Category Archives: Biography

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)

Advertisements

Frida (2002)

Frida

quickflick-1.jpg

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)

Wild1
quickflick

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.

aofa04

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)

 

crumb

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)

 

camino (1)

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)

life

quickflick-1.jpg

 

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)

carandiru

quickflick-1.jpg

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)

danish girl

quickflick-1.jpg

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

quickflick-1.jpg

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.

Legend hardy

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

Into the Wild (2007)

Into the Wild (5)

Into the Wild (2007) (Biography, Adventure, Drama,  2007) (15) D: Sean Penn W: Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer P: Sean Penn C: Emile Hirsch, Marcia Gay Harden, William Hurt, Vince Vaughn, Kristen Stewart, Hal Holbrook. 2h 28m. USA.

Synopsis : After graduating from Emory University, top student and athlete Christopher McCandless abandons his possessions, gives his entire $24,000 savings account to charity and hitchhikes to Alaska to live in the wilderness. Along the way, Christopher encounters a series of characters that shape his life.

TAGLINE : Into the heart Into the soul

Sean Penns 6th film comes in the form of a nonlinear biographical road trip detailing the inspirational and curious life of Christopher McCandless played by the young multitalented Emile Hirsch. Boasting a bittersweet and soulful and soundtrack from Eddie Vedder and detailing the literary works of Jon Krakauer. Penn manages to draw together the details from the book to form an almost romantic optimistic view on this quite scary mystery filtered through an ever changing landscape.

Starting off near the end and skipping forwards and backwards throughout the timeline is always a little confusing but for this story where no one fully really knows what happened or why, it doesn’t hinder how the storytelling at all, it does mimic the way that the story was revealed in real time. Christopher (Emile Hirsch) is shown through various stages of this life, but is constant in his need to live his life on the hippy trail, without money or fancy cars, his strong sense of life and living outside of what we accept as the norm.

Abandoning his (oppressive) parents, keeping in touch with his sister through letters and hitting the road Christopher spends the film living off the land and picking up jobs and survival information for his Alaskan dream. Constantly avoiding convention he works in burger places, learns how to crop and enriches the lives of everyone he meets while keeping his distance from personal relationships he learns how to work leather while reminding the aged Hal (Ron Franz) that there is life is outside the workshop and shouldn’t be put off doing something new until another day,  instantly recognising problems between Rainy (Brian Dierker) and Jan (Catherine Keener) his love and understanding bonds him with the couple throughout the film and they almost adopt him. Vince Vaughn manages to inspire him and teaches him how to work the fields before his arrest.

He questions everything, in one great scene he just wants to canoe along a river, but there is way too much red tape, waiting lists, instructions and laws which to Christopher and anyone who thinks about it, it’s just pointless, so he goes alone, lawless and courageous.

Switching between the stark contrasts of hot happy scenes in the desert with friends and laughter and the sorrows of the snowy lonesome Alaskan wilderness the film is almost split between the two parallels all surrounding the man and his environment.

into-the-wild-9

The beautiful road trip turns into an isolated nightmare. As Christopher collects his worldly possessions, some money and a few books, he heads into the frosty wild. The movie starts to change pace and mood as it details a desperate challenge of survival. Even though scenes of this have been seen throughout the movie in the latter half it really focuses in on his desperate plight. The connection he had with nature soon unravels and everything changes, depression, starvation and his grasp on his personal ideology start to fall away.

The film comes across as being honest, in relation to it offering no answers just a recount of known facts. It does romanticise along the way, capturing little golden moments. There is some interesting effects using two different scenes cut on the screen which give an impression of what’s going on around Chris and what he’s concentrating on. Ultimately everything rotates near the end and as Christopher loses his grip with the natural world he does make a very poignant realisation about love and a very detailed case study of a very distinctive individual.

AOFA07

7/10

V : I tracked this movie down after seeing a photo of Christopher McCandless in one of those “haunting last photos” videos on YouTube,  when I found out a tiny bit of information about Chris’s journey into the wild and tracked down the movie and book. No one knows the full story and I like that this movie doesn’t try to give any answers why any of this happened and just documents the life of a very unusual character, it doesn’t try to sensationalise anything. It is a slightly frustrating movie in that it really focuses in on him getting to Alaska more than him being there, with me being a morbid girl, I must say that I am more interested in the Alaska chapter more. On the whole it’s still a cinematic dream and gorgeous movie filled with great characters and an unforgettable story. Hopefully it will open a few eyes to the fact that life can exist outside the norm and it’s free to be a good human being, hopefully it won’t put anyone off going it alone. It’s a great homage to Christopher.

Into the Wild (2)

R: Hunger (2009), This must be the place (2011), Nebraska (2013)

T : Based on a True Story. Father details on the demise of Christopher here from the new yorker http://www.newyorker.com/books/page-turner/how-chris-mccandless-died

Q : “When you want something in life, you just gotta reach out and grab it.”

OST: Unique Eddie Vedder OST throughout.

TIL : I must admit that i learnt a lot from the movie but there is a lot more in the book (as always).

BS : I really enjoyed the scene when Chris returned to Rainy and Jan, it gave off some really good vibes of friendship. Chris has only known the couple for a short while but they had bonded together in such a solid way it was like meeting up with your oldest bestest friend and was utterly charming.

DGI : NONE

5B : William Hurt, Sean Penn,

L: Based on a real story (and kept it real).

PD : Coming Soon