STAN & OLLIE
This wonderful film is beautifully written by Jeff Pope and expertly performed by Steve Coogan and John C. Reilly as the legendary comedy duo Laurel & Hardy. Director Jon S Baird won British Breakthrough Filmmaker at the Critics’ Circle Awards a couple of years ago where he first met Jeff Pope, who was also nominated that year for his PHILOMENA screenplay.
Pope sets the action of STAN & OLLIE in post war Britain in 1953 where the loving comedy duo try hard to resurrect their flagging careers by embarking on a variety hall tour across Britain and Ireland…
Baird’s intelligent film demands attention from its very first sequence filmed in one long shot at a Hollywood studio at the time when the duo were at their peak, before the action moves to Britain in the early fifties. Steve Coogan and John C. Reilly are both magnificent in inhabiting their roles with conviction and with great attention to detail. They impeccably perform Laurel & Hardy’s famous comedy acts with great dignity and style.
The supporting cast is also excellent especially Nina Arianda and Shirley Henderson as the loyal wives. Arianda is particularly good as Stan’s dry witted Polish wife Ida. “You are the epitome of Hollywood” someone admirably compliments her to which she acidly snaps: “Don’t you pity me”.
A loving and touching tribute that will touch your heart and also make you laugh. Highly recommended!
This is a labour of love for the director of STILL ALICE Wash Westmoreland who also co-wrote the eloquent script along with Rebecca Lenkiewicz and his long-time partner Richard Glatzer, who sadly passed away before the project who completed. It is an elegant film with strong production values that beautifully recreate Paris of the early 1900’s.
Gabrielle Sidonie Colette (Keira Knightley) is a bright eyed country girl from Burgundy, who marries celebrated Parisian man about town Willy Gauthier-Villars (Dominic West). Their marriage has its ups and downs but Colette manages to fit into Parisian society especially after she writes a novel about her teenage experiences which becomes an overnight sensation and solves their increasing financial problems. But the novel is published under Willy’s name…
Knightley fits the role of the eponymous heroine like a glove, while West is perfectly cast as the conceited Parisian. A mesmerising, attractive biopic about a young woman who defied all expectations and became one of the most popular female writers of her generation and beyond!
THE FRONT RUNNER
Jason Reitman’s intelligent political drama follows Senator Gary Hart’s (Hugh Jackman) 1988 presidential campaign. We Hart Gary posters are everywhere and as the title suggests, Democrat Hart is considered to be a front runner especially by the younger voters who are yearning for a much needed change in the American political arena. But the gutter press are determined to dish out some dirt from Hart’s past and three weeks is a long time in politics…
Jackman is a strong presence and delivers a dignified performance especially in the scenes where he has to confront the continuous attacks from the press on his personal as well as family life. Vera Farmiga is also strong as his supportive wife Lee, while Alfred Molina is very persuasive as Ben Bradlee the editor of The Washington Post, also influenced by the tabloids’ blind determination to soil Hart’s reputation.
Although the film takes place in the eighties it is still very topical especially with the current political situation in the States.
This Hollywood remake of the wonderful, multi award winning 2011 French film UNTOUCHABLE surprisingly works thanks to a terrific cast. The action moves from Paris to New York and Bryan Cranston replaces Francois Cluzet as Phillip Lacasse, the paralysed billionaire, who finds the most unlikely person to be his private carer, when Dell (Kevin Hart substitutes Omar Sy) arrives on the scene. Dell, a recently released convict is forced by social services to attend the job interview and soon enough this unlikely pair of individuals inspire each other in the most unexpected ways…
It is quite rare to see a remake nearly as good as the original. A compelling true story told with dignity and grace!
ISLAND OF THE HUNGRY GHOSTS
Gabrielle Brady’s deeply moving, multi award-winning documentary, takes place on Christmas Island, an Australian territory off the coast of Indonesia. It is a place of great beauty but also a ground full of spirits and memories from the past where many immigrants from the Chinese community were left unburied. It is also a place of massive red crab migration – a protected species on the island but most importantly it is a vast security confine for many asylum seekers from around the world.
Poh Lin Lee is a torture and trauma therapist trying desperately to ease the pain of these unfortunate individuals through her sensitive sessions but she finds herself endlessly struggling with the Australian bureaucracy.
An honourable piece of filmmaking very much worth seeking out!
THE 12TH MAN
This incredible true story follows the adventures of a single man as he tries to survive against the odds in a harsh landscape and escape from a Nazi occupied Norway.
A group of Norwegian resistance fighters are captured by the Nazis apart from the 12th man Jan Baalsrud (Thomas Gullestad)…
It is a terrific film superbly directed by the Dutch filmmaker Harald Zwart (The Karate Kid), who uses the beautiful but harsh landscape of Northern Norway to great effect. Gullestad is superb as the vulnerable hero but the real revelation here is Jonathan Rhys Meyers as the sadistic Nazi determined to catch the fugitive at any cost.
One of the best World War II film I have seen for a long time!