A minor controversy took place last year when the Centre National de la Cinématographie selected Les Miserables over fan favorite Portrait of a Lady on Fire to represent France in the Academy Awards’ Best Foreign Film process (not that either had a shot against Parasite). I’m here to tell you the CNC had it right.
Don’t get me wrong. Portrait of a Lady on Fire is a good film, but comes way short from being the transcendental experience that has been advertised.
It’s late in the eighteenth century and like in most of the world, women in France are treated as trade goods, unless independently wealthy. Marianne (the drop dead gorgeo… super talented Noémie Merlant), a freelance painter, is hired by a countess to make a portrait of her daughter Héloïse (Adele Haenel, BPM). The fresco is to be sent to a suitor in Milan with whom Héloïse is to be betrothed. Continue reading “REVIEW: Portrait of a Lady on Fire Left Me Cold”
A peek inside the mind of a film critic in real time. Warning: It’s disturbing
2oth Century… Pictures. End of an era.
Maybe the trailers are misleading, maybe the CGI dog is better in the movie…
No, that’s a CGI dog. The eyes are a dead giveaway. Too much white. Where are The Lion King people when you need them.
Granted, kids are more forgiving.
Wonderful. Bradley Whitford is in this (he’s never to be seen again after two scenes).
Jack London’s novel was raw and complex. This version feels soft. Has the dramatic subtlety of Legends of the Fall.
I really don’t need the dog to emote AND Harrison Ford to tell me how the dog is getting in touch with his wild side.
That said, Ford knows grizzled.
So, John Thornton is in the Yukon mid-Gold Rush, but he’s not there for the money. Got it.
Whoever thought of pairing Omar Sy with Cara Gee is genius.
Gee is the most stylish postman in history. Love the glasses.
“We don’t carry mail, we carry love.” I’m going to say this is not verbatim Jack London.
Evil CGI husky about to be dethroned… in a PG kind of way.
The power of London storytelling breaks through, but barely.
Not quite clear why Buck’s spirit animal is a wolf if he is half St. Bernard, half Scotch Collie.
Brits carry a gramophone, champagne and fashionable clothes to explore the Klondike. In case you haven’t figure it out they are clueless.
Wonderful. Karen Gillan is in this (she’s never to be seen again after two scenes).
Kudos to Dan Stevens for making a clueless dandy mildly menacing.
The fact Buck is so noticeably CGI deprives the film of actual stakes.
The movie avoids the most unsavory passages of the book, which is a disservice to the public. “The Call of the Wild” is a classic because of them. It’s often an introduction to young readers to the darkest corners of the human soul.
Then again, the original ending wouldn’t fly in today’s climate.
Janusz Kaminski shot this? This is Lost Souls level.
Oh, Terry Notary (Planet of the Apes) plays Buck. Nobody better to play a dog. Except an actual dog. Or Andy Serkis. Two prairie dogs. The Call of the Wild is now playing, everywhere.
Now that Sonic the Hedgehog is a bonafide hit and talks of a sequel are afoot, the focus has shifted from the speedy mammal to the cast. Jim Carrey is back in manic mode as Dr. Robotnik. At his side, a surprisingly competent henchman: Agent Stone. Loyal to a fault, Stone manages to keep a straight face as Robotnik goes unhinged barely two inches away.
The actor behind Agent Stone is Lee Majdoub, a journeyman actor who, after working consistently for over a decade, is getting noticed not only as one of Sonic’s nemeses but as a recurrent character in the CW series The 100. We contacted Majdoub in Burbank, CA. He relates to Agent Stone in two key areas: His work ethic and big heart.
Jim Carrey is constantly in your face in Sonic. What are the challenges of that?
I would have to tell myself “he’s doing such an amazing job, don’t ruin it, don’t you dare laugh right now.” All my scenes were with Jim and I was feeding off what he was doing. He is a very sweet person to work with. Very collaborative.
What was your reaction when you found out Sonic was getting redesigned?
As an actor, you don’t play much of a part in what’s going on behind the scenes. I was more blown away by how many fans were engaged and how much of a response there was to it.
Before the movie, what was your relationship with the game?
The first video game console we had was a Sega Genesis. I spent a lot of time playing Sonic the Hedgehog
Your IMDb page is quite packed. What’s your career plan?
It’s always been about working hard, developing relationships and being a good person. I’ve always tried to help anybody who needs it, give advice when I can, and be prepared. A lot of it has to do with working on myself. If you don’t know who you are, it’s really tough to do a good job on auditions.
Is there any performance of yours you wish more people had seen?
There was a play I did seven, eight years ago. I played five characters who were all suffering loss, a child, their sanity, their home. For a small, ninety-seats theatre, it seemed to have resonated with a lot of people. It wasn’t as much about my performance as much as it was about the story.
At the end of Sonic the Hedgehog, your character is still on the board. Does this mean you’re coming back?
If there’s a sequel and they want me back, I’m going to be very, very happy. Fingers crossed.
Coming out of a screening of Jojo Rabbit last week (my second), I asked my wife her thoughts on the film. She said she liked it, but didn’t think the message was all that ground-breaking. Fair enough, the notion of “hate” as learned behavior children acquire early on and has long-lasting effects has been dealt with on screen before.
Then I saw a clip on Facebook.
In this video essay, a very angry girl in her early teens argues against the separation of church and state. She believes that if Christianity is kept out of school and government, so it should “liberal ideas” like abortion or transgender rights. Her argument holds no water, but that’s not the point. The rigidness of her reasoning reveals she has never been exposed to a different set of beliefs. The teen is so convinced, she is happy to put it on tape for the world to see. Forever and ever.
Marion Crane (Vivian Leigh) is in love with Sam Loomis (John Gavin) but Sam won’t marry Marion because of his debts. Marion works in Phoenix Arizona for a real estate company. Just before the weekend a client puts a $40,000 deposit on a property. Marion is tasked with depositing the money at the bank. She decides to steal the money.
Marion leaves town and starts to drive to Fairvale, California where Sam lives. Along the way she arouses the suspicion of a police officer who catches her sleeping in her car. She trades her car in for another and continues on her journey. It’s dark and rainy and she decides to stop at the Bates Motel. Continue reading “31 Days Of Family Horror Fun: Psycho”
Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) accepts a job to be caretaker at the Overlook Hotel which is isolated in the mountains and cut off on the main roads for the winter months. Jack is recovering alcoholic and struggling writer. He hopes the peace and quiet will help him write. The previous caretaker snapped and murdered his family. The hotel management assume it was from the isolation.
Jack brings his family along to stay at the hotel. Jack’s wife Wendy (Shelly Duvall) and their young son Danny (Danny Lloyd) are happy to come along although Danny has a psychic power/imaginary friend that he calls Tony who warns him that bad things are going to happen. Continue reading “31 Days Of Family Horror Fun: The Shining”
Police find a bizarre crime scene with several people dead and the body of an unknown woman at the scene. One of the cops thinks that the victims were trying to get out of the house.
Tommy and Austin Tilden (Brian Cox, Emile Hirsch) are father and son morticians. The two work out of the old family house. Austin has a date with his girlfriend Emma (Ophelia Lovibond). The sheriff brings in the body of the woman and asks that they try and identify cause of death before the morning. Austin postpones his date to help his dad. Continue reading “31 Days Of Family Horror Fun: The Autopsy Of Jane Doe”
If it’s in a word. Or it’s in a look. You can’t get rid of … The Babadook
Amelia Vanek (Essie Davis) has been raising her son Sam (Noah Wiseman) by herself after her husband was killed in a car accident before their son was born. Sam has been acting out lately and he has been making weapons to fight a monster.
Sam takes one of his weapons to school and Amelia is called in. The teachers believe that Sam has serious mental problems. Later Sam gets Amelia to read him a bedtime popup book called Mr. Babadook. The book is terrifying and Amelia wonders where Sam got it. Sam tells her on the bookshelf. Continue reading “31 Days Of Family Horror Fun: The Babadook”
While on vacation in 1986 in Santa Cruz, young Adelaide Thomas wanders away from her father and into a funhouse. Inside the funhouse is a hall of mirrors where Adelaide is attacked by her doppelganger. When her family finds her Adelaide is unable to speak.
Present day Adelaide (Lupita Nyong’o) is now happily married to Gabe Wilson (Winston Duke) and they have two children, Zora (Shahadi Wright Joseph) and Jason (Evan Alex). The family has decided to have a vacation in Santa Cruz in the old family homestead. Adelaide is anxious about going back. Continue reading “31 Days Of Family Horror Fun: Us”
Sally Hardesty (Marilyn Burns), her paraplegic brother Franklin (Paul A. Partain) and their friends, Jerry (Allen Danziger), Kirk (William Vail) and Pam (Teri McMinn) are out traveling across Texas when they decide to visit the old family homestead. They pass by a cemetery where it has been discovered that several graves have been desecrated.
They pick up a hitchhiker (Edwin Neal) who creeps them out and cuts Franklin before running off. They stop at a gas station but the owner (Jim Siedow) informs them that he’s out of gas. They head to the homestead hoping to get gasoline on the way back. Once they reach the homestead they look around. Kirk and Pam find a neighouring house and decide to see if anyone is home and willing to sell them gas. Continue reading “31 Days Of Family Horror Fun: The Texas Chain Saw Massacre”
One of the great things about buying a brand new house rather than an older home is that there is less chance for ghosts to be in your home. Nobody has had a chance to die or be murdered and haunt the place.
Steven and Diane Freeling (Craig T. Nelson, JoBeth Williams) live in lovely new neighbourhood in Orange County, California with their children Dana, Robbie, and Carol Anne (Dominique Dunne, Oliver Robins and Heather O’Rourke).
Steven is a real estate agent who works for the company that has built the homes in this community. Everything is fine. One night during a storm something seems to have come through the static on the TV. Then strange things begin to happen. Continue reading “31 Days Of Family Horror Fun: Poltergeist”
Annie Graham (Toni Collette), her husband Steve (Gabriel Byrne) and their children Peter (Alex Wolff) and Charlie (Milly Shapiro) attend the funeral of Annie’s mother Ellen. Annie had a very difficult relationship with her mother and is having a hard time dealing with her death.
Annie is a miniature model artist and decides to go to a grief support group to help her deal with her mother’s death. Charlie is a strange 13 year old and was close to her grandmother. Steve receives word that Ellen’s grave has been desecrated. Continue reading “31 Days Of Family Horror Fun: Hereditary”
Director James Wan had been directing horror movies for quite a few years when he made this movie, the start of his Conjuring universe of movies. Wan had previously directed such movies as Saw and Insidious.
The is very loosely based on real life paranormal investigates Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga). The movie opens with a very awesome cold opening about a possessed doll named Annabelle. The story very creepy and very well executed. Continue reading “31 Days Of Family Horror Fun: The Conjuring”
There are several long running horror movie franchises. Halloween, Friday the 13th, Nightmare on Elm Street, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and of course Child’s Play. But where Child’s Play as franchise takes a turn the other horror franchises didn’t is by the fourth and fifth movies, Don Mancini, the series long running writer decided to that Chucky needed a family.
The fourth movie Bride of Chucky introduced a girlfriend for Chucky called Tiffany, played by Jennifer Tilly. Tiffany brings Chucky back to life, still stuck in the doll body and Chucky in turn kills Tiffany and puts her in a doll’s body too. The two then go on a cross country kill spree. Along the way there was some doll sex and the end saw the birth of their offspring. Continue reading “31 Days Of Family Horror Fun: Seed Of Chucky”
Becoming a new parent is a scary thing. It’s even scarier when you’re worried there might be something wrong with your child. Frank Davis (John Ryan) and his wife Lenore (Sharon Farrell) are expecting their second child. There is only one thing wrong with their new born child. It’s alive.
Young Bill Whitney feels out of place with his family. His folks are rich and part of the upper class society. Jim Whitney (Charles Lucia) and his wife Nan (Connie Danese) and their daughter Jenny (Patrice Jennings) are different from Bill. Bill is more down to earth and they enjoy the rich life.
Bill has a therapist, Dr. Cleveland (Ben Slack), who reassures Bill that everything is fine. Jenny’s ex-boyfriend Blanchard (Tim Bartell) plays a tape to Bill where it sounds like his family is having an orgy. When Bill replays the tape for his therapist, it becomes a normal coming out party. Continue reading “31 Days Of Family Horror Fun: Society”
There are some messed up families and then there is the Merrye family. The Merrye family have a strange genetic condition. It causes the members of the family to regress as they get older. They regress mentally and socially. They are grown up but they act like children. Homicidal children.
James Brolin and Margot Kidder star as George and Kathy Lutz. They have just bought a new home for their family to move into. Kathy has three children from a previous marriage. Greg, Matt, and Amy (K. C. Martel, Meeno Peluce and Natasha Ryan). It’s nice old house in the town of Amityville. There is only one problem.
A year earlier the previous owner of the house, Ronald DeFeo Jr., murdered his entire family one evening. The Lutz’s decide to have the house blessed while they are moving in. Father Delaney (Rod Steiger) finds a room with a large number of flies in it and hears a voice tell him “Get out!”. Continue reading “31 Days Of Family Horror Fun: The Amityville Horror”