Brian Cox gets the role of a lifetime in this warm comedy about living life to the full regardless of your age. As a colourful national treasure of an actor (think Richard Burton crossed with Ian McKellan), Cox storms through this film with personality and energy. And in his interaction with his costars, the filmmakers make some important points with offhanded charm.
Cox plays Sir Michael Gifford, a Shakespearean icon forced into retirement by Parkinson's. Living on his isolated country estate, he clashes continually with his daughter Sophia (Emilia Fox) and his assistant Milly (Anna Chancellor) about how he should live, dismissing a series of carers they have hired for him. Then the Hungarian Dorottya (Coco Konig) arrives, cracking through his bluster with her sharp intelligence, blunt compassion and her own experience performing Shakespeare's plays back home. She also conspires with him to attend a critics' ceremony at which he's being given a life achievement award. Sophia thinks he's not up to attending, so Dorottya turns to Milly and Michael's trusty driver Joseph (Karl Johnson) for help.
The simplicity of the plot helps the film avoid the usual pitfalls of these kinds of movies. There aren't any villains here (Sophia is just unusually concerned), and there's no romantic nonsense between Michael and Dorottya. The central message isn't revolutionary (people who are old or infirm shouldn't be hidden from society), and the plot never goes anywhere unexpected. But in the characters, the film finds a powerful resonance. It's funny, smart and utterly charming. And the cast deliver beautifully off-handed performances. Newcomer Konig nicely underplays Dorottya, which makes her strikingly likeable, especially as her own subplot about applying to acting school gurgles quietly in the background. Chancellor and Fox find intriguing textures in their roles, which are more complex than expected.
Continue reading: The Carer Review
Director Mike Leigh has made a new biopic about one of Britains finest landscape artists, J.M.W. Turner. 'Mr Turner' will see key events of Turner's life like the death of his father which had a profound effect on him; as well as the relationships he built such as the one with his housekeeper who loves him, but he underappreciates. The film will tell the story of Turner's legacy which saw him help pioneer landscape painting with his works, helping the style rival history painting.
As well as being skilled at landscape painting, Turner was also known for being well versed in watercolour landscape painting. He was considered an anarchistic character in his life, due acts such as strapping himself to a ship, in order to paint a storm.
The film is directed by Mike Leigh (Happy-Go-Lucky, Another Year, Vera Drake), who's expressed that he wanted to make a film that captures Turner's personality, which Leigh describes as complex and compulsive. 'Mr Turner' is set to be released in the UK on the 31st of October 2014.
Hester (Weisz) is tormented by the trajectory of her life: the wife of High Court judge Sir William (Beale), she has fallen for the dashing Battle of Britain pilot Freddie (Hiddleston), who lets their physical relationship dissipate as he struggles to find a role in society after the war. Now isolated and desperate, Hester attempts suicide but only succeeds in making her life worse. Freddie is furious, and William is unnervingly caring. She's caught between the devil and the deep blue sea: is there any way she can have a happy life?
Continue reading: The Deep Blue Sea Review
In 1988 Wales, 11-year-old Jamie (Fuller) loves hanging out with his dad Charlie (Carlyle). After the summer holiday, Jamie starts in a new school with a new bully (Flynn). But he's becoming increasingly aware that his dad has a double life that involves shady friends (Bradley), guns and an arch-nemesis posing as a satellite-TV company. Is Charlie a hitman or a super spy? And will they be moving to a luxurious life in America as promised? Or is something else going on here that Jamie's only beginning to understand?
Continue reading: I Know You Know Review
Based on a short story by Steven Millhauser, a Pulitzer winner given to tidy exposition and nostalgic settings, The Illusionist concerns a stage magician who was separated from the love of his love due to his peasant roots and her aristocratic family, only to meet her years later on stage, when she is betrothed to a villainous crown prince. The magician, Eisenheim, is played stiffly by Edward Norton, without a shred of humor or self-awareness. Somewhat in keeping with his performance is that by Jessica Biel as his beloved, Sophie von Teschen -- whose beauty helps brighten these lamp-lit rooms, but who is never close to believable as a Viennese noblewoman. Rather more in keeping with the spirit of the rather melodramatic story is Rufus Sewell, as the evil Crown Prince Leopold, who swans through the film with cigarette holder perched lightly in one hand, his face a deliciously, maliciously bored mask.
Continue reading: The Illusionist Review
Love Is the Devil is one of few films that is probably just as good -- if not better -- with the sound turned off. Listening to Bacon (Jacobi) talk incessantly to his gay lover George (Craig), whom he meets when he breaks into his studio, gets nuaseating after about 20 minutes. Watching the film is nauseating too, but only because of all the camera trickery. Overall, this is pretty cool -- though you realize quickly that it's a crutch to avoid showing you none of Bacon's art, since they couldn't get permission to do so for the movie. No surprise -- Bacon isn't exactly a hero here.
Continue reading: Love Is The Devil Review
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