Posts Tagged ‘Vanessa Kirby’

Intimate Portrayal Of Loss

Pieces of a Woman

Director: Kornel Mundruczo

Cast: Vanessa Kirby, Ellen Burstyn, Shia LaBeouf, Sarah Snook, Benny Saldie, Iliza Shlesinger, Molly Parker

This film is only available on the streaming service Netflix

Hungarian director Kornel Mundruczo’s immersive portrayal of a mother giving birth is the spell bounding opening scene of Pieces of a Woman which premiered at the 2020 Venice International Film Festival in which its star the supremely talented Vanessa Kirby walked away with the Best Actress prize at Venice.

Pieces of a Woman is brilliantly acted and beautifully directed.

The Emmy nominated star of The Crown, Vanessa Kirby is amazing as the pregnant Martha, an affluent young woman who decides along with her partner Sean wonderfully played with trapped aggression by Shia LaBeouf (Fury, Charlie Countryman) to have a home birth with the assistance of a midwife Eva played by House of Cards star Molly Parker. This controversial scene was shot with minimal editing and is graphic, visually impressive and holds the emotional crux of this film together.

Director Kornel Mundruczo cleverly uses a cinematic metaphor of a bridge being built over the Charles River in Boston, Massachusetts, which is in fact the bridge that construction foreman Sean is working on before his life completely unravels.

To add more emotional depth to the film, legendary and Oscar winning actress Ellen Burstyn (Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore) is cast as Martha’s wealthy and controlling mother Elizabeth. The confrontational scene at the end of the film between Burstyn and Kirby is electrifying and a master class in screen acting.

Kirby tautly presents an intimate portrayal of loss, of a woman who gives birth and then loses everything and how her male partner and family react in different ways to this unprecedented tragedy. Vanessa Kirby’s nuanced and deeply complex approach to such a challenging portrayal of a woman will definitely earn her Golden Globe and Oscar buzz during the 2021 awards season.

Ellen Burstyn is equally superb as the mother Elizabeth who watches her daughter disintegrate emotionally and thinks that money and legal justice is the only solution to assuage the guilt and loss.

Succession star Sarah Snook has a brief role as a callous Boston lawyer who becomes too involved in Martha and Sean’s legal case. Pieces of a Woman is a superb film, beautifully written and absolutely riveting, an intelligent insight into a deeply taboo subject matter, which has not been tackled frequently in world cinema.

Pieces of a Woman gets a film rating of 8 out of 10 and is highly recommended but not for sensitive viewers.

The Snowflake Effect

Hobbs & Shaw

Director: David Leitch

Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, Vanessa Kirby, Idris Elba, Helen Mirren, Ryan Reynolds, Kevin Hart, Cliff Curtis

Deadpool 2 and Atomic Blonde director David Leitch returns with a sure fire blockbuster, a spin off from the Fast and Furious franchise Hobbs and Shaw.

(from left) Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) and Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham) in Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw, directed by David Leitch.

Lawmaker Luke Hobbs played by Dwayne Johnson and British bouncer Deckard Shaw played by Jason Statham team up on an unlikely mission to save the world from a deadly virus and a crazy cyber-genetically altered superhuman wonderfully played by Idris Elba (Thor: Ragnarok, Molly’s Game, The Mountain Between Us) who is after Deckard’s feisty sister Hattie played by Vanessa Kirby (Mission Impossible: Fallout) and proves to be a muscular and worthy villain for Hobbs and Shaw.

Idris Elba as Brixton Lorr in Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw, directed by David Leitch.

As the action moves swiftly from the sleek skyscrapers of London’s financial district to Moscow and then for a more exotic finale in Samoa, Hobbs and Shaw ticks all the right boxes to ensure that this is an entertaining action packed ballbuster with an outlandish plot, some witty one liners mostly provided by cameo appearances by Kevin Hart and Ryan Reynolds.

Dwayne Johnson as Luke Hobbs in Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw, directed by David Leitch.

The action is crazy, the stunts are amazing and as Hobbs and Shaw and Hattie desperately try to stop the spread of a deadly virus aptly known as The Snowflake effect which will kill the world’s population within 72 hours of going airborne, they get some hefty help from the entire island of Samoa lead by Luke Hobbs’s crazy brother Jonah.

Vanessa Kirby as Hattie Shaw in Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw, directed by David Leitch.

There are even guest appearances by Oscar winner Helen Mirren as Deckard’s mother Queenie looking absolutely ravishing even though she is stuck behind bars in a British prison and New Zealand actor Cliff Curtis (Colombiana, Die Hard 4.0, Whale Rider) plays Hobbs’s older brother Jonah who gathers the troops for the final Samoan showdown.

(from left) Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson), Brixton Lorr (Idris Elba) and Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham) in Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw, directed by David Leitch.

Let’s face it with Hollywood superstars Jason Statham and Dwayne Johnson in an buddy action movie, it’s sure to be a blockbuster and judging by how fill the cinema was on a Saturday matinee, Hobbs and Shaw is recommended for all those Fast and Furious fans who love fast cars, action and some damn funny one liners.

Recommended viewing, Hobbs and Shaw gets a Film Rating of 7 out of 10.

Please note all further film images are provided courtesy of United International Pictures

Of Your Best Intentions

Mission Impossible: Fallout

Director: Christopher McQuarrie

Cast: Tom Cruise, Henry Cavill, Sean Harris, Rebecca Ferguson, Vanessa Kirby, Simon Pegg, Ving Rhames, Wes Bentley, Michelle Monaghan, Angela Bassett, Frederick Schmidt

If the formula works, stick to it. Better yet, embellish on it and make it superb. If this is the maxim that brought superstar Tom Cruise to work again with writer director of Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation, then it proves that it works in the highly thrilling adrenaline fuelled sequel Mission Impossible: Fallout set mainly in London and Paris.

Cleverly bringing elements of the original 1996 Mission Impossible, the tightly controlled script adds some new characters in the form of the gorgeous blond femme fatale White Widow wonderfully played with suitable panache by The Crown star Vanessa Kirby who plays the daughter of the elusive espionage facilitator Max, played by Vanessa Redgrave in the original Mission Impossible.

Simon Pegg, Ving Rhames and Michelle Monaghan reunite with Tom Cruise once again reprising his role as the IMF agent Ethan Hunt in a convoluted double crossing narrative in which arch enemy Solomon Lane played by Sean Harris is extracted in a daring sequence on the Parisian streets.

Newcomer to the franchise is Henry Cavill (The Man from U.N.C.L.E) as CIA assassin August Walker who brings a whole new level of male rivalry in the testosterone fueled action sequences containing Walker and Hunt.

Rebecca Ferguson returns as the lethal Ilsa Faust who is moonlighting as a Mi6 agent but secretly helping Ethan Hunt and his team.

From a spectacular rave sequence in Paris to the exteriors of The Tate Modern in London, Mission Impossible Fallout is a brilliant, gritty action film which proves that the combination of McQuarrie as writer and director and Tom Cruise as star is a winning formula.

Unbelievable helicopter stunts over Kashmir and a chase sequence in Paris, makes Mission Impossible: Fallout a must see action films especially recommended for fans of Rogue Nation and Ghost Protocol.

Ethan Hunt’s best intentions fallout as everything goes south literally in this superb sixth installment of the hugely successfully spy series.

Highly recommended viewing and possibly one of the best so far, Mission Impossible Fallout gets a film rating of 9 out of 10.

 

 

Heir Apparent

Me Before You

me_before_you

Director: Thea Sharrock

Cast: Sam Claflin, Emilia Clarke, Janet McTeer, Charles Dance, Stephen Peacocke, Brendan Coyle, Jenna Coleman, Joanna Lumley, Vanessa Kirby, Matthew Lewis, Ben Lloyd-Hughes, Lily Travers

Jojo Moyes’s heart-breaking romantic novel Me Before You was a hit among ladies book clubs around the English speaking world and possibly beyond. So it was inevitable that a big screen version of the celebrated novel should appear. Stage director turned film director Thea Sharrock does a reasonably good job of directing the film version with help from the author who also wrote the screenplay.

It also helps that the two main leads, Emilia Clarke and Sam Claflin are so likable in this film, otherwise Me Before You would never have worked. Ironically both actors are known for appearing in big franchise movies and TV shows. Claflin for his role in the Hunger Games trilogy and more surprisingly Emilia Clarke for her portrayal of Queen of Dragons in the hit HBO series Game of Thrones.

Joining the cast is another Game of Thrones star, British character actor Charles Dance (White Mischief) who plays Will Traynor’s father Stephen and Oscar nominee Janet McTeer (Albert Nobbs) as his mother Camilla.

#LiveBoldly

Me Before You centres on the tragic but fascinating tale of a wealthy corporate raider Will Traynor who is completely paralysed in a freak motorbike accident in central London. The once athletic and daredevil Traynor in the prime of his life has his mobility completed shattered and lands up becoming a quadriplegic. A devastating blow for his upper class affluent parents who see him as eventually inheriting the family estate which includes a castle.

On the other end of the economic scale, is the quirky and fun Louisa Clark who we first glimpse working as a waitress in a tea shop in a small town in England. Clark as she becomes known in the film, is superbly portrayed by Emilia Clarke, a positive and big hearted girl who soon becomes the carer of the selfish and arrogant Will Traynor who is sullen and angry at life’s cruellest blow.

What transpires in Me Before You is a remarkable love story without the desire of two young people who are both caught at pivotal points in their lives. The emotional arc of the film rests on how both Will and Clarke grow through their shared time together despite the dreaded intention of Will to consider euthanasia in a remote Swiss clinic.

Me Before You is a tearjerker of note, a heartfelt romantic drama which will certainly not leave a dry eye in the house. The film is ably assisted by some nuanced turns by a range of supporting actors including Downton Abbey’s Brendan Coyle as Louisa’s father Brendan Clark and the handsome physiotherapist Nathan played by Stephen Peacocke (Whiskey Tango Foxtrot).

Naturally as Will’s parents Camilla and Stephen, Janet McTeer and Charles Dance do a superb job of both conveying emotional support and regret at the terrible fate which has happened to their only son, the heir apparent to the Traynor fortune.

However, Me Before You really belongs to Emilia Clarke who lights up every scene with her delightful sensitivity as she portrays Louisa Clark to perfection, the carer that ultimately falls in love with her patient.

This beautifully shot romance is highly recommended viewing, a lighter more British version of Julian Schnabel’s superb film The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. Audiences should look out for a brief but amusing cameo by Joanna Lumley as she channels Patsy from Ab Fab in a touching wedding scene.

 

Look Homeward, Angel

Genius

genius

Director: Michael Grandage

Cast: Colin Firth, Jude Law, Nicole Kidman, Laura Linney, Guy Pierce, Dominic West, Vanessa Kirby

Jude Law reunites with his Cold Mountain co-star Nicole Kidman and shares the screen with Oscar winner Colin Firth (The King’s Speech) in actor turned director Michael Grandage’s handsome literary film, Genius which premiered at the 37th Durban International Film Festival – http://www.durbanfilmfest.co.za/

Genius is based upon the biography of Max Perkins written by A. Scott Berg and transformed into an enlightening screenplay by John Logan.

Set in New York in the late 1920’s and on the brink of the Great Depression, Colin Firth gives a measured and subtle performance as the literary editor Max Perkins who has to contend with the overzealous and brilliant Carolingian writer Thomas Wolfe wonderfully played by Jude Law (The Talented Mr Ripley) who has written a masterpiece, Look Homeward, Angel but needs the editing skills of the diligent Max Perkins to edit the text into a readable novel.

Perkins was responsible for editing the literary works of Ernest Hemingway played in this film by Dominic West (Testament of Youth) and F. Scott Fitzgerald post his Parisian phase, played by Guy Pearce (L.A. Confidential). Genius is the examination of a male bond and friendship which strikes up between the reserved and slightly conservative Perkins and the wild and exuberant Thomas Wolfe, whose patronage is supported by the jealous and possessive Aline Bernstein superbly played by Nicole Kidman (The Hours).

Genius is about the evolution of a literary text, from creation through editing to publication, and how that process can be fraught with distraction, despair and most importantly passion.

Perkins neglects his long suffering wife Louise played by Oscar nominee Laura Linney (Kinsey, Mr Holmes) and his family of daughters. Perkins unwittingly and perhaps subconsciously finds solace in the male friendship of the erratic and gifted Thomas Wolfe, although their affection for each other borders upon the homo-erotic, which both Aline and Louise can perceive and are certainly threatened by.

Firth wears a hat for the majority of the film and only at the end of Genius after he admits his true feelings for the incorrigible Wolfe, does he take it off. Perkin’s hat serves as a signifier of conformity in the film, despite the raging modernist and Bloomsbury movement which was engulfing Paris and London at the times. New York was still fairly conservative by European standards especially as the full effects of the Great Depression are realized by American society.

Despite an Oscar worthy cast and ambitious literary intentions, Genius is not a superb film in the same vein that The Hours was or Christopher Hampton’s Carrington, yet it is worth watching and would appeal to audiences who possess sophisticated literary tastes.

Nevertheless with polished production values, and brilliant performances by Jude Law and Nicole Kidman, Genius is an informative portrayal of a hugely talented writer Thomas Wolfe who never quite achieved the same international posthumous recognition as F. Scott Fitzgerald or Ernest Hemingway.

Genius is recommended viewing and certainly a reason to rediscover the literary works of Wolfe who wrote Look Homeward, Angel  and Of Time and The River.

Sources: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Wolfe

Film Directors & Festivals
Reviews and Awards
Review Calender
January 2021
M T W T F S S
 123
45678910
11121314151617
18192021222324
25262728293031
  • BBC Studios Takes Outright Ownership of ‘End Of The F***ing World’ Producer Clerkenwell
    BBC Studios has increased its investment in “The End of the F***ing World” producer Clerkenwell Films, becoming an outright owner with a 100% stake. Founded in 1998 by Murray Ferguson, Clerkenwell Films is one of the leading scripted producers in the U.K. The outfit produced “The End of the F***ing World” for Netflix and the […]
    Naman Ramachandran
  • Subscription Video Surging in Indonesia, Research Shows
    Indonesia, one of the world’s least-penetrated large media markets, is finally tuning in to subscription video services. The total number of paying subscriptions has reached seven million, according to new research. According to new data from consultancy and research firm Media Partners Asia, paying subscriptions surged from 3.4 million to 7 million in the four […]
    Patrick Frater
  • ‘Margrete – Queen of the North’ Teaser, Poster Unveiled by REinvent, SF Studios (EXCLUSIVE)
    Nordic production and distribution powerhouse SF Studios and sales agency REinvent International Sales have revealed a sneak peek of Charlotte Sieling’s epic period drama “Margrete – Queen of the North,” starring Trine Dyrholm, a Berlin Silver Bear winner for best actress with Thomas Vinterberg’s “The Commune.” Dyrholm, whose credits also include Susanne Bier’s Oscar winner […]
    elskes
  • Global TV Players Poised for COVID Rebound as Streaming Boom Revs Content Marketplace
    The global television marketplace has come through an unprecedented 18-month period of moving and shaking as the structural shift to direct-to-consumer streaming collided head-on with pandemic lockdown conditions around the world. As the industry regroups for 2021 and gathers this week for the annual NATPE conference, held in virtual form this year, the largest U.S.-based […]
    Cynthia Littleton
  • ‘Lupin’ Will Be Seen By 70 Million Subscribers, Netflix Claims
    Netflix’s French original “Lupin” is the streamer’s latest international hit, and poised to pull in eye-watering numbers for the service. The SVOD giant projects that the clever Omar Sy-fronted crime caper will be watched by 70 million members within its first 28 days on the platform. The drama launched on Friday and has already nabbed […]
    msravindran
  • 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