Posts Tagged ‘Meryl Streep’

Whimsical Magical Musical

Mary Poppins Returns

Director: Rob Marshall

Cast: Emily Blunt, Ben Whishaw, Emily Mortimer, Meryl Streep, Colin Firth, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Pixie Davies, Nathanael Saleh, Joel Dawson, Dick van Dyke, Angela Lansbury

Chicago and Memoirs of a Geisha director Rob Marshall returns with another hit musical Mary Poppins Returns featuring Emily Blunt as Mary Poppins immortalized by Julie Andrews in the original 1964 hit film Mary Poppins.

Fortunately Emily Blunt is such an accomplished actress that she nails the part of Mary Poppins to absolute perfection ably assisted by Broadway star Lin-Manuel Miranda as Jack the lamplighter who between the two of them share most of the musical numbers.

Brideshead Revisited and Skyfall star Ben Whishaw plays Michael Banks and his sister Jane Banks is played by Emily Mortimer. The real stars of Mary Poppins Returns are the three Banks children John, Anabel and Georgie wonderfully played by Nathanael Saleh, Pixie Davies and Joel Dawson respectively.

Mary Poppins Returns is Disney in full swing for the 21st century and the musical numbers are brilliant especially the lamp lighters dance sequence as well as some well-placed cameo’s by Oscar winner Meryl Streep (Sophie’s Choice, Kramer vs Kramer and The Iron Lady) as the garish and outrageous cousin Topsy along with Oscar nominee Angela Lansbury (Gaslight, The Manchurian Candidate, The Picture of Dorian Gray) as the Balloon Lady and Golden Globe nominee Dick van Dyke (Mary Poppins) as Mr Dawes.

Other notable stars are Oscar winner Colin Firth (The King’s Speech) as the evil bank manager Wilkins who is completely unsympathetic to the plight of Michael Banks whose Cherry Tree Lane house in Depression era London is about to be repossessed unless Mr Banks can find share certificates which can prove he has some form of collateral to retain his family home.

Oscar nominee Julie Walters (Billy Elliott, Educating Rita) stars as the housekeeper Ellen who manages to keep the chaotic Banks household in some form of domestic stability.

Cleverly Mary Poppins Returns captures the magic of a whimsical musical for a 21st century audience while paying homage to the original 1964 film which made a star out of Julie Andrews who also won an Oscar for her iconic performance in 1965. Emily Blunt, with her pithy and clipped English accent, is superb as the no nonsense nanny who ignites imagination in the three young Banks children while handling all the brilliant musical numbers.

Highly recommended viewing for the entire family, director Rob Marshall does a brilliant job with Mary Poppins Returns and is definitely worth seeing.

Mary Poppins Returns gets a film rating of 8 out of 10 and is absolutely brilliant. If Disney is going to do a sequel so long after the original film you can bet that it’s going to be spit spot!

Bella Donna

Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again

Director: Ol Parker

Cast: Amanda Seyfried, Lily James, Dominic Cooper, Christine Baranski, Julie Walters, Celia Imrie, Pierce Brosnan, Stellan Skarsgard, Colin Firth, Cher, Meryl Streep, Jeremy Irvine, Josh Dylan, Hugh Skinner, Jessica Keenan Wynn

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel screenwriter Ol Parker does behind the camera as director for the much anticipated sequel / prequel Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again featuring the original cast from Mamma Mia! (2008) including some fabulous additions such as pop diva Cher and Cinderella’s Lily James as the young Donna.

Shot mostly on location in Croatia, doubling for the Greek Isles, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again is strictly for ABBA fans and those who loved the original 2008 film.

Thanks to a preview screening organized by United International Pictures at Suncoast Cinecentre, Durban, I was fortunate enough to see Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again whose highlights included Cher’s superb rendition of the song Fernando sung to her long lost love and some crisply orchestrated numbers featuring Lily James and a plethora of gorgeous young men played by Jeremy Irvine, Hugh Skinner and Josh Dylan respectively, who all represent the younger versions of Sophie’s three Dads played in the original film by Pierce Brosnan, Oscar winner Colin Firth (The King’s Speech) and Stellan Skarsgard.

While the storyline is as haphazard as a lost yacht in the Mediterranean, the singing and the music for Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again is what audiences should come and see this musical comedy for.

With a bigger cast and some daring lines uttered by the wine swigging Tanya played by Christine Baranski (The Bird Cage) including “Be Still my Beating Vagina”, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again is a sparkling musical comedy with the pure aim of reviving all those toe-tapping ABBA songs.

There is sufficient Man Candy both young and old to satisfy a diverse range of female audiences and in the immortal words of BBC Talk Show Host Graham Norton on interviewing pop diva Cher – “This is one of the gayest films being released in 2018!”

Leave your worries at the door and enjoy Mamma Mia, Here We Go Again which gets a film rating of 7.5 out of 10, held together by two sensational performances by Lily James and Cher.

History’s First Draft

The Post

Director: Steven Spielberg

Cast: Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks, Sarah Paulson, Jesse Plemons, Carrie Coon, Bob Odenkirk, Bruce Greenwood, Tracy Letts, Michael Stulbarg, Matthew Rhys, Bradley Whitford, Alison Brie

Before Julian Assange, before Edward Snowden, there was the Pentagon Papers.

A top level government study on how the Americans had been involved in Vietnam way before the infamous Vietnam War and how during that bloodletting fiasco, the Americans realized that they were losing the war in South East Asia, yet still continued to send troops in to fight the Viet Cong.

The leaking of the Pentagon Papers, firstly by the New York Times and then more pertinently by The Washington Post during the Nixon administration is the source of Oscar winning director Steven Spielberg’s fascinating film The Post starring two Oscar winners, Meryl Streep (The Iron Lady) as owner of the Post, Katherine Graham and Tom Hanks (Philadelphia) as Ben Bradlee, the executive editor of The Washington Post https://www.washingtonpost.com/ who seizes on the story of a decade and pushes for his newspaper to release the classified documents despite the possible legal or financial consequences.

Streep as usual, is superb as the doubtful and affluent socialite Katherine Graham who inherits her father’s newspaper The Washington Post upon her husband’s death and then is forced into an invidious position when she is called upon to make the critical decision on whether to let the newspaper publish the Pentagon Papers at a time when New York investors are eagerly awaiting The Washington Post Company’s IPO (Initial Public Offering) on the American Stock Exchange, which could hugely benefit the fortunes of the struggling newspaper.

Spielberg packs a lot into The Post, and it would be advisable for viewers to read up thoroughly about that crucial historical period in 1971 which was so decisive and widely regarded as the turning point of American press freedom. All these events occurred prior to the Watergate scandal.

The publication of the Pentagon Papers ultimately changed the American public’s sentiment on the viability of troops in Vietnam and the legal outcome after the Supreme Court ruling elevated Katherine Graham to a media doyenne, a feminist and a massively influential woman who changed the business world’s view on how a single woman can influence and transform a media empire.

There is a solid supporting cast of actors in The Post to add gravitas to a riveting tale of journalistic bravery, including Sarah Poulson as Bradlee’s wife Toni who gives her own feminine perspective on why what Katherine Graham was doing was vitally important and brave. Other supporting actors include Bob Odenkirk, Matthew Phys, Carrie Coon, Jesse Plemons and Tracy Letts.

In the age of the Internet, Fake News and a 24 Hour news cycle, The Post is a critical film to watch and be discussed and is especially relevant in 2018 as back then in 1971, which basically implies that at every historical junction, the media must always hold the country’s government accountable. After all, the news is History’s First Draft.

My only criticism is that screenwriters Liz Hannah and Josh Singer should have contextualized the dramatic events more efficiently so that a 21st century audience could appreciate the bravery of publishing critical information without fear or favour.

The Post is brilliant viewing and a highly recommended film about press freedom under a sinister government which makes the film’s ending all the more relevant. The Post receives a film rating of 8.5 out of 10.

Read more on Katherine Grahamhttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Katharine_Graham

Read more on Ben Bradleehttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ben_Bradlee

 

 

 

Heroic Heiress

Florence Foster Jenkins

florence_foster_jenkins

Director: Stephen Frears

Cast: Meryl Streep, Hugh Grant, Simon Helberg, Rebecca Ferguson, Nina Arianda, Stanley Townsend, Christian McKay, John Sessions

No actress plays a diva quite like Oscar winner Meryl Streep. First it was her brilliant portrayal of the Fashion Editor Miranda Priestley in The Devil Wears Prada. Now in the capable hands of The Queen director Stephen Frears, Streep plays the delusional American heiress Florence Foster Jenkins opposite British star Hugh Grant.

For once Grant holds his own opposite Streep and as a rather stylish couple in Florence Foster Jenkins set in lavish New York musical circles in 1944 as the Second World War is drawing to a close.

Jenkins who unfortunately had an awful singing voice but believed that she could sing beautifully, enlists the help of accompanying pianist Cosme McMoon wonderfully played by Simon Helberg from the hit TV series The Big Bang Theory. Helberg acts with his eyes and his expressive disapproval of Jenkin’s awful voice is soon transformed into a fondness for the eccentric heiress who genuinely thinks her voice is superb.

florence_foster_jenkins_ver2

Naturally her singing ambition is encouraged by her husband St Clair Bayfield fabulously played by Hugh Grant (Notting Hill, Four Weddings and a Funeral, Sense and Sensibility). In a complicated arrangement Bayfield enjoys his conjugal activities with the gorgeous Kathleen, played by Swedish actress Rebecca Ferguson (Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation) who isn’t impressed with Jenkins rise in popularity.

florence_foster_jenkins_ver3

Three time Oscar winner Meryl Streep (Kramer vs Kramer, Sophie’s Choice, The Iron Lady) nails her interpretation of Florence Foster Jenkins as a lonely American heiress who due to an unfortunate illness, namely syphilis, is never able to have children so she sets her sights on conquering the fickle and snobbish world of classical music and in turn believes she has the makings of a star.

Her crowning achievement came during the infamous concert at Carnegie Hall where to bolster audience numbers she gave free tickets to inebriated American soldiers about to embark on a foreign war. Remember this is the golden age of radio and Jenkins exploited this medium to its fullest, soon becoming a favourite for her willpower rather than any inherent lyrical traits.

Assisted with a witty script by Nicholas Martin, Frears approaches the tale of Florence Foster Jenkins in a high camp fashion, making the film a poignant and hilarious tale of the diva whose fabulous costumes and awful singing made her the heroic heiress of New York.

Florence Foster Jenkins is a delightful film and will sure to garner some recognition for the sumptuous production design and brilliant costumes in the approaching awards seasons.

florence_foster_jenkins_ver4

Simon Helberg is particularly superb as McMoon who is mesmerized and scandalized by the life force that was the flamboyant Florence Foster Jenkins https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Florence_Foster_Jenkins.

This film is highly recommended viewing, a wonderfully acted tale of an heiress who certainly made the most of her fifteen minutes of fame despite popular opinion.

65th BAFTA Awards

THE  65th BAFTA AWARDS /

THE BRITISH ACADEMY FILM AWARDS

Took place on Sunday 12th February 2012 in London

BAFTA WINNERS IN THE FILM CATEGORY:

The artist

Best Film: The Artist

Best Director: Michel Hazanavicius – The Artist

Best Actor: Jean Dujardin – The Artist

iron_lady_ver2

Best Actress: Meryl Streep – The Iron Lady

beginners

Best Supporting Actor: Christopher Plummer – Beginners

help

Best Supporting Actress: Octavia Spencer – The Help

tinker_tailor_soldier_spy 1

Rising Star Award: Adam Deacon

Best British Film: Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy directed by Tomas Alfredson

Best Original Screenplay: Michel Hazanavicius – The Artist

Best Adapted Screenplay: Bridget O’ConnorPeter Straughan – Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

Best Costume Design: Mark Bridges – The Artist

The Skin I live In

Best Foreign Language Film: The Skin I Live In directed by Pedro Almodovar

Source: 65th BAFTA Awards

69th Golden Globe Awards

69th Golden Globe Awards

Took place on Sunday 15th January 2012 hosted by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association

Golden Globe Winners in The Film Categories:

descendants

Best Film Drama: The Descendants

The artist

Best Film Musical or Comedy : The Artist

Best Actor Drama: George Clooney – The Descendants

iron_lady_ver2

Best Actress Drama: Meryl Streep – The Iron Lady

Best Actor Musical or Comedy: Jean Dujardin – The Artist

my_week_with_marilyn_ver2

Best Actress Musical or Comedy: Michelle Williams – My Week with Marilyn

beginners

Best Supporting Actor: Christopher Plummer – Beginners

help

Best Supporting Actress: Octavia Spencer – The Help

hugo_ver3

Best Director: Martin Scorsese – Hugo

A Separation nader_and_simin_ver2

Best Foreign Language Film: A Separation (Iran)

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/69th_Golden_Globe_Awards

67th Golden Globe Awards

67th Golden Globe Awards

Took place on Sunday 17th January 2010 hosted by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association

Golden Globe Winners in The Film Categories:

avatar

Best Film Drama: Avatar

Best Director: James Cameron – Avatar

hangover

Best Film Musical or Comedy: The Hangover

crazy_heart

Best Actor Drama: Jeff Bridges – Crazy Heart

blind_side

Best Actress Drama: Sandra Bullock – The Blind Side

sherlock_holmes_ver5

Best Actor Musical or Comedy: Robert Downey Jr. – Sherlock Holmes

julie_and_julia_ver2

Best Actress Musical or Comedy: Meryl Streep – Julie and Julia

inglourious_basterds_ver9

Best Supporting Actor: Christoph Waltz – Inglourious Basterds

precious

Best Supporting Actress: Monique – Precious

white_ribbon

Best Foreign Language Film: The White Ribbon (Germany)

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/67th_Golden_Globe_Awards

 

 

64th Golden Globe Awards

64th Golden Globe Awards

Took place on Sunday 15th January 2007 hosted by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association

Golden Globe Winners in The Film Categories:

babel

Best Film Drama – Babel

departed

Best Director: Martin Scorsese – The Departed

dreamgirls

Best Film Musical or Comedy: Dreamgirls

last_king_of_scotland

Best Actor Drama: Forest Whitaker – The Last King of Scotland

The Queen

Best Actress Drama: Helen Mirren – The Queen

borat_ver2

Best Actor Musical or Comedy: Sacha Baron Cohen – Borat

devil_wears_prada

Best Actress Musical or Comedy: Meryl Streep – The Devil Wears Prada

Best Supporting Actor: Eddie Murphy – Dreamgirls

Best Supporting Actress: Jennifer Hudson – Dreamgirls

letters_from_iwo_jima_ver2

Best Foreign Language Film: Letters from Iwo Jima (Japan/USA)

Source:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/64th_Golden_Globe_Awards

Not So Happily Ever After…

Into the Woods

into_the_woods

Director: Rob Marshall

Cast: Anna Kendrick, Emily Blunt, Meryl Streep, James Corden, Chris Pine, Johnny Depp, Tracey Ullman, Christine Baranski, Lucy Punch, Tammy Blanchard, Daniel Huttlestone, Lilla Crawford, Billy Magnussen, Mackenzie Murzy

Memoirs of a Geisha and Chicago director Rob Marshall strikes gold with this cinematic adaptation of the Stephen Sondheim Broadway musical Into The Woods featuring a fabulous ensemble cast made all the better by Meryl Streep playing the meddling Witch.

Imagine Little Red Riding Hood teaming up with Jack the Giant Slayer, Cinderella and a forlorn Rapunzel, that is Into The Woods, a wonderful mixture of all the classic fairy tales thrown together in a delightful musical which is hinged with darkness and loaded with metaphors and familial moral codes about life’s unpredictability.

Director Marshall brings out the best in his cast including a superb performance by Emily Blunt as the barren Bakers Wife along with the irrepressible Meryl Streep as the evil Witch who asks the Baker, played by British actor James Corden to collect Cinderella’s golden slipper, a white cow, a lock of Rapunzel’s hair and a red cape naturally belonging to Red Riding Hood.

Oscar nominee Anna Kendrick (Up in The Air) holds her own as the doomed Cinderella who is wooed by a shameless prince played by Chris Pine (Jack Ryan, Shadow Recruit, Horrible Bosses 2). Cinderella’s evil stepmother is superbly played by Christine Baranski of The Good Wife fame and The Birdcage. Audiences should also watch out for British comedian Tracey Ullman who plays Jack’s exasperated mother. Child stars Daniel Huttlestone and Lilla Crawford are amazing as Jack the Giant Slayer and Little Red Riding Hood.

Three times Oscar winner Meryl Streep reunites with her Devil Wears Prada co-star Emily Blunt, and it is clear that both these actresses keep this wonderful musical firmly rooted in brilliance. Blunt is absolutely amazing, delivering some quick witted lines and belting out some wonderful songs while Streep relishes the chance to play the blue haired vain and selfish Witch who is desperate to reclaim her lost beauty by reversing a curse placed on her. The Witch also incidentally holds her daughter Rapunzel played by Mackenzie Murzy hostage in a tower and much to her horror, has fallen for a young but clumsy prince played by the gorgeous newcomer Billy Magnussen.

Oscar nominee Johnny Depp who was spine chillingly excellent in another Sondheim musical film, Tim Burton’s Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street makes a brief appearance as the cross dressing wolf who terrorizes Little Red Riding Hood.

Even though Into The Woods is aimed at children, there are certainly slightly darker adult undertones to this extraordinary film as unlike the fairy tales, not everyone lives happily ever after. For those that enjoy expertly directed and acted big screen musicals, like Chicago, Les Miserables and Hairspray, then Into The Woods is definitely recommended viewing.

Stephen Sondheim’s Into The Woods is a truly imaginative, witty and fabulous fable sure to enchant both adults and children alike and as a stage production it would be equally extraordinary to watch.

60th Golden Globe Awards

The 60th Golden Globe Awards

Took place on Sunday 19th January 2003 hosted by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association

Golden Globe Winners in The Film Categories:

The hours

Best Film Drama: The Hours

chicago_ver1

Best Film Musical or Comedy: Chicago

about_schmidt

Best Actor Drama: Jack Nicholson – About Schmidt

Best Actress Drama: Nicole Kidman – The Hours

chicago_ver2

Best Actor Musical or Comedy: Richard Gere – Chicago

Best Actress Musical or Comedy: Renee Zellweger – Chicago

gangs_of_new_york_ver4

Best Director: Martin Scorsese – Gangs of New York

adaptation

Best Supporting Actor: Chris Cooper – Adaptation

Best Supporting Actress: Meryl Streep – Adaptation

talk_to_her

Best Foreign Language Film: Talk To Her (Spain)

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/60th_Golden_Globe_Awards

Film Directors & Festivals
Reviews and Awards
Review Calender
June 2019
M T W T F S S
« May    
 12
3456789
10111213141516
17181920212223
24252627282930
  • ‘Parasite’ Wins Sydney Film Festival
    “Parasite,” the South Korean black drama that previously won the Palme d’Or at Cannes, was Sunday named as the winner of the Sydney Film Festival. After collecting a cash prize of A$60,000 ($41,200), at Sydney’s State Theatre, “Parasite” director said: “This Festival is really amazing, especially the audience…really special and extraordinary. This is the most […]
    Patrick Frater
  • Shanghai: China Studio Chiefs Debate Winter Chills and U.S. Rivalry
    The Shanghai International Film Festival pulled off the impressive feat of assembling leading executives from seven of China’s top film studios. Their discussion focused on the problems that have recently beset the production sector and the industry’s relationship with Hollywood. “The film industry achieved great things in 2018, but it was also the year that […]
    Patrick Frater
  • Propaganda Films to Dominate Chinese Theaters in Anniversary Year
    A presentation at the Shanghai International Film Festival on Sunday shed light on the welter of propaganda films that will compete with Hollywood blockbusters for the attention of Chinese cinema goers in the second half of this year. This year is laden with political significance for China’s ruling Communist Party. It is 100 years since […]
    Patrick Frater
  • Tony Leung to Star in Shanghai Film Group’s ‘Fox Hunt’ Police Action Film
    Hong Kong’s Tony Leung Chiu-wai and mainland China’s Duan Yihong will head the cast of the Shanghai Film Group’s upcoming “Fox Hunt.” The film is based on real live events and depicts the activities of Operation Fox Hunt, a worldwide anti-corruption initiative managed by China’s Ministry of Public Security. The operation seeks to find and […]
    Patrick Frater
  • Terence Chang’s ‘Wings Over Everest’ Set to Swell China’s Rescue Film Genre
    “Wings over Everest,” a new action adventure film from veteran producer Terence Chang and “Wolf Warrior 2” producer Lu Jianmin, is poised to join the burgeoning Chinese sub-genre of rescue movies.   The Chinese- and English-language film stars Chinese actress Zhang Jingchu (“Project Gutenberg”; “Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation”), Japanese actor Koji Yakusho (“Babel”; “Memoirs of a […]
    Rebecca Davis
  • 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