Posts Tagged ‘Reese Witherspoon’

59th BAFTA Awards

THE  59TH BAFTA AWARDS /

THE BRITISH ACADEMY FILM AWARDS

Took place on Sunday 19th February 2006 in London

BAFTA WINNERS IN THE FILM CATEGORY:

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Best Film: Brokeback Mountain

Best Director: Ang Lee – Brokeback Mountain

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Best Actor: Philip Seymour Hoffman – Capote

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Best Actress: Reese Witherspoon – Walk the Line

Best Supporting Actor: Jake Gyllenhaal – Brokeback Mountain

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Best Supporting Actress: Thandie Newton – Crash

Rising Star Award: James McAvoy

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Best British Film: Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit

Best Original Screenplay: Crash – Paul Haggis and Robert Moresco

Best Adapted Screenplay: Brokeback Mountain – Diana Ossana and Larry McMurtry

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Best Costume Design: Memoirs of a Geisha

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Best Foreign Language Film: The Beat That My Heart Skipped directed by Jacques Audiard

Source: 59th BAFTA Awards

The Golden Fang

Inherent Vice

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Director: Paul Thomas Anderson (Magnolia, There will be Blood, The Master, Boogie Nights)

Cast: Joaquin Phoenix, Katherine Waterston, Josh Brolin, Reese Witherspoon, Eric Roberts, Jena Malone, Michael Kenneth Williams, Benicio del Toro, Owen Wilson, Martin Short, Martin Donovan, Maya Rudolph, Serena Scott Thomas

In the spirit of Magnolia and Boogie Nights, director Paul Thomas Anderson assembles an eclectic cast of stars for his cinematic adaptation of the Thomas Pynchon novel Inherent Vice with Oscar nominee Joaquin Phoenix (The Master, Gladiator) as stoner private detective Larry Doc Sportello who goes on a labyrinthine search for his ex-girlfriend Shasta Hepworth played by Katherine Waterston (Michael Clayton, Taking Woodstock).

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Set in 1971, during the Nixon administration, in California, Inherent Vice is a rambling and extended tour de force of the hippie’s drug culture of Southern California involving kinky and corrupt cops especially Lt Detective Christian “BigFoot” Bjornsen wonderfully played by the orally fixated Josh Brolin, straight laced deputy district attorneyPenny Kimball played by Reese Witherspoon and an elusive government informant Coy Harlingen played by Owen Wilson.

Oscar winner for director Steven Soderbergh’s Traffic Benicio del Toro also makes a brief appearance as Doc’s legal adviser Sauncho Smilax Esq, but this is very much Phoenix’s film and he inhabits every frame with a sort of woozy ease that is at times prolonged and other times fascinating. This is by no means Phoenix’s best performance and does not match his brilliant portrayal of the boozy drifter Freddie Quell in Paul Thomas Anderson’s superb critically acclaimed film The Master.

At a running time of just over two and a half hours, one cannot blame the viewer for getting slightly confused and bored. Inherent Vice has an intricate plot with lots of subtexts, subplots and quirky visual references but only serious fans of Paul Thomas Anderson will appreciate his laboured approach in adapting this contemporary novel to the big screen.

The best scenes are actually between Phoenix and Witherspoon who reunite after the success of the Oscar winning James Mangold film Walk the Line. Several of the other quite bizarre sequences are truly amazing to watch but the entire story could have done with some efficient editing.

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Audiences should also watch out for cameos by Eric Roberts, Martin Donovan and a crazed Martin Short. While the costumes and production design for Inherent Vice is spot on capturing the origins of the drug fueled and nefarious 1970’s, Paul Thomas Anderson film could have used some serious editing as this languid narrative tends to bewilder and obfuscate the viewer, which the point of the story.

Inherent Vice refers to possible drugs being smuggled into America on a mysterious vessel known as The Golden Fang from Indo-China or modern day Vietnam. This film is recommended viewing for those that enjoyed Magnolia and Robert Altman’s far superior film Short Cuts. Not sure if Inherent Vice will quite make it to the cult status of The Master.

63rd Golden Globe Awards

63rd Golden Globe Awards

Took place on Sunday  16th January 2006 hosted by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association

Golden Globe Winners in The Film Categories:

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Best Film Drama: Brokeback Mountain

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Best Film Musical or Comedy: Walk the Line

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Best Actor Drama: Philip Seymour Hoffman – Capote

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Best Actress Drama: Felicity Huffman – TransAmerica
Best Actor Musical or Comedy: Joaquin Phoenix – Walk the Line
Best Actress Musical or Comedy: Reese Witherspoon – Walk the Line

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Best Supporting Actor: George Clooney – Syriana

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Best Supporting Actress :Rachel Weisz – The Constant Gardener
Best Director: Ang Lee – Brokeback Mountain

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Best Foreign Language Film: Paradise Now (Palestine)

Source:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/63rd_Golden_Globe_Awards

78th Academy Awards

78th Academy Awards

5th March 2006

Oscar Winners at the 78th Academy Awards

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Best Picture: Crash



Best Director: Ang LeeBrokeback Mountain

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Best Actor: Philip Seymour Hoffman – Capote

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Best Actress: Reese Witherspoon – Walk the Line

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Best Supporting Actor: George Clooney – Syriana

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Best Supporting Actress: Rachel Weisz – The Constant Gardener

Best Original Screenplay: Paul Haggis & Robert Moresco – Crash

Best Adapted Screenplay: Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana – Brokeback Mountain

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Best Foreign Language Film: Tsotsi directed by Gavin Hood (South Africa)

Best Documentary Feature: March of the Penguins directed by Luc Jacquet and Yves Darondeau

Best Original Score: Gustavo Santaolalla – Brokeback Mountain

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Best Cinematography: Dion Beebe – Memoirs of a Geisha

Best Costume Design: Colleen Atwood – Memoirs of a Geisha

Best Film Editing: Hughes Winborne – Crash

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Best Visual Effects: King Kong

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/78th_Academy_Awards

 

 

Circus of Cruelty

Water for Elephants

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Water for Elephants is a flamboyant if not old fashioned tale of a man who literally runs away to join the circus. Directed by Francis Lawrence known for his more commercial ventures in Constantine and the Will Smith sci-thriller, I am Legend, Water for Elephants is set during the Great depression in the early 1930s when America was at the height of Prohibition. The films centres on Jacob a young and promising veterinary doctor, and would be graduate of Cornell, whose studies are disrupted by the tragic death of his Polish immigrant parents.

Leaving his childhood home behind Jacob follows the railway line and like many itinerant young men of that decade hops on the nearest train as a free ride towards a brighter future. Except the train is a circus train complete with wild animals, acrobats, a grumpy midget and the translucent star of the circus Marlena, played beautifully by Reese Witherspoon. Jacob shows his useful veterinary skills to Marlena and then to her husband, August a cruel circus master, played with an evil unpredictability by Christoph Waltz.

Robert Pattinson, in between his Twilight saga, left his teeth behind as he plays a simmering Jacob, yet without the full conviction of an actor embracing this characters full complexity and sadness. In the love triangle that ensues between Jacob, Marlena and August, it is Christoph Waltz who really shows his true acting ability as a slightly bi-polar, entirely vicious egocentric circus master who has a penchant for throwing vagrant men off moving trains.

Then again, Waltz did win an Oscar for his brilliant and sinister portrayal of the multilingual ruthless Nazi in Inglourious Basterds; however his danger of becoming the perennial villain is more evident. Both in the disastrous Green Lantern and Water for Elephants, Waltz is cast as the slightly off kilter, sociopathic villain. Reese Witherspoon portrayal of Marlena is fragile and elusive, made infinitely more evocative by the beautiful1930’s costumes and daring scenes with horses and Rosie the elephants, which is film’s main attraction.

Water for Elephants is more about the underlying cruelty to the circus animals that went on unnoticed as the glitzy big top was mesmerizing local towns at the time with acrobatic acts, clowns and lavish spectacle. This cruelty naturally boils over towards the climactic scene of the film, as the circus animals take revenge on their ring leader. Water for Elephants is beautiful to watch, reasonably well acted and entertaining to a point, just short of being an epic.

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In the hands of a more inventive director, this film about the circus would have dazzled in the same way that Baz Luhrmann’s Moulin Rouge was superbly over the top and outrageously brilliant, but Lawrence’s take on the circus is shot through with a soft focus nostalgic feel – beautiful, but lacking in resonance. As for Rosie the Elephant she steals the show and not the likes of her handler, Jacob, a slightly dull performance by Pattinson, who has a way to go in achieving  credibility and maturity as a successful leading man.

 

The Ultimate Social Climber

Becky’s sharp rise to Fame and Fortune

Vanity Fair

William Makepeace Thackeray is best known as the author of the seminal novel about British life during and following the Napoleonic Wars in the wonderfully descriptive, incisive and popular novel Vanity Fair. Published in 1877, the novel remains as relevant today with language and style which is as accessible in the early 21st century as it originally was in the 19th century. Vanity Fair was not a Dickens or an Eliot novel, all social realism and stark morals but light, sharp and ironic with Thackeray weaving a vast plot with a huge collection of characters with flair and dexterity always keeping the reader in his sardonic sights, whilst remaining poignant, acerbic and darkly entertaining.

Vanity Fair follows the fortunes of Becky Sharp, the heroine a governess who becomes an artful social climber and marries into the wealthy Crawley family, illustrating how unscrupulous and brilliantly wicked and willful a heroine can be. The novel is episodic by nature and weaves many tales surrounding Becky’s rise and fall and rise again in the colourful and notorious Regency period in England, when as a nation, the British were establishing themselves as an Imperial power to be reckoned with.

Renowned Indian film director Mira Nair who brought the colourful and joyous Monsoon Wedding to international cinema, was at the helm of the film version of Vanity Fair, featuring the surprising but clever casting of American sweetheart actress and star of Legally Blonde and Cruel Intentions, Reese Witherspoon as Becky Sharp supported by a vast sea of British actors from Oscar Winner Jim Broadbent to Jonathan Rhys-Meyers of The Tudors fame to a lesser known Robert Pattinson, now famous as Edward Cullen in the Twilight Saga.

Whilst novel and film are two entirely different mediums both can be appreciated the first being a great social commentary of the emerging British Empire and the film as a sparkling and lavish period tale with exotic settings from Belgium and Bath to Baden-Baden ending with a vibrant colourful elephant ride in India.

Rereading Thackeray’s Vanity Fair certainly reveals how little has changed in high society over the centuries with nations still as obsessed with wealth, pride, status and ambition while stronger individuals take advantage of the weak for the benefit of securing more power and fame.

 

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