Posts Tagged ‘Caroline Goodall’

Have a AAA Day

The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard

Director: Patrick Hughes

Cast: Ryan Reynolds, Salma Hayek, Samuel L. Jackson, Antonio Banderas, Frank Grillo, Morgan Freeman, Richard E. Grant, Tom Hopper, Caroline Goodall, Rebecca Front

It’s always good to get the same director and writer back for the sequel. In this case director Patrick Hughes reunites with screenwriter Tom O’Connor for the even crazier sequel to 2017’s The Hitman’s Bodyguard with 2021’s The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard reuniting the cast of the original: Ryan Reynolds, Salma Hayek and Samuel L. Jackson who star in what is best described as a globetrotting action movie on speed.

If viewers need pure and unadulterated escapism, then get to the cinema now and watch The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard with a supporting cast that includes Oscar winner Morgan Freeman (Million Dollar Baby) as Reynold’s character Michael Bryce’s mentor Senior and Oscar nominee Antonio Banderas (Pain and Glory) as the evil Greek Villain Aristotle Papadopoulos.

This crazy foul-mouthed action films starts off with Michael Bryce having therapy for his trauma after realizing that he is a failed bodyguard and then soon Bryce is reunited with Sonia Kincaid, played with a mad cap brilliance by Salma Hayek on the Italian resort island of Capri. Sonia is desperate to find her estranged hitman husband the equally foul-mouthed and violent Darius Kincade played by Samuel L. Jackson who had no trouble reprising this role.

The violence and mayhem inducing trio are soon recruited by an Interpol agent Bobby O’Neil wonderfully played by the macho Italian-American actor Frank Grillo (The Grey, Captain America and the Winter Soldier) to stop psycho Greek shipping tycoon Papadopoulos played with a lavish sophistication by Banderas who is intent on destroying Europe’s complex digital infrastructure, causing the EU economy to collapse.

The action in this film is completely over the top, punctuated by some really cool plot points such as the continually battered Michael Bryce sending voice notes to his future self, wishing him a AAA day.

As the outlandish story jet sets around Italy from Portofino to Florence to Rome, the action sequences are crazy and unoriginal, even borrowing an exact series of action scenes from The Spy who Loved Me.

Besides the bad language and often incoherent script, the only other highlight are the brief scenes that Hayek and Banderas share together reigniting their blazing screen presence first developed in their 1995 film Desperado directed by Mexican director Robert Rodriguez. Then of course there is the ultra-funny Ryan Reynolds who is hilarious as the bruised Michael Bryce who appears to survive every assassination attempt under the Tuscan sun.

Catch this crazy spy spoof The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard only in cinemas now which gets a film rating of 6.5 out of 10. This is classic Millennium studio content which sells box office tickets and attracts the big stars to their action adventure films.

Outback Red is Back in Fashion

The Dressmaker

dressmaker

Director: Jocelyn Moorhouse

Cast: Kate Winslet, Judy Davis, Liam Hemsworth, Hugo Weaving, Caroline Goodall, Sarah Snook, Kerry Fox, James Mackay

Australian director Jocelyn Moorhouse (How to Make an American Quilt) returns to form in this hilarious and bitter-sweet black comedy The Dressmaker combining the talents of Oscar winner Kate Winslet (The Reader) and Oscar nominee Judy Davis (A Passage to India, Husbands and Wives) in a story about Tilly Dunnage who returns to the Australian outback to avenge the townsfolk who sent her packing when she was 10 years old, blaming her for the death of a young boy.

The Dressmaker is The Scarlett Letter with style, as Winslet delivers a fabulous performance as the tenacious dressmaker Tilly Dunnage who returns to Dungatar, Australia in the earlier 1950’s after a sojourn in Europe’s fashion capitals to look after her mother, Mad Molly Dunnage, wonderfully played by Judy Davis. The onscreen chemistry between Winslett and Davis makes this tale of sweet revenge crackle with delight and is a testament to a brilliant stroke of casting.

The male leads are played by Australian actors Liam Hemsworth (Paranoia, Empire State, The Hunger Games trilogy) and Hugo Weaving recapturing some of that cross dressing glamour which he become so famous for in Priscilla, Queen of the Desert as the closeted cop Horatio Farrat.

dressmaker_ver3

Based upon the novel by Rosalie Ham, The Dressmaker is a brilliant and biting black comedy about the drawbacks of small town life: ignorance and the dangers of gossip as a weapon of exclusion.

Tilly Dunnage, always looking absolutely gorgeous despite being in the dusty Australian outback, slowly wins the hearts of the female population of the small town as she becomes a prized dressmaker transforming the plain grocer’s daughter Gertrude Pratt into a gorgeous visionary now known as Trudy.

As Tilly manages to re-establish a bond with her mad mother Molly, she also befriends the local hunk Teddy McSwiney played by Hemsworth and in one hilarious scene she even has to take his measurements for a new suit while he stands shirtless in front of Tilly and her mad mother.

With artistic references to Sunset Boulevard and South Pacific, The Dressmaker is an absolute gem of a film, a wicked black comedy which truly shows Winslet in her most glamorous role to date, taking on the town and correcting the wrongs of the past. Judy Davis is brilliant as the mad mother Molly who confronts her own demons in a town which has long since cursed her.

The rest of the cast include Sarah Snook as the fickle Gertrude Pratt, Kerry Fox (Shallow Grave) as the evil Beulah Harridiene, Caroline Goodall as the pushy mother Elsbeth and the dashing James Mackay as the eligible William Beaumont.

The Dressmaker is highly recommended viewing, a superb and fashionable way to spend two hours and indulge in all the antics of a small town drama filled with mystery, panache and revenge.

 

Eternal Portrait of Vanity and Decay

Oscar Wilde’s novella The Picture of Dorian Gray published in the summer of 1890 marked the age of aestheticism in the declining years of Victorian England. Wilde at the time of publication wrote `To become a work of art is the object of living’.

A Decaying Image but an Eternal work of Art

In Dorian Gray, the 2009 film version, Gray a wealthy aristocrat sells his soul to the Devil in exchange for eternal youth.  As the young Dorian drifts languidly into a world of debauchery, opium dens, orgies and uncompromising excess, the portrait first painted of him as a beautiful young lord soon reflects the ugliness of Dorian’s actions whilst the character retains his flawless beauty. There is an almost vampire quality to Dorian’s sordid adventures as he slowly but surely delves deeper into the darker spheres of human action from seduction, temptation and ultimately to murder, manipulating all those around him with the exception of his primary influencer Lord Henry Wotton, a brilliant performance by Colin Firth who shines in this part.

Ben Barnes who shot to fame in Prince Caspian and the 2009 film adaptation of Noel Cowards play Easy Virtue, struggles with a character as complex and compelling as Dorian Gray. Barnes portrayal whilst beautiful is bordering on flaccid and his inability to capture the fall from innocence of Dorian Gray is only illuminated by the razor sharp supporting performances of Firth and the remarkably brilliant Rebecca Hall of Vicky Christina Barcelona fame, illustrating that as an actor, Barnes is beautiful to look at but does not have the requisite skill and theatrical maturity to master a complex character like Dorian Gray.

Whilst Oliver Parker’s Victorian Gothic version of  Dorian Gray is fascinating and at times horrific to watch, it falls short as a brilliant work of cinema simply because there has never been a successful screen adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray as the novella is as much about literary symbolism, an ironic portrayal of aestheticism as a means in itself, as it is about decrepitude and vicious narcissistic menace, even resulting in seducing the artist Basil Hallward who paints Dorian’s portrait, a wonderfully brief but vivid performance by Ben Chaplin. Jude Law who starred as the vain and spoilt Lord Alfred Douglas in the film version of Oscar Wilde’s later life, Wilde opposite a fantastic Stephen Fry in the title role, would have been a more suitable Dorian Gray as his skill as an actor would have captured the weaknesses of a character entirely devoted to his own vanity and basking in the fascination that youth, wealth and beauty can cast on an infinitely corruptible society.

Oscar Wilde – either the wallpaper or myself have to go!

Think of Jude Law’s Oscar nominated performance in Anthony Minghella’s The Talented Mr Ripley. Law would have been perfect in Dorian Gray.

For literary enthusiasts Dorian Gray is a film worth watching as a point of discussion on how life imitates art and eventually as with all lovers of aestheticism, art survives above life for art’s sake, far out living those corpses decaying in a murky grave. Images outlive the subject and the portrait however beautiful will remain eternal. For vanity and debauchery, as the Duke of Rochester so magnificently portrayed by Johnny Depp in The Libertine shows, those that yield to an abundance of temptation ultimately perish by the pursuit of their own desires.

As for what Oscar Wilde would comment on a 21st century Dorian Gray, words far exceed those merits of a celluloid image.

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