John Mellencamp and Meg Ryan - John Mellencamp and Meg Ryan (in background) Los Angeles, California - Meg Ryan leaving RRL boutique in West Hollywood after shopping with her boyfriend Monday 4th April 2011
Like Cukor's film, English's effort boasts an all-female cast that ranges from raging, single Manhattanites to pot-smoking, transplanted Angelenos to Connecticut-rich ladies who lunch. The latter would be Mary Haines (Ryan), a fashion designer who gets the axe from her father after expecting him to hand over the keys to the castle. Before Mary even finds out, her best friend Sylvia (Bening) receives drive-by gossip about Mary's husband's affair with a counter girl at Saks named (appropriately) Crystal (Mendes). Mary's mother (Candice Bergen) expected it, and her lesbian friend Alex (Pinkett-Smith) wants to convert her. Needless to say, she finds her way through the fog of familial uprooting and finds herself a better mother, friend, and daughter for it.
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That depends. Do you go to the movies to escape your own problems or do you pay to absorb the dour hardships of others? Land offers a near-two-hour marathon of phony soul-searching by suburban caricatures set to a grating soundtrack of the latest Starbucks-approved pop songs. Interested parties, the ticket line forms to the left.
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And yet here it is.
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What, now you want to know why it's so bad? Where to begin? A heaping slop of half-thoughts, Cut exists so squeaky-clean Meg Ryan, trapped in a career spiral, can play against type with meager results. It begins with women turning up dead in a grimy lower Manhattan neighborhood. Assorted clues point Detective James Malloy (Mark Ruffalo) to the door of disheveled English professor Frannie Avery (Ryan), who happened to be in a local bar the night a fellow patron turned up dead.
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No, none of this could keep me from laughing at the hysterics of Broderick and Meg Ryan trying to win back and irrevocably destroy their respective lovers. While Addicted to Love has more gaping plot holes than you can shake a stick at, it's still awfully funny when it wants to be, largely carried on the shoulders of Broderick's natural charm and a cast of thousands (of roaches). And Meg Ryan ain't bad, either.
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Scheduled to open last year, Against the Ropes is inspired by the life of boxing promoter Jackie Kallen (Meg Ryan). When we first meet Kallen, her career is going nowhere. She's stuck working for a Cleveland arena executive, who treats her like a nicer version of Kevin Spacey in Swimming with Sharks.
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I'm not saying the Gulf War was a bad, or unjust, operation. It's more of a joke than anything else, and that's why when a film comes out attempting to glamorize the war and make heroes out of fictional soldiers and fictional events, I greet it with a bit of skepticism. Courage Under Fire (just out on DVD) is the first real Gulf War movie. It probably won't be the last.
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Hopefully the last in a line of man vs. devil movies let loose by Y2K hysteria coupled with the success of The Sixth Sense (which wisely steered clear of religious metaphors altogether), Lost Souls actually ranks below End of Days and just about ties the pitiful Bless the Child for sheer badness.
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Redeeming the genre from last week's dismal While You Were Sleeping, Meg Ryan and Kevin Kline manage to deliver hilarious and surprisingly touching performances in French Kiss. Ryan plays Kate, a seriously neurotic woman who takes the phrase "obsessive-compulsive" to new lows. Charlie (Timothy Hutton) is Kate's fiancee, an up-and-coming doctor who, when Kate is too afraid to board the airplane, takes a week-long business trip to Paris alone.
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Unfortunately, there have been many, many successors since 1989, and most of them don't have as much right to exist. Sleepless in Seattle was one of the first and most obvious. It reteamed cute, perky actress Meg Ryan with writer/director Nora Ephron and even included some of the more annoying aspects of When Harry Met Sally... -- the plot coincidences, the unappealing friends, etc.
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When Harry Met Sally... closed out a decade fondly remembered by Grosse Pointe Blank and Romy and Michele's High School Reunion and darkly satirized by Bret Easton Ellis' American Psycho. It's a romantic comedy that has spawned a plethora of knockoffs so terrifying that, like its counterparts in all other genres, it may have been better if the script were never penned, if only to save us from the aftermath. But still, we have to give When Harry Met Sally... credit for what it did: Make one of the few romance films that bears any kind of truth without also being a dark comedy.
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Using the sentimental ditty "Que Sera Sera" to eye-rolling effect as an ironic theme for a victim-protagonist with dangerously poor romantic judgment, Jane Campion's erotic thriller/murder mystery "In the Cut" proves to be neither erotic (who would want to sleep with a creepy cop who always wears a deceitful grimace?) nor thrilling, but merely baleful and unpleasant.
Adapted from Susanna Moore's 1995 novel in a collaboration between author and director, the film stars Meg Ryan -- in a welcome, commanding departure from her screen-sweetheart career trap -- as an emotionally wary creative writing teacher at a Lower Manhattan high school who becomes the unwitting center of gravity in a series of gruesome dismemberment murders of young women.
But the plot turns on her psychologically reckless relationship with Mark Ruffalo ("You Can Count On Me"), the pushy, callously manipulative lead detective on the case, with whom she falls into bed even though she's suspects he may be the killer, having seen a man bearing his distinctive three-of-spades tattoo embroiled with the first victim in the shadows of a local dive shortly before her death.
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Famous female boxing manager Jackie Kallen's real life is quite a good story about perseverance and tenacity in the toughest and nastiest of men's worlds.
Kallen was once a journalist who early in her career talked the Rolling Stones into coming to her mom's house for dinner and an interview, and whose dogged single-mindedness landed her a 1976 exclusive with notoriously press-shy Detroit pitcher Mark "the Bird" Fidrych. But writing a story on boxer Thomas "Hit Man" Hearns led her to change careers, becoming a publicist and then a manager for several up-and-coming fighters in the 1980s -- a choice that was met with a lot of resistance in the sport. In fact, she got a cornerman's license because she wasn't being allowed in the ring with her clients. And she did all this while raising two daughters.
But the real Jackie Kallen has very little to do with "Against the Ropes," a grossly over-fictionalized biopic starring Meg Ryan as a frisky, charmingly trashy, tough-cookie version of Kallen who has a soundtrack of perky flutes and violins lending girl-power twinkle to everything she does -- and sucking all the sports credibility out of the movie.
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As terminally precious as any Meg Ryan vehicle, the time-travel romantic comedy "Kate and Leopold" might warm the easy heart, but it will most certainly numb the brain.
Ryan is talented but seemingly trapped by her demographic appeal in a perpetual loop of cutesy-poo chick flicks. It's something of an ironic joke that this time out the actress plays a market researcher who is introduced while rolling her eyes in the back of a movie theater during a test screening of an appallingly sappy romance.
A flustered Manhattan career gal whose love life frustration is amusingly amplified by her amateur inventor ex-boyfriend (Leiv Schreiber) living in the apartment above hers, Kate McKay (Ryan) has lost all patience with the ex when he excitedly claims to have discovered a portal into the 19th Century -- and returned with his great-great-grandfather in tow. Stuart (Schreiber) then introduces the handsome, princely, mister fancy-pants as Leopold, the third Duke of Albany (Hugh Jackman), and Kate doesn't believe a word of it.
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Put out of your head the truly awful trailers and the even worse TV commercials that make "Proof of Life" look like some kind of action-amour hybrid. Forget all the rumors about an ill-advised romantic subplot in the movie (there isn't one) and on the set (no comment!). Thanks to the solid work of journeyman director Taylor Hackford, "Proof" is a bona fide Third World thriller that deserves to be seen without all the prejudicial baggage and BS that has swirled around the movie for the last few months.
Fresh from becoming a bankable star thanks to "Gladiator," Russell Crowe stars as a desensitized yet sympathetic kidnap-and-rescue specialist ("KNR" in the trade jargon) dispatched to an unnamed Central American country to negotiate for the return of an American hydroelectric engineer (David Morse). The man has been abducted by drug-running rebels looking to score a big ransom from his oil conglomerate employer.
Meg Ryan plays Morse's distraught wife who grows to trust this brusque KNR man just as the oil company tries to weasel out of its responsibility, dismissing Crowe's high-rent expert and bringing in a crooked, inexperienced local yokel instead.
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Screenwriter Nora Ephron is the empress of cutesy-poo, yuppie chick flicks ("Sleepless In Seattle," "You've Got Mail"), so I was pretty sure of what I was getting into with "Hanging Up," her latest molded-for-Meg Ryan vehicle.
I went into this estrogen-laced bonding fable -- featuring Ryan, Diane Keaton and Lisa Kudrow as three perfectly coifed, unconsciously competitive sisters -- braced for chronic cuteness and saccharine sentimentality.
What I got was a strongly (if predictably) acted, emotionally sincere and enjoyably capricious comedy-drama about the sibling rivalry and responsibility that follow us into adulthood. A story which rings so true I defy any set of sisters to see it together without glancing sideways half a dozen times and laughing "That's you!"
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Date of birth
19th November, 1961
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