26th Oct2014

The Way He Looks – Film

by timbaros

images-275High school student Leonardo is blind. He relies on his parents and his best friend Giovanna to literally guide him through life. His world changes dramatically when new student Gabriel enters his classroom. A slow moving love story begins in the new film The Way He Looks.

Leonardo, played convincingly by non-blind actor Ghilherme Lobo, is a young man who doesn’t have much independence. He is guided everywhere by his best friend Giovanna (Tess Amorim), including making sure he gets home ok after school. They even investigate the possibilities of going on an exchange program to another country together. When Leonardo’s home, he’s got his parents calling him to make sure he’s arrived safely. He’s doesn’t lead much of an independent life – and his parents nix his idea of going on the exchange program. At school, he’s bullied by the other boys in his class, they tease and taunt him and follow him and make fun of him. And no one wants to sit in the empty desk behind him as he uses a typewriting machine to get through the lessons. One day new student Gabriel (played by a confident Fabio Audi) arrives in the class and takes the only seat that is available – behind Leonardo.

Soon Leonardo, Gabriel and Giovanna all become close friends. And before you know it, Leonardo and Gabriel start hanging out together, leaving Giovanna out. Gabriel starts walking Leonardo home, and they take on a class assignment together which makes them spend more with each other after school. Giovanni decides to stop speaking to them. Meanwhile, Leonardo and Gabriel’s friendly relationship starts to grow – Gabriel takes Leonardo to ‘see’ his first film – narrating it for him, scene by scene. Leonardo also sneaks out of his home very late one night to go ‘see’ an eclipse with Gabriel – it’s a moment that brings their friendship closer together. Meanwhile, Gabriel’s got Karina (Isabela Guasco) chasing him. Giovanna calls her a slut, meanwhile Giovanna also has a crush on Gabriel, leading her to steal a kiss from him at Karina’s house party. He doesn’t reciprocate – but in turn he steals a kiss from Leonardo – after Leonardo was humiliated by the young partygoers during a game of spin the bottle where they almost made him kiss a dog. A few days later, the class goes on a camping trip, and finally Giovanna comes around and makes up with Leonardo, leaving Gabriel to be with Karina. Yet, Gabriel isn’t interested in her, he’s quite aloof when it comes to girls. And when Gabriel showers naked next to Leonardo, it’s Gabriel’s eyes that start to wander and it’s at that moment, touchingly, that we realize that Gabriel wants to be more than a friend to Leonardo.

The Way He Looks is a very lovely film, quite quiet yet very moving. What makes it so are the performances. Lobo is just so sweet as the blind boy who wants to start exploring life on his own. It’s a delicately nuanced performance. And Audi as Gabriel is just the opposite. He’s a confident yet not cocky young man who takes Leonardo under his wing and guides him through new experiences in life – something no one else has done. Director Daniel Ribeiro has structured a film where homosexuality is not the central theme – the theme throughout is Leonardo’s blindness, it’s the love story between Leonardo and Gabriel that is very subtle. The Way He Looks is Ribeiro’s debut feature film. It’s based on his 17-minute short film “I don’t Want To Go Back Alone’ which tells the same story. It won the 2011 Iris Prize (a prize given to a short film with an LGBT theme). Using the same actors, Ribeiro has gifted us with a longer version of his short film that explores a subject not seen in the cinema, gay or straight, the sexual awakening of a blind teenager. The Way He Looks is not just a gay love story, it’s a universal love story that everyone can, and will, relate to.

26th Oct2014

This is Where I Leave You – Film

by timbaros

images-274A dysfunctional family with a sexy matriarch is the premise of the new dramatic comedy This is Where I Leave You.

Jane Fonda stars as the outspoken Hillary Altman. Her husband has just passed away so all of her children come to the family home for the funeral, to live under the same roof, for seven days. The Altman children include Judd (Jason Bateman), a 40-something radio producer who catches his wife in bed with his star DJ Wade Beaufort (Dax Shepard); Tina Fey plays Wendy – she’s the sensible one, very close to Judd, with two children and a husband always on the phone making deals; Adam Driver is Phillip – he’s in his mid 30’s going on 25 but who is dating a woman almost double his age (played confidently by Connie Britton); and then there’s the oldest and responsible brother Paul (Corey Stoll), who works in the company business with their now deceased father but is having a hard time trying to have a baby with his wife him Annie (Kathryn Hahn).

In a film that has cute moments together with some awful moments, This is Where I Leave You is basically a film about a family that is just as dysfunctional and loopy as we’ve seen before on the screen. Awkward moments abound, especially as the father’s dying wish was to have all his children come home and spend seven days Sitting Shiva (a seven-day period of mourning in the Jewish religion). Hillary goes on to tell her children “For the next seven days you are all my children again. And you are all grounded.” The Altman family basically don’t know what to say to each other and the silence is louder than words. Other Awkward moments include Hillary’s breasts. They loom large when she’s making a bed for Judd and tell’s him “these are the same breasts you sucked on as a child,” and he tells her “Oh no they’re not.”

With the four adult children back in their hometown, past romantic liaisons come alive again. Rose Byrne plays Penny Moore, a hometown girl who’s always carried a torch for Judd, too bad for her that he unknowingly has sex with her daughter. And Paul’s wife Annie has always carried a torch for Judd and even asks him to impregnate her as it appears her husband Paul’s sperm is not doing the trick. And Wendy has to come face to face with a high school sweetheart (Timothy Olyphant) who was in a tragic accident and was incapable of being the man she wanted him to be so she moved on with her life.

This is Where I Leave You is recommended for it’s smart cast (they all do very well in light of a very weak script with some unfunny jokes) and direction that could’ve been tighter and more focused. And it could’ve finished with a different ending as I didn’t believe the  relationship Wendy is now in. Having said that, it’s a fun film that you will more than likely forget a couple hours after leaving the cinema.

20th Oct2014

Palo Alto – Film

by timbaros

images-271The directorial debut of Gia Coppola, Palo Alto is an exploration of high school teenagers experimentations with sex, drugs, and alcohol, and it’s an impressive debut.

Coppola, granddaughter of Francis Ford Coppola and niece of Sofia Coppola and Nicholas Cage, turns James Franco’s book of the same name into a gritty yet honest movie of a bunch of teenagers in a Palo Alto, California High School. Franco’s book was a series of stories, and Coppola’s film links them up beautifully to create a film that flows, with characters who we could all relate to.

April (an amazing Emma Roberts) is the class virgin. April’s popular amongst her peers and is a star soccer player. She is also being chased by her creepy soccer coach Mr. B., whom she babysits for (Franco, in one of his best roles in years). But Mr. B. just doesn’t like April, he also ‘likes’ other girls at the school – he’s a pedophile.

Meanwhile, Teddy (Jack Kilmer), and Fred (Nat Wolff) are the best of friends, yet it’s Fred unpredictable behaviour that at times becomes explosive and dangerous. And Teddy has a huge crush on April, and he is unaware of her relationship with Mr. B.

Zoe Levin plays Emily. She’s basically the school slut, and sleeps with Fred. Teddy, taking a page from Fred’s book, is caught drunk driving and has to perform community service, in a library where Fred visits and proceeds to deface a book. Throw in a mix of more parties and more romances and what you have is a teenage high school film that is made for grownups.

Coppola gives us a film that is seen through the eyes of the teenagers; their angst, their anxiety, semi-innonence, boredom and excitement. It’s a movie that feels real, with performances to match. Roberts, niece of Julia, was the perfect choice for the role of April. She’s 23 years old but in the film looks like she’s 16. Kilmer (son of actor Val Kilmer, who has a cameo in the film as a stoned-out stepfather), is also very good as Teddy, tight friends with Fred yet trying to win April’s affections. And Franco is perfect as the lecherous soccer coach – his guilty smile and glint in his eyes says it all – he’s very handsome yet very dangerous. Franco trusted his book to Coppola to turn it into a movie, and she does a fantastic job. Not bad for a first-timer. Francis Ford and Sofia Coppola should watch their back, another Coppola family member is on the way up.

20th Oct2014

Road – DVD

by timbaros

JoeyDunlopTT92The lives and careers of two generations of Road Racers is explored in the new documentary Road.

The sport of Road Racing is in effect racing motorcycles on the open roads. And the Dunlop family of Ireland have dominated this sport for over three decades. Road weaves the story of two generations of the Dunlops into a riveting documentary, even for those who know nothing about Road Racing, or even sports in general.

In the 1970’s, Robert and Joey Dunlop started racing motorcycles for fun in their hometown in Northern Ireland. They were young men who spent every minute they could on their motorcycles. They were in their late teens when they started Road Racing – racing on Ireland’s country roads where on any other day there would be traffic. The roads in Ireland are not long stretches of road but they twist and turn, past forests and rock cliffs – this was part of the thrill, and the risk, of Road Racing. So imagine racing these roads on a motorcycle going over 100 miles per hour, and it can be quite dangerous. But this is what Robert and Joey loved. Robert was a few years older than Joey, and they would compete against each other, and against the road itself.

In the late 1970’s, Joey was one of the top road racers in Ireland. But the dangers of the sport came to the forefront when in 1979 three racers died in the North West 200 – an annual race in Northern Ireland made up of public roads and one of the fastest races in the world, with the racers hitting speeds as fast as 200 mph. 100,000 spectators were on hand that year to watch the race.

Still, the Dunlops continued to race, in Ireland as well as on the Isle of Man. Throughout the 1980’s and 90’s Joey won or placed in the top 6 in almost all of the races he was in, he was just one of the best, or if not the best road racer of his time.

The second generation to take up road racing is Robert’s two sons Michael and William. The Road intersperses footage of the older Dunlop’s with the younger Dunlop’s, uncanny in their appearances and love of the sport. But Joey and Robert’s journeys in the sport turn tragic, and this is where the documentary picks up speed, in both content and emotion.

Robert was actually the first of the two brothers to be in a bad accident. In May 1994, Robert crashed into a rock wall in a race he was expected to win, and he was told that he would never walk again. Meanwhile, Joey continued to race, even into his 40’s, and winning lots of races, though he was an older man in a young man’s sport. Joey also was less known for his charity work. He would, on his own, pack a van full of food and supplies and drive to the orphanages of Romania in Eastern Europe, however, a few years later it would be in Eastern Europe where Joey would ride his final race.

Robert wanted to return to racing in 1996 but was banned due to his previous injuries, but in 1998 he came back strong and actually won a major race that year. The Dunlop family continued their dominance of the sport. By the late 1990’s when most men who have been racing after 30 years would retire, the Dunlops would not. In 2000, Joey would go on to win the TT race, 23 years after he first had won it. Robert came in third in the same race.

But it was a few years later when Joey was in a minor race in Estonia that he crashed his bike into a tree in a heavy thunderstorm. He died on impact. The outpouring of grief in Northern Ireland was so big that 50,000 people attended his funeral.

In 2004, William and Michael took up road racing, just like their father and uncle over 25 years before. Four years later, Robert Dunlop, at the age of 47, still in competition, was in a practice session for the NW200, a race his two sons were also in. Robert was traveling 150 MPH, and was going perhaps a little too fast for a practice session, when his tire buckled and came loose, throwing his body into the air, which went crashing to the ground, and then got run over by another bike. The unimaginable crash is shown in the documentary, taken from a camera in a helicopter, and we actually see his body fly off the bike and get run over. It’s horrific and shocking, and also extremely gut-wrenching. And the course was just a few miles from his home.

Two days later, with the race still scheduled to go on, and both William and Michael agreed that they would race in it in honor of their father. Race officials ruled that both men were too emotional and distraught and a harm to the other racers and deemed them ineligible. But they both insisted to race, and got on their bikes. At the last minute, they were given the green light to race, but for some strange reason WIlliam’s bike wouldn’t work so it would be up to Michael to race in honor of their father. Miraculously Michael wins the race, and he breaks down, not only on his bike but also on the winner’s podium, winning one of the greatest (and most memorable) road races ever raced. And this gives the documentary it’s ending that no script writer could ever write – Michael winning a race, two days after his father had died on the same course.

Road is a bit slow to build, but it accelerates into an astonishing and extremely emotional documentary. The journey of Robert and Joey and how they lived their lives for the sport they loved, which in the end took their lives, is very powerful and moving. And the score, by Mark Gordon and Richard Hill, is haunting and memorable and emotional, and is perfectly suited for the ups and down you will experience watching this film. It is a superb score. Road is excellently narrated by Liam Neeson, who mentions during the film that ‘for a road racer, success and tragedy are separated by the narrowest of margins. Danger is ever present, death is a split second away’. Joey and Robert are buried next to each other in their hometown of Ballymoney, Northern Ireland, while Robert’s two sons continue to race.

11th Oct2014

’71 – Film

by timbaros

images-263In the new film ’71, Jack O’Connell gives another excellent performance. In this one he plays an army soldier trapped behind enemy lines in Belfast, Ireland.

1971 is the year which was at the height of The Troubles. It’s the time when most Protestants, who wanted Northern Ireland to remain in the United Kingdom, versus the Catholics, who wanted the United Kingdom to join a united Ireland, fought against each other, yet there were certain people within these communities who were for the opposite side.

O’Connell plays a young English soldier form Derbyshire who is part of a larger unit tasked with trying to calm a riot in Belfast. At the riot, all hell breaks lose; the locals are not happy to see the army there as they search local homes for terrorists. The locals revolt and attack the soldiers, the soldiers retreat and leave, and two of them, including Private Gary Hook (O’Connell), are left behind. The other soldier is killed, but Hook manages to run from the angry mob, but is chased by two of them through the city’s backroads and alleys. He does find a hiding place where he stays for a while. Once he feels it’s safe to venture back outside, he is befriended by a nine-year old (Corey McKinley in an excellent performance for a young actor). But, in what is one of the most surprising and shocking moments I’ve seen on screen all year, the pub blows up, with the kid in it.

Hook is eventually caught and beat up, but he is taken in by a father and daughter who are sympathetic to him and who hide him in their flat. But word spreads through the community that they are hiding a British soldier, and locals want to kill him. Meanwhile, his platoon starts looking for him as well. Who will find him first, and what condition will they find him in?

Director Yann Demange and writer Gregory Burke have created a film with lots of suspense and action, with amazing real scenes of rioting and violence. It’s beautifully shot by Tat Radcliffe – even the explosions look very vivid. But ’71 is not a perfect film. The showdown at the end is a bit overdramatic and plays with your heartstrings, and there’s lots of blood spilled but very little stains left, but it’s rising star O’Connell’s film. Formerly of television’s Skins and most recently in Starred Up as a young man who is sent to prison, O’Connell again displays that he can command a movie. And his profile is only going to get higher. His next film will be Unbroken, which is about the life of Olympic athlete Louis “Louie” Zamperini – to be played by O’Connell. It’s a film produced and directed by Angelina Jolie. O’Connell is on the way to bigger and better things.

11th Oct2014

Fruitvale Station – DVD

by timbaros

images-272In 2009, 22 year-old Oscar Grant was shot, for no apparent reason, by a transit cop in San Francisco. He would later die of his wounds. Fruitvale Station is the movie that tells this story.

Michael B. Jordan, in a award-winning performance, plays Grant with such warmth, depth, personality and realism that it feels like we are watching Grant’s home videos. Melonie Diaz, who is stunning in her role as Grant’s fiance Sophina, is a Latina girl who is truly in love with him. They have a young daughter, Tatiana, and between them they struggle to make ends meet, especially after Grant loses his job in a supermarket. He had previously served time in prison for a drugs offense and is now trying to do everything right for his family. They still send Tatiana to day care which they can barely afford. Meanwhile, with no job on Oscar’s horizon, he calls a chum who deals in drugs in the hopes that he can some some extra cash, though he realizes this is a road he doesn’t to travel down again.

Grant’s mother Wanda still dots on him, played by Octavia Spencer, she is a very protective mother who still treats him like a young boy even though he has a family of his own. It’s an all-aroud loving family, but things are still tense between Sophina and Oscar over him losing his job. At his mother’s birthday party on New Year’s Eve, they forget their troubles and have a good time being together with all of the family. With plans to go into town later that evening to watch the fireworks, Wanda tells her son to take the BART (Metro) system into town instead of driving as it would be safer and easier for them. However, this proves to be a catastrophic decision as Oscar gets into an argument on the train with a fellow former inmate, causing a scuffle, with the police dragging Oscar and his friends (all black men) off the train and onto the platform. They tell the police that everything is cool, but Oscar, prone to being very volatile, doesn’t sit still when the officers tell him to. They pin him face down, he struggles, until one of the police officer’s guns go off, shooting Oscar in the back. He dies the next day in the hospital.

It’s hard to accept the ending of Fruitvale Station when you know that it is a true story. A young man’s life has been cut short due to one policeman’s overreacting and carelessness of his weapon. And the actors really make this film a personal experience for the viewer. Jordan is perfect as Oscar Grant, I couldn’t imagine anyone else playing this role. He’s embodies the spirit, and the struggles, of a young black man with a checkered past trying to raise a family and proving to himself and his family that he can make it. Jordan most recently co-starred with Zac Effron in That Awkward Moment, showing a funny side, in Fruitvale Station, he shows a complete opposite side, and has won several awards for his performance. Diaz is almost as good as his wife. Not too well-known as an actress, this film will raise her profile immensely. Spencer, as Oscar’s mother, is the heart and soul of the film. It’s excrutiating when she is told in the hospital that her son has died. Writer and Director Ryan Coogler has crafted a gripping, dramatic, and one of the most powerful films of the year. This is the 26 year-old Coogler’s first feature film, and what a debut it is.

07th Oct2014

2014 London Film Festival – Film

by timbaros

The 58th BFI London Film Festival in partnership with American Express® starts today and promises big movies and even bigger stars.

Last year’s BFI London Film Festival was a rip-roaring success, with such high-profile premieres as Gravity, Philomena, Captain Phillips and Saving Mr. Banks. All films went on to box office success and many Oscars.
This year’s festival could possibly top last year’s festival. Here is a quick snapshot of what’s on:

Opening Night Gala:

The Imitation Game
Benedict Cumberbatch stars as Alan Turing, who created a machine during WWII that cracked the German Enigma Code and whose inventions would become the prototype of the modern computer. He was also arrested and convicted in 1952 for the criminal offense of homosexuality. Keira Knightley also stars.


Closing Night Gala:

Brad Pitt’s new film has him playing a battle-hardened sergeant. Set during WWII when the allies were making their final push into Germany, Pitt commands a Sherman tank, called Fury, that is on a mission behind enemy lines. Also stars Shia LaBeouf.

This film comes with the lots of good buzz (and talk of Oscar nominations). An unrecognizable Steve Carrell plays a very wealthy, and crazy, benefactor to wrestlers and brothers Channing Tatum and Mark Ruffalo. Based on the true story of American millionaire John du Pont and his fascination with brothers Dave and Mark Shultz. Directed by Bennett Miller who gave us Capote and Moneyball. Also stars Vanessa Redgrave and Sienna Miller.


Mr. Turner
Timothy Spall is said to be excellent in Director Mike Leigh’s movie about British painter J.M. William Turner. Mr. Turner is a character study of the last 25 years in the life of the painter, and the relationships he has with several women, including with his children.

Reese Witherspoon stars in this true story of a young woman attempting to walk the gruelling 1,100-mile hike across the Pacific Crest Trail in the early 1990’s. Directed by Jean-Marc Vallée, who last brought us Dallas Buyers Club.

Wunderkind Director Xavier Dolan, a festival favorite, is back with Mommy. His fifth feature in as many years (and he’s only 25) has Anne Dorval as a single mother who takes back into her home her son who is a troublemaker, suffers from ADHD, and has been expelled from a juvenile facility.


Bjork: Biophilia Live
This is being described as a multidimensional, multimedia project that explores the creative nexus between music, nature, and technology. And Bjork will be attending the festival as well to explain what it all means.

The New Girlfriend
Another film festival favorite – Francois Ozon brings us his latest film about a woman who is devastated by the death of her best friend and makes a promise to watch over her best friend’s husband and newborn child. This has the earmarks of Ozon written all over it – melodramatic and twisty.

Son of a Gun
Ewan McGregor stars in this heist thriller which is all about mobster living: fast cars and firearms. McGregor plays a father figure to a younger man who is just out of the slammer and is trying to take the right path.

Jack O’Connell, excellent in the recent Starred Up, plays a British soldier trapped on the streets of Belfast in 1971 after his army crew accidentally leaves him behind. He struggles to hide, and survive, while being chased by provisional militia and reliant on the mercy of loyalist allies. This one is a must see, just for O’Connell’s performance alone.

Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence are on screen again (after Silver Linings Playbook and American Hustle) about a logging magnate and his ruthless brilliant wife set against the backdrop of the hills of North Carolina.

Camp X-Ray
Kristen Stewart plays against type as a soldier in the U.S. army who is tasked to guard over prisoners in Guatanamo Bay. She gets emotionally attached to one of the inmates while at the same time comes up against sexism within her ranks.


Willem Dafoe could either be perfect, or disastrous, by playing Italian Director Paolo Pasolini who’s films courted controversy for their shocking images of nudity and his homosexual lifestyle. Pasolini the movie is told in the hours leading up to his 1975 murder.

Also on offer are documentaries galore, including ones on artist David Hockney and film Director Robert Altman, as well as a documentary that deals with the Holocaust – titled German Concentration Camps Factual Survey – showing actual footage of the liberation of the concentration camps.

The Festival will screen a total of 245 fiction and documentary features, including 16 World Premieres, 9 International Premieres, 38 European Premieres and 19 Archive films including 2 Restoration World Premiere’s.1 There will also be screenings of 148 live action and animated shorts. A stellar line-up of directors, cast and crew are expected to take part in career interviews, master classes, Q&As and other special events. The 58th BFI London Film Festival will run
Wednesday 8 – Sunday 19 October 2014.

Tickets for the festival can be purchased at:

Telephone Bookings: 020 7928 3232 between 09:30–20:30
Online: www.bfi.org.uk/lff
In person: BFI Southbank Office: 11:30–20:30
Last minute tickets are available to be purchased on the day about 30 minutes prior to the screening at Festival venues

04th Oct2014

Gone Girl – Film

by timbaros

article-0-1D1EAD4E00000578-216_634x286Sept. 29, 2014 – Went to a screening of the new Ben Affleck film ‘Gone Girl.’

July 5th, 2012 – Nick Dunne (Affleck) comes home to find a smashed coffee table and a few other things in disarray in his house in St. Louis, Missouri, and there’s no sign of his wife, the beautiful Amy (Rosamund Pike). For some reason, he’s slow to call the authorities and doesn’t even bother to call Amy’s parents. Detective Rhonda Boney (a very good Kim Dickens) and Officer Jim Gilpin (Patrick Fugit) immediately arrive on the scene. The investigation begins.

Flashback to Jan. 8, 2005 – Nick and Amy meet at a party in Manhattan, and instantly fall in love. She calls him her ‘Irish Prince.’ During one sexual encounter they have, he tells her ‘I really like you’ while he has his face in her crotch.

July 5th, 2012 – This is Nick and Amy’s wedding anniversary – 5 years – but there’s no Amy. She’s either missing or dead. There is, however, an envelope with a clue to find the anniversary present she bought for Nick the she left for him in her panty drawer. Meanwhile, Detective Boney puts post-it notes all over the house where evidence is found that may help in determining what happened to Amy. Nick tells the police ‘should I be concerned’ while being questioned in the police station. Unbeknownst to him is that his father is yards away, in the same police station, who had wandered out of his nursing home and was picked up the police. Amy’s parents (Lisa Banes and David Clennon) don’t look too hysterical or upset, but they stand by Nick. Within one day a hotel ballroom is transformed into a findamazingamy.com nerve center. At a press conference the police hold – Nick stands next to a poster of his wife and displays a creepy grin. Is he guilty?

Jan. 8, 2007 – Nick proposes to Amy, two years after they had met. They are happily engaged and soon enough are a married couple, with an amazing sex life. Amy becomes a best-selling children’s book author (Amazing Amy) and Nick continues his work as a writer. Things take a turn for the worse as Nick loses his job and Amy has to lend her parents $1 million from her trust fund as an investment they made has gone sour. It’s not made clear in the movie where the trust fund comes from. And at one point Nick says that his wife has a ‘world class vagina.’

Sept. 23, 2010 – In Ben’s hometown in Missouri, Nick’s mother is very sick with stage 4 breast cancer, so Nick and Amy move there. They rent a large, beautiful two-story house, beautifully furnished within one day of moving in. I wish my movers were that quick.

July 6, 2012 – It turns out that Ben has a mistress – she’s 20-year old student Andie Hardy? (an extremely sexy Emily Ratajkowski, a student at the school where Nick teaches at. And Nick is not able to stay at his home as it is a crime scene – so he stays at his sister Margo’s (Carrie Coon) house, where him and Andy have passionate sex all night. It’s amazing that his sister doesn’t hear them.

Oct. 2, 2011 – Nick’s mother passes away. Nick and Amy fight about having a baby – she wants to have one but he doesn’t. During the fight he hits her and she hits the floor hard, yet she stays with him. Gone Girl is setting in motion Nick’s motive in the disappearance of his wife, making us think he’s guilty. He could possibly be, as he had just increased the life insurance policy on Amy, and they have credit card debt up to here. And Amy did buy him a bar in town, called The Bar, where his sister works at, and he manages.

July 7, 2012 – The investigation into the disappearance of Amy continues.

Gone Girl, at 149 minutes in length, is a film that takes a lot of twists in turns. And it’s told in a timeline – we are given the dates at the bottom of the screen when the series of events take place. But the series of events above is just the first part of the movie. Gone girl is basically told in four story arcs: Nick and Amy’s early relationship and marriage, the time when she goes missing, and two more story arcs that if I mention here would give the plot away. So Gone Girl goes from being a movie about a man who is suspected of murdering his wife into so so so much more. It’s twists and turns will make you dizzy. And Gone Girl takes a turn for the more mysterious after Amy’s diary is found in a furnace in a wooden shack (anniversary five is wood – get it?).

Based on the best-selling book of the same name by Gillian Flynn, she’s also responsible for the screenplay. It’s been said that the script stays true to the book. So Director David Fincher (The Social Network, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button) is responsible for making us believe, or question, Nick’s guilt or innocence, and Amy – is she really the girl next door who happens to be a victim? As I mentioned before, saying anything more would give away the story – so if you read the book you’ll know what happens on Feb. 14, 2012 and the days after July 7th, 2012.

As Gone Girl continues, it veers into Fatal Attraction territory times ten….yes, it’s that kind of movie, and it’s not what you see in previews. So how good is it? I really can’t believe that this film is getting rave reviews – as mentioned above it’s frustrating at how the plot veers from the dramatic and suspenseful to the bizarre and unbelievable. A few things I found wrong with the film: Amy’s parents are so wooden and barely show any emotion when she disappears; Nick’s father is introduced at the police station but then disappears from the rest of the film; there’s a vigil for Amy at a park that looks entirely staged, especially when Andie yells that she is his mistress; and the last 20 minutes of the movie are just preposterous and unbelievable.

Having said that, the performances are extraordinary. Affleck can’t do no wrong. He recently won an Oscar for Argo (as Producer, his second Oscar after his first win for the screenplay of Good Will Hunting). In Gone Girl, his Nick is either very guilty or very innocent, and he plays it for all it’s worth, and as the second half of the movie unfolds, he makes his character unfold in the same way the plot does. It’s a very believable performance. Pike is also very good as Amy. She loves her husband – or does she? Pike, having previously starred in supporting roles, comfortably takes the lead in this film. She’s exposed, in more ways than one. Is she the victim or not?
Boney makes a very effective detective Dickens. All the evidence points to Nick, so why shouldn’t she be pursuing him and following him? Neil Patrick Harris joins the film in the second half as a former boyfriend of Amy’s who is very wealthy and who we are led to believe stalked her and held a candle for her all these years. Harris, star of television’s ‘How I met your mother,’ which is ending it’s run soon, definitely has a film career ahead of him. He’s a bit both creepy and loveable.

Near the end of the film, we are told that ‘When 2 people love each other and can’t make it work, that’s the real tragedy,’ well the real tragedy, for me anyway, is how disappointed I was in this film. At the end, one of the main characters says ‘What were we thinking, what will we do,’ hell I don’t know what the filmmakers were thinking!

04th Oct2014

Evita – Theatre

by timbaros

images-264The Dominion Theatre in London’s West End was home to We Will Rock You for what seems like an eternity. And the statue of Freddie Mercury was a permanent fixture on Tottenham Court Road. Well, Freddie and We Will Rock You have since left, now to be replaced by a much much better show – Evita.

Evita is a show that is the complete opposite of We Will Rock You. We Will Rock You was loud, Evita is elegant; We Will Rock You was stupid, Evita is smart; and We Will Rock You was awful, Evita is excellent. No two shows could be any more different. And it’s a shock to think that We Will Rock You lasted 12 years while Evita will run for only 7 weeks – until November 1st (White Christmas takes up residence at The Dominion after Evita closes).

Evita has been shown in the West End twice before. It debuted in 1978 (with Elaine Paige) and then returned to the West End in 2006. I did not see the 1976 version but was lucky enough to see Elena Rogers perform as Evita in the 2006 version. But this version of Evita is so much better than the 2006 version. What makes this version of Evita so good? Well, where do I start; first and foremost the acting, then the singing, the costumes, the set design, the music, the score, basically from start to finish Evita is a show.

Portuguese Madalena Alberto is a revelation as Evita, She cannot only sing, she can act and perform as well. Sure, she may be tiny (at 5’6) but when she sings, she sings. And when she acts, she can act. Alberto, who made her stage debut in 2005 at the Old Vic in Aladdin with Sir Ian McKellen, proves that she’s now a West End diva to proudly stand alongside the rest of them.

Evita is a classic production from the minds of Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber. It’s a story that most of us are familiar with – the short life of Argentina’s most loved woman – Eva Peron. Evita the musical takes us through her life – from her time as a young model to when she met her future husband – Juan Peron – in 1944 when he was a Colonel. Two years later he becomes president of the country, and Eva becomes a much loved first lady. But this Evita the musical starts on a somber note – it starts with Evita’s casket in the middle of the stage, people walking by paying their last respects, with a huge photo of her on top. It’s a chilling way to start a musical but it’s very effective and sets the tone for what to expect at the end. Alberto, as Evita, becomes, right before our very eyes, a queen, wearing breathtaking dresses and jewelry, beautiful. And Alberto is given many chances to display her voice, especially in the ‘Don’t Cry for me Argentina’ solo, she owns it and brings the house down. Wow. And it’s a sad day as she gets sicker and sicker, again, right before our very eyes, to the point of death. Alberto’s image as Evita will stay with you long after you leave the theatre.

Marti Pellow is the narrator Che, who reflects the voice of the Argentine people. He does an excellent job throughout, always there but never in the scene. He’s also been given many a solo, and in one he’s especially good at he is holding a note for the longest time – it’s actually amazing.

Ben Foster is just as good in his short role as tango singer Magaldi – the man who was Eva Peron’s first love, and the man who supposedly brought her to Buenos Aires. He’s got a great voice – too bad Evita throws him away like a bad penny before the end of the first half – and he’s gone.

Everything about this production is lush. From the music to the aforementioned costumes, to the Argentinean-styled sets to the choreography, it’s all very sumptuous. And all the other favorites are sung: ‘On This Night of a Thousand Stars’ to ‘You Must Love Me.’ While there are a few moments that left me scratching my head ( a scene with dancers holding mirrors made no sense, and one of Alberto’s big numbers segues into another number, thus robbing her of the applause), it’s a production that has to be seen. And I am very happy that Evita got We Will Rock You kicked out of the Dominion.