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
Celebrities arrive at Chiltern Firehouse in Marylebone
The gritty, quasi-feminist Western is due to screen in the UK in October and the US the following month
The new film by Tommy Lee Jones The Homesman is gearing up for its release in cinemas in the coming months, and we’ve gotten hold of a poster, a trailer and shots from the film’s set.
Poster for The Homesman, out on October 17th in the UK
Continue reading: A Closer Look At Tommy Lee Jones' 'The Homesman' [Trailer]
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.
Continue: The Homesman Trailer
Contenders jostle for Cannes Film Festival awards on Sunday, 'Star Wars' offers fans a chance to join the cast, and 'Batman v Superman' starts filming in Michigan. New trailers arrive for action blockbusters 'Transformers', 'Guardians of the Galaxy', 'Kingsman' and 'Life of Crime'...
As the Cannes Film Festival winds down this weekend, a handful of films are emerging as frontrunners for the prestigious awards ceremony. Higher-profile contenders include David Cronenberg's 'Map to the Stars' starring Robert Pattinson, Mike Leigh's 'Mr Turner' starring Timothy Spall, the Dardenne brothers' 'Two Days One Night' starring Marion Cotillard and Tommy Lee Jones' 'The Homesman' starring Hilary Swank. Disappointments have included Olivier Dahan's 'Grace of Monaco' starring Nicole Kidman and Ryan Gosling's directing debut 'Lost River' starring Christina Hendricks. Take a look over our own top five Palme d'Or Winner predictions.
But for most movie fans, the even bigger news is that 'Star Wars: Episode VII' has started filming at Pinewood in London, complete with a competition fans can enter for a chance to actually appear in the movie. In a video clip for the charity initiative Star Wars: Force for Change, Jj Abrams explained this week that the programme will work with Unicef to help children around the world. Watch 'Star Wars: Force For Change' Trailer.
Tommy Lee Jones' fourth effort as a director has fared well with the critics, overall
‘The Homesman’ is the latest film to face the critics at Cannes 2014, which has thrown out some modern classics (like ‘Mr Turner) and some true stinkers (like ‘Grace of Monaco).
Starring Tommy Lee Jones, Hilary Swank, Hailee Steinfeld, William Fichtner and Meryl Streep and helmed by Lee Jones in his fourth directorial effort, ‘The Homesman’ hasn’t reached one end of the critical spectrum or another, pleasing most critics but failing to excite others. This reaction has accumulated a fairly healthy 67% aggregate score on Rotten Tomatoes.
Continue reading: 'The Homesman': Cannes 2014 Reviews Are Mostly Positive
Most of these movies feature actors, actresses and filmmakers who really should know better...
10. A Glimpse Inside The Mind Of Charles Swan III - Charlie Sheen exploits his bad-boy image in this fractured comedy in which he plays a paranoid idiot who thinks his ex is trying to kill him. But the story is wafer-thin, and the film is almost overpoweringly indulgent.
Read more about 'A Glimpse Inside The Mind Of Charles Swan III' here
9. Pain & Gain - Michael Bay's comedy may feature enjoyably offhanded performances from Mark Wahlberg and Dwayne Johnson, but it's also the year's most offensive movie. Playing a true-life murder for laughs is only the first mistake.
Watch the trailer for 'Pain & Gain' here
Read the full review for 'Pain & Gain' here
Continue reading: The 10 Worst Films Of 2013
Despite a promising trailer and a great cast, this French-American comedy-thriller is a complete misfire because Luc Besson seems unclear about how to create a black comedy. He merely mixes silliness and violence, but the script is so lazy that it's neither funny nor suspenseful. With the talent on screen we keep hoping everything will come together at some point, but it never does.
It's set in Normandy, where the Manzoni family has just moved after another disastrous attempt at witness relocation. They snitched on the mob back in America, and are having a tough time blending with locals anywhere. Even here, Fred (De Niro) gets a little too frustrated with a plumber while Maggie (Pfeiffer) doesn't take insults lying down, and their kids Belle and Warren (Agron and D'Leo) quickly take over the system at their new school. Their handler Stansfield (Jones) is doing his best, but it can't belong before what they are up to gets them noticed back home.
For a French movie, this is oddly packed with negative French stereotypes, from the ugly casting to the locals' backwards technology (only the Americans have mobile phones). And everyone speaks English with a silly accent. But then the script is packed with head-scratching inconsistencies and far-fetched touches. We never believe a single element of the plot, which leaves these solid actors looking lost on screen. De Niro, Pfeiffer and Jones have at least played these characters before, so know how to punch the comedy notes.
Continue reading: The Family Review
An attempt to spice up a true story with fictional characters and events leaves this film feeling artificial. And it doesn't help that the two likeable lead actors never quite crack the surface. But this is still a fascinating moment in history, and the film captures a strong sense of the setting as well as the importance of this urgent meeting of two cultures.
It takes place in August 1945, just after Japan surrenders to the Americans. General MacArthur (Jones) is now charged with determining whether Emperor Hirohito (Kataoka) should be tried for war crimes. So he assigns General Fellers (Fox) to define Hirohito's role. Fellers has experience with Japanese culture: he lived there before the war and fell in love with university student Aya (Hatsune). But he never knew what happened to her, so in addition to working with his translator Takahashi (Haneda) to meet with various wartime officials, he also looks for news about Aya.
There's something fishy about this whole Aya business right from the start, as we doubt that such a high-ranking military officer, charged with such a vitally important task, would spend so much time on his own personal search. We also never really care about Fellers' feelings for Aya, so nothing about this plot-thread and its gauzy flashbacks feels realistic. And sure enough, a bit of research reveals that it's complete fiction. The far more interesting relationship here is between Fellers and Takahashi, which is played with intriguing texture by Fox and especially Haneda but is never properly explored on-screen.
Continue reading: Emperor Review
Depth and complexity just don't run in "The Family."
The Family sounds great on paper – a Luc Besson film, set in France, starring Robert De Niro, Michelle Pfeifer, Tommy Lee Jones and Diana Argon – it would take a… the opposite of a miracle for this film to flop. However, the critics just don’t seem to be warming up to this comedy about the family of an American mobster, relocating to rural France and essentially harassing the locals for almost two hours. There are a number of reasons, cited against the family – the acting not being one of them, of course – but the one that seems to be sticking is the uninspired story (penned by Besson himself, along with Michael Caleo, based on the novel by Tonino Benacquista).
De Niro manages to shine even in a lackluster role.
De Niro has plenty of experience playing mobsters. His performance as Gio, a gangster-turned-rat, who is forced to pose as a writer, living with his family in a village in Normandy and simultaneously penning a memoir, gets almost universal thumbs up, The New York Times’ Stephen Holden calls De Niro’s performance “surprisingly nuanced” and his character – “charming in a rough-hewed way, but lethal.”
Continue reading: What Is It About "The Family" That Makes It So Unloved By Critics?
Giovanni Manzoni is a gangster boss who has been placed under witness protection by Agent Stansfield after betraying the mafia. However, wherever they are relocated and whatever names they are given, they always manage to get themselves into trouble as blending in to their new towns becomes more and more difficult. With their lives under threat from their old pals again, the Manzonis are moved to Normandy in France where they become the 'Blakes'. Unfortunately, they have barely moved one day before the family manage to create chaos yet again, with Mrs Blake blowing up a convenience store in response to a snide comment from the French shopkeeper, the daughter getting into numerous fights and the son in trouble at school for theft and bribery. As expected, they manage to attract attention from the mob and they are forced to fight back to protect themselves in the only way they know how.
Continue: The Family Trailer
Date of birth
15th September, 1946