Reel Critics: Still more to be 'Said' for Gandolfini

James Gandolfini spent years playing Tony Soprano and other thugs in films like "Killing Them Softly." It's hard to think of him as a big teddy bear of a guy at the center of a sensitive romantic comedy. But that's where he lands as Albert in "Enough Said." It's one of the final roles in his remarkable acting life cut short by his untimely death in June.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus is at the top of her game as Eva. She plays a middle-aged woman who becomes Albert's love interest. They are both divorced single parents of teenage daughters. Eva is a masseuse who unknowingly has Albert's ex-wife Marianne as a massage client. As Marianne describes the many faults of her ex-husband, Eva realizes she is talking about her own new boyfriend, Albert.

In Hollywood, a setup like this usually results in contrived comedy and phony dialogue. But writer/director Nicole Holofcener ("Friends With Money") overcomes that trap. She creates a mature yet playful look at grownups in love. The interaction and banter between all the characters rings true as real people in real relationships.


'Rush' provides a real one

Few directors have mastered as many film styles as Ron Howard. He easily serves up warmhearted fare like "Splash" and "Cocoon." But he also excels at Oscar-worthy dramas like "A Beautiful Mind" or "Apollo 13."

He combines these talents in the heart-pounding "Rush," an exhilarating tale of Formula One racing. It's based on a true story of the rivalry between two European race car drivers in the 1970s. Chris Hemsworth ("Thor") plays buffed English playboy driver James Hunt. Daniel Bruhl ("The Bourne Ultimatum") plays the methodical Austrian driver Niki Lauda.

The conflict between the two men is simple but compelling enough. Their animosity and very different lifestyles provide the dramatic tension with a nice touch of humor. But the real star of this movie is cinematographer Anthony Dod Mantle. He captures the chaotic turmoil of the race track in riveting, detailed action. It will make your head spin and should please the NASCAR fans in the audience.

JOHN DEPKO is a retired senior investigator for the Orange County public defender's office. He lives in Costa Mesa and works as a licensed private investigator.

Copyright © 2019, Daily Pilot
EDITION: California | U.S. & World