31st Jan2014

Lone Survivor – Film

by timbaros
images-88On June 27, 2005, the war in Afghanistan claimed the lives of 20 soldiers, the worst single day loss of life for the Naval Special Warfare personnel since WWII. There was one man who survived – Marcus Luttrell. Lone Survivor tells his story.
Luttrell was part of the Navy Seals Team 10 who were sent into the Afghanistan mountains to capture a Taliban leader in a mission called Operation Red Wings, an operation that was intended to disrupt local anti-Coalition Militia activity and to contribute to regional stability and assisting in the Afghani Parliament elections to be held three months later.
Luttrell was one of four men who were dropped into a remote mountainous area in the Kunar province, near the Pakistan border to kill or capture Ahmad Shah, a Taliban leader who was believed to be hiding in those mountains and who the previous week was responsible for the murder of several marines.
Lone Survivor, based on the 2007 book by Luttrell (and Patrick Robinson) called Lone Survivor: The Eyewitness Account of Operation Redwing and the Lost Heroes of SEAL Team 10, was the lone survivor of the four-man team who were sent into practically unknown territory only to be ambushed in a covert mission that could be described as harrowing and nightmarish. Lone Survivor is not only excellent and one of the best films of the year, but is also one that will make you feel for these soldiers and what they go through, their acts of heroism, courage, with death being an imminent conclusion.
Wahlberg plays Luttrell, Taylor Kitsch is Michael Murphy, Emile Hirsch is Danny Dietz, and Ben Foster is Matt “Axe Axelson. Eric Bana plays their commanding officer Erik Kristensen – the officer who is responsible for the mission called Operation Red Wings.
It was on that day on June 27th, 2005 that the four-man reconnaissance and surveillance team boarded a helicopter to be dropped into a remote mountainous area in the Kunar province, Afghanistan, near the Pakistan border. Almost as soon as the four men are dropped into the mountains,  they are discovered by three goatherders (with their goats and a dog). Instead of killing them, the men let them go (Rules of Engagement won’t allow them to kill them), even though they realize that the goatherders will more than likely alert anyone in the village below that they were in the mountains. They attempt to use their radio but it doesn’t work. So immediately they realize that they are compromised and that they need to move position, and fast. They then use their satellite phone to reach Kristensen, but the line is very poor. Back at the base, Kristensen has a gut feeling that his men are in trouble, so he sends two Blackhawks to rescue them. Meanwhile the four men are in a rush to move position, and in their rush Axe hurts himself. Soon, the men are ambushed from all sides. Gunfire falls on them like rain. They are outnumbered, and are driven deeper into unknown and treacherous terrain. What happens in the rest of the film is heartstopping. One by one each man gets more hurt, and terrifyingly one of the Blackhawks that is sent to rescue them gets shot down by the Taliban in the mountains, with 16 men on board, all losing their lives, including Kristensen. It is at this point that you have to remind yourself that this is a true story, all of this happened in real life.
With nowhere to go, the men continue to run, to run away from what must be dozens and dozens of Taliban men looking out to kill them. And each man gets more and more injured, from getting shot at by the Taliban, as well as by falling off cliffs and landing very hard, crushing bones and giving themselves concussions. As they continue to try and use their radio in an attempt to contact anyone anywhere to help them, they start realizing that they are completely outnumbered and face only one prospect, death. The bullets and the blood and the men, who at this point are struggling just to survive, gets even more tense when Murphy, in a situation he knows he won’t come out alive from, runs up a hill to get a connection on his SAT phone which would advise the Operations team back at the base of their position. But of the four men, only Luttrell survives, first by burrowing into a ditch, and then by being picked up by an Afghan who was not loyal to the Taliban. And of course we know that Luttrell survives to write the book on which this movie is based on.
Lone Survivor is a movie so tense, so dramatic, so unreal that it is hard to believe that it is a true story. Thanks to Luttrell and the book he wrote, he was able to tell this story of survival against the face of the enemy. As Luttrell, Wahlberg is a revelation. Having proven himself as an actor in previous films including Boogie Nights and most recently The Fighter, Wahlberg is fantastic as Luttrell, so good that it is hard to imagine anyone else playing him. Kitsch, Foster and Hirsch are all also very excellent as Luttrell’s fellow Navy Seals. The sequences where the men get shot (and eventually killed) are so real, so sad. Director Peter Berg, known for mostly doing television work (Chicago Hope and Prime Suspect) really cuts his teeth here with this very serious subject matter. Berg also wrote the script, after having been given the book by his production partner. Berg has said that the reason he decided to make this was because “Marcus wrote a book that, as much as it’s about 19 people being killed on a tragic day in Afghanistan, is about brotherhood, sacrifice and team commitment.”
Fittingly, Second Class Petty Officer Matthew “Axe” Axelson and Gunner’s Mate Second Class Danny Dietz were awarded the Navy Cross, Lieutenant Michael Murphy was awarded the U.S. military’s highest decoration, the Medal of Honor, while Lieutenant Commander Erik Kristensen was awarded the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart. All men received their awards posthumously. Leading Petty Officer Luttrell would also go on to receive the Navy Cross. All deservedly so.

 

31st Jan2014

Rush – DVD

by timbaros

images-90Rush tells the true story of Formula 1 racing car rivals James Hunt and Niki Lauda and the intense rivalry between their respective racing teams, McLaren and Ferrari, in 1976. It is the best film of 2013.

Chris Hemsworth plays James Hunt, the English racing car driver also known for his exploits off the track – his exploits with women, sex and drugs. Daniel Bruhl plays Niki Lauda, the famous Austrian racing car driver and three time F1 World Champion who was disfigured in a car crash during a race, which, however, did not stop him from competing again. Rush is set against the backdrop of the glamourous and excitement of Formula 1 racing and in the 1976 Formula One season which featured the 1976 World Championships of F1 drivers and the 1976 International Cup for F1 Manufacturers and contested over a sixteen race series.

In the film, McLaren driver Hunt takes the World Championship by one point over Ferrari driver Lauda, who is determined more than ever to win the World Championship himself. The 1976 Formula One races took the drivers all over the world, beginning with Brazil and next to South Africa, to the U.S., Spain, Monaco, Sweden and France. From one thrilling race scene to another, with Hunt winning a few and then Lauda winning a few, Rush excitedly portrays the rivalry between both men, their ups and downs and their wins and losses, both on and off the track. This includes the many affairs of Hunt, and his brief marriage to model Suzy Miller (a fantastic Olivia Wilde), who would go on to leave him and wed Richard Burton. Lauda, on the other hand, meets and marries Marlene Knaus (a very lovely Alexandra Maria Lara), and it is not long after that he is in an almost deadly car crash in the 1976 German Grand Prix that causes severe burns to his head and body and in which Lauda inhales toxic gases that damages his lungs and blood. As a result of the crash, Lauda had extensive scarring on his head, lost most of his right ear and lost the hair on his eyebrows and eyelids. Miraculously, Lauda would return to the race track six weeks later to finish in 4th place in the Italian Grand Prix, though at the time he was still severely scarred and still bleeding from his wounds.

Directed by Ron Howard (A Beautiful Mind, Frost Nixon), with a script by Peter Morgan (The Queen, Frost/Nixon), Rush has Academy Award and BAFTA written all over it. With excellent lead performances by both Hemsworth and Bruhl (with Bruhl having the extra edge because of horrific car crash scene), to the very good performances by both actresses Lara and Wilde, Rush will be the movie to watch and the movie to beat at all of the film awards next year. Even for non-Formula One racing car fans, Rush is a thrill a minute and expertly tells the story of the rivalry between Hunt and Bruhl. Hunt would go on to die of a heart attack in 1993 at the age 45 due to his fast and furious lifestyle, while Lauda would go on to become a television pundit and is still alive today.

 



Rush [DVD] (DVD)

Director: Ron Howard
Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Daniel Brühl, Olivia Wilde, Alexandra Maria Lara, Natalie Dormer
Rating: Suitable for 15 years and over

Set against the sexy and glamorous golden age of motor racing, Rush p[portrays the true story of the charismatic Hunt and the methodically brilliant Lauda.
New From: £0.89 GBP In Stock
Used from: £0.01 GBP In Stock

31st Jan2014

That Awkward Moment – Film

by timbaros
images-89Zac Effron is back to making the kind of movies he is well-known for – not very good ones. Such is the film That Awkward Moment.
After trying to up his cred with his last two film performances – 2012’s Paperboy (where his character falls in long with Nicole Kidman’s character) and last years’ Parkland (playing – not very well – the doctor on duty when JFK was shot), Effron is back to rom-com territory. But That Awkward Moment is excrutiantingly awful.
Jason (Zac Zeffron) and his friends Daniel (Miles Teller) and Mikey (Michael B. Jordan) have known each other for a long time. Mikey, who is a doctor, is breaking up with his wife, who happens to be sleeping around on him. So distraught is Mikey that him and his friends all make a pact to stay single, brothers in arms, side by side, and simply not all at costs to get into a relationship. Of course, this is not what happens.
Daniel, firstly, happens to casually fall in love with one of their friends, Chelsea (Mackenzie Davis), who was the woman they used to wrangle other women for them. Jason has no problem at all attracting women. He is very goodlooking with a hot body (Effon’s is shirtless in many scenes, and there is a funny bit where he is lying face down a toilet, totally naked) Also, Jason is happy in a purely sexual relationship he has with another woman, so of course he doesn’t need a woman in his life. As mentioned, this is not what happens as the plot is very predictable.
Daniel and Jason happen to work at the same company, a book publishing company. Their job is to illustrate the front covers of soon-to-be published books. Well, one night they meet Ellie (Imogen Poots) at a bar, and before you can say this movie is stupid, Jason and Ellie wind up in the sack together. After the act, Jason notices that in her bedroom she’s got a wad of cash on her bedside, a racy book called “The Story of O”, and a few boxes of condoms. So he automatically thinks that she is a prostitute. He calls Mikey who tells him to get out of there, so he does. Well the next day at work he and Jason are meeting the author of a new book whose cover they are to illustrate, and guess who is the book’s author? Ellie. At this point we know where the story is going…and as Jason and Ellie start seeing each other (purely just for sex of course), her father passes away and there are long scenes with Jason contemplating if he should go to the funeral, for if he does it would appear that him and Ellie were actually dating. And he doesn’t want to break the pact he made with his friends.
The story gets very predictable after this. Daniel falls in love with Chelsea, and you can see it from a mile away that Jason starts to fall for Ellie. That Awkward Moment is the typical rom com Effron film. And of course the ending is as predictable as the same look on Effron’s face he has throughout most of the film. Effron should stick to making musicals for the teenyboppers.

 

30th Jan2014

Out of the Furnace – Film

by timbaros

images-86Out of the Furnace stars one of the hottest actors in the business today – Christian Bale. It is a film produced by Leonardo DiCaprio and Ridley Scott, among others, and it also stars Oscar-winning actors Forest Whitaker and Willem Dafoe, and Oscar-nominated actors Woody Harrelson, Cassey Affleckand Sam Shepard, unfortunately, the film just does not work.

Bale is Russell Baze (not a very good name for a main character), he works in the local steel mill (in a dark, polluted town somewhere in Pennsylvania). His father is near death, watched over by Russell’s younger brother Rodney Baze Jr. (Affleck), back home and physically and mentally scared from serving time in the military. One evening after visiting his father and heading back home to his wife Lena (Zoe Saldana), he crashes into a car and kills its two occupants. He is sent to prison (which happens too suddenly, there is no trial – so the movie takes us directly from the car crash to Russell being in prison). It is not clear how long he is in prison for, but he is there long enough to miss his father’s funeral. Also, his wife has left him for the local police chief (Whitaker – who doesn’t have much to do in this film).
Having no choice but to move back into his father’s house, he learns that his brother is involved in illegal fighting and also owes local man John Petty (Dafoe) a lot of money. Russell advises his brother to work in the mill, to stay clean, to make their dead father proud. But Rodney has a lot of anger, hostility, and aggression, so it appears that he needs to fight. He also needs to repay Petty, and while Russell tries to help out paying some money towards the loan, Rodney goes ahead with one final fight. Unbeknownst to Rodney, Petty also owes money to Harlan DeGroat (Harrelson), a local drug dealer who, with his thugs and addicts, have some kind of control of the local area. For reasons not very clear, Petty tells Rodney to throw the fight, which he does, and it has bad implications for both men. It is up to Russell to seek revenge and get even, leading to a very predictable showdown with DeGroat.
With so much talent on board, you would think that Out of the Furnace would and could be a contender for awards, but unfortunately it is quite the opposite. The script is too predictable, there seems to be chunks of scenes that are missing, the main characters are given very strange names (Harlan DeGroat? Russell Baze?) and the final scene, the showdown, is not dramatic at all. It could’ve been a better film because in its development stage it had DiCaprio attached to star and Scott attached to direct. Director and writer Scott Cooper directed Jeff Bridges to his Oscar-winning performance in 2009’s Crazy Heart, however, for Out of the Furnace, it seems like he called in sick a few times during shooting. And his script, written with Brad Ingelsby, is frustrating and not comprehensive. While the cinematography and landscape of rural Pennsylvania is in line with the plot of the film (dark, moody), and the performances are what you would expect from the caliber of actors involved, overall Out of the Furnace is literally dead on arrival.

 

29th Jan2014

The UK Regional Film Awards – Film

by timbaros

211201697,76D2897F8D2E4E31CEC

12 Years a Slave was last night was named Film of the Year by the UK’s regional film critics. In addition, Chiwetel Ejiofor was voted the regional critics’ Actor of the year for his performance as Solomon Northup in 12 Years a Slave.Director Steve McQueen’s visceral drama recently won the Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture – Drama. It is currently nominated for 9 Academy Awards® and 10 EE British Academy Film Awards (BAFTAs).Steve McQueen said:  “I am thrilled that 12 Years a Slave has been named Best Picture by the UK regional film critics. This means so much to me. Thank you for your help in making the film such a success throughout the UK.”The regional critics’ award for Director of the year went to Alfonso Cuarón for Gravity. This matches the recent choices of both the Directors’ Guild of America and the Hollywood Foreign Press Association for their Best Director Golden Globe. Alfonso Cuarón also has a Best Director nomination at the EE BAFTAs and Academy Awards.Alfonso Cuarón said: “It’s particularly gratifying to receive this honour from the UK regional film critics. Your encouraging words helped pave the road for audiences to really embrace the film. Gravity was produced, shot and all the post-production done here in the UK. I had the privilege of working with hundreds of talented British artists and I share this with all of them. I’d like to single out everyone at Framestore; our incredible crew, particularly our cinematographer and my dear friend Chivo [Emmanuel Lubezki]; our visual effects supervisor Tim Webber; my producing partner, David Heyman; and my son and co-writer, Jonas. Lastly, I’d like to thank Sandra Bullock who fully conveyed the emotional journey of this character – the heartbeat of this story.”In addition, Gravity scooped the ‘eye-popping’ Visual Effects regional film award for Tim Webber, its visual effects supervisor, at an event hosted by Miquita Oliver at the Café de Paris in London’s West End.Cate Blanchett’s winning streak continued as she took the regional critics’ Best Actress award for her performance in Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine. The critics’ Screenwriter of the year was Spike Jonze for Her, which opens in UK cinemas on 14 February.

The regional critics’ British Breakthrough award went to George MacKay, who recently appeared in Sunshine on Leith, How I Live Now and For Those in Peril.

21 year-old George MacKay said: “It’s a real honour to have been awarded the British Breakthrough award at this year’s Regional Critics’ Film Awards and I’d like to thank everyone who voted for me. It’s very exciting to be involved in British filmmaking, I learned so much working on Sunshine on Leith and had such a brilliant time working on it.”

The UK regional film awards included a set of public votes. In these categories, Frozen won Animated Film of the year, while Emma Thompson and Tom Hanks were voted the Best On-screen Duo for Saving Mr Banks.

The Walt Disney Company UK said: “We are delighted that both Frozen and Saving Mr Banks have won UK Regional Critics’ Film Awards voted for by the public. We are thrilled that audiences have taken Frozen to their hearts in such a big way and that the phenomenal performances of Emma Thompson and Tom Hanks in Saving Mr Banks have struck a chord with cinemagoers across the country.”

In other public votes, Stephen Frears’ Philomena won British Film of the year and Ryan Lambie, who contributes to fan website Den of Geek!, was named Blogger of the year.

 

Dame Judi Dench, who starred as Philomena Lee, said: “A huge thank you to the public for awarding British Film of the year to Philomena. It was a great honour to work with so many talented British cast and crew on this once-in-a-lifetime project. I am so proud that our work has been recognised by this wonderful award.”

Established in 2006, the UK Regional Critics’ Film Awards are named in honour of Richard (Lord) Attenborough CBE, actor, filmmaker, champion of British cinema and founding patron of these awards which celebrate excellence and achievement in filmmaking. The winners are voted for by film journalists and bloggers who write or broadcast for local media throughout the UK. In recognition of their accomplishments, each winner receives a plinth-mounted award engraved with Richard Attenborough’s signature.

Regional film journalists continue to play a significant role in identifying and championing new films and filmmaking talents. In 2013, there were 165.5 million cinema visits in the UK, which generated box-office receipts of £1.08 billion, giving the UK the world’s fourth largest cinema box-office. Three-quarters of UK cinema visits take place outside the London TV region. In 2013, Scotland accounted for 9% of UK cinemagoing, Northern Ireland 2.5% and England & Wales 88.5%.

Further information
Geraldine Moloney  tel 020 7347 4383 or 07802 157516   email  gmoloney@fda.uk.net 
Carrie Thatcher    tel 020 7437 4383 or 07817 351033   email  cthatcher@fda.uk.net 

Notes to editors
The UK Regional Critics’ Film Awards give a collective voice to regional film journalists during the annual film awards season.

Previous winners of the Film of the Year award all went on to receive further international accolades: Pan’s Labyrinth, Atonement, Slumdog Millionaire, Up!, The Social Network, The Artist and, last year, Ben Affleck’s Argo.

The winners are decided solely by the votes of arts/entertainment journalists, staff and freelance, editors, critics and bloggers in all forms of regional and local media around the UK. There are no panels or juries. This year’s voting took place online between 3 and 22 January 2014 atwww.moviepreviewnetwork.com/awards, a generic website freely provided by Film Distributors’ Association for the purpose.

Feature-length films of any genre and from any country of origin were eligible for consideration provided they had a UK theatrical release between 8 February 2013 and 14 February 2014.

The winners of this year’s UK regional film awards in all 11 categories are as follows:

Regional critics’ awards:

  • Film of the Year – 12 Years a Slave
  • Director – Alfonso Cuarón, Gravity
  • Actress – Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine
  • Actor – Chiwetel Ejiofor, 12 Years a Slave
  • Screenwriter – Spike Jonze, Her
  • British Breakthrough – George MacKay

Public votes:

  • isual Effects – Gravity
  • Animation – Frozen
  • On-screen Duo – Emma Thompson/Tom Hanks, Saving Mr Banks
  • British Film – Philomena
  • Blogger – Ryan Lambie, Den of Geek!

The awards are named in honour of their founding patron, Richard Attenborough, who was born in Cambridge but spent his childhood in Leicester. He made his screen debut in the 1942 Noel Coward/David Lean film, In Which We Serve, while still a student at RADA. In 1969 came the first of twelve movies as producer/director, Oh, What A Lovely War. He is undoubtedly best known for Gandhi, 1982 winner of eight Oscars and five BAFTAs, including Best Picture and Best Director on both sides of the Atlantic. Lord Attenborough’s many films in front of the cameras include Brighton Rock, The Great Escape, Doctor Dolittle, Jurassic Park and Miracle on 34th Street. More information at: www.richard-attenborough.com.

24th Jan2014

Inside Llewyn Davis – Film

by timbaros

images-81Inside Llewyn Davis is a quiet, downbeat, and different type of movie about a musician who can’t get a break, neither in his musical career nor in his life.

Oscar Isaac excellently plays Davis, a talented folk singer/songwriter in 1960’s Greenwich Village who always seems to have a dark cloud over his head. Loosely based on a book by American folk singer Dave Van Ronk (“Mayor of MacDougal Street”) and directed and written by brothers Joel and Ethan Coen, Inside Llewyn Davis tells the simple tale of Davis as he tries to navigate life with his guitar as his best friend.
Davis, who is practically homeless and will jump at the chance to take perform at any gig for money, lives from sofa to sofa, including one that belongs to his ex-girlfriend Jean (Carey Mulligan) and her new partner Jim (Justin Timberlake). Together on the music circuit they are known as Jean and Jim. However, Jean informs Davis that she is pregnant, and that the kid could potentially be his. In another apartment that he sleeps in, he, along with the house cat, both get locked out, so he takes the cat (Ulysses) with him on the subway to gigs and to other people’s apartments, including Jean’s, where the cat slips out the window. His sister, who has lent him lots of money, doesn’t have much faith in his singing career. So in the quest to get some money and to get himself heard, he hitches a ride to Chicago (with a cat that may or may not be the cat that was lost) with musicians Johnny Five (Grant Hedlund) and Roland Turner (John Goodman) to meet a club owner who doesn’t give much hope to Davis and his career. And such is the life of Davis. He returns back to New York only to face more bad luck, enough bad luck that he plans to abandon his music career and join the merchant marines.
Davis (who was previously seen in W.E. and Drive) is excellent in this role. He has won several film critics awards for this film, including the National Society of Film Critics Awards for Best Actor. Sadly, he was not nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor. More shocking is that the music for this film was ignored by the Academy. The true star of Inside Llewyn Davis is the music – a mix of old and original folk songs by the legendary T-Bone Burnett. The BAFTA’s got it right – the film is nominated for Best Original Screenplay (deservedly so), Best Cinematography, and Best Sound (but shockingly again, nothing for its music). The film itself won the Grand Prixe at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival. Although in color, Inside Llewyn Davis has a smoky hazy look about it, almost like a reflection of dark clouds over a man who goes from rags to rags and no riches. Cinematographer Bruno Delbonnel perfectly captures this mood. Inside Llewyn Davis is one of the most memorable films you will see all year.

 

24th Jan2014

Grudge Match – Film

by timbaros
images-80Raging Bull. Rocky. Robert DeNiro. Sylvester Stallone. Put these two legendary actors together in the same film, about boxing no less, and you think you would you have a classic in the making. Unfortunately, it’s more like an overcooked turkey.

DeNiro and Stallone play old boxing rivals who come out of retirement for one final match. DeNiro is Billy “The Kid” McDonnen and Stallone plays Henry “Razor” Sharp. Back in 1983, when each man had won a fight against the other, Razor suddenly announced his retirement on the eve of their decisive match. So thirty years later, in Pittsburgh where both boxers are from and now live, this match is finally going to happen, thanks to local ‘boxing promoter’ Dante Slate Jr. (Kevin Hart). At first it is not easy convincing each of them to go through with it. They are no longer in the good shape like they used to be oh so many years ago, and they’ve fallen into obscurity. However, Sharp could use the money to supplement his job of working in a mill, welding steel, and his hobby of turning scraps of metal into tiny animal sculptures. It is McDonnen who used his money wisely to become a successful businessman. But there is more unfinished business issues between both men – and her name is Sally (Kim Bassinger). Sally had a son with McDonnen but ended up in a relationship with Sharp. Now she has come out of the woodwork to get back together again with Sharp.
In promoting the fight, Sharp and McDonnen are asked to put on interactive body suits for a video boxing game, but the shoot gets out of hand as both men come to blows with each other, all of which is captured in the crews’ video phones. The footage goes viral, and before you know it, their fight becomes bigger than expected. Sharp enlists his trainer from the 1980’s, Louis “Lighting” Conlon (a very funny Alan Arkin – whose actually had never met nor worked with DeNiro and Stallone before this film) to get him into shape for the upcoming fight. Conlon is still as feisty as ever, even though he is in a wheelchair. He moves in with Sharp to watch his every move, training him in old school style. He puts Sharp through the paces, pool punching, flipping tires, pulling big rigs, and having him dip his fists in horse urine to toughen his skin. McDonnen, meanwhile has a useless personal trainer at the gym, so he enlists the son that he had with Sally, BJ (Jon Bernthal) who becomes his personal trainer after a few typical ‘father you weren’t there for me when I grew up’ scenes. BJ has a son Trey (Camden Gray) who provides the expected and prerequisite warm and fuzzy scenes, and who also is around when McDonnen says one too many BJ jokes, and also creating a double father-son element to the story.
The best part of the film is the actual match at the end of the movie. Sharp enters the ring dressed in classic black and white while McDonnen sports his trademark cloverleaf on the back of a sparkling emerald green Italian silk robe and black trunks, with more than 5,000 hand-beaded Swarvoski-crystals. And believe it or not, Stallone and DeNiro did all of their own boxing, making the match all the more real.
Say what you will, Grudge Match is a semi-funny but not hilarious film. I wonder why two screen legends – DeNiro and Stallone – would need to make a film such as this? They both first worked together in 1997’s acclaimed film Copland, a very dramatic film. Grudge Match is the complete opposite. Did both men just want to have fun and a good time by making this film? Stallone is 67 and Robert De Niro is 70, and while they both are in good shape for the age, it is painful to watch them in a film with an extremely bad script. As they both played boxers in the past, did they want to have closure? While of course Grudge Match won’t harm their careers, it is not just what you would expect from these screen legends. Sure, Stallone has made some turkeys in his time, and DeNiro’s last two films – The Family and Last Vegas – were both not very well received, but will the public embrace them, and this film, like a walk down memory lane? In a few of the flashback scenes, DeNiro and Stallone’s faces were digitally re-aged to place them on young fighters bodies. Ah, the good old days, when both men were making good movies.

 

24th Jan2014

Red 2 – DVD

by timbaros

images-79If you liked Red, then you will love Red 2, which picks up where Red left off.

Former CIA covert operations agent Frank Moses (Bruce Willis) Retired, Extremely Dangerous (RED), happy in his retirement and peaceful life with his girlfriend Sarah (Mary-Louise Parker), is dragged back into work to search for a new biological weapon called Nightshade.

It went missing from the Cold War during Frank and his partner Marvin’s (John Malkovich) watch, and has since resurfaced, and everyone, the good guys and the bad guys, believes that they know it’s whereabouts. To complicate matters, a hit has been put on them from M16, and agent Victoria (none other than (Helen Mirren) informs them that she has been contracted to shoot and kill them. She even dons a Queen’s crown as one of her disguises.

Meanwhile, a corrupt government official (Neal McDonough) is sending another contract killer, Han (Byung Hun Lee), who has an old score to settle with Frank, to kill them. Then, Frank’s old flame Katja (Catherine Zeta-Jones) shows up to further complicate matters. It is up to certified crazy scientist Edward Bailey (a Hannibal Lechter-like Anthony Hopkins), who knows a thing or two about Nightshade, and possibly knows it whereabouts, to help save the gang, as well as the rest of the world from annihilation.

Red 2 is an action/adventure/thriller as much as a James Bond film is, however, Red 2 (just like Red) has an added element – comedy – seen a few times when Sarah is not able to fire a pistol or drive a car, or the banter between her and Frank when they are caught in sticky situations. Marvin and Frank have their funny moments as well, one of them being when Marvin pretends to die and Frank is tempted to pinch his skin in the coffin to make sure he was really dead. (He wasn’t.)

Much better than the last James Bond film, Skyfall, Red 2 pulls out all the stops and provides the viewer with one hell of a 116-minute ride. Not once does the action, adventure and comedy stop. And with this all star cast of heavyweights – Willis, Mirren, Zeta-Jones, Hopkins, Malkovich, and even Parker, makes Red 2 the perfect summer film.

24th Jan2014

Any Day Now – DVD

by timbaros

images-78Rudy Donatello works as a drag queen by night but still finds it tough to make ends meet. Out of the blue Paul Fleiger (Garret Dillahunt) walks into the bar and into his life, while at the same time, the boy next door is having family problems, in the new gay drama Any Day Now.

Donatello, played sympathetically and with gusto by Alan Cumming, sings at a gay nightclub in 1979 West Hollywood with two other drag queens who are his back up singers. One night, Fleiger walks into the bar and is immediately smitten with Donatello. Why? It is not clear. Perhaps it is love first sight? Meanwhile, Donatello’s next door neighbor, Marianna (Jamie Anne Allman), is a drug dealer and sex addict who has a young son who has down’s syndrome. One night she gets arrested, leaving her son alone in the apartment. Donatello discovers the boy alone, so he has the boy come to stay with him temporarily until the situation with his mother becomes more clear. Meanwhile, the relationship with Fleiger is getting more and more serious, with both men quickly falling in love with each other.

Social services ends up getting involved and puts Marco into a foster home, making Donatello realize that he and Fleiger are fit to take care of the boy, especially after Fleiger asks Donatello to move in with him, thereby providing a stable home for Marco. However, social services thinks otherwise and digs out every dirty detail they can find about Donatello and Fleiger’s relationship to make them look like unfit parents, gay being one of the details. When the mother is suddenly sprung from jail in a plea bargain with the district attorney, with all the counts dropped, all hope seems to be lost in keeping Marco.

Any Day Now is a truly sympathetic and a well done and very current film on the trouble that gay couples have in adopting children.

Cumming gives one of his finest performances in years as the drag queen by night who at first seems lost in life but then finally finds happiness and a family at the same time. Girant, an American actor previously seen in Killing Me
Softly and Winter’s Bone, is also very good as a closeted lawyer who very slowly comes out after finding love with a man for the first time, building his confidence. More a revelation is Isaac Leyva as Marco. An actor with Down’s Syndrome, his performance is so touching, so emotional, so professional that acting seems to be natural for him. The script, by Director Travis Fine and George Arthur Bloom, is very timely and believable, while Fine’s direction is sharp and crisp. Any Day Now is a very touching and moving film.

19th Jan2014

The Wolf of Wall Street – Film

by timbaros

images-65At 180 minutes long, The Wolf of Wall Street is not a short film. It has a fast and furious momentum that keeps it going up until about 120 minutes into the film, and then when you think (and hope) it’s over, it gains more momentum, but because of this, it loses steam as well.

The Wolf of Wall Street is the true (according to the book and it’s author Jordan Belfort) story of American Belfort’s days as a New York stockbroker who owned the now defunct Stratton Oakmont Trading Company. His was a life of money, greed, sex, drugs, cheating, fraud, corruption, more fraud and more corruption and lots more sex and drugs. Did I mention lots of drugs?
Leonardo DiCaprio plays Belfort as both a young man starting out as a dental school dropout who somehow gets a job on Wall Street at the age of 22 (in 1982) to being sent to prison at the age of 36. In between those 14 years, Belfort lived a life that could be characterized as reality meets fantasy.
As a 22 year old man, we see DiCaprio at his first day at work in a Manhattan brokerage company. He knows this is where he belongs, even more so when his boss Mark Hanna (Matthew McConaughey) tells him how he should lead his life if he is going to stay in this business – with drugs and prostitutes. Unfortunately for Belfort (and Hanna) they both lose their jobs when their firm goes under after the crash of 1987, so Belfort, encouraged by his wife Teresa (Cristin Milioti), applies for a stockbroker job on Long Island. He thinks about it and decides to go for it. He drives up to a strip mall and walks into what is a very low key unassuming office, where the men are dressed very casual and with no buzz in the office like his New York City trading floor. He impresses the manager (in more ways than one) and from this point on for Belfort the only way is up.
He soon earns lots of money but then decides to strike out on his own. He enlists his neighbor (who happened to marry his own cousin) who is a character out of the 1950’s – Donnie Azoff (Jonah Hill) to work for him. And soon enough, Belfort gets all of his friends together to also work for him at his new firm. And within a year, his firm, Stratton Oakmont, is earning millions and millions of dollars, and with all this money comes all the finer (and funner) things in life. Belfort is able to buy his wife very expensive jewelry and a penthouse in the sky, and at the same time he spends lavishly on his employees. In one crazy scene in the film, Belfort announces that his firm has earned a record amount for one day, so out comes a scantily-dressed marching band (both men and women), and then a chimpanzee which Belfort holds on to, then hookers, hookers, and more hookers (what were the female brokers doing? Were there any? I didn’t see any at this point in the film). Also, midgets were brought in to be tossed. So the debauchery continues and continues, with lots of naked women in the office, and lots of the male brokers taking turns with the women. The Wolf of Wall Street shows that there was sex everywhere in their office. Whilst this may be sort of true, it is really really hard to believe than an American company in the early 1990’s would condone this type of behavior. Even more so when Belfort (and his board of directors – all of them) take drugs all the time, including cocaine and quaaludes, all over the office, and in public places as well. This includes them boarding a plane, all very obviously high. Any airline at that time would’ve called the authorities and kicked them off. At one point, Belfort’s company employed 1000 brokers, so are we supposed to believe that all of them condoned (and participated in) this type of behavior?
Belfort then meets and falls in love with Naomi (a very good and beautiful Margot Robbie – with an excellent Long Island accent). So the wife is out of the picture and him and Naomi get married and start to have children. Naomi gets whatever she wants – diamonds, a house in the Hamptons, Belfort even buys a huge yacht and names it after her. But Belfort knows that what he is doing is wrong, not just the illegal trading (pump and dump – where his brokers and friends and relatives buy shares in a company to inflate the price of a stock, then shares in these same companies would be sold to unsuspecting investors, thereby inflating the price, and then his brokers and friends and relatives would sell the stock – making lots of money and leaving the unsuspecting investors with huge losses) but the drugs and the prostitution as well. Belfort even enlists his wife’s aunt Emma (Joanna Lumley) and several other non-Americans to help him launder money to take cash to Switzerland. But lurking in the background is FBI Agent Patrick Denham (Kyle Chandler) – who is perhaps the most believable character in the movie. He investigates Belfort and his company for securities fraud, and it takes two years for Denham to gather all the evidence he needs to arrest Belfort. Needless to say, his life will never be the same again. Belfort has admitted that one of his heroes was Gorden Gekko (Michael Douglas’s character in 1987’s Wall Street) who also went to prison.
The Wolf of Wall Street is a satire, perhaps a way over the top satire at that. Sure, the story is a solid one, with all the right ingredients: sex, drugs, money, great acting and directing, etc. But at the end of the day the characters are just drug fueled men with the mental capacity of ten year olds. . Director Martin Scorsese had a good story here but he mucked it up. He should’ve played this film like a Goodfellas for the Wall Street crowd, a drama instead of a satire, make the characters and their situations more believable and real. And while Leonardo DiCaprio does an excellent job playing Belfort, it boils down to a script that is just too too long and neverending.
At 120 minutes into the film, Belfort, after having taking way too many quaaludes with Azoff, is told my his lawyer to not use the phone in his house as it is bugged. So Belfort goes to a pay phone at a local country club. Then the quaaludes kick in, and in a 5 minute sequence (which is when I started checking my watch), he slowly slowly tries to make it into the car, falls down a flight of steps, uses his legs to get in the car. It is a hilarious moment but by this point the movie should’ve been wrapping up and not starting a new story arc. Yet, there was still an hour to go. Watching The Wolf of Wall Street is like going to dinner in an all you can eat restaurant. You have eaten way too much but more food is put on your plate. So you feel like you just want to get up and walk away.

 

16th Jan2014

Oscar Nominations announced – Film

by timbaros

86th Academy Awards, Nominations AnnouncementsThe nominations for the 86th annual Academy Awards – also know as the Oscars – were announced today in Hollywood.

Leading the pack in nominations is, as expected, American Hustle and Gravity, both with 10 nominations each. 12 Years a Slave was nominated for 9 awards while Captain Phillips, Dallas Buyers Club and Nebraska have 6 nominations each.
All of the above films were nominated in the Best Picture category, alongside Her (5 nominations in total), Philomena (4) and The Wolf of Wall Street (5). Four films that were expected to be nominated in this category but were not are: Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom (which received only 1 nomination, for Best Song); Lone Survivor, The Butler (which received no nominations); Saving Mr. Banks; the critically acclaimed Inside Llewyn Davis (which received two nominations); and Rush.
The Best Actor category was the most competitive that is has been in a long time. Five lucky men were nominated, but it is more of a shock as to who was left off the list. Christian Bale, a previous Best Supporting Actor for The Fighter (2010), is nominated for American Hustle. Bruce Dern is nominated for Nebraska, he was last nominated in the Best Supporting Actor category for Coming Home (1978). Leonardo DiCaprio has won his fourth nomination, his third in this category for The Wolf of Wall Street. DiCaprio was previously nominated for The Aviator (2004), Blood Diamond (2006) and What’s Eating Gilbert Grape (1993). Two nominees receive their first nominations. Chiwetel Ejiofor for 12 Years a Slave and Matthew McConaughey for Dallas Buyers Club. Tom Hanks, unfortunately, was not nominated for Captain Phillips, which many people have said was his best performance ever. Either Bale or DiCaprio stole his spot – anyway Hanks was robbed. Robert Redford was left off the list for All is Lost, it was expected that he would be a shoo-in as a sentimental nominee, he did give a great performance. Idris Elba didn’t receive a nomination for Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom as this was kind of expected due to the film’s luke warm reception. And Joaquin Phoenix was left off the list for his excellent mostly solo performance in Her.
There were really no surprises in the Best Actress category. Amy Adams was nominated for American Hustle; this is her fifth nomination and the third in this category. She was previously nominated for Junebug (2005), Doubt (2008), The Fighter (2010) and The Master (2012). Cate Blanchett scored her sixth nomination and third in this category for Blue Jasmine. She was previously nominated for Elizabeth (1998), Elizabeth The Golden Age (2007), Notes on a Scandal (2006) and I’m Not There (2007). She won in Best Supporting Actress in 2004 for The Aviator. Sandra Bullock receives her second nomination for Gravity, she won a couple years back for The Blind Side. Judi Dench has received her seventh nomination and fifth in this category for Philomena. She was previously nominated for Mrs. Brown (1997), Iris (2001), Mrs. Henderson Presents (2005), Notes on a Scandal (2006) and Chocolat (2000). She won Best Supporting Actress for Shakespeare in Love (1998). Meryl Streep has received her 18th nomination and 16th in this category for August: Osage County. She has won this category twice, for Sophie’s Choice (1982) and The Iron Lady (2011). Streep also won a Best Supporting Actress statuette for Kramer vs. Kramer (1979).  Her previous nominations are too many to mention.Emma Thompson was left off the list for her work in Saving Mr. Banks.
86th Academy Awards, Nominations Announcements
In the Best Supporting Actor category the nominees were: Barkhad Abdi for Captain Phillips; Bradley Cooper for American Hustle – he was nominated for Best Actor last year for Silver Linings Playbook Michael Fassbender for 12 Years a Slave; Jonah Hill, who was a surprise nominee, for The Wolf of Wall Street. He was previously nominated for Moneyball in 2011. The final nominee is Jared Leto for Dallas Buyers Club. Daniel Bruhl was left off this list for his performance in Rush – it looks like Hill took his spot.
In the Best Supporting Actress category, there was one major name left off the list – Oprah Winfrey, who was excellent in The Butler. Sally Hawkins is nominated for Blue Jasmine; Jennifer Lawrence is in the running for American Hustle – she was Best Actress last year for Silver Linings Playbook; Lupita Nyong’o for 12 Years a Slave; June Squibb for Nebraska; and Julia Roberts for August: Osage County. This is Roberts’ fourth nomination and second in this category – she was previously nominated for Steel Magnolias (1989) and Pretty Woman (1990). Roberts won Best Actress for Erin Brockovich (in 2000).
Martin Scorcese has won his eighth nomination in the Best Director category for The Wolf of Wall Street. He won in 2011 for Hugo. The other nominees in this category are Steve McQueen for 12 Years a Slave; Alexander Payne for Nebraska; Alfonso Cuarón for Gravity; and David O’Russell for American Hustle. The big names with big movies left off this list are: Paul Greengrass for Captain Phillips; Joel and Ethan Cohen for Inside Llewyn Davis; and Ron Howard for Rush.
Oscars fact sheet:
– 8 actors have received their first acting nomination
– Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence and Amy Adams were nominated last year
– Jennifer Lawrence is the youngest three-time acting nominee at 23 years old
– American Hustle received nominations in all acting categories, and the Best Picture, Director and Writing categories as well. The last time this happened was last year for Silver Linings Playbook
– Woody Allen has received his 16th writing nomination, a record, for Blue Jasmine. He was won four Oscars in total
– All of the nine Best Picture nominees were released in the last three months of 2013
– Jackass Presents: Bad Grampa got a nomination for Best Makeup and hairstyling
– June Squibb is the oldest Best Supporting Actress nominee
The 86th annual Academy Awards will be presented on March 2, 2014.
Here is the list of nominees:
86th Academy Awards, Nominations Announcements
BEST MOTION PICTURE OF THE YEAR
“American Hustle” (Sony Pictures Releasing)
A Columbia Pictures and Annapurna Pictures Production
Charles Roven, Richard Suckle, Megan Ellison and Jonathan Gordon, Producers
“Captain Phillips” (Sony Pictures Releasing)
A Columbia Pictures Production
Scott Rudin, Dana Brunetti and Michael De Luca, Producers
“Dallas Buyers Club” (Focus Features)
A Voltage Pictures, R2 Films, Evolution Independent Production
Robbie Brenner and Rachel Winter, Producers
“Gravity” (Warner Bros.)
A Warner Bros. UK Services Limited Production
Alfonso Cuarón and David Heyman, Producers
“Her” (Warner Bros.)
An Annapurna Production
Megan Ellison, Spike Jonze and Vincent Landay, Producers
“Nebraska” (Paramount)
A Paramount Vantage Production
Albert Berger and Ron Yerxa, Producers
“Philomena” (The Weinstein Company)
A Pathé, BBC Films, BFI, Canal+, Cine+ and Baby Cow/Magnolia Mae Production
Gabrielle Tana, Steve Coogan and Tracey Seaward, Producers
“12 Years a Slave” (Fox Searchlight)
A River Road, Plan B, New Regency Production
Brad Pitt, Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Steve McQueen and Anthony Katagas, Producers
“The Wolf of Wall Street” (Paramount)
A Red Granite Production
Nominees to be determined

PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE
Christian Bale in “American Hustle” (Sony Pictures Releasing)
Bruce Dern in “Nebraska” (Paramount)
Leonardo DiCaprio in “The Wolf of Wall Street” (Paramount)
Chiwetel Ejiofor in “12 Years a Slave” (Fox Searchlight)
Matthew McConaughey in “Dallas Buyers Club” (Focus Features)

PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
Barkhad Abdi in “Captain Phillips” (Sony Pictures Releasing)
Bradley Cooper in “American Hustle” (Sony Pictures Releasing)
Michael Fassbender in “12 Years a Slave” (Fox Searchlight)
Jonah Hill in “The Wolf of Wall Street” (Paramount)
Jared Leto in “Dallas Buyers Club” (Focus Features)

PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE
Amy Adams in “American Hustle” (Sony Pictures Releasing)
Cate Blanchett in “Blue Jasmine” (Sony Pictures Classics)
Sandra Bullock in “Gravity” (Warner Bros.)
Judi Dench in “Philomena” (The Weinstein Company)
Meryl Streep in “August: Osage County” (The Weinstein Company)

PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
Sally Hawkins in “Blue Jasmine” (Sony Pictures Classics)
Jennifer Lawrence in “American Hustle” (Sony Pictures Releasing)
Lupita Nyong’o in “12 Years a Slave” (Fox Searchlight)
Julia Roberts in “August: Osage County” (The Weinstein Company)
June Squibb in “Nebraska” (Paramount)

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE FILM OF THE YEAR
“The Croods” (20th Century Fox)
Chris Sanders, Kirk DeMicco and Kristine Belson
“Despicable Me 2” (Universal)
Chris Renaud, Pierre Coffin and Chris Meledandri
“Ernest & Celestine” (GKIDS)
Benjamin Renner and Didier Brunner
“Frozen” (Walt Disney)
Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee and Peter Del Vecho
“The Wind Rises” (Walt Disney)
Hayao Miyazaki and Toshio Suzuki

ACHIEVEMENT IN CINEMATOGRAPHY
“The Grandmaster” (The Weinstein Company) Philippe Le Sourd
“Gravity” (Warner Bros.) Emmanuel Lubezki
“Inside Llewyn Davis” (CBS Films) Bruno Delbonnel
“Nebraska” (Paramount) Phedon Papamichael
“Prisoners” (Warner Bros.) Roger A. Deakins

ACHIEVEMENT IN COSTUME DESIGN
“American Hustle” (Sony Pictures Releasing) Michael Wilkinson
“The Grandmaster” (The Weinstein Company) William Chang Suk Ping
“The Great Gatsby” (Warner Bros.) Catherine Martin
“The Invisible Woman” (Sony Pictures Classics) Michael O’Connor
“12 Years a Slave” (Fox Searchlight) Patricia Norris

ACHIEVEMENT IN DIRECTING
“American Hustle” (Sony Pictures Releasing) David O. Russell
“Gravity” (Warner Bros.) Alfonso Cuarón
“Nebraska” (Paramount) Alexander Payne
“12 Years a Slave” (Fox Searchlight) Steve McQueen
“The Wolf of Wall Street” (Paramount) Martin Scorsese

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
“The Act of Killing” (Drafthouse Films)
A Final Cut for Real Production
Joshua Oppenheimer and Signe Byrge Sørensen
“Cutie and the Boxer” (RADiUS-TWC)
An Ex Lion Tamer and Cine Mosaic Production
Zachary Heinzerling and Lydia Dean Pilcher
“Dirty Wars” (IFC Films)
A Civic Bakery Production
Richard Rowley and Jeremy Scahill
“The Square” (Netflix in association with Worldview
Entertainment and Participant Media)
A Noujaim Films and Maktube Production
Jehane Noujaim and Karim Amer
“20 Feet from Stardom” (RADiUS-TWC)
A Gil Friesen Productions and Tremolo Production
Nominees to be determined

BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT SUBJECT
“CaveDigger”
A Karoffilms Production
Jeffrey Karoff
“Facing Fear”
A Jason Cohen Production
Jason Cohen
“Karama Has No Walls” (Mudhouse Films)
A Hot Spot Films Production
Sara Ishaq
“The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life”
A Reed Entertainment Production
Malcolm Clarke and Nicholas Reed
“Prison Terminal: The Last Days of Private Jack Hall”
A Prison Terminal LLC Production
Edgar Barens

ACHIEVEMENT IN FILM EDITING
“American Hustle” (Sony Pictures Releasing) Jay Cassidy, Crispin Struthers and Alan Baumgarten
“Captain Phillips” (Sony Pictures Releasing) Christopher Rouse
“Dallas Buyers Club” (Focus Features) John Mac McMurphy and Martin Pensa
“Gravity” (Warner Bros.) Alfonso Cuarón and Mark Sanger
“12 Years a Slave” (Fox Searchlight) Joe Walker

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM OF THE YEAR
“The Broken Circle Breakdown” (Tribeca Film) – Belgium
A Menuet Production
“The Great Beauty” (Janus Films) – Italy
An Indigo Film Production
“The Hunt” (Magnolia Pictures) – Denmark
A Zentropa Entertainments 19 Production
“The Missing Picture” (Strand Releasing) – Cambodia
A Bophana Production
“Omar” (Adopt Films) – Palestine
An Omar Production Company Production

ACHIEVEMENT IN MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING
“Dallas Buyers Club” (Focus Features) Adruitha Lee and Robin Mathews
“Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa” (Paramount) Stephen Prouty
“The Lone Ranger” (Walt Disney) Joel Harlow and Gloria Pasqua-Casny

ACHIEVEMENT IN MUSIC WRITTEN FOR MOTION PICTURES (ORIGINAL SCORE)
“The Book Thief” (20th Century Fox) John Williams
“Gravity” (Warner Bros.) Steven Price
“Her” (Warner Bros.) William Butler and Owen Pallett
“Philomena” (The Weinstein Company) Alexandre Desplat
“Saving Mr. Banks” (Walt Disney) Thomas Newman

ACHIEVEMENT IN MUSIC WRITTEN FOR MOTION PICTURES (ORIGINAL SONG)
“Alone Yet Not Alone” from “Alone Yet Not Alone” (Enthuse Entertainment)
Music by Bruce Broughton
Lyric by Dennis Spiegel
“Happy” from “Despicable Me 2” (Universal)
Music and Lyric by Pharrell Williams
“Let It Go” from “Frozen” (Walt Disney)
Music and Lyric by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez
“The Moon Song” from “Her” (Warner Bros.)
Music by Karen O
Lyric by Karen O and Spike Jonze
“Ordinary Love” from “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom” (The Weinstein Company)
Music by Paul Hewson, Dave Evans, Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen
Lyric by Paul Hewson

ACHIEVEMENT IN PRODUCTION DESIGN

“American Hustle” (Sony Pictures Releasing) Production Design: Judy Becker; Set Decoration: Heather Loeffler
“Gravity” (Warner Bros.) Production Design: Andy Nicholson; Set Decoration: Rosie Goodwin and Joanne Woollard
“The Great Gatsby” (Warner Bros.) Production Design: Catherine Martin; Costume Design: Beverley Dunn
“Her” (Warner Bros.) Production Design: K.K. Barrett; Set Decoration: Gene Serdena
“12 Years a Slave” (Fox Searchlight) Production Design: Adam Stockhausen; Set Decoration: Alice Baker

BEST ANIMATED SHORT FILM
“Feral”
A Daniel Sousa Production
Daniel Sousa and Dan Golden
“Get a Horse!” (Walt Disney)
A Walt Disney Animation Production
Lauren MacMullan and Dorothy McKim
“Mr. Hublot”
A Zeilt Production
Laurent Witz and Alexandre Espigares
“Possessions”
A Sunrise Production
Shuhei Morita
“Room on the Broom”
A Magic Light Pictures Production
Max Lang and Jan Lachauer

BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT FILM
“Aquel No Era Yo (That Wasn’t Me)” (FREAK Independent Film Agency)
A Producciones Africanauan Production
Esteban Crespo
“Avant Que De Tout Perdre (Just before Losing Everything)”
A KG Production
Xavier Legrand and Alexandre Gavras
“Helium”
An M & M Production
Anders Walter and Kim Magnusson
“Pitääkö Mun Kaikki Hoitaa? (Do I Have to Take Care of Everything?)”
A Tuffi Films Production
Selma Vilhunen and Kirsikka Saari
“The Voorman Problem”
A Honlodge Production
Mark Gill and Baldwin Li

ACHIEVEMENT IN SOUND EDITING
“All Is Lost” (Lionsgate & Roadside Attractions) Steve Boeddeker and Richard Hymns
“Captain Phillips” (Sony Pictures Releasing) Oliver Tarney
“Gravity” (Warner Bros.) Glenn Freemantle
“The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” (Warner Bros.) Brent Burge
“Lone Survivor” (Universal) Wylie Stateman

ACHIEVEMENT IN SOUND MIXING
“Captain Phillips” (Sony Pictures Releasing) Chris Burdon, Mark Taylor, Mike Prestwood Smith
“Gravity” (Warner Bros.) Skip Lievsay, Niv Adiri, Christopher Benstead and
“The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” (Warner Bros.) Christopher Boyes, Michael Hedges,
“Inside Llewyn Davis” (CBS Films) Skip Lievsay, Greg Orloff and Peter F. Kurland
“Lone Survivor” (Universal) Andy Koyama, Beau Borders and David Brownlow

ACHIEVEMENT IN VISUAL EFFECTS
“Gravity” (Warner Bros.) Tim Webber, Chris Lawrence, Dave Shirk and Neil Corbould
“The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” (Warner Bros.) Joe Letteri, Eric Saindon, David Clayton and Eric Reynolds
“Iron Man 3” (Walt Disney) Christopher Townsend, Guy Williams, Erik Nash and Dan Sudick
“The Lone Ranger” (Walt Disney) Tim Alexander, Gary Brozenich, Edson Williams and John Frazier
“Star Trek Into Darkness” (Paramount) Roger Guyett, Patrick Tubach, Ben Grossmann and Burt Dalton

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
“Before Midnight” (Sony Pictures Classics) Written by Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke
“Captain Phillips” (Sony Pictures Releasing) Screenplay by Billy Ray
“Philomena” (The Weinstein Company) Screenplay by Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope
“12 Years a Slave” (Fox Searchlight) Screenplay by John Ridley
“The Wolf of Wall Street” (Paramount) Screenplay by Terence Winter

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
“American Hustle” (Sony Pictures Releasing) Written by Eric Warren Singer and David O. Russell
“Blue Jasmine” (Sony Pictures Classics) Written by Woody Allen
“Dallas Buyers Club” (Focus Features) Written by Craig Borten & Melisa Wallack
“Her” (Warner Bros.) Written by Spike Jonze
“Nebraska” (Paramount) Written by Bob Nelson

 

13th Jan2014

Golden Globe Awards – Film

by timbaros

The Golden Globes were handed out last night in Hollywood and there were some surprises in the acting categories.

images-66

Matthew McConaughey won Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama for his role as an AIDS activist in Dallas Buyers Club,  beating what was the stiffest competition in years in this category which included Tom Hanks for Captain Phillips, Robert Redford for All is Lost and Chiwotel Ejiofor for 12 Years a Slave.

images-68

Cate Blanchett, as expected, won Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama for role as a wealthy wife who falls into a life of poverty in Blue Jasmine. Sandra Bullock for Gravity and Judi Dench for Philomena would’ve been favorited if Blanchett had not been nominated in this category.

12 Years a Slave won Best Motion Picture – Drama. This category could’ve been won by any of the other films nominated: Gravity, Rush, Captain Phillips, and Philomena.

For Best Motion Picture – Comedy – it was American Hustle which took this top prize. It beat Her, Inside Llewyn Davis, Nebraska and The Wolf of Wall Street.

Amy Adams won Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture for American Hustle, beating out Meryl Streep for August: Osage County.

Leonardo DiCaprio won Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Comedy for his role in The Wolf of Wall Street where he played a Wall Street Trader who gets arrested and put in prison. This category was open to all of the nominees, the others of which were Bruce Dern for Nebraska, Joaquin Phoenix for Her, Oscar Davis for Inside Llewyn Davis, and Christian Bale for American Hustle. Dern was slightly favored.

In the supporting categories, Jared Leto won Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture for his performance as a drag queen stricken with AIDS in Dallas Buyers Club. He beat the favorite Michael Fassbender for 12 Years as a Slave. Bradley Cooper also could’ve won for American Hustle. Jennifer Hustle won Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture for American Hustle. She beat Lupita N’yongo of 12 Years as a Slave who was the favorite.

Alfonso Cuaron won the Best Director category for his film Gravity. Steve McQueen was the favorite for 12 Years a Slave.

Frozen, as expected, won Best Animated Feature Film.

For Best Screenplay – Motion Picture – Spike Jonze won this category for Her.

The Golden Gloves are sponsored by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.

They also give out television awards.

Here is the complete list of winners (winners in bold):

BEST MOTION PICTURE – DRAMA
“12 Years a Slave”
“Captain Phillips”
“Gravity”
“Philomena”
“Rush”

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A MOTION PICTURE – DRAMA
Chiwetel Ejiofor, “12 Years a Slave”
Idris Elba, “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom”
Tom Hanks, “Captain Phillips”
Matthew McConaughey, “Dallas Buyers Club”
Robert Redford, “All Is Lost”

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A MOTION PICTURE – DRAMA
Cate Blanchett, “Blue Jasmine”
Sandra Bullock, “Gravity”
Judi Dench, “Philomena”
Emma Thompson, “Saving Mr. Banks”
Kate Winslet, “Labor Day”

BEST MOTION PICTURE – COMEDY OR MUSICAL
“American Hustle”
“Her”
“Inside Llewyn Davis”
“Nebraska”
“The Wolf Of Wall Street”

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A MOTION PICTURE – COMEDY OR MUSICAL
Christian Bale, “American Hustle”
Bruce Dern, “Nebraska”
Leonardo DiCaprio, “The Wolf of Wall Street”
Oscar Isaac, “Inside Llewyn Davis”
Joaquin Phoenix, “Her”

BEST TELEVISION SERIES – COMEDY OR MUSICAL
“The Big Bang Theory”
“Brooklyn Nine-Nine”
“Girls”
“Modern Family”
“Parks & Recreation”

BEST DIRECTOR – MOTION PICTURE

Alfonso Cuaron, “Gravity”
Paul Greengrass, Captain Phillips”
Steve McQueen, “12 Years a Slave”
Alexander Payne, “Nebraska”
David O. Russell, “American Hustle”

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A TELEVISION SERIES – COMEDY OR MUSICAL
Zooey Deschanel, “New Girl”
Lena Dunham, “Girls”
Edie Falco, “Nurse Jackie”
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, “Veep”
Amy Poehler, “Parks & Recreation”

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE FILM
“The Croods”
“Despicable Me 2″
“Frozen”

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A SERIES, MINI-SERIES OR MOTION PICTURE MADE FOR TELEVISION

Matt Damon, “Behind the Candelabra”
Michael Douglas, “Behind the Candelabra”
Chiwetel Ejiofor, “Dancing on the Edge”
Idris Elba, “Luther”
Al Pacino, “Phil Spector”

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
“Blue is the Warmest Color”
“The Great Beauty”
“The Hunt”
“The Past”
“The Wind Rises”

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A TELEVISION SERIES – COMEDY OR MUSICAL
Jason Bateman, “Arrested Development”
Don Cheadle, “House of Lies”
Michael J. Fox, “The Michael J. Fox Show”
Jim Parsons, “The Big Bang Theory”
Andy Samberg, “Brooklyn Nine-Nine”

BEST SCREENPLAY – MOTION PICTURE
Spike Jonze, “Her”
Bob Nelson, “Nebraska”
Jeff Pope, Steve Coogan, “Philomena”
John Ridley, “12 Years A Slave”
Eric Warren Singer, David O. Russell, “American Hustle”

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE IN A MOTION PICTURE
Barkhad Abdi, “Captain Phillips”
Daniel Brühl, “Rush”
Bradley Cooper, “American Hustle”
Michael Fassbender, “12 Years a Slave”
Jared Leto, “Dallas Buyers Club”

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A TELEVISION SERIES – DRAMA
Julianna Margulies, “The Good Wife”
Tatiana Maslany, “Orphan Black”
Taylor Schilling, “Orange Is The New Black”
Kerry Washington, “Scandal”
Robin Wright, “House Of Cards”

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A MOTION PICTURE – COMEDY OR MUSICAL
Amy Adams, “American Hustle”
Julie Delpy, “Before Midnight”
Greta Gerwig, “Frances Ha”
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, “Enough Said”
Meryl Streep, “August: Osage County”

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE IN A SERIES, MINI-SERIES OR MOTION PICTURE MADE FOR TELEVISION
Josh Charles, “The Good Wife”
Rob Lowe, “Behind the Candelabra”
Aaron Paul, “Breaking Bad”
Corey Stoll, “House of Cards”
Jon Voight, “Ray Donovan”

BEST ORIGINAL SONG – MOTION PICTURE
“Atlas,” “Hunger Games: Catching Fire”
Music by: Chris Martin, Guy Berryman, Jonny Buckland, Will Champion
Lyrics by: Chris Martin, Guy Berryman, Jonny Buckland, Will Champion

“Let It Go,” “Frozen”
Music by: Kristen Anderson Lopez, Robert Lopez
Lyrics by: Kristen Anderson Lopez, Robert Lopez

“Ordinary Love,” “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom”
Music by: Bono, The Edge, Adam Clayton, Larry Mullen, Jr., Brian Burton
Lyrics by: Bono

“Please Mr Kennedy,” “Inside Llewyn Davis”
Music by: Ed Rush, George Cromarty, T Bone Burnett, Justin Timberlake, Joel
Coen, Ethan Coen
Lyrics by: Ed Rush, George Cromarty, T Bone Burnett, Justin Timberlake, Joel
Coen, Ethan Coen

“Sweeter Than Fiction,” “One Chance”
Music by: Taylor Swift, Jack Antonoff
Lyrics by: Taylor Swift, Jack Antonoff

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE – MOTION PICTURE
Alex Ebert, “All Is Lost”
Alex Heffes, “Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom”
Steven Price, “Gravity”
John Williams, “The Book Thief”
Hans Zimmer, “12 Years A Slave”

BEST TELEVISION SERIES – DRAMA
“Breaking Bad”
“Downton Abbey”
“The Good Wife”
“House Of Cards”
“Masters Of Sex”

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A TELEVISION SERIES – DRAMA
Bryan Cranston, “Breaking Bad”
Liev Schreiber, “Ray Donovan”
Michael Sheen, “Masters of Sex”
Kevin Spacey, “House of Cards”
James Spader, “The Blacklist”

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A MINI-SERIES OR MOTION PICTURE MADE FOR TELEVISION
Helena Bonham Carter, “Burton and Taylor”
Rebecca Ferguson, “White Queen”
Jessica Lange, “American Horror Story: Coven”
Helen Mirren, “Phil Spector”
Elisabeth Moss, “Top of the Lake”

BEST MINI-SERIES OR MOTION PICTURE MADE FOR TELEVISION
“American Horror Story: Coven”
“Behind The Candelabra”
“Dancing on the Edge”
“Top of the Lake”
“White Queen”

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE IN A SERIES, MINI-SERIES OR MOTION PICTURE MADE FOR TELEVISION
Jacqueline Bisset, “Dancing on the Edge”
Janet McTeer, “White Queen”
Hayden Panettiere , “Nashville”
Monica Potter, “Parenthood”
Sofia Vergara, “Modern Family”

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE IN A MOTION PICTURE
Sally Hawkins, “Blue Jasmine”
Jennifer Lawrence “American Hustle”
Lupita Nyong’o, “12 Years a Slave”
Julia Roberts, “August: Osage County”
June Squibb, “Nebraska”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

12th Jan2014

12 Years a Slave – Film

by timbaros

images-57In 1853, Solomon Northup wrote an autobiography called 12 Years a Slave, 160 years later it has been turned into a film with the same title, and is one of the best films of the year.

Directed by British Director Steve McQueen (Shame), 12 Years a Slave tells Northrup’s true story of his kidnapping in Washington D.C. in 1841 and sold into slavery, a time when blacks in the United States were commonly and legally treated as slaves. Chiwitel Ejiofor plays Northrup, a skilled carpenter and a free black family man with two children living in upstate New York. One evening he meets two men, they start drinking, one of them drugs his drink, and then he wakes up and realizes that he is going to be sold into slavery. He protests, telling all around him that he is a free man, unfortunately his papers are at his home, so of course no one believes him. So this begins his time as a slave for 12 years, which would see him being shipped to Louisiana, going from one owner to another, and from one who is kind to one who is brutal. What he has to endure in these 12 years is enough to break any man down, but Northrup doesn’t give up.
Northrup is initially ‘bought’ by William Ford (Benedict Cumberbatch), a well-meaning but clueless plantation owner. But things get worse for Northrup. He is sold to the brutalistic and cruel Edwin Epps (an excellent Michael Fassbender, who is a shoo-in for Best Supporting Actor) and his passive wife (Sarah Paulson). Epps is aggressive with his slaves, literally treats them like dirt, and punishes them when he is in a bad mood. In one brutal scene, Northrup is hung from a tree as punishment for fighting an overseer, with his feet barely touching the ground, enough to allow him not to hang himself, and he hangs there from morning to dusk, while the other slaves around him go about their work, and children play in the background. The look on Ejiofor’s Northrup conveys an image of a man who has given up hope to escape and who is now focused merely on survival. In another brutal scene that is possibly one of the most harrowing film scenes in recent memory (and one that will make you turn away), Epps punishes slave Patsey (Lupita Nyong’o – sure to receive the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her performance in this movie), who had only briefly disappeared from the plantation to get a bar of soap. Egged on by his wife who knows that Ebbs has been sleeping (raping her) with her, Ebbs orders Northrup to lash Patsey as hard as he can, Northrup can only manage a few strokes when Ebbs takes over and savagely lashes her. It is a scene that was shot in real time, lasts only a few minutes, but feels much longer. Ebbs is in love with her but doesn’t know why he is in love with a slave, so he tries to destroy her.
Brad Pitt shows up near the end of the film (he is also a producer of the film) who has cast himself as a sort of Northrup’s savior, a Canadian labourer who listens to his story and then promises him that he will attempt to help him. It is Brad Pitt, while in a small role, is Brad Pitt – it is a bit distracting when he all of a sudden shows up.
Ejiofor, a British film, television and theatre actor, has either won or is nominated for Best Actor for his work in this film by over 40 critics organizations, including being nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor, and winning Best Actor by organizations such as the Boston Society of Film Critics to the Women Film Critics Circle Award. Ejiofor, previously seen in American Gangster, 2012 and Salt, outacts his fellow black actors from this season’s films: Forest Whitaker of The Butler and Idris Elba of Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom. Fassbender, and especially Nyong’o, deserve every award they will receive. 12 Years a Slave has just been nominated for 11 BAFTA’s, including nominations for Ejiofor, Fassbender and Nyong’o.
The stories of these slaves being beaten, raped, and tortured are told by McQueen’s detailed and controlled direction. How did McQueen find this story to tell? His wife is a historian and she recommended that he look into true accounts of slavery, she then found this book, and he said that he had to do it. It is a film where each performance is excellent, every scene has impact, and is emotional from the beginning to the very end. And each and every performance in this film is astounding.
Ejiofor recently told Vanity Fair Magazine that “I remember it (the book) and and being amazed by the story, and also realizing that it was quite daunting to step into something like that.” Yes, the film is quite daunting, but it is all the more daunting when you remember that this is the true life story of a man who lost 12 years of his life, and being away for 12 years from his family and home.

 

12th Jan2014

12 Years a Slave – Press Conference – Film

by timbaros
IMG_3720Mayfair Hotel – London:
Director Steve McQueen:
There were sequences that were technical, there were sequences obviously that were emotional, but in a way there was, just, the level, the focus of the film for me the focus of the film was on Solomon Northrup, trying to connect as much as I could to his journey, his character. Part of that which was in his biography, and so was a lot of clues there to very specific characteristics. In some of the things that he endured you knoe I was able to then to sort of try to connect in any way that I could to how he may have felt, and that was a real privilege in a way. To feel a sense of any kind of connection to what he went through we were trying to do some of the sequences as close as we possibly do to what he describes in the book. So that felt in a way emotional, also, and it connected to his experience connected to him.
Actor Chiwotel Ejiofor:
There were times when it was emotional, impactful but I think what we had was a wonderful crew. The support from the crew as said before, makeup, wardrobe, hair, all of the other departments, gaffers, electricians, grips, all these all of us came together and it was our film. So that kind of support, structure, that kind of collaborators, that kind of family, everyone having had a role in the film, a stake in the film, it was the support that was how and the actors would sort of go there, as it were, to to to to risk and to try and to fail and go for it, whatever it is there trying to go for it, there were no restrictions there was friendship and that behind allowed that to happen, it was beautiful, we would go out together, we would eat together, it was wonderful. It was a great time, a great time. Great memory.
Q: On some levels it feels like a very American story, obviously it’s a huge story but its an American story. How do you approach it to a London voice? Were among friends so you can speak freely.

McQueen:
It’s It’s a world story. It’s a world story. It’s not necessarily an American story as such. It take places in the United States but its a world story because its about slavery, slavery was a world issue as such. I chose to adapt this story before the researching those stories at that time and this that’s the story that struck me…Solomon Northrup’s story. And as I said before, I couldn’t really have come come across this story or book before. I couldn’t believe it, I felt very stupid but then I realized that no one else had. It was all about the narrative in the story and whereever it took place in the world it didn’t really matter. It was about something I wanted to talk about, which was slavery.
Ejoifor:
It was me who felt that there was a kind of I mean by definition there is an international element to it. Even an American one which is slavery you kind of have always an international idea of this thing, and so as I learned about it, thats the way in which learned about it, you know I learned about in terms of in terms of Africa, in terms of West Indies, in terms of Britain, in terms of America, so and South America and so I always had that in my head, I felt like it was a very American story, absolutely, but I felt that there was something correct about an international one in a way, even though 97% of the people who were involved in this movie who made this movie are Americans but there was an element of something international about it which I felt reflected something about the international nature of this event, this world event.
Q: Congratulations on an extraordinary film. I hope you don’t mind me saying it but I’m not sure I could watch it again because there were quite some difficult scenes. I mean were you well worried that you were going to far or were you worried that maybe you didn’t go far enough in some of the scenes.
McQueen:
If I was to make the book, you know, that that that was extreme, the book is extreme. But you know, my responsibility is this, do I make a film about slavery or not. I decided that I wanted to make a film about slavery, and if you make a film about slavery you have to have to understand how people were incarcerated in a way, sorry incarcerated, I mean in bondage, it was how it was for years, mental, physical, torture in a way, and you know it’s a world event, it’s a huge whole kind of film it’s sometime a huge whole in people’s minds that they don’t want to think about it in order to bring it to the form, plus remember, I as an individual am sitting here today, I’m here as an individual because some friends of my family went through slavery, fact, as to be respected.
Tim Baros question:
This question is for Chiwotel – how to do you pronounce your name, because I don’t know how to pronounce it. Also, this question is for Steve McQueen: Can you explain the audition process? How Mr. Ejiofor got the role and the rest of the cast as well.
McQueen:
It was a big cast so I will just do Chiwotel. I knew Chiwotel from before and as far as I was concerned as in the book there was only actor who could play it – Chiwotel – as I said before he had the same kind of stature, the craft, the thing that was do to him which I which I knew was sorely needed to be portrayed in that way, that was Solomon Northrup and you know Chiwotel is such a great actor. He reminds me of Harry Belafonte, same person, same kind of stature so to translate on screen. That’s that’s that’s the sentence – that translate on screen. and That’s why I chose him – he was one in a million.
Q: In relation to that your relationship then with Michael Fassbender and obviously a very close relationship with each other can you expand a little bit on how you work together and how well you work together and also the comments I the last few days that Michael said he wouldn’t play the Oscar game as there is talk of Oscar nominations I just wondered how you felt about that and about the idea of his Oscar game.
McQueen:
I really wanted to go back obviously about that, since 2007 when I first met him when I auditioned for Hunger, obviously our relationship is a good one and which has blossomed into something which is, uh, I value it more than other things know, I value it tremendously. He’s an artist, he’s an artist, again, he’s a force to be reckoned with. There’s some kind of magic he has. He’s a clever guy. He has some kind of spirit, as far as campaigning or not campaigning, his campaign is on the screen. His Oscar campaign, that’s it.
Q: I’ve got a question for Steve. I really like the music used in the film, Hans Zimmer is one of the biggest composers right now, he’s done everything from Pirates to Kung Fu Panda. I wondered why he was chosen to write the music for the film and the process he went through to get the right score you’ve got in your head.
McQueen:
I just rang him up, as you do. To come and chat before about Hunger, and I range him up Hans and said to him and said Han, listen, I’m doing this film, and there’s no money, and ‘Steve I was thrown the world’ oh god he says that and he was basically making Superman at the time he said I was thrown the world and I said Hans is it possible to think about this idea, and he said I will do it, I will do it, and that’s it, that was it. I said thank you, kindly. and from there it was casual, he is a very interesting Hans is a fantastic guy, everyone seems to be fantastic but guess what I choose wisely, um to me he’s just a fantastic guy. We had two conversations for five hours at his place, and then two others conversations for 3 hours on the phone, seriously, and then i came to his studio and he does this – ping – oh wow, it was all that conversations that took a couple of notes. So he has to be submerged in the narrative so he comes out in another world translates in it in sound first kind of focus concentrate on Hans Zimmer and he’s a good guy.
Q: Solomon comes through as very striking, he’s not a symbol. He’s a character. He’s an individual. How do you go about developing that kind of characterization?
McQueen: Well actually it took, you know it didn’t come as easily to me that easily to me, when I first read the script I definitely saw the story of a man going through extraordinary circumstance, I didn’t necessarily see Solomon until that first time, it wasn’t actually until I read the book and then went back to the script and then I suddenly realized you know because obviously in a way that I realized it is actually the story of Solomon Northrup and my responsibility was to simply tell his story, I’d seen it initially as a kind of telling the story and feeling the responsibility of telling the story about a slave experience or something, telling one of the few stories I think not one of the only stories in cinema from inside the slave experience. So that was a bit of a hurdle to me trying to get my head around how to tell a story of why through this one person, of course these things you realize don’t have to do that, you don’t have to do that tell the whole story of slavery somehow. But, uh, just the story of Solomon Northrup and so the book was very revealing in terms of his character and I realized he is his world view and the way we approach the world and the way you approach the people, the way you approach these circumstances was remarkable, actually.  Because of his..I I tried to work out exactly what his specific characteristics are but I think the main thing to do was the story reflex of survival and love of life as well as an absence of hatred that he utilizes, that he is able to continue through this system as he gets rid of anything that is not useful to his survival, both physically and mentally, and its an extraordinary pairing down of all those elements to navigate.
Q: We talked a bit of the uncomfortable moment in the film, were there moments when you first read the book where you were concerned about going through with you mentioned before about actors doing the job were there in the same sort of way, were there any scenes where you were concerned for your actors.
Ejiofor: Well it was me when I first read it I was stunned by it you know and I just thought as a piece you’re going to have to just trust it you know as an actor you’re going to just have to slip out grab a hold and see what happens. You know because uh there’s just no there’s just no other way of telling the story. You know and I it’s not like I wasn’t aware of Steve and his films you know what I mean so I you know you know so you I knew that he would go to all the places that you’d have to go to and that and that’s what I wanted, to tell this story, I just thought it’s the only way I mean sort of it’s about something we were talking about earlier, in a way you can’t tell a story about slavery unless your tell it. and that’s it, and so you’re going to have to its like you know people talk about violence and stuff but you its a weird one because its a strange handicap if you’re not you cannot talk about violence in a film about slavery. You’re not going to do justice for the other people involved. You’re not certainly not going to do justice to Solomon Northrup and what he went through, you know. It’s ah, you know it like going on about the second world war or something you can’t shoot anybody, you know it’s not you can’t tell these stories without major parts of what they are and I and I read that and I read and I read into that you know I read into the script and there was obviously going to be these sort of struggles that he went through and I was I wanted to embrace that. I was excited about it.
Q: I’ m Brazilian so I know about slavery. I wanted to ask Steve now that he has done such good movies was it difficult to get money from American industry as a black man?
McQueen: No it wasn’t, it wasn’t at all. I think Plan B, the production company behind me, was very supportive and got extra support for it. Great people. Fox Searchlight. our Producer, and a group of people got together to make the film, they believed in me, and they believed in the subject. And it wasn’t as difficult as many people could have thought.
Q: I was wondering when you approach this role in your mind, how do you go about ensuring the audience stays engaged and attached to the character when essentially he’s actually becoming more introvert and hardship until the final scenes?
Ejiofor: I think because when I you know I had a very, when I first read the screenplay and read the book I had a very submersive experience with it, which was I just felt like I was reading like I was observing like I was reading a book and reading a script and at a certain point I don’t know exactly when that is it was like I was inside the experience , you know, something that happened to him or whatever I would feel like I was experiencing emotionally connected and I felt that there was something about it that is very immersive very immediately submersive because I suppose in a way we could all relate to that or more easily understand some of the some of the sense of just being ripped away from everything that you called dear and than put in this kind of Alice in Wonderland slipped down the rabbit onto this kind of universe he is sort of walking through and I felt that the power of that could be conveyed in any meaning and that’s why it is such a strong book and such a strong screenplays because that’s what Solomon relates to is what something that people quickly get on board with quite quickly understand so I I wasn’t worried about that in the end, and so I didn’t feel like it was my job to ah to try and carry the end through it which I thought might’ve been interrupting. I just felt that if I kept close to Solomon, and told his story, that I kind of trusted in the narrative, of course I trusted in Steve, you know, and I felt that that was the way that people could connect to it.

 

Pages:12»