Tag: Vanessa Redgrave

Film Stars Don’t DIe in Liverpool

December 20th, 2017 — 4:27am


Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool

This film is an example of really great acting by the two leads who both captured the personality of their interesting characters, but in our opinion the movie experience fell flat and did not hold our interest.

The movie is based on a true story about a well-known movie actress, Gloria Grahame, who won an Oscar for best supporting actress in 1947. She had four marriages and four children from three of her husbands. She apparently was very “young at heart” as her husbands’ tended to be on the younger side and one of them was a stepson of an ex-husband.

This movie was about Grahame’s last relationship, which was with a young actor, Peter Turner, who wrote the book upon which the screenplay by Matt Greenhalgh was based. Turner was played by Jamie Bell and Gloria Grahame was played by Annette Bening. The story encompasses the time of their relationship with flashbacks to when they met and we follow her in failing health, which we are introduced to as the film opens. (You need not be concerned, as the heroine does not die in Liverpool.) Director Paul McGuigan used period music to establish various moods of the film. Bening showed the appeal, which made us understand why the younger man was drawn to her. A supporting cast of Julie Walters, Kenneth Cranham, Stephen Graham, Frances Barber, and even a brief stint by Vanessa Redgrave where as they were excellent as they should be.

The premise of the film held interesting promise. It provided some understanding of the feelings and chemistry of both characters. But in the end, we found the movie lacking and we were not sufficiently touched or moved to urge our readers to put it on your list of films to see. (2017)

Comment » | 2 Stars, Drama


November 24th, 2014 — 6:39am

***Screen Shot 2014-11-22 at 9.55.54 PM

Foxcatcher rm– Steve Carell establishes himself as a serious actor as he plays John Dupont, one of the wealthy children of the Dupont family. He seems filled with his own narcissism but yet insecure and desperate to prove to his mother and the world that he is a wonderful, worthwhile person. He is going to try to do this by investing in his great passion and that is wrestling. He envisions himself as a wrestling coach and father figure to what he hopes will be the US championship team of the 1988 Olympics. This film is based on a true story with a screenplay by Dan Futterman and E. Max Frye and is directed by Bennett Miller. It is mainly about three characters, Dupont, Mark Schultz ( Channing Tatum) and David Schultz (Mark Ruffalo) The latter two are brothers who have already won Olympic Gold Medals in wrestling. Mark comes across as quite introverted, islolated pliable and almost too wooden as he quickly agrees to move to the the Dupont estate and train for the next Olympics. It is hard to say if his rather blunted personality is what was intended by the story or perhaps it is some underacting by Tatum. David, the older brother and already a family man with a wife and two kids is also in a coaching mode, exudes warmth and relatedness, all of which is projected quite well by Ruffalo. He ultimately decides to bring his wife (Sienna Miller) and two kids to join the US wrestling team on the Dupont estate under the irrational auspicious of John Dupont. The ambivalent relationship and tension between the two brothers is subtle and interesting to ponder. Vanessa Redgrave has a brief role as the Dupont mother who loves valuable horses and doesn’t think very highly of wrestling much to the despair of her son John. If you were into high school or college wrestling you may appreciate all the wrestling moves in the various scenes on the mats. The plot is also     interesting to grapple with in this sad but very interesting story. (2014)

Comment » | 3 Stars, Drama, History, Sport


October 22nd, 2011 — 2:21am


Anonymous– sp- John Orloff, as an undergraduate was always interested in the question of whether or not William Shakespeare really wrote the masterpieces that have been attributed to him. Orloff pondered this concern during his time in film school and has been pitching various versions of this screen play for the past 15 years. Finally Columbia Pictures put up 30 million dollars (a relatively small sum) for this movie to be made under the direction of Roland Emmerich who is best known for elaborately staged blockbuster films such as Independence Day, Godzilla, The Patriot, 10000 BC and 2012. This movie as you might imagine is a period piece with lots of 16th century costumes and filled with Shakespearian dialog (or dialog from whomever actually may have written it back then). The setting which encompasses  many streets, buildings including the famed Globe Theater and hoards of people appears quite authentic although they were mostly produced by the magic of computer technology and digitalization. The storyline is that Edward De Vere, the Earl of Oxford, (Rhys Ifans) was the original author but in his royal position he couldn’t acknowledge the nature of his writings. He secretly gave his written works to a young writer named Ben Johnson (Sebastain Armesto) who was too involved in his own budding literary works to want to take ownership or produce them. He instead passed them on to William Shakespeare (Rafe Spall), a journeyman actor  who also was sworn to secrecy but gladly took credit for them. Shakespeare who was far from a writer himself began to stage the plays which immediately received great acclaim. Vanessa Redgrave played Queen Elizabeth I and Redgrave’s own daughter (Joely Richardson) had the role of the Queen at a younger age. There of course were subplots and various intrigues including flashbacks in time.   Many fine Shakespearian actors were cast in this film which were a great showcase for their talents. At times we lost track where in time we were or who was who in the secondary characters. History buffs of this period of time as well as Shakespearian aficionados will enjoy the storyline and dialog respectively. Rather than solve  the age old authorship conundrum, in the end this movie made an all out effort to entertain us with a fanciful dramatic well acted story.

Comment » | 3 Stars, Drama

The Whistleblower

July 22nd, 2011 — 5:24pm


The Whistleblower-Sp  This is a documdrama about Kathryn Bolkovac (Rachel Weisz)  a divorced policewoman from Nebraska who signed up with a company providing contracted services to the United Nations involved with peace keeping and training local police to investigate crimes in Bosnia shortly after the end of the war there. She comes to realize that young girls are being forced into sexual slavery. She discovers much to her disbelief that not only are local police involved by accepting bribes to look the other way while these young women are forced into prostitution but many of them are involved in the abuse of them. She soon further realizes that her fellow police officers of the international force contracted to work in Bosnia.  including the Americans  are deeply involved as are many of the diplomats all of whom have diplomatic immunity. Director  Larysa Kondracki co-wrote this story with Eilis Kirwan. They have been working on this project for 8 years since their Columbia Film School days. An all star cast of Vanessa Redgrave Monica Bellucci and David Strathairn bring top notch acting to this movie. Kondracki and Kirwan  chose to focus their story on the real person  of Boklovac whom they met in Holland where she now lives with her children and  Dutch husband whom she  met in Bosnia. The filmmakers describe how the film is quite accurate and if anything the abuse and maltreatment of the girls is minimized in the film compared to what really happened to them.  They chose to try to tell the story of this whistleblower character played by Weisz and also particularly bring to life one of girls who is an important part of the plot and who dared to speak against her enslavers and dearly paid for doing so.  As you understand how so many people are involved in what is a multi-million dollar or if not billion dollar industry of human trafficking, you realize how much danger Kathery Bolkovac is in. It is at this point in the movie which is not only is a social commentary on an important issue but it is now become an effective  mystery thriller. In the end the viewer cannot help but feel enraged and angry as well as enlightened.. Ms Kondracki shared with us that the office of the United Nations Secretary General is actually trying to decide how they should respond to this film and whether they will support it or speak out against it. This demonstrates how revealing and powerful this movie is as it depicts what was happening 10 years ago in Bosnia and which the filmmakers believe is still a major problem throughout the world. This is not a feel good movie and in fact is quite the opposite. But it is definitely worth seeing. (2011)

Comment » | 4 Stars, Documentary

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