Sofia Sondervan

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Cadillac Records Review


Good
The story about how the white man cheated the African-American out of his rhythm and blues heritage for the cash cow known as rock and roll is by now the stuff of legend. Heck, Little Richard's been living off that storyline for the last 20 years. Still, the truth about how misplaced immigrants teamed up with the marginalized minorities to create the soundtrack to our post-modern life is rife with obstacles, contradictions, and more than a little anecdotal fantasy. Now comes Cadillac Records, hoping to shed light on Leonard Chess and his Chicago blues-based label. Yet by leaving one essential character out, and manufacturing more than little of its so-called truth, it's hard to tell fact from fiction.

Sick of working in the junk business, Leonard Chess (Adrien Brody) decides to open a nightclub on Chicago's predominantly black South Side. When he discovers a Mississippi bluesman named Muddy Waters (Jeffrey Wright), he burns down the club and uses the insurance money to buy a record studio. Soon, Chess has drawn in the likes of Waters, Little Walter (Columbus Short), Howlin' Wolf (Eamonn Walker), Willie Dixon (Cedric the Entertainer) and, famously, Chuck Berry (Mos Def). But when the architect of rock-&-roll ends up in prison for violating the Mann Act, Chess has to find another star. She arrives in the person of Miss Etta James (Beyoncé Knowles), a fiery young singer with a world of pain in her voice. Yet the changing times and shifting musical landscape may just spell the end for Chess, once and for all.

Continue reading: Cadillac Records Review

Sofia Sondervan Monday 1st December 2008 New York Premiere of 'Cadillac Records' at AMC Loews - Arrivals New York City, USA

Sofia Sondervan

The King Review


Very Good
The creepy prodigal son tale The King takes a young sailor (just out of the navy) named Elvis, sends him to find his father, a born-again preacher who never married Elvis' mom (a whore), then falls in love with the preacher's teenage daughter (his half-sister), and somehow never descends into sheer idiocy. This may be pulp material, but the telling is first-rate.Elvis is played by Gael Garcia Bernal, who, in his second English-language role, absolutely walks away with the film. His Elvis is an intriguing blank from the get-go, striding off his ship and back into the world with just a small bag of clothes and a his M1 rifle (how he was able to smuggle this out of the military so easily is never quite clear). In a sharply-edited opening sequence - first-time feature director James Marsh has a tight hold on his material - Elvis heads to his childhood home of Corpus Christi, visits a hooker, buys a car, checks into a motel, and finds his father, all with the same determined yet casual expression on his face; just checking things off his list. His father, David Sandow (William Hurt, managing not to overact for once, even with the bad facial hair and deep Texas accent) is a preacher at a small church where his teenage son plays uptempo Christian rock songs and service times are announced outside on a garish red LED display. When Elvis finally confronts his estranged father, Sandow acknowledges that that was a different time in his life and tells Elvis in no uncertain terms to stay the hell away from his family.Elvis is nothing, however, if not determined. He starts shadowing the Sandows, quickly befriending, and then seducing, their 16-year-old daughter Malerie (a sunny Pell James). The fact that this is his half-sister doesn't seem to bother Elvis one bit. He's content to work his pizza delivery job, assist Malerie in some good old-fashioned pastor's daughter rebellion, and worm his way ever closer into their lives. It's easy to see how Malerie falls for Elvis. Bernal's insistently cheery and earnest demeanor would, when used to full effect, melt the iciest of hearts. It's a sublimely subtle performance, likeable to the extreme, yet showing a flicker of sociopathy every now and again to keep everything unhinged just enough.Marsh co-wrote the elegant script with Milo Addica, a co-writer on Monster's Ball, a film which shares with this one a red-state setting and certain bloody sense of fate. They aren't afraid to upturn audience expectations on a dime and to plummet very quickly into surprisingly dark places. It's a gorgeously shot film, with some of the outdoor scenes shared by Malerie and Elvis holding a sun-soaked youthful beauty that recalls Badlands. Like Malick, the filmmakers are digging at the malevolence behind the beauty, a malevolence that they unleash later on with a disturbingly calm fury.This is not to say that The King doesn't occasionally take things too far. The stabs at black humor are mostly mistimed and the film almost blows it completely by laying on the Biblical overtones with a trowel. It's not a story easily shaken, however, or easily pigeonholed, inhabiting instead a bright and evil category all its own.King and queen.

The Hebrew Hammer Review


OK
It's the curse of the great-pitch movie: They can never live up to the premise. And the funny but sloppy The Hebrew Hammer has a premise to kill for. Mordechai Jefferson Carver (Adam Goldberg) is the hero of the title, a badass Orthodox Jew who makes a slight living as a private eye (his door reads "Certified Circumcised Dick") and prowls the streets of Gotham, striking fear into the hearts of anti-Semites and admonishing the kids to "stay Jewish." He rolls like Superfly in an extra-long Cadillac, fully pimped-out, but always observes the Sabbath and loves his mother, of course.

Every superhero needs a supervillain, of course, and this film's answer to that maxim is Andy Dick. Apparently psychotic from birth, Dick plays Damian, the racist son of Santa who kills his more tolerant father and sets about turning the North Pole into a sweatshop, banishing the non-Aryan elves and concocting a diabolical plan to destroy Hanukkah. Not surprisingly, this causes the Jewish Justice League (who hold court in a massive, Star of David-shaped building) no small amount of consternation, and they start casting about for a Jewish hero to fight Damian. Quickly discarding suggestions of Steven Spielberg and Yitzhak Perlman, they reluctantly settle on the Hammer, whom they'd drummed out of the organization long before.

Continue reading: The Hebrew Hammer Review

Rick Review


Good
An update of Rigoletto as seen through the pen of the author of the Lemony Snicket books, Rick is mean-spirited and cruel, and borderline delicious. Bill Pullman is on target as the title character, a widower who plays a fierce game in the business world but who is really just a lackey for his even-bigger prick of a boss, Buck. But the real revelation here is Agnes Bruckner, turning in a nuanced performance as Buck's undersexed yet amazingly hot daughter, worlds away from her dormouse role in Blue Car, seen just a year earlier.
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Berlin House Where David Bowie And Iggy Pop Lived Marked By Plaque

Berlin House Where David Bowie And Iggy Pop Lived Marked By Plaque

The flat at Hauptstrasse 155 was where Bowie and Iggy lived between 1976 and 1978 in the city, which inspired the so-called 'Berlin trilogy' albums.

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Rupert Grint To Star In TV Re-Make Of 'Snatch'

Grint will star alongside Dougray Scott and Ed Westwick in a 10-part TV series for Sony's streaming platform Crackle.

Coldplay Invite James Corden Onstage To Play Prince Tribute

Coldplay Invite James Corden Onstage To Play Prince Tribute

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Sofia Sondervan Movies

The King Movie Review

The King Movie Review

The creepy prodigal son tale The King takes a young sailor (just out of the...

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The Hebrew Hammer Movie Review

The Hebrew Hammer Movie Review

It's the curse of the great-pitch movie: They can never live up to the premise....

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