Saturday, February 12, 2011


Gentle Readers,

I recommend for your viewing interest and pleasure: Welcome to the Rileys.

Doug (James Gandolfini) and Lois (Melissa Leo) Riley have been married for 30 years. They live in the same house, but they have not been together since their 15-year-old daughter died in a car accident eight years earlier. Then Doug goes to a convention in New Orleans and meets 16-year-old stripper and prostitute Mallory (Kristen Stewart).  Doug piques Mallory's interest by refusing her offer of a lap dance or sex. He just wants to take care of her and make her life better. He's so intent on his mission that he calls Lois and says he's not returning home.

So, Lois, who hasn't left her house in God only knows how long, gets the car out of the garage in a rather interesting and amusing fashion and drives to New Orleans to find Doug. At first, she is reluctant to help a girl who so obviously could become a replacement for their daughter, but she soon gets on board and offers Mallory tender loving care. The Rileys are a team for the first time in so long.

However, Mallory is "nobody's little girl." Can the Rileys help Mallory?

Not gonna tell you. Watch if for yourself. It's worth it. It's charming and subtle and not overly sentimental. It really could have fallen into the maudlin trap and didn't do it.

The performances are lovely. Kristen Stewart looks appropriately skanky, though the young girl lurks inside. Melissa Leo is all motherly concern, and James Gandolfini is a revelation. I'm so accustomed to thinking of him as none other than Tony Soprano (love, love, love that show), but he manages to inhabit Doug Riley. I found his somewhat southern, hick accent a bit disconcerting though, perhaps in part because I expect to hear the Joisey boy come out and perhaps in part because he's supposed to be from Indianapolis. I once lived near Indianapolis and although I heard a few hick accents in small towns, they weren't common and I don't recall anyone having a southern accent.

But it was the first place I heard children call their grandparents Maaaa (like the sound a sheep makes) - Mah and Paaaaa-Pah. I will disown any grandchild who attempts to call me Maaaa-Mah. I am not a hillbilly.

But would the Riley welcome Inception? I can't say for sure, but to my surprise, I liked it. I usually don't care for the science fiction/fantasy/thriller thing, but this one is stylish.

Dom Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) invades the dreams of corporate titans to steal their deepest secrets. At first I felt confused by when are they dreaming and when are they not dreaming, but I gradually caught on to the plot.

DiCaprio was pretty good, but I thought Ellen Page was a little too earnest and clever as the earnest and clever student who learns to work with Dom Cobb with very little explanation of what he does. And Marion Cotillard as Dom's deceased wife was a little too trembly and fragile, but having a dead wife to jump in and stir things up works pretty well.

I think Inception is worth a try.

Happy Viewing!

Infinities of love,


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