27th Sep2014

Maps to the Stars – Film

by timbaros

images-261Maps to the Stars can be described as a take off on Hollywood and celebrity and the people who inhabit this world, and boy what a world it is.

It’s a world created by David Cronenberg, who also directed. He’s the man who last brought us 2012’s Cosmopolis but he is more well known for the much better received A History of Violence and Eastern Promises. Maps to the Stars is not a normal movie, in other words, it’s not what it says on the tin. It’s surreal, dark, black, and intense. It’s a movie that is desperately trying to show us the inhabitants of Hollywood, and their dreams, and their need for fame and validation.

There are several lead characters in the film, but it mostly belongs to Julianne Moore. She plays ageing actress Havana Segrand. While she’s not that old, she can’t get the parts she used to get, but one part that she really wants is to play a part her late mother once played. Segrand seems to live in the shadow of her more legendary mother, who died in a mysterious fire. And Segrand is not a stable woman – though she lives in a huge house that befits a famous film star. And even though Segrand is surrounded by people all the time, including her agent, her personal assistant Agatha Weiss (Mia Wasikoska), and her visits to self help guru Dr. Sanford Weiss (John Cusack), she sees the ghost of he mother as a young girl around the house, and she doesn’t know why. And Segrand is just one of the many strange characters in the film.

There’s also the already-mentioned Agatha Weiss. Her story is even more bizarre. She’s been kept in a psychiatric asylum in Jupiter, Florida since she was a young girl after a horrible fire that left her with scars on her hand (she wears gloves) and face. It was a fire that appears to be one that she started, as she has been ostracized and totally rejected by her family. And this includes her father,who happens to be Dr. Sanford Weiss. And she’s obsessed with trying to re-enter the family circle, which she does. And on top of all this, there’s something really strange about her.

Dr. Sanford Weiss is a famous television psychologist who offers New Age advice to his followers, as well as performing intimate bodywork on his celebrity clients, the rich and famous. He stars in his own television program that is constantly on in his household; he’s a strange egotistical man. He is also the author of best-selling self-help books with analysis for the troubled, which doesn’t help his 13-year old teenage son, Benjie Weiss (a very good Evan Bird).

Benjie Weiss is a teen sensation, a Beiberesque movie star who is making way to much money. He’s spoiled and screwed up (just like Justin Beiber?). He’s a teen heartthrob (having starred in the big hit ‘Bad Babysitter’ and fresh from rehab – at the tender age of 13. He visits a sick girl in a hospital to boost his reputation and told by his agent that this girl in dying of AIDS, but actually she tells him that she’s got Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. He’s pissed off and tells his agent off for providing him the wrong information. The girl eventually dies and Benjie is haunted by her ghost – a ghost that he sees almost everywhere he goes. It’s a metaphor for his stardom, an attempt to bring him back down to earth perhaps? But it doesn’t, it makes him a lunatic to the point where he thinks he’s strangling her but he actually strangles the co-star of a new film that’s he’s doing, and he’s jealous that this co-star is stealing scenes from him. The strangulation is a chilling scene, and all to surreal by the reaction of his mother, Cristina Weiss (Olivia Williams). She’s not your typical celebrity mother; she’s a bit spastic and emotionally unstable, paranoid if you will, who is more concerned about her son’s ability to make more money than for his personal well-being. The Weiss family is one screwed up family.

Robert Pattison shows up as perhaps the only sane person in the movie. He’s Jerome, a limo driver who happens to pick up Agatha when she arrives in Los Angeles. He’s not just a limo driver, he’s also a part-time actor. And he falls for Agatha, but also gets seduced by Havana. After their sexual romp all hell breaks lose and Agatha goes on a rampage.

Maps to the Stars is an exaggerated take off on Hollywood and it’s denizens. It’s a film that is a distorted view on celebrity culture, but to the extreme, with highs and the very lows, with ghosts from their past thrown in for scary effect. And it’s a film where the characters are all very unlikeable, so unlikeable that you sort of wish they would all kill themselves. Maps to the Stars uses Los Angeles and Hollywood as the backdrop, with parts of the film shot on the Hollywood walk of fame and under the famous Hollywood sign, to give it a realistic look. Most people say that Hollywood is fake and artificial, and it’s a bit like this film, it’s fake, dark, make believe, artificial and over the top, with celebrities swallowed up by their obsessions with success, celebrity and money, and perhaps this is what Hollywood is all about?

27th Sep2014

Human Capital – Film

by timbaros

images-239A cyclist gets mowed down by a car on an empty country road and it’s a mystery as to who did it. In the new film Human Capital, we are left guessing until the very end.

Human Capital (Il capitale umano) is a smartly directed and acted film that is cleverly told in four parts, with the first three parts named after three of the film’s characters. These parts are constructed in a way that tells the story form three different perspectives – until part 4 of the film when it is revealed who hit the cyclist. It’s a film with a very strong cast – Italian actors and actresses who are at the top of their game, and in addition to a very good script, it makes it worth seeing.

Dino Ossola (Frabrizio Bentivoglio) is a man who feels like he’s not where he wants to be in life. He’s an older man, with his own real estate company, operating out of a very small office in the center of town. He recently downsized his company but still wants to climb the social ladder. So he plans on using his daughter Serena (Matilde Gioli) as a stepping stone because she’s dating the son of very wealthy financial investor Giovanni Bernaschi (Fabrizio Gifuni). Dino decides to invest 700,000 EUR in Giovanni’s fund where he’s promised spectacular returns. But the opposite happens, and within days Dino has lost 90% of his investment. He’s desperate not only to recoup the money as most of it was borrowed, but he needs the money because his pyschologist wife Roberta (Valeria Golino) has announced that she is pregnant. Meanwhile, Giovanni’s wife Carla (Valeria Bruni Tedeschi) has nothing better to do all day then to spend her husbands’ money and by having him fund a theatre company for her. She’s excited about the prospect of doing something with her life, instead of shopping all day, and hires a board of directors for the theatre company. Meanwhile, Giovanni needs to take a sudden overnight business trip as it appears there’s problems with his investment company.

Serena, even though she is dating Massimiliano, meets goodlooking Luca (Giovanni Anzaldo) at Roberta’s office. They strike up a conversation and decide to meet up later, and soon enough they fall for each other. But there is a racuous alcohol-fueled party that Massimiliano has gone to, and Serena receives a phone call from one of the partygoers to come and pick him up because he is too drunk to drive. She’s at Luca’s apartment when she receives the phone call, and they both go together. But it’s the mystery of who was actually driving Massimiano’s car which drives the plot for Human Capital. It’s Massimialiano’s car that is identified by a witness of being the car that hit the cyclist, but he says he doesn’t know how he got home the previous night. So who actually hit the cyclist? Who’s to blame?

Human Capital is a mystery whodunnit without it ever being a detective story. It’s brilliantly told from all angles and from all the characters who have some sort of involvement in each other’s lives. It’s a different way of storytelling, and Director Paolo Virzi pulls it off. He’s made several films over the past decade but this film will make his name, and work, better known. He’s said of this film – “it’s tells the story of how money – the angst of multiplying it, the anxiety of losing it – determines the relationships, the fates, and the worth of the people it touches.” The film has won many awards, not just in Italy but in America as well. Valeria Bruni Tedeschi was just recently named Best Actress at the Tribeca Film Festival for her work in this film. It’s a film not to be missed.

21st Sep2014

20,000 Days on Earth – Film

by timbaros

thJust last month Rolling Stone magazine named their 40 greatest rock documentaries of all time. Don’t Look Back – a documentary about Bob Dylan’s 1965 tour – was their number one. However, a new documentary about Nick Cave, called 20,000 Days on Earth, is now out at the cinemas, and will surely be amongst the top ten the next time Rolling Stone magazine compiles their list.

20,000 Days on Earth is the number of days that Nick Cave has been alive (at the time of filming) – 54 years old. He is now nearing 56 but looks and acting nothing like it in this new documentary, which is a thrilling ride, both visually and musically, of this Australian-born musician who sings all sorts of songs, including rock, punk, alternative, gothic and experimental. Known mostly to the general public as Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, they have recorded 15 albums over the last 30 years, and Cave, separately, has composed the score to several films, including 2012’s Lawless and 2009’s The Road. And while they are not known for producing commercially successful music, they have been consistent in record sales throughout their career and their popularity amongst their fans has never waned.

20,000 Days on Earth is a unique vision of a staged day in the life of the iconic Cave – a fictitious 24 hours in the life of. In one scene, he gives an interview to a psychoanalyst, talking about his life, including the death of his father when he was 19. We see Cave driving through the streets of Brighton, his adopted home, and a city he loves so much. In the film he tells us he eats, sleeps, shits, plays music, watches television – ah, the life of a musician. We get to see him in his studio, creating music with his band, which includes his longtime collaborator Warren Ellis, who is prominently featured in the film (including a scene shot at his home which overlooks the white cliffs of Dover). Cave also extolls the love that he has for his wife Susie. He says that when he first saw her she was a vision, and he just knew then (1997) that they were meant to be together. While she does not appear in the film, Cave’s extreme love for her is present throughout. Roy Winstone appears in the film, discussing with Cave, while he drives, the merits of being rich and famous. We also get to see Cave drive around Kylie Minogue, as she sits in the back seat of his car they reminisce about their 1996 hit song “Where the Wild Roses Grow.” It’s a special moment in the film as they reminisce about their past like it was just yesterday, when Minogue was dating the late Michael Hutchence

The film blends storytelling with performance and visualization which makes it neither a music documentary nor a concert film – it’s more than that. We see songs that get begin as an idea and then get hatched onstage; we join him on a journey through his personal archive; and we see him with his two young boys on their sofa watching Scarface and eating pizza – it’s a moment near the end of the film that brings Cave back to Earth.

The debut feature film by Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard, 20,000 Days on Earth is a fictional narrative on Nick’s 20,000th day. Using his notebooks and having complete accessibility to Cave, they are able to construct a film that is unique in every way, and a film which shows a side of Cave that not many people have been privy to. And we get treated to, at the end, a performance by Cave and the Bad Seeds at the Sydney Opera House. Seeing him perform makes the hair on the back of your neck stick up, and this film will do the same. 20,000 Days on Earth will stand as one of the best rock n roll documentaries ever.

21st Sep2014

Magic in the Moonlight – Film

by timbaros

images-244Woody Allen makes about one film every year. When his films are good, they are very good, and when they are mediocre, they are disappointing. His new film – Magic in the Moonlight – falls into the later category.

Allen has been on a roll the last ten years. His output has included Blue Jasmine, for which Cate Blanchett won a 2014 Best Actress Oscar for her role as a socialite who’se life changes for the worse; Vicky Cristina Barcelona, winning Penelope Cruz a 2008 Best Supporting Actress Oscar; To Rome with Love; Midnight in Paris; Cassandra’s Dream and Match Point. The 79 year-old writer, director and actor has had a career that has spanned over 50 years, and there seems to be no slowing down for him. He’s already at work on his next project – called ‘Untitled Woody Allen Project” now that Magic in the Moonlight is in cinemas. It won’t be winning any awards like some of his previous films. It’s a cute film, that’s it, there’s no other way to describe it.

Similar in plot to Allen’s 2010 film You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger, where divorcee Gemma Jones sees a fortune teller for spiritual advice, in Magic in the Moonlight we get a main character who is psychic medium using seances to speak to the dead, and a magician who believes the psychic is a fake.

Set in 1920 south of France, Colin Firth plays Chinese magician Wei Ling Soo, who is actually Englishman Stanley Crawford, a well-known magician, world famous yet anonymous, whose neatest trick is to disappear and reappear in a different spot in the same room. He’s also cynical, grouchy, and not very pleasant to be around when he’s off stage. He hears about a woman who has amazing psychic abilities, so he goes on a mission, along with his life-long friend Howard (Simon McBurney) to see what this psychic is all about and to try to debunk her. The psychic turns out to be lovely Sophie Baker (Emma Stone), an American from Tennessee. Sophie and her mother (Marcia Gay Harden) are in the South of France staying at an opulent house at the invitation of the very wealthy Catledge family, including the matriarch Grace (a Jacki Weaver – having the same facial expressions she has in all of her other films, though this time with more makeup), and her son Brice (Hamish Linklater) – who holds a candle to and romances Sophie to the point of singing songs to her on his tiny ukelele. They are convinced that Sophie can help Grace contact Grace’s late husband.

Crawford shows up at the Catledge mansion pretending to be a businessman named Stanley Taplinger. Immediately he dismisses her as a fake, though she seems to tell him events in his life that she couldn’t possibly know about. But during one seance where Sophie allegedly contacts Graces husband, there are knocks on a door and a candle floats in the air, Crawford (Taplinger) begins to think that Sophie’s talents are for real. He even confesses to his aunt who lives nearby (Eileen Atkins) that he believes her powers could actually be real. What follows next is a bit predictable. Crawford slowly starts falling for Sophie, especially after one day when they visit Crawford’s aunt and their car breaks down in heavy rain, they spend time with each other in a planetarium, drying off and learning about each other. By this time Sophie knows that Taplinger is actually Crawford who is actually Soo, and that he has a fiancée back home in London.

So Crawford slowly starts falling in love with Sophie, even though Brice is still very much in the picture. Crawford even confesses this to his aunt who tells him to go for it, coaxing out of him his true feelings for Sophie. The rest plays out like you would expect it, with a very predictable ending that is not very original.

Magic in the Moonlight has the same sort of romanticism these as Allen’s Midnight in Paris and To Rome With Love. In these three films, love is in the air and there’s a question but yet always a certainty if the two leads will wind up with each other or not. But Magic in the Moonlight is missing some of the Woody Allen formula. Sure, Firth is excellent as the doubting magician, and Stone is glowing everytime she is on screen, and the rest of cast (bar Weaver) are all just fine. But this is Allen’s show, and we can’t help but realize that there is not much magic in Magic in the Moonlight.

12th Sep2014

TheEntertainmentWebsite.com reaches 100,000 hits!

by timbaros

Orange British Academy Film Awards 2010 - Red Carpet ArrivalsTheEntertainmentWebsite.com has reached the remarkable number of 100,000 hits (page views) in just over one year since its inception. It’s an amazing milestone in that there are so many film blogs and film websites out there on the internet; this proves that there is room for one more – one that is unique in terms of content and style, and which stands out from the others.

TheEntertainmentWebsite.com covers film, DVD and theatre reviews, as well as the current Box Office figures, upcoming film releases and West End productions, film awards, and Film Trailer of the Week. TheEntertaimentWebsite.com also covers breaking entertainment news – including the untimely death of comedienne Joan Rivers last week.

In the past year alone, TheEntertainmentWebsite.com has covered press conferences for major film releases including Philomena, Saving Mr. Banks, 12 Years a Slave and Red 2. TheEntertainmentWebsite.com has also interviewed actor Alan Cumming to discuss his career and the release of his 2013 film Any Day Now. TheEntertainmentWebsite.com has also been invited to attend the London, Sundance and BFI Flare Film festivals, the announcement of the 2014 BAFTA nominations, as well as dozens of film premieres and red carpet events. Just last week TheEntertainmentWebsite.com was granted access to Pride Director Matthew Warchus and writer Stephen Beresford as well as co-star Andrew Scott. An interview with Warchus and Beresford, along with a review of the film, can be viewed at TheEntertainmentWebsite.com.

Other interviews granted to TheEntertainmentWebsite.com include ones with David W. Ross, star and writer of the American drama I Do; Stacey Passon – Director of the newly-released on DVD film Concussion: Shane Bitney Crone – Producer and star of the riveting documentary Bridegroom; and Darren Stein – Director of the camp comedy G.B.F.; and several others.

TheEntertainmentWebsite.com was created by Tim Baros in July 2013. Tim also writes for and contributes to Pride Life Magazine and website, The American Magazine and website, www.Hereisthecity.com and www.Blu-Raydefinition.com. Tim Baros is a member of the UK Regional Film Critics and is the UK representative for the Gay & Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association.

What’s next for TheEntertainmentWebsite.com? Coverage of the upcoming London Film Festival, next year’s BFI Flare Film Festival, and following that, attendance at the biggest film festival in the world – the Cannes Film Festival.

Keep on clicking on TheEntertainmentWebsite.com!!

12th Sep2014

Pride – Interview with Writer and Director – Film

by timbaros

'Pride' Paris Premiere At Gaumont Opera CapucinesPride took a long time to get to the screen. The actual events of the film took place between 1984 – 1985, however it was in 2012 when Producer David Livingstone met writer Stephen Beresford to commission the script for Pride. But the actual idea for the movie happened over 20 years ago.

“I was having an argument with somebody, an argument which I imagine is replayed in gay bars across the world,” Stephen Beresford (Writer) said. “I was being told that gay men of my age weren’t as political as older gay men. and it was during a second round of the 1990’s, final round of pit closures, and we were talking about the miners, and I wasn’t in any way politically engaged with that question, I could not understand why I would be. And I said why would I support miners – they don’t support me. And the person I was speaking to said well here’s a story that may interest you, and he told me the story of LGSM. Personally, it’s what brought the film to life, really, from my perspective.”

Beresford added that “I’ve been trying to get people to make the film – I’d almost forgotten about it – I thought no one would ever make this film,” Beresford continues. “I think if they have, the answer that everyone gave was, those who were honest, was that it would be impossible to bring in a commercial audience, they would say it’s a great story why don’t you do a radio play or a drama documentary, something Channel 4 would do. And that was their attitude rather than I always thought what I wanted it to be was exactly what it’s turned into. I wanted it to be a big feature film, a mainstream feature film and treated in that way, with a director like Matthew Warchus, not a drama documentary or something like that. So I’d always rebuffed the attempts to diminish it because I just thought it was always a bigger story.”

In 1984 the UK’s National Union of Mineworkers began a nationwide strike in protest at planned coalmine closures around the country. The Thatcher government responded with measures that were not only tough, but frequently brutal. Among the many groups who supported the striking miners was a group of gay and lesbian activists in London who, following the Gay Pride march in the same year, they decided to raise money for the strike fund on the grounds that they had the same adversaries: the Thatcher government, the police and the tabloids. Calling themselves Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners (LGSM) and, unable to get their early donations accepted by the miners’ union, they set off in an old minibus to a remote village in Wales to hand over the money in person. So began an extraordinary tale of friendship and solidarity, following the events of a fraught 12 months during which LGSM became one of the biggest fundraisers in the whole of the UK.

So when Beresford started writing the film, how did he track down the original people the film is based on?

“They made a video called ‘Dancing in Delice’ which was available online and I watched it,” Beresford says. “There were no names on the screen when everyone was interviewed, so at the very end they had a thanks to card, and I just froze the frame, and I looked for any unusual names on it, and I cross-referenced them with Facebook. So there was Reggie Blennerhassett, and I thought there can’t be two of them in the world, and there aren’t, and I emailed him and said if he was involved with the Lesbian and Gays support the miners in 1984-85, and he was on holiday in France, two weeks later I got this message back saying ‘yes, this is the first time I have been asked this question in 30 years, what can you possibly want.’ …”

Was Warchus aware of the film as well?
Warchus says “not until I was sent the script and then just like a lot of people how could I have not heard about this.
There’s a great responsibility when we started making it and it was becoming a reality, these events really happened and all these people are alive, I met some of them through Stephen and it was it really sets the bar quite high when you feel like you owe it to these people to properly and effectively retell their story, so what I mean by that is that you don’t want to feel that you are exploiting them in any way. You want it to be delivered as an arrow when it flies straight as it possibly can. So Stephen made some modifications and changes to help the story tag, to deliver the impact. And I was conscious of balancing that myself, be authentic, be detailed, make it real, make it work, as well, without betraying anybody. So yeah, I think there was a big sense of responsibility, actually.”

One thing that is unique about Pride is that it is told through the eyes of the main character Joe (played by George Mackay), and not told through through the eyes of one of the LGSM members.

“No, because because if I was asked to do that, that’s just how I am interested, that’s what I like, what I’m interested in is the oblique” says Bereford. “There’s a wonderful, I don’t know who said it, and if you find you can credit them, somebody who said ‘Only what is seen sideways sinks deep’ – and I really feel that it’s very true and in way that’s precisely what Matthew’s saying about that tone, it’s the things that are just on the sidelines. So if I was asked to do a biopic of Attila the Hun, I would deliver a script about Attila the Hun’s hairdresser. And Attila would come in and out, see I am interested in the other people. So for me it could’ve never been about Mark Ashton (played by Ben Schnetzer) because then it would’ve been a very different story, it would’ve been a hero story, and hero stories don’t interest me. Why? Because I don’t think they are very funny. I was much more interested in the boy who’s staring at Mark Ashton thinking I will never be like that.”

Warchus added “And it’s another part of the brilliant script, is that amateurs, nobody’s experts at anything, they don’t know what they’re doing really, they’re all just making it up as they go along. That’s a wonderfully liberating radical encouraging expiring side of it as well, and of course it’s about groups, it has to be about groups of people. We were under some pressure to reduce the number of people in it, and in doing that for the sake, you take out all these characters you’ve got more chance of filming it on budget and on time, also you leave room for these characters, the guy character or another character to have more, to become more into the fore, tell us more about them.”

With such a large cast, the mood on the set must’ve been hectic but lots of fun. To this Beresford says:

“One of the things that people are surprised at is that when we started casting the film the casting director Fiona Ware and myself, and Stephen spent every audition together – the three of us – and then when we started shooting the film, Stephen sat next to me everyday for the shoot so I could ask him questions, we could talk about character things and lines and stuff like that but he’s also very very funny and so whereas I am very very dry so everybody’s spirits were up, everybody knew what they were there to do and I’d explained to everybody how we’re going to work, they understood how we’re doing it, why we’re doing it, there weren’t internal conflicts, everybody was doing the same thing to the same end, everyone’s spirits were up. It was hard work because we were doing it very very fast and many of the scenes were two takes, and it was everyday where we ran out of time, and just had to run and finish the lines, crazy, but it was, it always felt like we were doing the right thing somehow. It felt good, didn’t it.”
Warchus added “I think because of our traditions Matthew obviously has a very celebrated theatre career and that’s really what my background is, first as an actor and then as a playwright, so we both know the theatre and a lot of these actors also, that’s where they come from, and so there was something about it for us although everyone was horrified that we were trying to make this enormous thing, the gay & lesbian Ghandi on half the money and none of the time and people were freaking out, what we did is what you do in the theatre is when you’ve got no money and no time you say to the actors ‘we’ve got no money and no time’ – it’s a revolutionary idea that a lot of film people have never thought of. When you say to actors ‘listen, we only got time to do this, one set up and we might get another we might get a closeup but then we’ll see how we’re going , they say, OK, we won’t dick about, we’ll do our best, we’ll get it. And you work together in that way. So we had that sort of experience.”

In watching the film, you will notice that each character has his or her moment, so each one becomes familiar and as a group they really jell.

Beresford agrees. “I love the way Matthew directed it, and Tat Radcliffe, the cinematographer. One of the things I find most exciting about the film is that I love the feeling that the camera goes in this direction but what you two are doing is so interesting that if I just could get it over there we would have a whole other story.”
Warchus adds: “It makes it feel like the film’s not over, it hasn’t been scripted, it hasn’t been overdesigned, constructed, but it is realistic and life like.”

Pride is a very funny film, but it’s a very dramatic story, with the beginning of the AIDS crises. How did Beresford balance the humor and the drama?

“I know quite a lot about these sort of tonal things in a way, that’s what attracted me to the material, just being truthful because life is changing its tone, all the time. Don’t say I need this bit to definitely be that kind of thing and I’ve got to leave the audience to that thing and I got to make them feel that, uh, just make each thing on its own terms, truth and good, and effectively done, and then wait and see where the audience laughs, and where they don’t laugh, and what they do, and you can’t prescribe that, not until you actually set it out in front of people.”

And the choice of music is instrumental for a film like this because of the era in which the events happened. The mid-1980’s was full of great British music and the movie reflects this.

Warchus says “I was told to put songs in it as there wouldn’t be a way of selling it.”
Beresford added “when I was going through sort of thinking songs that might work – this was before we had Billy Bragg at the end – I found out six months before the film was greenlit, I was determined to end the film like that, even though when I mentioned it to any of the money people, you can see it written across their face there’s no way this film is ever going to end with Billy Bragg.”

“That’s an interesting resolve.” Warchus adds. “When I added Billy Bragg at the end I would go, hmmm, good, quite alright, then it was him in mind, he just wouldn’t communicate, it was so taciturn where this very beautiful school of music where Chris Nightingale (Composer) comes in under the track, you’ve got the choir which comes over the top of it and under the end of it, you know you’ve got your hands and knees on the floor, wracking sobs.”

Beresford continued “Yes, and that’s the point really, and once we found the songs that could be in it I would run them by Stephen and check and ask him his ideas what would be playing in a rubber club, I don’t know, Stephen however is an authority, ha ha ha, so he would help out there, but then Christopher Nightingale (Composer), the score’s another section that is where you can tell in the music that the Welsh end of the score has got a brass band and a Welsh harp in it, and the London end of things is more urban and electronic pop stuff. And that as you watch the film these two sonic worlds kind of intwine around each other as well, and that becomes kind of like the end, a resource to add Welsh music to Billy Bragg and superimpose them on top of each other. That side of things was an exciting, very exciting time because that’s when you put extra engines on the film, obviously, and the music goes without saying, and it was an experiment in how emotional things can get without being sentimental, it was all manipulation at that point, and so trying to hold on to the integrity to the film, but being brave enough to put your heart on your sleeve as well, Chris had a very very good instinct for that.”

Some of the songs in the film include:

Queen – I Want to Break Free
Bronski Beat – Why
Frankie Goes to Hollywood – Relax
Soft Cell – Tainted Love
Pet Shop Boys – West End Girls
Culture Club – Karma Chameleon
Grace Jones – Pull Up to the Bumper
Wham – Freedom
New Order – Blue Monday
Sylvester – Do Ya Wanna Fund
Billy Bragg – Power to the Union

The material in the film lends itself to an LGBT-themed film, a type of cinema that tends to be very niche.
Warchus says “I think part of the problem is that LGBT people are not visible throughout history often, so you have to dig them up to find them. It’s impossible to write a film, it’s not impossible, but it’s difficult to write a film set for example during the first World War in London without any women being involved even though women didn’t have the same equal rights at that time but there they are, they’ve got to be in the movie, where you wouldn’t think of the idea that any of these people might be an LGBT person. In a sense that’s sort of we have to dig up those stories and often they are very buried so I think that’s part of it. I just think this story happens to be about a particular event which is seminal and pivotal certainly in this country’s civil rights history but in a wider sense. I think it’s hard because people don’t automatically think in those terms even when they are creating characters I think.”

Beresford concluded “Also it’s not a niche, it’s not supposed to come out as a niche film, because this situation is anti-niche. It was about exploding but none of that matters as much as this. So you needed it to be the big thing thing which supercedes everything else and that’s why it works well.”

11th Sep2014

The Boxtrolls – Film

by timbaros

The-Boxtrolls-Trailer-4-5The Boxtrolls is being billed as a family event movie from the makers of 2009’s Coraline, a stop-motion 3D dark fantasy film. And The Boxtrolls is also dark, one of the darkest animated films to be released, since perhaps Coraline.

It’s a story of a different type of animated character. The audience is introduced to a family of Boxtrolls, a community of creatures who have raised a human boy. These creatures come in all shapes and sizes, however, the commonality amongst them is that they wear recycled cardboard boxes the way turtles wear their shells. So it’s easy for them to hide when they face danger, and even when they go to sleep – all they have to do is scrunch themselves into their boxes.

Eggs (voiced by Isaac Hempstead Wright) was accidentally thrown out of his house when he was a baby and was picked up by one of the Boxtrolls and taken to their community – a cavernous home the Boxtrolls have built beneath the cobblestoned streets of a town called Cheesebridge, where it’s citizens call them monsters. Their underground home is their oasis, as dirty and smelly as it is, with bugs and insects all over the place, literally climbing all over them all the time. Their home is dark, polluted, and probably an unsafe place to raise a baby boy. They spend their days happily underground but their nights foraging the streets for anything to take back home with them, combing the cities streets for garbage to take home with them – the human’s trash becomes The Boxtrolls treasure. And it’s really strange that an animated movie is set in such a location.

The Mayor of Cheesebridge, Lord Portley-Rind (Jared Harris) is not a fan of the Boxtrolls – he believes the scary stories about them that has been spread by the villainous Archibald Snatcher (Ben Kingsley). Snatcher is determined to be accepted into Lord Portley-Rind’s elite group of crony men, so he has imprisoned genius inventor and a friend of Boxtrolls Herbert Trubshaw (Simon Pegg) and is leading a gang to capture all of the Boxtrolls – they call themselves the exterminators of justice. So one by one the Boxtrolls are picked up at night while they are on the cities streets.

Eggs befriends a local girl, Winnie (Elle Fanning) – who happens to be Lord Portley-Rind’s daughter. She helps him integrate back into normal society and together they devise a scheme to save the Boxtrolls from Snatcher – they do whatever it takes to find the captured Boxtrolls and take them back to their dumpy home.

The Boxtrolls, just like Coraline, is a stop-motion animated film, which is shot frame by frame. What sets The Boxtroll apart from previous stop-motion animated films is that it is a period piece, and a mash-up of comedy, detective story, and adventure with a unique perspective as an animated film. Alan Snow’s Here Be Monsters was the source material for the screenplay of The Boxtrolls – a tale of a boy adopted by a group of kind creatures. They are kind, but they are ugly as well. And the environment in which they live is not a very hospitable one to humans, much less to a human baby boy. But Eggs grows up with them, and gets used to the vile conditions. The film is like a Charles Dicken book – there is not a joyful resolution if there is not a dark side. It’s also fearful as we get the mean Snatcher who manipulates the residents of Cheesebridge into fearing and hunting The Boxtrolls – and when some are captured the scenes are not particularly joyful. The imagery and feel of the film is dark, and I’m not too sure that younger children will appreciate the story of how a community of monsters living underground is a fun thing. The Boxtrolls is perhaps a film for older children and their parents, but please leave the younger ones home with a babysitter.

07th Sep2014

Before I go to Sleep – Film

by timbaros

before-i-go-to-sleep-picture-kidmanChristine wakes up everyday remembering nothing. She lives with a man who says he’s her husband, but she doesn’t remember him. One day she discovers the shocking truth about him, and the family she used to have, in the new film Before I Go To Sleep.

Nicole Kidman plays Christine. Ten years ago she was involved in an incident and ever since then she’s not been able to remember anything – she’s got amnesia. Everyday she looks at the photographs her husband Ben (Colin Firth) has put on the bathroom wall to help her spark memories of her life before the incident. Ben has even added post-it notes to the wall pointing to him that say ‘this is your husband’, and every morning, and at night when he comes home from his professor job, he tells her ‘I’m your husband.’
Christine uses a videocamera given to her by Dr. Nasch (Mark Strong) where she has recorded a message to herself explaining to herself her identity. Meanwhile, Dr. Nasch calls Christine everyday to remind her to play the videocamera so that she understands who she is and what is happening to her. Everyday his phone call to her is the same ‘Good morning Christine, this is Dr. Nasch. You won’t remember me but I’m helping you in your recovery. Go to your closet and have a look at the videocamera in the bottom drawer and look at the videodiary…. Do this and I will call you back in a few minutes.’
Christine still thinks she’s ten years younger than she actually is, but over the course of the movie she starts to remember bits and pieces of her previous life, with some help from Dr. Nasch. Is he helping her in her recovery or is he playing with her mind? Christine, at some point, remembers that she had a son, and she asks Ben about it. He confirms this but says their son died four years ago. But is he hiding some of the facts from her so as not to hurt her, and perhaps hiding something more? Christine then remembers a friend of hers, Claire (Anne-Marie Duff), who she meets up with and who confesses to Christine that she and Ben had an affair years ago. This revelation confuses Christine even more and it’s at this point that she questions her life and the people around her and who she can and cannot trust. It’s up to Christine, on her own, to figure out what exactly happened to her, and who is the identity of the man she lives with?
Before I Go To Sleep is based on the book of the same name by Steve J. Watson, adapted for the screen and directed by Rowan Joffé. We’re never too sure whether Christine is crazy and doesn’t understand the events around her situation and that she thinks she’s a victim of a conspiracy, or if she’s being exploited by the men around her and needs to figure out a way to escape. And this is the film’s strong point, not knowing what is what and who is who until the end of the film when the incident that caused her to have amnesia is explained. Kidman, who is in every scene of the film, is confused and lost, living in a claustrophobic world, wearing no makeup – with many closeups, she’s playing a character in search of her character. Firth is perfect as Ben, Christine’s husband who made the decision to check her out of the hospital where she was being treated (not in the film) for amnesia and care for her at home. Kidman and Firth both worked together in last year’s The Railway Man, a film that had tepid reviews. They’re better together in this film. Mark Strong is excellent as Dr. Nasch – he’s Christine’s lifeline, and the man who tries to keep her sanity. But at the ending of Before I Go To Sleep it creates a jigsaw puzzle that makes it difficult to understand the men’s motives, especially Ben’s motive, why he did what he did to her, and especially who exactly is Dr. Nasch. So there are more questions than answers when the film is finished. I would recommend reading the book to get a better grasp on the story as the finale of the film will just confuse and frustrate you.


04th Sep2014

Joan Rivers – Comedienne – dies in NYC at the age of 81

by timbaros

Joan Rivers passed away today.

The woman who went where no one else dared to go, has died at the age of 81 in a New York City hospital. Her daughter Melissa issued this statement:

“My son and I would like to thank the doctors, nurses, and staff of Mount Sinai Hospital for the amazing care they provided for my mother. Cooper and I have found ourselves humbled by the outpouring of love, support, and prayers we have received from around the world. They have been heard and appreciated. My mother’s greatest joy in life was to make people laugh. Although that is difficult to do right now, I know her final wish would be that we return to laughing soon.”