Posts Tagged ‘Eva Green’

The Circus has Come to Town

Dumbo

Director: Tim Burton

Cast: Colin Farrell, Michael Keaton, Danny DeVito, Eva Green, Alan Arkin, Nico Parker, Finley Hobbins, Roshan Seth, Lars Eidinger

Director Tim Burton reunites his stars Michael Keaton and Danny DeVito from the 1992 smash hit sequel Batman Returns in Disney’s live action remake of Dumbo also starring Colin Farrell and Eva Green.

The setting is a travelling circus in post-war Missouri where Dumbo is born to a mother elephant and whose long ears enable the baby elephant to fly at the coaxing of a feather with the help of children Milly and Joe Farrier played by Nico Parker and Finley Hobbins.

The children’s father and returning World War I hero Holt Farrier is played by Colin Farrell (Roman J. Israel Esq, The Beguiled, Widows).

Danny DeVito (Big Fish, The War of the Roses, Get Shorty) stars as Max Medici who comically runs the travelling circus. Screenwriter Ehren Kruger does take a while to get the story of Dumbo off the ground and the first half of the film does appear to be slightly unexciting.

Luckily, the moment Michael Keaton and Eva Green appear on screen, Dumbo becomes a fascinating tale of intrigue, dreams dashed, benevolent dictatorships and corporate greed which allows for the wholesale exploitation of animals for circus tricks which naturally is an overarching theme in this Disney tale of reunions, captivity, animal cruelty and entertainment.

In any case, what is a Disney movie without a moral cause and Dumbo is no exception.

Visually, Dumbo is fascinating and the production design and costumes are brilliant and slightly garish which is what to expect in a Tim Burton film who directed such classics as Sweeney Todd, The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Ed Wood, Big Eyes and Alice in Wonderland.

As the action moves swiftly from the Missouri plains to New York where Keaton’s flamboyant entrepreneur V. A. Vandevere played with a chilling panache by Oscar nominee Michael Keaton (Birdman) buys Medici’s circus to be supposedly incorporated into Vandevere’s lavish amusement park Dreamland financed by a ruthless banker J. Griffin Remington played by Oscar winner Alan Arkin (Little Miss Sunshine) .

It’s at Dreamland where Dumbo has to perform daring circus tricks which prompts him to fly around the tent with precarious set pieces collapsing all around the poor elephant. It’s also at Dreamland that Vendevere’s wicked intentions are revealed much to the horror of Medici and the one armed Holt Farrier.

Eva Green’s sympathetic Parisian acrobat is a breath of fresh air amidst the CGI heavy retelling of Dumbo which is entertaining and certainly spectacular but does fall short of the mark.

Unfortunately director Tim Burton misses the mark with Dumbo but the gorgeous production design outshines the lacklustre story line which might not produce tears in viewers’ eyes.

Dumbo gets a film rating of 7 out of 10 but as a lavish post-war circus film it could have been absolutely phenomenal but remains adequately entertaining. Ideal viewing for children and is definitely a film worth seeing on the Big Screen.

60th BAFTA Awards

THE  60TH BAFTA AWARDS /

THE BRITISH ACADEMY FILM AWARDS

Took place on Sunday 11th February 2007 in London

BAFTA WINNERS IN THE FILM CATEGORY:

The Queen

Best Film: The Queen

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Best Director: Paul Greengrass – United 93

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Best Actor: Forest Whitaker – The Last King of Scotland

Best Actress: Helen Mirren – The Queen

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Best Supporting Actor: Alan Arkin – Little Miss Sunshine

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Best Supporting Actress: Jennifer Hudson – Dreamgirls

Rising Star Award: Eva Green

Best British Film: The Last King of Scotland

Best Original Screenplay: Michael Arndt for Little Miss Sunshine

Best Adapted Screenplay: Peter Morgan and Jeremy Brock – The Last King of Scotland

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Best Costume Design: Pan’s Labyrinth

Best Foreign Language Film: Pan’s Labyrinth directed by Guillermo del Toro (Mexico/Spain)

Source: 60th BAFTA Awards

Uber Cool Eighties Mystery

White Bird in a Blizzard

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Director: Gregg Araki

Cast: Shailene Woodley, Eva Green, Shiloh Fernandez, Thomas Jane, Angela Bassett, Christopher Meloni, Gabourey Sidibe, Dale Dickey

The Descendants star Shailene Woodley gives an impressive performance as a sexually charged teenage girl, Kat Connors who discovers her blossoming confidence just as her gorgeous yet unstable mother, Eve, wonderfully played by French actress Eva Green, (The Dreamers, Casino Royale) mysteriously disappears.

Mysterious Skin director Gregg Araki’s startling yet uber cool Eighties drama White Bird in a Blizzard is a bit like Whatever happened to Baby Jane? with a massive twist at the end. So audiences should expect the unexpected.

Assembling a rock star cast including Christopher Meloni as the clueless father, the sumptuous Shiloh Fernandez (Red Riding Hood) as the sexy boy next door, Phil, Gabourey Sidibe star of Precious as Kat Conner’s best friend Beth along with Angela Bassett and Thomas Jane as the grizzled yet carefree police detective. Watch out for a cameo by Sheryl Lee star of the hit TV series Twin Peaks.

White Bird in a Blizzard as seen at the 36th Durban International Film Festival DIFF subverts everything seemingly domestic about the average American life and turns a seemingly mysterious occurrence in suburban California into something far more sinister and ripe with Freudian references.

On every level, this is a bizarre yet highly amusing film, superbly cast with excellent performances by Woodley and Green as they embark on a tortuous mother-daughter relationship which ignores what is primarily occurring under their noses, undermining their own vanities and exploring hidden agendas from all involved. Eva Green is fabulous as the hip mother who receives little attention from her absent-minded husband while envying the sexual exploits of her beautiful teenage daughter, brilliantly played by Shailene Woodley, who proves she is an actress to watch.

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Woodley’s distinct ability to hold her own throughout such a bizarre film is testament to her ever expanding talent which is sure to flourish in years to come. Araki’s frames each shot in the film with an ironic pathos assisted by a nostalgic and cool Eighties soundtrack which includes Depeche Mode.

Everything about White Bird in a Blizzard is wrong in a seriously dysfunctional way. This is a highly entertaining family drama about one young girls’ slow realization that those people surrounding her are certainly not what they claim to be.

Araki’s film is perverse, fabulous and definitely recommended viewing for those audiences which like their narratives as twisted as the intricacies of the most complex of human relationships.

White Bird in a Blizzard is like a Patricia Highsmith novel on acid with a retro Eighties soundtrack. 

 

Gambling with Ellipsis

Casino Royale

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Director: Martin Campbell

Cast: Daniel Craig, Eva Green, Mads Mikkelson, Judi Dench, Jesper Christensen, Jeffrey Wright

After a four year hiatus with the Lee Tamahori directed Die Another Day, (2002) the hugely successful Bond franchise returns with a glossy and brilliant cinematic adaptation of Ian Fleming’s first novel, Casino Royale originally published in 1953.

Director Martin Campbell (Goldeneye) updates Fleming’s novel to the 21st century and the Bond franchise controversially introduces the new blond Bond, a blue eyed hunk named Daniel Craig whose film credits include Love is the Devil and Sylvia.

Judi Dench reprises her role as M while Jeffrey Wright takes on the role of Felix Leiter. Bond girl and femme fatale, Vesper Lynd is coolly played by the French actress Eva Green (The Dreamers) and the villain, a swindler, money launderer and compulsive gambler the infamous Le Chiffre is wonderfully played by Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen.

With a gritty opening sequence in Prague followed by a spectacular stunt and action sequence in Madagascar, viewers are reintroduced to Bond as a tough, rebellious British secret agent who is after the elusive source of Ellipsis, codename for an international terrorist money laundering ring with ties to Le Chiffre and his overseer the mysterious Mr White played by Jesper Christiansen, first seen in the Ugandan jungle.

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As the action moves swiftly around the world from The Bahamas to Montenegro to Venice, Casino Royale is a superb and ambitious adaptation of the 007 novel, as all the central characters gamble with each other’s lives and motives, with Bond even getting caught in a horrendous torture sequence nearly breaks his British patriotism as well as his manhood. Bond’s love for Vesper Lynd is consecrated in a Hotel room in Montenegro while he is in between playing in an international high stakes poker, superbly teased out and the onscreen chemistry between Craig and Mikkelsen as Bond and Villain is palpable and nefarious.

Complimenting this classic hero/villain tension is the intense partnering of Bond and Lynd, with a matching chemistry between Green and Craig, showing that both actors are consummate performers and expertly cast together.

Besides the awesome stunts, the superb action and the intense gambling, Casino Royale belongs to Daniel Craig who makes the role of Bond his own and really proves his weight as the new Bond for the 21st century, as demonstrated recently with two more Bond films Quantum of Solace (2008) and the hugely popular Skyfall (2012).

Retrospectively Casino Royale pays homage to all the elegant Bond films of the 1960s especially Dr No and Goldfinger as well as the Pierce Brosnan films of the late 1990s such as Goldeneye and Tomorrow Never Dies. Gone are the spectacular sets and outlandish plots of The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker which characterised the Bond films of the 1970’s, even though those films were the most popular of the Roger Moore series.

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Casino Royale is glossy film noir with a great supporting cast, exotic locations and some jaw dropping sequences including the iconic shot of Daniel Craig emerging out of the Caribbean surf in nothing but swimming trunks, oddly enough paying homage to Dr No and Die Another Day.

Casino Royale is 142 minutes long and by far one of the best Bond films made in the expanding 007 filmography, memorable, thrilling and unsuspectingly heart wrenching. This is definitely a vintage Bond film and one to keep for all the ardent franchise collectors. Absolutely Brilliant.

Ideally Casino Royale should be watched before Quantum of Solace as the two films complement each other stylistically and the plot follows on chronologically.

 

Bloody Visuals Detract from Ancient Legends

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300: Rise of an Empire

Director: Noam Murro

Starring: Eva Green, Sullivan Stapleton, Rodrigo Santoro, Lena Headey, Callan Mulvey, Jack O’Connell, David Wenham

300: Rise of an Empire lacks the visual punch of the original 300 directed by Zach Snyder which made himself and its star Gerard Butler enormously famous. In this follow up sequel, 300 Rise of an Empire looks at the fortunes of the God King Xerxes, a fabulously gold clad Rodrigo Santoro as he attempts to invade the Greek Isles and its major city states. It shows the ruthless of the invading Persians in nautical battles which took place almost simultaneously to the battle of Thermopylae when 300 Spartans saved Greece by becoming martyrs. In 300: Rise of an Empire, audiences can expect a necrophiliac lustful and sexy naval commander Artemisia wonderfully overplayed by Eva Green (The Dreamers, Casino Royale) getting off on decapitations and drowning of her own sailors as she viciously commands the Persian fleet ordering them to defeat the Greek ships at all costs. The Greeks in this case are represented by muscle bound Themistocles who just happened to be the daring soldier that killed Xerxes father King Darius with a fateful arrow that changed the course of these two ancient civilizations.

Lena Headey (now famous in the HBO Series Game of Thrones) reprises her role as Queen Gorgo of the Spartans who not only narrates the entire ancient diatribe but also features as a plot device for avenging the death of Leonidas in 300 against the invading Persians. What makes 300: Rise of an Empire worth watching is brutal sex scene bordering on sadomasochism between Artemisa and Themistocles on board a Persian vessel reminding audiences of the tangible psychological link between sex and death.

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Unfortunately the blood visuals and excessive gore featured in 3D in this sequel detracts stylistically from what could have been a really fascinating narrative about ancient civilizations battling it out on turbulent Mediterranean seas. Australian actor Sullivan Stapleton could not rival Gerard Butler in screen presence with the only redeeming feature being the audacious Eva Green making the most of her bloodthirsty and vengeful role as the kinky and sadistic Artemisia, a tragic Greek woman who has turned on her own nation after her family was brutally slaughtered.

Ancient history buffs will enjoy 300: Rise of an Empire but this is an unworthy sequel to the fabulously dazzling and original film and will land up being regarded as mere popcorn viewing. 300 Rise of an Empire is fun, sexy and slightly disturbing but not fantastic and definitely not worth it in 3D especially as Israeli director Noam Murro chose gore and bloodlust over historical accuracy. Callan Mulvey and Jack O’Connell also star as father and son team Scyllias and Calisto valiantly fighting the Persians and providing a less than emotional subplot to the real Aegean drama of the nautical battle between Persians and Ancient Greeks.

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