Posts Tagged ‘Vera Farmiga’

Invasive Species

Godzilla II: King of the Monsters

Director: Michael Dougherty

Cast: Kyle Chandler, Vera Farmiga, Millie Bobby Brown, Sally Hawkins, Ken Watanabe, Bradley Whitford, Charles Dance, Thomas Middleditch, Ziyi Zhang (The Grandmaster, The House of Flying Daggers, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) , C. C. H. Pounder (Baghdad Cafe), Anthony Ramos, O’Shea Jackson Jr

Director Michael Dougherty’s Godzilla II: King of the Monsters should be viewed within the same context as Legendary pictures predecessor films Gareth Edwards’s 2014 film Godzilla and director Jordan Vogt-Roberts Kong: Skull Island

Returning to the cast are scientists Dr Ishiro Serizawa and Dr Vivienne Graham played by Oscar nominee’s Ken Watanabe (The Last Samurai) and Sally Hawkins (The Shape of Water).

Amidst the re-emergence of Godzilla and the global threat of his fellow titans, a selection of invasive species called Mothra, Rodan and the three headed dragon Ghidorah, there is the familial conflict of the Russell family. There is the father Mark played by Kyle Chandler (Argo, Super 8, First Man) and estranged wife Dr Emma Russell played by Oscar nominee Vera Farmiga (Up in the Air) and their beloved daughter Madison played by Stranger Things star Millie Bobby Brown.

As Dr Russell and Madison are captured by the ruthless Jonah Alan played by Charles Dance (White Mischief), Mark Russell with the help of crypto-zoological agency Monarch scientists to unleash Godzilla who is released to fight Ghidorah from the plains of Mexico to the fiery urban landscape of contemporary Boston, Massachusetts.

If viewers are Monster movie fans, then Godzilla II: King of the Monsters is sure to satisfy them with amazing production design and dazzling visual effects as the primordial clash of the titans begins.

Also in the cast are Thomas Middleditch (The Wolf of Wall Street, Kong: Skull Island) as Sam Coleman, Oscar nominee David Strathairn (Good Night, and Good Luck) as Admiral William Stenz who is hell bent on launching nuclear firepower at the Titans to save the earth from being ravaged by monsters.

Other supporting cast members include C.C.H. Pounder from Avatar, Anthony Ramos (A Star is Born), Bradley Whitford (The Post) and Chinese superstar Ziyi Zhang from such classic films as The Grandmaster, The House of Flying Daggers and Ang Lee’s Oscar winning film Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.

As far as plot goes, Godzilla II: King of the Monsters is basically a family drama about the Russell’s as parents fight each other for custody of Madison superbly played by Millie Bobby Brown framed within a larger war between enormous monsters including the trustworthy Godzilla as he battles Mothra, Rodan and the three-headed dragon Ghidorah who likes to devastate cities like the Dragons in the HBO series Game of Thrones.

Godzilla II: King of the Monsters gets a film rating of 7 out of 10 and is extremely enjoyable for those that love monster movies as this cinematic piece is jam packed with crazy beasts ravaging the earth, which serves as an allegorical tale of the unprecedented effects of climate change on this planet.

2014 Toronto Film Festival

2014 Toronto International Film Festival Winners

TIFF2014_poster

Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) takes place every year in September in Toronto, Canada.

Films which premiere at Toronto are often nominated for Academy Awards the following year.

TIFF does not hand out individual prizes for Best Actor or Actress but focuses on amongst others the following awards:
People’s Choice Award & Best Canadian Feature Film

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Opening Night Film: The Judge directed by David Dobkin starring Robert Downey Jr, Robert Duvall, Dax Shepard, Billy Bob Thornton, Vera Farmiga, Vincent D’Onofrio

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People’s Choice Award: The Imitation Game directed by Morten Tyldum starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightley, Matthew Goode, Mark Strong, Charles Dance, Tom Goodman-Hill

Best Canadian Feature Film: Bang Bang Baby directed by Jeffrey St. Jules starring Jane Levy, Peter Stormare and Justin Chatwin.

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No One is Safe in the Mother City

Safe House

Rogue agents run riot in Cape Town

Taking its cue largely from the Bourne Trilogy and heavily influenced by the filmic style of Paul Greengrass who directed United 93 and The Bourne Supremacy, Safe House pairs a superb Denzel Washington with Ryan Reynolds in a gritty CIA Action thriller set mainly in and around Cape Town. Washington plays hard-edged rogue agent Tobin Frost who after escaping a shootout in downtown Cape Town, calmly walks into the American consulate seeking refuge. Reminiscent of Denzel Washington’s Oscar winning role in Training Day, this is a similar story of an experienced agent teaching a young junior level CIA officer all the tricks of the murky world of international espionage, replacing the Los Angeles crime world for the counter-espionage exotic Cape Town while Reynolds in his first action-role since the luke-warm super hero film Green Lantern is surprisingly brilliant as Matt Weston, stationed in Cape Town and whose primary job is to run a covert CIA safe house in the middle of the Mother City.

Safe House directed by Swedish born director Daniel Espinosa is a gritty, violent and action-packed edge of your seat thriller with some stunning car chases and even more daring and bloody fight scenes notably in the Greenpoint Stadium and Langa township sequences.

Providing counterbalance to the action occurring in a foreign city, is the scenes at Langley, Virginia, CIA headquarters with Oscar Nominee Vera Farmiga playing Catherine Linklater and Weston’s boss, David Barlow played by Brendan Gleesan who both head down to the Western Cape, South Africa to try and catch up with the rogue agent and his younger guardian, while the intelligence boss played by Sam Shepard remains set on containing  the truth.

The film style is realistic, gritty and tinged with a murky tone, influenced by The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo Swedish version painting the usually glamourous Cape Town as a shady international city filled with foreign operatives from dodgy Nicaraguans to rogue MI6 agents, but definitely highlighting the city’s strategic importance on the global stage.

The pairing of Washington and Reynolds works beautifully and the latter holds his own as an ambitious CIA agent who is eager to achieve his own ambitions, whether by force or deceit. Worth watching!

Dead Man’s Dilemma

Source Code

Fragments of Reality Exploding

Director Duncan Jones and son of Eighties Rock Icon David Bowie has expanded his horizon from his debut film Moon, a sci-fi thriller starring Sam Rockwell as multiple versions of himself, stranded on a remote space ship controlled by a omniscient computer, voiced with enviable calm by Kevin Spacey to Source Code starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Michelle Monaghan and Vera Farmiga, a parallel universe thriller set in the 21st century heart of America, ever threatened by eminent terrorist attacks.

Unlike Moon, Source Code is grounded in reality, contemporary Chicago where a passenger train bound for the city centre is about to explode. Gyllenhaal plays US Army Helicopter pilot Captain Colter Stevens who is transported into another man’s body with only 8 minutes left to live and he must find a way of discovering the identity of the bomber who is on board and gets off at the station prior to the blast.

Using the framework of parallel universes, quantum physics and covert government departments, Source Code is an ingenious thriller about the effects of transporting an unwilling hero into the mind of a man eight minutes before he dies, not once but several time, opening up several different versions of a similar, yet slightly different reality. Like in Moon, the central character Colter is disconnected from the outside world not only physically but also psychologically and is being controlled by a force far greater than his own willpower.

Vera Farmiga last seen in Up in the Air makes a welcome appearance on screen as the controller Goodwin, who is faced not only with the ethics of the military experiment but the impact it will have on altering the course of the future using the deeply confused anti-hero. Colter, played by a wide eyed Gyllenhaal is predictably brilliant drawing on his previous role in Jarhead, while it is the ever surprising Jeffrey Wright as Dr Rutledge who is elegant, insidious and morally blunted by the ethical consequences of his own experiment, who only recognizes the source code’s true potential.

See Source Code not only for its varied scenarios of the same terrorist situation reminiscent of the hideous and very real Madrid train bombs that occurred in March 2003 but for the film’s ingenuous probing of the  core dilemma of using a dying man’s functioning brain in the last moments of his conscious life.

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