May 29, 2013 · 5:38 pm
Thoughtful and slick, “The East” functions both as a highly engaging and riveting thriller, and also something that’s deeply conflicting, forcing you to juggle all angles of the scenario while the film is rolling and long after, too.
Sarah Moss (Brit Marling) left the FBI and is now a new recruit at Hiller Brood, a private intelligence firm dedicated to protecting some of the biggest corporations in the country. Sarah is hand selected by her boss, Sharon (Patricia Clarkson), to infiltrate an anarchist group known as The East in an effort to stop them from sabotaging the Hiller Brood clientele. At first, Sarah is determined to do the best she can to impress Sharon and jumpstart a successful new career, but after infiltrating The East and spending a significant amount of time with its members, she can’t help but to recognize that stopping them outright might not be the answer.
Like its promotional campaign, “The East” reels you in right from the start via a viral message from the group. In mere minutes the film manages to both relay The East’s motives and goals, and captivate the viewer, making for the ideal transition into the meat of the story.
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August 15, 2011 · 11:57 pm
Interview: One Day’s Anne Hathaway
It’s hard to imagine a successful actress like Anne Hathaway feeling insecure. Ever since her big screen debut back in 2001 in The Princess Diaries, Hathaway has had the opportunity to be part of some fantastic productions like Brokeback Mountain, The Devil Wears Prada and Rachel Getting Married, just to name a few. But still, like anyone who truly loves what they’re doing, the fear of these fantastic experiences fading away is only natural and, after an experience like One Day, it’s no wonder this issue became a topic of discussion during a recent roundtable interview.
Based on David Nicholls’ popular book, One Day stars Hathaway as Emma, a young woman who strikes up a friendship with Dexter (Jim Sturgess) after graduating from Edinburgh University on July 15th, 1988. From that year forward, the film visits the duo on ever July 15th, a process through which the audience watches their relationship grow, disintegrate and turn back around as they pursue their own dreams, their paths diverge and occasionally collide.
As much as Hathaway enjoys working on massive Hollywood productions like Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises, which you can read about right here, she also expressed her appreciation for this “honest, complex, beautifully drawn character.” One Day is a bit of a period piece and yes, it did involve Hathaway jumping into some unique and timely costumes, but there was also a great deal of character exploration far deeper than Emma’s clothes, accent and current environment. Read all about the extra lengths that Hathaway went to to bring this character to life in the interview below and be sure to catch the results when One Day hits theaters on August 19th.
Click here to read the interview.
Filed under Interviews
Tagged as Anne Hathaway Jim Sturgess, Bon Iver, David Nicholls, JODIE WHITTAKER, Ken Stott, Lone Scherfig, One Day, Patricia Clarkson, Rafe Spall, The Dark Knight Rises
September 11, 2010 · 4:24 pm
Review: Easy A
I’ve got a terminological inexactitude for you; comedies with male leads are better than those with female leads. There’s a rumor that Easy A completely extinguishes. Forget the buddy comedies, nerdy boys’ quests for love or manly slapstick; it’s time for some youthful female hilarity. Watch out boys because Emma Stone is in charge here and she doesn’t need dirty jokes, farces or a cliché shtick to get the job done; she’s just a natural.
Olive Penderghast (Stone) is your standard nobody. She’s top-notch in the eyes of her family and English teacher, but amongst her peers, she’s easily forgettable. That all changes when her gossip-loving pal Rhiannon (Alyson Michalka) probes for details about Olive’s weekend. Rhi is desperate for juicy news and considering Olive’s got none, she opts to get creative and make some up. What starts as a harmless lie turns into the hottest story in the halls and ultimately results in Olive being labeled as the class slut. Of course nobody wants to be known as the local whore, but it’s better than being nonexistent, right? Olive thinks so and not only opts to not deny the rumors, but stir up a few more.
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Filed under Reviews
Tagged as Alyson Michalka, Amanda Bynes, Bret V Royal, Cam Gigandet, cinematical reviews, Dan Byrd, Easy A, Emma Stone, Fred Armisen, Jake Sandvig, Juliette Goglia, Lisa Kudrow, Malcolm McDowell, Patricia Clarkson, Penn Badgley, Stanley Tucci, Thomas Haden Church, Will Gluck
April 24, 2010 · 3:45 pm
Tribeca Review: Cairo Time
Very few of us have the spare cash to take an intercontinental trip for recreational purposes. Luckily, writer-director Ruba Nadda has taken the liberty to spare you that expense and squanders the funds herself.Cairo Time is a goldmine for anyone eager to do some sightseeing. The problem is, Cairo Time isn’t supposed to be an area profile; it’s supposed to be a story and in that department, it’s seriously lacking.
Wouldn’t it suck to travel all the way from the US to Egypt to hang out with your husband, only to get there and find out he won’t make it? That’s what happens to Juliette (Patricia Clarkson). She ditches her job as a magazine editor to meet up with her husband, Mark (Tom McCamus), a UN employee stationed in Gaza, in Cairo for a three-week vacation. Unfortunately, upon landing in Egypt, Juliette’s greeted by her hubby’s former co-worker Tareq (Alexander Siddig) because Mark’s stuck in Gaza.
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Filed under Interviews
Tagged as Alexander Siddig, Cairo Time, Patricia Clarkson, Review, Tribeca Film Festival
February 19, 2010 · 6:15 pm
Review: Shutter Island
Handling a major plot twist is no easy task. Letting it go unnoticed is not fun for the audience, but slipping and providing a hint so substantial will make the investigation work too easy. Shutter Island runs into trouble with both, but particularly the latter. Dennis Lehane’s novel is so effective because it requires the reader to use the mind and develop his or her own perception. Martin Scorsese’s film, on the other hand, blatantly lays out all of the details and attempts to throw you off track with elements that feel misplaced.
Two ‘duly appointed Federal Marshals’ (in DiCaprio’s Boston accent, of course) are assigned to investigate a missing persons case. But this is no ordinary missing person. Rachel Solando is a patient at Ashecliffe Hospital on Shutter Island, a facility for the insanely dangerous. From the moment they step foot on the island Marshal Teddy Daniels (DiCaprio) and his new partner Chuck Aule (Ruffalo) get a taste of the amalgamation of warmth, eeriness and violence Ashecliffe has to offer.
Employees like Dr. Cawley (Ben Kingsley) and Deputy Warden McPherson (John Carroll Lynch) are eager to help with the investigation, but it’s clear their keenness has its limits. As the investigation continues an intense storm bears down on the island and Teddy begins to uncover the hospital’s darker side, which he suspects involves immoral medical experiments. Additionally, Teddy’s own demons come to the forefront in the form of debilitating migraines and sinister dreams of his late wife. The further he digs, the clearer it becomes that something is amiss at Ashcliffe and he’s about to be consumed by it.
Shutter Island is reliant on its eeriness as is Ashcliffe Hospital. From the moment the film begins, a bold score provides a backbone for a series of grayscale images and a terribly troubled looking DiCaprio. Those colorless moments are contradicted by more vibrant shots of the facility grounds. The beautiful courtyard is peppered with disturbed patients demonstrating their lunacy, offering a successfully troublesome paradox.
The uneasiness breaks down as the job of creating apprehension is passed on to the hospital staff. Rather than offer subtle hints that something isn’t quite right, Dr. Cawley and his team provide an overdose making the audience’s game of playing detective nearly effortless. The twist isn’t given away completely, but viewers are put on the right track much too early taking the suspense out of the latter portion of the film.
Occasionally Teddy’s dream sequences help break up the monotony of him and Chuck lurking around the hospital premises. This is where the cinematography is at its height. Director of Photography Robert Richardson is on point the entire film, but it’s during Teddy’s fantasies that the imagery becomes the key to making the occurrence so powerful. These dreams are very strange and somewhat hard to digest. This is appropriate considering the nature of the material, but Scorsese takes it a step too far showing a few overly graphic scenes involving children. Rather than purport the intended effect illuminating the drastic plight of the characters, its high degree of aversion removes the viewer from the moment.
That’s the film’s sole disconnect. Even with the lack of tension, Shutter Island is still engaging, which is largely due to stellar performances. First and foremost, DiCaprio is the heart of this film. For any sane individual the happenings on Shutter Island are nearly impossible to understand, but DiCaprio’s ability to effectively portray every asset of Teddy’s disturbed mind makes it seem impossibly real. The rest of the cast does a fine job, but the two that stand out are Emily Mortimer and Jackie Earl Haley both of whom are responsible for the film’s most memorable and threatening moments. The sole character that doesn’t have a lasting effect is Chuck. This is the result of poor adaptation work rather than a weak performance. Not enough attention is paid to the connection between Teddy and Chuck making Teddy’s dedication to Chuck unjustifiable.
Regardless of the errors made throughout the film, the ultimate sentiment will rely on the reaction to the ending. There is a twist and it’s a big one. Rather than pave a smooth path to the finale, Scorsese jerks the audience around between blatant revelations and confusing diversions. Eventually the all too obvious hints overcome the attempts at maintaining the uncertainty and the outcome is less rewarding than it could have been.
Filed under Reviews
Tagged as Ben Kingsley, Dennis Lehane, Elias Koteas, Emily Mortimer, Jackie Earle Haley, John Carroll Lynch, Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Ruffalo, Martin Scorsese, Max von Sydow, Michelle Williams, Patricia Clarkson, Review, Shutter Island, Steven Knight