When an influential and forward-thinking writer locks horns with a conservative author, things get a little intense. Gore Vidal and William F. Buckley, Jr. made headlines when they were enlisted to debate the Republican and Democratic presidential ideals in 1968 for ABC, and subsequently found themselves in a controversial feud as they became more and more incensed by each other's opinions. With threats of violence and insulting jargon leaving a shocking mark on the legendary televised argument, it became a landmark moment in political media and, indeed, continued - albeit indirectly - with later publications and lawsuits from both parties. While there used to be an element of poise and dignity with political conversation, from this moment, things heated up considerably when it came to fighting about the government.
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Luckily for the human race, dinosaurs were wiped from the face of the Earth millions and millions of years ago after a deadly asteroid struck the globe. But what would the world be like if that meteorite missed the planet, sparing the colossal creatures much loved by children? While the thought might be somewhat terrifying, this is a story about a young Apatosaurus named Arlo who's not such a danger to his fellow Earthlings. After a family tragedy, Arlo finds himself shaken and confused and winds up injured, only to then find himself far away from home. Troubled but determined, he sets out on formidable journey to find his way back to his family again and on the way meets a young human boy, who he is quick to befriend. If you thought dinosaurs couldn't be compassionate and make awesome friends, you were so wrong.
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In this pointed and involving New York drama, the snap of realistic dialogue more than makes up for a fundamental flaw in the premise. It helps to have first-rate actors like John Lithgow and Alfred Molina in the focal roles, and filmmaker Ira Sachs has a wonderful eye for earthy rhythms of human interaction that continually reveal deeper truths everyone can identify with. So the way the film explores a long-term relationship is revelatory and important.
The film opens as Ben and George (Lithgow and Molina) finally get legally married after 39 years together. But when they return from their honeymoon, their happiness hits a bump: George is sacked from his job as a music teacher at a Catholic school because he's now considered openly gay. Unable to afford their mortgage, they sell their flat and take a huge loss due to fees. So now they are forced to live separately: Ben moves in with his workaholic nephew Elliot (Darren E. Burrows) and his wife Kate (Marisa Tomei), sharing a bunk bed with their surly teen son Joey (Charlie Tahan). Meanwhile, George takes the sofa of noisy party-boy neighbours Ted and Roberto (Cheyenne Jackson and Manny Perez). Neither situation is remotely ideal, but they try to make it work, knowing that it's temporary.
The problem is that none of this is actually necessary. They had much better options than this, so the continuing messiness feels like it could have been very easily avoided simply by making a few rational decisions rather than be pushed in one direction by an undercooked screenplay. On the other hand, the actors are more than up to the challenge, finding the most meaningful angles within every scene. Sachs gives his cast the space to bring these likeable people to life. Lithgow is terrific as the chatty Ben, who drives Kate crazy while creating tensions in their family. And Molina is wonderful as the more patient, open-minded George. Their chemistry together is sparky and realistic.
Continue reading: Love Is Strange Review
After living together for 39 years, Ben (John Lithgow) and George (Alfred Molina) are able to get married to one another. As George works as a music teacher for a Catholic school, the news of his same-sex marriage causes him to lose his job, and with Ben receiving a pension, the couple are forced to live off the small amount of money. When they are forced to seek a place to live with their friends and family, they are forced to live separately with different families. In their new life, they discover the true meaning of love and friendship, and teach a little to those around them in the process.
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The play is now back on Broadway until February 22.
Glenn Close and John Lithgow are getting near rave reviews for their work in A Delicate Balance. The Albert Albee play returned to Broadway this week and it was better than ever, if the critics are to be believed.
Glenn Close delivers a hit and miss performance in the latest revival of Edward Albee's 1966 Pulitzer-winning classic.
Strong characters and a vivid sense of life in frontier America give this film a kick of authentic energy that makes it a gripping journey. While it may be a little too serious for its own good, the movie is strikingly shot and played to bring out the gritty tenacity of people who dare to live in such a foreboding place. And a couple of shocking twists in the tale keep us on our toes.
In the Nebraska Territory in 1853, life was so difficult that three women (Grace Gummer, Miranda Otto and Sonja Richter) in a small community are driven mad by the isolation, desperation and harsh weather. Their husbands are too busy surviving to do anything about it, so the local pastor (John Lithgow) arranges for the strong-willed spinster farmer Mary Bee (Hilary Swank) to escort them back east to civilisation. She needs a "homesman" to help make the arduous five-week journey, so she drafts in drunken scoundrel George (Tommy Lee Jones). During their long trek across the plains, they have a series of potentially life-threatening encounters with the likes of well-armed Native Americans, an interfering opportunist (Tim Blake Nelson) and a cruelly dismissive hotel owner (James Spader).
The characters are strikingly feisty, starting with Swank's fiercely no-nonsense, self-sufficient Mary Bee, who one local observes is as good as any man around. She's also rather annoyingly holier-than-thou, which explains why she's has so much trouble finding a husband to help her. And these three women really push her to the breaking point: Gummer's Bella is consumed by grief, Otto's Theoline moans day and night, and Richter's Gro is a delusional menace. So it's a good thing that Jones provides some comic relief as the rapscallion George, a snarky realist who's the only likeable person on-screen.He also emerges along the way as the true protagonist of the tale.
Continue reading: The Homesman Review
Brainy blockbuster maestro Christopher Nolan heads into deep space with this epic adventure, which is packed with thoughtful ideas and big emotions even if the plot wobbles badly in the middle. But although it ultimately feels somewhat forced, the film is still a mesmerising exploration of parenthood and survival, bending time and gravity in ways that keep our brains spinning. And the seamless visual effects combine with some wrenching performances to make it unmissable.
It opens in a future America where a desperation for food has overtaken the need for technology and innovation. Which is a problem for Nasa pilot Cooper (Matthew McConaughey), who is now working a massive corn farm that he runs with his father (John Lithgow). Then Cooper and his daughter Murph (Mackenzie Foy) discover a gravitational anomaly that leads them to a secret base run by father and daughter scientists Brand and Amelia (Michael Caine and Anne Hathaway), who are looking for a new home planet for humanity since Earth is dying. So Cooper joins up and heads through a wormhole with Amelia and crew (Wes Bentley and David Gyasi). Meanwhile, Murph (who grows up to be Jessica Chastain) gets involved in the project back on earth, wondering if her dad will ever return home as he promised.
The first act of the story is a beautiful depiction of yearning for discovery, that innate curiosity that drives people to do crazy things in the hopes of pushing the humanity forward (or in this case, saving it). Nolan directs this section beautifully, with sharp editing propelling the story out into space with real energy and passion. But once they begin visiting other planets, there are some extended episodes that feel oddly contrived, including an encounter that leads to unexplained violence, explosions and melodrama. These kinds of things undermine the characters' motivations to the point where the audience just has to take Nolan's word for it and ride it out, even as the underlying ideas begin to lose their weightiness.
Continue reading: Interstellar Review
Mankind is doomed. Following generations of neglect and a lack of care, the planet Earth is a polluted mess and food supplies have all but run out. Only one hope remains for humanity if it is to survive into its next generation - they must leave Earth behind. Cooper (Matthew Mcconaughey), is a widowed engineer, living in a time where engineers are no longer needed. He also happens to be one of the world's best pilots. He is offered the choice to stay with his children and except the fate of the human race, or captain a mission through a newly discovered wormhole in search of a new, habitable planet which can sustain the prolonged existence of our species. He chooses the latter option, and begins his interstellar travels in search of a new home.
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George Briggs is a claim jumper who has only ever known a dishonest life. When he finds himself in serious trouble (sat astride an impatient horse with his hands bound behind his back and a noose around his neck tied to a branch), he starts to think this could finally be the end for him. That is until he is found by a lone woman with a wagon named Mary Bee Cuddy who agrees to free him from his plight in exchange for a favour. Living alone, she is struggling to carry out an important personal mission; she wants to take three insane women from Nebraska to Iowa now that their husbands can now longer cope with them. Thus, she asks Briggs to help her on the dangerous five week journey and, despite his serious reservations, he agrees to act as her aide and protector against the brutalities they may face along the way.
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Date of birth
19th October, 1945