Archive for the ‘Tom Hooper’ Category

The Portrait of Lili

The Danish Girl

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Director: Tom Hooper

Cast: Eddie Redmayne, Alicia Vikander, Amber Heard, Matthias Schoenaerts, Ben Whishaw, Sebastian Koch, Sophie Kennedy Clark

After the phenomenal success of The Kings Speech and Les Miserables, director Tom Hooper returns to the art film, in the transgender drama The Danish Girl set in Copenhagen in 1926 starring Oscar winner Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything) and Alicia Vikander (Testament of Youth, Anna Karenina).

Based upon the novel by David Ebershoff, The Danish Girl focuses on the extraordinary story of the artistic couple Gerda and Einor Wegener, a husband and wife team who rise to fame when the husband Einor decides to take on the personality of a woman Lili Elbe, who initially was an artistic experiment so that Gerda could paint her husband dressed as a woman. What Gerda soon realizes is that Einor’s penchant for silk stockings and furs goes far beyond the being the subject for a portrait.

In a series of radical costume changes, always looking absolutely gorgeous Einor slowly shed his masculine persona and becomes the dainty and gorgeous Lily Elbe, even stepping out in public at an artist’s ball, where she, Lily attracts the attention of Henrik played by Ben Whishaw (Brideshead Revisited, Spectre). What is lacking in The Danish Girl is a coherent exploration of sexuality as the evolution of Lili Elbe is devoid of sexual desire despite the advances of Henrik and the natural dissolution of conjugal activities within Einor and Gerda’s own marriage.

Eddie Redmayne transformation into Lili is truly remarkable but it is really Alicia Vikander who holds the emotional weight of the film together as she grapples to deal with the significant issue that her husband might be transsexual and soon realizes that the best way to deal with this transformation is to ultimately support this radical decision.

As a film dealing with transgender and transsexual issues, The Danish Girl is aesthetically beautiful to watch, the costumes are exquisite and the production design quite sublime, but the gender politics of the film is not fully explored to the extent that such daring shows as HBO’s Transparent are, featuring a breakout Emmy winning performance by Jeffrey Tambor or even more contemporary set films as TransAmerica or Jared Leto’s turn as the tragic Rayon in Dallas Buyers Club.

Instead, Tom Hooper offers viewers an historical insight into the extraordinary model known as Lili Elbe who sat for several fabulous portraits painted by Gerda Wegener. Redmayne’s performance should be applauded although after his career breaking role as Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything, he should be weary of becoming typecast as playing characters that go through immense physical and emotional suffering.

The real gem of The Danish Girl belongs to Alicia Vikander’s emotional and brave performance as Gerda Wegener. Vikander is brilliant as she really holds the emotional crux of the film together. The rest of the mostly European cast have minor roles including Belgian actor Mathias Schoenaerts (Rust and Bone, Far From the Madding Crowd) as a smooth and elegant Parisian art dealer, Hans Axgil, Amber Heard (The Rum Diary) as a ballerina Ulla and Sebastian Koch as a sympathetic German doctor Warnekros.

Upon a second viewing, The Danish Girl could prove to become an LGBTI classic, as a beautiful film, its rather provocative tale could certainly become a subject of future gender studies courses. The Danish Girl is very similar to Girl with a Pearl Earring, except the portrait model is the fashionable Lili Elbe, which is played with exceptional femininity by a man.

 

 

64th BAFTA Awards

THE  64th BAFTA AWARDS /

THE BRITISH ACADEMY FILM AWARDS

Took place on Sunday 13th February 2011 in London

BAFTA WINNERS IN THE FILM CATEGORY:

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Best Film: The King’s Speech

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Best Director: David Fincher – The Social Network

Best Actor: Colin Firth – The King’s Speech

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Best Actress: Natalie Portman – Black Swan

Best Supporting Actor: Geoffrey Rush – The King’s Speech

Best Supporting Actress: Helena Bonham Carter – The King’s Speech

Rising Star Award: Tom Hardy

Best British Film: The King’s Speech directed by Tom Hooper

Best Original Screenplay: David Seidler’s – The King’s Speech

Best Adapted Screenplay: Aaron Sorkin – The Social Network

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Best Costume Design: Alice in Wonderland

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Best Foreign Language Film: The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (Sweden)

Source: 64th BAFTA Awards

2010 Toronto Film Festival

2010 Toronto International Film Festival Winners

TIFF 2010

Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) takes place every year in September in Toronto, Canada.

Films which premiere at Toronto are often nominated for Academy Awards the following year.

TIFF does not hand out individual prizes for Best Actor or Actress but focuses on amongst others the following awards:
People’s Choice Award & Best Canadian Feature Film

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Opening Night Film: Score, A Hockey Musical directed by Michael McGowan starring Nelly Furtado, Olivia Newton-John, Stephen McHattie & Noah Reid

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People Choice Award: The King’s Speech directed by Tom Hooper starring Colin Firth, Helena Bonham Carter, Geoffrey Rush, Guy Pierce, Derek Jacobi, Jennifer Ehle

Incendies

Best Canadian Feature Film: Incendies directed by Denis Villeneuve starring , &

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2010_Toronto_International_Film_Festival

 

Sumptuous Misery

Les Miserables

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Watching Tom Hooper’s sumptuous film version of Les Miserables, I felt like I was back in a Theatre in London’s West End witnessing the spectacular musical which has been a hit in both the West End and Broadway for decades. Director Hooper’s insistence that all the actors sing every song and not do any lip-syncing pays off making Les Miserables a magnificent emotionally charged film never straying far from the theatrical version. See Les Miserables on the biggest cinema screen available and with all the brilliant Dolby surround sound and viewers will experience the true beauty of such  ambitious musical theatricality.

From the Oscar-winning director of the King’s Speech, this film version of Les Miserables was in brilliant hands and he has chosen a superb cast to star in the musical adaptation of Victor Hugo’s early 19th century novel about the perils and poverty brought on in France as a result of the Napoleonic Wars.  Not since Rob Marshall’s stunning cinematic version of Chicago, have I enjoyed a film version of a West End musical so much.

Valjean

Valjean

Hugh Jackman who is no stranger to Broadway is perfectly cast as the embittered reformed thief Jean Valjean and Anne Hathaway is superb as the tragic Fantine, a seamstress who turns to prostitution to survive and protect her daughter Cosette from impoverishment. Both Hathaway and  Jackman have deservedly won 2013 Golden Globe Awards for Best Supporting Actress and Actor in a musical or comedy. Hooper shoots all the great songs of Les Miserables close up capturing the raw emotion of the actors turned singers as they perform I Dreamed a Dream, Master of the House and Suddenly.

Fantine

Fantine

Les Miserables is big on emotion, epic in scale especially the production design and the faithful early 19th century costumes and director Hooper has skilfully managed to create the perfect blend of romance, sorrow, heroism and injustice, painting a distinctly French cinematic canvas enough to make Victor Hugo proud. Rising British star Eddie Redmayne last seen opposite Michelle Williams in My Week with Marilyn and Amanda Seyfried are gorgeous as the young lovers:  the revolutionary Marius and the demure yet mature Cosette.

Helena Bonham Carter and Sacha Baron Cohen provide some comic relief amidst all this sumptuous misery as the scheming tavern owners out to deceive Valjean. Oscar Winner Russell Crowe plays Javert the treacherous constable out to finally catch up with the ever illusive Valjean.

Javert

Javert

With a brilliant score by Claude-Michel Schonberg and expert direction by Tom Hooper, Les Miserables is a must see for any musical lover and is breathtaking in its scope, brutality and visual imagery especially the rousing depiction of the 1832 Paris uprisings. All the cast are perfect and it’s no wonder that the film has received such critical acclaim so far.

For those that are unsure of seeing a two and a half hour film of Les Miserables, I never looked at my watch once, being completely enthralled in this gorgeous, emotional and spectacular cinematic masterpiece, successfully bringing the theatricality of a West End musical to the Big Screen. Highly Recommended!

Transforming a Future King

The King’s Speech

In the age of radio and the approaching storm clouds of World War II, King George VI takes over the British throne after his elder brother King Edward VIII abdicates in favour of marrying American divorcee Wallis Simpson. Tom Hooper’s superb drama The King’s Speech is remarkable in the three central performances by the fantastic Colin Firth as King George VI, Helena Bonham Carter as his wife Queen Elizabeth and Geoffrey Rush as an exuberant and unorthodox speech therapist, Lionel Logue. Coupled with a brilliant score by Alexandre Desplat who did the music for Stephen Frears’s drama The Queen and using an evocative and almost gloomy backdrop of post-depression London, The King’s Speech is a film that deftly combines the historical enormity of the abdication crisis and the approaching war, with a far more personal affliction of a reluctant King who has suffered since childhood with a terrible speech impediment.

In the intelligently scripted scenes, written with panache by David Siedler between Lionel and Bertie as King George VI was known, Siedler portrays an unconventional Antipodean speech therapist who recognizes the potential of a prickly nobleman destined to become a great King and gives him back the confidence to rule a nation at a time of immense uncertainty. Geoffrey Rush and Colin Firth are in top form as commoner unleashing the potential of a King and slowly uncovering the psychological stumbling blocks associated with such a speech disability as a Prince suffering the effects of a strict Victorian upbringing and weighted with the destiny of being 2nd in line to the British Throne.


Director Tom Hooper not only shows the historical developments of late 1930s Britain but also the rapid and transforming power of radio and the potential of this new medium to address all corners of the then expansive colonial Empire. Much was at stake for Bertie to conquer his affliction and give Britain and its colonies hope and inspire confidence through the power of radio as the storm clouds gathered with the rapid brutal expansion of the Third Reich, culminating in the outbreak of World War II in September 1939.

The Kings Speech is funny, immensely moving and by far the best film about the British Monarchy to be made in recent years and can stand proudly as a companion to such classics as The Madness of King George and The Queen.

The Kings’ Speech is just the right vehicle to recapture the imagination of audiences worldwide to the powerful allure and the enduring reign of the British monarchy. Colin Firth deserves all the accolades already heaped on him for his subtle and multi-layered performance as Bertie and is supported brilliantly by Geoffrey Rush, Helena Bonham Carter along with stolid cameos by Michael Gambon as the patriarchal King George V and Claire Bloom as the stoical Queen Mary.

83rd Academy Awards

Oscar Winners

for the 83rd Annual Academy Awards

Sunday 27th February 2011

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Best Film: The King’s Speech

Best Director: Tom Hooper – The King’s Speech

Best Actor: Colin FirthThe King’s Speech

 

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Best Actress: Natalie PortmanBlack Swan

 

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Best Supporting Actress: Melissa Leo – The Fighter

Best Supporting Actor: Christian BaleThe Fighter

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Best Original Score: Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross – The Social Network

Best Adapted Screenplay: Aaron Sorkin – The Social Network

Best Original Screenplay: David Siedler – The King’s Speech

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Best Art Direction: Alice in Wonderland

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Best Cinematography: Wally Pfister –Inception

Best Costume Design: Colleen Atwood – Alice in Wonderland

Best Editing: Angus Wall and Kirk Baxter – The Social Network

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Best Make-up: Rick Baker and Dave Elsey – The Wolfman

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Best Foreign Language Film: In a Better World directed by Susanne Bier (Denmark)

Best Sound Editing: Richard King – Inception

Best Visual Effects: Paul Franklin, Chris Corbould, Andrew Lockley and Peter Bebb – Inception

*

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/83rd_Academy_Awards

 

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