A young boy battles the complexities of life with his father : I really, really enjoyed Mark Webber’s THE PLACE OF NO WORDS : it’s hard to interpret the film’s true meaning to Mark but for me it’s an exquisite, fantastical journey centered around life, death and it’s beyond : the film has touches of Labyrinth and other such fairy tales and is beautifully shot in North Wales, the rugged landscape of Snowdonia is captured in breathtaking style especially the scenes involving father and son as they battle the elements on their journey of self discovery : for one so young the film’s star Bodhi Palmer gives a magical performance and is well supported by his real life parents Teresa Palmer & director Mark Webber with Nicole Berger delivering a wonderful turn as an enchanting fairy : I love and desperately want a Grumbler, their scenes with Bodhi were beautiful and that creepy moment in the film when this creature emerged from this slushy pool is still giving me nightmares : with the lack of originality on our screens The Place of No Words is a breath of fresh air, an emotional, personal journey that’s tough to think about let alone film with a four year old child : a truly unique and quite wonderful piece of filmmaking ★★★★½
Antonio Campos continues on from his 2016 movie Christine with another miserable, downbeat yet compelling piece of filmmaking : taking center stage in The Devil All the Time is the bible belt of West Virginia and some of it’s unsavory characters that all merge together over a time span of 15 years or more to create the backbone of the story the novel of which is written by Donald Ray Pollock who also in a rather poetic and wonderful way narrates the movie : it’s story is full of deluded, nasty characters and we get to meet some of them on our journey from Bill Skarsgard’s war torn, emotion driven father (that dog scene is heartbreaking), Pattison’s creepy peverted preacher (the crazy good speech after he receives the welcome food is haunting), the husband & wife serial killing team played by Jason Clarke & Riley Keogh to Harry Melling’s frightening turn as a preacher who’s bitten by a spider to crazy consequences : The Devil All the Time is not pretty, it’s over 2hrs of dark & bleak imagery but along with it’s sublime acting from it’s outstanding cast & great material it’s filmmaker Antonio Campos manages to grip you early doors and it’s utterly fascinating with how each & every character in the stories arc fit’s together like a jigsaw each of them slotting into place ready for it’s dramatic finale : so if you liked Winter’s Bone or The Place Beyond the Pines then The Devil All the Time is a must watch ★★★★½
My latest venture to the cinema was to watch John Crowley’s immigrant drama BROOKLYN based on the novel by Colm Tóibín and starring a young lady that in my opinion is the Best Young Actress of her generation Saoirse Ronan
“Brooklyn tells the story of Eilis Lacey (Saoirse Ronan), a young Irish immigrant who leaves her home town, to live in 1950s Brooklyn. After the initial shackles of homesickness Eilis begins to find her feet, she starts a new job, an exciting education and falls into a romance with a boy from the city. But soon, her new life is disrupted by her past, and Eilis must choose between the two countries and the lives that exist within”
It’s fair to say my draw to watching Brooklyn on the big screen was Saoirse Ronan, I’d not read Tóibín‘s book and the director Crowley’s previous movies have not caught my imagination and to be truly honest I thought them average at best. But it was an actress I have been following since 2007’s Atonement, the American born but raised in Ireland Saoirse Ronan that drew to me to watching Brooklyn at the cinema, and boy she’d didn’t disappoint either – Ronan doesn’t have to say much to convey the pain or joy she is feeling during the movie, her emotions can be found in her eyes & face, the power she wields with her expressions tells you more than a thousand words – but in fairness Brooklyn has some other really good performances, Emory Cohen who plays the young dreamy Italian Tony is fabulous, he’s a delightful young actor who’s mannerism’s & appearance suck you in allowing you to believe in the romance between himself and Ronan’s Eilis, their chemistry is gorgeous to watch – also deserving of a mention is the magnificent Julie Walters who plays Mrs. Kehoe the landlady in Brooklyn who’s house Eilis stays in, although Walter’s screen time is limited her character gives necessary warmth & humor to the overall film.
Overall: At its finale Brooklyn leaves you feeling elated, its a film you want to re-watch and one you wish to tell all & sundry about, it’s a simple story of life, family & finding ones home and although it’s early in his career I feel this could be John Crowley’s masterpiece – due it’s fabulous screenplay by Nick Hornby the movie is full of every emotion, a lump in my throat during one scene, laughing at Julia Walters in the next, the film really does give you this emotional roller coaster ride as you join Eilis Lacey on her journey of self discovery – I know some people are put off by watching this style of movie at the cinema but trust me Yves Bélanger’s gorgeous photography and an acting masterclass by Saoirse Ronan are reason enough to visit Brooklyn on the big screen – it’s memorable, well acted & well directed by Crowley give it a go, you won’t be disappointed ★★★★½
From Seth MacFarlane the man who brought us the hilarious TED comes A MILLION WAYS TO DIE IN THE WEST a new comedy western following a coward of a farmer who seeks the help of a gunslinger’s wife to help him win back the woman who deserted him – the film stars Charlize Theron, Amanda Seyfried, Liam Neeson, Neil Patrick Harris, Giovanni Ribisi and Sarah Silverman – here’s some brilliant character posters along with the new redband (adults only) trailer…. Enjoy!
A Million Ways to Die in the West – US (30th May) – UK (6th June) – Australia (29th June)
SAVING MR. BANKS (2013) – Movie Review ★★★★½
SAVING MR. BANKS stars Tom Hanks, Emma Thompson, Colin Farrell, Ruth Wilson, Paul Giamatti, Jason Schwartzman & Bradley Whitford – Director John Lee Hancock brings us the story of Author P. L. Travers that not only reflects on her childhood spent with a loving, caring but alcoholic father but also looks at the many trials and tribulations filmmaker Walt Disney had in securing the rights to Ms Travers beloved character MARY POPPINS and the process in bringing it all to the screen VERDICT I’ve yet to meet anybody who dislikes Robert Stevenson’s Mary Poppins and watching SAVING MR. BANKS sorted of acted as a behind the scenes glimpse at want went on back in the 60’s of this much loved Disney Classic – Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson are both outstanding as Disney & Travers respectively but it’s easy to overlook two other towering performances from Colin Farrell playing the drunk but loving father Travers Goff who you get to meet in various flashback in Australia in the early 1900’s, it’s a deliverance of such a role that makes me believe Farrell is right up their amongst the elite in his field and then there’s Paul Giamatti who plays the delightful Ralph a limousine driver who strikes an unlikely friendship with Travers whilst driving her around LA – Hancock and his team manage to capture the era of the time perfectly, it’s cinematography is delivered with stunning beauty and them familiar, chirpy tunes from 64’s Mary Poppins are introduced throughout the movie and delivered wonderfully well by the Sherman Brothers who are played so so well by Jason Schwartzman & B.J Novak – my favorite scene in the movie has to be Travers singing and dancing along to “Let’s Go Fly a Kite”, it’s pretty emotional and nailed by the cast – overall SAVING MR. BANKS is a delicious feast of family entertainment that will make you look at Mary Poppins in a different way but love it even more….
Like most I first came across the name Mel Gibson back in the 80’s whilst watching the classic movie Mad Max and Its sequel The Road Warrior – after two movies I was already in awe of this actor with his distinct chiseled features, his well formed action physique and his deep piercing blue eyes – you just knew that this actor with a swagger of a more seasoned pro would one day rule the acting boardwalks and that movie greatness was just around the corner. Combining star quality with actual talent is rare amongst the modern crop of Hollywood’s A-List stars but one thing for certain is that Mel Gibson has it in abundance – reminiscence of screen greats of yesteryear Steve McQueen, John Wayne and Kirk Douglas Mel Gibson always manages to fill the screen with this almighty presence, he approaches his work in a very cavalier manner and has this uncanny ability to captivate his audience, whether that be in the action arena or throwing it down on the comedy circuit Mel Gibson has the tools for any occasion.
With the Mad Max and Lethal Weapon film franchises, a Best Director & Best Picture Oscar for 1995’s Brave Heart and his lead starring role in countless other movies throughout the years to only pick 3 of his best most significant films for this post has been beyond difficult – to celebrate his 58th Birthday and my 100th post here’s the Essential Mel Gibson
A deserved mention to notable absentees that are also vintage Mel Gibson – Conspiracy Theory, Mad Max, Maverick, Ransom, Signs, Gallipoli, The Beaver and Tequila Sunrise (and for that matter anything else that Mel Gibson has had a starring role in)
LEE DANIEL’S THE BUTLER (2013) – Movie Review ★★★★
Cast – Forest Whitaker, Oprah Winfrey, David Oyelowo, John Cusack, Alan Rickman, Cuba Gooding Jr., Terence Howard, Jane Fonda, Lenny Kravitz and Robin Williams – The true story of Eugene Allen a man who served eight presidents during his time as a butler at the White House, he not only had to bring up a family during the racist trauma that occurred during the 50’s and 60’s but also contended with the civil rights movement, the war of Vietnam and other such events that happened during his lifetime – Eugene Allen’s name was changed in Lee Daniel’s movie to Cecil Gaines – VERDICT Being a big fan of Lee Daniel’s work that have included 2009’s Precious and last years superb The Paperboy I was excited to finally watch his latest movie The Butler – this was a heartbreaking but at times uplifting story of a man’s journey that started as a child working on the cotton fields, witnessing his dad being murdered and his mum raped to his life working in a hotel and then becoming a Butler in the White House – one of the things I love about a Lee Daniel’s picture is that he manages to not only tell a good story, that’s really engaging but his films are often surprisingly funny and are always extremely well acted – The Butler is no exception, there are some gut wrenching moments in the movie with scenes such as the one in the cafe with the black & white segregation areas, the aftermath of the assassination of JFK with his wife Jackie Kennedy sat alone in the White House with her clothes splattered with her husbands blood and the scary scenes of the fire bombing of a bus by the Ku Klux Klan these are all terrifying moments in our history that are captured superbly well by Lee Daniels – I also enjoyed the way Daniel’s showed us through the eye’s of Cecil Gaines each President he had served for, Cusack’s Nixon and Schreiber’s Johnson were my picks but they were all portrayed well, the movie at times reminding me of 94’s Forrest Gump – the performances of Forest Whitaker who played Gaines and his onscreen son played by David Oyelowo contributed greatly to making The Butler such an effective, compelling movie to watch, the relationship between the two often strained with Cecil not understanding his son’s actions until the films finale when he realized that his son was in fact the true hero for fighting for what he believed in and joined him on a protest – overall Lee Daniel’s The Butler is a powerful, moving and at times uplifting picture that deserves your attention – a must watch!!!!