Jul 31st

The tip – film and television’s portrayal of OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder).

By Tremayne Miller

The tip – film and television’s portrayal of OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder).

I would like to address the portrayal of mental illness in both film and television; and in this instance OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder).

 

‘..is it at all surprising that many sufferers don’t even know there’s a name for what they’re hiding. ..unlikely to recognize themselves in popular images of the illness. Think ..Leonardo di Caprio in The Aviator, ..playing Howard Hughes as a naked, bearded recluse, peeing into empty milk bottles in a darkened room.’1

The Aviator.jpg


 Howard Hughes, Jr. (December 24, 1905 – April 5, 1976) was an American business tycoon, investor, aviator, aerospace engineer, inventor, filmmaker and philanthropist, who was thought to be “the pilot of the aviation industry” and the pioneer of aviation engineering. Leonardo di Caprio portrayed him in 2004 Martin Scorsese film, The Aviator.

 

Hughes, a film maverick and one of the richest people in the world, gained popularity in Hollywood during the late 1920s, when he made high-budget and controversial films such as The Racket (1928), Hell's Angels (1930), Scarface (1932), and The Outlaw (1943).

Hughes remains in our memories too because of his erratic behavior and living in seclusion later on in his life, when his OCD became serious.

Dr. Jeffrey Schwartz, an expert in Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, was called in by Martin Scorsese to advise actor Leonardo di Caprio on his portrayal of Howard Hughes but when di Caprio began to replicate typical characteristics of OCD, it awoke a mild form he’d had as a child.

And to quote “Schwartz: “By playing Hughes and giving into his own compulsions, Leo induced a more severe form of OCD in himself. There is strong experimental evidence this kind of switch can happen to actors who concentrate ..hard on playing OCD sufferers.”

Di Caprio admits to the impact playing the part had on his life, both during the shoot and after it. “I remember my makeup artist and assistant walking me to the set and going, ‘Oh God, we’re going to need ten minutes to get him there because he has to walk back and step on that thing, touch the door and walk in and out again.”

OCD can be interpreted in the following way :

Imagine that your mind got stuck

on a certain thought or image...

Then this thought or image got replayed in your mind

over and

over again

no matter what you did…

You don’t want these thoughts — it feels like an avalanche…

Along with the thoughts come intense feelings of anxiety…

Girls.jpg 

In the second season of HBO’s Girls last year, we learnt that Hannah has OCD. It’s pretty horrendous and involves a cotton wool bud (or q-tip, as the Americans like to call it).

Finally a show that seems ready to portray the condition in its realistic form, we say to ourselves. Something which cannot be ‘eradicated by a pill.. ..three visits to a shrink, or ..a thoughtful walk along the beach.’

From what we, the viewers, can gather it is the “stress” behind the success of writing her book that brings out the OCD she had as a child. Then, as Dunham (Hannah) places a cotton wool bud inside her ear, she manages to unsettle it, resulting in a visit to A &E. In the last scene of the episode, her OCD is addressed once again as she puts the bud back in her ear; however, this time she begins to count.

It should be remembered that we all carry OCD traits around with us, in so much as we can be a little manic from time to time. That does not mean to say we necessarily suffer from it. Life can contain many ‘twists and turns’.

1. Joanne Limburg, The Woman Who Thought Too Much – A Memoir (Atlantic Books, p. 8, 2010).

Writer © Tremayne

Jul 31st

The tip – film and television’s portrayal of OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder).

By Tremayne Miller

The tip – film and television’s portrayal of OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder).

I would like to address the portrayal of mental illness in both film and television; and in this instance OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder).

 

‘..is it at all surprising that many sufferers don’t even know there’s a name for what they’re hiding. ..unlikely to recognize themselves in popular images of the illness. Think ..Leonardo di Caprio in The Aviator, ..playing Howard Hughes as a naked, bearded recluse, peeing into empty milk bottles in a darkened room.’1

The Aviator.jpg


 Howard Hughes, Jr. (December 24, 1905 – April 5, 1976) was an American business tycoon, investor, aviator, aerospace engineer, inventor, filmmaker and philanthropist, who was thought to be “the pilot of the aviation industry” and the pioneer of aviation engineering. Leonardo di Caprio portrayed him in 2004 Martin Scorsese film, The Aviator.

 

Hughes, a film maverick and one of the richest people in the world, gained popularity in Hollywood during the late 1920s, when he made high-budget and controversial films such as The Racket (1928), Hell's Angels (1930), Scarface (1932), and The Outlaw (1943).

Hughes remains in our memories too because of his erratic behavior and living in seclusion later on in his life, when his OCD became serious.

Dr. Jeffrey Schwartz, an expert in Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, was called in by Martin Scorsese to advise actor Leonardo di Caprio on his portrayal of Howard Hughes but when di Caprio began to replicate typical characteristics of OCD, it awoke a mild form he’d had as a child.

And to quote “Schwartz: “By playing Hughes and giving into his own compulsions, Leo induced a more severe form of OCD in himself. There is strong experimental evidence this kind of switch can happen to actors who concentrate ..hard on playing OCD sufferers.”

Di Caprio admits to the impact playing the part had on his life, both during the shoot and after it. “I remember my makeup artist and assistant walking me to the set and going, ‘Oh God, we’re going to need ten minutes to get him there because he has to walk back and step on that thing, touch the door and walk in and out again.”

OCD can be interpreted in the following way :

Imagine that your mind got stuck

on a certain thought or image...

Then this thought or image got replayed in your mind

over and

over again

no matter what you did…

You don’t want these thoughts — it feels like an avalanche…

Along with the thoughts come intense feelings of anxiety…

Girls.jpg 

In the second season of HBO’s Girls last year, we learnt that Hannah has OCD. It’s pretty horrendous and involves a cotton wool bud (or q-tip, as the Americans like to call it).

Finally a show that seems ready to portray the condition in its realistic form, we say to ourselves. Something which cannot be ‘eradicated by a pill.. ..three visits to a shrink, or ..a thoughtful walk along the beach.’

From what we, the viewers, can gather it is the “stress” behind the success of writing her book that brings out the OCD she had as a child. Then, as Dunham (Hannah) places a cotton wool bud inside her ear, she manages to unsettle it, resulting in a visit to A &E. In the last scene of the episode, her OCD is addressed once again as she puts the bud back in her ear; however, this time she begins to count.

It should be remembered that we all carry OCD traits around with us, in so much as we can be a little manic from time to time. That does not mean to say we necessarily suffer from it. Life can contain many ‘twists and turns’.

1. Joanne Limburg, The Woman Who Thought Too Much – A Memoir (Atlantic Books, p. 8, 2010).

Writer © Tremayne

Jul 21st

The Masters of Cinema Series - TOO LATE BLUES

By Tremayne Miller

The Masters of Cinema Series

TOO LATE BLUES

a film by JOHN CASSAVETES

One of the more impressive Hollywood movies to be set in the hip, flip jazz worldTime Out.

too late blues.jpg

 

Starring Legendary American singer Bobby Darin (of “Beyond the Sea” fame) and Stella Stevens, who was to later appear in Jerry Lewis’s The Nutty Professor.

Director John CASSAVETES

Year 1961

Country USA

Language English

 

Dual Format RRP £17.99

Release Date 21 July 2014

Run Time 103 min.

 

SPECIAL FEATURES

Gorgeous high-definition 1080p presentation on the Blu-ray, progressive encode on the DVD.Optional  English subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing.  New and exclusive video discussion of the film by critic David Cairns.  52-PAGE BOOKLET featuring a new essay by critic and scholar David Sterritt, a 1961 interview profile with John Cassavetes, an excerpt from composer David Raksin’s autobiography, and a 2007 interview with actor Stella Stevens.

Short précis

‘Ghost’, an ideological musician, won’t compromise anything to play the blues. That is, until he meets and falls in love with the ravishingly beautiful Singer, Jess Polanski; unfortunately, she manages to come between him and band members, who he leaves behind in order to follow his dreams. 

Summary (general) of film

A Jazz Quintet opens the film.  The film’s music score  is courtesy of David Raksin, and Ghost’s band mimes the theme tune during the opening credits, which immediately sets the tone of the film as cool and sardonic, whilst it also mimics the attitude of the actors as they deliver their lines.

The Greek Restaurateur, somewhat of a Harvey Keitel look-a-like, who refers to the Musicians as "bums", is only too quick to start giving out advice on women, implying that in Greece, it's  quite simple, you meet "one woman", then everything else falls into place.

Character Jess Polanski’s Classical sounding voice is challenged as she is asked to sing alongside the Jazz band;  taken out of her comfort zone, as she struggles to keep up with their seemingly broken structure.

“It’s not enough to be pretty”, says Benny Flowers (Everett Chambers) to Jess (Stella Stevens), who appears to act as her Agent. In turn he attempts to dissuade John ‘Ghost’ Wakefield (Bobby Darin) from letting Jess join the band, who is of the view that she will only jeopardize their chances of producing their best material

‘Ghost’ takes Jess on to a quiet bar, where she is introduced to (Reno) Vitelli (James Joyce).  The venue is described as ‘a regular neighborhood bar’.

She quickly sets the record straight, as she tells him that he needn’t tell her what he can do for her, in terms of her career, only too aware that she doesn’t have one ahead of her.  

At this point they take to the dance floor; and in her next dance, a Solo, she delights in parading herself  in front of him.

Back at hers’, she insists that he sit down, while she goes off to make herself look pretty for him.

“what good is falling for somebody, when they don’t come back?!”

But ‘Ghost’ rejects her, as she tries to tantalize him with her sexual advances, adamant that she shoudn't deem it necessary to go around promoting herself in such a cheap fashion, when he  genuinely holds  her in high regard.

 “I don’t know if I can be in love with you, ‘cause I’m not sure I know what love is”,

Jess says to ‘Ghost’.

 

There’s a creepy scene when Benny, Jesse’s ex-lover, leers over her and ‘Ghost’ kissing from a darkened area of the bedroom.


Benny to Jess:  “I thought we were two unhappy people who’d found each other?”

 

I observe the rowdy, full-of-life characters commonly found in Cassavetes films.

A pub brawl is set off because a Punter is  insistent on dancing with Jesse but ‘Ghost’ won’t allow it. 

The punterunexpectedly strikes him down, and  Jesse then  confesses her love for  him.  He firmly rejects it, as he clips her cheekbone with the side of his knuckle.  Charlie (Cliff Carnel) is encouraged to see her to her front door. 

 

Jesse, back in her apartment, clearly  distressed, pulls Charlie close to her.  Little time passes before 'Ghost’ shows up on her doorstep but she  is adamant that she will not let him in. This phrase could also extend as far as to say “into her life altogether”. She openly admits to there being someone else inside.

 

There is a sudden shift; and one is able to gather that Benny has made ‘Ghost into a success story but the upshot of that is, that no-one will hire him on the basis of the heiress with whom he has chosen to take up residency.

 

‘Ghost’ learns that because Charlie wasn’t prepared to put a rock on Jesse’s finger, that she has diced with the idea of death, and gone so far as to contemplate suicide.

 

Later they speak in a bar, where she appears  sorrowful; and Charlie, with the insider’s information  he has been given, rushes to her aide in the washroom, where he finds her sprawled over the sink having slit her wrists with a shard of glass. What happens next is left for the voyeur to decide..

 

Too Late Blues despite being centered around the world of jazz,  proves to be less about the music industry than people who just seem set on burning the candle at both ends, not necessarily aware of the consequences that lie ahead  of them. The strange fascination behind Too Late Blues is the conflict between Cassavetes’ ‘improvisatory approach to filmmaking’ and the studio’s efforts to channel his iconoclastic instincts’ into a more mainstream market.

Too Late Blues continues to undercut traditional formulas, never sugarcoating uncomfortable truths. It makes no attempt to make you feel any amount of affinity towards the characters, and makes no excuse for their weaknesses, be they narcistic  or cruel. Instead, you are just forced to approachthem head-on, with no prejudice or unsentimental candor.

Too Late Blues emphasizes the idea of spiritual cul-de-sacs in which all of the characters exist.  Cassavetes uses close-ups frequently, and a large part of the film includes extreme tight shots, which underscore the emotional isolation of each character.

Stevens was thought to be the most underrated actress of her time, able to go from being confidently tentative to a mounting anxiety, to a gut-wrenching fear, where  little effort appeared to be   involved.


A dialogue-heavy film, rarely long-winded, where words are wielded together like weapons.

Benny uses language to humiliate, while Jess’s, words are a form of self-defense; and ‘Ghost’ uses them as a way of shielding his self-esteem,

The words ‘Ghost’ utters as he writes both his artistic and oral obituary are:

“You guys are nothing,” he rails at his band. “Nothing but phonies, man…. You know why? Cause you’re talking about fame all the time, and you’re talking about making it big and being something…. Well, go find your own music, man. Go write it if you can. I am tired of carrying this group, boy.”

Writer © Tremayne

Jul 11th

BOSS

By Tremayne Miller

BOSS

Season 2 And Complete Season 1 & 2
images.jpg 

“Superbly convincing performances at every level of the cast” – San Francisco Chronicle

“One of the most smartly written and deftly acted dramas on TV” – Chicago Sun Times

 

Golden Globe winner KELSEY GRAMMER returns for the second and last season of the critically acclaimed series, BOSS.

 

Distributor          Lionsgate           

 Created by         Farhad Safinia

Executive Producers     
Kelsey Grammer
Farhad Safinia

Dee Johnson

Gus Van Sant

 Richard Levine

 Lyn Greene

 Brian Sher

 Stella Bulochnikov-Stopler

 

Running time (per episode)        54-60 mins

CAST    KELSEY GRAMMER, CONNIE NIELSEN (Gladiator) and HANNAH WARE (Oldboy).

Released On      30th June 2014

 

 Technical details:

Number of discs: 3

RRP: £24.99

Certificate: 15 (UK) 15 (Ireland)

 

Boss, is an American political drama serial starring Kelsey Grammer as Tom Kane, Mayor of Chicago, created by Farhad Safinia. Kane has been diagnosed with dementia with Lewy bodies but is determined to remain in a position of power and, therefore,  continues to hide his disease from everyone around him apart from Dr. Ella Harris (Karen Aldridge). Those around him seem far too absorbed in their own lives to recognize any considerable changes.

Kane is married to Meredith (Connie Nielsen) but it is purelyone of convnience. Kitty O'Neill (Kathleen Robertson) and Ezra Stone (Martin Donovan), are advisors to Kane and suspect that something is not how it should be.  However, respectful towards the Mayor, they refrain from asking him lots of questions, while Ben Zajac (Jeff Hephner), the State Treasurer dedicates almost all of his time to  developing  political ambitions, with the view to become Governor of Illinois, that, he is oblivious to anything that would be considered out of  the ordinary.

Martin Donovan cast as Ezra Stone , is "A savvy Yale graduate” and appears to know what causes the Mayor to tick, never failing to follow through on the task in hand.

Cullen (Francis Guina), governor of Illinois, is ill tempered and Ricardo Gutierrez, who plays Alderman Mata, is the "Political boss of the 30th” but no more  than a “thug in a suit”, who is of the belief that the end justifies the means, no matter how destructive the process. He is Kane’s biggest rival.

 

Writer © Tremayne

 

 

 

Jul 6th

The Trials of Cate McCall

By Tremayne Miller

The Trials of Cate McCall
The trials of cate mccall.jpg
 

Directed & Written by: Karen Moncrieff

Starring: Kate Beckinsale, Nick Nolte, James Cromwell, Taye Diggs, Clancy Brown, Isaiah Washington.

Year: 2013

Running Time: 94 mins

Distributor: Solo Media

Format: DVD & VOD; iTunes, FilmFlex, Blinkbox, Lovefilm, Playstation, Xbox, Google Play

Release Date: 7th July 2014

‘THE TRUTH IS ON TRIAL.  EVERYONE IS A WITNESS.’

Cate (Kate Beckinsale), a hot shot lawyer, takes on a pro bono case in an attempt to turn her life around, and become a part of her daughter’s life again.

 A hearing is set for November 7th but during the trial she discovers a troublesome police conspiracy.

Lacey (Anna Anissimova) recounts the details of the night of the murder, and in so doing, incriminates Rusty, an alleged rapist of the victim and Lacey.

“have you any idea why the cops might want to protect, Rusty?”, Cate asks Lacey, who needs to get to the bottom of what happened between her and Detective Welch (Mark Pellegrino, who stars in the American take on The Tomorrow People).

On the motorway someone hits the back of her vehicle , and it is turned upside down; when she is questioned by police, she cannot reassure them enough that she has not been drinking but is,   nonetheless, still expected to take a breathalyzer test.

She arrives late to a meeting between her Lawyer, and ex-husband, in regards to custody rights over their daughter. At the door she is met by all three of them.  She pleads and explains about the accident but is told  that she will have to reschedule as she has another Client to see.

In court, Cate says “if it could happen to her, it could happen to any one of us!”, as he draws reference to Lacey, whom she believes was set up for a crime she didn’t commit.

Cate, is threatened with exposure in the middle of the night, and receives a phone call from Bridges (Nick Nolte). It appears that her attempts to  set herself on the straight and narrow after a decline into depression,  enhanced all the more through her dependency to alcohol, have been splattered all over the front pages of The Chronicle Newspaper.

As Lacey is questioned in court over the multiple rapes she endured, I am instantly reminded of scenes from 1988 American film, The Accused, starring Jodie Foster and Kelly McGillis. A memorable film, which,I would say, most definitely belong in the cinematic archives,  even  if  excruciatingly difficult to watch in places! 

She is pulled over  in her car by  Detective Welch who insists on her stepping out of  it, and places her hands behind her back. She hesitates, until a gun is pushed  in her face.  She is then thrown against the car's bonnet, and a bottle of hard liquor is thrown onto the driver’s seat, at the same time she is warned to think twice before she begins accusations concerning  him.

After Lacey is acquitted,  we learn of her guilt, Cate sees it as her mission to track her down, unable to live with the fact that her winning case came about through a pack of lies.

Cate says to Bridges, who I suspect was appointed by Alcoholics Anonymous as her Sponsorer: “ I have heard enough ‘AA’ shit to last me a life time!”

..

“fuck you, and fuck the fucking rules!”

Self wallowing in alcohol the night before results in her oversleeping, and missing the informal meeting that's been arranged between her and her daughter, before she moves out of the state. 

Her ex-husband calls round in a cab, and through an open window, deeply hurt, and outwardly ashamed of her behavior, she makes the following response to him: “I got help. This is the new improved me!”

 “If you (we) don’t change, nothing changes,” a memorable utterance made by Bridges.

Interestingly it follows his implication that she is great but it has nothing to do with how many cases she has won, or how beautiful she is. It is something that she will, quite simply, have to discover for herself . 

“You know what your problem is, you can’t tell the good from the bad”, is what Welch says to Cate, as she reassures him, that he needn’t hold any concern, since she is prepared to go to any lengths to see that justice is served, and Lacey  is exploited for the true criminal that she is.

‘A film that manages to mirror the lives of two seemingly different women.  A straight laced Lawyer and a redneck.

Kate Beckinsale excels in her role as Cate McCall, proving that she is not only an English rose but has the aptitude to get under the skin of each character she plays. You genuinely feel her angst, her drive to be a better mother and her fight for justice. A film made up of many layers, all of which we can learn from.’

 Star rating: either 7.5 out of 10 (or 3.5 out of 5)

Writer © Tremayne

Jul 4th

Goddess

By Tremayne Miller

Goddess
Goddess.jpg  

Director: Mark Lamprell

Cast: Laura Michelle Kelly, Ronan Keating, Magda Szubanski, Dustin Clare.

Duration: 104 minutes.

Released by Metrodome Distribution.

 “A wonderful celebration of being a Mum and having a life.” Or not, as the case may be?!

The opening scene and aerial shots of Goddess mirror those in The Sound of Music; and sure enough as I refer to the film’s production notes, I notice that Director, Mark Lamprell loves Musicals, and the first one he saw was indeed, The Sound of Music.

I first became familiar with Laura Michelle Kelly’s voice in 2005, when I worked at The Prince Edward Theatre, where the soundtrack for the original cast of Mary Poppins would play out of speakers that had been strategically placed throughout the theatre to help boost the sales of Disney merchandise.  Laura Michelle Kelly had, in fact, left a week prior to my arrival, and Scarlett Strallen had replaced her but her voice on the soundtrack, and in Goddess is quite bedazzling -  a combination, I believe,  of her technical accuracy and depth of expression.

 L M Kelly’s character, Elspeth agrees to be a stay-at-home Mum while husband James (Ronan Keating) persues his aspirations of saving the whales. However, Elspeth cannot foresee the length to which she will miss her own dreams of becoming a Singer; which only highlights all the more  the idea of an Artist being imprisoned, who is but nothing if they aren’t given free rein to explore their chosen art form.

“Welcome to my kitchen sink.  This is where I stop and think.  Where I am often on the brink of madness!,” is what Elspeth chants as she stands in front of her kitchen sink, on a farm close to the bottom of the world.  Such fitting lyrics for a theme that will occur again and again over the course of the film.

Elspeth, lonely and isolated, uses the webcam James gave her to set up a webcast.  At first, no-one takes the slightest bit of notice, till a local computer whizz connects her to the world’s social media network, where she then inevitably picks up a loyal audience. 

One of whom is Cassandra Wolfe (Magda Szubanski), an advertising executive in Sydney, who, desperate, seeks someone to promote a new laptop for women called ‘Goddess’. Cassandra is adamant she has found the person for the job when she catches sight of Elspeth’s webcast.

On being flown out to Sydney, she sets up a webcam, which will act as a sort of ‘nanny-cam’ to ensure that her boys are being looked after properly. Bu then, James turns up unannounced; and partially annoyed takes over as Mum– oblivious to the fact that his every move is being watched.  Elspeth, unintentionally not having switched the webcast on her site back to her hotel suite!

The songs of Joanna Weinberg are original, fresh and link well to the dialogue.  My favourite of all the songs is Frozen, a Duet between Elspeth (Laura Michelle Kelly)and James (Ronan Keating), at which point in the story Elspeth is convinced that she may have lost James forever. This is enhanced all the more as we see the boat James is on skirting through the ocean.

“if the polar ice is really melting. If icebergs crack and tear apart.

If glaciers tumble to the ocean. Why can’t I melt the ice around your heart?”

 

 “Goddess is a feel-good musical, full of catchy and original numbers, vibrant dance and a cast made up of unforgettable characters.”

 

Writer © Tremayne

Jun 30th

Expecting

By Tremayne Miller

Expecting
expecting.jpg 

Directed & Written by: Jessie McCormack

Starring: Michelle Monaghan, Radha Mitchell, Michael Weston, Jon Dore and Mimi Kennedy

Running Time: 85 mins

Distributor: Solo Media

Format: VOD; ITunes, FilmfLEX, Blinkbox, LoveFilm, Playstation, Xbox, Google Play

 

Release Date: 30th June 2014

 

The opening credits roll as a couple begin to have foreplay.

In the next scene they talk to the shrink they have been going to see about whether or not to contemplate undergoing a second lot of IVF treatment.

Peter (Jon Dore), the husband, is an estate agent and as he shows a couple round a house, the man, a complete jock, comments on the pool resembling “a fucking petri dish” but only, we suspect, to impress the lady friend he’s brought along.

Lizzie (Radha Mitchell), Peter’s wife tutors Justin, a neighbour’s boy, in French.

Her friend, Andie (Michelle Monaghan) passes by; and the next thing we hear, is that she’s pregnant, and can only comment on how unfair it is when Lizzie herself is struggling to conceive.

There is a sweet scene between Lizzie and her dog, which despite it getting out of hand, she displays her anguish over hearing the news that Andie is expecting by pulling a suitcase out from underneath her bed, where she’s been keeping baby clothes; she then begins to dress the dog up in baby booties, hat, etc.

In the middle of the night Lizzie receives a phone call from Andie who’s become convinced that the rightful decision would be for her to give the baby up to her and Peter; saying “I want you to have it!”, after she was unable to go through with a termination.

At the birthday tea Lizzie and Peter put together for Andie, she senses she has immensely put her foot in it, when she says to Lizzie is there nothing you can’t do”, having received an intricately knitted jumper as a present.

Peter’s brother, Casey (Michael Weston) is fresh out of rehab but Peter is none too keen on announcing the news of their adoption to him.

Andie’s reaction is that she may be carrying ‘a bad apple’, ‘a demon child.’

I like the way in the different stages of pregnancy, the baby’s size is made comparable to that of a fruit. First, a raisin and then a kiwi at 10 weeks. 

Andie laughs nervously at the news that Casey shares with her about his and Peter’s mother killing herself on his 21st birthday.

“you’re like a sexual clairvoyant”, is one of many perfectly timed comedy lines the script is made up of; and “did you swallow?!”, another, as Lizzie, with Peter catch Andie sucking off Casey on the couch.

At which point Peter sees it as his opportunity to leave.  I ask myself ‘is this to be a temporary separation?’

“Use your fucking words!”, is what Andie is forced to shout out at Lizzie who’s switched to being an elective mute.

There is a knock at the door. It is Justin, who’s come for his French lesson; realising Lizzie looks set to stay in her room, he asks if he might stay back till his father collects him.

Lizzie and Peter attend their next marital guidance session, with Andie and Casey in toe.

Mimi Kennedy’s supporting role as the shrink is notable for its sheer quality in amusement. An example of which would be when Peter asks her who she is; and she replies like someone high on drugs, “I am a person with a sense of humour”, implying that he holds none.

Radha Mitchell’s range in acting is given the opportunity to shine as she allows tension she has allowed to build up out. 

In the guidance session we learn that Andie not only wishes to provide Lizzie and Peter with her unborn child but also, that her finances are what helped them to buy the house they currently live in.

 

By Week 24, the baby’s size reflects that of a squash.

Casey comments when he next sees her how big she is; and she is only to quick to respond back with ‘I wish I could say the same about you!”

Joyce the dog goes missing, and Lizzie, distressed, insists on driving around looking for her.

The probable reason behind Joyce’s disappearance  is the front gate, which Lizzie won’t allow a Latin American fix; highlighting the inequality that still exists between different groups of Americans. 

A touching scene with the arrival of Andie’s baby boy. It literally isn’t until she’s holding him in her arms that she realises she cannot give him up; and she hopes that Lizzie can find it in herself to forgive her.

Justin lets Lizzie know that he has been awarded an A for his French; and when she goes to see her shrink one last time she isn’t surprised to hear that she has broken up from her husband. She foresaw it but thought she had to work it out for herself.

Expecting’s refreshing script deals with an emotional topic in a realistic, yet heartfelt and humorous way.

 

Writer ©Tremayne

 

 
Jun 30th

Boomerang! (1947)

By Tremayne Miller

Boomerang! (1947)
boomerang (1947).jpg 

 Written by Richard Murphy (screenplay), Fulton Oursler (article) (as Anthony Abbot).

Directed by Elia Kazan

CAST    Dana Andrews, Jane Wyatt, Lee J. Cobb.

Running Time              2 hours, 17 mins                                

Release Date               26 May, 2014

 

Writer © Tremayne

 

One of the earlier films by Method director Elia Kazan (A Streetcar Named Desire, On The Waterfront), Boomerang! Also one of the first American Hollywood entries into the Cannes Film Festival in 1947, the year of its release.

 

With smatterings of Citizen Kane, Boomerang! opens with a blacked out headline which reads:  ‘Minister murdered on Main Street’; the effect of which creates a catalytic spiral for the events that lie ahead.

The film then scans over the life of the Pastor, including a tete-a-tete conversation he has with his son; and the next headline to follow reads ‘Seven Witnesses Agree On Slayer’.

It would appear that the police are in deep jeopardy with the general public and members of the Press, who seek refuge in kicking them when they’re down.  The Police track down who they believe are the main suspects, and the killer.

A most thought-provoking, almost observation type caption reads next , which implies that ‘every time one lies, and one puts one’s hand up to their mouth, that the game is up.’

In the courtroom the public are flabbergasted when the suspect is found “not guilty”; and it raises the question of the impact an individual can have on a whole community.  The code of ethics.

The film, in true Brechtian style, is broken up, almost chapterised, in order for the viewer to digest the action in bitesize pieces  and begin to analyse them as if they were a Detective, or member of the jury.

On the second day of proceedings, the prosecutor, Henry Harvey (Dana Andrews)* questions all the people present at the Coroner’s inquest.  He and his team, who make up eleven, re-run the events which lead up to the scene of the crime, a tedious  seven times, and draw the conclusion at the end of it that absolutely none of them would have had the capablity of witnessing what happened. Apart from Miss Nelson, that is.

Coney Island, also visited, helps to reveal that one can only see very faintly from the cafe window. Miss Nelson, as a consequence, is threatened with purgatory; and Henry exonerates the subject but 'how can this be?', we might ask ourselves!

The explosive finale remains one of Kazan’s most powerful.

 

Kazan’s film oozing documentary-like treatment, picked up awards from the New York Film Critics Circle and the National Board of Review. The Masters of Cinema Series, therefore, is proud to present Boomerang! in a special Dual Format edition, with the following confirmed extras:

 

• Gorgeous 1080p transfer of the film on Blu-ray, with a progressive encode on the DVD 

• Trailer

• ‘Elia Kazan - An Outsider’ 1982 Documentary about the filmmaker

• 44 PAGE BOOKLET with a new essay by Glenn Kenny, Vintage interview material, Original article that inspired the film, Rare behind-the-scenes imagery

 

* Dana Andrews , America’s leading man of the 1940s and 1950s.

 ‘President of the Screen Actors Guild from 1963 to 1965, Dana Andrews was one of the first to speak out against the degradation of the acting profession, particularly actresses doing nude scenes just to get a role. Probably the first actor to do a public service announcement about alcoholism (in 1972 for the U.S. Department of Transportation), he was a member of the National Council on Alcoholism and did public speaking tours.’

He worked with directors as Otto Preminger, Fritz Lang, William Wyler, William A. Wellman, Jean Renoir, Elia Kazan.

Jun 23rd

Chef

By Tremayne Miller

Chef
chef.jpg 

 Directed & Written by: Jon Favreau

 

Starring: Jon Favreau, John Leguizamo, Bobby Cannavale, Emjay Anthony, Scarlett Johansson, Dustin Hoffman, Sofia Vergara, Oliver Platt, Amy Sedaris, Robert Downey Jr., Russell Peters.

Year: 2014

Country: US

Running Time: 114 min

Release Date: 27th June 2014

 

Short Summary

A deliciously light and refreshing story which carries with it a sense of fun, freedom and creativity. Fun and freedom, arguably, are the two ingredients which, when fused together bring out one’s creativity? The whole cast provide polished performances, in particular, Jon Favreau and Scarlett Johansson.

The course of events to run in the film are a mix of “the expected” and “the unexpected”, a nice balance. 

Writer ©Tremayne

 

Longer Summary

The opening shots are made up of a variety of food types being chopped up, including a whole pig; at which point, any squeamish  viewers may wish to mask their face with their hands. Not something for the faint-hearted!

 Scarlett Johansson oozes the same natural sensuality that she did in ‘Lost In Translation’.

 There is an endearing scene between Percy and his father when he is shown the basics of using Twitter.

Carl, incensed with rage after being given a bad review by Ramsey Michel (Oliver Platt )sends what he thinks is a private message, when, in actual fact, it is to a live feed.

The message reads ‘You wouldn’t know a good meal if it sat on your face.’ 

Tony (Bobby Cannavale) who’s put in charge of the kitchen, after Carl is no longer able to stomach preparing the same menu day in, day out but still fuming at what the food critic wrote about him, bursts into the restaurant, and up to the end of the table he is sat at.  The result of which is, his outburst is uploaded as a clip onto a site called “Holy Shit”, under the title name of “A Chef loses his shit!” Hilarious! 

Inez (Sofia Vergara), Carl’s ex-wife, gets her Publicist (Amy Sedaris ) to contact him, and the only suggestion she can come up with is for him to consider going on to ‘Hell’s Kitchen’!  A kind of get out clause, if you will.

 He ends up taking the place of Percy’s nanny, and accompanies Inez and their son to Miami.

Previous Su-chef, Martin (John Leguizamo) hooks up with him later on, when he hears about his brilliant idea of opening up a food truck, and selling good, quality local food.

Why, I can certainly see why Critics who saw the film before me would suggest to eat before attending a screening, as you’re likely to be left silvering from the mouth, with the colourful way in which food  is presented! 

I like the way the variety of tweets are shown; kind of like how the language is on the current Series of ‘Sherlock.’

A great cameo performance by Russell Peters, who plays the Miami Cop too, who recognises Carl from the clip he’s seen of him on-line, and is insistent on getting him to strike different poses, so that he can show them to his son, including one which he refers to as the ‘Lady and the Tramp’, where each of them bites into either end of a particularly long baguette.

A literal mouth watering movie, if but a little too much emphasis on meat but that perhaps stems from being a vegetarian!

The film features some great Music, and introduces us to the talent of Gary Clark, Jr., whose Music I will definitely look up!

At the end of the food trunk’s touring stint, Carl arrives back at his and plays on his phone the 1-minute memory enhancing video his son has carefully crafted together for him. The strong bond that has formed between them made all too apparent.

Percy continues to help his Dad with the running of the truck at the end of school, and during the holidays. Till one day, food Critic, Ramsey Michel conjures up enough courage to turn up at the very spot the trunk is parked up, to put forward a business proposal. But what precisely might that be?  And how does the family’s situation change over the course of the next 6 months? Guess! Or, alternatively, enlighten your tastebuds and go and watch the movie! 

Writer
©Tremayne 

Jun 20th

Secret Sharer

By Tremayne Miller

Secret Sharer

 secret sharer.jpg

Starring JACK LASKEY, ZHU ZHU,

LEON DAI, HSIA CHING-TING

 

WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY PETER FUDAWSKI

Secret Sharer is in Mandarin, Polish and English

Running time: 103 mins, Cert: 12A

Release date: At cinemas from 27th June 2014

 

Inspired by JOSEPH CONRAD’s “The Secret Sharer”, a tale about man’s relationships, and the Polish author’s globe-trotting lifestyle.  Written and directed by Peter Fudakowski, the Producer of Academy-Award winning, ‘Tsotsi’.

The first shot of a Maersk vessel causes me to cross reference it to the one in All Is Lost (2013), starring Robert Redford, which, if memory serves correctly, was the precise shipping container to run into the hull of his boat, and create a hole. 

There is an amusing scene when the young captain uses the shower on the boat he’s manning for the first time.  The water spurts out everywhere, and manages to dampen the crotch area of his trousers.

The crew of the ship seem convinced he won’t be able to maintain his position, and as a result, show him little respect.  His presence alone hints that they have done something wrong; and by way of rebelling, they disembark, and separate themselves off from him as they loosen the rope of the dinghy.  This carefully considered procedure is carried out as soon as they have entered into New China’s waters.

They pay no heed to the captain’s protests. 

In the middle of the night, as he throws his cigarette butt out to sea, he is shocked to discover a stunningly beautiful Chinese girl, Li whose body has become entangled in a fisherman’s net.

Li’s  (Zhu Zhu’s)image immediately entrances him, as well as us, the voyeur,  with her svelte body, unadorned by clothing; and free flowing, long raven coloured hair.

Li’s husband reveals she has been accused of murder but is likely to be treated leniently because of the people he knows who work for the government.

Secret Sharer, based on a short story by Joseph Conrad, would have been made more interesting, if  it had delved deeper into the events which lead up to the death.

Konrad, the young sea captain, whom it would be hard not to mistaken for a fictionalised version  of Joseph Conrad, cannot help but daydream about Li, as he cups her emerald green pendant in the palm of his hand.

Li observes the captain carries no Music with him from his native country, Poland; despite him embracing different cultures, he does seem to take particular interest in Cuba.  ‘Why?,’I ask myself; yet  another topic that is not explored.

I am curious to learn the true origin of Actor, Jack Laskey, who plays the captain, as his accent, on occasion, I mistaken for Scottish, not Polish. 

In the final scene, set in Xiamen, we see Li working in a factory;  then, the emerald pendant she left behind on the boat, passing along the conveyor belt in front of her very eyes. What are we to gather from this?  Will the love they were forced to hide away on board ship be given the opportunity to reveal itself publicly, for all to see, just as the emerald green pendant she once wore around her neck?

Although I sensed the Acting was slightly overplayed, and that the film may fair better with a television audience, it did make for a pleasant viewing.

“I’ve always been attracted to stories where characters are struggling to function outside of their home culture”, says Screenwriter and Director of the film, Peter Fudakowski.

Writer ©Tremayne