Friday, April 28, 2017


The masterly Jonathan Demme has departed, at 73.

His last fiction feature, 2015’s Ricki and the Flash, was a misfire, alas, but here in the Valley, Harkins Theatres hosts a well-deserved retrospective tribute this week, featuring four of the best of Demme’s direct, humane, sophisticated yet accessible films: His classic thriller Silence of the Lambs (1991), his fine courtroom drama Philadelphia (1993), his brilliant, genre-bending comedy-melodrama Something Wild (1986) and my own favorite, Married to the Mob (1988).

If you’ve never seen this buoyantly nutty comedy, in which the Long Island mob widow Angela de Marco (Michelle Pfeiffer) tries to “divorce” herself and her son from her extended gangster “family,” I highly recommend. It features a terrific cast led by Dean Stockwell (who got an Oscar nomination) as the smitten boss Tony “The Tiger” Russo, Matthew Modine as Pfeiffer’s G-man love interest, the young Alec Baldwin as Frankie “The Cucumber” de Marco, and the marvelous Mercedes Ruehl as Tony’s heartbroken and hilariously terrifying wife Connie. It also features what I think is Pfeiffer’s best, or at least most endearing, performance.

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