Theatre, the blood and guts of Germany resplendent with Nazi's hidden in an otherwise idyllic countryside. Director /writer David Ayer chose Hertfordshire, England as his set. While the film's crew was rehearsing scenes, Brad Pitt was spotted by neighbors in the preparations driving a tank in the English countryside.
A team of five soldiers command the Fury, a Sherman Tank like no other . The film featured Tiger 131, the last surviving operational Tiger I. The tank belongs to Bovington Tank Museum. This is the first time a real Tiger tank -- and not a prop version -- has been used in a film.
Various battles scenes show these soldiers grow in their relationships to each other. A touching scene takes place an hour into the film when we are presented with our first and only women. Two German frauleins, Alicia Von Rottberg and Anmaria Marinca, are captured by Wardaddy and Norman. They end up friends, voluntary lovers and dining companions when in barge three soldiers who mock the beauties who only speak German. Wardaddy almost creates WWIII to instill in these soldiers dinner etiquette and respect for women. A good scene which shows how diverse the characters are and yet how close they become when in battle.
This scene is the touching meat and potatoes of Fury. Men overcome their chauvinism, their angers, and their diversity to defend our nation against a common, hideous enemy. Norman cried when Wardaddy held a gun in his hand as he forced Norman to learn to kill a Nazi. The audience applauded when Norman finally and enthusiastically killed Nazis. Give Fury a chance and while it is not a fun fest, it is a triumph of ensemble acting and how America's brave soldiers and their heroic choices beat the sadistic Nazis. Who likes to watch war? Director David Ayer helps you to care and to understand our soldiers who fought for our freedom and this is why Fury is an important film
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Wednesday, October 8, 2014

MOVIE REVIEW....KILL THE MESSENGER.....A GREAT FILM

Carole Mallory Headshot

Movie Review: Kill the Messenger ... a Great Film

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Jeremy Renner is perfect to portray Gary Webb. Kill the Messenger is about integrity. It is a true story about the investigative journalist, Gary Webb, who exposed the corruption that nailed the CIA for being aware of the funding of the Contra war in Nicaragua with drug money. Webb won a Pulitzer for his reporting then was smeared by some obvious and some mysterious sources. He ended up committing suicide with two shots to his brain.
Suicide? How could he pull the trigger twice after he had shot himself once in the brain? Did he expose too powerful forces to go on living? He exposed corruption so decisively that the sources he exposed blocked his ever being able to write again. Webb needed to write to live. Writing was in his blood. Writing the truth, not what some editor wants him to write. Not what the public wants to read, but what he deemed important revelation. Silencing him murdered his spirit.
Kill the Messenger shows the behind the scenes working of newspapers and how they inspire, but can also destroy writers. The San Jose Mercury News destroyed Webb after the jealous bigger papers--the LA Times and Washington Post--became Webb's enemies because he exposed a scandal they should have uncovered . They set out to destroy his article. His writings. His character. His credibility. His discovery of the truth that drug smuggling was funding the Contra War and the CIA was aware of this but looked the other way. His discovery that the CIA created cheap crack cocaine to sell on the streets in the ghettos of Los Angeles. His discovery that the CIA created a drug infested epidemic which destroyed African Americans squatting in ghettos. Though Webb had been awarded the Pulitzer, because of pressure put on his own paper, The San Jose Mercury, and by the media as to Webb's credibility, The San Jose Mercury began to investigate the veracity of his series of articles titled Dark Alliance (1996). When he is told this, he quits, never to earn a living as a writer again. The Chicago Tribune and The L.A. Times eventually vindicate him, but the vicious smear to his character had been done.
According to Wikipedia which published, Gary Webb's following statement, "I was winning awards, getting raises, lecturing college classes, appearing on TV shows, and judging journalism contests. So how could I possibly agree with people like Noam Chomsky and Ben Bagdikian, who were claiming the system didn't work, that it was steered by powerful special interests and corporations, and existed to protect the power elite? And then I wrote some stories that made me realize how sadly misplaced my bliss had been. The reason I'd enjoyed such smooth sailing for so long hadn't been, as I'd assumed, because I was careful and diligent and good at my job ... The truth was that, in all those years, I hadn't written anything important enough to suppress ..."
Mike Cuesta's direction of this no frills thriller has your heart aching as you root for Gary Webb and for the poor being manipulated in ghettos by being made dependent on crack cocaine. This film's screenplay is written by Peter Landesman while it is based on Gary Webb's book Dark Alliance and Nick Schou's book Kill The Messenger. Nick Shou was a reporter for the LA Weekly reporter.
The cast is made up of stars in small, meaningful parts. These stars, one would suspect, accepted these roles because of the importance of this film. Andy Garcia, Rosemary De Witt as Gary Webb's wife, Martin Sheen, Ray Liotta, Oliver Platt, Barry Pepper, are a few of the familiar faces who appear throughout Kill the Messenger. And Jeremy Renner as Gary Webb shines over all in a tour de force performance.
Here you have history at the movies which is a joy amidst the mindless onslaught of animated films. Grab Kill the Messinger for a Golden Oldie style of storytelling...that is one with meaning and purpose.

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Wednesday, October 1, 2014

MOVIE REVIEW...A WALK AMONG THE TOMBSTONES....GOBBLE GOBBLE



Carole Mallory Headshot

Movie Review: A Walk Among the Tombstones -- Gobble Gobble

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Liam Neeson is always a treat to watch. And so he is in A Walk Among the Tombstones. "I have always liked to play loners like Steve Mc Queen and like Robert Mitchum did as Phillip Marlowe," Neeson said on GMA as he explained his attraction to portraying characters with a moral compass. Pity the script of A Walk Among the Tombstones could not have lived up to Liam Neeson's appeal.
In this bestselling mystery written by Lawrence Block , Neeson plays a retired NYPD detective Scudder haunted by demons who has been manipulated in solving the kidnapping of drug king pin Kenny Kristo's (Dan Stevens) wife. This heroin dealer is played by Dan Stevens straight from Downton Abbey as Matthew Crawley. With his weight loss and hair dyed blonde to brunette, he is barely recognizable. But his fine acting in A Walk Among the Tombstones is.
In a library, Scudder meets a young punk, TJ (Brian Astro Bradley) who tears up the screen every time he appears. Bradley is helped by having some of the best dialogue. While this film's dialogue is not the problem, the script by Scott Frank, who wrote the sceenplay and directed this turkey, is. A good pace in the form of a cat and mouse caper is created and moves swiftly, mysteriously through the film.

But in the end as Frank felt a need to accent the character change in Scudder who is a recovering alcoholic, a voice over recites the Twelve Steps of AA Recovery. This distracting, silly voice over ruins the plot like a sledgehammer. This voice over was not needed.
It just blocked the natural flow of this film and its forward movement. We have scenes of Scudder in an AA meeting sharing his story and scenes at an AA meeting with Howie (Eric Nelson), a fellow addict, who introduces Scudder to drug dealer Kristo. These are effective and establish character, but enough already with the AA preaching the Twelve Steps and trying to use as part of the plot. Shame on Scott Frank for ruining a good film.
Also A Walk Among the Tombstones would certainly have been a better film if there were meaningful roles for women. Oh, we have photos of the dead wife Leila Alvarez (Laura Birn) as she is murdered used in the credits and another victim who is kidnapped Marielle Heller. Then again a nurse, Natia Dune, but creating women's roles intrinsic to a plot are an anathema to Lawrence Block and Scott Frank.
Oh where o' where are the women's roles in Hollywood and women directors who would welcome them? The kidnappers are played by David Harbor, who is always convincing, and Adam David. Their gruesome way of killing their victims is by cutting up the bodies and stuffing them in plastic bags. The ending is predictable, but all could have been forgiven if Scott Frank gotten off of his AA pulpit and gotten in front of the lens and looked more closely at what he had created and let it have its own life on the screen.

MOVIE REVIEW. GONE GIRL...TOO FAR GONE

Carole Mallory Headshot

Movie Review: Gone Girl...Too Far Gone

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Gone Girl is a thriller that exposes the ugly side of a marriage gone wrong. It is a chilling account of a distraught husband looking for his missing wife, Rosamund Pike, who portrays Amy Dunne. Ben Affleck plays Nick Dunne, a spineless, milquetoast of a celebrity husband who is a creative writing teacher with financial problems. When suspicion focuses on him and that he may be involved in the sinister kidnapping or murder of his wife, he gradually becomes undone as you wonder more and more about his guilt. His twin sister Margo Dunne (Carrie Coon) commiserates with him. Kim Dickens plays Detective Ronda Boney who manages to keep cohesiveness to this fragmented film. Dickens holds back her thoughts with cautious facial expressions which add mystery and keep your emotions on the edge. Director David Fincher, known for his direction of Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and Fight Club, in an interview about his film's male-female relationships said, "The men are not really present." Nick Dunne is not really present in this movie. To reveal any more about this plot is to ruin any suspense.
Much drama is attached to Amy Dunne's disappearance, and in the end this film is like a soufflé gone bad. The plot is made of sharp, manipulative turns. Assumptions are made, then you discover you were wrong as you witness a savage indictment of marriage.
Shades of Presumed Innocent hover over this best seller as does a portrait of mental illness.
Neil Patrick Harris is miscast as a love interest. He is supposed to be in love or in lust with Amy Dunne, but instead of sparks flying in the bedroom, they fizzle on the wall to wall. Rosamund Pike is the girl who has gone or is gone. Her face is perfection. It has a frozen, almost chiseled, look much like sculptured faces with too much surgery, but she has had none. Her looks possess a coldness that is essential for Amy Dunne. Ms. Pike ironically or not so ironically was cast while doing a film in Scotland over Skype. She communicated with director Fincher over cell. Problem was the only cell tower in her area of Scotland was on the top of a hill. Her casting was dependent on cold weather and rare, impersonal technology which director Fincher used to his advantage to cast a cold heartless Amy Dunne.
But it is Tyler Perry who plays lawyer, Tanner Bolt, hired by Nick Dunne who holds this film together. Mr. Perry has a smooth wit and sense of truth that make his scenes flow with humor.
I was disappointed with the conclusion of Gone Girl which makes it appear that writer, Gillian Flynn, ran out of ideas. I ran out of the theater in disbelief of the praise heaped on this humdinger of hot air.
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Saturday, September 13, 2014

REMEMBERING BERRY BERENSON PERKINS, A VICTIM OF 9/11

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Remembering Berry Berenson Perkins, a Victim of 9/11

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Berry Berenson Perkins was the personification of unconditional love.
On 9/11 after the towers fell, I was driving to a meeting to be with my sober family when my cell phone rang. "Carole, sorry to hear about Berry," my friend Heather Mac Rae said. "She was on the American Airlines Flight II when it crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center."
"What? Where are you?"
"New York."
"Get out of there. Gotta go," I said as I hung up. I can still remember where I was -- the intersection of Township and Suede Road in Norristown, Pa. It was as though Berry was buried here. At this red light.
I remembered the love Berry gave to me, to everyone. She nursed her husband, Tony Perkins, who lost his battle to AIDS on September 12, 1992. She raised their two sons Osgood and Elvis. She didn't care about public opinion. She was brave. I wondered if she were in the front of the plane or the back. I hoped the back. From my stewardess days with Pan Am I could visualize the interior of a jet. If she were in the tail, she probably would not have been tortured. I suspected the first class passengers were brutalized in front of everyone to use terror to keep control.
Enough.
I want to remember the good times. When I met Berry. We were acting students with Wynn Handman the director of the American Place Theatre in New York. It was the late sixties. I was a model and Berry was a talented photographer and married to Tony Perkins. Wynn assigned me to study Streetcar Named Desire. I was to play Blanche and Berry was Stella. Wynn wanted us to work together. When we changed outfits in the dressing room, I said to Berry, "I've never touched a pregnant woman's belly. Could I touch yours?" She giggled her infectious laugh. "Of course," and there I was feeling a future infant. A moment one does not forget. Her tummy was so hard.
Then Berry and I went on stage as Tony Perkins and our class watched us do our scene. Tony was directing as Wynn was away. Some of the class members were: Richard Gere (An Officer and a Gentleman), Brad Davis (Midnight Express), Philippe Anglem (Elephant Man), Heather Mac Rae (Hair), Marisa Berenson (Barry Lyndon), Penny Milford (Coming Home), Robert Moresco (Oscar winner for Crash which he co-wrote), and Dennis Christopher (Breaking Away). After class sometimes Berry and I would have a bite.
In 1974, I filmed Stepford Wives and then moved to Paris as I had become the fiancée of Claude Picasso, Pablo's son. Irritated that I had portrayed a Stepford Wife, in 1975, Claude jilted me. When I returned to New York three-quarters of a basket case, Berry and Tony would invite me to their townhouse in the village to play card games. Tony loved games. They became a kind of family and always made me laugh. They didn't drink so I would bring my own wine in a brown paper bag. I just had to have wine with every meal. After all, I was chic. (I became sober in 1980.)
Berry's sister was model/actress Marisa Berenson while shocking pink designer Elsa Schiaparelli was their grandmother. Regarded as one of the most prominent figures in fashion between the two World Wars, Schiaparelli's designs were heavily influenced by Surrealists like her collaborators Salvador Dali and Giacometti. Her clients included Mae West.
Berry's mother was a Countess named Gogo, married to a shipping executive, but despite Berry's heritage, she was down to earth and did not choose her friends depending on their status. While she knew the rich and famous, her idea of a good time was sitting on their terrace of their village townhouse watching the sun go down while playing with her tots, Osgood and Elvis. Today Oz Perkins is an actor and Elvis Perkins, a musician.
One day Berry said to me, "You know when we were kids and Marisa and I would play, she was Queen and I was in her Court." Then Berry laughed her infectious laugh. I would have been in Berry's Court any day. Marisa had it, "Half ass backwards," as my Pa. Deustch mother would have said.
In 1988, when S&S published my novel Flash about a female flasher, Berry invited me to lunch. "I loved Flash and the way you laugh about sex. It's so healthy. Can you recommend any books for my boys to read?" I was flattered and recommended Updike, Anais Nin, Nabokov, Terry Southern. Shortly after this lunch Berry and Tony gave me a dinner party for Flash and invited his agent Sue Mengers.
When Tony was diagnosed with AIDS, in 1992, Berry gave him a party in New York knowing he did not have long. Photos were taken and autograph books were signed and everyone laughed and appeared to be happy yet resigned to his impending death. Little did everyone know nine years later Berry would abruptly join him.
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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

SHOWTIME'S RAY DONOVAN MAKES TV THE PLACE TO BE SUNDAY NIGHTT

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Showtime's Ray Donovan Makes TV the Place to Be Sunday Night

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Showtime's Ray Donovan triumphs over Boardwalk Empire, The Leftovers and Masters of Sex on Sunday night's festival of the best in TV series. Well, we do have Steve Soderbergh's The Knick. But that is on Friday. With all of its colorful costumes and rich period detail not to mention Pat Birch's exciting choreography, Boardwalk Empire has become predictable and convoluted. Masters of Sex is also predictable, but The Leftovers is not.
Still it does not have the pistol like through line in plot that Ray Donovan has. The Leftovers is exciting and wild, but it is Ray Donovan that keeps you hanging on the edge of your bedpost wondering what producer Ann Biderman's writers have dreamed up. Jon Voight as Mickey Donovan owns his character ofRay Donovan's father completely.
We know Voight won an Emmy last season, but what happened to the Emmys this show merited this season? While Voight is triumphant, it is Liev Schreiber who tears up the telly. He has a controlled anger that is menacing. His wife Abs (Paula Malcomson) packs a wallop of an Irish housefrau moved to Hollywood the land of corruption and legal cover ups. "Oh, we must protect the rich and famous and far from righteous," is the show's mantra and it is Ray Donovan who is the fixer. A team of Avi (Steven Bauer) and lesbian Lena (Katherine Moenning) to do the dirty clean up and sleuthing while Ray tries to hold his marriage together and role of Daddy.
In this most recent episode, Snowflake, Ray's daughter Bridget (Kerris Dorsay) has witnessed the brutal murder of her boyfriend, the up and coming cross over singer Marvin Gaye Washington (Octavius Johnson), and Rekon (Kwam Patterson) by Cookie (Omar Dorsey). a dangerous black mobster. She calls her Daddy Ray who tells her not to go to the police, but Bridget's mother, Abs, thinks the opposite and arranges a meeting with her boyfriend Jim (Brian Geraghty) who is a cop in homicide.
Ray is outraged and believes if Bridget testifies against Cookie, he will kill her. Bridget does not testify to this when she is interrogated by the police, but the truth that she was in the car and saw Cookie murder Recon and her lover Marvin, is now known by her mother and her mother's boyfriend. This puts Bridget at risk and the mercy of the gossip of her mother and Mr. Homicide Detective.
Meanwhile Bunchy, (Dash Mihoke) one of Ray's brothers is falling in love with a woman, Patty (Heather Mc Comb), who is pure and the mother of a young whippersnapper. What separates Ray Donovan from the mundane shoot-em-ups is its expose of the sexual crimes of the Catholic Church and the murder of a priest who raped Ray Donovan and his brothers while Ray's father did nothing to stop this abuse. Brother Bunchy is so damaged he cannot have sex with a woman or see this woman's small boy naked. Shades of his former assault at this age resurface.
The fine acting and plot twists keep Ray Donovan head and shoulders above the normal TV fare. It has trumped with Jon Voight and Live Schreiber tearing up the air waves. At the end of this episode, Ray visits a crusading writer, Steve Knight (Eion Bailey)who claims to heal through preaching self-love. Knight, a client of Ray's, has a girlfriend Ashley (Ambyr Childers) who is one of Ray's lovers. When Knight, the smug bizarre scam artist, sees a disheveled, tortured Ray at his door, he invites Ray in and says, "Do you want to tell me about your day?" Ray enters this handsome sleaze balls home to either have sex with his girlfriend or to seek advice as to handle the black mob of Cookie who is a threat to Ray's family.
You just don't know but sure as heck want to know and so you will return next week to this unusual cast of fine actors playing former inhabitants of Boston known as Southies. While Ray Donovan may have begun as a repeat performance of a humdrum TV cop show, it has risen above the boring and predictable to the cream in the crème fraiche in its stunning characterizations of people trying to cope amidst the smarmy values of Hollywood and the damage the Catholic Church has reaped on young boys. Elliot Gould tip toes in for a show stopping appearance as Ezra Goldman, a client of Ray's. Terry Donovan (Eddie Marsen) who has acquired Parkinson's disease from too many blows owns the local gym which is the laundromat for Ray's dirty money and performs some of the finest acting in this show.
Maybe the real enjoyment from watching this lalapalooza is the respect it has shown in casting of Hollywood legends and often over looked fine actors in small, but meaty parts. We have: Ann Margaret, Richard Benjamin, Rosanna Arquette, James Woods, Sherilyn Fenn, Denise Crosby a relative of Bing Crosby and, of course, Elliot Gould.Ray Donovan has three episodes left so it is not too late to tune in and let it entertain you. I assure you, it will.
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