Posts Tagged ‘Mark Ruffalo’

Thanos’s Deadly Compromise

Avengers: Infinity War

Directors: Anthony and Joe Russo

Cast: Robert Downey Jr, Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Chris Pratt, Mark Ruffalo, Scarlett Johansson, Don Cheadle, Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom Holland, Chadwick Boseman, Zoe Saldana, Tom Hiddleston, Idris Elba, Paul Bettany, Elizabeth Olsen, Anthony Mackie, Sebastian Stan, Danai Gurira, Peter Dinklage, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Gwyneth Paltrow, Josh Brolin, Benicio del Toro, William Hurt, Letitia Wright, Pom Klementieff, Carrie Coon, Winston Duke

Following the phenomenal success of Thor: Ragnorak and Black Panther, Marvel has capitalized on its extended cinematic universe with the new Avengers: Infinity War featuring a plethora of superheroes from Spiderman to Ironman, from Captain America to The Hulk not to mention bringing in the Guardians of the Galaxy gang for additional support.

If Avengers: Infinity War feels a bit excessive, that’s because it probably is combining the Avengers franchise with that of the more quirky Guardians of the Galaxy. Some fantastic moments occur when Spiderman played by Tom Holland meets Peter Quill aka StarLord played by Chris Pratt or when Iron Man, played by Robert Downey Jr disagrees with the wizard Doctor Strange played by Benedict Cumberbatch. The snappy dialogue is sometimes lost amidst the greater quest to fight the evil universe destroyer Thanos played by Josh Brolin.

Thanos is equally conflicted about having to gather all the infinity stones including the one for Souls in which he has to make a choice between himself and his adopted daughter Gamora played by Zoe Saldana. In the meantime, his evil minions are wreaking havoc on earth in New York and in the magical technologically advanced African kingdom of Wakanda where Vision played by Paul Bettany along with Captain America  and Scarlett Witch played by Elizabeth Olsen seek the assistance of Black Panther played by Chadwick Boseman.

Audiences have to suspend their disbelief but judging by how packed the cinemas are for Avengers Infinity War, they are quite happy to do so. This film is pure sci-fi fantasy with little of the action taking place on earth. Most of the fight sequences occur on outer galactic planets like Titan.

Thor needs his hammer back and seeks the help of Eitri played by Peter Dinklage who forges a brilliant new weapon out of a powerful star, the celestial capability of which was last seen on the forgotten kingdom of Asgard.

Whilst directing brothers Anthony and Joe Russo compile an absolute Geekfest with Avengers: Infinity War with enough alien creatures and superheroes to stockpile Comicon for the next decade, it’s a clear sign that the Marvel Universe has ambitious plans to expand even further.

That said Avengers: Infinity War has a convoluted story line weighed down by too many subplots but if viewers see it as a precursor to a second film then they will not find the surprise ending so disruptive….

Avengers: Infinity War gets a film rating 7.5 out of 10 and is strictly for Marvel comic book fans who have followed all the films from the original Iron Man 10 years ago.

The visual effects are fantastic as will be the box office receipts. See it to believe it.

 

 

Neon Inspired Family Feud

Thor: Ragnarok

Director: Taika Waititi

Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Tom Hiddleston, Cate Blanchett, Anthony Hopkins, Jeff Goldblum, Idris Elba, Tessa Thompson, Benedict Cumberbatch, Karl Urban, Ray Stevenson, Scarlett Johansson, Luke Hemsworth, Sam Neill, Taika Waititi

New Zealand director Taika Waititi was Oscar nominated back in 2005 for his Live Action Short film Two Cars, One Night.

Marvel Studios recruited him to inject new life into the Thor films and that he certainly does with Thor: Ragnarok, a neon inspired family feud of mythical proportions featuring Thor played again by hunky Australian actor Chris Hemsworth along with his pesky brother Loki played by Tom Hiddleston and new addition to the family Hela played with vampish delight by Oscar winner Cate Blanchett (The Aviator, Blue Jasmine).

Thor returns to Asgard only to discover that Loki has banished Odin, their father to a virtual retirement home. Upon a brief visit, the brothers discover that Odin, wonderfully played with a sombre delight by Oscar winner Anthony Hopkins (The Silence of the Lambs) has got an elder daughter Hela who was banished from Asgard for being the Goddess of Death and wreaking havoc on the nine realms.

Cate Blanchett relishes her role as Hela, the Goddess of Death, inspired by Maleficent and certainly quite intent on destroying her defiant younger brothers.

Thor and Loki land up on a weird dystopian outer planet overseen by the demonic Grand Master, a superbly camp performance by Jeff Goldblum (Jurassic Park, Independence Day), who immediately instructs Thor to fight in a massive arena against a formidable beast: The Hulk. Enter Bruce Banner aka The Hulk, played with bewildering amusement by Mark Ruffalo (The Avengers, Foxcatcher, Spotlight).

Eventually Thor gets Loki, The Hulk and a hard-drinking Valkyrie played by Tessa Thompson last seen in the HBO series Westworld, to return to Asgard to defeat the demonic Hela who is assisted by a reluctant henchman Skurge played by Karl Urban (Dredd, Star Trek and The Loft).

The only criticism is that the middle section of Thor: Ragnarok detracts from the film’s central narrative, which is essentially a legendary family conflict.

Thor: Ragnarok is a fun-filled comic book film which thankfully does not take itself or the characters too seriously and is a clear indication that Marvel films are definitely trying to create memorable characters for the lucrative toy manufacturing market just before Christmas.

As with all the latest Marvel films, franchise opportunities abound. Thor: Ragnarok is light-hearted and hellishly entertaining. Audiences should look out for a great cameo by Benedict Cumberbatch reprising his role as the illusive Doctor Strange.

If audiences enjoyed The Avengers and the first two Thor films, then they will definitely savour Thor: Ragnarok which is comically inspired from another Marvel hit franchise, The Guardians of the Galaxy.

Thor: Ragnarok gets a film rating of 7.5 out of 10.

Digital Illusions

Now You See Me 2

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Director: Jon M. Chu

Cast: Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Lizzy Caplan, Mark Ruffalo, Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, Daniel Radcliffe, Dave Franco, Sanaa Lathan

Following the success of the 2013 magical film Now You See Me, there was definitely a call to make a sequel and reunite the illusive four horsemen.

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In the sequel, Now You See Me 2, G. I. Joe: Retaliation director Jon M. Chu misses the mark in providing a magical follow up to the original film, despite reuniting the same cast including Jesse Eisenberg as Daniel Atlas, Woody Harrelson as Merritt McKinney who also has a rather irritating identical twin brother in this film, Mark Ruffalo as Dylan Rhodes and Dave Franco as Jack Wilder.

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New to the cast is master illusionist Lula played by Lizzy Caplan famous from the raunchy Masters of Sex TV series and the superfluous Daniel Radcliffe as a reclusive tech billionaire Walter Mabry who recruits the magicians to steal back a ubiquitous yet highly guarded computer chip which can hack into anything at an international exchange in the glamorous resort casinos of Macau.

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As the action moves swiftly from New York to Macau and then onto London, the magical tricks and digital illusions even involving numerous card tricks in which the microchip seemingly passes from one horseman to another, Now You See Me 2 appears to be lacking in the essential element of revelation. Something the first film did so brilliantly. For as the optical illusions, card tricks and magic increases, there is less time to provide valuable explanations to the bewildered if slightly amused audience.

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Veteran actors Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman reprise their roles as Arthur Tressler and Thaddeus Bradley respectively whose unholy alliance leads the Four Horseman to play the ultimate trick on the chief villain, a poorly played part by Daniel Radcliffe, who unfortunately appeared to be out of place in this sequel. Perhaps Radcliffe should stick to stronger script material with meatier roles in mind like he did in Victor Frankenstein and Kill Your Darlings.

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Oscar nominee Mark Ruffalo (Spotlight, Foxcatcher) is plausibly believable as the elusive FBI agent Rhodes despite occasionally giving the impression that he should not have signed on for this sequel. Harrelson is in top form playing twins and the only sparks are provided by Eisenberg and Caplan who seem to be the most energetic and enthusiastic magicians.

Whilst Now You See Me 2 falls short of being as brilliant as the first film, it certainly is a fun film to watch even if the plot is slightly convoluted especially in between the globetrotting disappearing acts that the main actors seem to do quite effortlessly. Now You See Me 2 is an enjoyable film, but nothing as magical or dazzling as the original. Lets hope the third film in this magical trilogy is more impressive.

Breaking the Cardinal Rule

Spotlight

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Director: Tom McCarthy

Cast: Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo, John Slattery, Rachel McAdams, Liev Schreiber, Stanley Tucci, Billy Crudup, Paul Guilfoyle, Jamey Sheridan

Spotlight refers to a team of investigative reporters stationed at the Boston Globe. Just months before 9/11 in mid-2001, The Boston Globe hires a news editor fresh from Miami, Marty Baron played by Liev Schreiber (The Reluctant Fundamentalist) who subsequently instructs the Spotlight team headed up by Robby Robinson played by Michael Keaton (Birdman) to investigate the systematic child abuse which is happening in the Catholic Church specifically in the Archdiocese of Boston, a strongly Irish Catholic community as highlighted by a recent case pending at the criminal court.

Director Tom McCarthy’s film Spotlight is compelling viewing, a riveting tale of tough investigative journalism by a team of men and woman who will stop at nothing to uncover the truth. The Spotlight team also consists of journalists Sacha Pfieffer brilliantly played by Rachel McAdams  (A Most Wanted Man) who pursues testimony from the alleged victims of child abuse and Portuguese descendant Mike Rezendes superbly played by Mark Ruffalo (Foxcatcher) who goes after the legal aspects of the case that lawyer Mitchell Garabedian, played by Stanley Tucci is making against a particular Catholic priest John Geoghan.

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As the investigation continues, the journalists realize that what they are uncovering is a much wider scandal of how the Catholic Church not only knew about errant priests committing sexual abuse preying upon vulnerable minors but also how this powerful institution discreetly got these priests transferred or they were given supposed sick leave to avoid exposure or damage to the Church’s reputation.

As they investigate all the priests in the Boston area, the Spotlight team uncovers a much wider pattern of abuse by several priests. However, before they can publish a damning expose they need to have irrefutable proof that this was occurring.

That proof comes in the form of victim testimonies that Garabedian attached as legal documents in a case that he is building against Geoghan and that the Church tried to cover up these legal documents, thus breaking Cardinal Law.

McAdams and Ruffalo are particularly brilliant in Spotlight as journalists who not only uncover a massive and systemic scandal but are forced to question their own religious and spiritual convictions.

What actor turned director McCarthy avoids doing is standing in judgement of the Catholic Church, but rather focuses on the relentless pursuit of facts and absolute proof that investigative journalism is based upon, both of which need to be authenticated before any expose is subsequently published. With a screenplay by Josh Singer and Tom McCarthy, Spotlight is a superb indictment against one of the most powerful religious institutions in the world but also emphasizes the absolute necessity for responsible and comprehensively researched investigative journalism.

When the Spotlight story eventually does go to print, the expose points to a much wider problem in many archdioceses across America and other parts of the world, something which news editor Marty Baron alludes to in the beginning of the investigation.

The cast of Spotlight are phenomenal and deservedly won a 2016 Screen Actors Guild award for best cast and the intelligently crafted story is essential viewing. Spotlight is highly recommended viewing for those that enjoyed such films as All the Presidents Men and Frost/Nixon.

 

Comic Book Pastiche

The Avengers: Age of Ultron

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Director: Joss Whedon

Cast: Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Robert Downey Jr, Don Cheadle, Paul Bettany, Mark Ruffalo, Jeremy Renner, Scarlett, Johansson, Samuel L. Jackson, Elizabeth Olsen, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, James Spader, Cobie Smulders, Hayley Atwell, Stellan Skarsgard, Thomas Kretschmann, Julie Delpy, Andy Serkis, Anthony Mackie.

The Avengers are back in director and writer Joss Whedon’s much anticipated sequel The Avengers: Age of Ultron featuring all the Marvel superheroes and some new ones in a CGI laden special effects extravaganza, which is at times confusing and other times absolutely fascinating. At a running time of two hours and twenty minutes, director Whedon has sufficient screen time to flesh out all the characters individually as well as give nuance to some of their more complicated relationships.

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Like the relationship between The Hulk, aka Bruce Banner wonderfully played by Oscar nominee Mark Ruffalo (Foxcatcher) and the Black Widow played by Scarlett Johansson who seems to be the only avenger that can calm the Hulk’s penchant for destructive anger.

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The relationship between goodie two shoes Steve Rogers aka Captain America, played by Chris Evans and Nordic God Thor played by the hunky Chris Hemsworth is also subtly explored considering that the former is a World War two hero and the latter from another dimension.

Robert Downey Jr reprises his role as egotistical Billionaire Tony Stark, aka Iron Man and his irrepressible desire to mould any technological discovery, in this case the power artificial intelligence to his own advantage.

The Age of Ultron refers to the ubiquitous Altron a powerful A.I. force which is hell bent on human destruction and vain enough to realize that he can survive the aftermath, beautifully voiced with an underlying menace by James Spader (Bad Influence, more recently in the hit TV show The Black List).

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The sexy Jeremy Renner as Clint Barton aka Hawkeye ‘s character is fleshed out as a devoting family man which is entirely incongruous with his status as a member of the Avengers, but hey who cares?

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Elizabeth Olsen and Aaron Taylor-Johnson play evil orphaned Eastern European twins Pietro and Maximoff who soon turn on Ultron when they realize his megalomaniac tendencies. Even Lord of the Rings’ Andy Serkis makes an appearance as a South African mercenary Ulysses Klaue and the Johannesburg downtown sequence is truly phenomenal to watch as is the action scene in Seoul, South Korea.

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If audiences get confused with who all the avengers are, there are ample filmic references to each of their own background stories from Thor: The Dark World, including a brief appearance by Idris Elba and also Captain America’s Agent Carter, played by Hayley Atwell. Marvel is indeed expanding their universe exponentially and if The Avengers: Age of Ultron’s audience figures are anything to go by, this will prove to be another superhero box office smash hit.

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The Avengers: Age of Ultron is fun entertainment and definitely aimed at Iron Man, Thor and Captain America cinema fans especially all the witty references and innuendo’s involving lifting Thor’s hammer which are neatly laced into a script which may seem convoluted but then again when it comes to Artificial Intelligence its more an infinite mess which at some point needs to be reined in.

Audiences should look out for brief cameos by Anthony Mackie, Stellan Skarsgard, Julie Delpy, Don Cheadle and Thomas Kretschmann. If The Avengers: Age of Ultron appears to be a pastiche of all the previous Marvel films, then director Joss Whedon has certainly achieved the impossible, not to mention making a narrative out of the dangers of artificial intelligence plausible and entertaining.

It’s best for audiences to suspend their disbelief and enjoy The Avengers: The Age of Ultron for what it is: a comic book orgy with a giant budget and loud, awe-inspiring special effects which will be sure to nurture any young adult’s imagination for awhile.

 

 

 

Wrestling with the Wealthy

Foxcatcher

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Director: Bennett Miller

Cast: Steve Carell, Channing Tatum, Mark Ruffalo, Vanessa Redgrave, Sienna Miller, Anthony Michael Hall

Capote and Moneyball director Bennett Miller returns to the more sinister side of American life: wealth, competitiveness and guns in his new film Foxcatcher.

In some interesting casting choices, Miller assembles comedian Steve Carell along with action star Channing Tatum (GI Joe: Rise of the Cobra, Magic Mike) and the talented Mark Ruffalo in a three man drama about a truly bizarre actual series of events which occurred between the mid 1980’s to the mid 1990’s in Pennsylvania, America.

Foxcatcher is the true story of heir to the multi-million dollar Du Pont Family fortune, John E. Du Pont, creepily played against type by Carell whose wealth and influence entices the young Olympic wrestler Mark Schultz, who has won gold at the 1984 summer Olympics in Los Angeles to train at the Foxcatcher Farm.

Du Pont was an eccentric man, living on the vast estate in Newtown Square, Pennsylvania, known as Foxcatcher Farms, heir to the incredible Du Pont family fortune, whose money was made in chemicals and ammunition manufacturing over two and a half centuries in America since the family first arrived in the States from France at the beginning of the 19th Century. This is old American money, built up over generations, in the tradition of the Gettys, the Hiltons, the Astors and the Vanderbilts.

John E. Dupont, heir to a $100 million family fortune has always been overshadowed by his disapproving mother Jean Du Pont, coldly played by a rarely seen Vanessa Redgrave (Howard’s End), who even paid people to be friends with him. To state that he never quite fitted in was an understatement. Du Pont was an ornithologist, an avid philatelist (stamp collector), a gun collector and oddly enough, an ambitious coach of male wrestling http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Eleuth%C3%A8re_du_Pont.

On the other end of the spectrum is the young and impressionable Schultz, expertly played by Channing Tatum in one of his best screen performances ever, who has trouble articulating for a public speech, who is battling for money and is desperately trying to escape the shadow of his older brother, a fellow wrestler and family man, Dave Schultz, wonderfully underplayed by Mark Ruffalo (The Kids are Alright, The Normal Heart).

Du Pont invites Mark Schultz to train at his Foxcatcher Farm in Newtown, Pennsylvania, a vast estate, in preparation for the 1988 Seoul Olympics. He also would like the older more responsible Dave to be there, but in a rare glimpse of rivalry, Mark tells Du Pont that his brother cannot be bought, not realizing that with this type of wealth anybody can be bought.

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Soon Mark Schultz is socially seduced by the eerie Du Pont and invited to stay at the Foxcatcher farm to become part of team Foxcatcher. The younger Schultz even gets introduced to East Coast high society in a bizarre scene whereby Du Pont offers him cocaine in his private helicopter on the way to a glamorous charity event in Washington D. C.

What Miller does so well is set up this strange but surreal dichotomy between the eccentric and hugely influential Du Pont and the weird intensely physical world of male wrestling, which is part bravado and more homo-erotic than spectators care to admit.

Du Pont creates a haven for USA Wrestling to flourish in his own private dominion soon enticing both the Schultz brothers into Team Foxcatcher in an effort to recapture their glory at the 1988 Seoul Olympics.

In a rare scene between Carell and Redgrave, wealthy mother and renegade heir apparent, she tells him that his infatuation with male wrestling is low. This sets the stage for an even more devastating end to the sinister relations between Du Pont and the Schultz brothers.

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In re-imagining a truly bizarre encounter with the superrich, Miller does not captivate the viewer in Foxcatcher, like director Barbet Schroeder did so brilliantly in a similar eighties true life drama Reversal of Fortune with the Claus von Bulow case, but then again Steve Carell is not quite Oscar winner Jeremy Irons.

Director Miller instead downplays the historical aspects of the actual events and leaves the viewer hungry for more details, not to mention motive. The end result is a deeply disturbing film, excellently acted especially by Tatum and Carell, but nevertheless wanting for more. After all Foxcatcher isn’t as fine a film as Capote or as tightly directed even though Miller did win the Palm d’Or for Best Director at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival.

If viewers have not researched the actual story behind Du Pont’s involvement with the Schultz’s brothers, Foxcatcher could appear as bizarrely fictional as it is actually real. Nevertheless the lingering sense of suspense and unease is perfectly captured against the raw aggression and male physicality of competitive wrestling, a sport as old as the Olympic Games itself. Recommended viewing for those that like All Good Things and Reversal of Fortune.

 

 

 

Serendipity Sings

Begin Again

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Director: John Carney

Starring: Mark Ruffalo, Keira Knightley, Adam Levine, Hailee Steinfeld, Catherine Keener, James Corden, Mos Def, Rob Morrow

Irish director John Carney touches on the contemporary world of music production in the lyrical and whimsical romantic comedy Begin Again featuring Mark Ruffalo as a middle aged music producer Dan who after a bout of heavy drinking lands up meeting British ex-pat and aspiring song writer Gretta, played by Keira Knightley singing a ballad at an open mic night in a chance encounter.

Dan soon imagines the potential in Gretta’s Bohemian voice and convinces her that she could become the next big thing. The film’s title comes after both characters Dan and Gretta are at a crossroads in their lives, with Dan on the verge of losing his reputation as a music producer whilst his non-committal relationship with his daughter Violet, played by Hailee Steinfeld is tenuous at best. There is also Dan’s collapsed relationship with his ex-wife Music Journalist Miriam Hart, played by Indie film expert Catherine Keener (The Oranges, Please Give).

Gretta is about to catch a plane back to the UK leaving behind her shattered dreams in the Big Apple after a terrible split from Rock star boyfriend Dave Kohl ironically played by Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine in his first movie role. The chemistry between Ruffalo and Knightley is undeniable and it’s refreshing to see her in a contemporary role, shedding off those stuffy characters she is famous for playing in such period films as Anna Karenina, Atonement and The Duchess. Ruffalo is at home in this type of film having played similar characters in The Kids are Alright and Rumour has It.

Whilst the script also by John Carney could have been more solid, his direction of Begin Again is more structured, easily showcasing off the mis-en-scene of New York’s music scene and his clever way of making Manhattan a character in the film in a clearly influenced Italian Neo-Realist style.

Carney makes the most of his leading lady, lavishing extra camera time on the beauty of Keira Knightley and leaving Mark Ruffalo more as a middle aged clown who is trying to get his act back together. It’s a pity that the script did not flesh out the development of Violet and Miriam as supporting characters, as Steinfeld (True Grit) and Keener are both superb actors.

Begin Again is a whimsical musical comedy supported by a wonderful cast including Hip Hop artist Mos Def (16 Blocks) and rising British star James Corden as Steve, a bohemian street performer and fringe artist who facilitates the serendipitous meeting between Gretta and Dan. Recommended viewing for those that prefer light musical comedies which is all the more enjoyable when viewers can see that the actors had fun making Begin Again.

Death of Fire Island

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The Normal Heart

NB: This is a made for TV film

Director: Ryan Murphy

Cast: Mark Ruffalo, Matt Bomer, Julia Roberts, Stephen Spinella, Alfred Molina, Taylor Kitsch, Jim Parsons

HBO’s The Normal Heart directed by Glee and Eat, Pray, Love director Ryan Murphy is a startling and heart wrenching tale of the outbreak of AIDS in New York’s gay community in the early 1980’s. Mark Ruffalo plays a middle aged openly gay man, Ned Weeks who gives one of the best performances of his career as he becomes the outspoken champion of gay rights and one who urges the American government to do more to fight the stigmatisation of AIDS as it ravaged the homosexual community in the mid 1980’s.

This film is set at a similar time as Jean-Marc Vallee’s Dallas Buyers Club, but unlike this Oscar winning film, is a made for Television, bravely done by HBO featuring some exceptional performances besides Ruffalo that includes Matt Bomer as his lover, Felix Turner, a young, handsome New York society journalist dying of AIDS related illnesses along with Julia Roberts as Dr Emma Brockner a wheel-chaired bound no nonsense doctor who is adamant that the American gay community need to be sufficiently educated about this disease. She goes onto advocate that the New York gay community need to immediately curb their promiscuous lifestyle, so lavishly explored in the film’s opening scenes on Fire Island, in upstate New York, the gay resort famous in the 1980’s for White Parties, wild sex and unabashed homosexual hedonism.

Audiences watching The Normal Heart should be warned this is a sad, graphic and dramatic tale of a community ravaged by an illness which they were not equipped to handle, both physically and emotionally. Remember that this is set at least 30 years ago before all the medical advances in ARV treatment globally and when AIDS research was in its infancy. Without the sufficient funding from the American government, those that suffered at the forefront of the epidemic, was an already marginalized community known only for their lascivious and risky sexual behaviour.

What director Ryan Murphy does so brilliantly is remind the audience that despite all the stigma and the prejudice, these were real professional people dying of a yet unquantified illness with a virtually non-existent health care regime and support structure.

At the core of The Normal Heart based upon a play by Larry Kramer is the remarkable performance by Mark Ruffalo who certainly has proved his worth as a serious actor in recent years especially after his recent Oscar nomination for The Kids Are Alright.

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The Normal Heart as a mainstream film, like Steven Soderbergh’s Behind the Candelabra would have a fairly limited appeal, but it is comforting that HBO takes a bold leading in making these films and even attracting such A list talent like Julia Roberts, Michael Douglas and Matt Damon.

Watch out for an unrecognizable Taylor Kitsch (Savages, Lone Survivor) as Bruce Niles a young, arrogant and gorgeous gay man who appears to be immune to all the community activism and terrible threat affecting his friends along with The Big Bang Theory’s Jim Parson’s in a brilliant and touching performance as Tommy Boatwright who counts the dead on his Rolladex.

This drama is brutal, heart wrenching and truly inspiring film making even if it only was made as a TV film, but really should be seen by everyone gay or straight especially in the wake of the recent commercialization of gay culture in Western mainstream media along with the associated rights and civil liberties which the gay and lesbian community have been granted in Europe and America recently, viewed within the 21st century progress made in transforming HIV into a manageable disease through a strict regime of medication controls.

The Normal Heart is highly recommended viewing, boosted by superb performances all round which should go a long way in deconstructing the stigma surrounding marginalized communities especially at the outbreak of an initially incomprehensible disease.

 

 

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

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

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Best Actor: Timothy Spall for Mr Turner

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Best Actress: Julianne Moore for Maps to the Stars

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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

 

 

Only by Day, can the Graveyard be Seen

Reservation Road

Reservation Road is a profoundly tragic human drama about how the lives of two families are affected by a fatal hit and run accident one dark night on Reservation Road, in suburban Connecticut. Terry George best known for the harrowingly brilliant film Hotel Rwanda, brings this engrossing film version of the novel by John Burnham Schwartz to the big screen with a subtlety and sensitivity remininscent in all its despair of similar films like The House of Sand and Fog and The Ice Storm.

Colliding worlds with tragic consequences

With such talented actors at his disposal, including Academy Award winner Jennifer Connelly and nominee Joaquin Phoenix, who both prove their endless range and depth of emotion and a welcome change for actor Mark Ruffalo playing the hapless lawyer who causes the accident, proceeding to pathetically endure the guilt and torment of someone that has committed an irreversible crime. Phoenix takes on the opposite male role of Media Professor Ethan Learner who desperately battles to make sense of an awesome loss, and invariably realizes that in any hit and run accident justice is never fair.

What makes Reservation Road so engaging and exceptionally sad as was the case in Jennifer Connelly’s earlier film House of Sand and Fog, was that it is the children who suffer the most. This film relies on the human emotions of loss, grief, guilt and a longed for revenge, while highlighting the difficulty of how ordinary citizens come to terms with an unexpected and tragic encounter that will irreparably change their lives forever. The eternity of Reservation Road, makes the film more compelling, for accidents can happen anywhere in the world. While even the most idyllic of places can be fraught with human suffering, sometimes its better concealed behind beautiful homes and garages in tranquil suburban Connecticut, than in other more volatile regions as illustrated in war-torn Rwanda, suffering just as universal, especially when children become the victims.

Reservation Road might appear to be another tear-inducing cinematic experience, the film also skillfully delves into the significance of loss and revenge in our contemporary worlds with a suspense so naturally frightening, where we so often seek comfort in all things technological, while grappling to deal with death and the subsequent grief it inflicts. Terry George and author Schwartz worked on the subtle script combined with some great performances especially by Connelly and Phoenix, making this film worthwhile. See it and don’t be afraid to shed a tear.

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