Posts Tagged ‘Cara Delevingne’

The Conception of an Affair

Tulip Fever

Director: Justin Chadwick

Cast: Alicia Vikander, Christoph Waltz, Dane DeHaan, Cara Delevingne, Judi Dench, Jack O’Connell, Kevin McKidd, Holliday Grainger, Tom Hollander, Zach Galifianakis, Joanna Scanlan, David Harewood, Sebastian Armesto, Matthew Morrison, Douglas Hodge

British director Justin Chadwick (The Other Boleyn Girl, Mandela: The Long Walk to Freedom, The First Grader) tackles a cinematic version of Deborah Moggarch’s novel Tulip Fever with the literary assistance of Anna Karenina screenwriter Tom Stoppard.

Assembling an international cast including Oscar winner Christoph Waltz (Django Unchained) and fellow Oscar winner Alicia Vikander (The Danish Girl), Tulip Fever is set in Amsterdam in 1623 at the height of the Tulip trade which flourished in the Netherlands and was in essence the first stock market which blossomed illicitly behind Tavern doors and co-opted by solicitous nuns who grew the beautiful flowers in sacred abbeys away from the hustle of Dutch city life.

With sumptuous costumes by Michael O’Connor and suitably dark production design by Simon Elliott, Tulip Fever focuses on the young orphan Sophia Sandvoort superbly played by Vikander who is forced to marry the wealthy yet childless Burgermeester (local mayor) Cornelious Sandvoort played by Waltz.

Like all Dutch noblemen, Sandvoort commissions a young and impoverished painter to paint the couple’s portrait, a 17th century trend which made Rembrandt famous. In steps the exuberant and excitable Jan van Loos played by Dane DeHaan (Valerian, Kill Your Darlings).

Soon van Loos falls for the ravishing Sophia and deception is conceived mainly for her to escape from her pompous husband who really wants to impregnate her with his preferably male heir.

In a parallel narrative, Sophia’s devoted maid, Maria played by British actress Holliday Grainger (Jane Eyre, The Finest Hours, Cinderella) has fallen for the charming if not smelly fishmonger Willem Bok played by Jack O’Connell (Unbroken) who aspire to get married and have six children together.

In a bizarre twist both Bok and van Loos, two young men desperately trying to increase their liquidity embark on making money on the booming tulip trade, in which the precious bulbs fluctuated in price depending on their rarity and natural beauty of the elusive flower.

Oscar winner Judi Dench (Shakespeare in Love) plays the Abbess who has to sternly guide the young men in the flourishing yet turbulent tulip trade while the Netherlands was expanding its colonial empire to the Dutch East Indies and South Africa.

Despite the slightly convoluted plot and frenetic story line, Tulip Fever is an enjoyable and raunchy period drama held together by amazing performances by the four main leads which serves as a Dutch version of Twelfth Night.

Audiences that enjoyed Girl with a Pearl Earring and Shakespeare in Love, will undoubtedly love Tulip Fever, which provides a fascinating cinematic perspective on the brief but flourishing Tulip trade which made the Netherlands one of the riches countries in Europe especially in the 17th century, establishing their own national stability and making them the money lenders of Europe.

With all the deceit, obsession and money trading, Tulip Fever is a riotous period drama and gets a film rating of 7 out of 10.

Tulip Fever is recommended viewing as a historical drama with a uniquely Dutch twist.

Magellan’s Curve

Valerian and

the City of a Thousand Planets

Director: Luc Besson

Cast: Dane DeHaan, Cara Delevingne, Rihanna, Clive Owen, Ethan Hawke, Sam Spruell, Rutger Hauer, Kris Wu, Herbie Hancock

French director Luc Besson attempts to re-enact his Sci-Fi success of his hit film The Fifth Element with a sparkling and innovative new space adventure film set in the 28th century Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets starring Dane DeHaan (Life, Kill Your Darlings) as Major Valerian and British fashion model turned actress Cara Delevingne (Paper Towns, Suicide Squad) as his sidekick stroke lover Sergeant Laureline.

After an impressive Virtual Reality sequence in a universal market, Valerian comes face to face with the Pearls a luminescent race whose planet accidentally got obliterated during a celestial conflict.

The Pearls, initially a harmonious alien race soon realize that dark forces are at play in the Universe and seek shelter in an abandoned space ship which is transported to the vast city of a Thousand Planets called Alpha.

The attractive duo Valerian and Laureline play the ever bickering lovers of this bizarre space opera have to report to the crafty Commander Arun Filitt played by Oscar nominee Clive Owen (Closer). As the duo have to discover what is really behind the malignant threat growing within the City, they come into contact with a collection of utterly bizarre CGI creatures and a guest appearance by superstar Rihanna as Bubble who appears in a Cabaret like moment as a glambot nicknamed Bubble.

Ethan Hawke (Boyhood, Training Day) appears all too briefly as the crazy pimp Jolly in Paradise Alley where he attempts to entice Valerian in all sorts of virtual lascivious entanglements with Bubble.

While the pace of Valerian slackens in the second half of the film, the visual effects are utterly mind-blowing and since the majority of the film’s financing came from BNP Paribas let’s hope director Luc Besson gets a return on his box office both in France and internationally.

With fabulous onscreen chemistry between DeHaan and Delevingne, audiences should completely suspend their disbelief as they watch Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets which will certainly appeal to fans of comic book Sci-Fi. The funky score by Alexander Desplat and the gorgeous cinematography by Thierry Abrogast make Valerian cinematically palatable and infinitely beautiful despite some extremely imaginative sequences.

The voices of Elizabeth Debicki and John Goodman also feature in Valerian.

The story of home planets being destroyed is nothing original and has been done before in Star Trek Beyond and Star Wars, Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets is recommended viewing for hard core fans of Sci-Fi and gets a film rating of 7 out of 10.

Audiences should watch out for a cameo by Dutch actor Rutger Hauer as President of the World State Federation who appeared in the original Blade Runner film directed by Ridley Scott in 1982.

 

Lunacy Prevails

Suicide Squad

suicide_squad

Director: David Ayer

Cast: Will Smith, Margot Robbie, Viola Davis, Joel Kinnaman, Jai Courtney, Jay Hernandez, Jared Leto, Cara Delevigne, Common, David Harbour, Scott Eastwood, Ezra Miller

After David Ayer’s impressively realistic war film, Fury, it was announced that he would be directing the highly anticipated and edgy superhero film, Suicide Squad.

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Assembling an international cast would be easy. Will Smith, Margot Robbie, Joel Kinnaman and Oscar nominee Viola Davis were all on board but the real casting coup was having Oscar winner Jared Leto (Dallas Buyers Club) play the Joker.

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Big crazy shoes to fill for Leto considering Oscar winner Heath Ledger did such a sterling job of playing The Joker in Christopher Nolan’s visually impressive The Dark Knight in 2008. And then there was Oscar winner Jack Nicolson’s wacky portrayal of Gotham’s most deranged villain in Tim Burton’s Batman back in the 1989.

So Suicide Squad is finally released with huge expectations including a brilliant trailer but is this new superhero film that mind-blowing? If viewers watch this film as a precursor for Warner Bros’s DC Comics expanding their cinematic universe following Batman versus Superman and the highly anticipated The Justice League to be released in 2017, then Suicide Squad will satisfy fanboys globally.

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What saves Suicide Squad is Margot Robbie’s exuberant performance as the psychopathic killer Harley Quinn who also happens to be The Joker’s deranged girlfriend.

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Equally good in Suicide Squad is Oscar nominee Viola Davis (The Help, Doubt) who plays a hard-nosed and ruthless head of a covert government organization and the brainchild behind assembling such a crazy bunch of humans and meta-humans to save Midway City, where the only bond tying the psycho killers together are a shared lunacy and the prospect of continued incarceration.

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What works against Suicide Squad is having such a young villain, model turned actress Cara Delevigne as the evil Enchantress whilst Leto’s crazy Joker has diminished screen time, but then again Leto is returning in The Justice League, so we shall see.

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Suicide Squad does lose the plot slightly, but as a superhero film especially with David Ayer at the helm, it could have been far edgier and definitely much sexier. This is where Deadpool got it right. If you are going to subvert the superhero genre do it properly especially with such a deranged cast of characters. The use of continued flashbacks in the narrative also detracts somewhat from the primary storyline.

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Despite the steam punk production design, Suicide Squad is not a brilliant film and certainly does not live up to its hype, but will be savoured by all superhero fanboys and if one views the film as a precursor to great things to come then it is outrageously entertaining. Audiences should definitely stay seated beyond the final credits.

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Unfortunately Will Smith and Joel Kinnaman seem to fumble in the film but that is primarily because they do not have sufficiently grittier and bloodier material to work with, a style which director David Ayer is more accustomed to.

See Fury to appreciate where Ayer’s real talent lies.

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