12th Nov2017

The Florida Project (Film)

by timbaros

The_Florida_ProjectIt was always going to be for filmmaker Sean Baker to top 2015’s critically acclaimed film ‘Tangerine.’ But now he’s back with ‘The Florida Project,’ and it’s a winner!

‘Tangerine,’ which was shot on iPhones, told the story of two transvestite hookers surviving by any means possible in Hollywood. ‘The Florida Project,’ shot on 35mm, has a similar trajectory involving a single mother and her adorable 6-year old daughter surviving by any means and barely eking out a living in a rundown motel on the tacky fringes of DisneyWorld in Orlando, Florida. It’s an area filled with cheap motels (with tacky names such as Futureland Inn) and even cheaper and tackier gift shops and fast food restaurants (Orange World). And like in ‘Tangerine,’ Baker uses non-professional actors in this film.

Bria Vinaite is excellent as Hailey, a single young mother who struggles to find money to pay the weekly rent and to care for her very adorable six-year-old daughter Moonee (an excellent and natural Brooklynn Prince). Moonee has made friends with all of the little children at their motel complex (appropriately called The Magic Castle) in an area where Disney did not sprinkle magic dust on. The children spend their days getting up to no good, causing mayhem whereever they go, much to the annoyance of the motel manager Bobby (Willem Dafoe – in an award worthy performance). Hailey’s downstairs neighbor Ashley (Mela Murder) works at the nearby Waffle House and gives them free food, but after an incident that involves her son and Moonee, she forbids her son to hang out with Moonee, and severs her friendship with Hailey. One thing leads to another and slowly the magic seeps out of The Magic Castle.

‘The Florida Project’ is just fantastic. While it doesn’t quite come close to ‘Tangerine’ with it’s sarcastic and biting humor, it nonetheless is a cute and charming movie of childhood through a little girl’s eyes and the hard truths that reality will eventually rear it’s ugly head. And the cast are just superb. Baker, who co-wrote the script with Chris Bergoch, has another winner on his hands.

Trailer:

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09th Nov2015

Pasolini (DVD)

by timbaros

PastedGraphic-1-2PastedGraphic-1-24623673045Director Abel Ferrera brings us the few days in the life of gay Italian film director Pier Paolo Pasolini in his new film simply titled ‘Pasolini.’

Ferrera, who last year gave us the gripping, scandalous, controversial and excellent film ‘Welcome to New York’ (which was inspired by the case of Dominique Strauss-Khan (DSK), the former chairman of the IMF who was accused of raping a hotel maid), presents us a film where Ferrara imagines and then reconstructs the last days in the life of Pasolini.

Pasolini was an extremely controversial film director. His films combined themes of religion and sex, his own personal views on topics such as abortion, displaying in your face bacchanals that left little to the imagination. His last film – titled Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom – depicted children subjected to violence, sexual depravity, and horrific murder – making Pasolini an extremely hated, or genius, figure. In ‘Pasolini,’ Willem Dafoe doesn’t so much imitate or play Pasolini in the film, but he inhabits the actions and thoughts of him. And Ferrara, in putting this film together, spoke to Pasolini’s relatives and friends to gather the memories and thoughts of a man who would wind up being killed by a rent boy at the age of 53 in Italy.

‘Pasolini’ is not so much an actual biography of the last days of Pasolini’s life, it’s more of a combination of the actual events that took place coupled with scenes from an unmade Pasolini film, a film that he was actually working on when he died. So we have Ferrara inhabiting the shoes of Pasolini and bringing to life scenes from the film that Pasolini never made – Porno-Teo-Kolossai – coupled with the events from the last days of his life which included meetings to discuss his new film, in his home with his mom and assistant and various friends, and to finally, his pickup of a male rent boy that would result in his death. It’s a very realistic film. Ferrara uses the actual locations of the real life events and also uses Pasolini’s personal objects and clothes in the film. This, coupled with Dafoe’s performance, gives us a documentary style production that is rich in it’s storytelling. Dafoe gives a fantastic performance inhabiting Pasolini’s world, right down to the language (some of this film is in Italian, and not every part of it has subtitles), to the glasses that he wears, to the clothing, to the way he carries himself. Like Gerard Depardieu who perfectly inhabited the role of DSK, Dafoe convincingly inhabits the role here. Even down to the final scene in the film, where Pasolini has sex with the rent boy and ends up being badly beaten, and run over by his own car. It’s a brutal death for a man who didn’t deserve to die that way. His murder on a beach on the outskirts of Rome on November 2, 1972 is still an open case despite the conviction of the rentboy that he picked up that night. It would be bit more fascinating if a filmmaker can make a film about Pasolini’s life – that would be a much more well-deserved tribute.



Pasolini (DVD) (DVD)

Director: Abel Ferrara
Starring: Willem Dafoe, Riccardo Scamarcio, Ninetto Davoli
Rating: Suitable for 18 years and over

Willem Dafoe stars as visionary Italian director Pier Paolo Pasolini in this drama examining the last day of his life. Having just completed work on his latest film 'Salò, Or the 120 Days of Sodom' (1975), the 53-year-old director lives in Rome while preparing for his next project. But the intellectual film-maker faces opposition from many portions of Italian society including his own family who try to dissuade him from making his next picture due to its overly controversial nature. After he gives what would prove to be his last interview, Pasolini picks up a young street hustler (Damiano Tamilia) and takes him out to dinner shortly before his tragic but mysterious death.
New From: £8.28 GBP In Stock
Used from: £5.23 GBP In Stock

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13th Sep2015

Pasolini (Film)

by timbaros

Pasolini pic 1Director Abel Ferrera brings us the few days in the life of gay Italian film director Pier Paolo Pasolini in his new film simply titled ‘Pasolini.’

Ferrera, who last year gave us the gripping, scandalous, controversial and excellent film ‘Welcome to New York’ (which was inspired by the case of Dominique Strauss-Khan (DSK), the former chairman of the IMF who was accused of raping a hotel maid), presents us a film where Ferrara imagines and then reconstructs the last days in the life of Pasolini.
Pasolini was an extremely controversial film director. His films combined themes of religion and sex, his own personal views on topics such as abortion, displaying in your face bacchanals that left little to the imagination. His last film – titled Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom – depicted children subjected to violence, sexual depravity, and horrific murder – making Pasolini an extremely hated, or genius, figure. In ‘Pasolini,’ Willem Dafoe doesn’t so much imitate or play Pasolini in the film, but he inhabits the actions and thoughts of him. And Ferrara, in putting this film together, spoke to Pasolini’s relatives and friends to gather the memories and thoughts of a man who would wind up being killed by a rent boy at the age of 53 in Italy.

‘Pasolini’ is not so much an actual biography of the last days of Pasolini’s life, it’s more of a combination of the actual events that took place coupled with scenes from an unmade Pasolini film, a film that he was actually working on when he died. So we have Ferrara inhabiting the shoes of Pasolini and bringing to life scenes from the film that Pasolini never made – Porno-Teo-Kolossai – coupled with the events from the last days of his life which included meetings to discuss his new film, in his home with his mom and assistant and various friends, and to finally, his pickup of a male rent boy that would result in his death. It’s a very realistic film. Ferrara uses the actual locations of the real life events and also uses Pasolini’s personal objects and clothes in the film. This, coupled with Dafoe’s performance, gives us a documentary style production that is rich in it’s storytelling. Dafoe gives a fantastic performance inhabiting Pasolini’s world, right down to the language (some of this film is in Italian, and not every part of it has subtitles), to the glasses that he wears, to the clothing, to the way he carries himself. Like Gerard Depardieu who perfectly inhabited the role of DSK, Dafoe convincingly inhabits the role here. Even down to the final scene in the film, where Pasolini has sex with the rent boy and ends up being badly beaten, and run over by his own car. It’s a brutal death for a man who didn’t deserve to die that way. His murder on a beach on the outskirts of Rome on November 2, 1972 is still an open case despite the conviction of the rentboy that he picked up that night. It would be bit more fascinating if a filmmaker can make a film about Pasolini’s life – that would be a much more well-deserved tribute.

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30th Jan2014

Out of the Furnace – Film

by timbaros

images-86Out of the Furnace stars one of the hottest actors in the business today – Christian Bale. It is a film produced by Leonardo DiCaprio and Ridley Scott, among others, and it also stars Oscar-winning actors Forest Whitaker and Willem Dafoe, and Oscar-nominated actors Woody Harrelson, Cassey Affleckand Sam Shepard, unfortunately, the film just does not work.

Bale is Russell Baze (not a very good name for a main character), he works in the local steel mill (in a dark, polluted town somewhere in Pennsylvania). His father is near death, watched over by Russell’s younger brother Rodney Baze Jr. (Affleck), back home and physically and mentally scared from serving time in the military. One evening after visiting his father and heading back home to his wife Lena (Zoe Saldana), he crashes into a car and kills its two occupants. He is sent to prison (which happens too suddenly, there is no trial – so the movie takes us directly from the car crash to Russell being in prison). It is not clear how long he is in prison for, but he is there long enough to miss his father’s funeral. Also, his wife has left him for the local police chief (Whitaker – who doesn’t have much to do in this film).
Having no choice but to move back into his father’s house, he learns that his brother is involved in illegal fighting and also owes local man John Petty (Dafoe) a lot of money. Russell advises his brother to work in the mill, to stay clean, to make their dead father proud. But Rodney has a lot of anger, hostility, and aggression, so it appears that he needs to fight. He also needs to repay Petty, and while Russell tries to help out paying some money towards the loan, Rodney goes ahead with one final fight. Unbeknownst to Rodney, Petty also owes money to Harlan DeGroat (Harrelson), a local drug dealer who, with his thugs and addicts, have some kind of control of the local area. For reasons not very clear, Petty tells Rodney to throw the fight, which he does, and it has bad implications for both men. It is up to Russell to seek revenge and get even, leading to a very predictable showdown with DeGroat.
With so much talent on board, you would think that Out of the Furnace would and could be a contender for awards, but unfortunately it is quite the opposite. The script is too predictable, there seems to be chunks of scenes that are missing, the main characters are given very strange names (Harlan DeGroat? Russell Baze?) and the final scene, the showdown, is not dramatic at all. It could’ve been a better film because in its development stage it had DiCaprio attached to star and Scott attached to direct. Director and writer Scott Cooper directed Jeff Bridges to his Oscar-winning performance in 2009’s Crazy Heart, however, for Out of the Furnace, it seems like he called in sick a few times during shooting. And his script, written with Brad Ingelsby, is frustrating and not comprehensive. While the cinematography and landscape of rural Pennsylvania is in line with the plot of the film (dark, moody), and the performances are what you would expect from the caliber of actors involved, overall Out of the Furnace is literally dead on arrival.