Showing posts with label Gary Oldman. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Gary Oldman. Show all posts

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Negromancer News Bits and Bites from July 7th to 13th, 2019 - Update #25

Support Leroy on Patreon:

POLITICS - From ProPublica:  ProPublica wants to know if you are in a secret Facebook hate group.

COMICS - From BleedingCool:  John Carpenter is writing a "Joker" comic book.  He will be joined by his writing partner, Anthony Burch, and and artist Phillip Tan.

CULTURE/MUSIC - From YahooEntertainment:  July 12, 2019 marks the 40th anniversary of the mini-Ku Klux Klan rally known as "Disco Demolition Night," which occured July 12, 1979 in Chicago's Comiskey Park during a Chicago White Sox double-header.

From NPR:  "July 12, 1979: The Night Disco Died' — Or Didn't"

MOVIES - From THR:  Since Guy Ritchie is not returning, the third film in the Robert Downey, Jr./Jude Law "Sherlock Holmes" movies needs a new director.  Enter Dexter Fletcher, fresh of "Rocketman" and finishing "Bohemian Rhapsody" after original director Bryan Singer was kicked off.

TELEVISION - From THR:  Super-producer Ryan Murphy has revealed the cast of "American Horror Story: 1984" (Season 9), which is set to premiere September 18, 2019 on FX.

ANIMATION - From Variety:  Warner Bros. Animation will produce a new "Flintstones" animated television series.  It will be overseen by actress Elizabeth Banks and her Brownstone Productions.

STREAMING - From Variety:  David Fincher and Gary Oldman are teaming up for a Netflix biopic revolving around Herman Mankiewicz, the screenwriter of Citizen Kane (with Orson Welles), with Oldman playing Mankiewicz.

TELEVISION - From Variety:  Three young actors: Alexa Mansour, Nicolas Cantu, and Hal Cumpston have been named as stars of AMC's announced third "The Walking Dead" TV series.

STREAMING - From Deadline:  WarnerMedia's streaming service has a name - "HBO Max."  It will be the new streaming home of the TV series, "Friends."

DISNEY - From YahooNews:  Abigail Disney is the daughter of the late Roy E. Disney, the son of Roy O. Disney, who co-founded the Walt Disney Company with his brother, Walt Disney.  In this interview, she talks about the violence she experienced as a child.

SPORTS - From BET:  "Black Girl Magic": meet the Black women representing on the 2019 World Cup winning United States Women's Soccer Team.

MOVIES - From BloodyDisgusting:  Samuel L. Jackson is reportedly joining Chris Rock in Rock's reboot of the "Saw" horror movie franchise.

From BloodyDisgusting:  Celeste O'Connor and Logan Kim have reportedly joined Jason Reitman's "Ghostbusters" film.

From BloodyDisgusting:  Megan Navarro names her best horror movies of the first half of 2019, plus one released in the second half of 2019.

BOX OFFICE - From BoxOfficeMojo: The winner of the 7/5 to 7/719 weekend box office is "Spider-Man: Far From Home" with an estimated take of 93.6 million dollars.

From Deadline:  "Spider-Man: Far From Home" grossed $185 million over the six-day haul since its Tuesday, July 2nd debut.  That is a record for a six-day Independence Day launch.

From Patreon:  My review of "Spider-Man: Far From Home."

ECO - From APNews:  Leonardo DiCaprio is joining with billionaire investors and philanthropists Laurene Powell Jobs and Brian Sheth to create, "Earth Alliance," a new nonprofit environmental organization charged with tackling climate change and the loss of biodiversity.

CELEBRITY - From IndieWire: Bill Murray explains why he created a 1-800 number for people to reach him about roles.

From Variety:  Noted horror director John Carpenter looks back on his legacy and career.


From ABC:  The actor Cameron Boyce has died at the age of 20, Saturday, July 6, 2019.  Boyce, as a child actor, was known for his "Luke Ross" on the Disney Channel TV series, "Jessie" (2011-2015).  He had also starred as "Carlos" in the Disney TV musical film series, "Descendants," including "Descendants 3," which is due to debut on Disney Channel, Aug. 2nd, 2019.

From Deadline:  Hollywood figures and former co-stars pay tribute to actor Cameron Boyce, star of Disney Channel's "Jessie" and Adam Sandler's son in the "Grown Ups" films, who died this past weekend.

From TeenVogue:  Tributes continue for Cameron Boyce, including from First Lady Michelle Obama and his costar, Dove Cameron ("Descendants").

From Variety:  Actress Stephanie Neznik died at the age of 52, June 23, 2019.  She was best known for her role as "Nina Feeney" on the TV series, "Everwood" (2002-2006).  She also appeared in the film, "Star Trek: Insurrection" (1998) and in the "Star Trek: Enterprise" episode, "Rogue Planet."

From RollingStone:  Stage, TV, and film actor, Rip Torn, has died at the age of 88, Tuesday, July 9, 2019.  He won an Emmy Award for playing "Artie," a supporting role in the TV series, "The Larry Sanders Show" (1992-98). Many will also remember as "Zed" in "Men in Black" and "Men in Black II."  He earned a best supporting actor Oscar nomination for his role in the film "Cross Creek" (1983).

From DallasMorningNews:  Self-made billionaire businessman and philanthropist, H. (Henry) Ross Perot, has died at the age of 89, Tuesday, July 9, 2019.  Many best remember Perot for his 1992 run as a U.S. presidential candidate.  He also ran in 1996.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

"The Dark Knight" Returns to Theaters for Tenth Anniversary

Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight” Celebrates Its Tenth Anniversary with an Exclusive Limited Engagement in 70mm IMAX® Film in Select Cities

IMAX theatres in Los Angeles, New York City, San Francisco and Toronto will showcase the film for one week only, beginning August 24th

BURBANK, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Ten years ago, Christopher Nolan’s groundbreaking blockbuster “The Dark Knight” was released. Commemorating the 10-year anniversary, Warner Bros. Pictures is bringing the film to four select IMAX® locations for an exclusive, one-week engagement, beginning Friday, August 24, 2018. The announcement was made by Jeff Goldstein, President, Domestic Distribution, Warner Bros. Pictures.

With “The Dark Knight,” Nolan broke new ground—shooting select sequences of the movie with IMAX film cameras—making “The Dark Knight” the first major feature film to utilize IMAX 70mm film and take advantage of the format’s massive scale and increased resolution. The movie was hailed by both critics and audiences and went on to be the top-grossing release of 2008. In the years since, Nolan has continued to pioneer the use of IMAX film cameras, employing them on an even greater scale in “The Dark Knight Rises,” as well as “Interstellar” and, most recently, “Dunkirk.”

The exclusive limited engagement will offer the public an extremely rare opportunity to see “The Dark Knight” on the biggest screens possible, as it was intended to be seen—in IMAX 70mm film—offering a uniquely immersive cinematic experience.

Tickets for the opening day went on sale Friday, July 20th, with showtimes only announced for August 24th. The theatres will list additional showtimes for subsequent dates closer to release.

“The Dark Knight” will be playing for one screening a day at the following theatres:

AMC Universal Citywalk IMAX, Universal City
AMC Lincoln Square IMAX, New York City
AMC Metreon IMAX, San Francisco
Ontario Place Cinesphere IMAX, Toronto

“The Dark Knight” stars Christian Bale in the title role and Heath Ledger, who won an Oscar for his performance as The Joker. The ensemble cast also includes Michael Caine, Gary Oldman, Aaron Eckhart, Maggie Gyllenhaal, and Morgan Freeman.

Nolan directed “The Dark Knight” from a screenplay written by Jonathan Nolan and Christopher Nolan, story by Christopher Nolan & David S. Goyer. Emma Thomas, Charles Roven and Christopher Nolan produced the film. Benjamin Melniker, Michael E. Uslan, Kevin De La Noy and Thomas Tull served as executive producers.

Warner Bros. Pictures presents, in association with Legendary Pictures, a Syncopy Production, a Christopher Nolan film. “The Dark Knight” is based upon characters appearing in comic books published by DC Comics. Batman was created by Bob Kane. The film is being re-released by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company. It was rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and some menace.


Monday, March 5, 2018

2018 / 90th Academy Awards Announced - Complete Winners List

The Academy Awards is an American film accolade.  It is best known as the “Oscars,” and is an annual awards ceremony honoring cinematic achievements primarily in the American film industry. The various category winners are awarded a copy of a statuette that is officially called the “Academy Award of Merit,” but has become commonly known by its nickname, the “Oscar.”   The awards were first presented in 1929 at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel.  The Academy Awards are overseen by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS).

The 90th Oscars nominations in 24 categories were announced on Tuesday, January 23, 2018.  Oscars for outstanding film achievements of 2017 were presented on Sunday, March 4, 2018, at the Dolby Theatre® at Hollywood & Highland Center® in Hollywood, and was televised live on the ABC Television Network at 6:30 p.m. ET/3:30 p.m. PT.  The Oscars ceremony was also televised live in more than 225 countries and territories worldwide.  Jimmy Kimmel acted as host for the ceremony.

2018 / 90th Academy Award winners (for film achievements in 2017):

Best Picture
The Shape of Water - Guillermo del Toro and J. Miles Dale, Producers

The Shape of Water - Guillermo del Toro

Actor in a Leading Role:
Gary Oldman - Darkest Hour

Actor in a Supporting Role
Sam Rockwell - Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri

Actress in a Leading Role
Frances McDormand - Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri

Actress in a Supporting Role
Allison Janney - I, Tonya

Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
Call Me by Your Name - Screenplay by James Ivory

Writing (Original Screenplay)
Get Out - Written by Jordan Peele

Animated Feature Film
Coco - Lee Unkrich and Darla K. Anderson

Blade Runner 2049 - Roger A. Deakins

Costume Design
Phantom Thread - Mark Bridges

Documentary (Feature)
Icarus - Bryan Fogel and Dan Cogan

Documentary (Short Subject)
Heaven Is a Traffic Jam on the 405 - Frank Stiefel

Film Editing
Dunkirk - Lee Smith

Foreign Language Film
A Fantastic Woman - Chile

Makeup and Hairstyling:
Darkest Hour - Kazuhiro Tsuji, David Malinowski and Lucy Sibbick

Music (Original Score)
The Shape of Water - Alexandre Desplat

Music (Original Song)
Remember Me from Coco; Music and Lyric by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez

Production Design
The Shape of Water - Production Design: Paul Denham Austerberry; Set Decoration: Shane Vieau and Jeffrey A. Melvin

Short Film (Animated)
Dear Basketball - Glen Keane and Kobe Bryant

Short Film (Live Action)
The Silent Child - Chris Overton and Rachel Shenton

Sound Editing
Dunkirk - Richard King and Alex Gibson

Sound Mixing
Dunkirk - Gregg Landaker, Gary A. Rizzo and Mark Weingarten

Visual Effects
Blade Runner 2049 - John Nelson, Gerd Nefzer, Paul Lambert and Richard R. Hoover


Sunday, March 4, 2018

2018 Oscars "Best Actor" - Gary Oldman

Actor in a Leading Role:

Gary Oldman - Darkest Hour - WINNER

Timothée Chalamet - Call Me by Your Name
Daniel Day-Lewis - Phantom Thread
Daniel Kaluuya - Get Out
Denzel Washington - Roman J. Israel, Esq.


Wednesday, September 27, 2017

2017 Austin Film Festival Announces Film and Panel Slate

Austin Film Festival Announces Full Film and Conference Schedule

Slate Includes Closing Night Film Chappaquiddick, Call Me By Your Name, The Darkest Hour, The Upside, and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

AUSTIN, Texas--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Austin Film Festival & Writers Conference (AFF), the premier film festival recognizing the writers’ contributions to film, television, and new media, announced the full schedule of films and panels for the 24th annual event, this October 26-November 2, 2017. AFF’s feature film slate includes over 25 World, North American and US Premieres, a robust retrospective series, and highly anticipated marquee titles, including Martin McDonagh’s Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, WWII drama The Darkest Hour featuring Gary Oldman as Winston Churchill, The Upside starring Bryan Cranston and Kevin Hart, and Armie Hammer romance Call Me By Your Name.

AFF has also announced Chappaquiddick as its Closing Night Film. A drama recounting Ted Kennedy’s infamous 1969 car accident resulting in the death of his campaign worker, writers Taylor Allen and Andrew Logan will be in attendance.

A staple of the Festival, AFF’s retrospective series will feature seminal 1987 action film Predator presented by Shane Black who is currently working on the film’s reboot. Additionally, Extraordinary Contribution to Film awardee Walter Hill will present his cult classic The Warriors.

In addition to the slate of 150+ films, AFF will present premieres and retrospectives of television programming, including the season 2 premiere of Hulu’s darkly comedic psychic drama Shut Eye with executive producers Mark Johnson, Melissa Bernstein, John Shiban and Amy Berg in attendance, the premiere of YouTube Red’s new comedy series Do You Want to See a Dead Body? with creator Rob Huebel in attendance, and the premiere of the Season Finale of HBO’s drama The Deuce with creators David Simon and George Pelecanos in attendance.

Also confirmed to attend is Dan Rather, who will help present the World Premiere of the documentary Fail State, chronicling the rise of predatory for-profit colleges. Writer/producer Gale Anne Hurd will also be in attendance for AFF’s screening of documentary Mankiller about barrier-breaking female Cherokee leader Wilma Mankiller.

Other World Premieres include Wild Honey, Coming to My Senses, and Transformer. Making its US Premiere is comedy Don’t Talk to Irene, written and directed by Pat Mills, which also won AFF’s Comedy Screenplay Award in 2013.

The full Film and Conference schedule can be found at

Austin Film Festival (AFF) is a non-profit organization dedicated to furthering the art, craft and business of writers and filmmakers and recognizing their contributions to film, television and new media. AFF is supported in part by the Cultural Arts Division of the City of Austin Economic Development Department and the Texas Commission on the Arts. All attendees and events are based on permitting schedules and are subject to change and/or cancellation without notice.


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Review: "RoboCop" Remake Has Lots of Ideas, but Lacks Focus

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 33 (of 2014) by Leroy Douresseaux

RoboCop (2014)
Running time:  118 minutes (1 hour, 58 minutes)
MPAA – PG-13 for intense sequences of action including frenetic gun violence throughout, brief strong language, sensuality and some drug material
DIRECTOR:  José Padilha
WRITERS:  Joshua Zetumer and Edward Neumeier & Michael Miner (based upon the 1987 screenplay by Edward Neumeier and Michael Miner)
PRODUCERS:  Marc Abraham and Eric Newman
CINEMATOGRAPHER:  Lula Carvalho (D.o.P.)
EDITORS:  Peter McNulty and Daniel Rezende
COMPOSER:  Pedro Bromfman


Starring:  Joel Kinnaman, Gary Oldman, Michael Keaton, Abbie Cornish, Jackie Earle Haley, Michael K. Williams, Jennifer Ehle, Jay Baruchel, Marrianne Jean-Baptiste, Samuel L. Jackson, Aimee Garcia, Patrick Garrow, and John Paul Ruttan

RoboCop is a 2014 science fiction film from director José Padilha.  The film is a remake of the Oscar-winning, 1987 film, Robocop.  The 2014 RoboCop follows a police detective who is transformed into a part-man/part-robot police officer by a powerful corporation that wants to place robot police officers all over America.

The film opens in year 2028.  Omnicorp, a division of the multinational conglomerate, OCP, specializes in “robot soldier” technology.  Omnicorp supplies the robots and drones that the United States military uses to pacify populations around the world.  Omnicorp wants to sell their product in the U.S. for civilian law enforcement, but is prohibited both by the federal Dreyfus Act and by public opinion.

Omnicorp CEO Raymond Sellars (Michael Keaton) concocts the idea of creating a new law enforcement product that blends the human police officer with the robot.  Sellars believes that this kind of police officer could really help Detroit, the crime-ravaged home city of Omnicorp.  Dr. Dennett Norton (Gary Oldman), a scientist under contract to Omnicorp, believes that he can take a permanently injured police officer or solider and use him as the core of a robot policeman prototype.  He wonders, however, if he will find the kind of police officer that is perfect for his experiment.

At the Detroit Police Department, Detective Alex Murphy (Joel Kinnaman) and his partner, Sergeant Jack Lewis (Michael K. Williams), are pursuing drug lord, Antoine Vallon (Patrick Garrow).  However, Vallon has an unknown number of crooked cops on his payroll, and they keep him apprised of Murphy and Lewis’ investigations.  Vallon orders Murphy killed, but Murphy survives the attempt, just barely.  Suddenly, Murphy is the perfect subject for Dr. Norton’s bid to create a part man/part machine cop, and RoboCop is born.  But how much of Alex Murphy is left inside of RoboCop, and how much of him does Omnicorp want to control?

The 1987 Robocop featured a number of thematic elements, and it contained black humor and satire, especially early in the film.  It was also a quasi-Western with RoboCop/Alex Murphy as a kind of frontier lawman facing off against heavily-armed criminals and a corrupt government all on his own.  RoboCop 2014 also includes themes about corporate manipulation of governments, the militarization of law enforcement, and the man-machine interface, among others.  There is a gallows humor about the remake, and it also has elements of the Western film.  That is where the comparisons end, for the most part.

RoboCop 2014 has a big problem in that it lacks focus.  The screenplay for the 2014 film takes almost every subplot, setting, and character from the 1987 film and makes them so important – even the elements the original film largely passed over.  For instance, Alex Murphy’s family was largely unseen, except for in flashbacks, in the 1987 film.  In the 2014 film, however, Murphy’s wife and son are important to the point of being in the way of the story.

It is almost Shakespearean the way the screenplay for the new film wants to make every supporting character and two-bit character a major player in the plot and story.  I could not help but think that more could have been done with Samuel Jackson’s Pat Novak, a Bill O’Reilly-like host of the pro-corporate, law and order television show, “The Novak Element.”  But where would he fit in an already overstuffed story?

With so many ideas and characters, RoboCop 2014 ends up without an identity.  In the original film, the title, Robocop, really meant that the movie was about Alex Murphy/RoboCop.  In the remake, the title RoboCop is practically about the idea of the “robot cop” or RoboCop.  The film is about weighing the good and the bad of having corporately-controlled robot cops patrolling the streets of America.  RoboCop/Alex Murphy just happens to be the robot cop of the moment.  Without an identity, what is RoboCop 2014?  Is it about Alex Murphy?  Is it about Omnicorp’s plans?  Is it about military technology as law enforcement?  Is this movie about corporate product as a means to uphold law and order?  Is it about Dr. Dennett Norton’s questionably experimentation on humans?

There is so much stuff in the new RoboCop that it would work better as a television series than it works as a two-hour feature film.  It is not a bad movie; it is simply packed with too many good ideas, characters, and plotlines.  That is a shame, because RoboCop 2014 is a cautionary tale.  It is a Frankenstein scenario that is relevant to our current times.  RoboCop warns us to beware of profit-driven, multi-national corporations that want to sell us permanent war and also a police state because those are the means by which they make piles of corporate cash.

For that reason, RoboCop 2014 is worth seeing.  It is a science fiction movie with a horror movie twist.  It has the thrills of an action movie, but also the chill of a scary movie that has a ring of truth to it.

6 of 10

Monday, July 14, 2014

The text is copyright © 2014 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this site for syndication rights and fees.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Negromancer News Bits and Bites for June 22 to June 28, 2014 #5


From InquisitirEddie Murphy returns for the fourth Beverly Hills Cop film (apparently officially titled "Beverly Hills Cop IV"), and the film has earned $13.5 million in tax rebates.


From The Wrap:  "Pacific Rim 2"to be released on Friday, April 7, 2017, according to announcement by Legendary Pictures and Universal Pictures.


From Vulture:  Highlights (or low lights) from Gary Oldman's controversial Playboy interview.


From IGN:  While working on the Predator reboot, Shane Black is also plotting the return of pulp era hero, Doc Savage, and he wants Chris Hemsworth of the Thor films, to play Savage.


From Christian Science Monitor: Emily Blunt in Batman Vs. Superman?


From Hollywood ReporterChanning Tatum joins Ralph Fiennes, Tilda Swinton and George Clooney in Coen Bros.' "Hail Caesar."


From Hollywood Reporter:  Fox looks to reboot "Predator" franchise with Shane Black (Iron Man 3) writing the treatment and possibly directing the film.  Fred Dekker will apparently write the script.  Black actually had a minor role in the original film, 1987's Predator.


From VarietyThink Like a Man Too won the June 20-22, 2014 weekend box office, according to early estimates.


From DeadlineRian Johnson, who directed the films Brick and Looper and some key episodes of "Breaking Bad," will reportedly write and direct "Star Wars Episode 8 "and either write and direct "Episode 9" or only write it.  Hitfix has related speculation.


From WebProNews:  Is Scarlett Johansson the superheroine we need in Lucy?

From UPI:  Black Widow to ride electric Harley Davidson in "Avengers 2."

From Total Film:  Much of "Ant-Man" will be based on Edgar Wright and Joe Cornish's screenplay, says Marvel Studios boss, Kevin Feige.  Plus, he talks other stuff.

From VarietyKelsey Grammer talks about how he got his cameo as Beast in X-Men: Days of the Future Past.  The article also suggests that some members of the original X-Men film trilogy could appear in the upcoming "X-Men: Apocalypse" (2016?).

FILM and TV Trailers:

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles June 24 2014 trailer.


From Hitfix:  Actor Eli Wallach died Tuesday, June 24, 2014 at the age of 98(!).  He was born in December of 1915, and was apparently married to the same woman (actress Anne Jackson) since 1948.  He was an acting legend, and is probably best remembered for his role in The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.  I will most fondly remember him for his powerful and alluring performance in the film, Baby Doll.

Negromancer sends condolences to Mr. Wallach's family and friends.  R.I.P. Eli Wallach.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

"12 Years a Slave" Named "Film of the Year" by London Critics' Circle

by Amos Semien

The London Film Critics’ Circle is part of a larger organization, The Critics’ Circle, which makes an annual award for Services to the Arts.  This circle is comprised of the five sections:  dance, drama, film, music, and visual arts.

The Critics’ Circle Film Section held its annual awards on Sunday night, February 2, 2014 at the May Fair Hotel.  The 34th London Critics’ Circle Film Awards featured sponsorship by The May Fair, Beluga, Novikov, Cameo, Audi, Innerplace and Publicity Media.

The big winner at the ceremony was 12 Years a Slave, which won awards for “Film of the Year,” “Actor of the Year” (Chiwetel Ejiofor), and “Supporting Actress of the Year” (Lupita Nyong'o).  The film's director, Steve McQueenc was on hand to collect the awards.

The Selfish Giant won two awards, “British Film of the Year” and “Young British Performer of the Year” (Conner Chapman).  Actor John Hurt introduced Gary Oldman who was presented with the Dilys Powell Award for Excellence in Film.

Full list of winners 2014 / 34th London Critics’ Circle Film Awards (for the year in film 2013):

Film of the Year: 12 Years a Slave

Foreign-language Film of the Year: Blue Is the Warmest Colour

Documentary of the Year: The Act of Killing

British Film of the Year: The Selfish Giant

Director of the Year: Alfonso Cuarón - Gravity

Screenwriter of the Year: Ethan Coen & Joel Coen - Inside Llewyn Davis

Actor of the Year: Chiwetel Ejiofor - 12 Years a Slave

Actress of the Year: Cate Blanchett - Blue Jasmine

Supporting Actor of the Year: Barkhad Abdi - Captain Phillips

Supporting Actress of the Year: Lupita Nyong'o - 12 Years a Slave

British Actor of the Year: James McAvoy - Filth / Trance / Welcome to the Punch

British Actress of the Year: Judi Dench - Philomena

Young British Performer of the Year: Conner Chapman - The Selfish Giant

Breakthrough British Filmmaker: Jon S Baird - Filth

Technical Achievement Award: Gravity - Tim Webber, special effects

Dilys Powell Award for Excellence in Film: Gary Oldman


Friday, December 27, 2013

2014 London Critics' Circle Film Awards - Complete Nominations List

by Amos Semien

The London Film Critics’ Circle is part of a larger organization, The Critics’ Circle, which makes an annual award for Services to the Arts.  This circle is comprised of the five sections:  dance, drama, film, music, and visual arts.

On its website, The Circle says that its aims are “to promote the art of criticism, to uphold its integrity in practice, to foster and safeguard members’ professional interests, to provide opportunities to meet, and to support the advancement of the arts.”  Currently there are more than 400 members of the Circle, mostly from the UK, and the majority of them write regularly for national and regional newspapers and magazines.  Membership is by invitation.

The following is the press release announcing the 34th edition of the film awards:

London Critics’ Circle Announces 2014 Film Awards Nominations

Gary Oldman to accept the Dilys Powell Award For Excellence In Film, while Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave leads the field with 9 nominations

The nominations for the 34th London Critics' Circle Film Awards were announced, with British director Steve McQueen’s 12 Years A Slave topping members’ ballots with 9 nominations.

Gary Oldman will be accepting the Circle’s most prestigious award, the Dilys Powell Award For Excellence In Film at the London Critics' Circle Film Awards on Sunday, February 2, 2014. He comments: “I am truly honoured, and humbled to be named for this prestigious award, especially when one considers both who is doing the awarding and also the inspirational list of past recipients. I can’t wait to be there.”

The London Critics' Circle Film Awards are voted for by the UK’s longest standing and most prestigious critical organisation, which boasts 140 members who between them see every one of the hundreds of films released in the UK each year. The Circle's Film Section Chair, Jason Solomons comments: "The London critics have yet again voted for a brilliant mix of films that reflects London's position as a hub of world cinema culture, both in production and appreciation.

"All the nominated films and performances have found champions and crucial support from London critics as they journey around the world, from their debuts at festivals including Cannes, Venice, Toronto, Berlin, Sundance, London and Edinburgh, where our critics show that their taste, knowledge, passion and influence remain vital and highly respected aspects of film culture. More than 200 different films were nominated on the ballots.

"I look forward to finding out our winners and send early congratulations to Gary Oldman, an icon of London cinema who has given us all pride and pleasure watching his outstanding, constantly surprising and thrilling screen career.”

12 Years A Slave leads the pack with nominations in the following categories: Film of the Year, Best Actor (Chiwetel Ejiofor), Best Director (Steve McQueen), Supporting Actor (Michael Fassbender), Supporting Actress (Lupita Nyong'o), Screenwriter (John Ridley), British Actor (Chiwetel Ejiofor and Michael Fassbender) and Technical Achievement (Sean Bobbitt, Cinematography). 12 Years A Slave will be released in the UK on 10 January 2014.

The next strongest showing at the nominations stage is for Stephen Frears’ Philomena, with nominations for British Film, Best Actress (Judi Dench), British Actor (Steve Coogan), British Actress (Judi Dench) and Screenwriter (Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope) bringing the picture’s total to five nominations.

Also receiving multiple nominations were Woody Allen’s BLUE JASMINE, Jon Baird's FILTH, Alfonso Cuarón’s GRAVITY and Martin Scorsese’s THE WOLF OF WALL STREET, with four nods each. Following hot on their heels, the following films all received three nominations each: David O. Russell’s American Hustle, Abdellatif Kechiche’s Blue Is the Warmest Colour, Paul Greengrass’ Captain Phillips, Noah Baumbach’s Frances Ha, Paolo Sorrentino’s The Great Beauty, the Coen Brother’s Inside Llewyn Davis, Alexander Payne’s Nebraska and Clio Barnard’s The Selfish Giant.


Blue Is the Warmest Colour
Blue Jasmine
Frances Ha
The Great Beauty
Inside Llewyn Davis
12 Years a Slave
The Wolf of Wall Street

Blue Is the Warmest Colour
Caesar Must Die
The Great Beauty
A Hijacking

A Field in England
The Selfish Giant

The Act of Killing
Beware of Mr Baker
Stories We Tell
We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks

Bruce Dern - Nebraska
Leonardo DiCaprio - The Wolf of Wall Street
Michael Douglas - Behind the Candelabra
Chiwetel Ejiofor - 12 Years a Slave
Tom Hanks - Captain Phillips

Cate Blanchett - Blue Jasmine
Sandra Bullock - Gravity
Judi Dench - Philomena
Adèle Exarchopoulos - Blue Is the Warmest Colour
Greta Gerwig - Frances Ha

Barkhad Abdi - Captain Phillips
Michael Fassbender - 12 Years a Slave
James Gandolfini - Enough Said
Tom Hanks - Saving Mr Banks
Jared Leto - Dallas Buyers Club

Naomie Harris - Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom
Sally Hawkins - Blue Jasmine
Jennifer Lawrence - American Hustle
Lupita Nyong'o - 12 Years a Slave
June Squibb - Nebraska

Christian Bale - American Hustle / Out of the Furnace
Steve Coogan - Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa / The Look of Love / Philomena / What Maisie Knew
Chiwetel Ejiofor - 12 Years a Slave
Michael Fassbender - The Counsellor / 12 Years a Slave
James McAvoy - Filth / Trance / Welcome to the Punch

Judi Dench - Philomena
Lindsay Duncan - About Time / Last Passenger / Le Week-end
Naomie Harris - Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom
Sally Hawkins - Blue Jasmine
Emma Thompson - Beautiful Creatures / Saving Mr Banks

Conner Chapman - The Selfish Giant
Saoirse Ronan - Byzantium / The Host / How I Live Now
Eloise Laurence - Broken
George MacKay - Breakfast With Jonny Wilkinson / For Those in Peril / How I Live Now / Sunshine on Leith
Shaun Thomas - The Selfish Giant

Alfonso Cuarón - Gravity
Paul Greengrass - Captain Phillips
Steve McQueen - 12 Years a Slave
Paolo Sorrentino - The Great Beauty
Martin Scorsese - The Wolf of Wall Street

Ethan Coen & Joel Coen - Inside Llewyn Davis
Spike Jonze - Her
Steve Coogan & Jeff Pope - Philomena
John Ridley - 12 Years a Slave
Terence Winter - The Wolf of Wall Street

Jon S Baird - Filth
Scott Graham - Shell
Marcus Markou - Papadopoulos & Sons
Rufus Norris - Broken
Paul Wright - For Those in Peril

American Hustle - Judy Becker, production design
Behind the Candelabra - Howard Cummings, production design
Filth - Mark Eckersley, editing
Frances Ha - Sam Levy, cinematography
Gravity - Tim Webber, visual effects
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire - Trish Summerville, costumes
Inside Llewyn Davis - T Bone Burnett, music
Stoker - Kurt Swanson & Bart Mueller, costumes
12 Years a Slave - Sean Bobbitt, cinematography
Upstream Colour - Johnny Marshall, sound design



Thursday, May 9, 2013

"Dawn of the Planet of the Apes" Now Shooting

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes Begins Principal Photography

Andy Serkis Reprises His Celebrated Role of Heroic Ape Caesar

Jason Clarke, Gary Oldman, Toby Kebbell, Keri Russell, Kodi Smit-Mcphee Also Star

Matt Reeves Directs Newest Chapter of Beloved Franchise Now Filming on Location in New Orleans

NEW ORLEANS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Twentieth Century Fox announced that principal photography is underway on Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. A growing nation of genetically evolved apes led by Caesar is threatened by a band of human survivors of the devastating virus unleashed a decade earlier. They reach a fragile peace, but it proves short-lived, as both sides are brought to the brink of a war that will determine who will emerge as Earth's dominant species.

Andy Serkis, celebrated for his performance in the last film, reprises his role as Caesar. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes also stars Jason Clarke (Zero Dark Thirty, Public Enemies, The Great Gatsby), Gary Oldman (The Dark Knight Rises, The Harry Potter film series), Keri Russell (The Americans, Mission Impossible III), Toby Kebbell (The Prince of Persia, Wrath of the Titans, Rock N Rolla), Kodi Smit-McPhee (Let Me In, ParaNorman), Enrique Murciano (Traffic, Black Hawk Down), Kirk Acevedo (The Thin Red Line) and Judy Greer (The Descendants, Three Kings, 13 Going on 30).

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is directed by Matt Reeves (Cloverfield, Let Me In). The producers are Peter Chernin, Dylan Clark (Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Oblivion), Rick Jaffa & Amanda Silver (Rise of the Planet of the Apes). Tom Hammel (Rise of the Planet of the Apes) is executive producing.

Oscar®-winning visual effects house WETA Digital – employing a new generation of the cutting edge performance capture technologies developed for Rise of the Apes and Avatar – will again render photo-realistic, emotionally-engaging apes. The film’s key behind-the-scenes team includes director of photography Michael Seresin, production designer James Chinland, and VFX Supervisors Joe Letteri and Dan Lemmon, VFX producers Ryan Stafford, editor Bill Hoy and Stan Salfas, and costume designer Melissa Brunning.

Twentieth Century Fox will release Dawn of the Planet of the Apes worldwide on Memorial Day weekend, May 23, 2014. Rise of the Planet of the Apes opened theatrically during the summer of 2011, grossed nearly half a billion dollars worldwide.

About 20TH Century Fox Film
One of the world’s largest producers and distributors of motion pictures, 20th Century Fox Film produces, acquires and distributes motion pictures throughout the world. These motion pictures are produced or acquired by the following units of 20TH Century Fox Film: Twentieth Century Fox, Fox 2000 Pictures, Fox Searchlight Pictures, Fox International Productions, and Twentieth Century Fox Animation.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Review: "Bram Stoker’s Dracula" Still a Stand-Out Dracula Movie

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 16 (of 2005) by Leroy Douresseaux

Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992)
Running time: 128 minutes (2 hours, 8 minutes)
MPAA – R for sexuality and horror violence
DIRECTOR: Francis Ford Coppola
WRITER: James V. Hart (based upon the novel by Bram Stoker)
PRODUCERS: Fred Fuchs, Charles Mulvehill, and Francis Ford Coppola
EDITORS: Anne Goursaud, Glen Scantlebury, and Nicholas C. Smith
COMPOSER: Wojciech Kilar
Academy Award winner

HORROR/FANTASY/ROMANCE with elements of drama

Starring: Gary Oldman, Winona Ryder, Anthony Hopkins, Keanu Reeves, Richard E. Grant, Cary Elwes, Bill Campbell, Sadie Frost, Tom Waits, and Monica Bellucci

The subject of this movie review is Bram Stoker’s Dracula, a 1992 vampire movie and Gothic horror film from director Francis Ford Coppola. The film’s screenplay essentially takes the familiar Dracula story and emphasizes romantic and sensual elements. The film’s lavish production values helped it earn many honors, box office success, and some favorable attention from film critics.

Francis Ford Coppola’s lavish and colorful gothic extravaganza, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, is a three-time Academy Award winner. Dazzling, lush, and sensuous, the film affirms Coppola’s place as imaginative and brilliant filmmaker. The film also testifies to the talents of all the cohorts. Eschewing the (then) burgeoning use of computers to add special effects to films, the SFX, cinematographer, makeup, sets artists, and designers used old-fashioned craftsmanship and artistry to create an amazing movie that harks to the past while looking out of this world impossible.

The film’s story is similar to previous adaptations of Bram Stoker’s novel (although most films are actually based on an early 20th century stage version of Stoker’s novel than the novel itself), but the attraction here is the visual interpretation. Jonathan Harker (Keanu Reeves), a young lawyer, travels to into the gloomy misty land of Eastern Europe, Transylvania, to meet a mysterious client, Count Dracula (Gary Oldman), who is buying several tracts of property in London. Dracula, a vampire, later imprisons Harker when he discovers that Mina Murray (Winona Ryder), Harker’s fiancée, exactly resembles is late human wife, Elisabeta (Ms. Ryder), who killed herself centuries ago. Dracula travels in secret to London where he seduces and drains the life out of Mina’s friend, Lucy Westenra (Sadie Frost). However, the cautious Dr. Jack Seward (Richard E. Grant) summons his old mentor, Professor Abraham Van Helsing (Anthony Hopkins) who immediately recognizes Lucy’s ailment and subsequent death as the work of a vampire. Van Helsing gathers Lucy’s friends to destroy Dracula, but the undead count has in eyes on Mina, and she, surprisingly, as her eyes on him.

The film is very entertaining, a stunning visual treat, and a unique horror film that hypnotizes you into watching it over and over again. Gary Oldman is one of the best screen Dracula’s ever; he is magnificent and alluring, but also fearsome and awe-inspiring. Winona Ryder is simultaneously demure and spirited as the brave Mina who is also secretly a naughty girl. The rest of the cast is mostly hit or miss. Anthony Hopkins gives a mostly annoying performance as Van Helsing, in which he only occasionally makes the character the brave and resolute leader he was in the original novel. Keanu Reeves is wooden, stiff, and nearly undead himself as Jonathan Harker. How could Mina not choose an undead monster with romantic inclinations over a pebble like Reeves’ Harker. The rest of the cast is functional and has its moments. The attraction here is the amazing work of Coppola and his filmmaking crew, as well as the screen duo of Oldman and Ms. Ryder; they’re the reasons you see this film.

7 of 10

1993 Academy Awards: 3 wins: “Best Costume Design” (Eiko Ishioka), “Best Effects, Sound Effects Editing” (Tom C. McCarthy and David E. Stone), and “Best Makeup” (Greg Cannom, Michèle Burke, and Matthew W. Mungle); 1 nomination: “Best Art Direction-Set Decoration” (Thomas E. Sanders and Garrett Lewis)

1994 BAFTA Awards: 4 nominations: “Best Costume Design” (Eiko Ishioka), “Best Make Up Artist” (Greg Cannom, Michèle Burke, and Matthew W. Mungle), “Best Production Design” (Thomas E. Sanders), and “Best Special Effects” (Roman Coppola, Gary Gutierrez, Michael Lantieri, and Gene Warren Jr.)

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Review: "The Dark Knight Rises," But the Movie is Bloated

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 58 (of 2012) by Leroy Douresseaux

The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
Running time: 164 minutes (2 hours, 44 minutes)
MPAA – PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, some sensuality and language
DIRECTOR: Christopher Nolan
WRITERS: Jonathan Nolan and Christopher Nolan; from a story by David S. Goyer and Christopher Nolan (based upon the characters created by Bob Kane and Bill Finger)
PRODUCERS: Christopher Nolan, Charles Roven, and Emma Thomas
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Wally Pfister (D.o.P.)
EDITOR: Lee Smith
COMPOSER: Hans Zimmer


Starring: Christian Bale, Tom Hardy, Anne Hathaway, Michael Caine, Gary Oldman, Morgan Freeman, Marion Cotillard, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Matthew Modine, Cillian Murphy, Ben Mendelsohn, Burn Gorman, Tom Conti, and Liam Neeson

The subject of this movie review is The Dark Knight Rises, a film directed by Christopher Nolan. It is a sequel to The Dark Knight and is also the third film in Nolan’s “The Dark Knight trilogy,” which began with 2005’s Batman Begins. The Dark Knight Rises is a highly-anticipated film, and I have been anxious to see it for some time.

Now, that I’ve seen The Dark Knight Rises, I must admit that I did not like it. In fact, not long into the movie, I was bored with it and, three times I considered walking out of the theatre. The Dark Knight Rises has some interesting ideas, characters, and subplots, but they don’t really come together to form a complete movies. The story elements feel like they are building up to something big; the film is like a constant upsurge of anticipation that never delivers. Too often, scenes ultimately deliver an anti-climax.

The Dark Knight Rises opens eight years after the events that closed The Dark Knight, which saw Batman (Christian Bale) vanishing into the night after he made it seem as if he (Batman) had killed District Attorney Harvey Dent. By assuming the blame for Dent’s demise, Batman sacrificed everything for what he and Commissioner James Gordon (Gary Oldman) both hoped was the greater good. In a sense, that worked. As the film begins, organized crime in Gotham City is dead.

Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) has given up being Batman and lives in seclusion, but his meeting with Selina Kyle (Anne Hathaway), a cunning cat burglar gets him interested in what is currently happening in the city. Meanwhile, a masked terrorist called Bane (Tom Hardy) has come to Gotham to tear the city down in the name of revolution. Bane’s acts of destruction and terror drive Bruce out of his self-imposed exile, but Batman may be no match for Bane

Although the film runs at nearly 2¾ hours, The Dark Knight Rises did not seem too long to me. It did seem bloated. The film does have some good action set pieces, but they combine to form a movie that is too damned loud and obnoxious. Talk about full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. Speaking of loud: Hans Zimmer’s score is comically overdone, even farcical. Every time something momentous is about to be said or done, Zimmer unleashes ear-drum pounding brass and Ragnorok synth. The music makes the movie seem either pretentious or a joke.

The new characters are interesting, but they’re equally pompous and hollow. Anne Hathaway has a great moment as Selina Kyle when the character first meets Bruce Wayne that is deliciously cool. After that, the character comes across as tacked-on. Nolan is too coy about her; is she villainess or anti-hero? Please, make up your mind, Mr. Director. Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s John Blake is a good character lost in the excesses of this movie. Tom Hardy’s Bane is scary, but his frightfulness is mitigated by this story’s murky intentions. Utterly underutilized are two supporting characters: Bruce Wayne’s business rival, John Daggett (Ben Mendelsohn), and his assistant, Stryver (Burn Gorman). The actors give this film’s best performances, and the characters are this movie’s dynamic duo. I was sad when they “left” the story.

All of The Dark Knight Rises’ characters, settings, sub-plots, and action don’t lead from point A to point B – beginning, middle, and end. They come together as one huge rambling wreck that eventually crashes, which we can call the end of the movie. The story is a good idea, but the screenplay is overkill. This is Christopher Nolan’s worst major film to date. If I did not know better, I would think that Joel Schumacher had directed The Dark Knight Rises, but this movie’s self-importance reminds me that this is a Chris Nolan flick.

4 of 10

Saturday, July 21, 2012


Friday, July 20, 2012

About this Movie: The Dark Knight Rises

In Association with Legendary Pictures
A Syncopy Films Production
DIRECTOR: Christopher Nolan
WRITERS: Jonathan Nolan and Christopher Nolan; from a story by David S. Goyer and Christopher Nolan (based upon the characters created by Bob Kane and Bill Finger)
PRODUCERS: Christopher Nolan, Charles Roven, and Emma Thomas
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Wally Pfister (D.o.P.)
EDITOR: Lee Smith
COMPOSER: Hans Zimmer

OPENING DATE: Friday, July 20, 2012
RUN TIME: 164 minutes
RATING: MPAA – PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, some sensuality and language

Starring: Christian Bale, Anne Hathaway, Tom Hardy, Marion Cotillard, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Michael Caine, Gary Oldman and Morgan Freeman

Warner Bros. Pictures' and Legendary Pictures' "The Dark Knight Rises" is the epic conclusion to filmmaker Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy.

It has been eight years since Batman vanished into the night, turning, in that instant, from hero to fugitive. Assuming the blame for the death of D.A. Harvey Dent, the Dark Knight sacrificed everything for what he and Commissioner Gordon both hoped was the greater good. For a time the lie worked, as criminal activity in Gotham City was crushed under the weight of the anti-crime Dent Act.

But everything will change with the arrival of a cunning cat burglar with a mysterious agenda. Far more dangerous, however, is the emergence of Bane, a masked terrorist whose ruthless plans for Gotham drive Bruce out of his self-imposed exile. But even if he dons the cape and cowl again, Batman may be no match for Bane.

Leading an all-star international cast, Oscar® winner Christian Bale ("The Fighter") again plays the dual role of Bruce Wayne/Batman. "The Dark Knight Rises" also stars Anne Hathaway, as Selina Kyle; Tom Hardy, as Bane; Oscar® winner Marion Cotillard ("La Vie en Rose"), as Miranda Tate; and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, as John Blake.

Returning to the main cast, Oscar® winner Michael Caine ("The Cider House Rules") plays Alfred; Gary Oldman is Commissioner Gordon; and Oscar® winner Morgan Freeman ("Million Dollar Baby") reprises the role of Lucius Fox.

The screenplay is written by Jonathan Nolan and Christopher Nolan, story by Christopher Nolan & David S. Goyer. The film is produced by Emma Thomas, Christopher Nolan and Charles Roven, who previously teamed on "Batman Begins" and the record-breaking blockbuster "The Dark Knight." The executive producers are Benjamin Melniker, Michael E. Uslan, Kevin De La Noy and Thomas Tull, with Jordan Goldberg serving as co-producer. The film is based upon characters created by Bob Kane and published by DC Comics.

Behind the scenes, "The Dark Knight Rises" reunites the director with several of his longtime collaborators, all of whom worked together on "The Dark Knight." The creative team includes director of photography Wally Pfister, who won an Oscar® for his work on Nolan's "Inception"; production designers Nathan Crowley and Kevin Kavanaugh; editor Lee Smith; and Oscar®-winning costume designer Lindy Hemming ("Topsy-Turvy"). In addition, Paul Franklin and Chris Corbould, who both won Oscars® for the effects in "Inception," supervised the visual and special effects, respectively. The music is composed by Oscar® winner Hans Zimmer ("The Lion King").

In helming the film, Christopher Nolan utilized IMAX® cameras even more extensively than he did on "The Dark Knight," which had marked the first time ever that a major feature film was even partially shot with the large-format cameras.

"The Dark Knight Rises" will be presented on 70-millimeter film in 102 IMAX 15/70mm locations worldwide. Christopher Nolan stated, "Having shot almost half the picture with large-format IMAX film cameras, it is very important to me that we show 'The Dark Knight Rises' in the IMAX film format wherever possible. Audiences everywhere should be assured that every presentation of the film will be of the highest standard—having benefited from the clarity and depth IMAX cameras offer. However, these 102 screens will showcase the original IMAX film photography in its optimum form, and I hope anyone who has an opportunity to experience the film in these theatres will seek it out."

Warner Bros. Pictures presents, in association with Legendary Pictures, a Syncopy Production, a Film by Christopher Nolan, "The Dark Knight Rises." Opening in theatres and IMAX, the film will be distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.

Review: "The Dark Knight" Rose Above All Other Batman Movies

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 32 (of 2008) by Leroy Douresseaux

The Dark Knight (2008)
Running time: 152 minutes (2 hours, 32 minutes)
MPAA – PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and some menace
DIRECTOR: Christopher Nolan
WRITERS: Jonathan Noland and Christopher Nolan; from a story by David S. Goyer and Christopher Nolan (based upon the characters created by Bob Kane and Bill Finger)
PRODUCERS: Christopher Nolan, Charles Roven, and Emma Thomas
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Wally Pfister (D.o.P.)
EDITOR: Lee Smith
Academy Award winner


Starring: Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, Aaron Eckhart, Michael Caine, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Gary Oldman, Morgan Freeman, Monique Gabriela Curren, Nestor Carbonell, Eric Roberts, Colin McFarlane, Joshua Harto, and Michael Jai White

Director Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight, the sequel to his 2005 film, Batman Begins, is indeed as good as practically everyone who has seen it says. The Dark Knight is both loud and complex, sometimes as scary as it is over the top, but the heart of the movie isn’t loud explosions and violent confrontations. For all the attention paid to this film’s villain, The Joker as portrayed by the late Heath Ledger, Nolan uses The Dark Knight to examine the heart, soul, and guts (constitution) of a hero, in particularly both the character Batman and his alter ego Bruce Wayne.

The steadfast Lieutenant Jim Gordon (Gary Oldman) and the heroic District Attorney Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart) join Batman’s (Christian Bale) plot to destroy organized crime in Gotham City for good. The three are highly effective, as they track Gotham organized crime’s cash, the hundreds of millions of dollars that criminals hide in Gotham banks. They’ll follow the money even when it means Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) and his partner Lucius Fox (Morgan Freeman) must undertake a secret mission to Hong Kong.

However, their success is short lived, when The Joker (Heath Ledger), a rising criminal mastermind, inserts himself into the situation. The Joker practically bullies Gotham’s crime lords into hiring him to kill Batman. The Joker’s antics throw Gotham into anarchy, and his acts of terrorism force the Dark Knight and everyone one around him ever closer to crossing the fine line between hero and vigilante.

So many things stand out as being exceptional about The Dark Knight. The story by Christopher Nolan and David S. Goyer, who wrote Batman Begins together, is quite fine, but the script by Nolan and his brother Jonathan Nolan is the cream on top. For one thing, it takes four of Batman Begins’ excellent supporting characters, Jim Gordon, Lucius Fox, Bruce Wayne’s butler, Alfred (Michael Caine), and Rachel Dawes (Maggie Gyllenhaal, but previously played by Katie Holmes in Batman Begins). Not only does the script emphasize their connections to Batman, but all four of the characters also genuinely contribute to the action, ideas, and philosophies of the larger narrative. When four fine actors (with Caine and Freeman being Oscar-winning legends) get this kind of character writing, they can work wonder – as they do here.

As for the much-talked about performance of the late Heath Ledger as The Joker, it is the real deal. Topping Jack Nicholson’s turn as the clown prince of crime in the 1989 Batman seemed impossible, but Ledger simply took the character someplace even darker. Ledger’s Joker isn’t just a criminal; he’s an anarchist, a terrorist, and a madman. He eschews society’s morals, rules, and excepted standards of behavior. To hell with society; he just wants to see the world burn. That kind of personality and behavior will always be the makings for a memorable villain, but Ledger takes that material and turns it into a Joker the he sears into the audience’s memory.

For all the fireworks of Heath Ledger’s performance, The Dark Knight is, in the hands of Chris Nolan and actor Christian Bale as Batman, about Batman’s battle for his own soul. Together, Nolan and Bale test the limits of endurance of a superhero. Batman’s bravery isn’t in question, but his honesty, integrity, morals, and honor are. Will he go to the “dark side,” so to speak, and thusly, himself become a villain in order to fight villains (Joker and his crime lord cohorts)? Is he a warrior sworn to uphold values of courage and honor or is he just like weaker mortals – people who are all too ready to drop their civilized ways and become monsters the moment something really terrifies them?

Like Batman’s conundrum, The Dark Knight is ominously complicated, but it is so damn entertaining and intelligent and thought provoking and better than most summer blockbusters and superhero movies could hope to be. The Dark Knight is by no means perfect; sometimes, it goes over the top trying to make its points. Sometimes, it’s way too loud and maybe just a bit too pretentious and heavy with its own self-importance. But it’s still so damn good.

9 of 10

Sunday, August 03, 2008

2009 Academy Awards: 2 wins: “Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role” (Heath Ledger – Posthumously won with the award accepted by his father, mother and sister) and “Best Achievement in Sound Editing” (Richard King); 6 nominations: “Best Achievement in Art Direction” (Nathan Crowley-art director and Peter Lando-set decorator), “Best Achievement in Cinematography” (Wally Pfister), “Best Achievement in Film Editing” (Lee Smith), “Best Achievement in Makeup” (John Caglione Jr. and Conor O'Sullivan), “Best Achievement in Sound Mixing” (Lora Hirschberg, Gary Rizzo, Ed Novick), “Best Achievement in Visual Effects” (Nick Davis, Chris Corbould, Timothy Webber and Paul J. Franklin)

2009 BAFTA Awards: 1 win: “Best Supporting Actor” (Heath Ledger –Posthumously); 8 nominations: “Best Cinematography” (Wally Pfister), “Best Costume Design” (Lindy Hemming), “Best Editing” (Lee Smith), “Best Make Up & Hair” (Peter Robb-King), “Best Music” (Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard), “Best Production Design” (Nathan Crowley and Peter Lando), “Best Sound” (Lora Hirschberg, Richard King, Ed Novick, and Gary Rizzo), “Best Special Visual Effects” (Chris Corbould, Nick Davis, Paul J. Franklin, and Tim Webber)

2009 Golden Globes, USA: 1 win: “Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture” (Heath Ledger – Awarded posthumously with the award accepted by Christopher Nolan on Heath Ledger's behalf)


Thursday, July 19, 2012

About "The Dark Knight Rises" - The Cast

About the Cast if The Dark Knight Rises

CHRISTIAN BALE (Bruce Wayne/Batman) was born in Wales and grew up in England and the USA. He made his film debut in Steven Spielberg's World War II epic "Empire of the Sun."

His film work to date also includes "Henry V," "The Portrait of a Lady," "The Secret Agent," "Metroland," "Velvet Goldmine," "All the Little Animals," "American Psycho," "Laurel Canyon," "The Machinist," "Batman Begins," "The New World," "The Prestige," "Harsh Times," "Rescue Dawn," "3:10 to Yuma," "I'm Not There," "The Dark Knight," "Public Enemies," "The Fighter," and "The Flowers of War."

Audiences will next see him in Terrence Malick's "Knight of Cups," and he recently completed filming "Out of the Furnace."

MICHAEL CAINE (Alfred), a two-time Academy Award® winner, has appeared in more than 100 films in a career spanning over half a century. He first played the role of Bruce Wayne's loyal butler, Alfred, in the 2005 hit, "Batman Begins," which also marked his first collaboration with director Christopher Nolan. He returned to the part in the 2008 blockbuster "The Dark Knight." "The Dark Knight Rises" marks Caine's fifth collaboration with Nolan. He has also acted under Nolan's direction in "The Prestige," for which he won a London Film Critics' Circle Award for Best Supporting Actor, and 2010's most talked-about film, "Inception."

Caine's upcoming films include Louis Leterrier's thriller "Now You See Me," with Morgan Freeman, and "Mr. Morgan's Last Love," based on the novel La Douceur Assassine by Françoise Dorner, in which he plays the title role under the direction of Sandra Nettelbeck.

Caine won his first Oscar®, for Best Supporting Actor, for his work in Woody Allen's "Hannah and Her Sisters," for which he also received Golden Globe and BAFTA Award nominations. He took home his second Best Supporting Actor Oscar® for his role in Lasse Hallström's "The Cider House Rules," also winning a Screen Actors Guild Award® and earning Golden Globe and BAFTA Award nominations.

He has garnered four more Oscar® nominations for Best Actor, the first coming in 1966 for the title role in "Alfie," for which he also received a Golden Globe nomination and a New York Film Critics Award. He earned his second Oscar® nod, in addition to a Golden Globe nomination and an Evening Standard Award, for the part of Milo Tindle in 1972's "Sleuth," opposite Laurence Olivier. His role in "Educating Rita" brought him his third Oscar® nomination, as well as Golden Globe and BAFTA Awards. He gained his latest Oscar®, Golden Globe and BAFTA Award nominations for his work in 2002's "The Quiet American," for which he also won a London Film Critics' Circle Award. In addition, Caine won Golden Globe and London Film Critics' Circle Awards and received a BAFTA Award nomination, all for Best Supporting Actor, for "Little Voice."

Caine was born Maurice Micklewhite in South London in 1933 and developed an interest in acting at an early age. Upon his discharge from the Queen's Royal Regiment and Royal Fusiliers in 1953, he began pursuing his career. Taking his stage name from the title "The Caine Mutiny," he toured Britain in a variety of plays and began appearing in British films and television shows.

In 1964, Caine landed his first major film role as Lieutenant Gonville Bromhead in "Zulu." The following year, he starred in the hit thriller "The Ipcress File," earning his first of 37 BAFTA Award nominations for his portrayal of secret agent Harry Palmer. However, it was his Oscar®-nominated performance in the seminal '60s film "Alfie" that catapulted Caine to international stardom. He went on to star in eleven more films during the late '60s, including "The Ipcress File" sequels, "Funeral in Berlin" and "Billion Dollar Brain"; "Gambit," earning a Golden Globe nomination; "Hurry Sundown"; "Woman Times Seven"; "Deadfall"; "The Magus"; "The Italian Job"; and "Battle of Britain."

Over the next two decades, Caine had diverse roles in more than 40 films, including Robert Aldrich's "Too Late the Hero"; "X, Y and Zee," opposite Elizabeth Taylor; John Huston's "The Man Who Would Be King"; "Harry and Walter Go to New York"; Richard Attenborough's "A Bridge Too Far"; the Neil Simon comedy "California Suite"; Brian De Palma's "Dressed to Kill"; John Huston's "Victory"; Sidney Lumet's "Deathtrap"; Stanley Donen's "Blame It on Rio"; John Frankenheimer's "The Holcroft Covenant"; Neil Jordan's "Mona Lisa"; and "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels," for which he received a Golden Globe nomination.

Continuing to work almost non-stop, Caine has since starred in such films as "Blood and Wine," "Quills," "Miss Congeniality," "Austin Powers in Goldmember," "The Weather Man," "Children of Men," and "Harry Brown," in the title role. His most recent films include "Journey 2: The Mysterious Island," and he also lent his voice to the animated features "Cars 2" and "Gnomeo & Juliet."

Apart from his work onscreen, Caine wrote an autobiography entitled What's It All About?, as well as Acting on Film, a book based on a series of lectures he gave on BBC Television. His latest memoir, The Elephant to Hollywood, was published in 2010 by Henry Holt and Co. in the United States.

In the 1992 Queen's Birthday Honours, Caine was awarded the Commander of the Order of the British Empire (C.B.E.). Eight years later, he received his knighthood.

GARY OLDMAN (Commissioner Gordon) has been a legendary presence on the screen for more than 25 years and is known to millions worldwide for his embodiment of some of cinema's most iconic characters. In addition to Commissioner Jim Gordon, he has portrayed such wide-ranging and unforgettable roles as Harry Potter's beloved godfather, Sirius Black; Dracula; Beethoven; Lee Harvey Oswald; Sid Vicious; and John le Carré's ultimate spy, George Smiley, in an Oscar®-nominated performance.

Oldman is one of the highest-grossing actors at the global box office, having appeared in a number of the most successful films of all time, including the top-grossing Harry Potter franchise. He originated the part of Sirius Black in 2004's "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban," and reprised his role in "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire," "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix," and the record breaking finale, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2."

He first played Jim Gordon in Christopher Nolan's 2005 hit "Batman Begins." Oldman returned to the role of Batman's crime-fighting ally in 2008's billion dollar blockbuster "The Dark Knight."

In 2011, Oldman portrayed master spy George Smiley in the film version of John le Carré's "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy." In addition to an Oscar® nomination, Oldman's performance was recognized with a BAFTA Award nomination, a British Independent Film Award nomination, and an Empire Award, all for Best Actor.

He has repeatedly been honored for his work on the screen, including the 2011 Empire Icon Award, bestowed for a lifetime of outstanding achievements; the Gotham Awards' Career Tribute Award; and the International Star of the Year Award at the Palm Springs Film Festival.

Oldman began his acting career on the stage in 1979, and for the next few years he worked exclusively in the theatre. From 1985 through 1989, he performed at London's Royal Court. His earliest onscreen work includes the BBC films "Meantime," for director Mike Leigh, and "The Firm," directed by the late Alan Clarke.

He followed with such features as "Sid & Nancy"; "Prick Up Your Ears," directed by Stephen Frears; Tom Stoppard's "Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are Dead"; "State of Grace"; "JFK," for director Oliver Stone; and the title role in "Bram Stoker's Dracula," directed by Francis Ford Coppola. Among Oldman's many other credits are "True Romance," directed by Tony Scott; "Romeo is Bleeding"; the Luc Besson-directed films "The Professional" and "The Fifth Element"; "Immortal Beloved"; "Murder in the First"; "The Scarlett Letter," directed by Roland Joffé; "Lost in Space"; Wolfgang Petersen's "Air Force One," as the terrorist who hijacked the plane of the President, played by Harrison Ford; and "The Book of Eli."

In 1995, with manager/producing partner Douglas Urbanski, he formed a production company, which subsequently produced the highly acclaimed "Nil by Mouth," marking Oldman's directing and writing debut. The film was selected to open the main competition for the 1997 50th Anniversary of the Cannes Film Festival, where Kathy Burke won Best Actress and Oldman was nominated for a Palme d'Or. Among the film's other honors, Oldman won the prestigious Channel 4 Director's Prize at the Edinburgh Film Festival; an Empire Award; a BAFTA Award, shared with Urbanski, for Best Film; and a BAFTA Award for Best Original Screenplay.

In 2000, Oldman starred in the political drama "The Contender," which he and Urbanski also produced. The film, which also starred Joan Allen, Jeff Bridges, Christian Slater and Sam Elliott, received a number of award recognitions, including two Oscar® nominations.

ANNE HATHAWAY (Selina Kyle) was honored with an Academy Award® nomination for Best Actress for her performance in Jonathan Demme's critically acclaimed drama "Rachel Getting Married." For her work in the film, Hathaway also earned Golden Globe, Independent Spirit Award and Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Award® nominations, and also won the National Board of Review, Chicago Film Critics Association, and Critics' Choice Awards for Best Actress. She more recently received another Golden Globe nomination, for Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical, for her role in Edward Zwick's "Love and Other Drugs," opposite Jake Gyllenhaal.

Later this year, Hathaway stars as Fantine in Tom Hooper's much-anticipated feature film adaptation of the beloved musical "Les Misérables," opening in December.

Hathaway made an auspicious feature film debut with a starring role in Garry Marshall's 2001 hit comedy "The Princess Diaries," and reprised her role in "The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement." Her early film credits also include Douglas McGrath's screen rendition of Charles Dickens' "Nicholas Nickleby" and the title role in "Ella Enchanted."

In 2005, Hathaway co-starred with Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger in Ang Lee's groundbreaking drama "Brokeback Mountain," and was nominated with her castmates for a SAG Award® nomination for Outstanding Motion Picture Cast. The following year, she received widespread acclaim for her performance in the smash hit "The Devil Wears Prada," opposite Meryl Streep.

Hathaway has also starred in such diverse films as Tim Burton's "Alice in Wonderland"; "Valentine's Day," which reunited her with Garry Marshall; Gary Winick's "Bride Wars"; Rodrigo Garcia's "Passengers"; Peter Segal's "Get Smart"; the Jane Austen biopic "Becoming Jane"; "Havoc"; and "The Other Side of Heaven." In addition, she lent her voice to the animated hit features "Rio" and "Hoodwinked!," and, in 2010, won an Emmy for Outstanding Voice-Over Performance for the role of Princess Penelope on an episode of "The Simpsons."

Hathaway's theatre credits include Shakespeare in the Park's 2009 production of "Twelfth Night"; Lincoln Center's Encores! presentation of "Carnival," for which she won a 2002 Clarence Derwent Award; Andrew Lloyd Webber's workshop of "Woman in White"; and "Forever Your Child." She also participated in the 2005 celebration gala for Stephen Sondheim's 75th birthday.

In January 2005, Hathaway traveled to Cambodia on behalf of the documentary "A Moment in the World," organized by Angelina Jolie. The project placed approximately 25 participants in various locations on a specific day, each instructed to videotape their surroundings at the same specific moment in time.

Born in New York, Hathaway studied acting at the Paper Mill Playhouse in New Jersey and at the award-winning Barrow Group in New York City, where she was the first and only teen ever admitted to their intensive acting program. In 2005, she was honored for her achievements by the Barrow Group. She also studied in the musical theatre program with the Collaborative Arts Project, CAP 21, affiliated with NYU. An accomplished dancer, she studied at the Broadway Dance Center in New York City. Additionally, she performed in two concerts at Carnegie Hall as a member of the All-Eastern US High School Honors Chorus. She began her professional career on television on the series "Get Real."

TOM HARDY (Bane) is currently in production on George Miller's new post-apocalyptic actioner, in which he takes on the role of Mad Max, opposite Charlize Theron. He will next be seen in the crime drama "Lawless," which premiered at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival.

Hardy previously collaborated with director Christopher Nolan in the thought-provoking 2010 thriller "Inception," alongside an international cast led by Leonardo DiCaprio. He recently also starred in the boxing drama "Warrior," with Nick Nolte and Joel Edgerton, and the thriller "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy," with Gary Oldman.

Hailing from Great Britain, Hardy began his screen career when he was plucked straight from London's Drama Centre for a role in HBO's award-winning World War II miniseries "Band of Brothers," executive produced by Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg. He made his feature film debut in Ridley Scott's war drama "Black Hawk Down," followed by the sci-fi adventure "Star Trek: Nemesis."

In 2008, Hardy delivered a powerhouse performance in the title role of the drama "Bronson," for which he won a British Independent Film Award, and earned nominations for a London Film Critics' Circle Award and an Evening Standard Film Award, all in the category of Best Actor.

On television, Hardy received a BAFTA TV Award nomination for Best Actor for his performance in the HBO movie "Stuart: A Life Backwards." He also portrayed Heathcliff in the 2009 ITV production of "Wuthering Heights." His work on the small screen also includes the telefilms "Oliver Twist," "A for Andromeda," "Sweeney Todd," "Gideon's Daughter," and "Colditz," as well as the BBC miniseries "The Virgin Queen."

Hardy has also starred in numerous plays in London's West End, including "Blood" and "In Arabia We'd All Be Kings," winning the Outstanding Newcomer Award at the 2003 Evening Standard Theatre Awards for his work in both productions. For the latter play, he was also nominated for a 2004 Olivier Award. In 2005, Hardy starred in the London premiere of Brett C. Leonard's "Roger and Vanessa." His later stage work includes Rufus Norris' adaptation of "Festen," at the Almeida; "The Modernists," at Sheffield's Crucible Theatre; "The Man of Mode," for the National Theatre; and the 2010 world premiere of Leonard's "The Long Red Road," directed by Philip Seymour Hoffman at Chicago's Goodman Theatre.

MARION COTILLARD (Miranda Tate) won a Best Actress Academy Award® for her performance in "La Vie en Rose," making her the first actress to earn an Oscar® for a performance in the French language. For her captivating portrayal of legendary French chanteuse Edith Piaf in that film, Cotillard also won a BAFTA Award, a Golden Globe and a César Award, and received Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Award® and Critics' Choice Award nominations.

"The Dark Knight Rises" marks the second collaboration for Cotillard and Christopher Nolan. She previously worked under Nolan's direction in the 2010 hit thriller "Inception," opposite Leonardo DiCaprio.

This fall, Cotillard will be seen in Guillaume Canet's comedy/drama "Little White Lies;" and the drama "Rust & Bone," which screened at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. Recently, Cotillard completed production on the as-yet-untitled drama, directed by James Gray and also starring Joaquin Phoenix and Jeremy Renner; as well as the crime drama "Blood Ties," which reunited her with director Guillaume Canet.

Cotillard first gained attention for her work in the successful French "Taxi" film series, written by Luc Besson, for which she received a César Award nomination. She was introduced to American moviegoers with her role in Tim Burton's 2003 fantasy drama "Big Fish," and also starred that year in Yann Samuell's "Love Me If You Dare." Cotillard won her first César Award, for Best Supporting Actress, for her performance in Jean-Pierre Jeunet's "A Very Long Engagement." She went on to star in a number of French films, as well as Ridley Scott's "A Good Year."

In 2009, Cotillard starred in Michael Mann's "Public Enemies" and Rob Marshall's screen adaptation of the hit musical "Nine." For her role in the latter, she received Golden Globe and Critics' Choice Award nominations, in addition to sharing in a SAG Award® nomination for Outstanding Motion Picture Cast. Her additional film credits include Steven Soderbergh's thriller "Contagion," as well as Woody Allen's acclaimed romantic comedy "Midnight in Paris," for which she shared in a SAG Award® nomination for Outstanding Motion Picture Cast with Owen Wilson, Kathy Bates, and Rachel McAdams.

In 2010, Cotillard was named a Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters, for her contribution to the enrichment of French culture. Born in Paris, she studied drama at Conservatoire d'Art Dramatique in Orléans.

JOSEPH GORDON-LEVITT (John Blake) is one of today's busiest actors and has also been showcasing his talents behind the camera. Following "The Dark Knight Rises," he stars in three more films due out this year: the thriller "Premium Rush," for writer/director David Koepp; Rian Johnson's sci-fi thriller "Looper," which he stars in with Emily Blunt and Bruce Willis and also executive produced; and the Steven Spielberg-directed biopic "Lincoln," playing Robert Todd Lincoln. In addition, Gordon-Levitt is currently making his feature film directorial debut on the comedy "Don Jon's Addiction," which he also wrote and stars in with Scarlett Johansson and Julianne Moore.

Gordon-Levitt recently earned his second Golden Globe nomination in the category of Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical for his performance in the comedy/drama "50/50," in which he starred with Seth Rogen, Anna Kendrick and Bryce Dallas Howard. He previously garnered Golden Globe and Independent Spirit Award nominations for his work in the award-winning sleeper hit "(500) Days of Summer," opposite Zooey Deschanel.

In 2010, Gordon-Levitt starred in Christopher Nolan's hit thriller "Inception," joining an international all-star cast, including Leonardo DiCaprio, Ellen Page and Tom Hardy. He also played the title role in the independent drama "Hesher," which premiered at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival.

His broad range of film credits also include the global action hit "G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra," for director Stephen Sommers; Spike Lee's World War II drama "Miracle at St. Anna"; Kimberly Peirce's controversial drama "Stop-Loss"; and the crime drama "The Lookout," which marked Scott Frank's directorial debut. In addition, Gordon-Levitt has received widespread praise for his performances in such independent features as John Madden's "Killshot"; Lee Daniels' "Shadowboxer"; Rian Johnson's award-winning debut film, "Brick"; "Mysterious Skin," for writer/director Gregg Araki; and "Manic," with Don Cheadle.

Early in his career, Gordon-Levitt won a Young Artist Award for his first major role, in Robert Redford's drama "A River Runs Through It." He went on to co-star in "Angels in the Outfield," "The Juror," "Halloween H20" and "10 Things I Hate About You."

Gordon-Levitt is also well known to television audiences for his starring role on NBC's award-winning comedy series "3rd Rock from the Sun." During his six seasons on the show, he won two YoungStar Awards and also shared in three Screen Actors Guild Award® nominations for Outstanding Comedy Series Cast. Following the series, Gordon-Levitt took a short break from acting to attend Columbia University.

Gordon-Levitt founded and directs an open collaborative production company called comprised of an online community of thousands of artists from all over the world. Through the site, more than 40,000 participants have had the opportunity to team together to create short films, music, art or stories. The company has presented evenings of short film and live entertainment at the Sundance and South by Southwest Film Festivals; toured some of the country's top colleges; published Tiny Book of Tiny Stories (released by Harper Collins in December 2011); and last fall released a DVD/book/CD called RECollection Volume 1.

A budding writer/director in the more traditional sense, as well, Gordon-Levitt adapted the Elmore Leonard story "Sparks" into a 24-minute short film. Marking his directorial debut, the short screened at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival.

MORGAN FREEMAN (Lucius Fox) won an Academy Award® for Best Supporting Actor for his role in Clint Eastwood's "Million Dollar Baby," for which he also won a Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Award® and received a Golden Globe nomination. In 2009, he reunited with Eastwood to star in the director's true-life drama "Invictus," on which Freeman also served as an executive producer under his Revelations Entertainment banner. For his portrayal of Nelson Mandela in the film, Freeman garnered Oscar®, Golden Globe and Critics' Choice Award nominations, and won the National Board of Review Award for Best Actor.

Freeman has been honored with three additional Oscar® nominations, the first for his chilling performance in the 1987 drama "Street Smart," which also brought him Los Angeles Film Critics, New York Film Critics, and National Society of Film Critics Awards, and an Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Actor, as well as his first Golden Globe Award nomination. He earned his second Oscar® nomination and won Golden Globe and National Board of Review Awards for Best Actor for the 1989 film "Driving Miss Daisy," in which he recreated his award-winning off-Broadway role. He gained his third Oscar® nod, as well as Golden Globe and SAG Award® nominations, for his performance in Frank Darabont's 1994 drama "The Shawshank Redemption." Among his many other accolades, Freeman was named a Kennedy Center Honoree in 2008, and, in 2011, was honored with the 39th AFI Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Cecil B. DeMille Award at the Golden Globe Awards.

In "The Dark Knight Rises," Freeman reprises the role he played in Christopher Nolan's "Batman Begins" and "The Dark Knight." Freeman has several films upcoming, including the thriller "Now You See Me," under the direction of Louis Leterrier, and the science fiction actioner "Oblivion," in which he stars with Tom Cruise.

Freeman's long list of film credits also includes "Dolphin Tale"; "RED"; Rob Reiner's "The Bucket List," opposite Jack Nicholson; Robert Benton's "Feast of Love"; Ben Affleck's "Gone Baby Gone"; Lasse Hallström's "An Unfinished Life"; the Jet Li actioner "Unleashed"; the comedy "Bruce Almighty" and its sequel, "Evan Almighty"; "The Sum of All Fears"; "Along Came a Spider"; "Nurse Betty"; "Deep Impact"; Steven Spielberg's "Amistad"; "Kiss the Girls"; David Fincher's "Se7en"; "Glory"; "Lean on Me"; "Harry & Son," directed by and starring Paul Newman; and "Brubaker." He also lent his distinctive voice to such projects as Spielberg's "War of the Worlds" and the Oscar®-winning documentary "March of the Penguins."

In 1993, Freeman made his directorial debut on "Bopha!" and soon after formed Revelations Entertainment. Other Revelations productions include "Levity," "Under Suspicion," "Mutiny," "Along Came a Spider," "Feast of Love," "10 Items or Less" and "Maiden Heist."

The Memphis-born actor began his career on the stages of New York in the early 1960s, following a stint as a mechanic in the Air Force. A decade later, he became a nationally known television personality when he created the popular character Easy Reader on the acclaimed children's show "The Electric Company."

Throughout the 1970s, he continued his work on stage, winning Drama Desk and Clarence Derwent Awards and receiving a Tony Award nomination for his performance in "The Mighty Gents" in 1978. In 1980, he won two Obie Awards, for his portrayal of Shakespearean anti-hero Coriolanus at the New York Shakespeare Festival and for his work in "Mother Courage and Her Children." Freeman won another Obie in 1984 for his performance as The Messenger in the acclaimed Brooklyn Academy of Music production of Lee Breuer's "The Gospel at Colonus" and, in 1985, won the Drama-Logue Award for the same role. In 1987, Freeman created the role of Hoke Coleburn in Alfred Uhry's Pulitzer Prize-winning play "Driving Miss Daisy," which brought him his fourth Obie Award. In 1990, Freeman starred as Petruchio in the New York Shakespeare Festival's "The Taming of the Shrew," opposite Tracey Ullman. Returning to the Broadway stage in 2008, Freeman starred with Frances McDormand and Peter Gallagher in Clifford Odett's drama "The Country Girl," directed by Mike Nichols.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Gary Oldman the Master of "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy"

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 48 (of 2012) by Leroy Douresseaux

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011)
Running time: 127 minutes (2 hours, 7 minutes)
MPAA – R for violence, some sexuality/nudity and language
DIRECTOR: Tomas Alfredson
WRITERS: Bridget O'Connor and Peter Straughan (based on the novel by John le Carré)
PRODUCERS: Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, and Robyn Slovo
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Hoyte Van Hoytema (D.o.P.)
EDITOR: Dino Jonsäter
COMPOSER: Alberto Iglesias
Academy Award nominee


Starring: Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, Tom Hardy, Benedict Cumberbatch, Mark Strong, Toby Jones, David Dencik, Ciarán Hinds, Simon McBurney, Roger Lloyd-Pack, Stephen Graham, Kathy Burke, Jamie Thomas King, Stuart Grahma, Svetlana Khodchenkova, William Haddock, and John Hurt

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is a 2011 British drama and espionage film. It is a co-production between British film production company, Working Title Films, and the French StudioCanal and is based upon John le Carré’s 1974 novel, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. The film is set in London in the early 1970s and focuses on an espionage veteran who returns from semi-retirement to uncover a Soviet agent working within British Intelligence. It is one of the best films of 2011.

In October 1973, Control (John Hurt), the head of the British Intelligence Service (known as “the Circus”), sends agent Jim Prideaux (Mark Strong) on a mission to Hungary, which goes badly wrong. Control and his right-hand man, George Smiley (Gary Oldman), are forced into retirement.

Later, Oliver Lacon (Simon McBurney), a civil servant in charge of intelligence, brings Smiley out of retirement. Lacon tells Smiley that Control, who is now dead, believed that the Soviet Union had managed to place a mole (or spy) in a senior role in British Intelligence and that the mole had been there for a long time. Control had assigned codenames to the senior intelligence officers that he suspected of being the Soviet mole. They are Percy Alleline, “Tinker” (Toby Jones); Bill Haydon, “Tailor” (Colin Firth); Roy Bland, “Soldier” (Ciarán Hinds); and Toby Esterhase, “Poorman” (David Dencik). Smiley takes the assignment only to learn that he is “Beggarman,” Control’s fifth suspect.

I could easily consider Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy a slowing moving spy movie, but I choose to view it as a delicious gumbo on simmer that slowly cooks to perfection. In this case, the perfection is the last half-hour of the movie, which is outstanding and begins with a brilliant scene featuring Smiley, Lacon, and a cabinet minister. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is the kind of dense and layered story an espionage film should be… at least when it’s not being a James Bond movie.

Of course, a film adaptation of John le Carré loses the depth, the morsels, and the back story of the novels. The film works because it is a character drama that takes the international intrigue that was the Cold War and transforms it into a conflict (a game, or even a war) between rivals, within and without British Intelligence. The story becomes one about personalities and indeed; the conflicts are more personal and more intimate than they are large-scale and extra-national or international. The movie is a story of lonely and desperate men who can never reveal their secrets to others, even to the point that they become a mystery to themselves.

Such a character drama relies on great performances, and there are many. Tom Hardy and Benedict Cumberbatch are excellent in strong supporting roles. David Dencik gives extra to Esterhase, enlarging a character that could have been not much more than a superficial little prick.

The most important performance is, of course, Gary Oldman’s. I’ve thought of him as a genius since I first started seeking out films in which he appeared some 20 years ago. He plays George Smiley as a tiger ready to pounce, as an intense man of action, and as the consummate spymaster who leads men and manipulates others to achieve his ends. What is amazing is that Oldman pulls this off by playing Smiley as a quiet, detached man, so that in the moments when he does strike, the viewer is both surprised at this sudden turn and also amazed at what Oldman is keeping under wraps as Smiley.

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is superbly directed by Tomas Alfredson and expertly written by the husband and wife team of Peter Straughan and the late Bridget O'Connor (to whom this film is dedicated). It is simply a great film. However, the strength of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is Gary Oldman, the master of this spy game and the winner of this chess match of espionage.

9 of 10

2012 Academy Awards: 3 nominations: “Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role” (Gary Oldman), “Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Score” (Alberto Iglesias), and “Best Writing, Adapted Screenplay” (Bridget O'Connor and Peter Straughan)

2012 BAFTA Awards: 2 wins: “Best Adapted Screenplay” (Bridget O'Connor and Peter Straughan) and “Outstanding British Film” (Peter Straughan, Robyn Slovo, Tomas Alfredson, Bridget O'Connor, Eric Fellner, and Tim Bevan); 9 nominations: “Best Film” (Tim Bevan, Robyn Slovo, Eric Fellner), “Best Leading Actor” (Gary Oldman), “Best Cinematography” (Hoyte Van Hoytema), “Best Costume Design” (Jacqueline Durran), “Best Director” (Tomas Alfredson), “Best Editing” (Dino Jonsäter), “Best Original Music” (Alberto Iglesias), “Best Production Design” (Tatiana Macdonald and Maria Djurkovic), “Best Sound” (Doug Cooper, Andy Shelley, Howard Bargroff, John Casali, and Stephen Griffiths)

Sunday, June 10, 2012