The music scene of Austin, Texas becomes tainted by lust and illict desires as two aspiring songwriters named Faye (Rooney Mara) and BV (Ryan Gosling) become entwined in two overlapping love triangles with a major player in the music business named Cook (Michael Fassbender) - who encourages them to take their music careers further - and a charming waitress (Natalie Portman). As much as their lives are about making it in the industry and becoming world renowned successes, their lives get more complicated by disloyalty, temptation and infatuation with each other, pushing all of them ultimately further away. Can love last when betrayal lies at every corner?
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Philip Roth's layered novels are a challenge for filmmakers (see also 2003's The Human Stain or this year's American Pastoral), but they're so rich and provocative that they can't be ignored. For his directing debut, writer-producer James Schamus (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon; Brokeback Mountain) adaps this story as a tightly controlled period drama with blackly comical edges and darkly personal emotions.
It's set in 1951 New Jersey, where the young Marcus (Logan Lerman) is preparing to leave home for university in Ohio. His parents (Linda Emond and Danny Burstein) are worried that he will make the same mistakes that are ruining teens' lives across the country at the moment or, even worse, head off to fight in the Korean War. But Marcus is a very serious kid, focussed on making his own decisions about what he wants to do. He certainly wants nothing to do with his crazy roommates (Ben Rosenfield and Philip Ettinger) or the Jewish frat-house, whose leader (Pico Alexander) is desperately trying to recruit him. And then there's the pressure he's getting from the university dean (Tracy Letts). He's much more interested in the enigmatic Olivia (Sarah Gadon), a young woman who constantly surprises him.
Yes, this is essentially a coming-of-age drama about a young man making the shift from his loving family to take control of his own destiny in the big bad world. But it's much more complex than that, as it weaves in political and topical themes. The conversations are riveting, as Marcus' atheistic beliefs provoke everyone he meets. This leads to a stunning centrepiece scene, a blistering 15-minute argument between Marcus and the dean that's like a battlefield set-piece with subtle attacks, bomb blasts and surprising outcomes. Through all of this Schamus maintains the beautifully tailored appearance of the period, when the carefully muted surfaces obscured the churning, world-changing ideas underneath.
Continue reading: Indignation Review
The film Indignation is a screen adaptation of Philip Roth's novel of the same name which was released in 2008. The film is set in Ohio in the 1950's and is centred around the character Marcus Messner (Logan Lerman) a working class Jewish boy who has moved to the conservative college in Ohio on a scholarship. On the move to the college this now means that he is exempt from being selected to fight in the Korean War.
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To Jenny's family, she's always been somewhat of a loner. Even though she's the oldest sibling, as far as they're aware she still lives a bachelorette lifestyle with her roommate in the city.
When Jenny returns home for the christening of the newest member of their family, it doesn't take her mother and father long to start the usual 'when are you going to find a man and settle down' lecture. Finally caving to their questioning, Jenny lets slip that she is in a relationship and that this partner might just be the one that she's ready to settle down with. What all Jenny's family don't know is that her partner is actually her current roommate Kitty.
After years of living together and being open about their relationship with their city friends, Jenny comes out to her parents and announces her wish to marry the love of her life. Having lived a sheltered existence, this comes as a huge shock to Eddie and Rose and neither know how to take the news - asking Jenny to keep her partner a secret. As time passes and the lie becomes unmanagable, the Farrell family find themselves being pulled apart. To find a way to keep their family together, each must face facts and find a way to adapt to make a future together.
Continue: Jenny's Wedding Trailer
Ray is, in many ways, a regular New York teenager who enjoys skating, goes to school and is being raised by a single mother. The only unusual thing about him is that he was born female. Now he's hit puberty, he wants to under-go hormone replacement therapy and his mother Maggie is behind him one-hundred per cent. She may be grieving for the daughter that she's lost, but all she wants is for Ray to be happy and feel whole. The news that Ray wants to become a boy doesn't sit well with everyone, however. Her lesbian grandmother Dolly, for example, with whom he and his mother lives is dismissive of the idea of transitioning, and when the time comes to sign the parental consent form from the doctor, Maggie struggles to get her estranged husband to agree too. Ray isn't backing down without a fight; he refuses to go to school until he can start afresh in a boyish body, having undergone years of bullying. But it's going to take some serious discussion for him to be accepted for he is by the people around him.
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In 1949, Julia Child (Streep) is living in Paris with her diplomat husband (Tucci), looking to fill her spare time. She settles on cooking, and after completing Le Cordon Bleu teams up with two chefs (Emond and Carey) to write a French cookbook for the American market. In 2002 New York, Julie Powell (Adams) needs something to distract her from her job dealing with claims resulting from 9/11. With the encouragement of her husband (Messina), she decides to cook all 524 of Child's recipes in one year while blogging about the experience.
Continue reading: Julie & Julia Review
Jeffrey (Campbell Scott) is a bottom line-driven producer interested in Robert's (Peter Sarsgaard) script "The Dying Gaul," a semi-autobiographical tale about AIDS based on his relationship with his now-dead agent and partner Malcolm (Bill Camp). However, to make the project commercially viable, Jeffrey demands that Robert change the central couple from a homosexual to heterosexual duo. Jettisoning his integrity, Robert sells out and does as Jeffrey asks, in the process pocketing $1 million and establishing a close-knit friendship with Jeffrey and his failed screenwriter wife Elaine (Patricia Clarkson), whose life is so purposeless that learning how to control her multi-million dollar house's blinds constitutes an exciting afternoon. Yet the happy threesome's relationship is soon torn asunder when, after learning that Robert frequents chat rooms, Elaine strikes up an in-disguise online conversation with her new friend and learns that he's having an affair with Jeffrey. This devastating discovery frighteningly undercuts Elaine's sense of security and stability while also igniting a desire for retribution, leading to a dangerous game of cyberspace cat-and-mouse in which Elaine poses as the back-from-the-dead spirit of Malcolm and, ultimately, each character's true, less-than-savory personalities are drawn out into the blinding L.A. light of day.
Continue reading: The Dying Gaul Review
'Smalls Change (Meditations Upon Ageing)' arrives in April.
The two awards have made for a great 72nd birthday present for the country music icon.
The music scene of Austin, Texas becomes tainted by lust and illict desires as two...
Philip Roth's layered novels are a challenge for filmmakers (see also 2003's The Human Stain...
The film Indignation is a screen adaptation of Philip Roth's novel of the same name...
To Jenny's family, she's always been somewhat of a loner. Even though she's the oldest...
Ray is, in many ways, a regular New York teenager who enjoys skating, goes to...
Watch the trailer for Julie & Julia Julie Powell is a woman going through a...
Ephron reunites with Streep for this slightly overlong and very girly drama based on two...
In 1995, the internet was still a strange, scary destination for most Americans, a primary...