Posts Tagged ‘Luke Wilson’

The Cunning Art of Thievery

The Goldfinch

Director: John Crowley

Cast: Oakes Fegley, Ansel Elgort, Nicole Kidman, Jeffrey Wright, Luke Wilson, Sarah Paulson, Willa Fitzgerald, Anuerin Barnard, Finn Wolfhard, Luke Kleintank, Denis O’Hare

Irish director John Crowley (Brooklyn) brings to cinematic life Donna Tart’s immersive and poignant Pulitzer Prize winning novel The Goldfinch in a sprawling and beautifully acted film version featuring an international cast including Oscar winner Nicole Kidman (The Hours) as Mrs Barbour, a wealthy Park Avenue woman who graciously takes in the young Theo Decker brilliantly played by Oakes Fegley, after his mother is killed in a terrorist attack at New York’s famous Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Theo having survived a thoroughly traumatic event, is introduced to the extremely wealthy Barbour family who he stays with while he awaits to hear from his wayward con-artist father Larry played by Luke Wilson (The Royal Tenenbaums, Concussion, 3:10 to Yuma). Larry eventually swoops in with his hard as nails girlfriend Xandra expertly played by Golden Globe winner Sarah Paulson (American Crime Story) to whisk Theo off to the brilliant shiny desert of Nevada away from the old world charm of New York City.

As The Goldfinch expertly weaves multiple story lines into a dazzling picaresque tale, it is more essentially about Theo’s friendship with the mysterious antique dealer Hobie beautifully played by Jeffrey Wright (Skyfall).

The Goldfinch is gorgeously photographed in all its blinding contrasts by Oscar winning cinematographer Roger Deakins (Blade Runner: 2049) who adds lustre to a fascinating tale of a boy who inadvertently steals a priceless Dutch painting by 17th century portrait painter Carel Fabritius a budding young student of Rembrandt.

As the actions flits between, New York, Las Vegas and Amsterdam, The Goldfinch is a gripping, fascinating tale of art theft, addiction and loss as the film examines the effects of parental loss on a young boy. Utterly superb viewing. Audiences should watch out for a rather energetic performance by Dunkirk star Anuerin Barnard as the older version of Ukrainian Gothic friend Boris who plays an integral part in achieving his destiny which is inevitably entwined with a rare painting by an early Dutch master. The older version of Theo Decker is adequately played by rising star Ansel Elgort (Baby Driver, Billionaire Boys Club).

Elegant and absorbing, with stunning performances, The Goldfinch is a sophisticated drama about the conflicts between the old and new world and the shadows that lie in between. Those that have read Donna Tartt’s brilliant novel will appreciate this gorgeous film adaptation.

Highly recommended viewing, The Goldfinch gets a film rating of 8.5 out of 10.

Burden of Proof

Concussion

concussion

Director: Peter Landesman

Cast: Will Smith, Albert Brooks, Alec Baldwin, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, David Morse, Hill Harper, Eddie Marsan, Luke Wilson, Arliss Howard, Stephen Moyer, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Paul Reiser

Oscar Nominee Will Smith (Ali, The Pursuit of Happyness) revives his career with a superb performance as the diligent Nigerian doctor Dr Bennett Omalu in the medical thriller Concussion directed by Kill the Messenger screenwriter Peter Landesman and based upon a GQ article called The Game Brain written by Jeanne Marie Laskas.

Concussion takes place in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 2002 where Dr Bennett works as a County forensic pathologist under the guidance of his mentor and sponsor Dr Cyril Wecht played by Albert Brooks (Broadcast News, Drive). After a legendary footballer Mike Webster dies suddenly at the age of 50, Dr Bennet discovers a condition known as repetitive head trauma which effects the brain over a long period of repeated trauma, especially common in those playing major league American Football. Webster, briefly played by David Morse first consults the team’s doctor Julian Bales played by Alec Baldwin before committing suicide.

Concussion as a medical thriller really takes off when two other players suddenly die under suspicious circumstances which leads to more questions than reasonable explanations. Soon Dr Bennett and his persistence in establishing the root cause of their deaths, gets the assistance of two other neuro surgeons Dr Steven DeKosky played by Eddie Marsan and Dr Ron Hamilton played by Stephen Moyer to name the symptom as Repetitive Head Trauma. Medically there is a more complicated name.

concussion_ver4

Running concurrently to these medical discoveries, is Dr Bennett’s own plans to become a fully-fledged American citizen who dreams of owning his own home with his Kenyan born wife Prema Mutiso played by Gugu Mbatha-Raw last seen in Belle. However, the immigrant couple’s aspirations are cast into jeopardy when Dr Bennett takes on the most powerful and wealthiest sporting body in America: The National Football League who, Dr Wecht dryly refers to, an organization that next to God owns a day of the week.

As a film, Concussion operates on two levels one as a medical thriller taking on an enormously powerful sporting organization (The NFL) and also as a personal drama of two immigrants Dr Bennett and Prema Mutiso whose pursuit of the American dream is thwarted, not only by racial prejudice but also by a medical discovery which could put into question the potential recruitment of young men to play in the NFL and more significantly what the consequences are for retiring Football players whose days of glory are overshadowed by madness and suicidal tendencies when they reach middle age.

Will Smith delivers a superb performance, mastering a Nigerian accent and Albert Brooks, last seen in Drive, is brilliant as his acerbic yet encouraging mentor who urges Bennett to pursue his medical discoveries despite the consequences and the threats from the NFL, especially when the findings are made public, gaining considerable media attention across America.

Former investigative journalist turned director Peter Landesman’s Concussion is an absorbing medical thriller which should gain a wide audience both in the sporting and medical worlds. By no means a masterpiece, Concussion is recommended viewing for those that enjoyed such films as Moneyball, Thank You for Smoking and the excellent film Michael Clayton about exposing corporate greed in America. It’s also reassuring to see Will Smith back on form tackling a more dramatic and nuanced role.

 

Suicidal Tendencies

The Skeleton Twins

skeleton_twins

Director: Craig Johnson

Cast: Kristen Wiig, Bill Hader, Luke Wilson, Ty Burrell, Boyd Holbrook, Joanna Gleason

Milo decides that life is too much for him and writes a rather lame suicide note, then switching the music up, intends on slitting his wrists in a hot bath. Very melodramatic!

So begins director Craig Johnson poignant and brilliantly acted film, The Skeleton Twins, which whilst dealing with serious issues such as teenage trauma, abuse, suicide and adultery, transforms into a polished film with a sparkling on screen chemistry between twins Milo, a gay slightly hysterical but very witty guy and his confused and equally emotionally messed up sibling Maggie, wonderfully played by Kristen Wiig (Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues).

It is this pure onscreen energy between Wiig and the hilarious Bill Hader who both make The Skeleton Twins so watchable, their angst so believable and the narrative arc of their characters so credible. With a superb script by Craig Johnson and Mark Heyman of Black Swan fame, The Skeleton Twins delves into a serious messed up and slightly kooky sibling relationship, not to mention rivalry based on emotional blackmail and a prickly sense of childhood abandonment which haunts the twins.

Milo after his unsuccessful suicide attempt has to be looked after by his twin sister Marg, (Kristen Wiig) and so he enters into a seemingly stable dynamic of middle class suburbia and discrupts all relationship surrounding him both intentionally and in that sort of bitchy way, which only a failed gay actor could do. Mainly the relationship between Maggie and her husband, Lance, a real macho man played by Luke Wilson is certainly dicey as they are trying to get pregnant. Except that Maggie has fallen for her Australian scuba diving instructor Billy played by Boyd Holbrook (Milk, Gone Girl).

Even the entrance of their mother, a Colorado spiritualist, played by Joanna Gleeson (Last Vegas) does little to disperse the shimmering tensions and anxiety between the twins.

All the drama and so called skeletons come out on Halloween as Maggie discovers the real reason why Milo is happily ensconced with her and Lance in middle class suburbia, while Milo, in full drag, forces his sister to confront the childhood trauma of their father’s suicide which is alluded to by shots of skeleton key rings falling to the bottom of a swimming pool.

The Skeleton Twins is a witty, sassy and cleverly plotted film, expertly directed by Johnson and superbly acted by Wiig and Hader, whose previous professional comic collaboration on Saturday Night Live clearly shines through. Highly recommended viewing as an intelligent comedy drama in the vein of Juno, Little Miss Sunshine and The Perks of Being a Wallflower.

Film Directors & Festivals
Reviews and Awards
Review Calender
November 2019
M T W T F S S
« Oct    
 123
45678910
11121314151617
18192021222324
252627282930  
  • ‘Frozen 2’ Tops Studios’ TV Ad Spending
    In this week’s edition of the Variety Movie Commercial Tracker, powered by the always-on TV ad measurement and attribution company iSpot.tv, Walt Disney Animation claims the top spot in spending with “Frozen 2.” Ads placed for the animated film had an estimated media value of $6.29 million through Sunday for 1,157 national ad airings on […]
    simonispot
  • MSNBC and Washington Post Air Strong, Substantial Democratic Debate (Column)
    The Democratic party primary debate in Atlanta ran long (by about 20 minutes) and had a crowded stage of 10 candidates — and yet, relatively speaking, flew by efficiently. After a passel of debates that had been wildly oversubscribed and caught fire more for personality conflict than policy difference, the MSNBC and Washington Post debate […]
    danvariety
  • Another 16% Slice of India’s Zee to be Sold by Essel
    The Essel Group is to sell a further 16.5% stake in Zee Entertainment Enterprise Limited, India’s largest private sector broadcast group. The debt-reduction move comes just months after Essel auctioned off an 11% tranche of ZEEL. “The Group seeks to sell up to 16.5% stake in ZEEL to financial investors, in order to repay loan […]
    Patrick Frater
  • ‘The Farewell’s’ China Release Delayed
    The long-anticipated release of Awkwafina’s drama “The Farewell” in mainland China has been delayed. The hold-up came just two days before the film’s scheduled outing this Friday. The film, about a Chinese American family who are hiding their aging matriarch’s cancer diagnosis from her, was scheduled to be released in China some four months after […]
    Rebecca Davis
  • Democrats Debate: Rivals Target Warren’s Plans, Buttigieg’s Experience
    The Democratic candidates took shots at Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s plans and Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s lack of experience in the fifth primary debate on Wednesday night. The debate comes at a pivotal moment for both candidates. Buttigieg has opened a lead in recent polls in Iowa and New Hampshire, while Warren has been forced to modify […]
    gmaddaus
  • Read More
    Different providers offer different cell phones, so take a look at the options from each provider to choose the right one for you. You may also want to look into any promotions that the providers have to offer, such as free cell phones in exchange for signing a contract. Tags: 2gmhass90