I’m going to preface this article by stating that I’m an avid fan of the Steig Larsson literary trilogy, beginning with The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and I wrote a fairly passionate book review about the first novel in the series after I wrapped up the read. My interests in the book series lead me to search out and watch the Swedish film adaptations of the story, released in 2009, produced entirely in Swedish with English subtitles. Believe me, you have to be prepared for that film as the grittiness of the storyline, combined with consistently having to read the words on screen to understand can be draining on any movie advocate. Needless to say, I was intrigued to see the American-Hollywood version and jumped at the chance to take in the advanced screening.
Before I start on the film review, I strongly encourage everyone to read the story prior to seeing this movie, either film version for that matter. The plotline is fantastically intricate and the most simple of details are what truly make this story come together. For example, Alasdair consistently points out a secondary scene that was at first lost on me, but after seeing it omitted from the Swedish version of the film yet included in the American version, I absolutely noticed the effect of that small, character defining moment. It pays to live with a film buff.
If you’re not interested in reading the epic saga prior to the film, then I encourage you to at least flip over to my previous article reviewing the book for a brief synopsis. Believe me, it will help in the long run.
Ever since “Love Actually” won over movie goers and critics, Hollywood has been trying to replicate its success. Who doesn’t love a romantic comedy filled with a star-studded cast? On paper, having a long list of marquee names seems like a surefire way of making a hit movie. Then when you throw director director Garry Marshall of “Pretty Woman” fame in the mix, it’s as good as gold. Sadly, that’s not the case.
Let me just preface this and say that lighthearted rom-coms are my favorite genre. Sometimes you just want to escape and not have to analyze the truer meaning of a movie. Marshall gave a decent effort with “Valentine’s Day“, but it certainly had its flaws. You’d think the second time around trying to mesh a dozen or so stories would produce a better movie. Just like real-life New Year’s Eve parties, it didn’t live up to the hype. If “Valentine’s Day” was a poor man’s “Love Actually”, then “New Year’s Eve” is a poor man’s “Valentine’s Day”. Yup, it wasn’t that good.
This past week Alasdair and I were fortunate enough to snag tickets to a preview screening of J. Edgar, the untold story of FBI leader, J. Edgar Hoover, played by none other than Leonardo DiCaprio and directed by the legendary Clint Eastwood. The film opened across international theatres Friday, November 11, and I definitely think this movie is going to have incredible Oscar buzz.
The title of the film is direct to the point, as the film chronicle’s J. Edgar Hoover’s dominance within the American Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), essentially becoming the face of law enforcement for nearly half a century. The movie took us beyond the surface layer of his career, and exposed the sides of his life that were often kept behind closed (and locked) doors. There has been wild speculation throughout the years that Hoover was a closeted homosexual, and lived his life with long-time partner in crime (legitimate reference) and life, Clyde Tolsen, played by rising star, Armie Hammer (most famous for his recent role as the Winklevoss twins in The Social Network). There have been people denying these apparent rumors, while others have done everything possible to prove that the man in charge, in fact liked men.
This movie definitely expels any myths of the relationship between Hoover and Tolsen, and perfectly depicts the private intimacy these two shared with one another. I should state, I was wickedly impressed with Hammer’s depiction of Tolsen, as there was something brilliantly natural in his confidence, yet timid manner whenever in Hoover’s (DiCaprio) presence.
Any movie that begins with a shirtless Justin Timberlake is alright by me. In an instant, I was glued to the screen once I saw Timberlake’s sexy back… literally. In all seriousness, with the Occupy Wall Movement making headlines everywhere, “In Time” couldn’t have picked a better time to hit theaters. In essence the movie is a social commentary about the division of the haves and have-nots. In this society, money is replaced with time as the currency of choice. The rich can live forever while the poor live minute by minute.
In this retro-future world, everyone stops aging at the age of 25-years-old. No botox needed. Once they reach that age, the countdown to their death begins. Everything in this society is paid for by giving up minutes, days, weeks out of your life. Timberlake plays Will Salas, a young man trying to support himself and his mother. In a twist of fate, Salas meets a wealthy man (Matt Bomer) who’s tired of living. Before committing suicide, Bomer’s character transfers all his time credits to Salas and encourages him to “not waste his time“. In other words, make a difference in the world.
A few months ago I reviewed the novel, The Color Purple by Alice Walker, and was incredibly moved by the tale. The book and movie set was a Christmas gift from fellow cast member, Alex, and I vowed to read and watch both and witness the magic that he has consistently preached every time we were together in the same room. I’ll admit, I was dragging my heels on the movie as I loved the book to an unnatural obsession and have been recommending it myself to anyone who will listen, and I was worried about Steven Spielberg’s ability to adapt this fantastic piece of literature for the big screen. With that said, Alex assured me that the movie stayed incredibly true to the original novel’s storyline, and that our home girl Oprah Winfrey’s performance would shatter all preconceived ideas around her abilities as an actress.
May I be the first to say this, Alex, you were one hundred per cent correct. Oprah’s performance was simply the tip of the iceberg for this movie! Whoopi Goldberg had her breakout, Golden Globe-winning performance in the 1985 Oscar® nominated film, directed by Steven Spielberg. The cast was pieced together to create the incredible ensemble, and I truly believe each actor perfectly embodied their characters. As previously mentioned, Oprah Winfrey tackled her first feature film acting role in this film, portraying Sofia, married to Harpo (her name backwards – as if the fate wasn’t predetermined for this role). If you’ve read the book, then you’re well aware of how extremely poignant and demanding this character is to the storyline, and Oprah Winfrey nailed it! I couldn’t believe her ability to transcend and grow with her character and she aged through the years. There is one scene near the end of the film with nearly the entire cast seated around the dining room table to share what would end up being one of their last meals together, and Oprah absolutely stole the scene. I completely agree with her Academy Award® nomination for this portrayal.
Because Vancouver was the #2 city in in the world that wanted to see Paranormal Activity 3, last night Tommy, Nic, myself and two of our friends (Matt & Tim) were among the first victims to watch it. Despite the fact that we had to be there early to brave the lineup, it was definitely worth it. Upon entry into the theater, we were each given free popcorn, a free bottled drink, and a Paranormal Activity 3 t-shirt – Fun!
After watching the trailer for The Devil Inside (which also looks super freaky), we jumped right into the film. You’re probably wondering how we go from the past to the present. Well, as you’ve seen from the previews, pretty much the entire film takes place when Katy and Kristi are just little girls. That being said, at the beginning, there is a way that the link the jump from present to past. In an effort to not spoil the film for you, I won’t say anything more than what you already know from the trailer.
This one will NOT make you laugh, let’s just get that out of the way. Lars von Trier- if you don’t recognize the infamous name- is an acclaimed Danish director and writer of such movies like: “Dogville“, “Dancer in the Dark” and the very creepy “Anti Christ“ which I reviewed a couple years ago. This time around he combines extreme cinematography with succinct but layered dialogue to create a beautiful but PACED film that lives up well to its melancholic titling.
A quick dictionary dotcom search of melancholia reminds us it’s a constant state of depression and “gloomy forebodings” which pretty sums up for the theme of this movie as two sisters struggle with their sadness and the possible end of the world. Stop, don’t click away haha, I know I’m not exactly motivating you to run to the video store and rent this puppy (also, don’t even bother, as it doesn’t get released until early October in North America though you CAN find it online *coughcough*). And yet, it’s definitely worth the watch- I promise. Also, for the gays, Alexander Skarsgård (hot Eric Northman from “True Blood”) and Kiefer Sutherland are sexy in suits in this and though they play a bit of a doormat and asshole respectively, they look damn nice doin’ it.
This past week Alasdair and I were lucky enough to take in an advanced screening of the novel-to-move, The Help, based on the incredible tale from Kathryn Stockett, with the adapted screenplay written and the movie directed by Tate Taylor. To say I was excited about this film would be an understatement. I absolutely loved the novel, primarily due to Stockett’s writing style and the incredibly endearing and heartwarming characters (and plot line) that filled the pages. I was desperate to see how this fantastic piece of literature would be transcribed for the film screen, and which of my favorite characters would be true-to-form from what I imagined when simply reading the lines and speak.
If you aren’t familiar with the storyline of the book, or the film, let me break it down for you. The movie focuses on the lead character, Skeeter, played by Emma Stone (from Easy A, Zombieland and other cinematic gems), a white woman in Jackson, Mississippi in the 1960s, who decides to go against all that she knows and write a book about the African American woman in her town, employed be her family and friends. What makes this book, and in turn the plotline of the story unique, is her goal is to write the story from the perspective of the help, from their voices. In a time when racial segregation was at its breaking point, and Martin Luther King was organizing a march for change, Skeeter had her own plans and take her own stance at making change.