Tag: Michael Sheen

The Queen

August 1st, 2014 — 6:53pm

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The Queen-nf- As Americans we never quite understood how and why the British people hold their royal family in such esteem. Also, while being full grown adult at the time of the auto accident that claimed the life of Princess Diana, who was by then divorced from Prince Charles, we never understood why there was such a big deal about her funeral. Well, this more or less docudrama focuses on both of these subjects. Thanks to the screenplay by Peter Morgan and the direction David Frears, plus the outstanding acting by Helen Mirren as Queen Elizabeth and Michael Sheen, as newly elected Prime Minister Tony Blair, we are treated to a sophisticated exploration of inner workings of the royal court and what is purported be an accurate rendition of the complicated feeling of all the players in this drama. A fascinating story unravels, which shows the Queen and the royal family with the exception of Prince Charles, reluctant to make a big deal, a royal funeral or any public statements about the sudden tragic death of Diana. Whereas the people of Great Britain and eventually people around the world who were taken up with her life style and her many charitable good deeds were very much affected and were drawn to follow her funeral and participate in the grieving, the royal family felt that she was no longer royalty and there should be just a private funeral. Actual film clips of the large numbers of tearful people in the streets and many inundating the outside of Buckingham Palace with flowers were shown. Blair appreciates the importance to the British people to grieve this loss and realized the mistake that the Queen was making by staying in her country home, not returning to Buckingham Palace and raising the flag at half mast. At one point he even detected a growing sentiment that could lead to the British people wanting to perhaps even remove the monarchy, which they had revered for hundred of years. He tried to counsel the Queen and she responds. In another source we found information that reported that the writer Peter Morgan reconstructed the events of the week after the death of Princess Diana through extensive interviews with many unnamed sources close to the real Prime Minister and the royal family. Many of these sources were able to corroborate the accounts of others, giving Morgan enough information to imagine the intervening scenes, which were portrayed in the movie. Helen Mirren was at her best in this film and won both an Oscar and a Golden Globe for Best Actress. The film itself won the most coveted award of an Academy Award Oscar for Best Motion Picture of the Year. But perhaps the highest compliment for Ms. Mirren was the observation by the writer Mr. Morgan that, by the end of production, crewmembers who had been accustomed to slouching or relaxing when they addressed her were standing straight up and respectfully folding their hands behind their backs. She was the Queen. (2006)


Comment » | 4 Stars, Drama, History

Midnight in Paris

June 5th, 2011 — 6:43am


Midnight In Paris rm-   The movie opens with a couple of minutes of  various beautiful scenes throughout Paris which made us both independently  feel that we are ready for a return trip to the city of lights. Woody Allen wrote and directed the film. You can not help but feel that it is Allen speaking through the main character who is Gil Pender(Owen Wilson),  a disenchanted  Hollywood screenwriter, who is  working on his first novel and is visiting Paris with his fiancée (Rachel McAdams) and her parents (Kurt Fuller and Mimi Kennedy). Gil is enchanted with Paris and would like to live there for awhile but his fiancée thinks  that is a foolish idea. She would prefer to go sightseeing with Carol and Paul,  good friends who just happened to be also visiting Paris. Paul  is a know-it-all (wonderfully played by Michael Sheen) who has the  intellectual connection to Paris as compared the emotional attachment which Gil has formed with this city. Paul has the audacity to debate some historical facts with a museum guide who interestingly enough is played by Carla Bruni, well known singer, model and wife of the President of France. Whereas Gil after a few drinks and some wondering the streets of Paris at night is offered a ride by some party going people in what appears to be a 1920s Peugeot Limousine. He finds himself whisked to late night parties where he meets F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Pablo Picasso, Alice Toklas, Salvatore Dali and other illustrious persons of Paris of this bygone era. He returns on succeeding evenings where he was picked up to visit to the Paris of old. He even gets Gertrude Stein (Kathy Bates) to read the novel he is writing. He becomes enamored with the mistress of Picasso who prefers to be taken even further back in time as she yearns to be in the Paris of the renaissance. It is then that Gil realize that that it is human nature to want to be back in the good old days and that we never recognize that we all have to live our lives in the present. So maybe after all these years Woody Allen has had a successful psychoanalysis. The result is a very charming, “feel-good” enjoyable movie.

Comment » | 3 Stars, Comedy, Romance

Music Within

September 6th, 2010 — 8:29am

Music Within* * * *
Music Within
– nf – Richard Pimentel is a real Viet Nam veteran who was injured in the war and returned home with severely impaired hearing. That experience inspired him to become an activist, author and spokesperson for the disabled. He became one of the major forces behind the American with Disabilities Act of the 1990s. This movie is the story of his journey from a kid with a mentally ill mother, which led him to have a troubled childhood, to the success, which he ultimately had. When he was unable to realize his gift for public speaking, he put things on hold and entered the military. The pathway he took upon his return to civilian life and his skill in convincing employers to hire disabled vets was quite impressive. Thanks to some excellent writing, director Steven Sawalich and his very talented team were able to bring this unforgettable story to the screen. Ron Livingston carries off a very fine portrayal of Pimentel with Melissa George as his girl friend and an excellent job by veteran actor Hector Elizondo as a Speech Professor. However, the most amazing performance of the movie is that of Michael Sheen who plays Art Honeyman a brilliant college student with cerebral palsy who befriends Pimentel and is a key part of the movie. Sheen’s wheel chair performance with a severe speech defect is one of the highlights of the film and should have earned him an Academy Award nomination. This is a period piece and seamlessly with the aid of appropriate music moves through the decades of the 50s through the 90s. This is certainly a tribute to all those who battle with disabilities and find themselves misunderstood. It also is an inspiring story, which shows how one dedicated and passionate person can make a difference, and brings about meaningful change. (2007)

Comment » | 4 Stars, Biography, Comedy, Drama

The Damned United

January 17th, 2010 — 2:08am

The Damned United* * *
The Damned United
– sp – Imagine a storyline in which Joe Torres iconic manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers steps aside and some younger hot shot guy who did well with a second rate team is given the job. Picture that this new guy thinks he is the greatest and is out to prove that he is even better than Torres whom he dislikes. He doesn’t even feel he needs his beloved assistant manager on whom he was very dependent on his previous teams. Add great action, inside locker room scenes and baseball talk that you really appreciate having grown up as a baseball fan. Now transform the whole story to Great Britain and make it about soccer instead of baseball and you have the essence of this movie. We were very impressed with Michael Sheen whom we met at our film course and who plays Brian Clough, the well-known real life soccer coach, who might be called the tragic figure of this movie. Sheen who played David Frost on the screen and in the theatre in Frost-Nixon described his preparation to inhabit the characters he plays. He takes over the screen and brilliantly conveys the depth of personality and emotion. Although the movie is not just about soccer, there is something lost in the translation to more familiar life situations. We don’t think that the journey taken in this film will be worth the 98 minutes to most people we know. (2009)

Comment » | 3 Stars, Biography, Drama, Sport


November 7th, 2009 — 1:10am

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– rm – This is the story of the remarkable series of TV interviews that David Frost, a TV emcee type person had with the then deposed ex-President Richard Nixon. If you recall this historical time you will relive the unique situation our country was going through. The depiction of Nixon and Frost is quite good and the actual interviews are apparently true to the transcript of the programs. They do seem to have captured the fascinating personality of the flawed President. The writer and director did take some poetic license with some of the interactions which they purport to have taken place between Frost and Nixon which disappointed us when we learned this from other sources This made the movie less significant in our minds and takes away from our valuation of the movie although it is still immensely enjoyable. 2008

Comment » | 4 Stars, Drama

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