CHICAGO – Cinemax’s ominous new series “The Knick” is a hospital drama that’s very much in the voice of its director, Steven Soderbergh. Set in New York City at the turn of the 20th century, the series presents the medical world as it inches closer and closer to modernity, while making contemporary parallels to the desperate hustle by surgery room clients and their doctors alike regarding treatment of the human body. What has changed in the politics of medicine? What hasn’t?
Film Review: ‘For a Good Time, Call...’ Has a Stellar Ringtone
CHICAGO – Rising above the usual romantic comedy dreck is an admirable achievement in today’s film landscape. “For a Good Time, Call…” is not only funny and unconventional, but focuses on the relationship between the two lead woman characters, portrayed by Lauren Miller and Ari Graynor.
The approach of two twentysomething career women focusing their efforts on running a phone sex service is funny in itself. What is surprising is the film generally stays away from the low common denominator element envisioned in such a premise. The calls are used as high comedy and farce – with several familiar cameos thrown in – and the movie stakes a claim for the friendship of women. The two lead characters are basically fighting their loneliness and find a grateful fellow traveler in each other. Add a kind of glitzy patina to the proceedings – courtesy of debut director Jamie Travis – and the final product has tenderness and a great capacity for fun.
Lauren (Lauren Miller) is at a crossroads. Her live-in lover has just given her the walking papers, and her employment in publishing has come to an end. She moves quickly to find a new apartment in New York City, aided by her gay best friend Jesse (Justin Long). He helps her find the perfect place, with a roommate desperate to keep the apartment intact. Except that roommate is Katie (Ari Graynor), and Lauren was none too impressed with her in college. But this Odd Couple situation has to work, because neither of them have anyplace else to go.
Katie is a freelance jobber, and one day Lauren hears what she assumes is sexual congress coming from her roommate’s bedroom. It really turns out to be Katie working for a phone sex service to supplement her income. This gives Lauren an idea – why not start their own service and keep all the profits. Katie at first handles the phone chores, and Lauren sets up the business, but as the lines heat up Lauren has to take her turn at the receiver. What follows is life lessons for all, with the centerpiece being the relationship of two opposite personalities.
Photo credit: Focus Features