Posts Tagged ‘Annette Bening’

Retro Intergalactic Superhero

Captain Marvel

Directors: Anna Boden & Ryan Fleck

Cast: Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson, Annette Bening, Jude Law, Ben Mendelsohn, Lashana Lynch, Lee Pace, Clark Gregg, Gemma Chan, Djimon Hounson, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Rune Temte

Just before Avengers: Endgame hits theatres, Marvel had to introduce one more superhero to the galaxy of stars. It’s the Retro intergalactic Captain Marvel wonderfully played by Oscar winner Brie Larson also known as Airforce Pilot Carol Danvers who gets whisked into space to become indoctrinated by the Kree Civilization, an advanced alien race headed up by the mysterious Supreme Being icily played by Annette Bening in her Marvel Comics debut.

Audiences can be forgiven for thinking that they had bought cinema tickets to a Star Trek reboot as the first twenty minutes of Captain Marvel is entirely set in space. Until Captain Marvel miraculously escapes an intergalactic feud between the Kree and the Skrull tribes and lands up in Los Angeles in 1995 in a blockbuster video store of all places, the film effortlessly shifts its location from outer space to a particular time and place.

In California, Captain Marvel teams up with a youthful Nick Fury wonderfully played by Samuel L. Jackson whose screen chemistry with Brie Larson is electrifying.   

Like all the other Marvel films and particularly those that loved Avengers: Infinity War, then Captain Marvel is a fun mixture of superhero and Guardians of the Galaxy and fits right in with the current trajectory the Marvel films are going. More significantly it is the first entirely female centred superhero film, with Brie Larson doing a sterling job, although admittedly the film does not quite match up to DC Comics’s brilliant Wonder Woman directed by Patty Jenkins.

There is sufficient plot twists, location changes as Captain Marvel and Nick Fury travel to Louisiana to discover her real human identity as Airforce Pilot Carol Danvers as they team up with fellow co-pilot Maria Rambeau played by rising British star Lashana Lynch.

Oscar nominee Jude Law (The Talented Mr Ripley) plays the arrogant Kree commander Yon Rogg who proves to be a worthy adversary to Captain Marvel.

Captain Marvel is a fun filled retro intergalactic romp of a film engagingly written and populated with some witty one liners. Brie Larson pulls off the role of the latest female action superhero with credibility and nuance as she struggles to discover her real identity and where her role as Captain Marvel fits in to the larger Avengers scheme of things.

Flashy visual effects and some great onscreen chemistry save Captain Marvel from being just another superhero film and this gets a film rating of 7 out of 10.

Audiences should definitely see Captain Marvel before watching Avengers: Endgame. Recommended Viewing for Marvel fans only and regular attendees of Comicon.

California Dreaming

20th Century Women

Director: Mike Mills

Cast: Annette Bening, Elle Fanning, Greta Gerwig, Billy Crudup, Lucas Jade Zumann, Alison Elliott

Beginners director Mike Mills dramatic comedy 20th Century Women featuring a brilliant performance by Oscar nominated star Annette Bening as a single mother Dorothea Fields in Santa Barbara in 1979 struggling to raise a teenage son who does not have a paternal influence in his life comes off as long winded and self-indulgent.

The biggest problem with 20th Century Women is that while Mills effectively catches the zeitgeist of the late 1970’s as the decade is edging into the 1980’s and the sexual freedom of the seventies is being replaced by the punk rock hard core attitude of such bands as The Sex Pistols, the film itself does not sustain in terms of script for two hours especially with only five characters and less than clever dialogue.

What does come through clearly in 20th Century Women is that Jamie played Lucas Jade Zumann is being influenced by too many varying female perspectives which naturally causes friction among Bening’s character and her zany young lodger Abigail Porter played by Greta Gerwig who is recovering from ovarian cancer. Then there is Hollywood it girl Elle Fanning (Live By Night, Malificent) as the sexually promiscuous and outspoken teenager Julie who befriends Jamie yet does not offer any of the promised sexual pleasures which she so often hints at. This leaves him as a young teenage boy frustrated and confused.

Alison Elliott has a brief appearance as Julie’s mother. Elliott is best known for her roles in Birth and as the dying heiress in the stunning film The Wings of a Dove.

Whilst he tries to understand Feminism including reading The Politics of Orgasm and is introduced to drugs, alcohol and the legendary Californian free-spirited living, what he really desires is a strong maternal bond with his mother, who emotionally cannot deal with her teenage son.

Instead of being a mother to Jamie, the unconventional working mother Dorothea gives him free rein and he in turns sees her as lonely chain-smoking single mother who grew up in the Great Depression.

Despite superb performances by Bening and Elle Fanning, 20th Century Women is a feminist film from a man’s perspective that of the director Mike Mills and does not delve into the emotional crux of motherhood too deeply.

If audiences expect an eventful trajectory of a dysfunctional family drama, 20th Century Women does not deliver mainly due to a lacklustre script and a story line which essentially doesn’t really go anywhere significant beyond catching the mood of a decade which is about to close while the world is rapidly transforming into the consumerist 1980’s where the sexual liberties of the 1970’s are severely curtailed by the AIDS pandemic.

If a film is going to only have five characters in the story, the script better be absolutely superb and whilst 20th Century Women has its definable moments nothing stands out as particularly brilliant in the tradition of the recent film by Kenneth Lonergan, the Oscar winning Manchester by the Sea or even the riveting Stephen Frear’s French period drama Dangerous Liaisons which quite frankly is in a league of its own.

20th Century Women gets a film rating of 6.5 out of 10 and one hopes that the extraordinarily talented Annette Bening can once again achieve onscreen recognition as she once did in her career defining performances in such Oscar nominated roles in Being Julia, American Beauty and The Grifters.

Deconstructing Howard Hughes

Rules Don’t Apply

Director: Warren Beatty

Cast: Lily Collins, Warren Beatty, Alden Ehrenreich, Matthew Broderick, Candice Bergen, Annette Bening, Haley Bennett, Hart Bochner, Martin Sheen, Ed Harris, Alec Baldwin, Taissa Farmiga, Oliver Platt

Legendary actor Warren Beatty returns after an almost fifteen year screen absence with his Hollywood film Rules Don’t Apply as he deftly deconstructs the later years of Howard Hughes in Hollywood in the mid-1960’s.

If Martin Scorsese’s Oscar winning film The Aviator about reclusive billionaire Howard Hughes is the starting point then Rules Don’t Apply should be the bookmark on an extraordinary man whose legendary eccentricity almost exceeded his insurmountable wealth.

Unfortunately despite a handsome production design, Rules Don’t Apply should have garnered more critical acclaim than it got. The Warren Beatty film got released in the midst of Hollywood’s diversity debate and then to add to unwarranted attention Beatty and Bonnie and Clyde co-star Faye Dunaway got caught in one of the biggest live Television mix-up’s in Oscar history – the mistaken announcement of Best Picture at the 2017 Oscar Awards when they incorrectly announced that Damien Chazelle’s La La Land had won Best Picture when in fact Barry Jenkins’s film Moonlight walked away with the coveted trophy much to the world’s astonishment.

Personally I loved Rules Don’t Apply and have always been a fan of Warren Beatty’s work from his Robert Altman film McCabe and Mrs Miller opposite Julie Christie to his later work opposite his wife Annette Bening in Bugsy.

What really shines through in Rules Don’t Apply are the outstanding performances of the two young stars Lily Collins and Alden Ehrenreich who was so brilliant in the Coen brothers skit film Hail, Caesar!

Beatty’s performance as Howard Hughes is superb and he captures the idiosyncratic obsessive compulsive nature of the truly eccentric billionaire who invested his inherited Texan oil drilling wealth in films and aviation, even becoming acquiring a majority share in Trans World Airlines TWA. However, Hughes developed a severely debilitating obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) so aptly portrayed by both Beatty in Rules Don’t Apply and by Leonardo diCaprio in The Aviator. Howard Hughes’s OCD  caused his lifestyle to become increasingly erratic and reclusive.

Hughes’s continuous occupation with flying around the world, his bizarre womanizing and his globetrotting adventures are all perfectly captured in Rules Don’t Apply as the film’s action moves from California to Acapulco to Nicaragua and to London then back to Washington D. C.

With his immense wealth, Hughes hired dozens of would be starlets to come to L. A. and be in one of his films, all expenses paid including accommodation at lavish Hollywood Hills homes. Lily Collins plays Marla Mabry a pampered and conservative young girl who comes to Hollywood to be wooed by Hughes and star in one of his pictures. Her natural attraction for her dashing young chauffeur is clearly evident upon their first meeting. Alden Ehrenreich plays Frank Forbes, the young entrepreneurial chauffeur who immediately takes a fancy to the naive star-struck Marla.  Although both of these young people are living in the shadow of an eccentric billionaire who is supporting their stay in Los Angeles.

A bizarre love triangle develops between Marla, Frank and Howard Hughes, the latter being three times the age of the naïve young starlet who is seduced in a bungalow at the Beverley Hills Hilton after imbibing copious amounts of champagne.

Rules Don’t Apply has a fabulous and glamorous old fashioned charm which is conveyed throughout the film ably assisted with smooth direction by Beatty who also casts some veteran supporting actors including Martin Sheen (Apocalypse Now), Candice Bergen (Gandhi) and an excellent performance by Matthew Broderick (The Producers).

This Hollywood biopic which deconstructs the eccentric Howard Hughes gets a rating of 9 out of 10.

Essentially, Rules Don’t Apply about an extraordinarily bizarre billionaire makes for fascinating viewing. Highly recommended especially if viewers have seen The Aviator.

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Howard_Hughes

 

 

 

A Rock Star’s Redemption

Danny Collins

danny_collins

Director: Dan Fogelman

Cast: Al Pacino, Annette Bening, Christopher Plummer, Jennifer Garner, Christopher Plummer, Bobby Cannavale, Josh Peck

Crazy, Stupid, Love director Dan Fogelman creates a more bittersweet comedy with Oscar winner Al Pacino (A Scent of a Woman) in the lead as the irascible and flamboyant ageing rock star Danny Collins in a film of the same name.

Featuring a great supporting cast including Oscar winner Christopher Plummer (Beginners) as Danny’s manager Frank Grubman and Annette Bening (Being Julia, Bugsy) as Mary Ann Sinclair, Danny Collins is by no means a superb film, but a character driven story about how one man starts to take responsibility for the fame and the recklessness of his life as he enters his semi-retirement years.

Plummer’s charcter acts as a sort of conscious for Danny Collins, who at a ripe old age is still snorting cocaine and drinking too much, attempting to marry woman half his age, while his musical career flat lines as he basically just pelts out the same songs that made him famous in the early 1970’s.

As Danny Collins says “I haven’t written an original song in thirty years”. This is preceded by a wonderful scene in Los Angeles outside the legendary Hollywood hotel Chateau Marmont where Danny stops his Mercedes sports car and stares at a Billboard above Capitol Records of his latest album – Danny Collins, the Greatest Hits volume 3.

So where do ageing rock stars go to retire and reconnect with their estranged children? New Jersey of course! In suburban New Jersey Danny checks into the Wood Lake Hilton run by the amiable yet strict divorcee Mary Ann, wonderfully played against type by Bening. Written by Fogelman too, he saves the best dialogue for Pacino and Bening and its these scenes mainly in the hotel bar that work the most in Danny Collins.

Soon the story takes a twist when Danny Collins tries to reconnect with his grown son Tom, played by Bobby Cannavale, who is perfectly cast as Pacino’s son, although personally I would have liked to see them in a gangster film together. Cannavale shot to fame after winning a Prime-Time Emmy Award for his role as the violent gangster Gyp Rosetti in the excellent HBO series Boardwalk Empire and since then has been cast in numerous films including Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine, Jon Favreau’s Chef and most recently the remake of Annie.

Once again Fogelman saves the best dialogue for the bitter-sweet bonding scenes between estranged son and rock star father. Jennifer Garner (Dallas Buyers Club) has a minor supporting role as Tom’s sensible and pregnant wife Samantha Donnelly.

At times Danny Collins felt unevenly written and at times the dialogue worked beautifully, but the film would never have been successful without the charisma of Al Pacino in the lead role.

Yet despite all this talent, Danny Collins is a minor yet amiable film about characters reconnecting and rockstars coming back down to earth with a bang. More of the plot could have been embellished but one got the sense that Fogelman had run out of ideas by the time the script had run its course.

Nevertheless Danny Collins is recommended viewing but could be saved for DVD and for those that enjoyed Last Vegas. Naturally the iconic Pacino (Scarface, The Godfather, Heat and Carlito’s Way) is fantastic but one gets the sense that even such an accomplished actor needs more to work with to make a film credible.

 

53rd BAFTA Awards

The  53rd BAFTA Awards /

The British Academy Film Awards

Took place on 9th April 2000 in London

BAFTA Winners in the Film Category:

american_beautyBest Film: American Beauty

all_about_my_mother

Best Director: Pedro Almodóvar – All About My Mother (Todo sobre mi madre)

Best Actor: Kevin Spacey – American Beauty

Best Actress: Annette Bening – American Beauty

talented_mr_ripley_ver3

Best Supporting Actor: Jude Law – The Talented Mr Ripley

tea_with_mussolini_ver2

Best Supporting Actress: Maggie Smith – Tea with Mussolini

east_is_east_ver1

Best British Film: East is East

being_john_malkovich_ver3

Best Original Screenplay: Charlie KaufmanBeing John Malkovich

end_of_the_affair

Best Adapted Screenplay: Neil Jordan The End of the Affair

Best Foreign Language Film: All About My Mother (Todo sobre mi madre) Spain

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/53rd_British_Academy_Film_Awards

68th Golden Globe Awards

68th Golden Globe Awards

Took place on Sunday 16th January 2011 hosted by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association

Golden Globe Winners in The Film Categories:

social_network

Best Film Drama – The Social Network

Best Director: David Fincher – The Social Network

the-kids-are-all-right

Best Film Musical or Comedy: The Kids are All Right

kings_speech_ver3

Best Actor Drama: Colin Firth – The King’s Speech

black_swan

Best Actress Drama: Natalie Portman – Black Swan

barneys_version

Best Actor Musical or Comedy: Paul Giametti – Barney’s Version

Best Actress Musical or Comedy: Annette Bening – The Kids are All Right

fighter

Best Supporting Actor: Christian Bale – The Fighter

Best Supporting Actress: Melissa Leo – The Fighter

In a Better World haevnen_ver2

Best Foreign Language Film: In a Better World (Denmark)

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/68th_Golden_Globe_Awards

 

 

 

62nd Golden Globe Awards

62nd Golden Globe Awards

Took place on Sunday 16th January 2005 hosted by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association

Golden Globe Winners in The Film Categories:

aviator

Best Film Drama: The Aviator

sideways

Best Film Musical or Comedy: Sideways

million_dollar_baby

Best Director: Clint Eastwood – Million Dollar Baby

Best Actor Drama: Leonardo DiCaprio – The Aviator

Best Actress Drama: Hilary Swank – Million Dollar Baby

ray_ver2

Best Actor Musical or Comedy: Jamie Foxx – Ray

Being Julia

Best Actress Musical or Comedy: Annette Bening – Being Julia

closer

Best Supporting Actor: Clive Owen – Closer

Best Supporting Actress: Natalie Portman – Closer

sea_inside

Best Foreign Language Film – The Sea Inside (Spain)

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/62nd_Golden_Globe_Awards

Born Radicals

Ginger and Rosa

ginger_and_rosa

Director: Sally Potter

Cast: Annette Bening, Elle Fanning, Alice Englert, Christina Hendricks, Alessandro Nivola, Jodhi May, Timothy Spall, Oliver Platt

British director Sally Potter renown for such art house films as the brilliant Orlando starring Tilda Swinton and The Tango Lesson, comes up trumps with her latest film Ginger and Rosa, featuring the uber-cool cast of Elle Fanning as the vulnerable Ginger, Alice Englert as the seductive Rosa, along with a supporting cast of Christina Hendricks (Drive) Alessandro Nivola (Coco Avant Chanel) as Ginger’s father Roland along with Oliver Platt, Timothy Spall and the always brilliant Annette Bening (Being Julia, Bugsy, The Kids are Alright).

Ginger and Rosa follow the entwined story of two girls born in 1945 as Hiroshima was decimated by a Nuclear Bomb ending World War II and traces their radical progression into adulthood in London in 1962, characterized by a growing social disenchantment with the establishment. The fact that Ginger’s Mom Natalie an aspiring painter turned housewife played superbly by Hendricks and her pacifist and ultimately selfish father Roland played by Nivola are not exactly conventional, helps in Ginger realizing her taste for social activism drawing her to the CND. As both teenage girls experiment with sex, booze and drugs, Ginger turns more to the growing Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) which was fuelled by her awareness of the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962.

Ginger whilst reading T.S. Eliot’s poem The Wasteland, soon finds herself got in a private crisis as her promiscuous friend Rosa puts their relationship in a delicate and complex situation. Rosa’s absence of a father figure spurs an inner sexual rebellion as her seldom seen working class mom Anouska played by Jodhi May last seen in the World War II drama Defiance, leaves Rosa feeling neglected and continually searching for love.

Sally Potter is clearly enchanted with Elle Fanning the younger sister of Hollywood actress Dakota Fanning and her performance in Ginger and Rosa is flawless conveying a wondrous vulnerability about the challenges of youth. Elle Fanning has become the darling of Art House cinema being cast in Sofia Coppola’s tale of a father and daughter’s relationship in a celebrity obsessed world in Somewhere and now Ginger and Rosa. Elle Fanning first came to attention in J.J.Abrams brilliant homage to Sci-Fi in the film Super 8 and has since caught the attention of cinema’s more influential female directors like Coppola and Potter.

Whilst the supporting cast in Ginger and Rosa are superb, especially Hendricks and Nivola as Ginger’s Bohemian parents and the rare glimpses of Annette Bening as a hardened radical feminist Bella who eventually coaxes the truth out of Ginger’s psychological and social dilemma, the film remains Elle Fanning’s with the cinematography capturing the intensity of activism versus vulnerability on the young Ginger as she negotiates a more complex environment both domestically and socially.

Ginger and Rosa is an intelligent exploration of betrayal, activism and social comprehension in a world which has become increasingly turbulent especially in the face of growing distrust of established social conventions governing family, relationships and role models in the light of a broader context of a society which is turning to radical activism as the main form of protest against Western governments using its nuclear power to obliterate cities and the pure carnage of war as illustrated in the post-World War I T. S. Eliot poem The Wasteland published in 1922.

2004 Toronto Film Festival

2004 Toronto International Film Festival Winners

TIFF 2004

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

Being Julia

Opening Night Film: Being Julia directed by Istvan Szabo, starring Annette Bening, Jeremy Irons, Michael Gambon, Lucy Punch & Max Irons

Hotel Rwanda

People’s Choice Award: Hotel Rwanda directed by Terry George, starring Don Cheadle, Sophie Okonedo, Nick Nolte, Joaquin Phoenix, Xolani Mali

Its all Gone Pete Tong

Best Canadian Feature Film: It’s All Gone Pete Tong directed by Michael Dowse starring Paul Kaye, & , Pete Tong

Source:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2004_Toronto_International_Film_Festival

Film Directors & Festivals
Reviews and Awards
Review Calender
May 2019
M T W T F S S
« Apr    
 12345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
2728293031  
  • Writers Guild Agrees to Resume Meetings With Talent Agencies
    The Writers Guild of America has agreed to resume negotiations with Hollywood’s talent agents, six weeks after talks between the two sides cratered. WGA West President David A. Goodman announced Wednesday night that the WGA had approved a proposal by UTA co-president Jay Sures to get back to the bargaining table. Sures had made the […]
    Dave McNary
  • TV Review: ABC’s Live ‘All in the Family’ and ‘The Jeffersons’
    In retrospect, it was only a matter of time before reboot and revival fever manifested as verbatim repeats — but if TV’s gonna go there, bringing back eerily timely shows like “All in the Family” and “The Jeffersons” is the way to do it. That Norman Lear’s comedies are timely, or at least prescient, is […]
    Caroline Framke
  • Film News Roundup: ‘Super Pets’ Movie Moves Back a Year, Avoiding ‘John Wick 4’
    In today’s film news roundup, “Super Pets” has moved back to 2022, “Into the Ashes” gets bought and veteran executive David Gale has a new gig. RELEASE DATE Warner Bros. has pushed back the release of “DC Super Pets” back a year, avoiding opening against “John Wick 4.” The studio announced Wednesday that “Super Pets” […]
    Dave McNary
  • Fleetwood Mac’s Lindsey Buckingham Lists Brentwood Estate
    Rock and roll royal Lindsey Buckingham of Fleetwood Mac and interior decorator Kristen Buckingham have hung a $29.5 million price tag on their timelessly sophisticated estate in the Brentwood area of Los Angeles. The real estate and design savvy couple acquired the 1.2-acre spread in 2004 for $6.6 million and subsequently custom built the approximately […]
    Mark David
  • FYI Brand Group Launches Social Impact Division
    FYI Brand Group, the music and fashion brand marketing and public relations firm founded by Tammy Brook, is launching a social impact division dedicated to campaigns centered around creating a call to action for social good. Organizations that have signed on to work with FYI include the American Cancer Society and Black Lives Matter; the […]
    Shirley Halperin
  • Read More
    Different providers offer different cell phones, so take a look at the options from each provider to choose the right one for you. You may also want to look into any promotions that the providers have to offer, such as free cell phones in exchange for signing a contract. Tags: 2gmhass90