Screenplay: James Ivory; Based on the novel by André Aciman
Cinematography: Sayombhu Mukdeeprom; Editing: Walter Fasano
Production Design: Samuel Deshors; Art Direction: Roberta Federico; Set Decoration: Muriel Chinal, Sandro Piccarozzi & Violante Visconti di Modrone; Costumes: Giulia Piersanti
Stars: Timothée Chalamet (Elio Perlman), Armie Hammer (Oliver), Michael Stuhlbarg (Samuel Perlman), Amira Casar (Annella Perlman), Esther Garrel (Marzia), Victoire Du Bois (Chiara), Vanda Capriolo (Mafalda), Antonio Rimoldi (Anchise), André Aciman (Mounir), Peter Spears (Isaac)
Summer of love films set in sunny, foreign locales have been a hallmark of coming-of-age cinema for so long, at least as far back as movies like Three Coins in the Fountain, Roman Holiday, Summertime, Holiday for Lovers, and relatively more recent titles like A Little Romance, Enchanted April, Stealing Beauty, Under the Tuscan Sun, A Good Year, Mamma Mia! and Eat, Pray, Love, they’ve become somewhat passé. So much so that these stick a pin in the map movies now feel like displaced, modern descendants of E.M. Forster and Henry James. Americans abroad entries of more integrity, like The Talented Mr. Ripley, had to twist variations out of the theme in order to pull off the same premise.
Screenplay: Nick Hornby; based on novel by Colm Tóibín
Cinematography: Yves Bélanger; Editing: Jake Roberts; Production Design: François Séguin; Set Decoration: Suzanne Cloutier, Jenny Oman & Louise Tremblay; Costumes: Odile Dicks-Mireaux; Score: Michael Brook
Despite its title Brooklyn is not a Spike Lee joint but rather a twee little piece of loveliness adapted from Colm Tóibín’s 2009 novel of the same name about a wistful Irish immigrant from Enniscorthy, Eilis Lacey (Saoirse Ronan), who feels bereft of home and loved ones in 1952 New York until meeting and marrying Tony (Emory Cohen), an Italian-American. Returning home for a time following her sister Rose’s (Fiona Glascott) passing, Eilis’ faded love for all she’s been missing in her homeland is reawakened, threatening to severe the ties she’s established for a new life in America.
Screenplay: David O. Russell; based on The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick
Cinematography: Masanobu Takayanagi; Editing: Jay Cassidy & Crispin Struthers
Production Design: Judy Becker; Set Decoration: Heather Loeffler
Costumes: Mark Bridges
Score: Danny Elfman
Stars: Bradley Cooper (Pat Solitano), Jennifer Lawrence (Tiffany Maxwell), Robert De Niro (Pat Sr.), Jacki Weaver (Dolores), Chris Tucker (Danny), John Ortiz (Ronnie), Julia Stiles (Veronica), Anupam Kher (Dr. Patel), Brea Bee (Nikki)
If laughter is the best medicine, then Silver Linings Playbook is the panacea for what’s been ailing kitschy romantic comedy of late. A first for him as far as I‘m aware, director David O. Russell’s foray into untried turf actually returns him to the darker, more acerbic edge of such earlier comedies as I Heart Huckabees and Spanking the Monkey. Likewise populated by existential oddballs and emotionally troubled outsiders, Russell, who usually writes his own scenarios, has translated Matthew Quick’s novel into a non-conformist romantic comedy about non-conformity. By which I mean it marches to its own drummer rather than trying to fit itself into the pat conventions of the genre. This movie is a square peg in a round hole. Continue reading →
Production Design: Judy Becker; Set Decoration: Patricia Cuccia & Catherine Davis
Costumes: Marit Allen; Score: Gustavo Santaolalla
Stars: Heath Ledger (Ennis Del Mar), Jake Gyllenhaal (Jack Twist), Anne Hathaway (Lureen Newsome),Michelle Williams (Alma), Randy Quaid (Joe Aguirrre), Linda Cardellini (Cassie), Kate Mara (Alma Jr., age 19), Roberta Maxwell (Jack’s Mother), Graham Beckel (L.D. Newsome)
With its topicality, self-congratulatory ballsiness and down home setting, Brokeback Mountain, Ang Lee’s plaintive ode to repressed passions and frustrated longings, has officially placed the filmmaker in Hollywood’s pantheon of great directors (he picked up an Oscar for it), and that’s apt. For this movie presents a complete crystallization of the dominant theme woven throughout his entire body of work, that of romance thwarted and love aborted by people’s unwillingness or inability to express their true feelings. The story concerns the decades long secret affair between Ennis Del Mar (Heath Ledger) and Jack Twist (Jake Gyllenhaal), two cowboys who are unable to reconcile their love for one another. Brokeback Mountain is just as pained and tinged with angst as everything that’s gone before it.
Cinematography: Emmanuel Lubezki; Editing: Richard Chew, Hank Corwin, Saar Klein, Mark Yoshikawa
Production Design: Jack Fisk; Set Decoration: Jim Erickson
Costumes: Jacqueline West; Score: James Horner
Stars: Colin Farrell (John Smith), Q’orianka Kilcher (Pocahontas), Christian Bale (John Rolfe), Christopher Plummer (Captain Newport), August Schellenberg (Chief Powhatan), Wes Studi (Opechancanough), David Thewlis (Wingfield), Jonathan Pryce (King George)
The New World is a cornucopia spilling over with such visual richness that it reminds me of that celebrated line Howard Carter uttered upon uncovering King Tut’s tomb. The first to enter and gaze on magnificent sights buried for nearly 3,300 years, when asked by his anxious benefactor if he saw anything, his awestruck response was “Yes, wonderful things.” Watching this Terrence Malick movie is like that – a bedazzling aesthetic experience that just leaves one enraptured. Painstakingly pieced together, it’s a finished masterpiece of found footage that retains its director’s intuitive appreciation for the unexpected, the accidental, the chance discovery. The New World is permeated by Malick’s own sense of wonder. Continue reading →