Posts Tagged ‘Brie Larson’

We Own The Stars

The Glass Castle

Director: Destin Daniel Cretton

Cast: Brie Larson, Woody Harrelson, Naomi Watts, Ella Anderson, Sarah Snook, Max Greenfield, Josh Caras, Iain Armitage, Sadie Sink, Brigette Lundy-Paine

Hawaiian director Destin Daniel Cretton’s cinematic adaptation of the bestselling novel by Jeanette Walls The Glass Castle is an emotional and intricate exploration of a dysfunctional family’s unconventional upbringing.

The Glass Castle stars Oscar nominee Woody Harrelson (The People vs Larry Flynt, The Messenger) as the patriarch Rex Walls and Oscar nominee Naomi Watts (21 Grams, The Impossible) as his wife Rose Mary. Oscar winner Brie Larson (Room) stars as the grownup second daughter Jeanette who would eventually turn from gossip columnist writer to bestselling author of the novel from which the story is based.

Ella Anderson plays the younger version of Jeannette who has to deal with her poverty-stricken parents as they grow up in the backwater of West Virginia, often living in abandoned buildings and scrounging for food money.

At the film’s outset it is clear that Jeannette has a special bond with her heavy drinking, big dreaming and often delusional father Rex who keeps promising her and her siblings (two sisters and a brother) that he is going to build the family a glass castle from which they can glimpse the stars through.

As the narrative shifts between New York in 1989 and her poverty stricken upbringing in rural West Virginia, The Glass Castle intelligently explores the concepts of sustainable living, of living off the grid and repudiating the city driven Capitalist work ethic which defines contemporary America.

The mother Rose Mary is too busy painting to watch her children, never mind feed them while the father Rex is too busy drinking to actually get a proper a job to support his family. Woody Harrelson gives one of the best performances of his screen career as Rex Walls as he manipulates and misguides the family into believing that he has the capacity to actually take care of them.

Eventually the young Jeannette says to her siblings that they have to make their own plans to save up money and leave West Virginia for more lucrative work opportunities in New York.

Fast forward to 1989, where the older Jeannette, beautifully played with nuance and comprehensive emotional intelligence by Brie Larson who as a successful journalist on the verge of marrying her straitlaced accountant fiancée David played by Max Greenfield (The Big Short) suddenly has to contend with her parents squatting on the Lower East Side in an abandoned building.

Josh Caras, Brigette Lundy-Paine and Sarah Snook (The Dressmaker, Steve Jobs) play the other siblings Brian, Maureen and Lori.

The best scenes in The Glass Castle are between Brie Larson and Woody Harrelson and while the film is an emotional joyride, it does not give the parents any social accountability for the way they brought up their children through neglect and apparent starvation.

The Glass Castle is a fascinating exploration of familial responsibility or lack thereof and the emotional effects that irresponsible parents decision making can have on their unsuspecting children.

The drama gets a film rating of 8 out 10.

The highly underrated Woody Harrelson should received a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination for his performance as Rex Walls in the upcoming 2018 Academy Awards.

The Glass Castle is recommended viewing for those that enjoy a tense, sometimes difficult family drama where the children are told to pick stars while they are starving on earth.

Where Myths and Science Meet

Kong: Skull Island

Director: Jordan Vogt-Roberts

Cast: Tom Hiddleston, Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson, John C. Reilly, John Goodman, John Ortiz, Shea Whigham, Corey Hawkins, Tian Jing, Toby Kebbell, Jason Mitchell, Richard Jenkins, Thomas Mann

The allusions to Apocalypse Now and Joseph Conrad’s novel The Heart of Darkness are rife in newcomer director Jordan Vogt-Roberts action packed seventies set adventure film Kong: Skull Island.

Featuring an international cast including British actor Tom Hiddleston, Oscar winner Brie Larson (Room), John Goodman, Samuel L. Jackson, John C. Reilly and Tian Jing (The Great Wall), Kong: Skull Island wastes no time on characterization or dramatic build up but rushes straight into an adrenaline filled action film set at the end of the Vietnam war in 1973.

With a retro seventies soundtrack to match, Bill Randa played by John Goodman and Houston Brooks played by 24: Legacy’s Corey Hawkins get the go ahead from Senator Willis briefly played by Richard Jenkins (Eat, Pray, Love) to assemble a  military team and journey to a mysterious storm ridden island in the South Pacific on an exploratory mission.

The team consists of soldiers hanging for some more action after the American withdrawal from Vietnam including Preston Packard played by Samuel L. Jackson and Cole played by Shea Whigham (American Hustle) along with anti-war photographer Mason Weaver played by Larson and golden boy James Conrad, played by Hiddleston (Thor: The Dark World).

As they approach Skull Island and drop seismic charges on the lush and malignant landscape, the team soon discover that a massive beast is guarding the island from vicious lizards. That beast is King Kong, that giant gorilla last seen on top of the Empire State building with a blond in his palm. Reference Peter Jackson’s 2005 epic King Kong.

Director Jordan Vogt-Roberts cleverly wastes no time in cutting straight to the action as various teams on the island are separated only to be individually preyed upon by a variety of nefarious creatures including giant spiders. While Packard and his band of mercenary soldiers are keen on annihilating Kong, Mason and James stumble upon Hank Marlow, a crazed but good natured World War II pilot who accidentally landed on Skull Island back in 1944 and never left, even befriending the silent locals who worship Kong as their sole protector.

Marlow is superbly played by character actor John C. Reilly, a role clearly referencing Dennis Hopper’s frenetic photojournalist in Apocalypse Now without the looming intensity of a Mister Kurtz watching over his horrific empire. Reilly brings empathy to the role of Marlow, another clear reference to The Heart of Darkness and advises the more sympathetic team that Kong is not that bad. A fact which is vividly illustrated by Mason Weaver’s wonderful encounter with the gigantic beast.

Brie Larson gives a resilient performance as the only strong female lead in a basically all male film and has the best screen time with Kong, realizing that much like those brave soldiers hunting Kong, they are all as confused about this rapid reversal in the environmental food chain.

Kong: Skull Island is unadulterated adventure, punctuated with cool photographic stills of exotic ethnography to capture a unique and terrifying experience where myth and science meet.

With the help of a groovy seventies soundtrack and a stand out performance by John C. Reilly, Kong Skull Island gets a film rating of 7.5 out of 10. Highly recommended viewing.

 

Escaping Captivity

Room

room_ver2

Director: Lenny Abrahamson

Cast: Brie Larson, Jacob Tremblay, Joan Allen, William H. Macy, Sean Bridgers, Wendy Crewson, Cas Anvar

Brie Larson gives an Oscar-winning performance in director Lenny Abrahamson’s claustrophobic film Room about captivity, sexual slavery and the perceptions of children. Based on the novel by Emma Donoghue, director Abrahamson whose previous credit includes the bizarre Michael Fassbender film Frank, delves deep into the emotional and psychological trauma of those affected by a harrowing experience set in suburban Akron, Ohio.

This experience is the abduction of Joy Newsome, known as Ma who is sexually abused from the age of 17 and kept in a garden shed, which becomes the room of the title and stays there for seven years. During her incarceration she gives birth to a son Jack who becomes her world. Cleverly Room does not dwell on the horrors of captivity or sexual slavery, but fluidly follows the perceptions of this enclosed world formed by the 5 year old Jack wonderfully played by newcomer Jacob Tremblay, who really is the emotional centre of the film and certainly should have won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar.

Joy Newsome known as Ma, is superbly played by relative newcomer Brie Larson (The Gambler, Don Jon) in a stunning performance which has scooped every Best Actress award in 2016 from the Golden Globes to the Bafta’s to The Oscars.

The exceptional depth of Brie Larson and Jacob Tremblay’s talent is displayed in the first half of Room, which is entirely occupied by Ma and Jack as they eventually hatch a plan to escape when Ma realizes that Old Nick, played by Canadian actor Sean Bridgers, cannot really afford to keep them locked up forever.

That escape and eventual discovery of Joy Newsome is thanks to the bravery of young Jack who must unwittingly go into a world he has never experienced and escape, find the police and alert them of their disappearance and capture. Brilliant shot, Abrahamson keeps the tension of the first half of the film and Brie Larson is extraordinary as she must know convince her young son, Jack that the world comprising Room is not the Real World and he must shift his expectation from fantasy to an altered reality of what the real world actually is.

Audiences expecting a neatly tied up dramatic end to Room will be thoroughly disappointed as the second half of the film after their release dwells more on the emotional and psychological consequences of the mother and son’s shared trauma than on any legal or criminal investigation into their prolonged captivity.

Joy’s estranged parents Nancy and Robert played by Joan Allen (The Contender, The Crucible) and William H. Macy (Fargo, The Sessions) are suitably good in a nuanced underplayed way, especially as Robert cannot bear to look at the product of sexual abuse, his grandson Jack.

Room is essentially a parable about a mother’s bond with her child in a cruel and vicious world where each of them are confined by their own perceptions of the world and the roles they are meant to occupy as parent and child.

Room is a thought-provoking and harrowing tale of survival which will keep audiences talking for years, held together by brilliant performances by Larson and Tremblay. Recommended viewing for those that enjoy an intelligent and emotional family drama.

 

88th Academy Awards

The 88th Academy Awards / The Oscars

Sunday 28th February 2016

OSCAR WINNERS AT THE 88TH ANNUAL ACADEMY AWARDS

spotlight_ver2

Best Picture: Spotlight

revenant_ver2

Best Director: Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu – The Revenant

Best Actor: Leonardo DiCaprio – The Revenant

Room_Poster

Best Actress: Brie LarsonRoom

bridge_of_spies

Best Supporting Actor: Mark Rylance – Bridge of Spies

danish_girl

Best Supporting Actress: Alicia Vikander – The Danish Girl

spotlight_ver3

Best Original Screenplay – Tom McCarthy & Josh Singer – Spotlight

big_short_ver2

Best Adapted Screenplay – Adam McKay & Charles Randolph – The Big Short from the book The Big Short written by Michael Lewis
Son of Saul

Best Foreign Language Film: Son of Saul (Hungary) directed by Laszlo Nemes

Best Cinematography: Emmanuel Lubezki – The Revenant

mad_max_fury_road_ver15

Best Costume Design: Jenny Beavan – Mad Max: Fury Road

Best Production Design: Mad Max: Fury Road

Best Hair and Makeup: Mad Max: Fury Road

Best Film Editing: Margaret Sixel – Mad Max: Fury Road

Best Sound Editing: Mark A. Mangini and David WhiteMad Max: Fury Road

Best Sound Mixing: Mad Max: Fury Road

inside_out_ver3

Best Animated Feature: Inside Out by Pete Doctor and Jonas Rivera

ex_machina

Best Visual Effects: Ex Machina

amy_ver3

Best Documentary Feature: Amy directed by Asaf Kapadia and James Gay-Rees

hateful_eight_ver10

Best Original Score: Ennio Morricone – The Hateful Eight

spectre_ver5

Best Original Song: The Writings on the Wall by Sam Smith – Spectre

Source: Oscars

 

69th BAFTA AWARDS

THE  69th BAFTA AWARDS /

THE BRITISH ACADEMY FILM AWARDS

Took place on Sunday 14th February 2016 in London

BAFTA WINNERS IN THE FILM CATEGORY:

revenant_ver2

Best Film: The Revenant

Best Director: Alejandro G. Iñárritu – The Revenant

Best Actor: Leonardo DiCaprio – The Revenant

Room_Poster

Best Actress: Brie Larson – Room

bridge_of_spies

Best Supporting Actor: Mark Rylance – Bridge of Spies

steve_jobs

Best Supporting Actress: Kate Winslet – Steve Jobs

brooklyn_ver2

Best British Film: Brooklyn directed by John Crawley

spotlight_ver2

Best Original Screenplay: Tom McCarthy and Josh Singer – Spotlight

big_short

Best Adapted Screenplay: Adam McKay and Charles Randolph – The Big Short

mad_max_fury_road_ver15

Best Costume Design: Jenny Beavan – Mad Max Fury Road

Wild Tales

Best Foreign Language Film: Wild Tales directed by Damián Szifron (Argentina)

Source: 69TH BAFTA AWARDS

 

 

73rd Golden Globe Awards

73rd GOLDEN GLOBE AWARDS

Took place on Sunday 10th  January 2016 hosted by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association

GOLDEN GLOBE WINNERS IN THE FILM CATEGORIES:

revenant_ver2

Best Film Drama: The Revenant

martian_ver2

Best Film, M/C: The Martian

Best Director: Alejandro González Iñárritu – The Revenant

Best Actor Drama: Leonardo DiCaprio – The Revenant

Room_PosterBest Actress Drama: Brie Larson – Room

Best Actor M/C: Matt Damon – The Martian

joy_ver2

Best Actress M/C: Jennifer Lawrence – Joy

creed_ver3

Best Supporting Actor: Sylvester Stallone – Creed

steve_jobs

Best Supporting Actress: Kate Winslet – Steve Jobs

Son of Saul

Best Foreign Language Film: Son of Saul  directed by Laszlo Nemes (Hungary)

Source: 73rd Golden Globe Awards

2015 Toronto Film Festival

2015 Toronto International

Film Festival Winners

TIFF2015_poster

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

demolition

Opening Night Film: Demotion directed by Jean-Marc Vallee and starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Naomi Watts and Chris Cooper

 

Room_Poster

People’s Choice Award: Room directed by Lenny Abrahamson starring Brie Larson, Joan Allen, William H. Macy and Jacob Tremblay

closet_monster

Best Canadian Feature Film: Closet Monster directed by Stephen Dunn starring Connor Jessup, Isabella Rosselini, Joanne Kelly and Aaron Abrahams

Source: 2015 Toronto Film Festival

Sex and Guilt Jersey Style

Don Jon

don_jon_ver4

Director: Joseph Gordon-Levitt

Stars: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Scarlett Johansson, Tony Danza, Julianne Moore, Glenne Headley, Brie Larsen

Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s directorial debut is impressive as he explores the sexual maturity of a young New Jersey barman in the hilariously bold and truthful Don Jon, in which he also wrote and takes the title role. Gordon-Levitt clearly knows he has good screen presence and after a string of appearances in successful films recently from The Dark Knight Rises to Lincoln to Premium Rush, as an actor he has obtained the confidence to write, direct and star in Don Jon, which at times is like a young man’s version of a Woody Allen movie without the Manhattan neuroses.

Gordon-Levitt plays a young narcissist bar tender Joe Martello, who pumps iron at his local gym looking into a mirror, goes to the local nightclub and scores girls frequently with his boyish looks and dim-witted charm. Even after sex with a voluptuous babe, Don Jon sneaks off to his laptop and watches porn. And that’s where the problem lies!

don_jon

Don Jon cleverly explores the seldom discussed male obsession with pornography and more incisively the increasing internet driven phenomenon of porn addiction. For Martello’s private vice is never found out until he starts dating the gorgeous yet demanding Barbara Sugarman wonderfully played by Scarlett Johansson (Girl with a Pearl Earring, Vicky Christina Barcelona, Hitchcock) who invariably catches him watching online porn.

Interspersed with the relationship with Barbara, is Don Jon’s rival relationship with his overbearing aggressive father in some superb scenes with Tony Danza of the 80’s TV series Who’s The Boss? and Jon’s own relationship with the local Catholic Church, where he attends mass every Sunday and always land up in the confession, revealing to an unforeseen priest his past week’s sexual activities and exploits. As director Gordon-Levitt deftly explore the filmic relationship between sex and guilt as he splices religious iconography with explicit scenes of pornography.

If Don Jon through its humour and boldness touches a nerve with its male audience, then it’s succeeded! Gordon-Levitt ‘s Don Jon is at that tender age in a young man’s life when he has broken away from the family home but not quite settled down with his own family. His mother Angela is all gush and glamour, purposefully overplayed by Glenne Headley (Dirty Rotten Scoundrels) while Jon’s sister is silent, sitting at the dining room table texting and observing (a droll cameo by Brie Larsen) offering only one salient observation about her brother’s relationship with the sultry Barbara.

What raises Don Jon from being a crass comedy is Gordon-Levitt’s handling of the delicate subject of porn addiction along with a brilliant performance by Oscar nominee Julianne Moore who plays the free-thinking, pot smoking Esther who befriends Jon in his night college course. Then of course Julianne Moore was in such sexually explicit films as Boogie Nights and Chloe, so that casting was perfect.

Don Jon explores the affect pornography can have on real relationships, while honestly examines the sexual maturity of a young man in the digital age as he balances his sexual urges with guilt and family in contemporary New Jersey. A recommended, thought-provoking and very funny film, Don Jon is recommended viewing, a clever film by new director Gordon-Levitt whose talents now seem limitless.

Film Directors & Festivals
Reviews and Awards
Review Calender
October 2017
M T W T F S S
« Sep    
 1
2345678
9101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
3031  
  • Nielsen Says It Will Measure Audiences for TV Episodes That Stream Via Netflix
    Nielsen said it would extend it measurement of TV-show audiences to select subscription video on demand services, a new push by the backer of the media industry’s main yardstick to gauge interest in new video-watching behaviors. The company will make available widely audience data for content that streams on select SVOD players. A&E Networks, Disney […]
    Brian Steinberg
  • Facebook Sales, Amazon Shakeup, Weinsteins, and CBS’ Aussie Invasion Drive Mipcom Conversation
    CANNES One of the most talked-about program buyers at Mipcom this year didn’t have a big installation at the Palais des Festivals. Facebook’s growing appetite for original programming was a hot topic among top unscripted producers. The ambitious plans for content at Apple, YouTube Red, Amazon, Hulu, and Netflix were a constant source of speculation among […]
    Cynthia Littleton
  • Mipcom in Brief: Tencent is Blue, FilmRise is Singing and AMC is Sinning
    CANNES — One driver of the international TV industry is emerging markets coming on stream for acquisitions and as producers. A case in point: Peru, a country with a rich history in film and TV production and co-production, is participating at Mipcom for the first time this year. This year’s initiative is headed by Promperú […]
    John Hopewell
  • Mipcom: RTVE’s Clan Eyes U.S. Hispanic Market
    Pubcaster RTVE’s Clan, Spain’s leading kids TV service, is eyeing the U.S. Hispanic TV market for 2018, as part of its international expansion. A new channel version, dubbed into neutral Spanish and offering its most standout contents, has started to settle in Latin America from June. After inking carriage deals with regional pay TV operators, […]
    John Hopewell
  • Mipcom: Beta Film, Neuesuper Team for ’Hamburg Hustling’ (EXCLUSIVE)
    CANNES — Jan Mojto’s Beta Film, a “Babylon Berlin” partner and lynchpin company on Europe’s burgeoning foreign-language TV drama scene, is teaming with Munich-based Neuesuper for crime drama “Hamburg Hustling,” set against the background of Hamburg’s notorious red-light district St. Pauli. Negotiations with a German network are in an advanced phase, Beta said in a […]
    John Hopewell