Posts Tagged ‘Cillian Murphy’

96th Oscars Awards

The 96th Academy Awards took place on Sunday 10th March 2024 at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, Los Angeles. Here are all the winners:

Best Picture: Oppenheimer

Best Director: Christopher Nolan – Oppenheimer

Best Actor: Cillian Murphy – Oppenheimer

Best Actress: Emma Stone – Poor Things

Best Supporting Actor: Robert Downey Jnr – Oppenheimer

Best Supporting Actress: Davine Joy Randolph – The Holdovers

Best Original Screenplay: Justine Triet & Arthur Harari – Anatomy of a Fall

Best Adapted Screenplay: Cord Jefferson – American Fiction

Best Cinematography: Hoyte van Hoytema – Oppenheimer

Best Costume Design: Holly Waddington Poor Things

Best Make up & Hairstyling: Poor Things

Best Visual Effects: Godzilla minus One

Best Film Editing: Jennifer Lame – Oppenheimer

Best Sound: The Zone of Interest

Best Production Design: Poor Things

Best Documentary Feature:  20 days in Mariupol directed by Mstyslav Chernov (Ukraine)

Best Documentary Short Subject: The Repair Shop directed by Kris Bowers and Ben Proudfoot

Best Original Score: Ludwig Goransson – Oppenheimer

Best Original Song: “What was I made for?” by Billie Eilish & FineasBarbie

Best Animated Feature Film: The Boy and the Heron directed by Hayao Miyazaki (Japan)

Best Live Action Short Film: The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar directed by Wes Anderson

Best International Feature Film: The Zone of Interest directed by Jonathan Glazer (United Kingdom) – Film in German with English subtitles.

77th BAFTA Awards / The British Film Academy Awards

The 77th British Academy Film Awards, also known as the BAFAs, were held on 18th February 2024 at the Royal Festival Hall in London, honouring the best national and foreign films of 2023.

Best Film: Oppenheimer

Best Director: Christopher Nolan – Oppenheimer

Best Actor: Cillian Murphy – Oppenheimer

Best Actress: Emma Stone – Poor Things

Best Supporting Actor: Robert Downey, Jnr – Oppenheimer

Best Supporting Actress: Da’Vine Joy Randolph – The Holdovers

Outstanding British Film: Zone of Interest directed by Jonathan Glazer

Best Film not in the English Language: Zone of Interest directed by Jonathan Glazer

Best Original Screenplay: Anatomy of a Fall

Best Adapted Screenplay: American Fiction

Best Cinematography: Oppenheimer

Best Costume Design: Poor Things

Best Hair and Make up: Poor Things

Best Production Design: Poor Things

Best Sound: The Zone of Interest

Rising Star Award: Mia McKenna-Bruce

81st Golden Globe Awards

Took Place on Sunday 7th January 2024 in Los Angeles and hosted by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association at the Beverly Hilton Hotel – 

Here are the 2024 Golden Globe Winners in the Film Categories:

Best Film Drama: Oppenheimer

Best Film Musical or Comedy: Poor Things

Best Director: Christopher Nolan – Oppenheimer

Best Actor Drama: Cillian Murphy – Oppenheimer

Best Actress Drama: Lily Gladstone – Killers of the Flower Moon

Best Actor Musical or Comedy: Paul Giamatti – The Holdovers

Best Actress Musical or Comedy: Emma Stone – Poor Things

Best Supporting Actor: Robert Downey Jnr – Oppenheimer

Best Supporting Actress: Da’Vine Joy Randolph – The Holdovers

Best Original Score: Ludwig Goransson – Oppenheimer

Best Screenplay: Justine Triet – Anatomy of a Fall

Best International Feature Film: Anatomy of a Fall directed by Justine Triet

Gravity Swallows Light

Oppenheimer

Director: Christopher Nolan

Cast: Cillian Murphy, Emily Blunt, Robert Downey Jr, Josh Hartnett, Matt Damon, Tom Conti, Dane DeHaan, Casey Affleck, Kenneth Branagh, Gary Oldman, Florence Pugh, Alden Ehrenriech, Scott Grimes, Jason Clarke, Tony Goldwyn, James D’Arcy, Gregory Jbara, David Krumholtz, Matthias Schweighofer, Alex Wolff, Jack Quaid, Michael Angarano, Matthew Modine, David Dastmalchian, Josh Peck, Rami Malek, Christopher Denham, James Remar, Olivia Thirlby, Gustaf Skarsgard, Jefferson Hall, Louise Lombard

Running time: 180 minutes

Film Rating: 9.5 out of 10

The sheer magnitude of director Christopher Nolan’s biographical historical drama Oppenheimer is hugely impressive. In fact it is the director’s Magnum Opus – his historical masterpiece. Nolan’s idea of making a film about the Manhattan Project was hinted at in the Mumbai scene in his 2020 time bending espionage film Tenet.

Unlike most historical biographies which follows a chronological narrative structure of displaying dates and locations, Nolan throws out the rule book and instead dazzles the viewer, challenging them in every frame with a multitude of different scenes occurring concurrently, skilfully playing with time frames but ultimately building up a character of a very intelligent but complex man, J. Robert Oppenheimer, the father of the Atomic Bomb, the Sphinx Guru of Atoms as one of his colleagues call him just after the succesfull Trinity Test in Los Alamos, New Mexico in 1945 as part of the ultra-covert Manhattan Project.

For what Oppenheimer discovers, the harnessing of atomic energy, its military significance will ultimately overshadow its scientific genius much like gravity swallowing light.

At the centre of Oppenheimer, are three great performances. Cillian Murphy is captivating as J. Robert Oppenheimer, a gifted but conflicted scientist who even consults with Albert Einstein, a scene stealing moment featuring British character actor Oscar nominee Tom Conti (Shirley Valentine; Rueben, Rueben). Then Oscar nominee Robert Downey Jr (Chaplin) shows off his skilful acting abilities as the devious and vindictive Lewis Strauss, the head of the Atomic energy Commission who is out to get Oppenheimer, a sort of Cassius figure that seeks the downfall of an influential leader.  

Oscar nominee Florence Pugh (Little Women) as the seductive communist Jean Tatlock, Oppenheimer’s former girlfriend and part time sex siren is tantalizing as a defiant yet traumatised woman caught up with a complicated man on the brink of changing the world forever, just as geopolitics in the World War II era was shifting beyond recognition, from the age of mortal combat to nuclear annihilation. Tatlock’s character resembles the allure of communism in the late 1920’s when it was fashionable amongst the intelligentsia in bohemian circles, before the political system’s failures were tested and exposed.

Christopher Nolan expects his viewers to be historically literate, because as a history buff with an Imax camera, he is out to impress you, dazzle you with a superb epic, flipping between decades complete with oblique historical reference points from the Spanish Civil War to Hitler’s invasion of Poland in 1939 to the trials of communists during the witch hunts of McCarthyism in 1950’s America. You have to be up to date with this knowledge because as an auteur director Nolan demands a sophisticated audience.

With crisp cinematography by Oscar nominee Hoyte Van Hoytema (Dunkirk) and a jarring musical score by Oscar winner Ludwig Goransson (Black Panther), Oppenheimer is a cinematic feast which displays a competent universe of stars, a host of talented actors and many cameo’s that make up this epic, an overtly masculine take on a monumental historical figure filled with urgency and military importance, strategic significance and ethical complexity.

Whether celebrated or later despised as expertly crafted by Christopher Nolan who also wrote the screenplay, Oppenheimer is painted as a flawed but inventive scientist who gets too involved in the industrial military complex, represented by Matt Damon’s brute force army character Leslie Groves, while his past flirtations with communism were scrutinized as he had top level security to the hydrogen bomb that he built and created, which Truman used unblinkingly to bomb the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki to end World War II in August 1945.

Oppenheimer is an intelligent multidimensional film about the controversial father of the Atomic Bomb set in an era when the world was changing too fast for the population to realize the consequences.

Oppenheimer gets a film rating of 9.5 out of 10 and is an intelligent dissection of the moment the world changed forever. Highly recommended viewing.

Operation Dynamo

Dunkirk

Director: Christopher Nolan

Cast: Fionn Whitehead, Aneurin Barnard, Harry Styles, Kenneth Branagh, Jack Lowden, Cillian Murphy, Tom Hardy, Mark Rylance, James D’Arcy, Michael Fox, Tom Glynn-Carney, Barry Keogh

Inception and The Dark Knight Trilogy director Christopher Nolan achieves a cinematic feat when he authentically tackles the war genre in his brilliant film Dunkirk starring a host of young British actors including One Direction lead singer Harry Styles, Fionn Whitehead and Aneurin Barnard backed up by some Oscar nominees Tom Hardy (The Revenant) and Kenneth Branagh (My Week with Marilyn) and Oscar winner Mark Rylance (Bridge of Spies).

Dunkirk shot entirely with Imax cameras and with crystal clear cinematography by Hoyte Van Hoytema who also worked on Interstellar and superb production design by Nathan Crowley is a cinematic experience of unparalleled proportions. Epic, immediate and accessible.

SURVIVAL IS VICTORY

Christopher Nolan keeps his war film as authentic as possible with hardly any use of CGI and using real planes, ships and shot mostly on location at Dunkirk in Northern France, the film immediately positions the viewer in the centre of Operation Dynamo: the forced evacuation by allied soldiers from the beaches of Dunkirk between 26th May and the 4th June 1940 as the allies were hemmed in by the Nazi’s approaching from the Western Front and the Luftwaffe were bombing the evacuees at a rapid rate over the English channel.

With minimal dialogue, Dunkirk brilliantly retells this eventful evacuation from three different geographic perspectives Land, Sea and Air.

While the British soldiers viewed the evacuation as a retreat, the fact that so many of the soldiers were saved by civilian ships, was an absolute miracle: 338 226 mostly British, French and Dutch soldiers were rescued in possibly the biggest military evacuation in human history especially during a World War.

Dunkirk is told from three distinct perspectives, Tommy, the everyday 19 year old British soldier played by Fionn Whitehead, from air force fighter pilot Farrier played by Tom Hardy and also from the perspective of Mr Dawson played with determination by Mark Rylance who takes his civilian fishing boat across the channel to save soldiers aided by his son Peter played by Tom Glynn-Carney and his friend George played by Barry Keogh.

 

The best sequence in Dunkirk is when Collins, played by Jack Lowden (A United Kingdom), another fighter pilot crash lands in the icy channel and is trapped inside the sinking spitfire intercut with Tommy and a gang of young soldiers including Alex played by Harry Styles are trapped inside a precariously berthed ship which is being shot at from an unseen enemy as the tide is coming in on the beach.

Cillian Murphy (Inception, The Wind that Shakes the Barley) gives a harrowing portrayal of a rescued shell shocked soldier who is desperate to leave the slaughterhouse that was Europe during World War II and is horrified when he goes back to the shores of Dunkirk to rescue more soldiers under the stern command of Mr Dawson.

The visceral tension as the evacuation gets more dangerous and urgent aided by a frenetic original score by Hans Zimmer, makes Dunkirk a truly exceptional, economical and sublime war film, authentic and utterly immediate. Christopher Nolan places audiences directly in the centre of Operation Dynamo with ships sinking, aerial battles and underwater sequences which put James Cameron’s Titanic to shame, Dunkirk is a truly exceptional film.

Come Oscars 2018, Dunkirk should be recognized for being a masterful film, in terms of sound editing, cinematography and the sheer scale of the cinematic production.

Highly recommended viewing for those that enjoyed Steven Spielberg’s Oscar winning Saving Private Ryan, Dunkirk is a cinematic masterpiece and gets a film rating of 9.5 out 10.

 

The Prince of Gotham

Batman Begins

batman_begins_ver6

Director: Christopher Nolan

Cast: Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Katie Holmes, Gary Oldman, Cillian Murphy, Tom Wilkinson, Ken Watanabe, Liam Neeson, Rutger Hauer, Linus Roache

To create a successful trilogy a director has to start with the mythology, the background of a story and the childhood trauma of what moulds a hero. To appreciate the mythology one should always start at the beginning. The Origins of a Superhero.

Having afforded director Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins a second viewing, and being hugely impressed by the two brilliant sequels The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises, a retrospective review of the film is in order.

Christian Bale (Empire of the Sun) is superb as Bruce Wayne and in Batman Begins, the origins of the superhero Batman are extensively explored from his falling into a bat cave as a young boy, to his maturity as Billionaire playboy who eventually recaptures his own dynastic inheritance and forges a vigilante alter ego to reclaim the city that he initially abandons.

batman_begins_ver3

Batman Begins reignited the mythology of the League of Shadows, with not one but three villains in the form of Liam Neeson as Decard, Cillian Murphy as Scarecrow and the irrepressibly brilliant Tom Wilkinson as Gotham gangster boss Carmine Falcone.

Nolan’s vision of Gotham is heavily influenced by Ridley Scott’s sci-fi classic Blade Runner, even casting Rutger Hauer from Blade Runner in the role of Earle who plans on taking over Wayne Enterprises. What makes Batman Begins so timeless and watchable is the witty repartee between Wayne and his trusted manservant Alfred, wonderfully played by Oscar winner Michael Caine.

The onscreen chemistry between Caine and Bale is the groundwork which makes the two sequels work so wonderfully. The two actors went onto make Nolan’s magical masterpiece The Prestige in 2006 along with Hugh Jackman after the success of Batman Begins.

After all, who is Bruce Wayne, after his parents were brutally murdered?

A Billionaire orphan cared for by his manservant, who transformed into the caped prince of Gotham. A dynamic completely explored in Bruno Heller’s superb TV series Gotham, which evidently was inspired by the Dark Knight Trilogy.

The love interest in Batman Begins is Rachel Dawes played by Katie Holmes although there is no hint of romance more of affection. Holmes holds her own in a male dominated film about the moulding of a superhero. Gay Oldman is reliably good as Detective Gordon, a character also featured in the series Gotham, but it is Liam Neeson who is exceptional as the mysterious Decard who initially encourages the itinerant Bruce Wayne to embrace his fears, little realizing that the instruction comes from his own enemy.

Visually, Batman Begins sets the tone for a gripping and enduring trilogy which only proved more watchable with the release of the stunning Oscar winning sequels. Director Christopher Nolan clearly was the right man for the task of recreating the Gotham mythology judging by the success of this trilogy and also his later films including Inception and Interstellar.

Batman Begins is worth watching again for establishing a mythology and also recreating the origins of a superhero, which although might appear timeless will ultimately be reinvented by DC Comics with the release of the forthcoming Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice in 2016.

Batman Begins, The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises are indispensable films to own for any cineaste to understand the progression of a blockbuster trilogy and the birth and rebirth of a seemingly immortal superhero. Batman Begins is guaranteed recommended viewing again and again, destined like its superhero to become a cultural classic.

 

 

A Siege of Elegant Brutality

The Dark Knight Rises

Christian Bale as Batman

As skilled a director as Christopher Nolan, he manages to assemble some of his cast from the 2010 hit Inception including the brilliant Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Oscar winner Marion Cotillard (La Vie en Rose) and the formidable Tom Hardy and gives them starring roles in The Dark Knight Rises along with Oscar nominee Anne Hathaway (BrokeBack Mountain) as the elusive and sleek Catwoman.

In The Dark Knight Rises, Nolan clearly has an opera in mind, a three act narrative of epic proportions about characters regaining their honour, losing the shackles of structured employment and giving heroism a whole new twist. Whilst the late Heath Ledger stole the show in The Dark Knight as the clearly unhinged and psychopathic Joker, it is Tom Hardy’s portrayal of Elegant Brutality as the urban warrior Bane who rises from the depths of Gotham to terrorize the city once more as a fitting yet all together different advisory. While The Dark Knight made use of Chicago’s urban landscape, Nolan firmly roots The Dark Knight Rises in the island of Manhattan a grimy 21st century simulacrum of New York known as Gotham.

Tom Hardy as Bane

The Dark Knight Rises visually is outstanding as all the strands of the narrative splinter in act two and then elegantly reconnect in a way in which each character realizes their true potential in the explosive third act, where Nolan weaves themes of heroism, fear, despair and loyalty into a stunning conclusion whilst all the time shaping the appearance of not one but two new superheroes with a sly nuanced touch hinting at a possible fourth film in this hugely successful reboot of the Batman franchise. The screenplay by Nolan and his brother Jonathan is sharp, articulate and beautifully written if the viewer listens for the wise words between the clashing warlords and not too dazzled by the unbelievable action sequences.

Naturally the teaming of such a brilliant cast from Gary Oldman to a brief cameo by Cillian Murphy (Batman Begins) gives hefty weight to Nolan’s epic vision of a city under siege assisted by a superb script giving each of the main characters (and there is a lot of them) enough opportunities to develop around the myth of Batman and his superhero status. Bruce Wayne himself has to truly dispel all his demons, face his fears and rise out of the pit of popular heroism to become a true pillar of a man not measured by wealth, his tortured past or fame, but by how far his experiences have taken him.

Anne Hathaway as Catwoman

For action fans, this film will not disappoint and whilst the violence is at times seemingly excessive there are moments of clear cinematic pace as only director Christopher Nolan knows how to achieve. Whilst the second act might seem long-winded, it’s the third act which is truly thrilling and if viewers have not seen Batman Begins or The Dark Knight its best to brush up on the fable of Bruce Wayne and his epic transformation as Batman. As for Catwoman and Robin they are truly supportive of Batman’s statue as one of the most iconic superheroes around. Look out for wonderful performances by Michael Caine, Tom Hardy, Morgan Freeman and of course Christian Bale, yet it is really Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Anne Hathaway who rise superbly in this possible final chapter of Christopher Nolan’s dark sophisticated Gothic superhero trilogy about Batman and the League of Shadows.

Darwinian Capitalism Out of Time

IN TIME

Amanda Seyfreid and Justin Timberlake star in the futuristic thriller In Time, written and directed by Andrew Niccol. While the concept is fresh and the look is retro-futurism, In Time does not fully develop into maturity and that is not just because all the characters most of whom are beautiful are not older then 25 years. It is set in mythical Los Angeles which is transformed into the opposing worlds of the downtrodden industrial Dayton and the chic and affluent New Greenwich whereby no one ages older than 25 years.

The Future is on your Hands


After the characters reach 25 years they live on time credit and everything is paid for in time, not money. While the story is largely allegorical about how the present generation is struggling to survive in a global culture of Darwinian Capitalism, whereby it surely is the survival of the fittest or in this case the richest, Timberlake and Seyfreid play Will Salas and Sylvia Weiss a Bonnie and Clyde duo who go about robbing time banks and redistributing centuries back to the poorer classes. In Time is a unique, yet under explored concept lacking depth but making up in style. As sci-fi films go In Time is no match for any of the retro-futuristic classics like Minority Report or Blade Runner or even The Adjustment Bureau, but still fun to watch.

The best part of the film besides the suave looking cast is the film noir feel of the movie, with Nichols creating a retro yet stylish futuristic world with cool cars, stylish wardrobe and a storyline which resembles more a Raymond Chandler novel than a 21st century sci-fi thriller. Seyfried and Timberlake make a fine couple, although their on screen chemistry wanes towards the climax of the narrative. Watch out for a balanced performance by Cilllian Murphy playing the timekeeper trying to maintain the system and Alex Pettyfer as the local gangster Fortis.

In Time ‘s best line which rings true as we enter the 2nd decade of the 21st century – “Its about Darwinian Capitalism”. See the thriller and make sure you not with anyone over 45, they will feel ancient!

 

Anarchy Reigns Supreme

The Dark Knight

dark_knight_ver2

Christopher Nolan follows up his 2005 film Batman Begins with a darker, more sinister and entirely gripping sequel, The Dark Knight. At the end of Batman Begins the Gotham City police chief James Gordon played with great subtlety by Gary Oldman hands Bruce Wayne a calling card for the a new breed of criminal. Wayne, or his alter ego Batman flips over the card and all we see is The Joker, a suggestion that a sequel is definitely in the pipeline. With Christian Bale, Michael Caine and Gary Oldman reprising their roles, who was to be cast as the ultimate villain? The role of the Joker, first made famous by a more jovial and naughty Jack Nicholson in Tim Burton’s Batman in the late 1980’s was reinvented with a more anarchistic alacrity by the hugely talented Heath Ledger, fresh from his Oscar-nominated role in Ang Lee’s Brokeback Mountain.

So with the casting of the film pretty much sorted only with the slight change of Maggie Gyllenhaal taking on the role of female lead character Rachel Dawes, played in Batman Begins by the pre-Tom Cruise wedded Katie Holmes, all seemed clear sailing. In January 2008 tragedy struck with the unexpected and premature death of Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight’s main draw card, and an eerie and tragic shadow was cast over the release of the film, for it was to become Heath Ledger’s last completed movie and more significantly his final and most intense cinematic impression ever. So when The Dark Knight was released in July simultaneously in cinemas around the globe, the hype was not only about the best sequel ever, it was largely attributed to Ledger’s brilliant and overtly sinister portrayal of Batman’s arch nemesis, The Joker. Ledger deservedly won the Oscar post-humously for Best Supporting Actor for this film, the second actor in cinema history since Peter Finch won for Network.

So naturally, like any avid cineaste, I couldn’t wait to see the final movie. Having followed Christopher Nolan’s previous works from the bizarre Memento to the excellent 2006 film The Prestige

Magic is an illusion and ambition a killer

I knew that The Dark Knight would be in exceptionally talented hands. The Dark Knight, like the trailer suggests, will literally blow any audience viewer away or transfix them to their seat with visuals and cutting edge sound so spectacular it’s hard to realize that two and a half hours have passed. A high-octane and visually spectacular movie with one great action sequence followed by another, punctuated by superb performances not only by Ledger as the Joker, but by Christian Bale, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Aaron Eckhart who takes on the wonderfully ambiguous part of District Attorney Harvey Dent. Gotham is a simulacrum of any large American metropolis, a sinister and shadowy mix of New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, where corporate greed fits like a glove with psychotic criminals, ruthless mobsters and a city whose citizens have clearly lost their souls.

For this Joker, a spine-chillingly brilliant and maniacal performance by Heath Ledger, does not have a goal just as long as he is content with wreaking mass destruction, he is purely doing it so anarchy can reign supreme. Prisoners are not an option and nothing is spared as violent and malignant retribution for all the evil that was inflicted on him as a character. The Joker simply is a delusional psychopath with no particular empathy for any moral order or social consequence, let alone a superior and well-meaning hero like Batman, the once brave and fabulously wealthy Bruce Wayne. The Dark Knight is undeniably the best film in ages, for everything is of vastly superior quality from the superb action sequences, senseless and conniving villains, to the exhilarating aerial shots of Gotham and Hong Kong, combined with the elegance of the ultra wealthy urbanized set contrasted by the violent and devious criminals which seek to undermine all that was once sacred. The technical aspects of the film are brilliant from the sound editing, to the slick pace, insures that at  two and a half hours, one is never bored, one is shocked into a state of frenzied captivation, entranced by a film so expansive and devouring, refined and slick, scary and ultimately very intense. Don’t miss this spectacular sequel on the big screen, it is entirely beyond anything one can even comprehend. As for the late Heath Ledger, one really wonders who is having the last laugh.

The Joker?

Ledgers Iconic final performance

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