Category Archives: Biography

Angst / Fear (1983)

Director: Gerald Kargl
Starring:Erwin Leder, Edith Rosset, Josefine Lakatha, Sylvia Rabenreither.  Austria. 1h 15m

I am constantly looking for films about serial killers that aren’t total let downs and after years of searching it seems I missed the boat as one of the greatest and more accurately disturbing films was released when I was a toddler, but despite its age it really hasn’t lost any of it’s vivacity and manages to detail the gruesome slaughtering of one family by a repetitive mass murder Werner Kniesek. Continue reading Angst / Fear (1983)

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Ostatnia Rodzina / The Last Family (2016)

Director: Jan P. Matuszynski
Starring: Andrzej Seweryn, Dawid Ogrodnik, Aleksandra Konieczna. Poland. 2h 3m

I was quite desperate to see this movie as Zdzisław Beksinski is one of my all time favourite painters and his biography is quite bleak, so in the right hands this film should have been glorious and it’s absolutely captivating. Continue reading Ostatnia Rodzina / The Last Family (2016)

Frida (2002)

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A lavish biopic, half artistic masterpiece half Spanish soap opera, this historical account of the life of Frida Khalo is a stunning as her work. I’m a little bias here as I’ve always studied artist and art literally for my whole life. And i wish there were more artist movies like this when I was school as it would have saved me a lot of reading.

It’s never easy to try and sum up an entire life in one film, it’s hard enough to summarise in it in a book, and there is always more in the book than a movie.. but this film does a great job at detailing a lot of the great features in this unusual diva’s life. Continue reading Frida (2002)

Wilde (1997)

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Possibly one of the more anticipated biographies of the decade, not only have we reached an age where once thought sordid taboos can be openly expressed but we have also have an actor at our disposal who not only physically resembles Wilde but has also been through similar scandals and tribulations due to his fantastic mind and eccentricities.

The movie starts Oscar Wilde giving a lecture in Colorado in 1882 despite his bizarre persona he is welcomed by the silver miners and his tour becomes a great success, on returning to the UK he marries his long-term sweetheart Constance Lloyd (Jennifer Ehle) and the young couple have two sons in quick succession. He is soon introduced to  Robbie Ross (Michael Sheen) and then Lord Alfred “Bosie” Douglas (Jude Law) while discovering his homosexuality while dealing with a long suffering wife and raising children.

With a delicate approach this detailed account of Wilde discovering his sexuality is literally all the film covers. It seems obsessed with the man’s sexuality more than anything else. apart from a narrative of Fry reading The Selfish Giant which is an interesting choice there is hardly any mention of his works and no scenes of him hunched over books writing.. nothing is said about the man’s creativity but the lens here is zero’d in on his dick.. basically.

The narrative and subject aside the film is well acted and dressed beautifully, one of the downsides is the lack of imagination of in the later scenes after Wilde’s incarceration. Stephen Fry was clearly built for this role and while he adds finesse and charm to this deeply interesting character, the film itself is structured poorly, Empire having no discernible Direction, comes across as a cheap TV and film which doesn’t do his performance any justice. Overall I feel a great opportunity was wildly missed here.

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Rating 4/10

RMilk (2008)
L – Writer Biographies, Artist Biographies
A – How accurate do biographies have to be?
5s – Michael Sheen, Jude Law
Post Discussion

Crumb (1994)

 

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Director Terry Zwigoff
Starring Robert Crumb, Aline Kominsky-Crumb, Charles Crumb, Maxon Crumb. USA. 2h

Crumb is a tragically funny and deeply insightful documentary about one man’s ability to turn his innermost feelings into art which spoke for an entire generation.

This incredibly personal glimpse into the life of a genius accompanied by a very fitting ragtime soundtrack as this documentary aims to dig deep under the skin of the illustrator to the point of him actually being psychologically affected by the filming. Continue reading Crumb (1994)

Camino (2015)

 

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Director : Josh C Waller
Writer : Daniel Noah (novel/screenplay)
Starring : Zoe Bell, Nacho Vigalondo, Francisco Barreiro USA. 1h 43m

In the jungles of Columbia, a photojournalist (Zoe Bell) captures the truth behind a group of missionaries who may not be what they seem.

Zoe Bell, who’s more famously known for her dramatic role in Death Proof (2007), and while the trailers for this make her out to be a female Rambo there is a much more deeper, romantic back story entwined in the jungle violence, and with Bells ability to do her own stunts once the chase begins, it flows seamlessly. Here is is playing the role of Avery Taggert an independent and experienced photojournalist who’s accompany a small group through the lush Columbian forest and who is emotionally recovering from a recent tragedy, Avery begrudgingly accepts a job in Columba travelling with and photographing a religious militia force led by the charismatic and domineering Guillermo (Nacho Vigalondo), when she witnesses Guillermo kill a child during a drug deal, he frames her for the murder and instructs the group to hunt her down and kill her. This is when things get very interesting. The soundtrack immediately changes into this dark grinding heavy industrial drone, it doesn’t continue but acts like ringing a dinner bell that instead brings forwards a group of bloodthirsty militia. Continue reading Camino (2015)

Life (2015)

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Director:Anton Corbijn
Starring: Robert Pattinson, Dane DeHaan, Ben Kingsley, Joel Edgerton Canada, USA. 2016. 1h 51m

I can honestly say that this film wasn’t ever going to be a winner with me, but I’m opening minded and I’m more than happy to let a good film change my opinion, but there was something worrying and lifeless about this new film from Anton Corbijn.

Meandering along at a cool jazz tempo throughout this piece of American icon worship featuring an underpowered performance from Dane DeHaan impersonating James Dean, which just comes across as drowsy more than introverted, misses out all of the gritty details about sexuality. Continue reading Life (2015)

Carandiru (2003)

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Director: Hector Babenco
Starring: Luiz Carlos Vasconcelos, Rodrigo Santoro, Wagner Moura. Brazil. 2003. 2h 27m.

It’s going to be hard to try and keep this brief as I obsess over every detail of this movie as often as I can. I remember the tragic events sprawled out in the news when i was a youngster and the defiant song from Sepultura that followed.

Bittersweet and spicy, Carandiru digs deeps into the prison system in Latin America and humanises the inmates at one of the most controversial prison riots ever. Following the induction of Dr. Drauzio Varella (Luiz Carlos Vasconcelos) and through his fresh and sincere eyes we meet a host of wasted lives, thieves, junkies, whore and hitmen, all flourishing in the this uncanny citadel. Continue reading Carandiru (2003)

The Danish Girl (2015)

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Director : Tom Hooper
Writer: David Ebershoff (novel) Lucinda Coxon (screenplay)
Starring: Eddie Redmayne, Alicia Vikander, Matthias Schoenarts, Ben Whislaw UK/USA/Belgium 2h 7m

I couldn’t wait to see this film!! I saw it advertised ages ago on YouTube constantly for some time then it vanished, completely no adverts no “hype” then suddenly it was being ushered out as fast as possible!? I’ve no idea what happened but I’m so happy to have finally seen it. It’s a treat for the eyes as much as pulling at all the heartstrings while it centres on the viewer’s moral fibers and grows.

Elegantly portraying the mental and physical transition of Einar (Eddie Redmayne) and the frantic struggles  of a confused and extremely loving wife Gerda (Alicia Vikander) and supportive best friend Hans Axgil (Matthias Schoenaerts). Danish Girl is one of those films that paints itself dramatically across the screen in subtle muted tones, Lili is an extremely quiet and shy creature who had developed; over time into Lily a female alter ego who is taking over. First therapy is sought, radiation treatment and psychiatrists give damning advice and pills, but eventually a doctor is willing to try some experimental surgery to finally give birth fully to this new girl and lay Einar to rest. Continue reading The Danish Girl (2015)

Legend (2015)

Legend

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I was a bit dubious about this, I adored The Krays (1990) and it will always have a special little place in my heart. I was deeply upset about the lack of artistic flare in the Rise of the Krays (2015) and bemused to find out there was going to be ANOTHER Krays film in the same year but this one I had a little bit more hope for as it has a great actor playing both brothers, now Tom Hardy is an amazing actor but can he really play both brothers? Basic answer is Yes! But it doesn’t save the movie.

So this angle with this cult gangster twins of London flick, centres more around the differences between boys and in particular Ronnie (Tom Hardy) mental health and all told from the perspective of Reggie’s (also Tom Hardy) stunning wife Frances (Emily Browning). Based on the novel Profession of Violence by John Pearson and pushes the boundaries and limitations of film making by using Tom Hardy’s mesmerizing acting skills to play both twins interactively.

Written and skillfully directed by Brian Helgeland the film is visually stunning, often seeming more like a London version of Goodfellas (1990) there is an immense degree of glitz and smooth gangers charm, sudden smacked down to earth by a trail of bloody bodies and outrageous comments from one of the twins, more than often Ronnie as he declares his sexuality in vulgar ways and isn’t afraid to vent his anger on anyone who crosses his confused path as the identical twins do their part in terrorising london during the swinging 50’s and 60’s.

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Taking the unexpected path taken by the filmmakers to have the entire film narrated by the late Frances (Browning), the wife of Reggie Kray, she committed suicide in 1967, and narrates the film from beyond the grave, her sentiments give the film a very positive and feminine feel to it but adds in curious events that are totally fabricated.

Hardy is extremely accomplished and breezes through both characters, he seems to be on a mission to play all of the British Crime Legends, his amazing arty portral of Charles Bronson in the 2008 cult flick by Nicolas Winding Refn was outstanding and again he’s hit the sweet spot, but sadly it’s all of the other junk that lets the film down, it rapidly skips from scene to scene often without much connection or explanation, it’s just myriad of experiences that loosely follow a timeline. Each scene is golden but the movie just doesn’t flow… and some great actors were totally blow off with small bit parts including David Thewlis who played the lively Krays business manager who is hardly ever heard, and the Det. Super Leonard “Nipper” Read who in charge of taking down the brothers who has a measly few scenes but is graced by Christopher Eccleston and often looked over. Alongside Hardy’s sterling performance Browning comes across as bland and fairly forgettable, and it’s shame the movie makers didn’t give her more to work with especially as her story frames the entire movie.

Despite the inaccuracy and minor flaws it’s a better second to the 1990 classic film than Rise of the Krays and is very rewatchable, with some cool hardy vs hardy fight scenes and tense drama.

Rating 7/10

R – The Krays (1990), The Rise of the Krays (2015)
L – London Gangster/Crime Films, Gangster Movies, Biographies
A – How inaccurate can you be in a film before it’s TOO much?
5B – Tom Hardy, Emily Browning
Vs – The Krays Vs Legend Vs Rise of the Krays