Rooney Mara * Films About Film * * Woody’s World * *** Film of the Month ***
Ain’t Them Bodies Saints * Arthouse Ambiance * * The Great Beauty * * About Time * *** FilmFest Follower ***
Toronto * Extras *
EDITORIAL ROONEY MARA is on this month’s cover. Ever since she appeared as Erica Albright in “The Social Network” she has impressed in each role she has played. Taking on the part of Lizabeth Salander, a daunting proposition after the incredible performance of Noomi Rapace in the original Swedish hit “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”. Rooney made it her own. “Side Effects” followed: Emily Taylor a woman tormented by suicidal tendencies resulting in her becoming a human guinea pig for a psychiatrist who uses her to test out the latest drugs which the pharmaceutical companies are pushing. Then to this month’s “Ain’t Them Bodies Saints” as a mother who is reunited with her lover who has just escaped from prison to be with her again. An envious filmography indeed which she has topped with films directed by Spike Jonze and Terrence Malick, both which will be highlighted in future issues of MbM. There are also reviews of two very contrasting films: “The Great Beauty” about a man seeking to find the passionate love he has lost. And “About Time” a romantic comedy about time travel. One of cinema’s great icons Woody Allen is examined to try to discover what keeps him going, churning out one film every year and still being able to make films like “Midnight in Paris” and his current film “Blue Jasmine” which stars Cate Blanchett in an Oscar winning performance. There is a list about a genre that is rarely categorized, Films About Film, or films made for film buffs. It is the film industry’s love affair with itself and provides a fascinating flirtation with titles that tantalise and tease cinemagoers to watch. Reference is made to London Film Entrepreneurs an ambitious group of filmmakers who network among each other to get their films made. http://www.facebook.com/groups/ rdfentrepreneurs2012/ And of course our regular features: Arthouse Ambiance and Filmfest Follower, the latter looking and recommending films which will be screened at one of the most important film festivals of the year - Toronto. My thanks to Warner Bros, The Works, Universal, Artificial Eye, Curzon Cinemas, for images used, to Milana of Gate Picturehouse, to Paul Ridler for his expertise in designing the layout for the magazine, and finally to you the reader who have read, shared and posted the magazine on your websites and told your friends about your favourite film magazine. Enjoy the read
Brian Mills 3
THE GREAT BEAUTY (LA GRANDE BELLEZA) At the end of this movie Jep Gambardella (Toni Sevillo) sums up life as being a trick, but if he is right then the trick played upon him and all his friends and hundreds of acquaintances is that they have been given a life of luxury and untold wealth, everything that one could wish for but… at the cost of true happiness. Jep is an aging writer who doesn’t write except for a novel written in his 20s and a few journalistic pieces. His fame is that he knows important people but is disenchanted until a surprise event lifts him to a point that may inspire him to write another novel; a distraction perhaps from the night parties and the incessant beat of the music, the decadence, the depravity, the mania of it all… the hedonistic delights. This is a sweet life that is rotting the soul as we witness the effluent ennui of the characters. Scenes are beautifully composed with the aesthetical eye of an Antonioni and there are enchanting panoramas but Paulo Sorrentino’s film is dark and depressing though visually enchanting. 4
There is little to love about Jay other than feel sorry for him and that goes for everyone in the film. When he joins a queue of people who are waiting to have their botox injections to satisfy their vanity it shows the vacuous enormity of their lives. The trick to life is that money does not bring happiness unless there is a soul to welcome it. “The Great Beauty” is a film to watch but not so much one to remember, but watch it… most definitely.
60 FILMS ABOUT FILM 1.THE PURPLE ROSE OF CAIRO 2.CINEMA PARADISO 3.THE ARTIST 4.WOODY ALLEN – A DOCUMENTARY 5.SINGIN IN THE RAIN 6.AFTER MIDNIGHT 7.PLAY IT AGAIN, SAM 8.Z CHANNEL – A MAGNIFICENT OBSESSION 9.FINAL CUT – LADIES AND GENTLEMEN 10.VOLERE VOLARE 11.CASTING BY 12.FOR THE LOVE OF MOVIES: THE STORY OF AMERICAN FILM CRITICISM 13.HARRY DEAN STANTON – PARTLY FICTION 14.CINEMANIA 15.CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS 16.THE PLAYER 17.FOR THE LOVE OF MOVIES: THE STORY OF AMERICAN FILM CRITICISM 18.8 ½ 19.STARDUST MEMORIES 20.THE MAJESTIC 21.HUGO 22.CHACON SON CINEMA 23.SAVING MR BANKS 24.GAZZARA 25.THE STORY OF FILM – AN ODYSSEY 26.HEARTS OF DARKNESS – A FILMMAKER APOCALYPSE 27.A PERSONAL JOURNEY WITH MARTIN SCORSESE THROUGH AMERICAN MOVIES 28.SUNSET BOULEVARD 8
29.SOMEWHERE 30.SPLENDOR 31.DAY FOR NIGHT 32.THE BAD AND THE BEAUTIFUL 33.TELL THEM WHO YOU ARE 34.LOVING MARILYN 35.ROOM 237 36.HENRI-GEORGES CLOUZOT’S INFERNO 37.ME AND ORSON WELLES 38.KING KONG 39.SEDUCED AND ABANDONED 40.PARIS MANHATTAN 41.THE LONG DAY CLOSES 42.SIDE BY SIDE 43.LIVING IN OBLIVION 44.LIV & INGMAR 45.LYNCH 46.FADE TO BLACK 47.AMERICAN GRINDHOUSE 48.THE SMALLEST SHOW ON EARTH 49.THE LAST PROJECTIONIST 50.COMRADES IN DREAMS 51.WHITE HUNTER BLACK HEART 52.TARGETS 53.THAT’S ENTERTAINMENT PART ONE & TWO 54.I’M NOT CRAZY: JOHN CASSAVETES THE MAN AND HIS WORK 55.COMING UP ROSES 56.FRED & GINGER 57.GABLE & LOMBARD 58.THE MAKING OF A LEGEND – GONE WITH THE WIND 59.CHAPLIN 60.DIRECTED BY JOHN FORD 9
ARTHOUSE AMBIANCE THE PALAZZO DEL CINEMA VENICE It is fitting that the oldest film festival in the world should have the most prestigious cinema as its main venue. Premiere screenings are held here at the Palazzo del Cinema on the Lido, which is reached by a vaporetto or another boat. Its location is between the sea and the lagoon. Inside the Palazza is the Sala Grande which seats 1,100 patrons and there are two smaller screening theatres: the Sala Zorzi and the Sala Pasinetti. The very first film festival in Venice was held in 1932 on the terrace of the Hotel Excelsior and the first screening was Rouben Mamoulian’s “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” By 1935 the festival had become a yearly event and there was an increase in the number of films and countries participating. The following year an international jury was nominated for the first time and in 1937 the new Palazza del Cinema was inaugurated after a record construction time. With the exception of the years 1940 to 1948, the Palazza has hosted the festival ever since. The Palazza was refurbished in 1952 by adding a new facade and entrance hall. A few years later, Federico Fellini said that for a film director, “entering the Palazza del Cinema at the Venice Film Festival was like passing a final exam”. Over the years, the Venice Film Festival has struck a balance of Hollywood mainstream films with European arthouse films. Where Cannes is a venue for dealmakers, Venice launches the autumn season for Europe’s major films. The late Roger Ebert, one of the world’s finest film critics, described Venice as Cannes without the hassle. George Clooney and Sandra Bullock opened this year’s festival with “Gravity” at of course the Sala Grande in the Palazza del Cinema. Among the many highlights will be a tribute documentary to Federico Fellini directed by Ettore Scola and Terry Gilliam’s “The Zero Theorem” and what MbM believes will be the surprise of them all “Je M’Appelle Hmmm...” 10
ABOUT TIME Time travel has fascinated and intrigued man for eons and movies have used the theme frequently: “Somewhere in Time”, “Sliding Doors”, “Back to the Future”, “Timeline” and “Midnight in Paris”. Richard Curtis’s latest rom-com lends itself to the influence of “Groundhog Day” in which Bill Murray played a character who kept reliving moments on the same day until he was privy to information that gave him an advantage over forthcoming situations particularly when it came to love. Domhnall Gleeson is Curtis’s protagonist in “About Time” who learns from his father, lovingly portrayed by Bill Nighy, st that on his 21 birthday he inherited the family gift of being able to travel back to any moment in his past and correct and create new happenings. All he has to do is to follow a simple ritual of stepping into a wardrobe or cupboard, close his eyes, clench his fists...and wish. And this being a Richard Curtis film, he wants to meet and fall in love with a beautiful girl. Cue the heart-warming moment when Tim (Gleeson) spots the lovely Mary (Rachel McAdams) and blurts out a hesitant and inapt introduction which he quickly 12
has to relive and correct. And then he loses her or at least she disappears. When Tim meets up with Mary again at a Kate Moss exhibition she has no idea who he is except what he appears to be: a gawky, gibbering idiot, trying to sweet talk her; another excuse for him to find a convenient closet to work his magic. There are typical but quite delightful moments that one can expect from the writer of “Four Weddings and a Funeral”,”Notting Hill”, “Love Actually and “Bridget Jones Diaries”, and Curtis does not disappoint in providing them: a family who are close but quirky with a younger sister who is daft but adorable, and a dim-witted uncle who is tolerated and loved. When the expected wedding happens it is filmed to the soundtrack of an Italian singing a romantic ballad, the language alone is sufficient to accompany the couple to a life of happiness that hopefully will need little intervention of time travel. The sugar-coated story is designed to make you feel good and that it does but at 123 minutes a shorter final cut would have been preferable. Richard Curtis has announced that this will be his final film as a director but fortunately for us not as a writer. His latest screenplay is now being film. It is called “Trash” and is directed by Stephen Daldry. Appropriately, “About Time” was this year’s Surprise Film at the Edinburgh Film Festival. Appropriate, because the film will still offer some surprises to its audience. 13
WOODY’S WORLD Manhattan. It’s raining. A man of small stature is seen briskly walking, his face partially shadowed by the squashed hat he is wearing. He stops in front of a movie theatre and looks up and we see his point of view of the billboard above the canopy advertising The Seventh Seal. We hear a New Orleans jazz band and the distinctive sound of a clarinet solo as the scene cuts to white titles on black.
“If I could make just one great movie..” These sentiments expressed by most filmmakers would be understandingly apt but when spoken by one of the world’s greatest film directors, Woody Allen, they seem completely unjustified when you look at his impressive oeuvre. With the release of his new movie “Blue Jasmine” and his forthcoming starring role in the comedy directed by John Turturro “Fading Gigolo” it is time to look a little closer at Woody’s world. “He is the greatest director I have ever worked with,” to quote Naomi Watts and a long list of actors agree that he is an actor’s director. Fifteen actors have been nominated for their performances in his films and five of those: Diane Keaton, Michael Caine, Diane Wiest, Mira Sorvino and Penelope Cruz won Academy Awards and it seems almost certain that Cate Blanchett will join them as Best Actress for her role in “Blue Jasmine.” Yet Woody remains self-deprecating about his work and the reason is because the standard he sets himself from writing the screenplay on his 60 year old Olympia typewriter to making the film that was in his head, he feels he never achieves. He admits to perhaps 16
only three films that have come close to his original vision: “The Purple Rose of Cairo”, “Match Point” and “Bullets over Broadway”. The cultural-bar is raised by comparing his films with his cinematic idols: Ingmar Bergman and Federico Fellini. Woody is his severest critic and never sees his films after they have been made. He stills hates “Manhattan” only because again it did not match the film he wanted to make. Yet despite that, most critics consider the film a masterpiece with its magnificent monochrome images making each frame look like a painting. Because Woody has complete artistic control on all his films he is the ultimate independent filmmaker and the most prolific. Since “A Midsummer’s Night’s Sex Comedy” in 1982 to the present, he has made one film a year. For his millions of fans worldwide, the release of his latest film is always a special event, even if some are not quite as memorable as one would like them to be, few filmmakers can the match the aesthetical calibre of “Annie Hall”, “Manhattan”, “Zelig”, “Broadway Danny Rose”, “The Purple Rose of Cairo”, “Hannah and Her Sisters”, “Radio Days”, “Crimes and Misdemeanours”,” Husbands and Wives”, “Manhattan Murder Mystery”, “Bullets Over Broadway”, “Melinda and Melinda”, “Match Point”, “Vicky Christina Barcelona”, and “Midnight in Paris”. The ideas he gets for his films he writes down on little scraps of paper and stuffs them into a drawer and when he goes to write his next screenplay he tips the contents of the drawer onto his bed and rummages through the pile until he finds one that he thinks might work. As Mira Sorvino observed “Woody never stops working. Once one film is made he is immediately writing the next”. His latest film “Blue Lagoon” is a return to drama, a genre he first visited with “Interiors” It had stopped raining and the sun was beginning to elbow the clouds out of the way. Patrons were leaving the theatre, one in particular drew our interest. He was small, old and pale, but had the vibrancy of one who had just married their muse. 17
BLUE JASMINE Spoiler Alert
Jasmine is a flower that comes to life at night and it is the name which Cate Blanchett’s character adopts as her own, though her real name is Jeanette. For Jasmine coming to life is difficult since her divorce from Hal (Alec Baldwin) her investment player husband who left her with practically nothing resulting with Jasmine’s life crash landing into depression. She moves to San Francisco to stay with her sister Ginger (Sally Hawkins) who is someone she can tell all her woes too, of which there are many. Soon Jasmine’s life is a twenty-four seven descent into regret alleviated by another Stoli martini or another pill until it wears off to reveal her bitterness and anger. There are no cutaways to glorious Manhattan skylines here, we are entrapped in Jasmine’s cynical psyche. Cate Blanchett engages brilliantly with her character and you can feel the hopelessness and mistrust that Jasmine has of everything. For once the hype about Cate Blanchett winning an Oscar for her role in this film will almost certainly be fulfilled. So how does this sit in Allen’s filmography? High is the answer because it is beautifully structured and directed; one of Allen’s best films. “Blue Jasmine” opens at selected arthouse cinemas across the UK on September 20. For Allen’s fans it is a must-see, for others a curiosity that needs to be satisfied. 18
AIN’T THEM BODIES SAINTS Spoiler Alert
Bob Muldoon and Ruth Guthrie (Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara) are in a shoot out with the cops which results with a cop being shot and Bob’s friend being killed in the crossfire. Does that sound like a typical cop and robber’s story to you? Sort of like another “Bonnie and Clyde”? Well, it isn’t. Here is a film that allows you to get under the skin of the criminals and feel for them, because they are people who have made a few bad choices which led them to this hideout and the situation they are now in of fighting for their lives. Bob takes the rap for shooting the cop and goes to prison and plans to escape to rejoin Ruth and see the daughter he has never met, and escape he does. We follow his arduous journey as he hitch-hikes his way across barren land to rejoin the woman he loves. Meanwhile, the injured police officer Patrick comforts Ruth and her child and tries to understand the background of this woman and her lover who the law believes has escaped jail to be with her, though she fervently denies that to be so. 20
“Ain’t Them Bodies Saints” ticks all the boxes of believing the characters are real and we are watching doomed but lovable people not cardboard cut-outs. The supporting roles of Keith Carradine as Skeritt , a father figure for the couple, and Nate Parker as Bob’s friend are competently played. Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara are outstanding as the lovers, while Ben Foster gives his greatest performance to date.
FILMFEST FOLLOWER MbM RECOMMENDS 5th September-15th September at
TORONTO ATTILA MARCEL
Directed by Sylvain Chomet Starring Guillaume Gouix. Anne Le Ny. Bernadette Lafont. A mute sweet-natured man-child whose reawakened childhood memories unleash marvellous musical fantasies.
AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY
Directed by John Wells Starring Meryl Streep. Sam Shepard. Julia Roberts. Juliette Lewis. Ewan McGregor. A family crisis causes three women to return to their home where they were brought up by a dysfunctional woman who they must face again. Adaptation of the prize-winning play.
CAN A SONG SAVE YOUR LIFE? Directed by John Carney Starring: Keira Knightley. Mark Ruffalo. Catherine Keener.
A soul-stirring music industry drama about an undiscovered young singer and a washed-up producer. 24
THE DISAPPEARANCE OF ELEANOR RIGBY: HIM and HER. Directed by Ned Benson Starring: James McAvoy. Jessica Chastain. Bill Hader.
A two-part film that relates a love story from two different perspectives
Directed by David Gordon Green Starring: Nicolas Cage. Tye Sheridan. Ronie Gene Blevins. An ex-con, who is the unlikeliest of role models, meets a 15 year old boy and is faced with the choice of redemption or ruin.
Directed by Nicole Holofcener Starring: Julia Louis-Dreyfus. Toni Colette. James Gandolfini. A romantic comedy about the misfortunes of a divorcee.
Directed by Alfonso Cuaron Starring: George Clooney. Sandra Bullock. An astronaut and a scientist attempt to return to Earth after debris crashes into their shuttle leaving them drifting alone in orbit. 25
Directed by Liza Johnson Starring: Guy Pearce. Hailee Steinfeld. Kristen Wiig. Nick Nolte. A wild teenage girl orchestrates a romance between her nanny and her father who is a recovering addict.
THE INVISIBLE WOMAN Directed by Ralph Fiennes Starring: Ralph Fiennes. Felicity Jones.
The story about Charles Dickins and his yearslong secret love affair with a young actress.
Directed by Aschar Farhadi Starring: Berenice Bejo. An Iranian man finds himself suddenly and tragically drawn back into the lives of his Ex and her daughter.
Directed by Stephen Frears Starring: Judi Dench. Steve Coogan. An unmarried woman who decades after being forced to give up her newborn son and enter a convent, embarks on a search to find him with the aid of a BBC reporter. 26
Directed by Denis Villeneuve Starring: Jake Gillenhaal. Hugh Jackman. A gripping thriller follows with an investigation into the disappearance of two young girls.
Directed by Paul Haggis Starring: Olivia Wilde. Liam Neeson. Mila Kunis. Adrian Brody. Maria Bello. James Franco. A film that interlocks three couples and their love stories in three cities: Paris, Rome, New York.
YOUNG and BEAUTIFUL Directed by Francois Ozon Starring: Marine Vacti. Geraldine Philhas. Frederic Pierrot.
The chronicle of a young girl that takes place over four seasons and in four songs.
COMING SOON THE LONDON INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
EXTRAS DVD OF THE MONTH
MUD Directed by Jeff Nicholls Starring: Matthew McConaughey. Tye Sheridan. Sam Shepard. Reese Witherspoon. Jacob Lofland Michael Shannon. Sarah Paulson. Ray McKinnon.
FILM**** This is a story of a dangerous fugitive, Mud, hiding out from bounty hunters on an island in the Mississippi. He is discovered by two young boys, Ellis and Neckbone, and an unlikely friendship forms between them as they try to help him escape his pursuers whilst at the same time trying to reunite him with his long-time love, Juniper.
EXTRAS*** The Making of Mud
Read the full review in the first issue of Movies by Mills. 29
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