30th Jan2016

Dirty Grandpa (Film)

by timbaros
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Robert DeNiro and Zac Effron – what were you thinking?

Both DeNiro and Effron star in the new rude, crude, and obscene film ‘Dirty Grandpa’. We are ‘treated’ to seeing Robert DeNiro (as perverted frisky and unsexed Grandpa Dick Kelly – get it?) masturbate to an interracial pornography video the day after the funeral of his wife who he was with for 40 years. We also get to see Effron’s (James Kelly) brother pouring beer over his dead grandmother’s coffin, Effron wearing a bee thong with his arse out in the open (several times), which at one point comes off causing him to expose himself to a little boy, while simulation with the assumption of oral sex between the two (I’m not kidding here) and an endless, and I mean endless, supply of cock jokes, and cocks (one scene has Effron and DeNiro sharing a bed together in which DeNiro sleeps naked, and the next moment there is a penis in his face supposedly to be Grandpa’s). This is not to mention scenes of Effron in jail with a fellow cellmate feeling him up, the one gay character in the movie being made fun of because he is gay, two inept police officers who all but ignore the town’s drug dealer (Adam Pally) who happens to shoot guns in his tourist a/k/a drug shop, and an extremely horny young woman (Zoey Deutch) who has way too much sex talk with DeNiro. It all adds up to one dirty, and bad movie. The plot is this: after the death of his wife, Grandpa Kelly wants to head down to his condo in Florida, so he tricks grandson Jason into driving him down there, much to the dismay of Jason’s fiance Meredith (Julianne Hough), who’s he about to marry and with the wedding rehearsal just days away. On the way Grandpa and Grandson run into Grandson’s ex-schoolmate Lenore (Aubrey Plaza), with the aforementioned horny Shadia (Deutch) and the gay camp Tyrone (Brandon Mychal Smith) in tow. Shadia’s got the hot hots for Grandpa (to tick one of her ‘must do’ boxes) and Lenore will realize that she’s got the hots for Jason. It’s a road trip that ends in most of the character’s lives changed, as well as the audiences. You will walk out shaking your head and vow to never see a Zac Effron (and possibly a Robert DeNiro) film ever again. Thanks to Director Dan Mazer (The Dictator) and writer John Phillips for taking Effron and DeNiro to new lows in their careers.

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30th Jan2016

Spotlight (Film)

by timbaros

Spotlight-Image-2A true story of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church is told in the new film ‘Spotlight.’

In 2002 the Boston Globe published a series of articles that highlighted years and years of sexual abuse by priests and the coverup by church officials in Boston, a city with a very high concentration of Catholics. It was the newspaper’s Spotlight investigative team who uncovered the story.

The Spotlight team was in the middle of investigating police corruption but when the newspaper’s new editor (and non-native) Marty Baron (a very dull Liev Schreiber) recommends that the team take forward a previously unfinished investigation into the sexual abuse, they run with it. The team, run by Walter Robinson (the always good Michael Keaton) and led by reporters Michael Rezendes (Mark Ruffalo – making lots of strange faces throughout) and Sacha Pfeiffer (Rachel McAdams in a standout performance), interviews several of the victims. But Rezendes gets more than what he bargained for when he pursues attorney Mitchell Garabedian (Stanley Tucci), a lawyer whose single-attorney law firm was about the only legal entity standing up to the deeply entrenched power of Boston’s Catholic Church – which was led by Cardinal Bernard Law (Len Cariou).
The team also discover that lawyer Eric MacLeish (Billy Crudup) was also part of the coverup regarding undisclosed settlements for some of the victims. MacLeish won’t give any details away, it’s up to the Spotlight reporters to do the digging. They discover that several priests have been moved around – shuffled off to different churches, and some had been on sick leave for long periods of time – it’s clues like these that help them with their story. Their investigation goes to the very top of Boston’s Catholic Church implicating that Cardinal Law was involved in the coverups.

’Spotlight’ is this decades ‘All the Presidents Men.’ The plots are similar; reporters in search of the truth, uncovering a scandal that reaches the highest levels. But I found it to be extremely formulaic and very predictable – and the film plays like a television movie in it’s over 2 hour running time. It’s pace is quick, but there are lots and lots of names and faces that are thrown at you, and it requires your full attention to understand what’s happening, don’t even let your mind drift for a second (what’s for dinner tonight) or you will lose an important plot point. It’s finely acted, with Keaton giving another great performance after last year’s well-received ‘Birdman’ – though Keaton is not nominated for an Oscar. It’s McAdams and Ruffalo who received nominations in the supporting categories – McAdams’ nomination is well – deserved but I don’t easily accept Ruffalo’s nomination – who acts with a bad Bostonian accent. It’s a character that is cliched – really into his job, no life outside of work, even an apartment that’s bare bones – but Ruffalo just didn’t cut it for me (the nomination should’ve gone to Jacob Tremblay who was superb in ‘Room).’ Directed and co-written by by Tom McCarthy (who did the poorly-received 2015 film ’The Cobbler’ and the excellent baseball film ‘Million Dollar Arm), ‘Spotlight has received 6 Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture and Best Director. I can think of a few other movies that deserved these nominations over ’Spotlight.’

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25th Jan2016

Alright Bitches (Theatre)

by timbaros

IMG_7800nLet’s go on a trip to Gran Canaria via Above the Stag Theatre in their newly-penned play ‘Alright Bitches.’

It’s exactly what you would expect from a play with that name at a theatre which produces the campiest shows in town (written by Martin Blackburn). We’re in Gran Canaria, where the boys do their shopping, clubbing, picking up and shagging all in the same place – the Yumbo Centre. And not far from the Yumbo Centre is Los Hombres (The men). It’s a gay guesthouse but not primarily gay male and clothing optional. But for one week the guests at Loa Hombres include alcoholic and uptight Jason (Anton Tweedale), who’s not very happy to be there, and his young boy toy boyfriend Ollie (Grant Cartwright), as well as Garth (Ethan Chapples) and his best friend and flat mate Max (Lucas Livesey). Also along for the ride is Garth’s very good friend Pam (the fierce Hannah Vesty). And what do you get when you mix two horny gay couples with a women who’s also looking for it? Lots of sex jokes, and drama, and fights, and everything you would expect from a show such as this. You see Ollie is supposedly in love with Jason for who he is, and not because he’s a successful closeted banker. But Garth fancies Ollie, meanwhile there’s a bit of bad chemistry between Jason and Max, who’s has a towel that reads ‘Only Gay on the Beach’ – as if. But it’s Pam from Milton Keynes who provides all the laughs (“I’m menstrual and it’s a fool moon”), putting up with the boys antics while at the same time filling her mom in with her holiday antics and gossip on her mobile phone. There are lots of funny lines – “the barbed wire around the complex – is it to keep them out or us in?’ and in reference to Garth spending his time in some of the insalubrious places there, Max asks “Were you in the darkroom developing photos.?” To thicken the plot, there’s something strange about the man who is alone in his bungalow across the way – is he a serial killer? It all makes for a week full of tension and implied sex among the men at this guesthouse that, from the outside that we get to see that is the set, looks like any typical guesthouse in Gran Canaria. Enjoy the laughs and try not to groan when some of the jokes don’t hit, for it’s a holiday that you’ll probably forget. And give Vesty her own show – she’s fabulous!

To buy tickets, please go to:

http://www.abovethestag.com/whatson/alright-bitches/

‘Alright Bitches’ is on until Feb. 21, 2016

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23rd Jan2016

Naz & Maalik (DVD)

by timbaros

OnSubwayBedford-Stuyvesant is a tough neighborhood to grow up and live in, it’s even tougher if you’re young, black, Muslim and gay.

‘Naz & Maalik’ (Kerwin Johnson Jr. and Curtiss Cook Jr.) are two closeted Muslim teenagers who happen to be in love with each other. Their relationship remains a secret, not just to their families they are very close to, but also because of their religion’s condemnation of homosexuality. But ‘Naz & Maalik’ shows us how both young men go about their daily routine on a Friday afternoon, it’s an afternoon that sees their relationship get tested over a series of events that take place on that day. They sell lottery tickets and saints cards on the streets to passersby to make a bit extra spending money, and then they go to their local mosque for afternoon prayers, where the preacher says a special welcome to any police or FBI who might be in attendance.

A man on the street tries to sell them a gun that interests Maalik who tries to get the guy to bring the price down. They decide to just walk away and not buy the gun. But unbeknownst to them the gun seller was an FBI agent (Bradley Brian Custer) who, along with his partner Sarah Mickell (Annie Grier), start following the young men around. But It’s Mickell who takes more of an interest, she corners them separately and questions them on where they were the night before, and while Maalik tells her that he was with Naz, it’s Naz who lies and tells her he was at another friends house as to not give Mickell an idea that him and Maalik are in a relationship. But the young men just want to be left alone, and to complete their day’s mission of getting a chicken to kill for Maalik’s mom’s birthday.

Inspired by true events, ‘Naz & Maalik’ poignantly tells what it’s like to be an outsider within your own community, a community that has been under constant surveillance since 9/11. And at it’s center is a well-acted film by it’s two lead stars. Writer and Director Jay Dockendorf interviewed Muslims, including closeted gays, to get a realistic point of view. It’s an impressive first feature from Dockendorf.
VOD / DVD release on January 26 via Wolfe Video. See below to buy.




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23rd Jan2016

Legend (DVD)

by timbaros

91H3V80JltL._SL1500_Tom Hardy is excellent as both the Kray Brothers in the mediocre film ‘Legend’.

‘Legend’ is mediocre because in the way the story is told. It is narrated by Frances Shea, the dead wife of Reginald ‘Reggie’ Kray. She committed suicide at the age of 24, too young to die but it’s a plot device that doesn’t quite work as she’s telling the story from beyond the grave.

Tom Hardy does indeed play both Kray Brothers. He’s Reggie, confident, goodlooking, extreme extrovert, who always gets the girl. He’s also Ronald ‘Ronnie’ Kray, the not-so-goodlooking, introvert, schizophrenic brother, who was also gay. It’s Reggie who seems to hold all the cards and makes most of the most decisions for the brothers, and Hardy goes all out in playing both of these characters. When tough, he’s Reggie, when a bit soft, he’s Ronnie, and when he’s playing either one he’s excellent.

‘Legend’ is based on the book ‘The Profession of Violence: The Rise and Fall of the Kray Twins’ by John Pearson. The brothers sure did rise, ruling over East London during the 1960’s, ordering killings during the day and then going over to mum’s house for dinner the same evening. They also ran clubs and protection rackets.

‘Legend’ is a slick retelling of the brothers story. Written by Brian Helgeland (L.A. Confidential and Mystic River), the film primarily focuses on Reggie Kray’s relationship with Shea (played a bit overdramatically by Emily Browning), yet downplays any real relationship that Ronnie was involved in. Sure, he had male hangers-on who were presumably with him for his money and power (definitely not for his looks), but it’s all about Reggie and Shea. Their relationship was true love, and while Shea was very young when she started dating Reggie, at age 16, and then they got married when she was 22, and as played by Browning, not everything was right with her mind. Hardy is excellent as both brothers (Hardy has yet to give a bad performance, just this past year he was in ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ and ‘Child 44’ and last year was his best performance to date, as the only character in the film ‘Locke,’ – it’s a must see). But it’s also a bit distracting watching him play both roles, especially when in scenes together. I kept on looking for irregularities, yet it was a bit obvious that doubles were used, especially in the fight scenes. Anyway, the brothers were imprisoned in 1969 for their long laundry list of murders, which is when their reign of terror ended. Legend was supposed to have been released on October 2 but the film studio felt that that weekend was ‘bulked up’ with too many guy pics; 20th Century Fox’s ‘The Martian’ and Sony’s Imax-fueled ‘The Walk’. So ‘Legend is now available on DVD.



Legend [DVD] [2015] (DVD)

Starring: Tom Hardy, Emily Browning
Rating: Suitable for 18 years and over

Brian Helgeland writes and directs this crime thriller starring Tom Hardy in the dual role of infamous gangster twins Ronald and Reginald Kray. The film chronicles the Kray twins' career during the 1950s and '60s as they tighten their tyrannical rule over London. With Ronnie's mental stability in question Reggie attempts to keep him under control while embarking on a romance with the beautiful Frances Shea (Emily Browning). Meanwhile, Detective Superintendent Leonard 'Nipper' Read (Christopher Eccleston) tries to bring the Krays down. The cast also includes David Thewlis, Colin Morgan, Taron Egerton and Tara Fitzgerald.
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21st Jan2016

Seasons of Larson – The Life and Times of Jonathan Larson

by timbaros

Seasons of Larson - Artwork ImageThe Life and Times of Jonathan Larson will be celebrated in the one-off show ‘Seasons of Love’.

Who is Jonathan Larson you might ask? He is the broadway composer and genius behind the smash hit musical ‘Rent.’ ‘Rent’ is one of the most successful and award-winning musicals of all time. It tells the story of a group of young men and women eecking out a living in Manhattan’s Lower East Side. These young men and women have lots of real life issues that dominate their lives; poverty, drugs, volatile romances, and HIV.

Larson composed Rent while at the same time waiting tables at Manhattan’s famous Moonstruck Diner. On the first day of it’s off-Broadway 1996 preview, Larson died unexpectedly at the age of 35. It was a shocking blow not just to the people close to him, but also to the actors and the rest of the crew. The show then premiered as planned and went on to critical and commercial success. ‘Rent’ was moved to Broadway in April 1996 after an extreme demand for tickets and excellent reviews. It went on to win four Tony Awards, including three for Larson (Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical, and Best Score). ‘Rent’ went on to become the 10th longest running show on Broadway, closing in June, 2008. Various productions have toured around the world, including three different productions in London. It also went on to win the Pulitzer Prize for drama.

It’s not just the story that is poignant and timely for it’s time, it’s the music that’s most memorable and emotional in telling the story of these young people struggling to survive. Songs such as Seasons of Love, One Song Glory, Light My Candle and Santa Fe all convey the emotion and heartbreak and feelings these young people have and share. And for only night only, on Monday, January 25th, at London’s Lyric Theatre, several West End performers will sing songs from the show. Debbie Kurup, Krysten Cummings and Damien Flood, all previous cast members of ‘Rent,’ will perform some of the songs and will reflect on their memories of the show. The concert will also include music from some of Larson’s earlier works, ‘Superbia’ and ‘tick, tick… BOOM!.’

For tickets to this one-off show, please visit:

http://www.seasonsoflarson.com

SEASONS OF LARSON – THE LIFE AND TIMES OF JONATHAN LARSON

MONDAY 25 JANUARY 2016
THE LYRIC THEATRE, SHAFTESBURY AVENUE
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20th Jan2016

Last Shift (DVD)

by timbaros

Last Shift_Image1It’s the last shift, and pretty much the end of the road, for rookie Police Officer Jessica Loren in the new DVD release ‘Last Shift.’

Loren (played by Juliana Harkavy from television’s The Walking Dead) has been assigned the last shift at a police station that is being shut down – and it’s the graveyard shift. When she arrives at ten p.m., she’s met by officer Ryan Price (Matt Doman) who tells her to expect a very quiet night – the only interruption he says that she should expect is by a company picking up needles and bio hazard waste products stored in one of the back rooms. And for some strange reason he tells her not to go back there at all. Once Officer Price leaves, all hell break loose. Loren starts receiving phone calls from a distressed young woman who says she’s being held hostage, but all calls were supposed to be automatically directed to the new police station. Loren then has to deal with a homeless man who has somehow broken into the station and who relieves himself in the lobby. Once Loren locks him up, she starts hearing strange noises, and seeing things that are not normal: blood, dead bodies, lights going on and off, visions of young women crying for help, and dead bodies hanging by ropes from the ceiling. But it’s up to Loren to decide that if what she’s seeing is real or just in her head. A phone call from her dead police officer father really messes with her mind. And Loren doesn’t know about the events that took place at that police station years ago – deaths that were extremely gruesome and so unimaginable – perhaps this is why the station is haunted? Or is it? Officer Loren is certainly not alone.

Last Shift_Image5

‘Last Shift’, billed as a supernatural horror film, is brought to us by Writer and Director Anthony DiBlasi (‘Most Likely To Die’). It’s a dark film, very dark. And the scares and frights come at us right and left, up and down, and sideways. It all builds up to a very intense and unexpected ending (though the final scene in the film is a bit silly). At 85 minutes, ‘Last Shift’ is worth clocking in for.

‘Last Shift’ is now available on DVD and VOD.

Here’s a look at the trailer:




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18th Jan2016

GALECA announces film award nominations (Film)

by timbaros

525893_10150630629871389_254046788_nThe Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association comprised of over 130 reputable critics and entertainment journalists nationwide, have released its nominees for the best in movies and television of 2015 awards, called the Dorian Awards.

The selections come across 23 categories, from mainstream to LGBTQ-centered film, with titles as varied as Carol, The Big Short, Mad Max: Fury Road, Ex Machina, Mad Men, and Tangerine.

This year, the 1950s-set lesbian romance Carol is in the race for Film of the Year, with its stars Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara competing for Film Performance of the Year — Actress. Also up for the top film prize: Brooklyn, Mad Max, Spotlight and The Big Short, director Adam McKay’s tragic comedy about Wall Street’s hand in America’s 2008 economic collapse.

In news that may spice up award-season chatter, Tom Hardy was nominated for Film Performance of the Year — Actor for his dual role as England’s notorious mobsters the Kray Twins in Legend. Hardy’s fellow nominees include Leonardo DiCaprio for The Revenant, which happens to costar both actors. As for Director of the Year, nominations for Sean Baker (Tangerine) and George Miller (Mad Max) reflect a breadth as well.

GALECA’s categories run the gamut from Wilde Wit (named for the group’s “patron saint,” Oscar Wilde) to Visually Striking Film to TV Current Affairs Show. In its trademark cheeky Campy Flick and Campy TV Show races, Fifty Shades of Grey and American Horror Story: Hotel respectively lead the charge.

Dorian winners will be announced next Tuesday, January 19. The group’s annual, Hasty Pudding-esque Winners Toast is set for Sunday, March 6, in Los Angeles, and “any nominees or victors who care to join our LA-area members for champagne and pomme frites and fun are most welcome,” said GALECA John Griffiths, GALECA president and Television Critic for Us Weekly.

Past GALECA toasts have drawn Lea DeLaria, Transparent’s Melora Hardin, famed marriage rights activists Jeff Carrillo and Paul Katami, The Comeback’s Robert Michael Morris, indie star Val Lauren, trailblazing actor Wilson Cruz, singer/author Sam Harris and ABC Studios Executive Vice President Patrick Moran.

As for its Timeless Star honor, GALECA has decided to award their humble career-achievement honor to actress Jane Fonda, the veteran star of the film classics Klute, Coming Home, 9 to 5 as well as the past year’s Youth and ongoing Netflix comedy Grace and Frankie. Past Timeless picks include Sir Ian McKellen, George Takei and Fonda’s Grace costar Lily Tomlin.

Here are the nominations for the film categories:
FILM OF THE YEAR
The Big Short / Paramount, Regency
Brooklyn / Fox Searchlight
Carol / The Weinstein Company
Mad Max: Fury Road / Warner Bros., Village Road ShowSpotlight / Open Road, Participant, First Look

DIRECTOR OF THE YEAR
(Film or Television)
Sean Baker, Tangerine / Magnolia Pictures
Todd Haynes, Carol / The Weinstein Company
Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu, The Revenant / Fox
Tom McCarthy, Spotlight / Open Road, Participant, First Look
George Miller, Mad Max: Fury Road / Warner Bros., Village Road Show

PERFORMANCE OF THE YEAR — ACTRESS
Cate Blanchett, Carol / The Weinstein Company
Brie Larson, Room / A24
Rooney Mara, Carol / The Weinstein Company
Charlotte Rampling, 45 Years / Sundance Selects
Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn / Fox Searchlight

PERFORMANCE OF THE YEAR — ACTOR
Matt Damon, The Martian / Fox
Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant / Fox
Michael Fassbender, Steve Jobs / Universal
Tom Hardy, Legend / Universal, Cross Creek
Eddie Redmayne, The Danish Girl / Focus, Working Title

LGBTQ FILM OF THE YEAR
Carol / The Weinstein Company
The Danish Girl / Focus, Working Title
Freeheld / Summit
Grandma / Sony Pictures Classics
Tangerine / Magnolia Pictures

FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM OF THE YEAR
The Assassin / Central Motion Pictures, Well Go USA
Mustang / Cohen Media Group
Phoenix / Sundance Selects
Son of Saul / Sony Pictures Classics
Viva / Magnolia Pictures

SCREENPLAY OF THE YEAR
Emma Donoghue, Room / A24
Phyllis Nagy, Carol / The Weinstein Company
Charles Randolph and Adam McKay, The Big Short / Paramount, Regency
Josh Singer & Tom McCarthy, Spotlight / Open Road, Participant, First Look
Aaron Sorkin, Steve Jobs / Universal

DOCUMENTARY OF THE YEAR
(theatrical release, TV airing or DVD release)
Amy / A24
Best of Enemies / Magnolia Pictures, Magnet
Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief / HBO
Making a Murderer / Netflix
What Happened, Miss Simone? / Netflix

VISUALLY STRIKING FILM OF THE YEAR
(honoring a production of stunning beauty, from art direction to cinematography)
Carol / The Weinstein Company
The Danish Girl / Focus, Working Title
Mad Max: Fury Road / Warner Bros., Village Road Show
The Martian / Fox
The Revenant / Fox

UNSUNG FILM OF THE YEAR
The Diary of a Teenage Girl / Sony Pictures Classics
Ex Machina / A24
Grandma / Sony Pictures Classics
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl / Fox Searchlight
Tangerine (Magnolia)

CAMPY FLICK OF THE YEAR
The Boy Next Door
Fifty Shades of Grey
Magic Mike XXL
Jupiter Ascending
Stonewall

“WE’RE WILDE ABOUT YOU!” RISING STAR AWARD
Rami Malek
Kitana Kiki Rodriguez
Mya Taylor
Jacob Tremblay
Alicia Vikander

WILDE WIT OF THE YEAR
(honoring a performer, writer or commentator whose observations both challenge and amuse)
Billy Eichner
Rachel Maddow
Tig Notaro
John Oliver
Amy Schumer

WILDE ARTIST OF THE YEAR
(honoring a truly groundbreaking force in the fields of film, theater and/or television)
Andrew Haigh
Todd Haynes
Lin-Manuel Miranda
Tig Notaro
Amy Schumer

TIMELESS STAR
(to an actor or performer whose exemplary career is marked by character, wisdom and wit)
Jane Fonda

 

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16th Jan2016

Room (Film)

by timbaros

ROOM_DAY8-0047 (2) (1) copyA mother and her son are trapped in a room and can’t escape in the very dramatic and suspenseful film ‘Room.’

‘Room’ will take your breathe away. It’s one of the most talked about films of the year, deservedly so, with performances that are top notch. It’s an adaptation of a novel called ‘Room’ written by Emma Donoghue, who also wrote the script. And what a script it is. Although the film takes place in just a few locations, it feels like it goes far and wide.

It’s a plot that could be ripped from the headlines: a young teenage girl was kidnapped at the age of 17 by a stranger and is held captive in a shed in his backyard with the young son who was born out of an unwanted sexual relationship with him – they call him ‘Old Nick’ (Sean Bridgers). Brie Larson plays Joy, and Jacob Tremblay is her son Jack, and both are superb. They survive in that shed, with gray concrete walls. it’s a room (or as they simply call it ‘room’), where they are held prisoner. It’s got a skylight, a kitchen, a toilet next to the bed, a closet where Jack sleeps, a plant, and a mouse that pops out every now and then. And five-year Jack knows of no other life than the life he’s led in room. He doesn’t really know anything about the world outside room, and he thinks that what he sees on television is make believe, and not real people acting. When Old Nick pays visits to room for his sexual pleasure with Joy, Jack hides in the closet, and Joy refuses to let Nick touch him, or even to see him. But Joy has an idea that might work to get her son out of room, and when the idea takes place and works, Jack is suddenly thrust out into the world. If you’ve seen the trailer you know that Jack and his mother have escaped room, but it’s the five or so minutes when this happens that is the most suspenseful and compelling five minutes of this film, of perhaps any film, you will have seen for years. But Jack has to adjust to the outside world, a world he’s never been exposed to. This includes being exposed to other people, including his grandparents, the divorced Nancy (Joan Allen) and Robert (William H. Macy), and Nancy’s new husband Doug (Matt Gordon). And Joy has to adjust being out of room as well – it’s an adjustment that’s not an easy one. Told from Jack’s point of view, we see through his very young eyes this brave new world that he knows nothing about, grandparents that he’s meeting for the first time, and more important leaving room where he had lived all of his short life.

‘Room’ is a story about survival, emotions, and the tight relationship between a mother and her young son. It’s masterfully directed by Lenny Abrahamson who is responsible for holding our attention throughout the entire movie. It’s also credit to the actors who bring this story to life. Told from Jack’s perspective who is in every scene, we see his freedom as a rebirth of sorts, with Joy being his world in and out of room. Only seven when he was cast, Tremblay captures, and holds us, in his every scene. It’s incredible that a young boy his age has so much range that he displays in the film. He’s simply incredible. It’s a shame that he didn’t receive a BAFTA, Oscar or Golden Globe nomination for this film, it’s the performance of the year. Larson is excellent as Joy. Larson rose to fame in her award-winning performance in 2013’s Short Term 12. She just deservedly won Best Actress at the Golden Globe Awards and is now the front runner for the Best Actress Oscar. But it’s Tremblay who steals the movie. He’s simply just amazing. ‘Room’ has been nominated for the Best Picture Oscar – deservedly so.

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16th Jan2016

45 Years (DVD)

by timbaros

agatha a. nitecka-000044980008-2A 45-year relationship is in trouble after Geoff Mercer receives a letter informing him of news about his first love, which his wife Kate did not know of, in the new film 45 Years.

Tom Courtenay is Geoff, while Charlotte Rampling is Kate, both giving superb performances. They play a couple who have been together for 45 years in the lead up to their huge anniversary party, but it’s on the Monday that Geoff receives that letter letting him know that the body of Katya, his previous love before Kate, has been found in the Swiss Alps. Oh so many years ago Geoff and Katya were on a walking holiday when Katya fell into a fissure in a glacier, with her body never actually found. It’s the letter that Geoff receives that brings him back to the memories of his first love, but it does the opposite to Kate. She actually never knew much about Katya because Geoff really never spoke about her much, but the letter seems to peak her interest in their relationship, and she learn things that Geoff had never confessed to her. Kate didn’t know that they were very serious about each other because it’s something that Geoff never talk about, all those years they’ve been together. Has he been hiding from Kate the true nature of him and Katia’s love for each other? Kate then calls into question her relationship with Geoff. Is she his true love? Or was it Katia? Kate increasingly becomes preoccupied, and worried about this. There’s also something within Geoff that has changed. He has begun smoking again, and he’s been going into the attic to look at the photos of him and Katia. Kate soon discovers that Katia was pregnant with Geoff’s child, and that Geoff having told Kate that he had planned to Marry Katia. As the huge anniversary party gets nearer, and as each day progresses, Katia becomes very unsure and unconfirment of Geoff’s love for her, but will this new revelation cancel/ruin the party?

Director Andrew Haigh, best known for his 2011 film Weekend which captured the short weekend relationship between two gay men, does a similar take in 45 Years, where he captures, in a week’s time, a long-term relationship between a straight married couple, in the lush surroundings and landscape of the Norfolk countryside. It’s a different perspective from his previous work, as well as from his hit television show ‘Looking’ – about gay men in San Francisco. In ’45 Years,’ he makes us slowly progress to the big day, that of the anniversary celebrations, with uncertainty, nervousness, and sadness, not just for Kate, but for Geoff as well. It’s like their entire relationship is being suddenly called into question. And Courtenay and Rampling give excellent performances. Courtenay’s Geoff seems to have no clue how this revelation is affecting Kate, while Rampling’s Kate slowly absorbs the truth about Katia, and is having a harder and harder time accepting it. Hers is an Academy Award worthy performance, and she’s been nominated (but somehow snubbed by the BAFTA’s – it’s a crime!). Based on a short story by British Poet David Constantine called Another Country, 45 Years slowly builds itself from a film that is a very simple quiet relationship of a long-married couple into a loud obstruction where it’s questionable whether there is any point to go nay further. 45 Years stars out as peaceful and quiet, yet gets messier and destructive. It’s one of the best and most beautiful films of the year.



45 Years [DVD] [2015] (DVD)

Director: Andrew Haigh
Starring: Charlotte Rampling, Tom Courtenay, Geraldine James, Dolly Wells
Rating: Suitable for 15 years and over

United Kingdom released, PAL/Region 2 DVD: LANGUAGES: English ( Dolby Digital 5.1 ), English ( Dolby Digital Stereo ), English ( Subtitles ), WIDESCREEN (1.85:1), SPECIAL FEATURES: Cast/Crew Interview(s), Commentary, Interactive Menu, Scene Access, Trailer(s), SYNOPSIS: Kate Mercer (Charlotte Rampling) is planning a party to celebrate her 45th wedding anniversary. One week before the celebration, however, a letter arrives for her husband, Geoff (Tom Courtenay), containing news that reawakens troubling and long-hidden memories. Though Kate continues to prepare for the anniversary, she becomes increasingly concerned by Geoff s preoccupation with the letter and the ensuing revelations about his past. By the time the party comes round, there may not be a marriage left to celebrate. Anchored by sensational performances from Charlotte Rampling and Tom Courtenay, 45 Years is an intimate, moving and beautifully restrained portrait of a marriage shaken to its core by things left unspoken. Winning Best Actor and Best Actress awards at this year's Berlinale Film Festival, Andrew Haigh s (Weekend, Looking) 45 Years is British filmmaking at its very best. SCREENED/AWARDED AT: BAFTA Awards, Berlin International Film Festival, British Independent Film Awards, European Film Awards, Oscar Academy Awards, ...45 Years (2015) ( Forty Five Years )
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14th Jan2016

Oscar Nominations (Film)

by timbaros

6ba4e6ad15e918ce87df62e22bee7456Nominations for the 88th Annual Academy Awards were announced today that took place inside the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences’ Samuel Goldwyn Theatre in Beverly Hills. Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs, directors Guillermo Del Toro and Ang Lee and actor John Krasinski announced the nominations.
The Oscars will be held on Sunday, Feb. 28, at the Dolby Theater at Hollywood & Highland Center and will be televised live on ABC at 7 p.m. ET. The event will also be broadcast live in more than 225 countries and territories worldwide.

 

Best Picture

The Big Short

Bridge of Spies

Brooklyn

Mad Max: Fury Road

The Martian

The Revenant

Room

Spotlight

Best Director

The Big Short

Mad Max: Fury Road

The Revenant

Room

Spotlight

Best Actor

Bryan Cranston, Trumbo

Matt Damon, The Martian

Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant

Michael Fassbender, Steve Jobs

Eddie Redmayne, The Danish Girl

Best Actress

Cate Blanchett, Carol

Brie Larson, Room

Jennifer Lawrence, Joy

Charlotte Rampling, 45 Years

Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn

Best Supporting Actor

Christian Bale

Tom Hardy

Mark Ruffalo

Mark Rylance

Sylvester Stallone

Best Supporting Actress

Jennifer Jason Leigh, The Hateful Eight

Rooney Mara, Carol

Rachel McADams, Spotlight

Alician Vikander, The Danish Girl

Kate Winslet, Steve Jobs

Best Original Screenplay

Bridge of Spies

Ex Machina

Inside Out

Spotlight

Straight Outta Compton

Best Adapted Screenplay

The Big Short

Brooklyn

Carol

The Martian

Room

Best Animated Feature

Anomalisa

Boy and the World

Inside Out

Shaun the Sheep Movie

When Marnie Was There

Best Foreign Language Film

Embrace of the Serpent

Mustang

Son of Saul

Theeb

A War

Best Documentary Feature

Amy

Cartel Land

The Look of Silence

What Happened, Miss Simone?

Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom

Best Cinematography

Carol

The Hateful Eight

Mad Max: Fury Road

The Revenant

Sicario

Best Film Editing

The Big Short

Mad Max Furty Road

The Revenant

Spotlight

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Best Production Design

Bridge of Spies

The Danish Girl

Mad Max: Fury Road

The Martian

The Revenant

Best Costume Design

Carol

Cinderella

The Danish Girl

Mad Max: Fury Road

The Revenant

Best Original Score

Bridge of Spies

Carol

The Hateful Eight

Sicario

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Best Original Song

50 Shades Of Gray

Racing Extinction

Youth

The Hunting Ground

Spectre

Best Visual Effects

Ex Machina

Mad Max: Fury Road

The Martian

The Revenant

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Best Makeup & Hairstyling

Mad Max

The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out a Window and Disappeared

The Revenant

Best Sound Mixing

Bridge of Spies

Mad Max: Fury Road

The Martian

The Revenant

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Best Sound Editing

Mad Max: Fury Road

The Martian

The Revenant

Sicario

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Best Documentary Short Subject

Body Team 12

Chau Behind the Lines

Claude Lanzman

A Girl in the River

Last Day of Freedom

Best Live Action Short Film

Ave Maria

Day One

Everything Will Be Okay

Shok

Stutterer

Best Animated Short

Bear Story

Prologue

Sanjay’s Super Team

We Can’t Live Without Cosmos

World of Tomorrow

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10th Jan2016

A War (Film)

by timbaros

_92A9317A Danish has man two battles to fight – one in Afghanistan and another one back home in a courtroom in the gripping new film ‘A War.’

Company Commander Claus Pedersen (a very good Pilou Asbæk) is leading a team of men in the battlefields of Afghanistan in a war with the Taliban while at the same time attempting to keep his men safe. His wife back home, Maria (Tuva Novotny) is also fighting a war, trying to raise, on her own, two rambunctious young boys and a very curious little girl. But Pedersen’s engagement is in a fight for his and his soldiers lives. They get overtaken and are surrounded by Taliban soldiers and quick decisions have to be made in order for Pedersen to get his men out of there safely, and in one piece. These decisions may or may not be in the rules of engagement, but Pedersen is responsible for his men, including Najib (Dar Salim), a Muslim soldier, who is also the most scared of the team.

Back home, Maria is juggling her job and handling the school duties for the children, but things get more intense for her when one of her boys swallows some pills. She’s there to handle this crises on her own – her boy is fine but Maria has almost reached the breaking point.

Suddenly, and without any explanation, Claus is back home. He doesn’t initially tell Maria why he’s come back home, but he eventually comes around and tells her that he’s going up against a war tribunal after being charged with killing civilians back in Afghanistan. The decisions he made back in Afghanistan had grave consequences, not just for him, but for his family, and soldiers as well. What starts out as a war movie suddenly becomes a courtroom drama that never loses it’s intensity or suspense.

Director Tobias Lindholm (A Hijacking), who has also written the script, gives us a look at war and what it does to the men who are fighting, and the instantaneous decisions that have to be made right in the middle of battle. ‘A War,’ in Danish with English subtitles, is one of the best war films in recent memory because it puts us up close with the soldiers and those who are left behind back home. ‘A War’ has been shortlisted for the Academy Award for the Best Foreign Language Film, deservedly so.

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10th Jan2016

American Ultra (DVD)

by timbaros
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Take a bit of a James Bond movie, another part from Cheech & Chong, and mix it up with elements of the recent film ‘Spy’ and out comes the new movie ‘American Ultra.’

‘American Ultra’ is a spy action thriller movie masquerading as a stoner film (have a look at the film poster and you’ll see) with lots and lots of comedy. And once it’s over you think the person who wrote the film (Max Landis) must’ve been high on something when he wrote it. Mike (Jesse Eisenberg – The Social Network) and Phoebe (Kristen Stewart) are, basically, potheads, living in what seems like a very empty town in West Virginia. They’ve been together for several years, with Mike never getting the courage to ask her to marry him. He’s booked a trip to take her to Hawaii to propose but he’s afraid of flying so they never actually get on the plane. But Mike’s content with his job as a cashier at the local Cash & Carry, where there never seems to be any customers. But he’s not the person you think he is. He’s actually a sleeper agent, a machine, created by the CIA, and they want him terminated – NOW. So one day in his store walks in CIA agent Victoria Lasseter (Connie Britton). She’s come to town to rescue him – Mike was an experiment she created – a machine with superpowers – so she feels the need to play mother and protect her offspring. Mike has no idea who she is – but she’s able to activate him – turning on his superpowers so that he can protect himself. But CIA supervisor Adrian Yates (Topher Grace) wants him destroyed – at all costs. Even if it means killing Agent Lasseter in the process. So he sets up a command post in Mike’s town to look for him and to have him killed, bringing in tow with him soldiers who used to be mental patients. So in between all this we get explosions, lots of gunfire, and a visit to the home of Mike and Kirsten’s pot dealer (John Leguizamo) where they go to hide. It all leads up to an extremely bloody conclusion in the town’s discount superstore (a la Walmart).

As mentioned earlier, ‘American Ultra’s’ script is so far out there that one wonders where Landis (son of director John Landis) got his idea for the film. And Director Nima Nourizadeh (whose only other directing credit is 2012’s ‘Project X’ where three high school seniors host a party that spirals out of control) keeps the action flowing, which takes place over the course of one night, but he can’t help but let the silliness of the plot take over. Mike and Kirsten seem to be the most sensible people in the film, whereby the CIA agents are badly drawn as buffoon carton characters who can’t pull off their mission. ‘American Ultra’ reminds me a bit of ‘This is the End’ – Seth Rogen and James Franco’s 2013 comedy about the end of the world – where it just keeps on getting funnier and more surrealistic. ‘American Ultra,’ even though it looks slick, seems to be missing the ingredients that made ‘This is the End’ memorable. And while it’s a good ride that may make you high from just watching it, it’s also very silly to be taken as a true comedy. ‘American Ultra’ is not as good as a Bond film, but, in it’s favor, it’s not as bad as ‘Spy.’

‘American Ultra’ is now out on DVD and Blu-Ray.



American Ultra [DVD] (DVD)

Director: Nima Nourizadeh
Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Kristen Stewart, Walton Goggins, Topher Grace, Connie Britton
Rating: Suitable for 15 years and over

Jesse Eisenberg and Kristen Stewart star in this American comedy action thriller directed by Nima Nourizadeh. The film follows Mike Howell (Eisenberg), a permanently stoned young man who is content with his small-town life and spending time experimenting with recreational drugs with his girlfriend Phoebe (Stewart). However, it soon becomes apparent that Mike has been included in a top secret government operation of which he has no memory of and is actually a highly trained lethal assassin. When Mike is deemed a liability and marked for extermination by top government officials, it's time to put his training to good use...Technical Specs: Languages(s): EnglishInteractive Menu
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08th Jan2016

BAFTA Nominations (Film)

by timbaros

bafta-awardsHere are the nominations, announced this morning, for the EE BRITISH ACADEMY FILM AWARDS:

BEST FILM
THE BIG SHORT Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Brad Pitt
BRIDGE OF SPIES Kristie Macosko Krieger, Marc Platt, Steven Spielberg
CAROL Elizabeth Karlsen, Christine Vachon, Stephen Woolley
THE REVENANT Steve Golin, Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Arnon Milchan, Mary Parent, Keith Redmon
SPOTLIGHT Steve Golin, Blye Pagon Faust, Nicole Rocklin, Michael Sugar

OUTSTANDING BRITISH FILM
45 YEARS Andrew Haigh, Tristan Goligher
AMY Asif Kapadia, James Gay-Rees
BROOKLYN John Crowley, Finola Dwyer, Amanda Posey, Nick Hornby
THE DANISH GIRL Tom Hooper, Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Anne Harrison, Gail Mutrux, Lucinda Coxon
EX MACHINA Alex Garland, Andrew Macdonald, Allon Reich
THE LOBSTER Yorgos Lanthimos, Ceci Dempsey, Ed Guiney, Lee Magiday, Efthimis Filippou

OUTSTANDING DEBUT BY A BRITISH WRITER, DIRECTOR OR PRODUCER
ALEX GARLAND (Director) Ex Machina
DEBBIE TUCKER GREEN (Writer/Director) Second Coming
NAJI ABU NOWAR (Writer/Director) RUPERT LLOYD (Producer) Theeb
SEAN MCALLISTER (Director/Producer), ELHUM SHAKERIFAR (Producer) A Syrian Love Story
STEPHEN FINGLETON (Writer/Director) The Survivalist

FILM NOT IN THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE
THE ASSASSIN Hou Hsiao-Hsien
FORCE MAJEURE Ruben Östlund
THEEB Naji Abu Nowar, Rupert Lloyd
TIMBUKTU Abderrahmane Sissako
WILD TALES Damián Szifron

DOCUMENTARY
AMY Asif Kapadia, James Gay-Rees
CARTEL LAND Matthew Heineman, Tom Yellin
HE NAMED ME MALALA Davis Guggenheim, Walter Parkes, Laurie MacDonald
LISTEN TO ME MARLON Stevan Riley, John Battsek, George Chignell, R.J. Cutler
SHERPA Jennifer Peedom, Bridget Ikin, John Smithson

ANIMATED FILM
INSIDE OUT Pete Docter
MINIONS Pierre Coffin, Kyle Balda
SHAUN THE SHEEP MOVIE Mark Burton, Richard Starzak

DIRECTOR
THE BIG SHORT Adam McKay
BRIDGE OF SPIES Steven Spielberg
CAROL Todd Haynes
THE MARTIAN Ridley Scott
THE REVENANT Alejandro G. Iñárritu

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
BRIDGE OF SPIES Matthew Charman, Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
EX MACHINA Alex Garland
THE HATEFUL EIGHT Quentin Tarantino
INSIDE OUT Josh Cooley, Pete Docter, Meg LeFauve
SPOTLIGHT Tom McCarthy, Josh Singer

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
THE BIG SHORT Adam McKay, Charles Randolph
BROOKLYN Nick Hornby
CAROL Phyllis Nagy
ROOM Emma Donoghue
STEVE JOBS Aaron Sorkin

LEADING ACTOR
BRYAN CRANSTON Trumbo
EDDIE REDMAYNE The Danish Girl
LEONARDO DICAPRIO The Revenant
MATT DAMON The Martian
MICHAEL FASSBENDER Steve Jobs

LEADING ACTRESS
ALICIA VIKANDER The Danish Girl
BRIE LARSON Room
CATE BLANCHETT Carol
MAGGIE SMITH The Lady in the Van
SAOIRSE RONAN Brooklyn

SUPPORTING ACTOR
BENICIO DEL TORO Sicario
CHRISTIAN BALE The Big Short
IDRIS ELBA Beasts of No Nation
MARK RUFFALO Spotlight
MARK RYLANCE Bridge of Spies

SUPPORTING ACTRESS
ALICIA VIKANDER Ex Machina
JENNIFER JASON LEIGH The Hateful Eight
JULIE WALTERS Brooklyn
KATE WINSLET Steve Jobs
ROONEY MARA Carol

ORIGINAL MUSIC
BRIDGE OF SPIES Thomas Newman
THE HATEFUL EIGHT Ennio Morricone
THE REVENANT Ryuichi Sakamoto, Carsten Nicolai
SICARIO Jóhann Jóhannsson
STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS John Williams

CINEMATOGRAPHY
BRIDGE OF SPIES Janusz Kamiński
CAROL Ed Lachman
MAD MAX: FURY ROAD John Seale
THE REVENANT Emmanuel Lubezki
SICARIO Roger Deakins

EDITING
THE BIG SHORT Hank Corwin
BRIDGE OF SPIES Michael Kahn
MAD MAX: FURY ROAD Margaret Sixel
THE MARTIAN Pietro Scalia
THE REVENANT Stephen Mirrione

PRODUCTION DESIGN
BRIDGE OF SPIES Adam Stockhausen, Rena DeAngelo
CAROL Judy Becker, Heather Loeffler
MAD MAX: FURY ROAD Colin Gibson, Lisa Thompson
THE MARTIAN Arthur Max, Celia Bobak
STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS Rick Carter, Darren Gilford, Lee Sandales

COSTUME DESIGN
BROOKLYN Odile Dicks-Mireaux
CAROL Sandy Powell
CINDERELLA Sandy Powell
THE DANISH GIRL Paco Delgado
MAD MAX: FURY ROAD Jenny Beavan

MAKE UP & HAIR
BROOKLYN Morna Ferguson, Lorraine Glynn
CAROL Jerry DeCarlo, Patricia Regan
THE DANISH GIRL Jan Sewell
MAD MAX: FURY ROAD Lesley Vanderwalt, Damian Martin
THE REVENANT Sian Grigg, Duncan Jarman, Robert Pandini

SOUND
BRIDGE OF SPIES Drew Kunin, Richard Hymns, Andy Nelson, Gary Rydstrom
MAD MAX: FURY ROAD Scott Hecker, Chris Jenkins, Mark Mangini, Ben Osmo, Gregg Rudloff, David White
THE MARTIAN Paul Massey, Mac Ruth, Oliver Tarney, Mark Taylor
THE REVENANT Lon Bender, Chris Duesterdiek, Martin Hernandez, Frank A. Montaño, Jon Taylor, Randy Thom
STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS David Acord, Andy Nelson, Christopher Scarabosio, Matthew Wood, Stuart Wilson

SPECIAL VISUAL EFFECTS
ANT-MAN Jake Morrison, Greg Steele, Dan Sudick, Alex Wuttke
EX MACHINA Mark Ardington, Sara Bennett, Paul Norris, Andrew Whitehurst
MAD MAX: FURY ROAD Andrew Jackson, Dan Oliver, Tom Wood, Andy Williams
THE MARTIAN Chris Lawrence, Tim Ledbury, Richard Stammers, Steven Warner
STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS Chris Corbould, Roger Guyett, Paul Kavanagh, Neal Scanlan

BRITISH SHORT ANIMATION
EDMOND Nina Gantz, Emilie Jouffroy
MANOMAN Simon Cartwright, Kamilla Kristiane Hodol
PROLOGUE Richard Williams, Imogen Sutton

BRITISH SHORT FILM
ELEPHANT Nick Helm, Alex Moody, Esther Smith
MINING POEMS OR ODES Callum Rice, Jack Cocker
OPERATOR Caroline Bartleet, Rebecca Morgan
OVER Jörn Threlfall, Jeremy Bannister
SAMUEL-613 Billy Lumby, Cheyenne Conway

THE EE RISING STAR AWARD (voted for by the public)
BEL POWLEY
BRIE LARSON
DAKOTA JOHNSON
JOHN BOYEGA
TARON EGERTON

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