Julianne Moore

Review: Kingsman: The Golden Circle

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Review: Kingsman: The Golden Circle

Kingsman: The Golden Circle is the second film in the Kingsman franchise from director Matthew Vaughn, based on the comic of the same name by Mark Millar. This new adventure continues the life of Kingsman agent Galahad (Eggsy). This time the agents of Kingsman head to the United States to join forces with Statesman, Kingsman’s American counterpart, after Kingsman’s headquarters is destroyed by a ruthless crime syndicate called “The Golden Circle.” Just like the last movie, this one is also filled with heart, crude comedy, and great over-the-top action.

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Movie Issues: Seventh Son

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Movie Issues: Seventh Son

This week the crew gets down and dirty and goes on adventure with the 2015 fantasy flick, Seventh Son. The movie where Julianne Moore plays the queen of evil witches, who escapes the pit she was imprisoned in by professional monster hunter, Jeff Bridges, decades ago. He must hunt her down and destroy her before she turns the world into darkness. He recruits young Tom, the seventh son of the seventh son, to help him. Yea…. it’s one of those. Fun special effects, decent plot and interesting characters, but was a huge flop. Sometimes it can’t be helped. But please download and enjoy!! Read On

Movie Issues: Boogie Nights

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Movie Issues: Boogie Nights

This week the guys go back to the heyday or porn in the 1970’s and 80s. We watched the masterpiece that is 1997s Boogie Nights. One of Leland’s favorites that Spooky had never seen. We’ll they had to fix that. So turn up your disco, grab your platforms and get ready as we enter the world of 70’s porn and wonder in amazement at some of the best acting and just how skinny everyone was then! Please download and join us!

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Movie Issues: Carrie

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Movie Issues: Carrie

In a world plagued with sequels and bad remakes, it was no doubt that at one point there would be yet another remake based on Stephen King’s 1974 novel, Carrie. Taking great inspiration from the Brian De Palma’s Oscar nominated 1976 version of the film, here we find that Carrie, in 2013 has been treated well and with great respect by director Kimberly Pierce (Boys Don’t Cry). The latest version is entertaining, newly charged, and introduces Carrie White to a whole new generation.

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Review: Don Jon

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Review: Don Jon

Joseph Gordon-Levitt pulls the trifecta in Don Jon: writing, directing, and starring in a movie about a dude coming to grips with the vapid nature of his existence and the difference between love and what transpires in smut films. He finds that real sex doesn’t measure up to the fantasy of online pornography, where he feels he can “lose himself”.  But his addiction to porn has made him dissatisfied with life, and he sets out on a personal journey to find more than just gratifying sex. He ends up finding the bigger picture, learning about life and love through two different women.

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Comments Off on The Hours

The Hours

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They say this book was extremely difficult to film. The novel is as famous as L.A. Confidential in its complex unfilmability, mapping the internal landscapes of three women bound unknowingly across time. I submit to you that this film is possibly equally difficult to review. I was fortunate enough to see this film with two ladies who had not only read Michael Cunningham’s novel but also Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway, the novel that informs The Hours. They were able to fill me in on key elements that were, for me, missing in the film and crucial to its total understanding. It should also be said that, even left to David Hare’s own narrative devices, director Stephen Daldry still manages to hook me and keep me involved, even when I was totally lost. That is an impressive task.

The film primarily takes place in Britain in 1923, Los Angeles in 1951, and New York in 2001, with bookends of 1941 Sussex. Got that? That’s the easy part. Virginia Woolf (Nicole Kidman) is writing Mrs. Dalloway in 1923, and suffering from an unspecified illness (it’s all in the book, you literate fans, this is a critique of the film adaptation only). Meanwhile, in 1951, Juliann Moore as sad housewife Laura Brown is reading Mrs. Dalloway. Her child conveys a sense of urgency about her situation that the narrative itself does not provide. A side note: Toni Collette has a scene in Laura’s kitchen which is brief but as salient as Judi Dench’s Oscar-winning 8 minutes in Shakespeare in Love. Clarissa Vaughan (Meryl Streep) is sort of living an inside out Mrs. Dalloway life in New York in 2001, including caring for her spectacularly ill friend, Richard (Ed Harris).

My Hours fans were exceedingly pleased and gratified by the success of Hare’s screenplay in capturing what is truly an invisible thread of truth running deep inside this triad of lives. As one who had not read the novel, the parallels pulled me and held me like a web. I felt them and relied on them when some of the novel’s subtext was flying over my unread head.

Much has been said about the performances of these powerhouse actresses, who exude tremendous ensemble while never sharing a second of screen time. I agree with all the raves, all the lauding and fawning and everything for these ladies. Even Meryl Streep joked at the Golden Globes about her 483 nomination ensuring no win, but it cannot be overstated that she is one of the strongest performers to come from the 20th century. Julianne Moore (despite Lost World) is also a radiant workhorse of an actress, making everything look easy but hooking us despite ourselves. Kidman has always fluctuated but comes in strong behind her much-touted prosthetic.

Kidman’s skin is so ethereally luminous, that no matter how good the schnoz is, her skin glows in a way no latex can reproduce.

However, for such a film, high caliber actresses are key. Let us not forget Ed Harris or Jeff Daniels or John C. “Soon To Be A Household Name” Reilly! In New York, Harris is a dying poet and Daniels is his ex. Harris does not disappoint; in the showier role, the deathly makeup, he is hard core. But dear, under-appreciated Jeff “Dumb & Dumber” Daniels plays in a scene where I am totally riveted, totally open in my heart to feel this performance. What made it so marked was that this scene felt (to me) the most like tons and tons of information had been omitted, and only those who had read it could even fathom what he and Streep are talking about; but Daniels made me care, made be believe, as much as if I had been in the know. That is a performance of note, Dear Readers.

The themes are there for you to discover – even without the book’s help you will feel the sacrifices and noisy distractions these women fill their emptiness with (with varying results), all at the altar of men’s needs, and not even a woman’s love can fill the void. It’s beautiful, and it made me want to read the book(s); but if it had not been for my companions, I would have been deeply lost. Beautifully shot, with an unobtrusive score by Philip Glass of all people, you sense the film deserves your love and you want to find out more about it.

MPAA Rating PG-13
Release date 12/27/02 (NY/LA)
Time in minutes 114
Director Stephen Daldry
Studio Paramount & Miramax

Comments Off on An Ideal Husband

An Ideal Husband

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Adapted from Oscar Wilde’s play, An Ideal Husband is a lesser-known work, one that lacks a certain quality that makes for delicious farce; namely, mistaken identity and/or scandal, with a hint of real naughtiness. The work does contain classic farcical situations that could easily be resolved if people would just be more determined, i.e. “Now just wait a moment, hear me out,” or “No no what *actually* happened is this” – misunderstandings are essential in farce. However, An Ideal Husband has a certain bland center plot device which is difficult to jazz up. Loathe as I am to compare a still-enjoyable movie to one that was patently unenjoyable, this one point of comparison is inescapable: The political ballyhoos of An Ideal Husband are, in content and ferocity, as interesting as the trade treaties being discussed in Phantom Menace.

I must now defend this movie voraciously: The acting (and dialogue) is what makes this movie work where the other failed. The story is thin, the situations frustratingly easy to make right, but the lovely ensemble with their arched brows and self-interested half-smiles are what carry this movie. Rupert Everett is the edible Lord Goring and Jeremy Northam his friend and foil. Cate Blanchett is lovely here, proving that Elizabeth was not a fluke, and quietly begging us with her eyes to cast her in a real comedienne role, and soon! Minnie Driver is her usual bizarre, spastic self, and finally Julianne Moore, making up for Lost World with a spanking British accent and a cunning resemblance to Glenn Close in Dangerous Liaisons.

An Ideal Husband was not the romp I had taken it to be, and the political plot point is a bit dry even by British standards, but every shot is rife with beauty and elegance and every actor is dripping with subtext and wit and irony and that is the true delight of the film. It more than makes up for the unfortunately languid pacing.

Director Oliver Parker also adapted the screenplay, as he has done one other time, with 1995’s Othello (Laurence Fishburne). He clearly takes a long time to be very wedded to his text before committing it to film, and took great pains with his production team making every little detail just so. The production design, props, costumes, small touches everywhere, are scrumptious. I can’t say how much is Parker’s directing and how much is his superb ensemble’s cleverness. It seems as though some scenes (the ones that felt as if they markedly decelerated the quick dialogue) he just didn’t know what to do and just let his people do what they do and just capture it on film. Fortunately, he cast good people: I hate to think what might have happened with a group where Jeremy Northam was the strongest actor on screen instead of the weakest as here. No offense to Mr. Northam, but he, being the Ideal Husband and all, should have been a stronger link. He is no detriment, only an underused fulcrum that could have vaulted the film further.

Rupert Everett plays quite the ladies man, which is a tad amusing. The Hollywood school of thought that says that the American public does not want to know if their leading man is gay because it will undermine him as a lover or hero has nothing to worry about. Except for not being altogether passionate about his kissing scenes, Everett is a total cad and a dreamboat, just as he should be. Fortunately, in Wilde’s society, a man could be heterosexual and still effetely vain about his cravat. He’s a pleasure to watch, really. It’s a pleasant diversion but sadly, little more than a chance to hear Rupert’s barbed wit.

MPAA Rating PG-13
Release date 6/18/99 NY/LA
Time in minutes 97
Director Oliver Parker
Studio Miramax