After spectacularly losing a local spelling bee as a youngster, the now 40-year-old Guy Trilby is determined to go back and change it. Having developed his spelling ability substantially over the decades, he decides to enter the National Quill Spelling Bee after discovering a loophole which states that anyone past the 8th grade cannot compete. Having given up on academic achievement before he passed 8th grade, the contest's judges struggle to deny him the opportunity to compete despite arrant fury from parents of potential winners who believe that his age now gives him an advantage. Initially rude and insulting towards his pre-pubescent competitors, he soon starts to develop a friendship with Chaitainya; an enthusiastic young boy with no friends who Guy takes under his wing. However, not everyone's happy with what Guy ends up teaching Chaitainya about the world.
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Guy Trilby is a 40-year-old man who dropped out of high school as a young boy and remains bitter about losing a spelling bee. Thus, now older and wiser, he finds a way to enter the National Quill Spelling Bee by abusing a loophole which states that anyone past the 8th grade cannot compete. As he abandoned his studies before passing 8th grade, he decides that he has every right to qualify for the competition, to the annoyance of entrants' parents and contest officials alike as, of course, his age gives him an unfair advantage despite his educational failures. Along the way he meets a young boy named Chaitainya who appears to have no friends his own age and who Guy Trilby gladly takes under his debauched, f-word riddled wing.
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James Franco makes his directing debut with this ambitious adaptation of William Faulkner's notoriously downbeat novel. No surprise: it's extremely grim! It's also a bit too cleverly shot and edited to tell the tale from each character's perspective, which means there's no central point to draw us in emotionally.
The story takes place in rural Mississippi in the early 20th century, where the Bundren family have surrounded Addie (Grant) on her deathbed. Her children are all nearby: daughter Dewey Dell (O'Reilly) stays by her side, Cash (Parrack) saws timber for her coffin, Jewel (Marshall-Green) rides his precious horse to clear his mind, and Darl (Franco) tries to keep everyone happy, including youngest brother Vard (Permenter). But their dad Anse (Nelson) has promised to bury Addie in Jefferson, a three-day journey away. And as they painstakingly make their way across the countryside, each of them has a personal issue to deal with along the way.
All of the characters get a chance to narrate part of the film, which lets us see their inner thoughts and dreams and understand the secrets they are hiding from each other. Along with Franco's use of split screens to show scenes from multiple angles, this essentially makes us all-seeing witnesses to the story, unable to dive in and engage with the raw emotions that are churning around everyone. The film is beautifully shot and acted with real soulfulness, but it also feels eerily dispassionate about these fragile people.
Continue reading: As I Lay Dying Review
Addie Bundren is on her deathbed in the Mississippi town in which she lives with her family. However, she has very specific last wishes; she wants to be buried in the town of Jefferson, which is not the most straightforward of arrangements for her children Cash, Darl, Jewel, Dewey Dell and Vardaman, and husband Anse. Nonetheless, they dutifully make preparations to carry her coffin across county in a wagon but encounter many obstacles in the way from flooding to disturbing family secrets that threaten to tear their once tight-knit family apart. With each of the Bundrens suffering their own problems in their lives, the prospect of laying their beloved mother to rest becomes a burden for many of them and the entire mission turns into less of a dying woman's final request, and more of a test of loyalty.
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In 1927, George (Dujardin) is Hollywood's top star, swashbuckling through adventure blockbusters with his faithful sidekick dog Uggy. At one of his premieres he meets Peppy (Bejo), a mystery girl who gets her own shot at stardom as a dancing extra in one of George's films. His grumpy wife (Miller) isn't happy about this. And there's more trouble when the studio boss (Goodman) decides to switch to talkies. So George walks out to make his own silent film, while Peppy becomes a sound-movie star. But she doesn't forget that he gave her a break.
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When a pet chameleon (voiced by Depp) is lost in the desert, he wanders into Dirt, a parched Wild West town populated by scruffy, attitude-filled vermin. He immediately reinvents himself as the heroic Rango, and as sheriff promises to restore the missing water supply. He proves his mettle by squaring off against a vicious hawk, but the slippery tortoise Mayor (Beatty), a family of sneaky moles and a vicious rattlesnake (Nighy) will require more effort. As will his developing romance with feisty girl-lizard Bean (Fisher).
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It's nearing the end of summer in Fairbanks, Alaska, and it's almost time to return to school. Vanessa has spent her summer working in an ice cream shack and she's about to be dumped by her boyfriend Philip. To Vanessa, Philip is perfect, THE boy she was meant to be with and after he breaks the news to her, there's only one thing she want to do: win him back.
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Rango is a chameleon who isn't particularly content living the life of the general chameleon, he sees himself as more of a hero figure, striving to protect those who need him; but when he finds himself in a western town called Dirt, Rango must start playing the role he's always dreamt of fulfilling, but once he's faced by bandits will he be able to keep up the charade?
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