Writer-director Robert Budreau takes a stylised approach to this biopic of the legendary jazz artist Chet Baker, combining the achingly soulful music with an equally resonant performance from Ethan Hawke. Sometimes, the film's artistic flourishes seem to strain to cover up the usual narrative of a musical artist's life. But Baker's story has a striking emotional layer to it that holds the attention. And by focussing on a pivotal period in his life, Budreau draws out some lovely themes.
It opens in 1966 Los Angeles, where Chet is starring in a movie about his life. One actress, Jane (Carmen Ejogo), is playing all of the women he loved, and of course he's now pursuing her as well. There's also the problem that he's not quite sure if he's still a heroin junkie or if he's just playing himself when he was one. Then he gets in a street fight in which thugs knock out his front teeth, and everyone tells him he will never play his trumpet again. But he tenaciously sets out to regain his embouchure, even as his parole officer (Tony Nappo) refuses to give him a break. He decides to take Jane to visit his parents (Stephen McHattie and Janet-Laine Green) back home in Oklahoma, and rebuild his life from there. Then back in California, he approaches his music producer friend Dick (Callum Keith Rennie) to help him make a comeback.
Hawke brings a terrific earthy charm to the role, conveying Baker's effortless musical gifts as well as his inner steeliness in the face of injury and addiction. The darker sides of Baker's personality simmer in the background, increasing his allure. And Ejogo is terrific opposite him. Jane is a woman who sees everything that Baker is, and she knows that she has limits to what she will let him get away with. It's easy for the audience to root for them to succeed as a couple, even though every other musical biopic has told us that a happy ever after probably isn't on the cards.
Continue reading: Born To Be Blue Review
When Chet Baker first made a real name for himself in the music industry he was labelled as 'The James Dean of Jazz', he was cool and everyone wanted a piece of him. The trumpeter from California soon became the next big sensation and played clubs all around the US. Ten years on, Baker had developed a heroin addiction, had been incarcerated for drug possession in Italy and he was far from the high life he was living years earlier.
When Baker was asked to star in a film about himself, it implanted ideas of a comeback, a new shot at glory, that accompanied by a new romance with his co-star spurted Baker into recording a new album. Whilst battling addiction, we see Baker at one of the most crucial times of his life.
Born To Be Blue is an anti-biography, it's based on the life of Baker but whilst the actual film Baker was making in the 1960's (with producer Dino de Laurentiis) didn't come to light, Robert Budreau's version of events sees Baker's film be made, a decision he made to help show the true 'improvisational nature of jazz'.
Charlie and his dad Mike are enjoying Halloween together in New York City. As the crowds engulf the streets, Charlie decides to buy his son an ice cream. As the father and son queue up, Charlie asks his father a curious question, 'Dad, can we pay the Ghost?' those were the last words his son spoke to him.
Charlie case is taken on by the Missing Persons team but the police are at a loss as to what happened to the boy. Committed to his child and not willing to give up on the search, Mike begins his own investigation. His research encourages Mike to looking into the disappearance of all the missing Children in the city. What the father discovers is a horrifying possibility that his son has been taken by an unknown and deadly force.
As the anniversary of Charlie's abduction draws closer, Mike must travel through a virtual labyrinth of clues in the possibility of finding his son or at least finding the truth of what happened to him.
Lars Olafssen was once famous in the art world for his breath-taking paintings. However, as his life has progressed, he has lost inspiration and his art dealer Ronny has found him a teaching post at a school in the very small Canadian town of Koda Lake. It is there he meets Eddie; a quiet but mute man with mental problems who the school lets hang around on account that his aunt is their most important patron. In a bid to impress his attractive young colleague Leslie, Lars takes him under his wing and becomes his caregiver despite Leslie telling him that he suffers from a sleepwalking condition whereby he seeks out and eats small animals whilst in slumber following a traumatic childhood event. He soon discovers, however, that is isn't just small animals he's feasting on when he finds human remains near his home. Rather than feeling frightened and wanting to stay away from Eddie, he uses his cannibalism as inspiration for a new set of masterpieces but just how far will he take it?
Continue: Eddie: The Sleepwalking Cannibal Trailer
Lloyd lives the good life: he goes clubbing almost every night, is surrounded by beautiful girls and takes ecstasy almost religiously. While Lloyd may act like a twenty something, he is really in his thirties. And he doesn't live in a bachelor pad; he lives with his alcoholic father, who he doesn't get along with.
Continue: Ecstasy Trailer
Immortals follows the epic tale of a blood-thirsty King, Hyperion as his brutal and murderous army travel throughout Greece, destroying everything in their path with a ruthless efficiency. As a string of villages fall to Hyperion's power, the powerful King moves closer to his ultimate goal: to unleash the power of the imprisoned Titans in order that they may triumph over the Gods of Olympus along with the rest of the human race.
Continue: Immortals Trailer
On a snowy night in Canada, Grant Mazzy (McHattie) is presenting his early morning radio phone-in programme with the help of producer Sydney (Houle) and technician Laurel Ann (Reilly). Then they begin to hear reports from their traffic reporter (Roberts) about chaos in the town of Pontypool. But what starts as a seeming hostage situation turns out to be a vicious zombie-creating virus. Eventually, the marauding undead converge on the radio station, and Grant, Sydney and Laurel Ann have to figure out a way to survive.
Continue reading: Pontypool Review
This frightening little Canadian chiller takes place in roughly one location, a makeshift radio studio set in the basement of an old church, where the Grant Mazzy morning show broadcasts to the people of Pontypool, Ontario. This particular morning, something seems to have Pontypudlians in its grasp -- and in true, low-budget form, we don't really get to see it. But through effective filmmaking, we do imagine it.
Continue reading: Pontypool Review
Secretary explodes with juicy innuendo, even from its opening moments. An extending establishing shot plays against mischievously sensual music as a woman seductively strolls through a business office performing secretarial duties. She approaches a desk, staples a few papers, pours fresh coffee into a mug, and then returns to her employer. Sounds ordinary, except that she does these things while locked inside a weird S&M device.
Continue reading: Secretary Review
For most people "Secretary" may be a "love it" or "hate it" movie. Let's face it -- a dark, quirky, sado-masochistic romantic comedy isn't for everyone. But for me it wasn't the subject matter that ultimately defeated the film's captivating performances and absorbingly twisted story. It was the unfulfilling, incongruous, "wait a second, did I miss something?" ending that confirmed what I suspected all along: "Secretary" only has one-half of a story arc.
The enticing Maggie Gyllenhaal (sister of Jake and his co-star in "Donnie Darko") gives a deeply immersed, credibly transitional performance as Lee Holloway, a fragile, frumpy, habitually self-mutilating psychiatric patient recently released from a mental hospital.
Back home with her drunken father and clingy, angry, victimized mother, she quickly slips into compulsive old patterns of self-abuse (she has a homemade kit full of drill bits and porcelain ballerinas with sharpened toes she digs into her thighs). But all that begins to change when she lands a secretarial job in the opulently 1970s-styled office of peculiar, soft-spoken E. Edward Gray (James Spader) -- a lawyer with an erratic temper and kinky peccadilloes.
Continue reading: Secretary Review
'Wilson', starring both Dern and Harrelson, is released in U.S. cinemas on March 24th.
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Writer-director Robert Budreau takes a stylised approach to this biopic of the legendary jazz artist...
When Chet Baker first made a real name for himself in the music industry he...
Charlie and his dad Mike are enjoying Halloween together in New York City. As the...
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Immortals follows the epic tale of a blood-thirsty King, Hyperion as his brutal and murderous...
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For most people "Secretary" may be a "love it" or "hate it" movie. Let's face...