Breaking the Girls (2012)

Who’s deceiving whom in this absorbing Strangers on a Train riff?

US / 87 minutes / color / Myriad, Tapestry, Future, Light Iron, IFC Dir: Jamie Babbit Pr: Kirk D’Amico, Andrea Sperling Scr: Mark Distefano, Guinevere Turner Cine: Jeffrey Waldron Cast: Agnes Bruckner, Madeline Zima, Shawn Ashmore, Kate Levering, Shanna Collins, Davenia McFadden, Tiya Sircar, Melanie Mayron, Manish Dayal, Billy Mayo, Sam Anderson, John Stockwell, Jennifer Ann Massey.


Orphaned scholarship law student Sara Ryan (Bruckner) works nights at a bar called The Roost. One evening one of her customers is a child of extreme privilege, the visibly flaky, unstable Alex Layton (Zima); hardly has she sat down than another customer, Tim (Dayal), crassly propositions her. Sara sends Tim packing and the two women exchange pleasantries.


Alex (Madeline Zima) gets chatted up at The Roost.

But not for long, because into The Roost stumble Sara’s classmates Brooke Potter (Collins), Brooke’s toady Piper Sperling (Sircar) and Brooke’s boyfriend Eric Nolan (Ashmore), son of their law professor (Anderson). Brooke loathes Sara because Sara’s a scholarship girl and because Continue reading

Midnight’s Child (1992 TVM)

Kate’s not wanted any more,
Gonna throw her out the door.

US / 89 minutes / color with some bw / Victoria Principal, Jeff Myrow–David Gottlieb, Polone, Hearst Dir: Colin Bucksey Pr: Kimberly Myers Scr: David Chaskin Story: Jeff Myrow, David N. Gottlieb, David Chaskin Cine: Anthony B. Richmond Cast: Marcy Walker, Cotter Smith, Olivia d’Abo, Elissabeth Moss, Jim Norton, Judy Parfitt, Roxann Biggs (i.e., Roxann Dawson), Mary Larkin, Jeff Nowinski, Pierrette Grace, Nicole Prochnik, Jake Jacobs, Matt Corey, Stephanie Shroyer, Beth Bjork.

Midnight's Child - 0 opener

For most of its running time this rather neat made-for-television movie presents itself as a psychological thriller, an interesting riff on the likes of The HAND THAT ROCKS THE CRADLE (1992), but in the later stages it fairly abruptly morphs into something quite different.

It’s the end of term at the Roman Catholic St. Helena Akademy in Stockholm, and young Anna Bergman (Grace) has fixed up a job as an au pair in distant California. On her final night at the school she gets a note from her room-mate, Kirsten Grossbaum (d’Abo), asking to meet in the science lab for a surprise. The surprise is that Kirsten beats her over the head with a pestle, then organizes a gas explosion so that Anna is burnt to unrecognizability. Using Anna’s passport and a knack for disguise, Kirsten then flies out to take Anna’s place as au pair to high-powered executive Kate Cowan (Walker) and her struggling-professional-illustrator husband Nick (Smith), looking after their nearly-eight-year-old daughter Christina “Chrissy” (Moss).

Midnight's Child - 1 The real Anna Bergman (Pierrette Grace)

 The real Anna Bergman (Pierrette Grace).

Midnight's Child - 2 Kirsten looks back at the mayhem she's caused

Kirsten (Olivia d’Abo) looks back at the mayhem she’s caused.

“Anna” has a fearsome first day, the breaking of the washing machine being the highlight. Kate manages, however, to Continue reading

Sheng Dan Mei Gui (2013)

vt Christmas Rose
HK / 90 minutes / color / Bona, Creative Alliance, Distribution Workshop Dir & Story: Charlie Yeung/Young Pr: Tsui Hark, Jacob/Cheung Chi-leung Scr: Philip Lui Cine: Henry Chung, Chung Tung-leung, Chan Chi-ying Cast: Aaron Kwok, Gwei Lun-mei, Xia Yu, Qin Hai-lu, Chang Chen, Liu Kai-chi, Wan Qian/Regina Wan, Patricia Ha, Theresa Lee, Joe Cheung, Wong So-foon, Serissa Boggos.

Christmas Rose - 0 opener

Jing (Gwei Lun-mei) is found helpless on Dr. Zhou’s floor.

Tim Chen (Kwok) followed in his father’s footsteps as a defense attorney but was eternally soured by a case in which his father, defending an accused rapist, inadvertently induced the accuser to commit suicide. Now his father (Cheung) is a terminal patient in hospital and Tim’s loathing for him hasn’t abated. We understand that for many years Tim has yearned to outdo the old man; now he suddenly determines to defect to the other side, to become a prosecutor, and it seems his filial detestation is one of his reasons.

The first case that he’s handed sparks off echoes of the one that drove the wedge between him and his dad. Crippled piano teacher Jing/Jane Li (Lun-Mei) has accused a doctor, the coldly aloof Wenxuan/Winston Zhou (Chen), of sexually molesting her during a gynecological examination; since the nurse (So-foon) had darted briefly out of the consulting room for the couple of minutes during which the crime was supposedly Continue reading