04th Mar2017

Certain Women (Film)

by timbaros

18 CertainWomenThe lives of three women are told in the beautifully acted new film ‘Certain Women.’

Three women all lead totally separate lives from each other, yet their lives become slightly intertwined. First there is lawyer Laura (Laura Dern). Her client, Fuller (Jared Harris), is disgruntled because he is not able to work anymore due to an injury caused at work, and he can’t sue the company because he has already received a small settlement. So it’s up to Laura to deal with him and his reckless behaviour that eventually leads to a hostage situation and standoff with police. Laura is having an affair with Ryan (James Le Gros), who happens to be the husband of Gina (Michelle Williams). Ryan and Gina are building a new house in the countryside and they need sandstone, so they visit a local man who has a pile of it in his front yard. Yet while they are building their new home together, they don’t appear to be totally happy. In fact, Ryan always seems to undermine her in front of their daughter, while Gina is just Gina going through the motions. The best is yet to come in the third story. Jamie (Lily Gladstone) is a ranch hand who lives on a farm. She appears to be very lonely until one day she decides to walk into an adult education class taught by young lawyer Beth (Kristen Stewart). They start eating together after class but Beth always has to cut it short because she’s got a four hour drive home. Their after class get togethers are misinterpreted by Jamie because she is falling for Beth, and she’s not sure Beth feels the same. Beth, meanwhile, happens to work at Laura’s firm. Hence the intersection of the lives of these three certain women.

‘Certain Women’ is a simple, quiet film, one where the acting takes center stage. Gladstone is the standout – her Jamie is painfully alone, and all she wants is for someone to be with. Williams has a quiet yet powerful role as a woman who doesn’t appear to be totally happy in life yet soldiers on. Dern has a meaty role as the lawyer who has to deal with a volatile client. It’s Stewart who brings it all down a notch. Using her typical acting style (she always seems to be playing herself), she doesn’t add any energy or likability to her Beth. Written and directed by Kelly Reichardt, ‘Certain Women,’ based on several short stories, is particularly aimed at a female audience, an audience who can appreciate and relate to the strong female characters in this film.

11th Sep2014

The Boxtrolls – Film

by timbaros

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

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

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

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

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

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