Posts Tagged ‘Julianne Moore’

An Independent Woman

Gloria Bell

Director: Sebastian Lelio

Cast: Julianne Moore, John Turturro, Brad Garrett, Michael Cera, Rita Wilson, Jeanne Tripplehorn, Caren Pistorius, Barbara Sukowa, Sean Astin, Holland Taylor

Foreign Language film Oscar winner for A Fantastic Woman, Chilean director Sebastian Lelio recreates an English language version of his Chilean film Gloria called Gloria Bell set in contemporary Los Angeles and starring Oscar winner Julianne Moore (Still Alice).

Moore plays a fifty something divorced woman Gloria Bell who has a mundane insurance job during the day in a downtown L. A. company but who trawls the disco nightclubs in the evening sipping martini’s and dancing with strange men.

Whilst Julianne Moore is brilliant as Gloria Bell a woman who is prone to people pleasing which includes her rather awkward interactions with her grown up children Peter played by Juno star Michael Cera and Anne played by South African born immigrant Caren Pistorius (The Light Between Oceans, Mortal Engines).

Gloria even tries to placate her anxious co-worker Melinda who is on verge of losing her job in a particularly noteworthy scene on an office balcony overlooking downtown L. A. Melinda is played by famed German actress Barbara Sukowa (Atomic Blonde, Hannah Arendt, Lola).

When it comes to men, Gloria despite her disco dancing antics does not have as much luck as she meets the divorcee with serious baggage issues Arnold wonderfully played against type by John Turturro (Fading Gigolo, Barton Fink, Jungle Fever).

Gloria desperately tries to navigate this new relationship with the weird Arnold as he battles to cut ties with his ex-wife and children and is desperately jealous when Gloria introduces him to her ex-husband Dustin played by Brad Garrett and his new wife Fiona played by Jeanne Tripplehorn (Basic Instinct, The Firm, Mickey Blue Eyes). The only two women Gloria can rely on in times of crisis are her best friend Vicky played by Rita Wilson and her wealthy mother Hillary, a superb cameo by comedic star Holland Taylor.

Director Lelio lets many scenes linger too long for a film which lacks a fast moving storyline yet Gloria Bell is held together by a fabulous performance by Julianne Moore as she inhabits all the garish interior scenes of L. A. nightclubs and Vegas casinos.

Gloria Bell is an interesting portrait of a woman’s journey of self-discovery as she truly becomes an independent woman after she realizes that she cannot rely on her children or the men in her life.

Whilst I have not seen the original 2013 Chilean film Gloria which Sebastian Lelio also directed, audiences might find this Americanized version Gloria Bell slightly bland and very slow moving despite the superb performances and catchy musical score.

Gloria Bell gets a film rating of 6.5 out of 10 and is saved by Julianne Moore’s terrific performance but unfortunately becomes a slow moving story of a woman finding her own independence.

My impression was that Gloria Bell simply did not translate well into a contemporary American version despite the auteur efforts of director Sebastian Lelio.

The Doomsday Protocol

Kingsman: The Golden Circle

Director: Matthew Vaughn

Cast: Taron Egerton, Colin Firth, Julianne Moore, Mark Strong, Channing Tatum, Halle Berry, Pedro Pascal, Jeff Bridges, Edward Holcroft, Emily Watson, Bruce Greenwood, Michael Gambon

Director Matthew Vaughn follows up his 2015 comic book spy debut Kingsman: The Secret Service with a more robust and intensely invested sequel Kingsman: The Golden Circle with a bigger cast and lavish sets reuniting Oscar winner Colin Firth (The King’s Speech) with his A Single Man co-star fellow Oscar winner Julianne Moore (Still Alice) who plays the delusional and garish villain Poppy.

Hot young star Taron Egerton reprises his role of Eggsy, street boy turned bespoke spy, joined by Mark Strong as Merlin who go on an international mission to discover who is destroying The Kingsman headed up by a briefly glimpsed Michael Gambon.

The Kingsman soon join forces with their American counterparts including Channing Tatum as Tequila and Pedro Pascal (The Great Wall) as Whiskey who make up the Statesmen an independent espionage agency housed in a whiskey distillery in Tennessee who come to their aid in tracking down Poppy and her evil plan of causing all drug users in the world to die through lacing their fix with a lethal concoction which causes purple veins, paralysis and death.

As Kingsman adopt the Doomsday Protocol, Eggsy and Merlin embark on a dangerous mission with the help of Whiskey as they travel to the Italian Alps to retrieve an antidote in an action packed ski cable car sequence which is clearly a skit on the 007 film On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.

Even Poppy’s drug liar deep in the Cambodian jungle, aptly named Poppyland is a skit on another Bond film The Man with the Golden Gun.

While the action in Kingsman: The Golden Circle is clearly hyper-visualized and the plot is completely outlandish, it’s the sort of Saturday afternoon popcorn film which is pure escapism even though its subliminal messages are morally questionable.

With Oscar winner Halle Berry (Monster’s Ball) as Statesman tech genius Ginger, The Kingsman: Golden Circle is a clear skit on the 007 franchise with a more lurid twist making our dapper hero Eggsy appealing to the millennial’s and definitely is more successful as a cleverly cast spy caper.

If audiences enjoyed the first Kingsman, then they will enjoy this extravagant and better orchestrated sequel. Kingsman: The Golden Circle gets a Film Rating 7 out of 10.

 

 

68th BAFTA Awards

THE  68th BAFTA AWARDS /

THE BRITISH ACADEMY FILM AWARDS

Took place on Sunday 8th February 2015 in London

BAFTA WINNERS IN THE FILM CATEGORY:

boyhood

Best Film: Boyhood

Best Director: Richard Linklater – Boyhood

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Best Actor: Eddie Redmayne – The Theory of Everything 

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Best Actress: Julianne Moore – Still Alice

whiplash

Best Supporting Actor: J. K. Simmons – Whiplash

Best Supporting Actress: Patricia Arquette – Boyhood

Rising Star Award: Jack O’Connell

Best British Film: The Theory of Everything directed by James Marsh

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Best Original Screenplay: Wes Anderson & Hugo Guinness – The Grand Budapest Hotel

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Best Adapted Screenplay: Anthony McCarten – The Theory of Everything

Best Costume Design: The Grand Budapest Hotel – Milena Canonero

Ida_(2013_film)

Best Foreign Language Film: Ida – Pawel Pawlikowski (Poland)

Source: 68th BAFTA Awards

Flipping the Coin

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2

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Director: Francis Lawrence

Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Donald Sutherland, Jeffrey Wright, Julianne Moore, Sam Claflin, Paula Malcolmson, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Stanley Tucci, Natalie Dormer, Sarita Choudhury, Patina Miller, Mahershala Ali, Willow Shields, Michelle Forbes

Consistency of vision is always imperative when converting a trilogy of bestselling novels into films and certainly The Hunger Games trilogy based upon the allegorical novels by Suzanne Collins have maintained that consistency in terms of casting, production design and overall cinematic appeal.

hunger_games_mockingjay__part_two

Whether parent company Lionsgate’s decision to split the final installment of The Hunger Games, Mockingjay was a wise one remains debatable. Nevertheless director Francis Lawrence returns with the second part of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay picking up exactly where the first part finished.

Peeta Mellark has been returned to the rebels from the capitol, although slightly deranged and brainwashed. Our sturdy heroine Katniss Everdeen, beautifully played by Oscar winner Jennifer Lawrence (Silver Linings Playbook) is unsure of Peeta’s complete rehabilitation and loyalty.

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In a brutal war, which takes Katniss and her team first to District 2 and then onto a treacherous mission of penetrating the devastated capitol, where images of the aging President Snow, still wonderfully played by Donald Sutherland, are flashed across random TV screens at interim moments during a savage battle between the rebels and peacekeepers. Urged on by the charismatic District 13 President Coin, played by Oscar winner (Still Alice) Julianne Moore, Katniss and her unit are implored to take the capitol and assassinate President Snow.

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As the love triangle which was initiated in The Hunger Games, between Katniss, Peeta and the hunky Gale Hawthorne, played by Liam Hemsworth is teased out to its logical conclusion, Katniss has to stay true to her own convictions, despite the brutal toll it takes on herself and her family. Katniss realizes in Mockingjay Part 2 that she is a symbolic pawn between Presidents Snow and Coin, while always struggling to retain her own autonomy and individuality.

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Woody Harrelson and Elizabeth Banks reprise their roles as Haymitch and Effie Trinket respectively, although audiences should be warned that Mockingjay Part 2 is considerably darker in tone and texture than the lurid The Hunger Games or the visually gripping Catching Fire.

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A dark mood of warfare and finality hangs over the film, even with the cast giving a sense that this violent action trilogy has exhausted all options. Considering the recently high level of violence in the contemporary world, especially as shown on international news broadcast, suffice is to say that American author Suzanne Collins has made her point about millennials becoming immune to violence both on screen and in real life.

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Despite an all-star cast including the last screen appearance of Oscar winner Philip Seymour Hoffman (Capote) as Plutarch Heavensbee, Mockingjay Part 2, belongs to Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson as their characters come to terms with their dramatic destiny in the face of a manipulative conflict between the Rebels and the Capitol.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 is recommended viewing for fans of the entire trilogy although the 3-D technology was not used effectively, making the second part of Mockingjay too long and aimless. Inevitably, Katniss Everdeen triumphs but at great personal cost to herself.

 

 

 

87th Academy Awards

The 87th Academy Awards / The Oscars

 

Sunday 22nd February 2015

OSCAR WINNERS AT THE 87TH ANNUAL ACADEMY AWARDS

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Best Picture: Birdman

Best Director: Alejandro Gonzalez InnarituBirdman

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Best Actor: Eddie Redmayne – The Theory of Everything

still_alice

Best Actress: Julianne Moore – Still Alice

whiplash

Best Supporting Actor: J. K. Simmons – Whiplash

boyhood

Best Supporting Actress: Patricia Arquette – Boyhood

imitation_game

Best Adapted Screenplay: Graham MooreThe Imitation Game 

Best Original Screenplay: Alejandro Gonzalez Inaritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris and Armando Bo – Birdman

Ida_(2013_film)

Best Foreign Language Film: Ida – (Poland) directed by Paweł Pawlikowski

citizenfour

Best Documentary Feature: Citizen Four

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Best Animated Feature Film: Big Hero 6

Best Cinematography: Emmanuel Lubezki – Birdman

Best Film Editing: Tom Cross – Whiplash

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Best Sound Editing: Alan Robert Murray and Bub Asman – American Sniper

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Best Visual Effects: Paul Franklin, Andrew Lockley, Ian Hunter and Scott Fisher – Interstellar

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Best Makeup and Hair: Frances Hannon and Mark Coulier – Grand Budapest Hotel

Best Original Score: Alexandre Desplat – Grand Budapest Hotel

Best Production Design: Adam Stockhausen and Anna Pinnock – Grand Budapest Hotel

Best Costume Design: Milena Canonero – Grand Budapest Hotel

Source: http://oscar.go.com/

72nd Golden Globe Awards

72nd Golden Globe Awards

Took place on Sunday 11th  January 2015 hosted by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association

Golden Globe Winners in The Film Categories:

boyhood

Best Film Drama: Boyhood

grand_budapest_hotel

Best Film Musical or Comedy: Grand Budapest Hotel

Best Director: Richard Linklater – Boyhood

 theory_of_everything_ver2

Best Actor Drama: Eddie Redmayne – Theory of Everything

still_alice

Best Actress Drama: Julianne Moore – Still Alice

birdman

Best Actor Musical or Comedy: Michael Keaton – Birdman

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Best Actress Musical or Comedy: Amy Adams – Big Eyes

whiplash

Best Supporting Actor: J. K. Simmons – Whiplash

Best Supporting Actress: Patricia Arquette – Boyhood

leviathan

Best Foreign Language Film – Leviathan (Russia)

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/72nd_Golden_Globe_Awards

From Nouns to Neurons

Still Alice

still_alice

Directors: Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland

Cast: Julianne Moore, Alec Baldwin, Kate Bosworth, Kristen Stewart, Hunter Parrish

The hugely talented Julianne Moore (Shortcuts, The Hours, The End of the Affair, Magnolia) excels in this quiet film Still Alice about the devastating effects of early onset Alzheimer’s based upon the novel by Liza Genova.

Having already won a 2015 Golden Globe and Bafta award for her nuanced and crushing performance of Alice Howland, Julianne Moore’s acting talents are definitely confirmed as she takes on the complex role of this Columbia University professor of Linguistics who suddenly has to confront a diagnosis of early onset Alzheimer’s after she forgets her running route around campus and even her lecture notes on phonology in front of her graduate students.

Still Alice sensitively portrays what this disease can do an individual so educated and whose life has been devoted to the study and assimilation of words and language. Alice’s seminal doctoral thesis was entitled from Neurons to Nouns and now this esteemed linguistics professor has to grapple emotional and spiritually with a disease which gradually erodes her much cherished brain power to a point of complete and utter forgetfulness.

Moore’s performance is utterly entrancing as she has to deal with breaking the news to her husband John Howland wonderfully underplayed by Alec Baldwin and her grown up children, the sensible daughter Anna Howland-Jones played by Kate Bosworth (Blue Crush, Straw Dogs), her doctor son Tom played by Hunter Parrish (It’s Complicated) and her wayward and artistic youngest daughter Lydia beautifully played by Kristen Stewart (Wonderland, Snow White and the Huntsman).

It is really the scenes between Alice and Lydia that are so touching and poignant as Lydia realizes that her mother’s reasoning powers will soon simply disappear through familial Alzheimer’s disease and offers the most support. A devastating loss indeed for an accomplished woman like Alice who is only 50 years old.

Directors Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland ensure that Still Alice remains Julianne Moore’s film and rest of the cast are merely supporting its star as she significantly unravels despite every effort to stop the onset of this cruel disease. In one scene Alice says, “I feel like my brain is falling out”.

Like Canadian director Sarah Polley’s nuanced film Away from Her, featuring a superb performance by Julie Christie, Still Alice features a stunning and intelligently researched portrayal of a highly educated and independent woman who suffers a cruel fate indeed. Julianne Moore is phenomenal in this film and although Still Alice can be watched on the small screen, the film remains a gem of a movie exceptionally well acted by its supporting cast and by its leading star.

Recommended viewing for those that enjoyed Away from Her, Still Alice is a nuanced and touching portrayal of a woman who slowly but surely loses her ability to remember words and pronounce them. Still Alice highlights the importance of memory, images and essential familial support when a patient, whatever their age, gets diagnosed with any form of Alzheimer’s.

 

War is a Constructed Image

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1

hunger_games_mockingjay__part_one

Director: Francis Lawrence

Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Liam Hemsworth, Josh Hutcherson, Woody Harrelson, Julianne Moore, Jeffrey Wright, Elizabeth Banks, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Natalie Dormer, Donald Sutherland, Robert Knepper, Paula Malcolmson, Sam Claflin

The final book of the Hunger Games Trilogy, Mockingjay comes to the big screen in two parts, Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 is a monochromatic diatribe about notions of war as a constructed image, and intelligently explores the concept of rebellion.

Katniss Everdeen, superbly played by Oscar Winner Jennifer Lawrence (Silver Linings Playbook) has survived the Quarter Quell and plunged Panem into civil war between the Capital and the Districts, with her own District 12 being obliterated by the ruthless Capitol bombers.

Director Francis Lawrence creates a superb dichotomy between a more vicious Capital and the newly discovered District 13, a haven for the rebels built entirely below ground so as to escape the Capital’s firepower. Utilitarian District 13 ruler Madame President Coin, wonderfully played by Oscar Nominee Julianne Moore has plans of using Katniss as the much beloved symbol of resistance, the Mockingjay.

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However in the Capital, President Snow, played by veteran star Donald Sutherland has captured Peeta Mellark, the tribute who didn’t escape the Quarter Quell and like Coin is using Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) in a vicious game of propaganda and deceit to lure Katniss and her supporters into attacking the Capital.

In this manipulated game of propaganda, both Katniss and Mellark are used as constructs by a ruthless war machine intent on destroying humanity in this allegorical society. With Katniss being filmed against the ruins of one of the Districts after a hospital is destroyed, the viewer would think they are watching scenes of the recent conflict in the Syrian Civil War or the Crisis in the Ukraine.

Director Lawrence obviously working with a far bigger budget, has a clearer vision of this dystopian world post Hunger Games, after the lavish excess of the Capitol and the vicious expandability of the children fighting each other in a death match which made the first two films The Hunger Games and Catching Fire that much more riveting.

Whilst in the first two, the children or tributes as they were known in Suzanne Collins novels were the centre of attention, in Mockingjay it is clearly an adult world, with war a primary signifier in moving the brutal narrative along, ably assisted by a brilliant supporting cast.

This cast includes Oscar winner Phillip Seymour Hoffman (who incidentally died of a drug overdose during the filming of Mockingjay) in one of his last screen performances as Plutarch Heavensbee, Elizabeth Banks in a wonderful cameo as the downtrodden Prisoner of War yet still irrepressible Effie Trinket, along with Woody Harrelson as Haymitch and Jeffrey Wright as Beetee who all bring a gravity to Katniss’s predicament as her decision to become the symbol of the rebellion is thwarted by President Snow’s twisted methods especially using Mellark as a pawn.

The Hunger Games and Catching Fire was clearly aimed at the mature teenage market, but Mockingjay Part One is definitely aimed at a more mature audience whose has become used to seeing violent images of global conflicts flash across their TV screens. Even though it’s an allegorical tale Mockingjay Part 1 undoubtedly reflects a contemporary 21st century immunity to violent onscreen images of war, highlighting that along with all the propaganda and the rhetoric, the constant bloodshed seen has become engrained in a future society which appears to be emotionally resistant to such global strife, despite its constant coverage on all the international news broadcasts.

Mockingjay Part 1, although the storyline purposefully is left hanging at the end, still remains an impressively dark cinematic vision, gripping and unrelenting. Audience naturally hope that Part 2 will be equally brilliant and impressive. This is recommended viewing for those that have read the books and have followed the massive success of this ferocious and fascinating film franchise.

2014 Cannes Film Festival

2014 Cannes Film Festival Winners

Cannes Festival 2014 (2)

 

Winners of the five main prizes at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival were as follows: –

Winter_Sleep_(Poster) Palmd'Or 2014

Palm d’Or: Winter Sleep directed by Nuri Bilge Ceylan

foxcatcher unofficial poster

Best Director: Bennett Miller for Foxcatcher starring Channing Tatum, Steve Carell, Mark Ruffalo, Sienna Miller and Vanessa Redgrave

mr_turner

Best Actor: Timothy Spall for Mr Turner

 Maps_to_the_Stars_poster

Best Actress: Julianne Moore for Maps to the Stars

leviathan

Best Screenplay: Andrey Zvyagintsev and Oleg Negin for Leviathan (film poster not yet released)

Source –

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cannes_Film_Festival

http://www.festival-cannes.com/en.html

 

 

You’ll Never Fly Again…

Non-Stop

nonstop

Director: Jaume Collet-Serra

Cast : Liam Neeson, Julianne Moore, Michelle Dockery, Corey Stoll, Lupita Nyong’o, Shea Whigham, Scoot McNairy, Linus Roache

Spanish director Jaume Collet-Serra (Unknown, Orphan) has teamed up again with Liam Neeson for a new action aerial thriller Non-Stop. Neeson has found a new cinematic lease after the success of the Taken franchise and seems to be brilliant at playing the aged action hero.

In Non-Stop, he plays a hard drinking US Air Marshal on board a transatlantic flight from JFK in New York to London and as the plane takes off and settles into cruising altitude, all is not what it seems. Non-Stop is an action murder mystery set entirely on this non-stop Transatlantic flight and is similar to films like Flightplan and Flight. All three films should not be recommended for viewers with a fear of flying.

Non-Stop cleverly integrates the cellular digital world in its quirky and suspenseful narrative as Bill Marks, played by Neeson receives text messages on a secure flight mobile device from a suspected hijacker saying that he will kill a passenger every twenty minutes if $150 million dollars is not deposited in a Swiss bank account.

Acclaimed actress Julianne Moore (The Hours, Far from Heaven) plays Jen Summers a fellow passenger who assists Marks in tracking down the culprit, while the rest of the cast is made up of character actors like Michelle Dockery and Corey Stoll from such hit TV shows as Downton Abbey and House of Cards. Look out for an underwritten appearance by Hollywood It girl  Lupita Nyong’o (12 Years a Slave) as air stewardess Gwen, which proves that Non-Stop was made before Nyong’o won a best supporting actress Oscar elevating her to instant fame.

Nevertheless the cast are secondary to the action and suspense on Non-Stop as this mid-flight murder mystery turns into a fully fledged action film, as Marks battles the clock to find out which passenger is responsible for killing off fellow passengers. Non-Stop is hugely entertaining and nowhere near as diabolically stupid as such airline films as Snakes on a Plane or the comedy series Airplane. Non-Stop is economical in narrative, huge on suspense and great on twists and unexpected realistically done action sequences all set aboard a 737 bound for Heathrow.

Neeson is adept at playing the ripened leading action man with enough emotional and physical baggage to weigh down international departures, and in Non-Stop, he does not disappoint as the main hero, despite all his characters known flaws. If audiences enjoyed Taken and Unknown , then they will love Non-Stop. See it now before making any airline reservations!

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