Posts Tagged ‘Kate Winslet’

In the Hands of a Stranger

The Mountain Between Us

Director: Hany Abu-Assad

Cast: Kate Winslet, Idris Elba, Beau Bridges, Dermot Mulroney

Based upon the novel by Charles Martin, The Mountain Between Us tentatively explores the strained relationship between two strangers who are stranded together on a remote mountain near the Rockies as their two seater plane crashes en route to Denver Colorado from Idaho.

Directed by Hany Abu-Assad who brought such strong films including the Oscar Nominated Foreign Language film Paradise Now and Omar to the international cinema audiences, The Mountain Between Us is held together literally by strong performances by Oscar winner Kate Winslet (The Reader) and Idris Elba (Prometheus, Pacific Rim) who play Alex and Ben.

Alex is trying to get to New York to marry her fiancée Mark briefly played by Dermot Mulroney (Truth, August: Osage County and Stoker), while Ben, a neurosurgeon, is planning on being in New York to perform an operation on a boy with a brain tumour.

As the trailer suggests, things go horribly wrong and Alex and Ben are left stranded on an icy mountain in the Rockies with only themselves to depend upon. At their wits end and with no hint of rescue insight they manage to assist each other in escaping the mountain for safer ground and search for any form of human habitation.

Naturally as their flight to safety becomes increasingly more perilous they began to not only trust each other but also gradually fall in love, despite being complete strangers.

Which goes to show that at the core of human relationships is a basic desire for survival. That desire outstrips any prejudice and preconceived notions of who is best equipped to survive, something which director Abu-Assad took great pains to reveal to the audience.

The Mountain Between Us could have been a brilliant film, but unfortunately it does get weighed down by its own emotional intensity which is a too heavy  and long winded considering that there really are two actors in the entire film.

Swift editing and some effective character backstory would have made Alex and Ben’s fight for survival more fascinating and pertinent. 1 hour and 52 minutes is way too long for two people and a dog to be stranded on a mountain.

The film gets a rating of 7 out of 10 and is recommended for audiences that enjoy romantic disaster films which are rare to say the least.

 

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:

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Best Film: The Revenant

Best Director: Alejandro G. Iñárritu – The Revenant

Best Actor: Leonardo DiCaprio – The Revenant

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Best Actress: Brie Larson – Room

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Best Supporting Actor: Mark Rylance – Bridge of Spies

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Best Supporting Actress: Kate Winslet – Steve Jobs

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Best British Film: Brooklyn directed by John Crawley

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Best Original Screenplay: Tom McCarthy and Josh Singer – Spotlight

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

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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

 

 

Outback Red is Back in Fashion

The Dressmaker

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Director: Jocelyn Moorhouse

Cast: Kate Winslet, Judy Davis, Liam Hemsworth, Hugo Weaving, Caroline Goodall, Sarah Snook, Kerry Fox, James Mackay

Australian director Jocelyn Moorhouse (How to Make an American Quilt) returns to form in this hilarious and bitter-sweet black comedy The Dressmaker combining the talents of Oscar winner Kate Winslet (The Reader) and Oscar nominee Judy Davis (A Passage to India, Husbands and Wives) in a story about Tilly Dunnage who returns to the Australian outback to avenge the townsfolk who sent her packing when she was 10 years old, blaming her for the death of a young boy.

The Dressmaker is The Scarlett Letter with style, as Winslet delivers a fabulous performance as the tenacious dressmaker Tilly Dunnage who returns to Dungatar, Australia in the earlier 1950’s after a sojourn in Europe’s fashion capitals to look after her mother, Mad Molly Dunnage, wonderfully played by Judy Davis. The onscreen chemistry between Winslett and Davis makes this tale of sweet revenge crackle with delight and is a testament to a brilliant stroke of casting.

The male leads are played by Australian actors Liam Hemsworth (Paranoia, Empire State, The Hunger Games trilogy) and Hugo Weaving recapturing some of that cross dressing glamour which he become so famous for in Priscilla, Queen of the Desert as the closeted cop Horatio Farrat.

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Based upon the novel by Rosalie Ham, The Dressmaker is a brilliant and biting black comedy about the drawbacks of small town life: ignorance and the dangers of gossip as a weapon of exclusion.

Tilly Dunnage, always looking absolutely gorgeous despite being in the dusty Australian outback, slowly wins the hearts of the female population of the small town as she becomes a prized dressmaker transforming the plain grocer’s daughter Gertrude Pratt into a gorgeous visionary now known as Trudy.

As Tilly manages to re-establish a bond with her mad mother Molly, she also befriends the local hunk Teddy McSwiney played by Hemsworth and in one hilarious scene she even has to take his measurements for a new suit while he stands shirtless in front of Tilly and her mad mother.

With artistic references to Sunset Boulevard and South Pacific, The Dressmaker is an absolute gem of a film, a wicked black comedy which truly shows Winslet in her most glamorous role to date, taking on the town and correcting the wrongs of the past. Judy Davis is brilliant as the mad mother Molly who confronts her own demons in a town which has long since cursed her.

The rest of the cast include Sarah Snook as the fickle Gertrude Pratt, Kerry Fox (Shallow Grave) as the evil Beulah Harridiene, Caroline Goodall as the pushy mother Elsbeth and the dashing James Mackay as the eligible William Beaumont.

The Dressmaker is highly recommended viewing, a superb and fashionable way to spend two hours and indulge in all the antics of a small town drama filled with mystery, panache and revenge.

 

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:

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Best Film Drama: The Revenant

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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

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Best Actress M/C: Jennifer Lawrence – Joy

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Best Supporting Actor: Sylvester Stallone – Creed

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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

62nd BAFTA Awards

THE  62nd BAFTA AWARDS /

THE BRITISH ACADEMY FILM AWARDS

Took place on Sunday 8th February 2009 in London

BAFTA WINNERS IN THE FILM CATEGORY:

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Best Film: Slumdog Millionaire

Best Director: Danny Boyle – Slumdog Millionaire

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Best Actor: Mickey Rourke – The Wrestler

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Best Actress: Kate Winslet – The Reader

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Best Supporting Actor: Heath Ledger – The Dark Knight

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Best Supporting Actress: Penelope Cruz – Vicky Cristina Barcelona

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Best British Film: Man on a Wire directed by James Marsh

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Best Original Screenplay: In Bruges – Martin McDonagh

Best Adapted Screenplay: Slumdog Millionaire – Simon Beaufoy

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Best Costume Design: The Duchess

I Loved You So Long Poster

Best Foreign Language Film: I’ve Loved You So Long (Il y a longtemps que je t’aime) (France) directed by Philippe Claudel

Source: 62nd BAFTA Awards

 

The Gardens of Versailles

A Little Chaos

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Director: Alan Rickman

Cast: Kate Winslet, Matthias Schoenaerts, Alan Rickman, Stanley Tucci, Jennifer Ehle, Helen McCrory, Steven Waddington, Rupert Penry-Jones

There is a growing trend for actors to get behind the camera and direct. Alan Rickman, the English actor who first appeared in Die Hard and then in The Harry Potter films, stars in and directs A Little Chaos, a charming and delightful tale about the ambitious construction of the Gardens of Versailles in the late 17th Century by King Louis XIV, wonderfully played by Rickman.

Oscar winner Kate Winslet (The Reader) stars a reluctant landscape gardener Sabine de Barra hired by the chief landscape architect Andre played by rising Belgian star Mathias Schoenaerts (Far From the Madding Crowd) who needs a suitable distraction away from his scheming wife  Madame Le Notre wonderfully played by Helen McCrory (Skyfall). Stanley Tucci as the Duc of Orleans (The Devil Wears Prada) and Jennifer Ehle (Possession, Contagion) as Madame de Montespan make brief appearances as the French king’s brother and mistress respectively.

A Little Chaos is a wonderful, if at times slow moving tale of how one woman recovers from a horrible tragedy to reinvent herself as one of the chief designers of the intricate water features which comprise the huge and illustrious Gardens of Versailles, which ultimately elevated landscape gardens to unimaginable heights.

There is a superb scene between Winslet and Rickman in a Pear Orchard where she comes across the French king mistaking him for a fruit expert and they soon bare their souls to each other and give very resonant reasons for wanting to embark on building such an elaborate project.

King Louis XIV’s pivotal decision to move the French court outside of Paris to Versailles was more a way of deepening  the chasm which separated the nobility from the peasantry. As the Duc of Orleans so comically puts it, Court is like a whole bunch of mice trapped in a castle, for none of the eligible nobility could leave the Palace without the King’s gracious permission.

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Naturally this divide was to become France’s ultimate toppling of the royalty a hundred years later as beautifully told in Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette.

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A Little Chaos is more about the machinations at court, the humble rise of a prominent and creative woman, who chose to take on a task in a man’s world, riddled with jealousy, doubt and deception. Kate Winslet adds a serenity to the role of de Barra  while Schoenaerts ‘s role as Andre le Notre is unfortunately underwritten to the film’s detriment, making their onscreen coupling less believable than it should be.

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As a film, A Little Chaos, could have had a firmer more visionary director, yet its very genteel subject matter that of gardening and love make up for the slightly inert narrative. As cinema goes, this film is no match for the brilliant Stephen Frears’s Oscar winning masterpiece Dangerous Liaisons but while it is less sophisticated and complex, A Little Chaos is pleasant and beautiful to watch.

Recommended viewing for those that love historical dramas without too much angst, yet appreciate the fascinating story behind the origins of the sumptuous Gardens of Versailles.

 

 

 

66th Golden Globe Awards

66th Golden Globe Awards

Took place on Sunday  11th January 2009 hosted by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association

Golden Globe Winners in The Film Categories:

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Best Film Drama: Slumdog Millionaire

Best Director: Danny Boyle – Slumdog Millionaire

vicky_cristina_barcelonaBest Film Musical or Comedy: Vicky Christina Barcelona

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Best Actor Drama: Mickey Rourke – The Wrestler

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Best Actress Drama: Kate Winslet – Revolutionary Road

in_brugesBest Actor Musical or Comedy: Colin Farrell – In Bruges

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Best Actress Musical or Comedy: Sally Hawkins – Happy Go Lucky

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Best Supporting Actor: Heath Ledger – The Dark Knight

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Best Supporting Actress: Kate Winslet – The Reader

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Best Foreign Language Film: Waltz with Bashir (Israel)

81st Academy Awards

81st Academy Awards

22nd February 2009

Oscar Winners at the 81st Academy Awards

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Best Picture: Slumdog Millionaire

Best Director: Danny Boyle – Slumdog Millionaire

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Best Actor: Sean Penn – Milk

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Best Actress: Kate Winslet – The Reader

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Best Supporting Actor: Heath Ledger – The Dark Knight (received Oscar posthumously)

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Best Supporting Actress: Penelope Cruz – Vicky Cristina Barcelona

Best Original Screenplay: Dustin Lance Black – Milk

Best Adapted Screenplay: Simon Beaufoy – Slumdog Millionaire

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Best Foreign Language Film: Departures directed by Yojiro Takita

Best Documentary Film: Man on Wire – directed James Marsh

Best Original Score: A. R. Rahman – Slumdog Millionaire

Best Cinematography: Anthony Dod Mantle – Slumdog Millionaire

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Best Costume Design: Michael O’ Connor – The Duchess

Best Film Editing: Chris Dickens – Slumdog Millionaire

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Best Visual Effects: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/81st_Academy_Awards

 

Fear as a Virus

Contagion

Contagion

Steven Soderbergh’s gripping medical thriller Contagion follows a similar non-linear structure to his previous Oscar winning film Traffic about the US-Mexican drug trade and features a brilliant cast including Oscar Winners Gwyneth Paltrow, Matt Damon, Kate Winslet, Marion Cotillard and Oscar Nominees Jude Law and Laurence Fishburne.

With a fantastic musical score by Cliff Martinez, Contagion is a horrifying look out how a highly contagious immunodefiency-virus spreads like wild fire around the world from Macau to Atlanta, from Hong Kong to London through any form of human contact especially in the ease of frequent international travel.

The deadly effects of the virus and how the world population reacts to the onset of a disease so deadly that it threatens the survival of the human race is at the core of Contagion. While the ensemble cast are superb, it is Jennifer Ehle as Dr Ally Hextall in an unusually prolific role, previously seen in Wilde, Pride and Glory and Possession who shines as a scientist who races to develop a vaccine to prevent the spread of the rapidly complex and mutating virus.

The always suave Laurence Fishburne plays Dr Ellis Cheever, Head of the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta and Jude Law features as a conspiracy theorist Alan Krumweide who while in San Francisco tracks the virus online and also how the pharmaceutical industry makes a fortune once a vaccine is developed.

Contagion is a scary and provocative film and raises serious questions about the survival of the fittest and the ethics of managing disease control in light of a deep preservation for continued existence of the human race. Viewers will definitely be washing their hands several times after seeing this absorbing thriller especially the pivotal and brilliant final scene. Whether it be drugs or a virus, both Traffic and Contagion deal with issues of control and the distribution of power in society and the effects of a debilitating affliction that knows no boundaries. Recommended viewing.

Through the White Picket Fence

Revolutionary Road

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Last year there was ample hype about the Sam Mendes film, Revolutionary Road starring Kate Winslet and Leonardo di Caprio. Whilst the Oscar buzz only got a best supporting actor nod for Michael Shannon, the film itself about the brittle deterioration of a marriage in 1950s suburban Connecticut was seamless and superbly acted. Kate Winslet reprised a similar role as she did in Todd Field’s brilliant 2006 film, Little Children as a anxious housewife trapped in the monotony of a soulless marriage.

The Random act of Infidelity

The Random act of Infidelity

Whilst both films are worthy of attention, more notably Little Children, the novel, Revolutionary Road is an absolute must-read. Deftly crafted with superb subtle characters whilst referring to major themes of discontent, disillusion and the nature of insanity.

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The novel, Revolutionary Road, written by Richard Yates and is an ironic, sometimes humourous and especially scathing look at the hollowness of the Great American Dream especially piognant in its depiction of a society bound by the virtues of marriage, fidelity, corporate ambition and the myth of the white picket fence. Highly recommended novel, even better than the film adaptation.

 

Revolutionary Road will resonate now, nearly  fifty years on, as when it was first praised in 1962. The prose is wonderfully crafted with such detail and poignancy that clearly aims to undercut the sophisticated era it was meant to evoke.

Both the novel and the film version of Revolutionary Road are highly recommended but its always best to read the novel first before seeing the cinematic version.

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