Posts Tagged ‘Pierce Brosnan’

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.

Chechen Revenge

November Man

november_man_ver2

Director: Roger Donaldson

Cast: Pierce Brosnan, Luke Bracey, Olga Kurylenko, Bill Smitrovich, Lazar Ritovski, Eliza Taylor, Will Patton, Patrick Kennedy, Caterina Scorsone

Former Bond actor Pierce Brosnan (Die Another Day, Goldeneye) resuscitates the spy genre with former Bond girl Olga Kurylenko (Quantum of Solace) in the convoluted yet sophisticated thriller November Man directed by Australian Roger Donaldson (The Recruit).

As the action moves from a botched assassination in Montenegro by CIA rookie David Mason, played by Australian actor Luke Bracey to Switzerland where retired CIA operative Devereaux is languishing in a café in Lake Lausanne who is soon thrust back into the murky world of Eastern European counter espionage as he has to investigate a rising Russian politician who has been accused of Chechen war crimes.

As the plot unfolds for November Man based upon the novel There are No Spies by Bill Granger Devereaux finds himself in Belgrade, Serbia protecting Alice Fournier played by Kurylenko who was a social worker to a Chechen refugee Mira who witnessed this Russian beaurocrat Arkady Federov played by Lazar Ritovski start a war in Chechnya http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chechnya to extract oil for Russian interests. Except like in most spy novels and never as elegantly told as a John le Carre story, there are numerous twists in this espionage tale.

With November Man, Brosnan still has that muscular gritty edge which got him the part of James Bond back in the mid 1990’s and the dynamic between him and his young CIA protégé Mason played by Bracey (G.I. Joe: Retaliation) makes for interesting and intense viewing, coupled with loads of actions sequences, an unexpectedly high body count and sufficient plot twists which involves a crooked CIA agent and a deadly Russian assassin.

Whilst there are aspects of November Man which are stylistically and logistically questionable, director Donaldson keeps the gritty realist spy genre grounded and evenly paced, similar to the hugely successful Bourne movies. This is Spy Games without the megalomaniacs and lavish liars seen in such films as Moonraker and Tomorrow Never Dies.

This is Brosnan in the autumn of his career in a sort of retired Jack Reacher mode seen in several dubious locations. Let’s face it Belgrade isn’t exactly Venice or Paris, yet Donaldson does make use of the locations in one of Europe’s oldest capital’s especially  tapping into Serbia’s bloody and controversial history as part of the former Yugoslavia which plays well into the Balkan backstory of dodgy Russian politicians committing atrocities in the Caucuses.

Not as slick as the Bourne movies or as glamourous and inventive as the Bond films, but November Man still proves that there is longevity in the spy genre, one in which Hollywood seems to have relinquished.

November Man is recommended viewing for those that like compelling action, lots of violence and an unscrupulous spy game whereby no one appears innocent. Ukrainian beauty Olga Kurylenko is suitably fabulous in her home territory especially in the seduction sequence at a swanky Belgrade hotel.

 

A Hauntingly Lavish Thriller…

The Ghost Writer

ghost_writer_ver3

Director: Roman Polanski

Cast: Pierce Brosnan, Kim Cattrall, Ewan McGregor, Timothy Hutton, Jim Belushi, Olivia Williams, Tom Wilkinson

Polanski’s dark and almost claustrophobic thriller The Ghost Writer adapted from the novel by Robert Harris author of Enigma and Pompeii is an absolute gem reminiscent of his earlier classics like Bitter Moon, Chinatown and the Oscar winning film The Pianist.

Dark and claustrophobic

Balancing a great script with tight directing and creepy use of  stark isolated locations, Polanski keeps the viewer of the Ghost Writer on the edge of their seat.

Highly versatile and underrated Ewan McGregor is wonderfully human as the title character and Olivia Williams shines as the ousted Prime Minister‘s Adam Lang’s wife Ruth with a witty, dark and altogether complex performance which gives tremendous weight to the concept of behind every powerful man lies an equally powerful woman. Pierce Brosnan takes the part of Adam Lang, the Prime Minister with a combination of his charm, ego and slight menace which brought him acclaim in his recent more memorable films Matador and Remember Me.

What is truly thrilling is Polanski’s homage to Alfred Hitchcock making a political and social thriller without compromising on the story and the intricacies of the characters, whilst retaining the claustrophobic atmosphere of a once powerful leader being forced into a lavish exile. Sounds Familiar? As I returned from watching this stunning thriller, Polanski was released from house arrest in Gstaad, Switzerland which is an absolute relief, as it would be a tragedy to keep a filmmaker of this calibre under confinement.

Polanski’s distinctly European perspective on the collusion of Britain and America in foreign wars in the Middle East is his greatest asset  highlighting how a Prime Minister can fall from grace and become a virtual outcast is brilliant in his brittle and subversive vision of how corrupting power and influence can become.

Visually The Ghost Writer is sleek, dark and elegant whilst reminding the viewer that decisions of great international magnitude are often made in secluded locations like Cape Cod or St Andrews far away from the distant nations which will be affected by those choices. For to give the story, location or plot away would be ludicrous, suffice to say… see The Ghost Writer and relish in a masterful director’s return to form with a cinematic homage to the political thriller crackling with suspense, wit and utterly thought-provoking down to the shattering final sequence.

Madhatters to A Single Man…

Alice in Wonderland

Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderlandis clever, unconventional, but essentially not darker enough – although saved by Tweedledum & Tweedledee and the Red Queen… Johnny Depp is wonderful as the Madhatter and Helena Bonham Carter is brilliant as the Red Queen. Anne Hathaway also features as the White Queen along with Mia Wasikowska as Alice Kingsleigh in the titular role.

Ruling Wonderland one Queen at a time!

Ruling Wonderland one Queen at a time!

Remember Me

 

Tower of indestructible Love

Remember Me is surprisingly good although does tend to drag in the 2nd act, but wait for the finale – its a stunner… And as for Robert Pattinson – of course he is brilliant and holds his own in the film amongst such support talents as Pierce Brosnan, Academy Award winner, Chris Cooper (Adaptation) along with Oscar nominee and Swedish born actress Lena Olin (Unbearable Lightness of Being, Enemies: A Love Story). Recommended viewing.

A Single Man

Tom Ford’s luscious and sexy A Single Man is pure cinematic pleasure, every shot is like a Vogue fashion shoot and whilst the supporting cast are to die for, its really Colin Firth’s wonderful and sensitive central performance that lingers long after the lavish final shot!! See it just for the Spaniard in the Phone Booth scene!! Utterly breathtaking… especially Nicholas Hoult as the young and gorgeous Kenny skinny dipping in the Pacific at Midnight. Also starring Matthew Goode and Ginnifer Goodwin.

Lover and the Lush!

Lover and the Lush!

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