Sep 5th

THEY CAME TOGETHER

By Tremayne Miller

THEY CAME TOGETHER  (2014)
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 Director:

 David Wain

Writers:

 Michael Showalter, David Wain

Stars:Paul Rudd, Amy Poehler, Bill Hader 

When Amy Poehler, who plays Molly in “They Came Together” utters the words “New York was like a boyfriend to me”, I immediately find my mind wandering towards HBO’s Sex and the City, and a particular episode where Carrie, (Sarah Jessica Parker) talks about the principal three areas of a woman’s life: 1) securing an apartment, 2) sustaining a committed relationship and 3) finding a fulfilling job.

For me, Ed Helms, who plays Molly’s Accountant, is a combination of Ben Stiller and one of the many characters one can expect to find in the American version of The Office, based on the BBC Comedy Series created by Ricky Gervais.

Some standout moments include the collage of scenes put together to define the beginning of Joel’s (Paul Rudd) and Molly’s relationship, including a scene where they canoodle among a pile of leaves in Central Park, throwing them up in the air, only to discover that a dead body is lying beneath them.  It quite clearly has been stowed there to rot away.

Another is when Roland, Joel’s Boss, played by Christopher Meloni, is at a Halloween Party dressed as The Green Lantern; and struggles to unzip the back of his costume in time to take a no. two. His costume, with a deposit left behind in it is discovered moments later inside the shower!

 Director and co-writer David Wain has essentially made a straight-up romantic comedy but

the humor for the most part is painful to stomach.

 The jokes flit between annoyingly repetitive to everything being spelt out.

One example of a joke that went on for too long is when the bartender utters the phrase "Tell me about it" and "You can say that again" over and over again as Joel drowns his sorrows sprawled across the bar.

A light hearted easy to watch Comedy, if a little strained in places, with a not dissimilar style in humour to ‘Aeroplane’ and goof disaster movie series ’Naked Gun’.

 

THEY CAME TOGETHER
IN CINEMAS & AVAILABLE on DIGITAL DOWNLOAD and PREMIUM ON-DEMAND on SEPTEMBER 5TH

© Tremayne

Aug 19th

JUSSI ADLER-OLSEN’S – THE KEEPER OF LAST CAUSES

By Tremayne Miller

JUSSI ADLER-OLSEN’S – THE KEEPER OF LAST CAUSES

("Kvinden i buret"-original title)
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 FROM THE SCREENWRITER OF THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO

 

“A TENSE, TAUT THRILLER” – TOTAL FILM

“SUPERBLY GRIPPING – SHORTLIST

“FANS OF JO NESBO WILL LOVE THIS” - BELLA

 

Director Mikkel Nørgaard

Running Time: 97 minutes | Language: Danish with English subtitles

 

Carl Mørcka (Nikolaj Lie Kaas), whose friend and work colleague receives a gun wound in a shoot-out at the beginning of the film, sees little point in living until he is given the case of a suspected suicide to investigate.

Merete Lynggaard (Sonja Richter) is thought to have jumped overboard on the ferry she was travelling on with her mentally disabled brother, Uffe (Mikkel Boe Følsgaard).

In a flashback close- up shots of Uffe’s eyes appear to make him look more sinister than he is.

Merete wanders around the carpark, below deck, looking for her brother; and at the precise moment when their eyes lock, she is grabbed from behind.   She awakens to find herself prisoner inside a pressure chamber; and Uffe is placed in an aid-assisted home.

Carl’s suspicions lead him and new work partner, Assad (Lebanese-born Swedish actor (Fares Fares) to a conference in Sweden, which Merete not only attended but met, then later bed a gentleman, whose identity has yet to be unveiled.

Assad’s persuasive and gentle manner encourages Uffe to pull a photo out from a pile he is given to look at. Out of all of them  it is the one he reacts the most strongly to!

Prepare yourself for an horrific scene as Merete is supplied with a pair of pliers by The Keeper after one of her teeth has turned bad due to the severity her malnutrition has reached. It must, therefore, be yanked out.

It turns out that the photo Uffe identified was of the man who approached   him  on the ferry, moments before Merete was abducted; and he carries a false identity.

Merete has been in the pressure chamber  for at least five years now; at which point her Keeper reveals himself to her; and says the next time they shall meet, it will result in death.  

Carl and Assad are laid off but remain adamant about finding answers, even if it means working  undercover.

Next, a beautifully shot car crash, part of a flashback, in which we discover the true identity of The Keeper  and the reasons behind his inner hatred towards Merete.

The intensity builds up well in the film; and the shock factor is pushed that bit farther as glimpses of Merete are caught inside the harrowing pressure chamber. Her plight remains, ingrained, entangled in our thoughts, wondering what state she will be in the next time we see her, as the detectives continue, ever determined to find answers.

Polished Acting with a profound subtlety.  The torture inflicted on Merete, is most evident by her states of physical and mental well being, and shown by the Actress with such honesty. The pivotal moment being when she smears the porthole with her own blood, as it drips from her mouth, after she’s had to resort to pulling out her tooth; she is then bullied into wiping it off with her urine. Despair in the nth degree!

 I think the only error made by the film was the length of time Merete was kept in the pressure chamber for; whilst I appreciate the “dramatic irony” that is fuelled behind it, two years might have been a more realistic decision .

 A stand-out, well executed movie.  A definite must see for any “Scandinoir junkie”!

 
Release date in UK cinemas 29 August 2014

 

©Tremayne

Aug 11th

Along the Roadside with Shari O'Donnell

By Robyn Stewart

Along the Roadside - Copy.jpg

There is something very fun about seeing up and coming Irish stars at press conferences in Chateau Marmont, Los Angeles.  Irish beauty and actress, Shari O’Donnell talks about her work on her latest Hollywood movie and travelling the world from one movie set to another. Yet, she tells me she feels more at home with her family in the Irish countryside where she can relax. In her latest film she plays ‘Poppy’ a djembe drummer in ‘Along the Roadside’ with Michael Madsen (Kill Bill).

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This is the first role where we see the Irish star do comedy. Turns out, not only does she have a beautiful face but she possesses the best comedic timing you'll see all year. Without trying too hard she creates a raw character winning hysterical laughs, which is one of the four films she appears in this year.

When I meet her, Shari, 28, is just back from India, where she was working on a film. She’s relaxing in a bungalow by the pool at Charteau Marmont which is surrounded by producers and movie stars. When she sees me out her window, she nods and walks towards me with her bond like body which is complimented by a river of thick, golden hair. She sits down in the oversized chair and removes her aviators to reveal her piercingly sexy grey eyes. I can’t help telling her that she looks so different to the character she plays in ‘Along the Roadside’. “Well I suppose I’m doing my job then! I mean I’d like to think that I can transform myself into the right roles and really give up everything to become that character so I’m glad that I can do that and be recognized for that” she laughs.

When I was walking in for my interview with the actress, I got a peek of her in action at a press conference where she’d gone off on a long riff in her charming Irish accent about how there is not enough female roles in the film industry. I ask her what it’s like to be an up and coming Hollywood star, travelling the world, making films.

She tells me 'I enjoy travelling and talking about great stories but the truth is that a lot of people in this industry work incredibly hard and give up a lot just to survive in it. But for me, nothing compares to being back home in the Irish countryside with my family. I really feel the atmosphere is so alive in Ireland and a story really comes to life when you’re sitting by a fire and there is rain pelting against the window’.

 I ask her what it’s like working with a first time director and keeping her Irish accent in the movie. She tells me ‘When I got asked to audition for this role, they specifically wanted an Irish accent but I’d like to think I added some nice dimensions to my character other than the fact that she was Irish. So we decided that her deep thoughts are what give away her motivations. That process was really enjoyable for me as an actor. And Zoran was a great director. It’s almost kind of refreshing as it is scary working with a first time director. A huge part of you claps your hands for the new comer and the other half prays that he has talent. But thankfully as soon as we got into rehearsals I felt excited to work with Zoran. He is the kind of director that doesn’t like to talk too much, he likes to observe. He is always watching and then when it is highly relevant he will say something. But that something will be deep’. 

along poster2.jpg

 

 

Shari is currently preparing for her role as Mina in Moonman (the latest Dracula film) and in talks for her next film ‘Spuds’, and Irish American comedy.

I then follow her on twitter and turns out her twitter name is @lovelybutmental   

Aug 10th

Rapture

By Tremayne Miller

Rapture
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A Film by John Guillermia

“John Guillermia’s Rapture is a complex gem of a film.” - .”- Twitch

“Movie-making at its best…spellbinding.  Something very fine, the likes of which are rare in this era” – New York Daily News

“The blazing Miss Gozzi graduates to a woman’s love through joy, homicidal rage, and searing pain, hardly making a move that does not register on the heart.” – Time Magazine

 

Director John Guillermia

Year 1965

Country USA/France

Language English

 

Rapture , is seen by Critics as nothing short of remarkable, with its outstanding performances and brave examination of sexual passion.

The film’s intensity is heightened as it is shot in black and white, and the character studies, themselves, are disturbing.

One could argue that it was Rapture’s commercial failure which made director, John Guillermin veer more towards mainstream projects, but that he had the aptitude to produce more serious dramas. 

An amusing scene at a Wedding Party opens the film, which includes an old biddy stuffing food from the buffet into her handbag, as if it was a kind of “doggy bag”!

As Agnes (Patricia Gozzi) flees the celebration I am instantly reminded of Truffaut’s, Jules et Jim and Les 400 Coups, (translation: The 400 Blows). Agnes pleads with live-in maid, Karen (Gunnel Lindblom), a vivacious young woman,  not to accompany her back to the family home.   

Rapture is set along the Brittany coast, and Agnes,fifteen, lives with her strict father Frederick (Melvyn Douglas), who begrudges having to singlehandedly bring her up after the tragic loss of her mother. He seems only too quick to point out that she has a mental illness, since she insists on continuing to play with her dolls and lead the life of a sheltered tom boy.

In the scene where Agnes is strewn across a weathered rock upon the cliff’s edge, peering up at the gulls as they encompass the crown of her head, we sense she is strongly in her element.

The father, enraged, suddenly appears, and it isn’t long before he grabbles for her beloved doll, Therese,  throwing it  into the sea.

In another scene, Frederick catches his daughter and the maid in the act of unveiling a black moth-eaten suit in the attic, which Agnes fully intends to put on a scarecrow she is making.

He isn’t enthralled by the idea at first as it contains lots of memories of his late wife; and we begin to wonder if that’s all it is..

Perhaps he simply realizes that  no longer can he hang onto a swarm of wispy ghosts that hold no meaning?

The scarecrow can be seen  as a replacement for the threadbare doll, whose whereabouts we aren't certain of.

The maid, father and Agnes walk around the island till they come into close proximity of the mental asylum, where Agnes is  convinced she will end up. 

Suddenly their otherwise mundane existence is turned upside down with the arrival of Joseph (Dean Stockwell), an escaped convict, whose car overturns and then, by accident,  manages to shoot  a policeman dead.

The young Stockwell, as it happens, bares a striking resemblance to James Dean.

Joseph pleads with Frederick, the father, to not turn him in; and he, a former left wing liberal Judge, believes his assertions, and him having been framed. He also admires his obvious intellect; in contrast to Karen, the maid, who sees him as nothing more than  a sexual conquest!

Agnes is convinced the fugitive is the scarecrow but in human form, and as a consequence carries  a deep infatuation towards him. The sexual tension between the two women leads to a string of disturbing scenarios.

 Patricia Gozzi gave up a promising career in film and went into a “self-imposed retirement” from a young age.  'Why?', I ask myself.  Such a pity, when her performance is considered Oscar worthy, despite other fine performances  in the film.  
Gozzi’s own is perfectly nuanced, highlighting  the tale of a girl who is  sodesperate to be loved.Yet it is through the  infatuation she holds for Joseph that she is able to give up  her dolls, and focus instead on dressing more in the manner of a young lady.

In one scene a collection of cine films are shown but Frederick cannot contain himself  as the suggestion is put forward that his daughter bears a strong likeness to his late wife.  Agnes, clearly distressed by his objection of this idea, rushes over to the screen, and desperately reaches out to clasp hold of her mother’s poised, still image.

We gather later that Frederick was a famous judge in Paris.  But nobody is  quite sure of the reasons behidn his  departure. However, shortly after he leaves, his wife passes away.  He then moves to Brittany.

Although Joseph  beds the maid and Agnes, I think  it  fair to say  that he does develop a genuine affectionfor Agnes; as he provides  her with hope, and says that any  mental illness she may have is surely reversible.  It, therefore, would be in her best interests to move away from her father.

Their love affair is set to be a bumpy ride but scenes of a sexual nature are handled with care, especially with their differences in age.

For Fox to have backed the film speaks volumes, as it' unlikely that any of the other major studios would have picked it up.

Rapture’s ending, in my mind, mirrors earlier scenes from the film.

Rapture, a rediscovered gem, paying tribute to directors, Truffaut and Hitchcock; as well as Peter Hall’s the Marat Sade, and films, Shutter Island and One Flew Over A Cuckoo’s Nest, where to quote the film, one is left to continually question“how can anyone understand the  roots of human nature?”

SPECIAL FEATURES

-          New exclusive commentary with film historians Julie Kirgo and Nick Redmon.

-          Booklet featuring an essay by critic Mike Sutton; vintage stills; and more.

Dual Format RRP £17.99

Release Date 28 July 2014

Run Time 105 min.

RAPTURE, 'a dark fairy tale set against the rugged beauty of the Brittany seacoast', in a Dual Format (Blu-ray & DVD) edition on 28 July 2014.

 

Writer © Tremayne

Aug 1st

Slainté! - It's got everyone talking!

By Robyn Stewart
The winner of two Irish Film & Television awards, Shadow Smith Productions latest Film for TV, ‘Slainte’ is a dramedy based in Dublin, Ireland. With three pilot episodes now streaming online all around the world, it’s about time to see what all the hype is about.

 

‘Slainte’ [the Irish word for ‘Cheers’] takes viewers deep into the Dublin pub scene. The series’ start sees the struggle of a local Irish pub trying to stay alive as hipsters move in to buy out the pub. Through community spirit, the pub fights onslaught on Irish culture and fights back in the only way it can. Ex-wife of a drug boss, Mag’s (played by Shari O Donnell) return’s to Dublin after escaping a close encounter with the Spanish drug cartel. She has plans to take over the pub and turn it into a boutique cocktail bar but gets caught in a cultural plot with bizarre twists.

 

Pub owner Brendan whose friend, Jack watches out for him brings in all the locals for pints of Guinness. Jack’s bright personality result in him meeting Mag’s who turns out to be coyer than he expected. In a world where money speaks louder than words Brendan must choose between settling his death or keeping his friends until Mag’s reveals her through nature of wanting to take over the Pub. With Mag’s comes a whole cartel gang, guns, drugs and violence and the locals question whether their culture is really worth fighting for.

 

Jenny Dixon, Ciaran Dwyer and David Laurence also top off the extraordinary cast.

 

Critics have lavished praise upon the production, in particular the central performance of Shari O’Donnell. The Irish Film and TV Network acclaimed O’Donnell, saying that “any scene, whatever is about to happen, feels dominant by her characters presence. You can’t quiet tell if she is going to be your friend or kill someone, but then you get distracted by how damn sexy she is”.

 

The TV movie is currently in talks with Netflix and RTE for their next series.

Jul 31st

'A Brief History of World Cinema’

By Robyn Stewart

THE CINEMA-POSTER final.jpg,,,.jpgI recently got through watching a 55 minute documentary titled ‘A Brief History of World Cinema’, directed by Wins Dieus and executively produced by Irish actor/producer Shari O ‘Donnell. The documentary is quite comprehensive, and not restricted to Hollywood nor American/Western film. It delves into overlooked technical aspects of the medium, and traces the development of certain editing and narrative techniques, while marking the films and persons most responsible for bringing forward these aspects of the art form. 

The documentary, filmed between India, Argentina and the USA, explores the evolution of film and how technology today has enabled certain abilities in story telling like never before. It captures how film making has evolved since the first film in 1896 and the effect 3D technology has on the audience.

It’s a suitably epic journey through the history of cinema that features very interesting interviews with film makers all over the world. The documentary is quite some achievement too: visually ensnaring and intellectually lithe, it’s an unmissabl  masterclass, and a radical rewriting of movie history.

 

It follows, therefore, that it is completely wrong to undervalue the brilliant movies from parts of the world that we must engage with. While highlighting that we have a duty to creative people – especially if they have had a hard time in getting their work made – to value them according to their insights and achievements. Simple meritocracy.

“Also, cinema is such a great common language, in which joy and longing can almost universally be expressed and celebrated. Africans, Iranians and Russians, for example, took cinema closer to their hearts than some other groups, because, historically, there was more at stake in their art. There’s no excuse to keep the old movie map in our heads; the new one is more exciting.” Say’s director Wins Dieus.

What I like most about this documentary is it spends a considerable amount of time focusing on human truth and human experience and how we can capture that today like never before.

Marti Steward

UK Theatre Network

We also found an interview online with executive producer Shari O'Donnell by Entertainment writer Jouri Smith who was kind enough to give us permission to use his interview:

 

Tell us a little about how ‘A brief History of the World Cinema’ came about?  

Well, I had previously met Indian film maker Wins Dieus in 2010 when he auditioned me for a role in a Dracula film series in India called ‘Moonman’. He knew I had a background in producing film as well as being an actor. He literally called me up one and asked if I would produce a documentary on ‘A brief history of the World Cinema’. He sold me right there and then. I had previously learned from working with him that the Indian market is the biggest market in the world for film sales. So, I felt like it was a smart option to work with his team and give India and the rest of the world, a beautiful history class in something we love so much.

How do you think the history of cinema has evolved over the years?

“I think it’s certainly remarkable what we can do now of days with technology. I mean just look at movies like Avatar. The whole film experience is different. But in the same sense if you take the bare bones of an actor, you are dealing with human emotion and life experience. That was so vivid in silent movies when film was first invented. They explored laughter, humor and reactions so plainly and began to uncover human truth for the first time on camera. When I look at animated movies today, those cartoon characters remind me of the type of acting that we first saw in the 1900’s. They were very animated and used their eyes and wit a lot. Now of days we uncover such raw truths in telling the story of the human journey and creating fantasy’s that are literally beyond our wildest imagination. But what’s very rapidly evolved is our ability to connect as human beings which I think is the greatest gift on earth that we can give to ourselves.”

Can you talk a little about collaborating with Indian film makers and the Indian film market?

“I guess initially I had a good attitude towards Wins. We had a set of parameters as far as what we felt the story was about, but within those parameters. I thought to myself there’s no point in having a director like him and then tying his hands. I wanted to work with him because of his talent and his vision, and we worked together very closely on the story and set the parameters together. He wanted to make a great story, so it all turned out extremely well. As it turns out he was just like a kid in a candy store [laughs]. He loved the challenge, he lived up to it, and he exceeded all expectations. So I think there are no obvious things I could say about working with a film maker because he is from India” [laughs].

“In terms of making the documentary, I knew it was right to make it directly for the Indian film market at first, because it was by Indian Film Makers who knew their audience well. I know a lot of people associate singing and dancing with the Indian Film World and I can’t speak on their behalf. But I do feel like they definitely like film just as much as a western person, but they prefer it to be told in a different way. That said, we have been nominated for so many awards around the world, not just India. So I guess that is proof that it translated well around the world”.

The documentary was released in May 2013 in India and set to be released worldwide in August 2013.

A Special Op-Ed Piece by Jouri Smith

 

 

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 20th

Moonman - The Dracula Film with Irish Star

By Robyn Stewart

 

Moonman poster low res.jpg

There will be blood flowing down the aisles in theaters soon thanks to Shari O’Donnell’s menacing role as the ass-kicking Mina in ‘Moonman’. And for fans of the Irish-born beauty, they’ll get a chance to see even more of her in her next film, next year – ‘Spuds’ which is set to have an A-list cast.

 

O’Donnell told me that ‘Moonman promises a bloody affair, there’s much more to the movie than violence. It has an emotional impact straight away with a lot of complex psychology, uncovering outcast after outcast.

Adapted from the fictional novel, Dracula, the story is set in the Victorian Era, where such characters like Dracula and Mina are all woven into a new narrative.

O’Donnell plays Mina, who invites a world full of sex, drugs and outcasts. “all the characters have problems which alienates them from society” she tells me.

‘Moonman’ is set to begin filming in India and the United States. O’Donnell will then go straight onto to film her next role as ‘Nora in ‘Spuds’, which is a comedy about two Irish girls who move to Los Angeles to pursue their dreams of becoming News & Weather reporters.

 

Robyn Stewart

UK Film Network

Jul 11th

BOSS

By Tremayne Miller

BOSS

Season 2 And Complete Season 1 & 2
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“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