05th Jun2016

Room (DVD)

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 deservedly won Best Actress at the Oscars and the Golden Globes. But it’s Tremblay who steals the movie. He’s simply just amazing.

Room [DVD] [2016] (DVD)

Director: Lenny Abrahamson
Starring: Brie Larson
Rating: Suitable for 15 years and over

New From: £4.05 GBP In Stock
Used from: £0.09 GBP In Stock

05th Jun2016

Janis: Little Girl Blue (DVD)

by timbaros
5th April 1969:  Rock singer Janis Joplin (1943 - 1970).  (Photo by Evening Standard/Getty Images)

5th April 1969: Rock singer Janis Joplin (1943 – 1970). (Photo by Evening Standard/Getty Images)

Using interviews with childhood friends, former band members, celebrities and her brother and sister, Oscar nominated filmmaker Amy J. Berg has written and directed a documentary that puts together the pieces of Joplin’s life, and how she became who she was and why she did the drugs that would eventually kill her.

On September 30, 1970, Joplin gave an interview to journalist Howard Smith, an interview that took place just a few days before her death, who asked her why she sings. Her response was: “I get to experience a lot of feelings. You get to feel things in your imagination that aren’t even true. That’s why I like music. It’s creative and creates feelings.” Other snippets of this interview are interspersed in the documentary, where she discusses her life. “Little Girl Blue” also uses Joplins’ actual letters to her family where she expresses lots of hope, and doubts, about her life, even when she was at the pinnacle of her career.

I’m not old enough to remember Joplin. My memories of her involve watching Bette Midler’s astonishing performance in ‘The Rose’ as a Janis Joplin-like character who goes through a series of men and drugs. And ‘The Rose’ was loosely based on Joplin’s life.

Joplin was born in Port Arthur, Texas in 1943. While growing up, she admits to never actually fitting in at school. A childhood friend says that it was a really good town to grow up in, but Joplin never thought so. She was always a rebel, always looked different to the other kids, sort of like a beatnick. And she was voted ‘ugliest man’ in college. She got kicked out of the school choir for not following directions. And while she was younger she never actually thought that she would get older.

But Janis knew she loved to sing, and while in college she knew her voice was special. It was in 1962 in a club in Austin, Texas where she first got up on stage and sang. The following year would see her go to California and her life would never be the same. “A lot freer and you can do what you want to do,” Joplin says of California. But she was in conflict with herself all the time, and started shooting up with fellow musicians. Her drug habit got so bad that all of her friends chipped in to send her back home. But she made a return to San Francisco and hooked up with the Big Brother Holding Company (BBHC) and never looked back. And Joplin was becoming a star – with her Otis Redding-like voice, hanging out with other celebrities including Andy Warhol. Members of BBHC speak of the time they shared with Joplin, the highs and the lows.

A turning point in BBHC was their appearance at the Monterey Pop Festival. Joplin wore gold bell bottom pants, and received a standing ovation, including from Momma Cass who was in the audience. Footage of this performance is in the documentary, and it is riveting. Joplin would find herself on the cover of Newsday shortly thereafter.

Now newly signed to a high profile record deal with Colombia, BBHC’s album Cheap Thrillswent gold in three days. Footage of Joplin and the band in the studio shows Joplin in great form and taking charge during the recordings. The band during this time lived both in San Francisco and in the famous Chelsea Hotel in New York City. Joplin would also often appear on the Dick Cavett television show, with Cavett reminiscing about the interviews and how he can’t remember if they had sex or not.

But Joplin was becoming a bigger star than her band, and soon enough she left them to form her own band. She was still living the rock-n-roll lifestyle – planes, fur coats, and drugs, lots of drugs. The pressure for her to succeed was huge and she was carrying around all this weight. Ultimately, she didn’t know how to manage her new band. But their world tour was a triumph, but it was not enough for Joplin. She was always jealous of the band members who always had women waiting for them after the show to go back home with, but she never had anyone. She made love on stage, and off stage she said that “all you’re left with yourself.” It was her performance at the groundbreaking Woodstock festival in 1969 where there were further signs of drug trouble. She clearly looked out of it, and band members say that she was in the toilet shooting up heroin before her performance.

She tried to kick her drug and alcohol habit by going to Brazil in early 1970. There she met a man who she fell in love with, and they went back to San Francisco together, but he eventually left her after witnessing her shooting drugs. Joplin also attended her 10th high school reunion where actual interviews show her dazed and confused. It’s a wonder no one at that time seemed to do anything about her drug problem, not even the people closest to her.

Joplin died in a Hollywood Hotel on Oct. 4, 1970. She had just finished recording her album Pearl, which would go on to sell 4 million copies and produce her biggest hit “Me and Bobby McGee.”After the funeral, her mother is seen reading letters from fans extolling how Joplin was “the mother of the blues;” it’s poignant and touching. Testimonials from Juliette Lewis, Melissa Etheridge and others discuss their feelings towards Joplin. ‘Little Girl Blue’ tells the story of a singer all of us have heard about but have never actually seen her sing. Janis: Little Girl Bluelets you witness this firsthand. It’s an excellent documentary with amazing footage of interviews and of the woman herself, in good times, and bad times.