Nothing Is Invisible

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Archive for the ‘music’ Category

* The Constant Gardener – Starring Ralph Fiennes & Rachel Weisz

Posted by the editors on Tuesday, 31 January 2012

The Constant Gardener (2005) Directed by Fernando Meirelles ( City of God (2002)), starring Ralph Fiennes  (The English Patient (1996)) and  Rachel Weisz (The Lovely Bones (2009), The Bourne Legacy (2012, filming)), with Danny Huston (Children of Men (2006))Bill Nighy (Love Actually (2003), Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End (2007)) and others.  This outstanding, award-winning dramatic thriller, a condemnation of corruption in government and the pharmaceutical industry, follows a soft-spoken and sensitive low level British diplomat, Justin Quayle, played to perfection by Ralph Fiennes, as he investigates the circumstances surrounding his wife’s death.  Quayle’s wife, Tessa, a passionate and, at times, overbearing activist, is portrayed by an excellent Rachel Weisz, who won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her efforts.  Danny Huston, son of legendary director John Huston and half-brother of actress Anjelica Huston, is also very good as Justin Quayle’s (Fiennes) deceitful immediate supervisor, as is Bill Nighy, as the corrupt head of the Africa Desk for the British Foreign Office.  Magnificently filmed, from the vast and spectacular plains of Africa, to the squalor of the slums of Nairobi, Kenya, to the intimacy of a loving couple with an excellent screenplay by Jeffrey Caine based on the eponymous novel by John le Carré, and superb music by Alberto Iglesias, The Constant Gardener is, in both a large scale and personal manner, a critical look at Western liberal conscience, ethical and moral responsibility, personal virtue, courage and devotion, as well as being a finely honed, complex adult thriller.  Definitely a must-see film. (PR)

See our posts of the films Sunshine, starring both Ralph Fiennes and Rachel Weisz, and Spider, starring Ralph Fiennes, directed by David Cronenberg.

We recommend that you buy your DVDs.  Have a great personal film library..  Here are links to amazon.com (Amazon Instant Video, DVDs and Blu-ray Disks, in that order, when available):

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The Indian Runner – Directed by Sean Penn, starring Viggo Mortensen & David Morse

Posted by the editors on Tuesday, 3 January 2012

The Indian Runner (1991)  Written and directed by Sean Penn (Dead Man Walking (1995), Sweet and Lowdown (1999), I Am Sam (2001), Mystic River (2003), Milk (2008), and, as director The Pledge (2001), Into the Wild (2007)), starring Viggo Mortensen (A History of Violence (2005), Good, (2008), The Road (2009)), and David Morse (The Crossing Guard (1995), The Hurt Locker (2009)), with Valeria Golino, Patricia Arquette, Charles Bronson, Dennis Hopper, Benicio del Toro and Sandy Dennis.   Based on the Bruce Springsteen song, Highway Patrolman, The Indian Runner, a drama of family, brothers and their two different ways of being in the world, is Sean Penn’s first film as a director, and though not perfect, it is a moving, successful first effort.  David Morse  is very good as Joe, the older brother, solid, kind, sadly yearning for days gone by, his childhood and the family farm lost in foreclosure, and Viggo Mortensen, as Frankie, a Vietnam veteran, and in trouble all his life, a psychologically troubled bad-boy, capable of explosions of violence, and equally menacing calm, a sort of  lost outlaw, is honestly excellent.  The rest of the impressive cast, quite a feat for a relatively low-budget first film and a testimony to the seriously talented Penn, is, if somewhat unexpected, also very good: an exceptional and subtle Charles Bronson and Sandy Dennis in her last cinema appearance, are Joe and Frankie’s parents, dazed and adrift, sad and beaten by life; Dennis Hopper, as a trashy, edgy bar-tender is spot on; Benicio del Toro is great in a very brief cameo as a charming, funny, even silly Mexican who supplies Joe’s wife, played by an amusing and energetic Valeria Golino, with marijuana; and Patricia Arquette, as Frankie’s love interest, is annoyingly, sadly, childlike with her pale skin and short blond hair, and an ideal foil to Mortensen’s dark and menacing Frankie.  The Indian Runner is a thoughtful, atypical film, with complex characters, a fascinating examination of two very different, but loving, brothers, and despite a few weaker moments, the very fine acting, inspired writing and directing, and any number of very strong scenes make it a film to be viewed, and viewed again. (PR)

See our posts on the film Good, starring Viggo Mortensen and the films The Pledge, directed by Sean Penn, starring Jack Nicholson, The Game, starring Michael Douglas and Sean Pen and What Just Happened, starring Robert De Niro, with Sean Penn and Bruce Willis, and the film Traffic starring Benicio del Toro.

We recommend that you buy your DVDs and Blu-ray Disks.  Have a great personal film library..  Here are links to amazon.com (Amazon Instant Video, DVDs, and Blu-ray Disks, in that order, where available):

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Babel – Starring Brad Pitt & Cate Blanchett, directed by Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu

Posted by the editors on Monday, 2 January 2012

Babel (2006)  Directed by Alejandro González Inarritu ( Amores perros (2000), 21 Grams (2003), Biutiful (2010)), starring Brad Pitt (12 Monkeys (1995), Burn After Reading (2008), Moneyball (2011)), Cate Blanchett (Elizabeth (1998), The Aviator (2004), The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008)), Gael García BernalKoji Yakusho, in an outstanding ensemble cast, written by Guillermo Arriaga (Amores perros (2000), 21 Grams (2004), The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada (2005), The Burning Plain (2009)), with Academy Award-winning music by Gustavo Santaolalla (Brokeback Mountain (2005), Into the Wild (2007), Biutiful (2010)).  This drama, in which a tragic event links multiple interwoven story lines, two in Morocco, one in Japan, and one in California and Mexico, is the poignant story of north, south, east, west, parents, children, love, loss, anguish, trust, hope and tragedy. As befits its title, Babel is about language, of course, and its diversity; among the languages present in the film are English, Spanish, Japanese, Berber and sign language, and the diverse cultural and environmental contexts are wonderfully present through richly visual characterisations, from the vast, natural rugged terrain of Morocco to the dense, man-made mass of urban Japan, and through powerful and evocative sound and music.   The biblical story of Babel is, in a nutshell, that as punishment for trying to build a tower that would reach heaven, the human race was scattered over the face of the earth, dispersed, divided and unable to communicate.  And, in the film, communication is indeed very difficult, not only across languages and cultures but within them, between individuals.  However, through the powerful and sensitive use of close-ups, the exquisite writing and the purity of the acting on the part of virtually the entire cast, it is very much the case that, beyond words, or perhaps beneath them, human emotion is very much something we all share, we can all understand.  Children are extremely important in the film, from a lost child, to the two young Moroccan brothers, to the two young Americans brought to Mexico, to the distraught teenage Japanese girl so powerfully portrayed by Rinko Kikuchi; Inarritu has dedicated the film “To my children…the brightest of lights in the darkest night..”  Babel is not an easy film; it is filled with tragedy and near-tragedy, yet through its inspired writing, outstanding directing, humble and beautiful acting, it is a truly excellent film, contemporary and yet perhaps timeless, and most definitely a must-see.  And if you’ve already seen it, see it again, it is only that much richer an experience. (PR)

See our posts on the films Inglourious Basterds, starring Brad Pitt and The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada, written by Guillermo Arriaga and directed by and starring Tommy Lee Jones.

We recommend that you buy your DVDs and Blu-ray Disks.  Have a great personal film library..  Here are links to amazon.com (Amazon Instant Video, DVDs, and Blu-ray Disks, in that order, where available):

top image: Wikipedia

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High Society

Posted by the editors on Sunday, 11 September 2011

High Society, theatrical release poster

High Society (1956)(DVD) Directed by Charles Walters and starring Grace Kelly, Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby with Louis ArmstrongHigh Society, the film musical, is a reprise of the truly marvelous The Philadelphia Story (which starred Kathryn Hepburn, Cary Grant, Spencer Tracy and James Stewart and for which Stewart won an Oscar for Best Actor in 1940) and is Grace Kelly’s final film, released three months after she became Princess Grace of Monaco.  Receiving mixed critical reviews, though achieving box-office success, it’s true that the sauntering Bing Crosby pales in comparison to the inimitable Cary Grant’s portrayal of C.K. Dexter Haven, and Frank Sinatra, seeming to strain to sing some of the wonderful Cole Porter tunes in the film, is no comparison at all to James Stewart’s award-winning portrayal of McCauley Connor, the Spy Magazine reporter.  The lovely Grace Kelly, though uneven, is not a terrible Tracy Samantha Lord, though it is certainly impossible not to think of Kathryn Hepburn’s superb performance (of course, the film role and the play, a resounding Broadway success, starring Hepburn, which served as the basis for both High Society and The Philadelphia Story, were both written expressly for Hepburn), and to miss the chemistry between Hepburn, Grant and Stewart.  Nevertheless, High Society is certainly worth watching, even if it is only for the great Louis Armstrong and his band, who perform a couple of snappy numbers. (PR)

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Invictus

Posted by the editors on Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Invictus, directed by Clint Eastwood, theatrical release poster

Invictus (2009)(DVD)  Directed by Clint Eastwood (Unforgiven (1992), Mystic River (2003) Million Dollar Baby (2004), Letters from Iwo Jima (2006)), starring Morgan Freeman, Matt Damon and others.  Invictus, a biographical/sports drama set in post-apartheid South Africa prior to, and during, the 1995 Rugby World Cup, though perhaps moving, and rightly so, and with Eastwood’s characteristic fine attention to detail, not to mention rather good performances, of course, by Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon, nevertheless leaves one a little disappointed.  Perhaps it’s only due to the heavy-handed use of “inspirational” music. (PR)

See our post on the film The Informant! starring Matt Damon.

We recommend that  you buy your DVDs and Blu-ray Disks.  Have a great personal film library..  Here are links to amazon.com:

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