Posts Tagged ‘Nicole Kidman’

My Favourite Husband

Being the Ricardo’s

Director: Aaron Sorkin

Cast: Nicole Kidman, Javier Bardem, J. K. Simmons, Nina Arianda, Jake Lacey, Clark Gregg, Christopher Denham, Tony Hale, Alia Sawkat

Film Rating: 8.5 out of 10

Running Time: 2 hours and 11 minutes

This film is only available to watch on Amazon Prime.

Despite the extremely limited release of Being The Ricardo’s, the casting genius of having Oscar winners Nicole Kidman (The Hours) and Javier Bardem (No Country for Old Men) play husband and wife pays off in this talkative Aaron Sorkin film pays off.

Kidman and Bardem are absolutely superb playing the film and TV star Lucille Ball and her Cuban husband Desi Arnaz and it is a real treat to watch both actors feed off each other’s immeasurable talent.

The tumultuous marriage of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz is vividly captured in Being The Ricardo’s as they work together on the hit TV show I Love Lucy, filming all the while in the late 1950’s in Los Angeles amidst the tail end of the McCarthyism Anti-Communism trials which affected the American Film and Television industry as Republican senator Joseph McCarthy targeted the entertainment industry as being a cesspool for communist sympathizers, whipping up Anti-Communist sentiment in America which was rife in the 15 years following the end of World War 2.

Audiences just need to read Arthur Miller’s The Crucible as a cultural point of reference for his allegorical play about the Salem Witch trials of 1692 in Massachusetts. Arthur Miller himself was targeted by the Committee for Un-American Activities.

Fortunately for writer and director Aaron Sorkin, Being the Ricardo’s is exceptionally well researched but what really shines through is the brilliant acting of Nicole Kidman and Javier Bardem.

Both are experienced actors and their portrayal of Lucille Ball and the suave and charismatic Cuban entertainer Desi Arnaz is perfect. In actual fact, Javier Bardem is as good as Nicole Kidman and to add into this are the supporting cast most notably Oscar winner J. K. Simmons (Whiplash) playing drunken actor William Frawley.

There is a superb scene in Being the Ricardo’s when William Frawley takes Lucille Ball to a dive bar at 10am in Hollywood to escape the histrionics on the set of I love Lucy, which at that point in the late 1950’s was sponsored by the American Tobacco company Philip Morris to assuage her feelings of control and her constant suspicion of her Cuban husband Desi of committing adultery.

Like The Trial of the Chicago 7 spotlighted a particular event in American socio-political history, Being The Ricardo’s is a slice of American entertainment history superbly acted by Nicole Kidman and Javier Bardem as all the suspicions surrounding infidelity and being a communist sympathiser are heightened on the night of the live filming of I Love Lucy. The rest is pure dress rehearsal.

If audiences can get to watch Being The Ricardo’s make sure to see it for the excellent performances by Nicole Kidman and Javier Bardem, their combined acting talents are enthralling.

Being the Ricardo’s gets a film rating of 8.5 out of 10 and is highly recommended viewing.

79th Golden Globe Awards

Took Place on Sunday 9th January 2022 in Los Angeles and held virtually by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association – Here are the 2022 Golden Globe Winners in the Film Categories:

Best Film Drama: The Power of the Dog

Best Film, M/C: West Side Story

Best Director: Jane Campion – The Power of the Dog

Best Actor Drama: Will Smith – King Richard

No publicity material or film poster available for Being the Ricardo’s

Best Actress Drama: Nicole Kidman – Being the Ricardo’s

Best Actor, M/C: Andrew Garfield – Tick, Tick, Boom!

Best Actress, M/C: Rachel Zegler – West Side Story

Best Supporting Actor: Kodi Smit-McPhee – The Power of the Dog

Best Supporting Actress: Ariana DeBose – West Side Story

Best Foreign Language Film: Drive my Car directed by Ryusuke Hamaguchi (Japan)

Broadway Comes Out in Indiana

The Prom

Director: Ryan Murphy

Cast: Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman, James Corden, Andrew Rannells, Kerry Washington, Tracey Ullman, Keegan-Michael Key, Ariana Debose, Jo Ellen Pellman

This Film is Only Available on Netflix

Eat, Pray, Love director Ryan Murphy and TV writer of such hit shows as American Horror Story, Glee, American Crime Story assembles an all-star cast for the Netflix film production of the Broadway hit show The Prom, about a group of failed Broadway stars who decide to take on a personal crusade to assist a teenage lesbian girl Emma Nolan played by Jo Ellen Pelman who is not allowed to take her in the closet girlfriend Alyssa Greene played by Ariana Debose to the James Madison High School prom in conservative Indiana, in the American mid-West.

Besides James Corden’s cringe worthy performance as gay theatre actor Barry Glickman, it’s really three time Oscar winner Meryl Streep’s beautiful and tantalizing turn as the Broadway Star Dee Dee Allen which makes The Prom worth watching.

Oscar winner Nicole Kidman (The Hours) reunites with Meryl Streep and stars as the leggy actress Angie Dickinson to give some back up support. The Boys in the Band and Black Monday star Andrew Rannells plays the dashing but slightly dim-witted Trent Oliver, also a wannabe Broadway actor.

Django Unchained star Kerry Washington plays Alyssa’s conservative mother Mrs Greene, which is an interesting casting choice and Washington pulls off the role as a stuffy PTA mother who is ruling her daughter’s life and spearheading a campaign to prevent the lesbian Emma from bring another girl to the prom.

The traditional nexus of liberal open-minded egotism which clashes with small town conservatism is explored and laboured upon multiple times with numerous bouncy song numbers, which is just sufficient to convert the conservatism into an acceptance of all LGBT teenagers in the Midwest. Idyllic but not realistic. After all Broadway is a far cry from Indiana.

Director Ryan Murphy’s obsession with Indiana comes from the fact that he was born and grew up there, so The Prom could be a story about the director’s own difficulties with coming out in a conservative environment.

Barry Glickman’s own coming out as a gay man is heightened by the arrival of his mother Vera wonderfully played by Tracey Ullman, James Corden’s co-star in Into the Woods.  

The Prom is a really light and fluffy musical, a dream inspired vision of a culturally accepting Midwest which is a far cry from reality. Meryl Streep channels her Oscar nominated performance from The Devil Wears Prada as the outrageously narcissistic Broadway star Dee Dee Allen, although the script leaves such talented stars as Streep and Kidman floundering to make a lasting impression.

If audiences are looking for something superfluous and unsubstantial, then watch The Prom, it’s fun  but not intellectually challenging. This film is a far cry from Gus van Sant’s Oscar winning film Milk but nor is it meant to make a significant statement about LGBT rights in American schools in the 21st century.

The Prom gets a film rating of 6.5 out of 10 and watch it for Meryl Streep and no one else. Streep plays a Ryan Murphy inspired version of herself, which is poignant since he had a fan club of her work when he was in high school in Indiana.

Blonde Battleground

Bombshell

Director: Jay Roach

Cast: Charlize Theron, Nicole Kidman, Margot Robbie, Allison Janney, Connie Britton, Malcolm McDowell, Josh Lawson, Ben Lawson, Kate McKinnon, Liv Hewson, Rob Delany, Mark Duplass, Stephen Root, Mark Moses, Amy Landecker

Trumbo director Jay Roach tackles the Fox News sexual harassment scandal of 2016 in his latest film Bombshell when blonde TV anchor woman Gretchen Carlson played by Oscar winner Nicole Kidman (The Hours) sues Fox News Chief Executive Roger Ailes wonderfully played with a creepy sense of self-denial by Oscar nominee John Lithgow (The World According to Garp, Terms of Endearment) for sexual harassment.

Now for viewers that don’t follow American politics or media scandals then do not see Bombshell, this film has a very limited appeal outside of the United States.

The real revelation of Bombshell is the fantastic transformation of another Oscar winner South Africa’s very own Charlize Theron (Monster) as she plays Fox News primetime anchor woman Megyn Kelly thanks to the brilliant work of prosthetic makeup designer Kazu Hiro who won an Oscar for transforming Oscar winner Gary Oldman into Winston Churchill in Darkest Hour.

Charlize Theron is absolutely brilliant as Megyn Kelly as she navigates her way through a thoroughly conservative and toxic media environment at Fox News as she attempts to cover the controversial presidential campaign of Republican nominee Donald Trump who inevitably became the next President of the United States.

Add to the mix of beautiful blondes that work at Fox News, is the newcomer Kayla Prospisil played by Oscar nominee Margot Robbie (I,Tonya) who experiences sexual harassment first hand when she has a private meeting with Roger Ailes in a cringe worthy scene in which the media executive keeps asking Kayla to lift her skirt higher and higher.

At the times of the Roger Ailes scandal, the conservative Television broadcaster Fox News was owned by the Australian media conglomerate Newscorp which comprised of Rupert Murdoch played in Bombshell by A Clockwork Orange star Malcolm McDowell and managed by his two sons Lachlan and James Murdoch played in the film by Australian brothers Ben and Josh Lawson.

Director Jay Roach does not make a brilliant film and Bombshell appears to be extremely confusing for those viewers that are not familiar with this particular conservative American media scandal which occurred in the summer of 2016.

What Bombshell does do is highlight the extent to which women were sexually harassed in the American work place and this happened a year before the Harvey Weinstein scandal shocked Hollywood in 2017 and gave birth to the vociferous and extremely relevant MeToo movement which aims to end sexual harassment in the highly contested American media industry and beyond.

For those interested in American media scandals, Bombshell is recommended viewing and gets a film rating of 7 out of 10.

For a flawed film, Bombshell is saved by two phenomenal performances by Charlize Theron and Margot Robbie.

The Cunning Art of Thievery

The Goldfinch

Director: John Crowley

Cast: Oakes Fegley, Ansel Elgort, Nicole Kidman, Jeffrey Wright, Luke Wilson, Sarah Paulson, Willa Fitzgerald, Anuerin Barnard, Finn Wolfhard, Luke Kleintank, Denis O’Hare

Irish director John Crowley (Brooklyn) brings to cinematic life Donna Tart’s immersive and poignant Pulitzer Prize winning novel The Goldfinch in a sprawling and beautifully acted film version featuring an international cast including Oscar winner Nicole Kidman (The Hours) as Mrs Barbour, a wealthy Park Avenue woman who graciously takes in the young Theo Decker brilliantly played by Oakes Fegley, after his mother is killed in a terrorist attack at New York’s famous Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Theo having survived a thoroughly traumatic event, is introduced to the extremely wealthy Barbour family who he stays with while he awaits to hear from his wayward con-artist father Larry played by Luke Wilson (The Royal Tenenbaums, Concussion, 3:10 to Yuma). Larry eventually swoops in with his hard as nails girlfriend Xandra expertly played by Golden Globe winner Sarah Paulson (American Crime Story) to whisk Theo off to the brilliant shiny desert of Nevada away from the old world charm of New York City.

As The Goldfinch expertly weaves multiple story lines into a dazzling picaresque tale, it is more essentially about Theo’s friendship with the mysterious antique dealer Hobie beautifully played by Jeffrey Wright (Skyfall).

The Goldfinch is gorgeously photographed in all its blinding contrasts by Oscar winning cinematographer Roger Deakins (Blade Runner: 2049) who adds lustre to a fascinating tale of a boy who inadvertently steals a priceless Dutch painting by 17th century portrait painter Carel Fabritius a budding young student of Rembrandt.

As the actions flits between, New York, Las Vegas and Amsterdam, The Goldfinch is a gripping, fascinating tale of art theft, addiction and loss as the film examines the effects of parental loss on a young boy. Utterly superb viewing. Audiences should watch out for a rather energetic performance by Dunkirk star Anuerin Barnard as the older version of Ukrainian Gothic friend Boris who plays an integral part in achieving his destiny which is inevitably entwined with a rare painting by an early Dutch master. The older version of Theo Decker is adequately played by rising star Ansel Elgort (Baby Driver, Billionaire Boys Club).

Elegant and absorbing, with stunning performances, The Goldfinch is a sophisticated drama about the conflicts between the old and new world and the shadows that lie in between. Those that have read Donna Tartt’s brilliant novel will appreciate this gorgeous film adaptation.

Highly recommended viewing, The Goldfinch gets a film rating of 8.5 out of 10.

American Take on a French Tale

The Upside

Director: Neil Burger

Cast: Bryan Cranston, Nicole Kidman, Kevin Hart, Tate Donovan, Julianna Margulies, Golshifteh Farahani, Aja Naomi King

Limitless director Neil Burger gives an American spin on the remake of the superb 2011 French film The Intouchables starring Omar Sy and Francois Cluzet about a billionaire quadriplegic striking up an unlikely bond and friendship with his down and out carer.

This time the parts are played by Oscar nominee Bryan Cranston (Trumbo) and comedic actor Kevin Hart as Dell Scott the paroled carer who gets the unlikely position of becoming a full time male nurse to art collector and writer Philip Lacasse wonderfully played by Cranston in The Upside.

The Upside aims to make audiences feel all warm and fuzzy, about the underlying compassion which should be instinctive in human nature. In this respect, The Upside is a perfectly well-directed American Take on a French Tale.

Oscar winner Nicole Kidman (The Hours) plays the Harvard educated Yvonne who is Lacasse’s personal sectary who is initially aghast at her employer’s decision to hire the rough around the edges Dell Scott who is desperate to earn some cash to redeem himself in the eyes of his ex-wife Latrice played by Aja Naomi King.

While The Upside doesn’t quite capture the quirky relationship between Billionaire and poverty stricken carer as it did in the original French film The Intouchables, there are some funny moments particularly played by Kevin Hart who does not usually play serious roles.

The Good Wife’s Julianna Margulies (Snakes on a Plane) makes a cinematic appearance as Lily an epistolary flame that Philip has been dutifully corresponding with.

Tate Donovan appears as the snobbish Manhattan neighbour Carter and Iranian actress Golshifteh Farahani plays the practical physiotherapist Maggie who expertly advises Dell on how to insert a catheter and generally care for the wheelchair bound angst ridden Lacasse.

Cranston holds the film together, acting mostly with his expressive eyes.

Viewers that have not seen the original French film will enjoy this light hearted comedic drama, but those that saw The Intouchables will feel that The Upside doesn’t possess that emotional gravitas which was central to the French version. In any events, The Upside is a light hearted look at the complexity of unique human relationships and will be sure to find a suitable audience.

Recommended viewing, The Upside gets a film rating of 6.5 out of 10.

King of the Seven Seas

Aquaman

Director: James Wan

Cast: Jason Momoa, Amber Heard, Willem Dafoe, Nicole Kidman, Patrick Wilson, Dolph Lundgren, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Temuera Morrison, Julie Andrews

DC Comics highly anticipated Aquaman floods onto the cinema circuit in all its technicolour luminescent glory. Hawaiian actor Jason Momoa embodies the role of Aquaman with a muscular charm that clothes the gorgeous actor throughout this odyssey from his origins as the son of a lighthouse keeper and the Queen of Atlantis wonderfully played by Oscar winner Nicole Kidman who channels a blonde sea creature glow reminiscent of Daryl Hannah in Splash, to his showdown with evil younger brother King Orm of Atlantis.

Nicole Kidman as Queen Atlanna

As Aquaman grows up he learns that there is great turmoil below the seas as his wicked younger half-brother King Orm played with a camp villainy by Patrick Wilson (Watchmen, Lakeview Terrace, Little Children) is about to wreak havoc on the surface people.  

Patrick Wilson as King Orm

Luckily Aquaman has the fiery red head Mera wonderfully played by Amber Heard to assist him as they embark on an epic oceanic adventure which takes them from Sicily to the depths of the hidden ocean where he must retrieve the Golden Trident so he can rightfully claim his title as King of the Seven Seas.

Fast and Furious director James Wan directs Aquaman with flamboyance and panache clearly making it an exceptionally lavish and startling superhero film aided by stunning visual effects and fabulous costumes by Kym Barrett.

Willem Dafoe as Vulko

Aquaman is equally well cast with an array of established stars including Oscar nominee Willem Dafoe (Shadow of a Vampire, Platoon, The Florida Project) as Vulko, Aquaman’s mentor as well as Dolph Lundgren as King Nereus. Yahya Abdul-Mateen II plays the ferocious Manta out to avenge his father’s death against Arthur Curry aka Aquaman.

The onscreen chemistry between Jason Momoa and Amber Heard sizzles especially during the Sicily sequence and Nicole Kidman adds some maternal reasoning as the gorgeous Queen Atlanna who aims to restore peace between her warring sons as their battle for the supremacy to become Master of the Oceans.

DC Comics did everything right with Aquaman and the neon underwater cities add a gorgeous sparkle to the glow of this superhero universe which has seen the likes of Wonder Woman, Superman and Batman appear. Aquaman can rightfully take his place as one of the stronger and coolest members of the Justice League.

Dolph Lundgren as King Nereus

Audiences should be prepared to embark on a cinematic odyssey complete with menacing sea creatures and a ripped and muscled superhero as they watch a story laced with metaphor about rising pollution which is destroying the earth’s oceans.

This is a socially conscious and relevant superhero film with a very likeable star and no doubt there are plans for a sequel to Aquaman as we all want to see more of the tattooed Jason Momoa.

DC’s Coolest Superhero by Far – AQUAMAN

Aquaman gets a film rating of 7.5 out of 10 and audiences should suspend their disbelief as they get dazzled by the city of Atlantis and the hidden treasures of the seven seas.

2017 Cannes Film Festival

2017 CANNES FILM FESTIVAL WINNERS

Winners of the five main prizes at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival were as follows: –

(No film poster available for The Square)

Palm d’Or:The Square directed by Ruben Ostlund

Best Director:  Sofia CoppolaThe Beguiled starring Colin Farrell, Nicole Kidman, Kirsten Dunst and Elle Fanning

(No film poster available for You Were Never Really Here)

Best Actor: Joaquin Phoenix – You Were Never Really Here

Best Actress:  Diane Kruger –  In the Fade

Best Screenplay:  prize shared between  Yorgos Lanthimos and Efthymis Filippou for The Killing of a Sacred Deer

(The Killing of a Sacred Deer stars Nicole Kidman and Colin Farrell)

Lynne Ramsay for You Were Never Really Here

(You Were Never Really Here also stars Alessandro Nivola, John Doman and Ekaterina Samsonov)

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2017_Cannes_Film_Festival

Finding Ganesh Talai

Lion

Director: Garth Davis

Cast: Dev Patel, Nicole Kidman, Rooney Mara, Sunny Pawar, David Wenham, Priyanka Bose, Abhishek Bharate

If child trafficking or the plight of India’s lost street children is the point of the true life drama Lion, then first time Australian director Garth Davis achieves a momentous and riveting family film made particularly poignant by the breakout performance of the young Saroo, aged five, wonderfully played with a resilience by screen newcomer Sunny Pawar.

Hindi speaking Sunny Pawar portrays the streetwise Saroo, a young Indian boy who after losing his older brother Guddu played by Abhishek Bharate on a train platform in Khandwa, central India mistakenly gets on a decommissioned train heading for Calcultta, some 1600 kilometres away from his family and his beloved mother Kamla played by Priyanka Bose. Surviving on the overcrowded and voluminous streets of Calcutta, Saroo is eventually picked up by child services and placed in a poverty stricken orphanage.

Fortunately, Saroo is adopted by an Australian couple John and Sue Brierley, played by Australian actor David Wenham (300, Public Enemies) and Oscar winner Nicole Kidman (The Hours). Fast forward roughly twenty years from 1987 to 2008 and the young man Saroo, superbly played by Dev Patel (The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel) who burst onto international screens in the Oscar winning smash hit film Slumdog Millionaire in 2008.

In the second half of the film, set in Tasmania, Australia where the twenty something Saroo Brierley starts questioning his real identity in a move to Melbourne where his passion to find his real mother and siblings is ignited with the help of his American girlfriend Lucy, brilliantly played by Oscar nominee Rooney Mara (Carol, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo).

With the assistance of Google earth and threw a series of random calculations, Saroo manages to identify the exact train station in India where he first went missing and was fatefully separated from his birth family.

With a measured screenplay by Luke Davies coupled with stirring music by Dustin O’ Holloran and Volker Bertelmann, Lion is sure to pull at any audiences heartstrings, as the film intricately explores the issues of family, adopted or birth, identity and the continued quest to find answers.

What makes Lion so exhilarating is the first half of the film primarily focused on the harrowing experiences of young Saroo expertly acted by Sunny Pawar who takes on each challenge in Calcutta with a tenacity and bravery that a very smart young boy is known for. Lion is assisted by strong supporting roles particularly by the ever versatile Kidman as Sue Brierley whose intense scenes with her adopted son, played by Patel are electrifying.

Lion is a nuanced portrayal of one man’s search for his real identity, an emotional journey emblematic of the many train tracks he inadvertently stumbles on both literally and metaphorically.

Director Davis focuses the emotional crux of Lion on an overwhelming human desire to find meaning in one’s existence and a naturally passionate urge to reconnect with one’s birth family. This is a fascinating and complex film, beautifully shot and exceptionally well-acted by Kidman and Patel adding to its cross cultural appeal which is even more refreshing because it does not have an American context.

Lion is highly recommended viewing, an intelligent exploration of a truly extraordinary real life story spanning decades and two very different countries: India and Australia.

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saroo_Brierley

 

 

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

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