Posts Tagged ‘Renee Zellweger’

The Talk of the Town

Judy

Director: Rupert Goold

Cast: Renee Zellweger, Jessie Buckley, Finn Wittrock, Rufus Sewell, Michael Gambon, Richard Cordery, Royce Pierreson, Gemma-Leah Devereux, Darci Shaw, Gus Barry

Film Rating: 8 out of 10

Based on the Stage play by Peter Quilter, End of the Rainbow, director Rupert Goold’s poignant musical drama Judy features a mesmerising performance by Oscar winner Renee Zellweger (Cold Mountain) as Judy Garland in the autumn of her career.

Zellweger transforms herself into Judy Garland as she becomes the film Judy with herself in virtually every scene as she battles with drug addiction and alcoholism in a desperate attempt to revive her flagging musical career in a series of shows in London in the winter of 1968 at a cabaret club in the West End, called The Talk of the Town.

With insightful flashbacks of herself as a young Judy Garland when she became the breakout child star of the 1939 hit Musical The Wizard of Oz for MGM. During this time, the young Judy played by Darci Shaw is under a strict contract by the formidable head of the studio Louis B. Mayer played by Richard Cordery. As a young star she forms an attraction to another young child star Mickey Rooney played Gus Barry. Yet the studio had the young Judy Garland on a stringent diet of appetite suppressants, uppers and downers as she always had to watch her figure, becoming a slave to the merciless studio system which exploited young actors and actresses who were under severe contractual obligations.

Fast forward to 1968, Judy Garland meets the dashing Mickey Deans wonderfully played by Finn Wittrock (Unbroken, The Big Short) at her elder and more famous daughter Liza Minelli’s house party in the Hollywood Hills. Liza is played by Gemma-Leah Devereux.

Judy is having a custody battle over her two younger children with her fourth ex-husband Sid Luft played by Rufus Sewell (Carrington, Gods of Egypt, Hercules). Her financial difficulties force her to take up a Gig in London performing at the glamorous Talk of the Town cabaret venue where she forms a veritable bond with her personal assistant Rosalyn Wilder played by Irish actress Jessie Buckley as Judy belts at some fabulous numbers on a glittering stage.

Psychologically, Judy Garland is dealing with some traumatic emotional issues while always pretending to be a consummate performer. Zellweger expertly gives a nuanced heart-wrenching performance as Judy Garland, a legendary Hollywood star in the autumn of her career who also become a champion for London’s gay community in the 1960’s.

At the centre of Rupert Goold’s film Judy is a staggeringly brilliant performance by Renee Zellweger who definitely deserves another Oscar for her excellent portrayal of a Hollywood icon. In a particularly hilarious scene with a doctor, who asks her what do you take for depression?

Judy candidly replies four ex-husbands!

Judy gets a film rating of 8 out of 10 is highly recommended viewing for those that enjoy films about Hollywood Divas. For those that enjoyed My Week with Marilyn, they will love Judy, a gem of a British film featuring a staggering performance by Renee Zellweger.

Louisiana Legality

The Whole Truth

Director: Courtney Hunt

Cast: Keanu Reeves, Renee Zellweger, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, James Belushi, Gabriel Basso, Jim Klock, Christopher Berry, Ritchie Montgomery

The technique of a voice over in a film normally endears the audience to that particular person or characters point of view.

The voice over is effectively used in director Courtney Hunt Louisiana Legal thriller The Whole Truth starring Keanu Reeves (John Wick, The Devil’s Advocate and Dangerous Liaisons) as hotshot defence attorney Richard Ramsey who is called upon to defend the son of a murder victim, Mike Lassiter played by Gabriel Basso (Super 8). The murder victim is the misogynistic Louisiana lawyer Boone Lassiter played with relish by James Belushi who audiences glimpse in a series of carefully timed flashbacks.

The voice and the character’s viewpoint belongs to Ramsey so immediately audience’s perceptions of guilt and innocence are framed through his skewed and cynical viewpoint.

To add some diversity to an otherwise bland white middle class legal drama is British star Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Belle, Concussion) appearance as Ramsay’s second chair Janelle Brady who is suspicious of the entire legal process, not least of all Ramsay’s close relationship with the defendant’s mother the sultry yet seemingly innocent Loretta Lassiter played with sufficient mystery by Oscar winner Renee Zellweger (Cold Mountain) who is back on the big screen after a hiatus.

Zellweger who has undergone a significant transformation as an actress since her performances in Chicago, Nurse Betty and her recent hits with the Bridget Jones trilogy, plays the battered Southern belle to perfection. While the screen chemistry between Reeves and Zellweger is questionable, The Whole Truth is hardly Body Heat or Basic Instinct, then the film’s startling narrative was never intended to be sexually provocative.

Frozen River director Courtney Hunt is determined to explore all the legal technicalities of a murder trial including undercutting the testimony of eye witnesses and shifting the validity of a clear timeline of events which lead to the horrible Boone Lassiter being stabbed in the heart in the marital bedroom, indicative of a serious crime of passion. It is refreshing to see so many female directors making interesting films these days and The Whole Truth is certainly entertaining with its complex portrayal of Louisiana legalities.

The Whole Truth is a fascinating courtroom drama, with sufficient amounts of twists and allegations to keep fans of legal thrillers guessing right up to the last frame. However, the film does not elevate itself into the realm of a truly remarkable thriller such as Richard Marquand’s The Jagged Edge with Glenn Close and Jeff Bridges or Primal Fear featuring an Oscar worthy turn by Edward Norton as the accused altar boy Aaron.

In the case of Louisiana versus Mike Lassiter, Keanu Reeves’s voice over as the slimy lawyer Richard Ramsey lulls audiences into a false sense of justice.

The Whole Truth gets a film rating of 7 out of 10 elevated by a notable performance by Gabriel Basso as the illustrative accused Mike Lassiter. Fans of courtroom dramas will certainly enjoy this American thriller set in St Bernard’s Parish near New Orleans.

Overdue but worth the wait

Bridget Jones’ Baby

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Director: Sharon Maguire

Cast: Renee Zellweger, Colin Firth, Patrick Dempsey, Gemma Jones, Jim Broadbent, Emma Thompson, Julian Rhind-Tutt, Joanna Scanlan, Sarah Solemani, Celia Imrie

Oscar winner Renee Zellweger (Cold Mountain) after a six year screen absence reprises her role of Bridget Jones in the third instalment of the hit film franchise, simply entitled Bridget Jones’ Baby. The first two films were based on the bestselling novels by Helen Fielding. Zellweger tackles her role of Bridget Jones with familiar vigour and she is joined onscreen for continuity purposes by Oscar winner Colin Firth (The King’s Speech) as uptight London lawyer Mark Darcy and new comer Patrick Dempsey as dating expert Jack Qwaint.

Zellweger and Firth have matured as actors which is evident onscreen, for the best scenes in Bridget Jones’ Baby is shared between them.

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Bridget Jones finds herself at 43, working as a TV assistant producer for a zany London talk show which is being threatened by a group millennials. She begins to question whether she will ever have a baby, because let’s face it her biological clock is ticking. Never fear!

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With the help of her new best friend the naughty TV host Miranda, wonderfully played by Sarah Solemani, Bridget Jones soon lands up having amorous relationships first with Jack at a music festival which strongly resembles Glastonbury, shorty followed by a similar sexy scene where Jones and Darcy rekindle their much repressed love for each other at a Christening of a mutual friends baby.

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As per the film’s title, Bridget Jones soon finds herself knocked up but not quite sure who the father is. Enter a delightful cameo by Emma Thompson as her droll doctor who plays along for the sake of decency.

Bridget Jones also has to break the news of her pregnancy to her parents. Her mother who is running for some minor political office is superbly played by Gemma Jones and her father once again played by Oscar winner Jim Broadbent (Iris) is naturally supportive of his daughter carrying their first grandchild despite her not quite knowing who the father is.

I would be lying if Bridget Jones’ Baby is not aimed at a female audience, as the primary narrative in the film is about the main characters pregnancy and her impending birth, as well as trying to survive the pregnancy with the help of two potential fathers who naturally see themselves as rivals. There is a hilarious scene when Bridget Jones has to be rushed to the hospital only to eventually be carried by both of them, Mark Darcy and Jack Qwaint.

With the help of a delightfully witty script, director Sharon Maguire does justice to the Bridget Jones franchise even leaving the possibility open for a fourth film since Jones’ other main suitor the devilishly handsome Daniel Cleaver who was played by Hugh Grant in the first two films is feared dead, but body yet to be recovered…

Whilst the first half of Bridget Jones’ Baby is fun and quirky, with lots of hilarious moments, the second half does drag a bit, which was done intentionally so that the audiences could appreciate the baby when he finally arrives. Essentially, Bridget Jones’ Baby is highly recommended viewing, and should be a hit with the gang of book club ladies both young and old who seemed to pack the cinemas, shifting the film to number one at the box office.

57th BAFTA Awards

THE  57TH BAFTA AWARDS /

THE BRITISH ACADEMY FILM AWARDS

Took place on Sunday 15th February 2004 in London

BAFTA WINNERS IN THE FILM CATEGORY:

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Best Film:  The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

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Best Director: Peter Weir – Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World

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Best Actor: Bill Murray – Lost in Translation

Best Actress: Scarlett Johansson – Lost in Translation

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Best Supporting Actor: Bill Nighy – Love Actually

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Best Supporting Actress: Renée Zellweger – Cold Mountain

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Best British Film: Touching the Void

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Best Original Screenplay: The Station Agent – Thomas McCarthy

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Best Adapted Screenplay: The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King – Philippa BoyensPeter Jackson, and Fran Walsh

Best Visual Effects: The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

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Best Foreign Language Film: In This World directed by Michael Winterbottom

57th BAFTA Awards

 

61st Golden Globe Awards

The 61st Golden Globe Awards

Took place on Sunday 25th January 2004 hosted by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association

Golden Globe Winners in The Film Categories:

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Best Film Drama: The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

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Best Film Musical or Comedy : Lost in Translation

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Best Actor Drama: Sean Penn – Mystic River

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Best Actress Drama: Charlize Theron – Monster

Best Actor Musical or Comedy: Bill Murray – Lost in Translation

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Best Actress  Musical or Comedy: Diane Keaton – Something’s Gotta Give

Best Supporting Actor: Tim Robbins – Mystic River

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Best Supporting Actress: Renee Zellweger – Cold Mountain

Best Director: Peter Jackson – The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

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Best Foreign Language Film – Osama (Afghanistan)

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/61st_Golden_Globe_Awards

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

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Best Film Musical or Comedy: Chicago

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Best Actor Drama: Jack Nicholson – About Schmidt

Best Actress Drama: Nicole Kidman – The Hours

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Best Actor Musical or Comedy: Richard Gere – Chicago

Best Actress Musical or Comedy: Renee Zellweger – Chicago

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Best Director: Martin Scorsese – Gangs of New York

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Best Supporting Actor: Chris Cooper – Adaptation

Best Supporting Actress: Meryl Streep – Adaptation

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Best Foreign Language Film: Talk To Her (Spain)

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

58th Golden Globe Awards

The 58th Golden Globe Awards

Took place on Sunday 21st January 2001 by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association

Golden Globe Winners in The Film Categories:

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Best Film Drama: Gladiator

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Best Actor Drama: Tom Hanks – Cast Away

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Best Actress Drama: Julia Roberts – Erin Brockovich

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Best Director: Ang Lee – Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

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Best Supporting Actor – Benicio del Toro – Traffic

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Best Supporting Actress – Kate Hudson – Almost Famous

Best Film Musical/Comedy: Almost Famous

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Best Actor Musical/ Comedy: George Clooney – O Brother, Where Art Thou?

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Best Actress Musical / Comedy – Renee Zellweger – Nurse Betty

Best Foreign Language Film – Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (Taiwan)

76th Academy Awards

76th Academy Awards

29th February 2004

Oscar Winners at the 76th Academy Awards

 lord_of_the_rings_the_return_of_the_king

Best Picture: Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

Best Director: Peter JacksonLord of the Rings: The Return of the King

mystic_river

Best Actor: Sean Penn – Mystic River

monster

Best Actress: Charlize Theron – Monster

Best Supporting Actor: Tim Robbins – Mystic River

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Best Supporting Actress: Renee Zellweger – Cold Mountain

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Best Original Screenplay: Sofia Coppola – Lost in Translation

Best Adapted Screenplay: Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh & Philippa Boynes – Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

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Best Foreign Language Film: The Barbarian Invasions directed by Denys Arcand– (Canada)

Best Documentary Feature: The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara by Errol Williams and Michael Williams

Best Original Score:  Howard Shore – Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

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Best Cinematography: Russel Boyd – Master and Commander: The Far Side of The World

Best Costume Design: Ngila Dickson and Richard Taylor – Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

Best Film Editing: Jamie Selkirk – Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

Best Visual Effects – Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/76th_Academy_Awards

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