Posts Tagged ‘Candice Bergen’

Fifty Shades of Gorgeous

Book Club

Director: Bill Holderman

Cast: Jane Fonda, Diane Keaton, Candice Bergen, Mary Steenburgen, Andy Garcia, Craig T. Nelson, Don Johnson, Richard Dreyfuss, Alicia Silverstone

Screenwriter Bill Holderman who assisted Michael Arndt in the cinematic adaptation of Bill Bryson’s novel A Walk in the Woods, shows his adept hand at directing in the star studded Book Club featuring some legendary Hollywood stars including Oscar winners Jane Fonda (Coming Home, Klute) and Diane Keaton (Annie Hall) along with Candice Bergen (Gandhi, Rules Don’t Apply) and Oscar winner Mary Steenburgen (Melvin and Howard).

The four female leads play lifelong friends who form a Book Club based on their mutual love for Erica Jong’s scandalous seminal feminist novel Fear of Flying published in 1973 which controversially delved into female sexuality. Over forty years later, the four friends played by these wonderful and still radiant stars, reunite and discuss the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy.

In an ironic twist of casting, Don Johnson, father of Dakota Johnson who stars in the Fifty Shades Trilogy is featured as Jane Fonda’s character Vivian’s love interest Arthur, as he attempts to repeatedly woo the wealthy Californian hotelier.

Certainly, Book Cub is aimed at a particular demographic and age group, but what is so refreshing to see is that all these actresses appearing together onscreen in another female driven narrative comedy which is an older, yet quite different version of the all-female cast of the recent Oceans 8 film.

Set mainly in California and Arizona, Book Club is surprisingly enjoyable (even if you are not a wealthy American woman over the age of 70) but it is important that these films continue to be made as it allows older actresses to dazzle viewers onscreen.

And speaking of dazzling, Jane Fonda at 80 years old looks absolutely gorgeous and truly holds her own in this sparkling film as does Diane Keaton as she creates perfect onscreen chemistry in the scenes with her macho pilot Mitchell played by Andy Garcia (The Godfather Part III, Kill the Messenger).

As the Book Club ladies, over bottles of Chardonnay, reassess their love lives in the light of literary stimulation courtesy of Fifty Shades of Grey, Book Club remains a charming, whimsical film about finding or reigniting love in the evening of one’s life.

All the leading ladies look more like Fifty Shades of Gorgeous and certainly Book Club is highly recommended as a 21st century re-examination of female sexuality framed by a contemporary social movement which is increasingly dominating pop culture – the MeToo Movement, making this film all the more relevant.

Book Club receives a film rating of 7 out of 10 and audiences should see it to witness the fabulous Jane Fonda shine onscreen again like she did in Paolo Sorrentino’s superb 2015 film Youth.

 

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 Fashionable Cinderella Tale

Carrie and the Big Apple

It was inevitable that the hit HBO television series, Sex and the City, about the adventures of four young and hip New York women based on the book by Candace Bushnell, be turned into a slick and stylish big screen adaptation. The sensational series, which originally aired from 1998 to 2004, was a weekly dose of risqué 30-minute episodes consisting of the sexual and social tribulations of four single New York career girls, which become the benchmark for all that, was chic, stylish and witty.

Sarah Jessica Parker’s fame was secured when she brought to life the lead character of New York columnist, Carrie Bradshaw’s trials and musings on love, life and looking for the eternally elusive Mr. Right. Instead, she found herself with Mr. Big while her friends were also grappling with the feminine challenges of balancing successful careers, hot relationships and a fabulous social life, set in the ever-inspiring backdrop of New York’s affluent Manhattan, that densely populated and exclusive enclave of high-fashion, infidelity and just sheer opulence.

Sex, a basic human right, as essential as food and survival coupled with the City, the phenomenal urbanization of the planet’s economically active cool trendsetters, as symbolized by the deliciously incandescent and scrumptious Big Apple, the city that never sleeps. The series, intelligently written and punctuated with scandalous scenes of outrageous nudity, gorgeous clothes and designer living, was a sure-fire success and defined a generation of style. Secured in this witty and lavish tradition, the film version of Sex and the City is a fashionable fable of the four far from virginal forty-year old women, with the original actresses reprising their roles as Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte and Miranda, who not only take on New York City, but the Mexican Riviera, Malibu and Beverly Hills, as they all in turn battle with the challenges of managing relationships with men, impending marriages, maternity and maintaining a wardrobe from the essential Manolo Blahnik shoes to Prada purses and fabulous outfits by Dior, Vivienne Westwood and Gucci.

With Patricia Field, the costume designer of the equally spectacular The Devil Wears Prada, responsible for the outfits, Sex and the City is a slightly over-long, but nevertheless fashion-frenzied feast of style, femininity and refreshingly raunchy, air-brushed film version of the fabulous four, written and directed with strong literary and filmic references by Michael Patrick King, elevating it above the average barrage of chic-flicks, that have hatched from Hollywood in the past decade.

So, will men enjoy it? Yes, I think the quality of the film coupled with its sophisticated tales of urban relationships set in one of the world’s richest city, will certainly appeal to anyone with a mature sensibility. All I can hope for is a film version of the male equivalent, the Emmy and Golden Globe Award-winning series, Entourage, about a band of thespian brothers attempting to make it make big in Hollywood.

For the price of a movie ticket and a couple of hours, Sex and the City will indulgently transfer you to a world of sophistication, desire and elegance, that most people only aspire to and merely wish for, while whetting your appetite for luscious bodies and the slick designer clothes that cover them.


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