Category Archives: Biography

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

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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)

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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

Into the Wild (2007)

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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.

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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.

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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

 

Amadeus (1984)

 

amadeusAmadeus  – (Biography, Drama, Music,  1984) (PG) D: Mios Forman W: Peter Shaffer P: Saul Zanetz+2 C: F Murray Abraham, Tom Hulce, Elizabeth Berridge, Toy Doctrice. 2h 40m. USA.

TAGLINE : Amadeus, The man. The music. The magic. The madness. The murder. The mystery. The motion picture

Synopsis :The incredible story of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, told by his peer and secret rival Antonio Salieri- now confined to an insane asylum.

A stunning film portraying the rise and fall of a social misfit who also happened to be one of the greatest musicians of all time. Amadeus (1984) is based on the 1979 stage production of the same name. Recounting a fictional story of the great composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  (Tom Hulce) through the eyes of a jealous rival Antonio Salieri, (F. Murray Abraham) the destructive saga is recounted as a confession to a priest by the aged Salieri who is currently in an asylum after an attempted suicide.

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A vast challenge even for the veteran director Milos Forman (One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest 1975) But he pulls it off with his own unique brand of virtuoso passion and a meticulous approach. Utilising the incredible acting skills of F. Murray Abraham and Tom Hulce who each play composers who are in competition for Emperor Joseph II’s (Jeffrey Jones) attention. Salieri being the present court, favourite, feels admiration and threat from the untameable raw talent of the young and oblivious Mozart. Salieri then tries everything to dispose of his giggling party animal rival, through deceit, seduction and greed.

From the opening scenes, Tom Hulce’s high-pitched maniacal laugh (much like my own) and childish behavior paints the character of the beloved Mozart, a comical pervy, dirty minded foul-mouthed virtuoso eccentric genius. In contrast we learn about the pitiful Salieri in languid flashbacks detailing him as a constant mediocre wanna be who brown noses himself to the top.

The melancholic yet scintillating narrative provided by Abraham’s as the senior Salieri , whose vocal ones gives his own tough overtures to all situations, heavily laced with sarcasm and personal pain and bitterness of the young genius and nothing more.

This bitter and sweet movie, as much as it centres around Mozart is in fact about Salieri’s failures and his hatred for the youthful man. His perceptions getting more contorted as his actions become more desperate.

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This movie boasts an interesting blend of Mozart’s music, including my all time favorite Requiem. This shouldn’t come as a surprise, but what is charming is the stunning costumes, and exceptional attention to detail. It’s funny while being quite tragic at times, it’s courageous on many levels and re-creating a historic Salzburg and many acclaimed sets and stages.

The actors were put through their paces and their dedication is visible. Hulce learnt how to play the piano and harpsichord so the shots could be more versatile. Abraham spends hours in make up to age himself for the asylum scenes. On the whole the movie is

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Rating –  10/10

R: La Vie en Rose (2007), Farinelli (1994), Immortal Beloved (1994) Marie Antoinette (2006)

Q : He was my idol…
They are all so beautiful why don’t I have three heads?
No, but I’m the best!

OST: Amazingly full on Mozart here…
TIL : Hate can drive a person quicker than love.
BS : Sadly I’m going for a scene that has been mimicked and copied a million times. When Salieri is reading the music and drops the pages (in slo mo) out of mixed emotions of hate, love, admiration, fear etc..
5S : F Murray Abraham, Tom Hulce
L: Musical Biogrpahies, Selected Costume Drama,

PD : Post Discussion – TO COME

Kisha

Digging up the Marrow (2014)

Digging up the marrow title

Digging Up the Marrow (Biography, Drama, Fantasy 2014) (18) D: Adam Green: P: W: Adam Green: C: Ray Wise, Adam Green, Will Barratt, Kane Hodder. 1h 38m. USA.

TAGLINE : Wanna see some monsters? Grab a shovel.

Synopsis: A documentary exploring genre based monster art takes an odd turn when the filmmakers are contacted by a man who claims he can prove that monsters are indeed real

An excellent mockumentary for horror fans who were starting to lose faith in real monsters. Written and directed by Adam Green the creator of a outlandish diverse range of horror movies including Frozen (2010), the Hatchet (2006) franchise and Chillerama (2011), tries his hands at something a little different again. Adam does credit himself as being a fan of horror and insists that he makes horror movies for real fans of the genre.

Digging up the Marrow concentrates on Green as a presenter of a documentary prepared to investigate claims that monsters are real, after receiving a case file from the mysterious and often aloof William Dekker (Ray Wise actor involved in Robocop, Dead End, Jeepers Creepers 2). The team then embark on finding the entrance and inhabitants of an underground world that Dekker has named The Marrow, a sort of reject town for deformed children and circus runaways. This reeks of Clive Barkers Nightbreed (1990)but it tries to latch on to reality more but with a similar style of monsters. (Dekker/Decker- Nightbreed.. a homage to the movie maybe?)

Digging up the marrow Ray Wise

It’s great to see Green work alongside some familiar faces, regularly working with similar people and must have called in a lot of additional favors, getting some marvelous cameos from Mike Garris (director of Sleepwalkers, Critters 2 and Fly 2) and Kane Hodder (who worked with Adam through all the Hatchet Series) to mention only a few.

Adams enthusiasm is rampant throughout this fast paced movie, although I am still a little bit bemused as to what he was trying to achieve. The movie seems to want to prove that monsters exist but the plot phases in and out. During the movie the evidence is shown that monsters are real, explanations are given but no real evidence is captured, then when something is captured it’s soon discredited and it sits on the fences through this to and fro of belief of non-belief. It’s interesting to watch this happen. Watching Green getting more driven for the truth and freaking out in the woods.

I really did enjoy the movie and Green does manage to prove a few things, he can really put his hand to any style of horror and make a great movie, he can act, despite acting as himself he really manages to bring in his own quips of humour and dicking around while making it all seem very real, albeit in a awkward manner, he’s likable and his wholehearted determination and enthusiasm comes across on form. And finally my favourite aspect, there is none or very little CGI. These monsters are physical creepy beings, there is such a big improvement in any horror movie when there is more practical special effects, Army of Darkness (1992) is a true testament of this.

While bringing a little extra to the found footage genre. Digging up the Marrow doesn’t feel like a complete movie, but more of a side project while Green worked on other projects. Much like the characters in the marrow it does feel a little bit rejected. It’s still worth attention. There are a lot of weaker found footage movies out there which are taking up shelf space. This does deliver, maybe not quiet what you’d expect but that’s what makes it great.

Digging up the marrow monster

I suppose in Greens young career it’s worth getting the audience back into believing in things that go bump in the night. Have we really grown up so much that monsters have lost their magic? Digging up the Marrow, I think, tries to make us believe in and fear the dark again.

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Rating : 7/10

 

R: Nightbreed (1990), Little Monsters (1989), Jeepers Creepers (2001), Mr. Jones (2013)

L: Monster movies, Found Footage
5B: Ray Wise, Kane Hodder