03rd Jan2016

The Danish Girl (Film)

by timbaros


Oscar-winning Director Tom Hooper (‘The Kings Speech’) and Oscar-winning Actor Eddie Redmayne (‘The Theory of Everything’) bring us the life of a male Dutch artist who, with the support from his wife, becomes a woman, in the new film ‘The Danish Girl.’

Based on the book of the same name by David Ebershoff, ‘The Danish Girl’ tells the real life story of Einar Wegener (Redmayne) who never felt right as a man so he decides to transition into a woman, being one of the first known recipients ever of sex reassignment surgery. It was with the support of his wife and fellow painter Gerde Wegener (Alicia Vikander) that gave him the courage and hope that helped him through the transition to live the rest of his life as Lili Elbe. But the film portrays Einar’s transition and Gerde’s acceptance as a dull one, there are no real revelations, nothing exciting about the story, and even Redmayne’s performance is a bit under the radar. It’s Vikander who steals the movie right from under Redmayne’s corset.

The movie tells us that Einar’s interest in all things Transgender suddenly happened when Gerde asked him to fill in for a female model who didn’t show up for one of her painting sessions. So she asks him to put on a dress so that she can finish the painting. He likes the way it feels, but more importantly he likes the way he looks in it, and this suddenly (a bit too suddenly) awakens Einar’s inner woman. This takes place in 1926 while the couple was living in the liberal land of Copenhagen, though such things were not done, nor not even discussed back then. But with Gerde’s full support, and help, Einar starts dressing up as a woman outside of their house. Things get a bit more complicated when another man, Henrick (Ben Whishaw) takes an interest in Einar, who by this time has started calling himself Lili.

Gerde is asked to go to Paris so that she can work for a local art dealer, and while her career flourishes, their marriage slowly dissolves. And a childhood friend of Einar’s/Lili’s, Hans (Matthias Schoenaerts) shows up and forms a complex triangle with the couple. And it’s not long before Einar goes ahead with the surgery that will take away his manhood.

‘The Danish Girl’ is dull. It’s not a sweeping European love story where love conquers all in the midst of one man’s gender confusion and one woman’s loyalty to such man. Hooper’s direction can’t bring Lucinda Coxon’s boring script to life. Not even the actors can accomplish this. Redmayne is good as Einar/Lili, yet there were times when I thought I was still watching him play Stephen Hawking. It’s his eyes, he blinks them quite a lot in this film, just like the way he did in ‘The Theory of Everything.’  However, ‘The Danish Girl’ is pretty much Vikander’s movie. She’s beautiful and emotional and accepting when the times call for it – it’s just as good a performance as Felicity Jones was as in ‘The Theory of Everything.’ Vikander’s star is on a meteoric rise, having appeared in three films this past year (‘Ex Machina,’ ‘The Man from U.N.C.L.E.’ and ‘Burnt’). She’s currently filming the fifth Bourne Identity film with Matt Damon and Tommy Lee Jones and has two other features coming out in 2016. I was very disappointed that ‘The Danish Girl’ was not as good as I had hoped, perhaps it might be better to read the actual book, and skip the movie.

03rd Jan2016

Precinct Seven Five and The Cobbler (DVD)

by timbaros

PSF_2D_DVDEntertainment One has just released two new films for the holidays, one (or both) of which may appeal to you.

‘Precinct Seven Five’ tells the story of ‘the dirtiest police precinct ever.’ It was Brooklyn’s 75th Precinct, during the 1980’s, which was in one of the toughest neighborhoods in all of New York City. But it was the base for many dishonest and sleazy cops as well. And the sleaziest cop of them all was Michael Dowd – who was then called ‘the dirtiest cop ever.’ He was born and bred in New York from an Italian family and was a police officer for 10 years and 5 months. And he broke almost every police rule in the book.

Precinct Seven Five is all about Dowd and how he went from being a working class honest policeman to a criminal, both protecting and robbing drug dealers and lining his own pockets with cash and drugs. It was a time during New York City’s low periods, the 1980’s, when drugs were rife and the murder and crime rates were at an all time high. Dowd used his authority as a police officer to commit crimes and acts of corruption in violation of his sworn duty to uphold the law.

Precinct Seven Five begins after Dowd’s 1992 arrest on charges of racketeering and conspiracy to distribute narcotics. He agreed to speak on Sept. 27, 1993, at then New York City Mayor David Dinkins commission on police corruption where Dowd admitted to committing thefts, extortion, engaging in narcotics trafficking, protecting drug operations, engaging in personal drug use, pretty much breaking the law by his own estimation hundreds of times. This hard-hitting documentary has Dowd explaining his actions, alongside interviews with his police partner Ken Urell, Urell’s wife, police investigators, and a few real life criminals. Real footage of a derelict New York City and photos of crime scenes puts us right in 1980’s New York City. Director Tiller Russell successfully tells Dowd’s story from being a respectful police officer to his arrest and conviction in 1992. It’s a shocking tale of how one man got away with so much in his years as a police officer, and exposed how much crime was rife within New York City’s police precincts back then.
Precinct Seven Five is now available on DVD, Download, and On Demand

The Cobbler

Adam Sandler plays a cobbler in his latest film simply titled ’The Cobbler.’ Yes, it does sound like a silly premise, but the film actually works.

Sandler plays lonely and sad Max Simkin. He’s inherited his father’s shoe shop, hence carrying on the family business that’s been passed down generations. But Simkin doesn’t want to be there – he’s just going through the motions. Simkin shares an apartment in Brooklyn with his elderly mother and lives to work and to take care of her. His perspective changes a bit when a young woman by the name of Carmen (Melonie Diaz) comes to his shop (as well as the barber shop next door, owned by Jimmy – Steve Buscemi) asking for his signature on a petition to prevent developers from kicking long-term residents out of local buildings. Carmen is just one of many different types of people who come into Simkin’s shop. Other customers include the beautiful model who lives with her English boyfriend next door, as well as local thug Leon (Method Man). But when Simkin’s shoe stitching machine stops working while he’s fixing Leon’s very expensive shoes, he uses the machine in the basement that used to be his fathers. And when he’s done fixing Leon’s shoes, he tries them on because they’re the same size as him, and lo and behold Simkin becomes Leon! It’s a hilarious discovery, because Simkin continues to try on other people’s shoes that have been left in his shop, and he literally becomes his customers, from an obese black kid, to a transvestite.

This leads Simkin to become anybody he wants to be, in any situation. But he’s led back to wearing Leon’s shoes which leads him to becoming mixed up in Leon’s criminal activity. It’s activity that involves Simkin (as Leon) to go to the real Leon’s flat to investigate what the real Leon is up to, where he’s mistaken for Leon and then led around as Leon to handle his illegal activity. Simkin also becomes involved with Carmen and her orgazination in helping out an old man who is about to be kicked out of the apartment he’s lived in for 45 years. Thrown in Ellen Barkin as a rich criminalizing real estate socialite and Dustin Hoffman as Simkin’s father (who’s actually Simkin but then later is his real father), and you get a charming comedy drama that’s funny and cute. While the ending is a bit silly and oversentimental, it’s a magical ride. ’The Cobbler’ is written and directed by Tom McCarthy, who is now receiving rave reviews (and possible Oscar nominations) for his soon to be released film called ‘Spotlight.’

‘The Cobbler’ is available now to download and is out on DVD and On-Demand on 4th January 2016.