British writer-director Terence Davies (The Deep Blue Sea) is an expert at digging beneath the surfaces of his stories and characters. So it's especially intriguing to see him take on a biopic about the enigmatic American poet Emily Dickinson. Like her writing, the film has a moody, dry exterior that conceals a fiendishly sharp wit. It's also an unusually smart film, combining emotional resonance with brainy conversation, even as it moves at a glacial pace.
It's set in 19th century Massachusetts, where Emily (young Emma Bell, then Cynthia Nixon) grows up in a fiercely religious household. But then, everyone in this community is devout to the point of distraction, and no one knows what to do about Emily's unusually outspoken thoughts. The way she speaks about her faith horrifies her parents (Keith Carradine and Joanna Bacon), even though they raised Emily and her siblings Vinnie and Austin (Jennifer Ehle and Duncan Duff) to think for themselves. As Emily begins publishing her poems anonymously, she also challenges the role of women in this society, where they're expected to be little more than decoration. So it's no wonder that the plain-speaking new arrival Vryling (Catherine Bailey) catches her attention.
The film covers the final decades in Emily's life, punctuating scenes with her evocative, often disturbing poetry. Davies keeps the period details crisp and unfussy, using period photographs to great effect, such as in the striking sequence that traces the American Civil War. That said, the Dickinson family's life seems like little more than a sequence of nasty diseases and personal conflicts, which isn't easy to stick with. Thankfully, Nixon brings an alertness to Emily that catches the imagination, and her connection with Ehle's Vinnie is lively and engaging. These two women are inquisitive and sharp, in stark contrast to the gloomy people around them.
Continue reading: A Quiet Passion Review
Nineteenth-century American poet Emily Dickinson might be well known now for her classic catalogue of work, but when she was alive she was elusive to most. As much as she was always a bright, intelligent and well-behaved child, as she grew older she disappointed her father Edward by refusing to marry or give herself to the church. Instead, she preferred her own company; shutting herself inside and becoming so reclusive and reluctant of guests that she was noticed by many. She shared few friendships in her lifetime, and even those she had - like that with sister-in-law Susan Gilbert - were wrought with pain and uncertainty. She was the victim of a number of bereavements in her lifetime, experiences that would have a massive effect on her health and her later popular literary work.
Continue: A Quiet Passion Trailer
This isn't a tell-all doc about the iconic filmmaker: it's a love letter from his friends and family. With a terrific range of film clips, home movies, behind-the-scenes footage and never-seen stills, this movie explores how Robert Altman's work has forever changed the way Hollywood makes movies, simply because his inventive filmmaking style forced everyone else to try and keep up.
After getting his start directing industrial films in Kansas City, Altman made the jump to Hollywood in the late 1950s, annoying a range of studio executives with his preference for naturalistic, overlapping dialogue in television programmes. Then he made the jump to cinema and took the world by storm with M.A.S.H. In 1970, winning the Palme d'Or at Cannes and introducing the "Altmanesque" combination of earthy interaction, ensemble casts and political subtext. In his documentary, filmmaker Ron Mann cleverly asks many of Altman's actors to define the word Altmanesque, not as it relates to the movies but as it relates to the man himself.
Altman was a rare filmmaker who was loved by his casts and crews as well as the critics. Notoriously picky film journalist Pauline Kael famously wrote that "he can make film fireworks out of next to nothing", and this documentary demonstrates this with clips and backstage moments from his classics, ranging from McCabe and Mrs. Miller (1971), Buffalo Bill and the Indians (1976) and Popeye (1980) to The Player (1992), Short Cuts (1993) and Gosford Park (2001). The film's focus is on his movies, although it's narrated through personal interviews with Altman and his widow Kathryn Reed and features some superb footage of his sons. It also traces his ongoing health issues, from his heart transplant to his death from leukaemia in 2006. But there's little mention of his lifelong anti-war efforts or his controversial efforts to legalise marijuana.
Continue reading: Altman Review
'Fargo' hits screens in the US tonight, upon a wave of critical acclaim.
The TV series adaptation of the Coen brothers Oscar-winning movie Fargo has received strong reviews ahead of its premiere on FX tonight. The show stars Billy Bob Thornton as Lorne Larvo, who arrives in a Minnesota and immetely brings major changes to the lives of insurance salesman Lester Nygaard (Martin Freeman), Officer Molly Solverson (Alison Tolman), the daughter of the former Chief (Keith Carradine) and singer father Gus Grimly (Colin Hanks).
Martin Freeman as Lester in 'Fargo'
"A perfectly mixed cocktail equally parts menacing and suspenseful, washed down with surprising notes of hilarious satire and pulpy violence, FX's version of Fargo is most certainly not a pale imitation of the gruesome dark comedy," said the Daily Beast's Kevin Fallon.
Continue reading: Is FX's 'Fargo' TV Series The Next BIG Thing?
'The Hobbit' star Martin Freeman is snapped arriving on the red carpet of FX Networks Upfront screening of their upcoming crime drama series 'Fargo' held at SVA Theater in New York. The series is written by Noah Hawley and is based on the Coen brothers' 1996 film of the same name.
Bob Muldoon and Ruth Guthrie are a young couple desperately in love but living a dangerous life of crime. When one day they are cornered by a group of cops after Ruth seriously injures one of them, they are arrested and Bob insists it was he who fired the shot. Ruth is let off to carry on with her life, intent on waiting for her lover while pregnant with their first child. Four years later, Bob manages to make an escape, and sets out on a journey to be reunited with Ruth and the daughter he has not yet had chance to meet, while being pursued by every cop in the county. He has had a lot of time to yearn for things to be back the way they were, but life has changed for Ruth; will Bob's return be the repose she's been hoping for, or will it just bring more drama?
Continue: Ain't Them Bodies Saints Trailer
Keith Carradine, Mary Gordon Murray, Keala Settle, David Larsen, Hunter Foster and William Youmans - Broadway opening night curtain call for 'Hands on a Hard Body' at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre - New York City, NY, United States - Thursday 21st March 2013
Jake (Craig) wakes up in the desert with no memory of who he is or why he has a strange metal bracelet clamped onto his arm. He staggers into a dusty town, where the sheriff (Carradine) helps him until he clashes with local bully Percy (Dano), the son of power-mad landowner Dolarhyde (Ford), who has a history with Jake. But when strange airborne "demons" attack the town, Jake discovers that his bracelet is a weapon that can fight them. So Dolarhyde drafts him into a posse to hunt them down.
Continue reading: Cowboys & Aliens Review
Former Marine and perpetual bad boy Tim Kearney (Paul Walker) has been asked to do just that. Serving a long prison sentence for all manner of illegal activities, Kearney is given conditional release if he's willing to impersonate the missing Bobby Z. DEA agent Tad Grusza (Laurence Fishburne) sets Kearney up for the exchange. Kearney looks enough like Bobby Z to pass muster, but the exchange goes to hell and Kearney is left to fend for himself. When he's captured and taken to Don Huerto's (Joaquim de Almeida) palatial Mexican estate, he meets Bobby Z's old flame Elizabeth (the striking Olivia Wilde) and her teenaged son, Kit, who just might be his (well, Bobby Z's) kid. Because Kearney isn't Bobby Z, and because he's far too brash and selfless, all sorts of trouble ensues.
Continue reading: Bobby Z Review
Possibly the most celebrated film of the 1970s -- at least among film snob circles -- Robert Altman's sprawling case study of five days in the Tennessee city is self-absorbed, overwrought, and dismissive. Nor is it particularly well-made, with poor sound (even after being remastered for its DVD release) and washed-out photography, not to mention a running time (2:40) that's at least an hour too long.
Continue reading: Nashville Review
Set on a bleak and remote island somewhere in the northeast, Baby's setting serves as an apt stand-in for its characters and its theme. Lily Malone is haunted by the recent death of her infant son and shuns the world around her. The 12-year old Larkin (Alison Pill) sees the basket baby as a shoddy replacement for her dead brother, hiding the letters the absent mother sends, letting the family know she's still alive and coming back. Grandma Byrd (Jean Stapleton) is old and dying. The power goes out a lot. And John does a fair bit of tap dancing. In other words, it's all very depressing.
Continue reading: Baby Review
Date of birth
8th August, 1949
British writer-director Terence Davies (The Deep Blue Sea) is an expert at digging beneath the...
Nineteenth-century American poet Emily Dickinson might be well known now for her classic catalogue of...
This isn't a tell-all doc about the iconic filmmaker: it's a love letter from his...
Although set in the 1970s, this dramatic thriller has a distinctly Western vibe to it,...
Bob Muldoon and Ruth Guthrie are a young couple desperately in love but living a...
With such a blatant B-movie title, this well-made film really should be more fun to...
Jake Lonergan is a wanted criminal but when he awakes in the middle of nowhere...