Showing posts with label Rosamund Pike. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Rosamund Pike. Show all posts

Thursday, January 11, 2024

Review: "SALTBURN" is not Salty, nor Does it Burn

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 1 of 2024 (No. 1945) by Leroy Douresseaux

Saltburn (2023)
Running time: 131 minutes (2 hours, 11 minutes)
MPA – R for strong sexual content, graphic nudity, language throughout, some disturbing violent content, and drug use.
WRITER/DIRECTOR:  Emerald Fennell
PRODUCERS:  Emerald Fennell, Josey McNamara, and Margot Robbie
CINEMATOGRAPHER:  Linus Sandgren (D.o.P.)
EDITOR:  Victoria Boydell
COMPOSER:  Anthony Willis


Starring:  Barry Keoghan, Jacob Elordi, Rosamund Pike, Richard E. Grant, Archie Madekwe, Alison Oliver, Sadie Soverall, Paul Rhys, and Carey Mulligan


-- The new film from the writer-director of Emerald Fennell has an intriguing premise and is actually intriguing for about its first hour.

-- Their are few good performances, particularly by Jacob Elordi, Rosamund Pike, and Archie Madekwe. Sadly, the movie focuses on its least interesting character, Oliver Quick, played by one of the hottest dull actors around, Barry Keoghan.

-- Saltburn is mainly for adventurous movie fans. Viewers looking to be entertained may want to look for a movie that is less stiff.


Saltburn is a 2023 psychological drama and black comedy from writer-director Emerald Fennell.  The film follows a new student at Oxford University who is drawn into the world of a charming and aristocratic classmate, which leads to a tragic summer at the classmate's family's sprawling estate.

Saltburn  introduces Oliver Quick (Barry Keoghan), a scholarship student at Oxford University.  Oliver struggles to fit in due to his inexperience with upper-class manners and deportment.  However, one of Oliver's fellow students does capture his imagination, Felix Catton (Jacob Elordi), an affluent and popular student.  It turns out that Felix is empathetic to Oliver and his stories of his parents' substance abuse and mental health issues.

After Oliver becomes distraught when he learns of his father's sudden death, Felix comforts him.  Later, Felix invites Oliver to spend the summer at his family's sprawling estate, Saltburn.  Oliver meets Felix's eccentric parents, his father, Sir James Catton (Richard E. Grant), and his mother, Lady Elspeth Catton (Rosamund Pike).  He also meets Felix's kooky and lewd sister, Venetia (Alison Oliver).  Also staying at the state is fellow Oxford student and Felix's first cousin, Farleigh Start (Archie Madekwe), who thinks very little of Oliver.  As the summer wears on, however, these unlikable people become too self-absorbed to recognize the danger so very near to them.

I was a huge fan of Saltburn writer-director Emerald Fennell's 2020, Promising Young Woman, for which Fennell won a “Best Original Screenplay” Oscar.  Promising Young Woman was a shocking, funny, vindictive, and righteous film, and which is much more than I can say about Saltburn, which looks like a sumptuous period drama.  On the other hand, for all its good looks, Saltburn is sterile as a black comedy.

I can deal with a film that focuses on unlikable people, which Saltburn does.  Still, I found Saltburn's lead actor, Barry Keoghan, and his character, Oliver Quick, dull and unimaginative.  I don't get Keoghan's critical acclaim.  He was pitiful and sad in The Banshees of Inisherin (2020), which earned him a “Best Supporting Actor” Oscar nomination.  However, sad, silent waif characters bore me, and Keoghan's Oliver Quick is duller than his Dominic Kearney was in Banshees.  Here, Keoghan's personality-free performance in this film does not convince me that Oliver is what the film's final act suggests he is.  Honestly, what Fennell offers here is nothing more than a riff on novelist Patricia Highsmith's literary character, "Tom Ripley," if Ripley were played as a character that was stuffed and mounted.  Also, I must admit to often mistaking Keoghan for another milky white boy actor, Ezra Miller (The Flash), who did the pale, waif thing really well until his... secrets came out.

I like Jacob Elordi as Felix Catton, a funny and charming character, and Elordi's boyish, white boy looks should give him at least a few years in Hollywood as a “hot thing.”  The film's best performance is given by Archie Madekwe, the Black British actor who creates Saltburn's most intriguing character.  As the “mixed-race” Farleigh Start, Madekwe is mysterious and sexy, and honestly, I wish Saltburn was about Farleigh's relationship with the Cattons and his life at Saltburn.  I should also admit that I'm always crazy about Rosamund Pike, so I was in love with Lady Elspeth.

Ultimately, I can only recommend Saltburn to adventurous movie fans who are always on the lookout for films from interesting filmmakers, which Emerald Fennell certainly is.  I simply wish that Saltburn burned a little more.

5 of 10
★★½ out of 4 stars

You can stream the SALTBURN film here on AMAZON Prime Video.

The text is copyright © 2024 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this blog or site for reprint and syndication rights and fees.



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Saturday, July 16, 2016

Waypoint Entertainment Acquires Film Rights to Image Comics' "Plutona"


Addictive Pictures to produce alongside Waypoint Entertainment under their first-look deal

LOS ANGELES — Waypoint Entertainment has acquired the rights to bestselling and award-winning author Jeff Lemire and illustrator Emi Lenox's comic series Plutona, a coming-of-age story which centers on a group of kids who find the body of a famous dead superhero in the woods. Waypoint Entertainment’s Ken Kao (The Nice Guys), will produce with partner Dan Kao and Addictive Pictures' Russell Ackerman (Mama) and John Schoenfelder under their first-look deal.

Image Comics released Plutona, a five-issue limited series, on September 2015 to critical acclaim.

"Emi and I are extremely excited to be working with Waypoint Entertainment and Addictive Pictures to help bring our vision for Plutona to the big screen,” said Lemire. “Plutona has been a labor of love for us and we were very careful about finding a home for it, and we are thrilled that the team at Addictive and Waypoint share our passion for the story and for its potential as a film."

Lemire is the author of titles including the Essex County Trilogy, Sweet Tooth, The Nobody, and wrote a run of Animal Man. He is known for his moody, humanistic stories and sketchy, cinematic, black-and-white art and has worked extensively with DC and Marvel Comics. Lenox is perhaps best known for her diary comic Emitown, as well as having work featured in such critically-acclaimed series as Nowhere Men, Madman, Glory, and Sweet Tooth.

Lemire is represented by Angela Cheng Caplan of Cheng Caplan Company and attorney Allison Binder of Smelkinson, Genow, Stone, Binder & Christopher LLP.

Waypoint Entertainment recently acquired the rights to two Mark Millar properties, American Jesus and Supercrooks, which Ken Kao will produce with partner Dan Kao and Addictive Pictures. They are also in pre-production on the sci-fi thriller Tau, directed by Federico D’ Alessandro and starring Maika Monroe and Ed Skrein.

Waypoint Entertainment is a film and television development, production, and finance company with a slate that includes: Scott Cooper’s Hostiles starring Christian Bale and Rosamund Pike; Martin Zandvliet’s The Outsider starring Jared Leto; Shane Black’s detective thriller The Nice Guys starring Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling; Gus Van Sant’s The Sea of Trees starring Matthew McConaughey, Ken Watanabe, and Naomi Watts; and Terrence Malick's Weightless starring Ryan Gosling Michael Fassbender, Natalie Portman, Cate Blanchett, and Rooney Mara.

Addictive Pictures is a film and television production company with a specialty in elevated genre films. Addictive is currently prepping Jeremy Saulnier's next film Hold the Dark for A24, and recently closed a deal for Deeper written by Max Landis starring Bradley Cooper at MGM.

Image Comics is a comic book and graphic novel publisher founded in 1992 by a collective of best-selling artists. Image has since gone on to become one of the largest comics publishers in the United States. Image currently has five partners: Robert Kirkman, Erik Larsen, Todd McFarlane, Marc Silvestri and Jim Valentino. It consists of five major houses: Todd McFarlane Productions, Top Cow Productions, Shadowline, Skybound and Image Central. Image publishes comics and graphic novels in nearly every genre, sub-genre, and style imaginable. It offers science fiction, fantasy, romance, horror, crime fiction, historical fiction, humor and more by the finest artists and writers working in the medium today. For more information, visit


Saturday, March 26, 2016

Amazon Announces "Thunderbirds Are Go" for April 22, 2016

Amazon Debuts Original Animated Kids Series Thunderbirds Are Go on April 22 on Prime Video

Special one-hour sneak preview will premiere on April 15 with Ring of Fire Parts 1 and 2

The five Tracy brothers catapult back onto television screens following the 50-year-old classic Thunderbirds series; Rosamund Pike stars as Lady Penelope

SEATTLE--(BUSINESS WIRE)--(NASDAQ: AMZN)—Amazon today announced its brand-new Amazon Original Kids Series, Thunderbirds Are Go, is scheduled to premiere on Friday, April 22, 2016 on Prime Video in the US. Ahead of the series launch, Prime members will get a sneak preview on April 15 with the one-hour special Ring of Fire Parts 1 and 2. Thunderbirds Are Go is a reinvention of classic Thunderbirds, and features the world’s most famous family of heroes, International Rescue. Rosamund Pike (The World’s End, Gone Girl) also stars as Lady Penelope. All 13 episodes of the first season will debut on Prime Video in the US on April 22 for streaming and download for Prime members, and will subsequently air on Prime Video in the UK, Germany and Austria, following a deal with ITV Studios Global Entertainment.

    “We’re delighted that Thunderbirds Are Go will be blasting off in the US on Amazon next month”

Thunderbirds Are Go catapults the five brave Tracy brothers back onto television screens, where they’ll pilot their remarkable, cutting-edge Thunderbird vehicles from the depths of the oceans to the highest reaches of space, performing impossible rescues across the globe. Produced by ITV Studios and Pukeko Pictures in collaboration with world-famous Weta Workshop, the series is made using a unique mixture of CGI animation and live-action model sets. Thunderbirds Are Go will deliver a new level of action-adventure animation for today’s audience while paying tribute to the characters and locations from the original series.

“We’re excited that our customers and their families will partake in a new rendition of a classic property with the Tracy brothers at the helm,” said Tara Sorensen, Head of Kids Programming at Amazon Studios. “The new series will pay tribute to the legacy of the original series while adopting a new level of action-adventure and groundbreaking mix of animation and live-action.”

“We’re delighted that Thunderbirds Are Go will be blasting off in the US on Amazon next month,” said Dan Gopal, EVP EMEA Distribution and Global Digital Partners for ITV Studios Global Entertainment. “This will give children and families across the country the opportunity to enjoy the full, action-packed series whenever and wherever they want.”

Thunderbirds Are Go is executive produced by Estelle Hughes (Driver Dan’s Story Train), Giles Ridge (Pocoyo), Richard Taylor (The Lord of the Rings), and Andrew Smith (District 9), written by Rob Hoegee (Generator Rex, Teen Titans), and directed by David Scott (LEGO Star Wars) and Theo Baynton (The Wotwots). It is distributed internationally by ITV Studios Global Entertainment.

The first season of Thunderbirds Are Go will be available for Prime members to stream and enjoy using the Amazon Video app for TVs, connected devices including Amazon Fire TV, and mobile devices, or online at, at no additional cost to their membership. Customers who are not already a Prime member can sign up for a free trial at For a list of all Amazon Video compatible devices, visit Thunderbirds Are Go will also be available as part of Amazon FreeTime Unlimited, the all-you-can-eat subscription service designed from the ground up for kids. FreeTime Unlimited is available exclusively on Amazon devices including Amazon Fire TV and Fire tablets, and a year-long subscription is included with every Fire Kids Edition.

About Amazon Video
Amazon Video offers customers unlimited access to tens of thousands of movies and TV episodes, including award-winning Amazon Original Series, through Amazon Prime; monthly subscriptions to SHOWTIME, STARZ, and more; and hundreds of thousands of titles including new-release movies and current TV shows for rent or purchase.

The entire range of selection can be instantly accessed through the Amazon Video app on TVs, streaming media players, mobile devices, Amazon Fire TV, Fire TV Stick, and Fire tablets, or online at For a list of all Amazon Video compatible devices visit

Prime Video, included in Amazon Prime, enables Prime members to enjoy binge-worthy TV shows including Amazon Original Series airing now such as the multi-Golden Globe award-winning series from Roman Coppola and Jason Schwartzman, Mozart in the Jungle, the multi-Golden Globe award-winning and Emmy award-winning series Transparent, the breakout hit The Man in the High Castle, based on Philip K. Dick’s novel, the hour-long drama Bosch, based on Michael Connelly’s best-selling books, and the comedy created by and starring Rob Delaney and Sharon Horgan, Catastrophe, in addition to favorites like The Sopranos, True Blood and Girls, and popular primetime series including 24, Downton Abbey, Extant, Falling Skies, Grimm, Hannibal, Justified, Orphan Black, Teen Wolf, The Americans, and Under the Dome. Prime members also have access to a collection of kids shows now airing including Amazon Original Series Just Add Magic, Gortimer Gibbon’s Life on Normal Street and the Annecy, Annie and multi-Emmy award-winning Tumble Leaf, as well as popular shows from Nickelodeon and Nick Jr. including SpongeBob SquarePants, Dora the Explorer, Team Umizoomi, and Blue’s Clues. Customers who are not already Prime members can sign up for a free trial at

About Amazon opened on the World Wide Web in July 1995. The company is guided by four principles: customer obsession rather than competitor focus, passion for invention, commitment to operational excellence, and long-term thinking. Customer reviews, 1-Click shopping, personalized recommendations, Prime, Fulfillment by Amazon, AWS, Kindle Direct Publishing, Kindle, Fire tablets, Fire TV, Amazon Echo, and Alexa are some of the products and services pioneered by Amazon. For more information, visit

About ITV Studios Global Entertainment
ITV Studios Global Entertainment (ITVS GE) is one of the world’s leading international TV distribution, home entertainment, publishing, merchandising and licensing businesses. ITVS GE distributes celebrated content across all genres from both its in-house production business, ITV Studios, and in collaboration with leading producers from around the world.

Part of ITV PLC, which includes the UK’s largest commercial broadcaster, ITV Studios Global Entertainment has offices in London, Hong Kong, Los Angeles and Sydney.


Sunday, February 22, 2015

Julianne Moore Wins Lead Actress Oscar for "Still Alice"

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role:

Marion Cotillard in “Two Days, One Night”
Felicity Jones in “The Theory of Everything”
Julianne Moore in “Still Alice” WINNER
Rosamund Pike in “Gone Girl”
Reese Witherspoon in “Wild”

Friday, July 11, 2014

Negromancer News Bits and Bites for July 6 to July 12, 2014 - Updated #10


From MotherJones:  United Nations website announces that Emma Watson of Harry Potter fame is a celebrity goodwill ambassador and the site crashes.


From VarietyColin Farrell in Season 2 of hit HBO drama, "True Detective."


From TheWrap66th (2014) Prime Time EMMY NOMINATIONS! have been announced.  Seth Meyers will host the 66th Primetime Emmy Awards ceremony which will be broadcast live on NBC, Sunday, August 25th, 2014.


From CBSHalle Berry talks about why she did "Extant."


From MSNMoviesChristopher Nolan penned an editorial for the Wall Street Journal.  MSN provides highlights.


From Yahoo:  Some people just cannot wait for December 18, 2015.


From WebProNewsSigourney Weaver reveals plot details for "Ghostbusters 3."  Of course, plot details and release dates keep changing.


From CBRSpinoff: Guillermo del Toro hints at changes in "Pacific Rim 2."


From EW:  New Star Wars Episode VII cast additions:  Brit male Pip Andersen and American female Crystal Clarke.


From SlashFilm:  Video of Kevin Smith talking about his visit to the London set of Star Wars Episode VII.  He cries about the visit - lucky bastard.


From VarietyTransformers: Age of Extinction leads surprisingly bad 4th of July weekend (July 4 tp July 6, 2014).


From YahooRobert De Niro talks about his recent flops and his gay father, Robert De Niro, Sr. to Katie Couric.


From WeGotThisCovered:  Is Mark Wahlberg the new Six Million Dollar Man?


From WeGotThisCovered:  Did Warner Bros. Hire Kevin Smith to write a fake "Batman Vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice" script?


From the ComicBookBin:  Black soul - yes. Black soles - ugh!


From FOX:  Exodus: Gods and Kings, which is due December 2014.


From YouTube:  Gone Girl directed by David Fincher with Ben Affleck and the fab Rosamund PikeTyler Perry plays an attorney. (October 3, 2014)


"Gotham," the Fall 2014 TV series on FOX, has a new Villains trailer.  The series is set in pre-Batman Gotham City.



From TheWrapPaul Apted, the son of director Michael Apted, died of Friday, July 4, 2014.  Apted worked as a sound editor on such films as The Fault in Our Stars and The Wolverine.  Negromancer sends condolences to Apted's family and friends.


From YahooSportsLeBron James returns to the Cleveland Cavaliers.


From Yahoo:  Newspaper headline refers to President Obama with the "N-word," but it's actually for a pro-Obama editorial.


From BehindtheSteelCurtain:  Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver, Antonio Brown, works out with Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson.  Below is a picture the movie star and NFL star that The Rock tweeted from his Twitter account, @TheRock.


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Review: Reach for "Jack Reacher"

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 33 (of 2013) by Leroy Douresseaux

Jack Reacher (2012)
Running time: 130 minutes (2 hours, 10 minutes)
MPAA – PG-13 for violence, language and some drug material
DIRECTOR: Christopher McQuarrie
WRITER: Christopher McQuarrie (based on the novel, One Shot, by Lee Child)
PRODUCERS: Tom Cruise, David Ellison, Dana Goldberg, Don Granger, Gary Levinsohn, Kevin J. Messick, and Paula Wagner
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Caleb Deschanel (D.o.P.)
EDITOR: Kevin Stitt
COMPOSER: Joe Kraemer


Starring: Tom Cruise, Rosamund Pike, Richard Jenkins, David Oyelowo, Werner Herzog, Jai Courtney, Vladimir Sizov, Joseph Sikora, Michael Raymond-James, Alexia Fast, Josh Helman, and Robert Duvall

Jack Reacher is a 2012 drama and thriller film from writer-director Christopher McQuarrie. The film stars Tom Cruise as Jack Reacher, a fictional character that originally appears in a series of novels by author Lee Child (the pen name British author Jim Grant). Jack Reacher the movie is based on the ninth Jack Reacher novel, One Shot (2005). The film follows Reacher as he investigates the case of a military sniper charged in a mass shooting.

Jack Reacher opens in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where an unknown man readies a sniper rifle and shoots five people dead. Former U.S. Army sniper James Barr (Joseph Sikora) is arrested for the crime. Investigating Detective Emerson (David Oyelowo) and District Attorney Alex Rodin (Richard Jenkins) pressure Barr during interrogation to accept a plea deal that would spare him the death penalty. Barr, however, will only say, “Get Jack Reacher.”

Not long afterwards, Jack Reacher (Tom Cruise), a former U.S. Army Military Police Corps officer (a “military cop”), arrives in Pittsburgh, but Rodin and Emerson will not let him see the evidence against Barr. Reacher meets with Helen Rodin (Rosamund Pike), Barr’s attorney and the District Attorney’s daughter. Reacher reluctantly agrees to help Helen, and soon finds himself drawn into a dangerous cat-and-mouse game with unknown forces that do not want the case against Barr investigated.

Jack Reacher is a suspense thriller. Because Reacher is always on the move and because the surprises and twists and turns come so fast and furious, the film is as much an action movie as it is anything else. Jack Reacher’s action movie credibility may be in doubt because the film isn’t jittery and loud like so many action movies. The explosions and gunfire are held to a minimum, so when they do happen, it means more to the narrative. Jack Reacher just makes the most out of its theatrics.

Everyone is a supporting actor and character to Tom Cruise in Jack Reacher, but some make the most of their time. Standouts include David Oyelowo as the dour and menacing Detective Emerson, Jai Courtney as the vicious killer named Charlie, and the always-welcomed Robert Duvall. As the retired Marine and gun range owner, Martin Cash, Duvall brings some much-needed levity and humor to the film. Cash throws Reacher off his game a bit, which makes Reacher vulnerable and more interesting as a character in the movie’s final half-hour or so. That makes it seem as if Reacher really could be killed, in turn, heightening the sense danger.

Jack Reacher is a perfect role for Tom Cruise. Cruise’s obvious aloofness and brusque charm, as well as that innate cold-bloodedness (which he tries to hide), are a near-perfect fit for Jack Reacher. Cruise as Reacher is just fun to watch, and I found that not knowing what crazy, unexpected thing he was going to do or say made Cruise/Reacher fascinating, even enthralling.

I’m surprised that this movie was not a bigger hit than it was. Outside of the Mission: Impossible films, this is one of the better Tom Cruise movies. Jack Reacher shows why Cruise is a true movie star and a rather good actor to boot.

8 of 10

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Friday, September 7, 2012

"Wrath of the Titans" Mostly Tepid

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 71 (of 2012) by Leroy Douresseaux

Wrath of the Titans (2012)
Running time: 99 minutes (1 hour, 39 minutes)
MPAA – PG-13 for intense sequences of fantasy violence and action
DIRECTOR: Jonathan Liebesman
WRITERS: Dan Mazeau and David Leslie Johnson; from a story by Greg Berlanti, David Leslie Johnson and Dan Mazeau (based upon the 1981 screenplay by Beverley Cross)
PRODUCERS: Basil Iwanyk and Polly Johnsen
EDITOR: Martin Walsh
COMPOSER: Javier Navarrete


Starring: Sam Worthington, Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, Edgar Ramirez, Toby Kebbell, Rosamund Pike, Bill Nighy, John Bell, Lily James, Alejandro Naranjo, Sinead Cusack, Spencer Wilding, and Danny Huston

Released earlier this year, Wrath of the Titans is a 2012 American fantasy film. It is a sequel to the 2010 version of Clash of the Titans (itself a remake of the 1981 film of the same name). Perseus, the hero of first film, must free his father, Zeus, from the underworld and also stop an ancient evil from destroying the universe. Louis Leterrier, the director of the 2010 film, acts as one of Wrath of the Titans’ executive producers.

Wrath of the Titans opens a decade after Perseus’ heroic defeat of the monstrous Kraken. Since the death of his wife, Io, Perseus (Sam Worthington), the demigod son of Zeus, is attempting to live a quiet life as a village fisherman and as the sole parent to his 10-year old son, Helius (John Bell). Meanwhile, the power of the gods has been fading, and the walls of the underworld prison, Tartarus, are breaking and threatening to free the imprisoned Titans. Both are caused by humanity’s growing lack of devotion to the gods.

Zeus (Liam Neeson) and Poseidon (Danny Huston) travel to Tartarus to meet their estranged brother, Hades (Ralph Fiennes), hoping that they can reunite and rebuild Tartarus’ walls, but Hades has other plans. He imprisons Zeus and begins to drain him of his divine power, which Hades will use to revive the monstrous Kronos, the father of Zeus, Hades, and Poseidon. As Kronos slowly revives, the Titans are loosed upon Earth.

Now, Perseus leads a small band of brave souls towards the treacherous underworld to rescue his father, Zeus. He must also gather the three great weapons of Zeus, Hades, and Poseidon: Zeus’ Thunderbolt, Hades’ Pitchfork, and Poseidon’s Trident, in order to form the one weapon that can stop Kronos, the Spear of Trium.

I’m not sure what I should say about Wrath of the Titans. I liked some of it, especially the last act, which is mostly action and which mostly held my attention. I strongly disliked the first act, which is mechanical and surprisingly unimaginative. The middle act has some good ideas and moments. Wrath of the Titans lacks the charm of the 1981 film, and in this film, Perseus, lacks the passion he had in the 2010 movie. That is surprising considering that Perseus has something big for which he must fight – a son.

I can say that after seeing this, I am glad that I didn’t go to the trouble of driving to the local cinema and spending money for a ticket to see Wrath of the Titans. I think that it is time to put this franchise to rest.

5 of 10

Friday, September 07, 2012

Monday, March 26, 2012

Review: 2005 Take on "Pride & Prejudice" is a Winning Romance (Happy B'day, Keira Knightley)

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 103 (of 2006) by Leroy Douresseaux

Pride & Prejudice (2005)
Running time: 128 minutes (2 hours, 8 minutes)
MPAA – PG for some mild thematic elements
DIRECTOR: Joe Wright
WRITER: Deborah Moggach (from the novel by Jane Austen)
PRODUCERS: Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, and Paul Webster
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Roman Osin (director of photography)
EDITOR: Paul Tothill
Academy Award nominee


Starring: Keira Knightley, Rosamund Pike, Jena Malone, Talulah Riley, Carey Mulligan, Brenda Blethyn, Simon Woods, Matthew Macfadyen, Tom Hollander, and Donald Sutherland, Kelly Reilly, Tamzin Merchant, and Judi Dench

The subject of this movie review is Pride & Prejudice, a 2005 British romance film. This French-British production is an adaptation of Jane Austen’s novel, Pride and Prejudice, which was first published in 1813. The 2005 movie was the second time the book had been adapted as a feature film, while there have been numerous television adaptations, including a few in non-English speaking countries.

Mrs. Bennet (Brenda Blethyn) has five daughters: the radiantly beautiful Jane (Rosamund Pike, who is, of course, radiantly beautiful), the spirited Elizabeth or Lizzie (Keira Knightley), the feuding Mary (Talulah Riley) and Kitty (Carey Mulligan), and Lydia (Jena Malone), and the girls are well aware of their mother’s fixation on finding them husbands and securing their futures financially. Thus, begins a story of love, misunderstandings and class divisions in England in the 18th century.

The excitement and drama begins when a wealthy bachelor, Mr. Bingley (Simon Woods), takes up residence in a mansion near the Bennets’ home. Serene and beautiful, Jane catches the eye of Mr. Bingley. Meanwhile, Lizzie catches the eye of her distant cousin, Mr. Collins (Tom Hollander), who, as the nearest male relative, will inherit the Bennets’ home upon the death of Mr. Bennet (Donald Sutherland). Lizzie refuses his offer of marriage, with support of her father who dotes on her, but angers her mother.

Mr. Bingley has an even wealthier friend, the snobbish Mr. Darcy (Matthew Macfadyen). There is something between Lizzie and Mr. Darcy, but their many spirited and often quarrelsome encounters are not an encouragement for union. When Mr. Bingley abruptly leaves for London, Lizzie blames Mr. Darcy for contributing to what seemed like a likely marriage between Jane and Bingley. However, a crisis with the youngest daughter Lydia opens Lizzie’s eyes to what Mr. Darcy is really like. The fuss and confusion leaves no one unchanged, and forces each person to examine personal beliefs, but will it bring Mr. Bingley and Jane and Lizzie and Mr. Darcy together?

Working Title Films’ (Bridget Jones’s Diary, Love Actually) production of Pride & Prejudice is the first theatrical film version of Jane Austen’s classic 1813 novel in 65 years (since a 1940 film starring Greer Garson and Laurence Olivier). Director Joe Wright presents Austen’s novel of first impressions and the issues surrounding courtship and marriage among the landed gentry as a comic romance that satires the politics and procedures of engagements while still tugging at our heartstrings. If the film bears more than a striking resemblance to Ang Lee’s 1995 Jane Austen adaptation, Sense and Sensibility, it’s because Emma Thompson, who wrote and starred in that film, reportedly did extensive rewriting of Deborah Moggach’s screenplay for this film.

However, Sense and Sensibility was a somber drama with comic touches, while Pride and Prejudice is thoroughly romantic and comic. There are moments of serious contemplation and ugly class confrontation, but for the most part there’s comedy in the romantic goings-on. Dario Marianelli’s score, highlighted by lush and swirling piano melodies, capture both the mood of sweeping romance and sly comedy. The production values (costume, art direction, photography) juxtaposes the different environments: middle class and upper class, impeccably clean mansions and dusty middle class farmhouses with startling frankness that makes the audience understand how wide the division between classes was. It makes it easier to laugh at how Lizzie keeps missing the obvious about Mr. Darcy and at how Mr. Darcy seems so befuddled and clumsy for all that he shows arrogance and conceit on the surface. We can both laugh at and deeply appreciate Mrs. Bennet’s desperation in obtaining financial security for her daughters in the form of husbands who, if not well-to-do, have solid professions.

The performances are remarkable in that they fit a comedy so very well, although they would seem too light and flimsy were this straight drama. If Keira Knightley initially came across as wrong for the part in a Jane Austen adaptation, she proves that wrong. Her high-spirited, tomboyish persona and droll comic wit (which isn’t obvious unless you really pay attention to her in other movies) bring Lizzie to life as a fully realized, three-dimensional, rich character. Knightley understands the tone director Joe Wright set for his adaptation of Pride & Prejudice, and she meets it in this winning romance.

9 of 10

2006 Academy Awards: 4 nominations: “Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role” (Keira Knightley), “Best Achievement in Art Direction” (Sarah Greenwood-art director and Katie Spencer-set decorator), “Best Achievement in Costume Design” (Jacqueline Durran), and “Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Score” (Dario Marianelli)

2006 BAFTA Awards: 1 win: “Carl Foreman Award for the Most Promising Newcomer” (Joe Wright-director); 5 nominations: “Alexander Korda Award for Best British Film” (Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Paul Webster, Joe Wright, and Deborah Moggach), “Best Costume Design” (Jacqueline Durran), “Best Make Up/Hair” (Fae Hammond), “Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role” (Brenda Blethyn), and “Best Screenplay – Adapted” (Deborah Moggach)

2006 Golden Globes: 2 nominations: “Best Motion Picture - Comedy or Musical” and “Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Comedy or Musical” (Keira Knightley)

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Monday, July 11, 2011

Review: Giamatti, Hoffman Golden in "Barney's Version"

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 58 (of 2011) by Leroy Douresseaux

Barney’s Version (2010)
Running time: 134 minutes; MPAA – R for language and some sexual content
DIRECTOR: Richard J. Lewis
WRITER: Michael Konyves (based upon the novel by Mordecai Richler)
PRODUCER: Robert Lantos
EDITOR: Susan Shipton
COMPOSER: Pasquale Catalano
Academy Award nominee


Starring: Paul Giamatti, Dustin Hoffman, Rosamund Pike, Scott Speedman, Anna Hopkins, Jake Hoffman, Minnie Driver, Bruce Greenwood, Rachelle Lefevre, Thomas Trabacchi, Clé Bennett, Saul Rubinek, Mark Addy, and David Cronenberg, Denys Arcand, and Atom Egoyan

Barney’s Version is a 2010 Canadian film based upon the 1997 novel of the same title by Mordecai Richler. A comedy and drama, Barney’s Version looks at three decades in the life of a picaresque character and his three wives.

Impulsive, irascible, and fearlessly blunt with a foul mouth, Barney Panofsky (Paul Giamatti) is a Jewish Canadian television producer who drinks hard, smokes too many cigars, and is a rabid hockey fan. He owns Totally Unnecessary Productions, which produces a long-running soap opera, “Constable O’Malley of the North.”

At the age of 65, Barney looks back on his life. There is success and wealth, but there are also many mistakes and failures. Underlying his story are three wives: Clara “Chambers” Charnofsky (Rachelle Lefevre), a free-spirit who loves free love (and Barney’s friends); the second wife, Mrs. Panofsky (Minnie Driver), a talkative, self-centered Jewish princess; and Miriam Grant (Rosamund Pike), the love of his life who gives birth to his children. Also part of Barney’s life story is Bernard “Boogie” Moscovitch (Scott Speedman), a drug addict and failed writer who gets Barney in trouble with the law.

Barney’s Version is marked by some good performances, and, in particular, a topnotch lead performance by Paul Giamatti, who won a Golden Globe for his portrayal of Barney Panofsky. Dustin Hoffman, as Barney’s father, Izzy Panofsky, gives one of those robust, fragrant supporting performances that stand out from the other supporting performances. Like many films that make extensive use of flashbacks, however, Barney’s Version ends up looking like an interesting highlight reel rather than a fully developed story that is, in turn, about something or that is built around a solid thematic structure.

I’m not saying that Barney’s Version is not a good movie, but simply that it seems like no more than bits and pieces of a larger story about one of those great fictional characters that grab a hold of our imagination. By the end of Barney’s Version, I thought, “This is good, but there is more. Something is missing.” Still, movie lovers who love character dramas will want to try Barney’s Version.

7 of 10

2011 Academy Awards: 1 nomination: “Best Achievement in Makeup” (Adrien Morot)

2011 Golden Globes: 1 win: “Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy” (Paul Giamatti)

Friday, July 08, 2011


Thursday, March 24, 2011

Production Begins on "Clash of the Titans" Sequel

Production on “Clash of the Titans 2” Underway for Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures

Stars Sam Worthington, Ralph Fiennes and Liam Neeson Once Again Gods at War

BURBANK, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Principal photography has begun on Warner Bros. Pictures’ and Legendary Pictures’ epic action adventure sequel to “Clash of the Titans,” being directed by Jonathan Liebesman (“Battle: Los Angeles”). Returning to star in the film are Sam Worthington (“Avatar”) as Perseus, and Academy Award® nominees Ralph Fiennes (“The English Patient,” the “Harry Potter” films) as Hades and Liam Neeson (“Schindler’s List,” “Unknown”) as Zeus.

A decade after his heroic defeat of the monstrous Kraken, Perseus—the demigod son of Zeus—is attempting to live a quieter life as a village fisherman and the sole parent to his 10-year old son, Helius.

Meanwhile, a struggle for supremacy rages between the gods and the Titans. Dangerously weakened by humanity’s lack of devotion, the gods are losing control of the imprisoned Titans and their ferocious leader, Kronos, father of the long-ruling brothers Zeus, Hades and Poseidon. The triumvirate had overthrown their powerful father long ago, leaving him to rot in the gloomy abyss of Tartarus, a dungeon that lies deep within the cavernous underworld.

Perseus cannot ignore his true calling when Hades, along with Zeus’ godly son, Ares (Edgar Ramírez), switch loyalty and make a deal with Kronos to capture Zeus. The Titans’ strength grows stronger as Zeus’ remaining godly powers are siphoned, and hell is unleashed on earth.

Enlisting the help of the warrior Queen Andromeda (Rosamund Pike), Poseidon’s demigod son, Argenor (Toby Kebbell), and fallen god Hephaestus (Bill Nighy), Perseus bravely embarks on a treacherous quest into the underworld to rescue Zeus, overthrow the Titans and save mankind.

Jonathan Liebesman directs the film from a screenplay by Dan Mazeau & David Leslie Johnson and Steven Knight, story Greg Berlanti & David Leslie Johnson & Dan Mazeau, based on the 2010 hit “Clash of the Titans” and the 1981 film of the same name, written by the late Beverley Cross.

The film is produced by Basil Iwanyk (“The Town”), who also produced the previous “Clash of the Titans,” and Polly Cohen Johnsen (“Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore”). The executive producers are Thomas Tull, Jon Jashni, William Fay, Callum McDougall, Kevin De La Noy and Louis Leterrier.

Joining Worthington, Fiennes and Neeson in the international cast are Danny Huston (“Robin Hood”), reprising his role as Poseidon, god of the sea; Edgar Ramírez (“The Bourne Ultimatum,” TV miniseries “Carlos”) as the traitorous god of war, Ares; Bill Nighy (“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1”) as Hephaestus, whose twisted, lame figure belies his Olympian origins; Toby Kebbell (“Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time”) as Agenor, imprisoned thief and son of Poseidon who joins Perseus on his journey to Tartarus; and Rosamund Pike (“Barney’s Version”) as Andromeda, the princess whose life Perseus once saved, and who now, as a queen, follows Perseus into battle.

The behind-the-scenes team bringing this mythical epic to life includes director of photography Ben Davis (“The Rite,” “Kick Ass”); production designer Charles Wood (“The Italian Job,” “The A-Team”); Academy Award®-winning editor Martin Walsh (“Chicago,” “V for Vendetta”); and costume designer Jany Temime (the “Harry Potter” films). “Clash of the Titans 2” also reunites several talents from the previous film, including Oscar®-nominated visual effects supervisor Nick Davis (“The Dark Knight,”); Oscar®-nominated prosthetics supervisor Conor O’Sullivan (“The Dark Knight,” “Saving Private Ryan”); and Academy Award®-winning special effects and animatronics supervisor Neil Corbould (“Gladiator”). Also on board are Oscar®-nominated makeup designer Paul Engelen (“Frankenstein,” “Robin Hood”) and hair designer Kevin Alexander (“Robin Hood,” “The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian”).

“Clash of the Titans 2” will be filming in studios outside London and will later shoot on location in Surrey, South Wales and in the Spanish Canary Islands on the island of Tenerife. The film is currently scheduled for release in March 2012.

A Warner Bros. Pictures presentation, in association with Legendary Pictures, a Thunder Road Film, “Clash of the Titans 2” is being co-produced by Furia de Titanes II, A.I.E. and COTT Productions and will be distributed in 3D and 2D worldwide by Warner Bros. Entertainment Companies.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

"Doom" is Promise Doomed

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 161 (of 2005) by Leroy Douresseaux

Doom (2005)
Running time: 100 minutes (1 hour, 40 minutes)
MPAA – R for strong violence/gore and language
DIRECTOR: Andrzej Bartkowiak
WRITERS: David Callaham and Wesley Strick; from a story by David Callaham
PRODUCERS: John Wells and Lorenzo di Bonaventura
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Tony Pierce-Roberts
EDITORS: Derek Brechin, Peter Dansie, Chris Lloyd, and Toby Lloyd
Razzie Award nominee


Starring: Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Karl Urban, Rosamund Pike, DeObia Oparei, Ben James, Razaaq Adoti, Richard Brake, Al Weaver, Dexter Fletcher, and Brian Steele

When something goes horrible wrong at the Olduvai Research Station on Mars, causing a Level 5 quarantine, the Rapid Response Tactical Squad, hardened Marines heavily armed with enough firepower to neutralize any kind of enemy (or so they think), head for the red planet. Arriving on Mars via the Ark portal (kind of like a stargate from the film Stargate and the TV series), the Marines, led by Gunnery Sergeant Asher “Sarge” Mahonin (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson), seal off the portal and find the research facility in a state of panic.

The most important scientists that they came to rescue are dead and the one that is still alive, Samantha Grimm (Rosamund Pike), is actually the twin sibling of one of Sarge’s marines, John “Reaper” Grimm (Karl Urban), and Samantha claims not to know what happened to her colleagues. When Sarge and the RRTS begin trekking through the research installation’s countless halls and rooms, they find nightmarish creatures of unknown origin around almost every wall and corner.

Doom is the latest videogame translated to the movie screen, and in this action horror flick, macho clods with little acting talent or ability run around with big guns shooting at big ugly monsters. The film is like a low-rent version of Aliens, with its Space Marines battling the aliens, or Predator, with a covert action team fighting an alien monster in the jungles of Central America. Doom, however, isn’t nearly as entertaining as either of these movies, nor is the quality of the filmmaking in the same league. Doom isn’t even as good as the Resident Evil franchise.

Still, Doom is mildly entertaining, although it is incredible lame – yes, it is so badly made that it is physically handicapped. The writing is atrocious and the acting isn’t worth the effort of coming up with mean, clever things to say. The directing captures that horror movie atmosphere of the boogeyman around the corner. In fact, the monster reveals are quiet good; these creature jump out of the shadows with the flair of the best cinematic ghouls. Some of the attackers are even straight out of a George Romero movie, although I can’t understand why zombies and the living dead were so popular with game developers in the 1990’s.

I guess the film is enjoyable for what it is. Overlook the fact that this film is garbage, and you might enjoy this as a throwaway rental if you’re a guy, but don’t expect your lady friend to sit through this with you – even if she says she really loves you. This is a dog of a movie, not a “good” bad movie, but a “bad” bad movie. Doom is an FPS game, or first person shooter game, and the movie is meant to appeal to the 13-year old boy (or the 13-year old in the adult man) who would love to have a big gun. He can blast away at monsters that in turn explode in gory bursts when the bullets hit, and, of course, he won’t notice that the movie, like the FPS game, is short on story so it can be long on violence.

4 of 10

2006 Razzie Awards: “Worst Actor” (Dwayne Johnson)

Sunday, June 20, 2010

"Die Another Day" Mixes Bond Tradition with Loud Action

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 35 (of 2002) by Leroy Douresseaux

Die Another Day (2002)
Running time: 133 minutes (2 hours, 9 minutes)
MPAA – PG-13 for action violence and sexuality
DIRECTOR: Lee Tamahori
WRITERS: Neal Purvis and Robert Wade
PRODUCERS: Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson
CINEMATOGRAPHER: David Tattersall (director of photography)
EDITORS: Andrew MacRitchie and Christian Wagner
SONG: “Die Another Day” by Madonna-music/lyrics and Mirwais Ahmadzaï-music
Golden Globe nominee


Starring: Pierce Brosnan, Halle Berry, Toby Stephens, Rosamund Pike, Rick Yune, Judi Dench, John Cleese, Michael Madsen, Will Yun Lee, Kenneth Tsang, Samantha Bond, and Madonna (no screen credit)

Die Another Day, Pierce Brosnan’s fourth outing as James Bond, Agent 007, is the twentieth film version of Ian Fleming’s classic secret agent/super spy, and many think that the venerable character is showing his age and signs of wear. The issue is merely one of competition. Over the years stunt coordination and computer technology advanced so much that Bond’s low-fi action looked dated next to bigger and louder explosions of other action heroes, secret agents, and troubleshooters.

By the late Eighties, pumped up action thrillers had run Bond out of town; The Living Daylights and License to Kill were not hits and Bond needed a makeover. Post James Cameron’s True Lies, Brosnan became Bond and his first outing, Goldeneye, exploded out of the gate. It wasn’t very good, being more action movie cum video game than secret agent/spy thriller. Maybe the concept is dated and the character a bit long in the tooth, but the producers can still find away to make an exciting action hit.

Die Another Day is high-octane action movie, and it is better than The World is Not Enough and almost as good as Tomorrow Never Dies, the third and second Brosnan Bond films respectively.

The first half is closer in tone to the old Bond. North Korea captures and tortures Bond for 14 months. After his captors work a deal to free him, his masters at M6 cut him loose because they believe the North Koreans broke him during interrogation. Separated from his future tech arsenal and his agency, Bond has to rely on his wits, his smarts, and his experience. The viewer gets to see just how good Bond is and how dangerous a rogue he can be even without an agency to back him. Brosnan was always convincing as Bond. He could be the suave lover and charming chameleon that he needs to be in order to get into places and into people’s heads. Brosnan could also instantly become the ruthless killing machine that is the mark of an agent with a double “O” license.

Bond also meets a mysterious American, Jinx, played to full sexual tilt by Academy Award winner Halle Berry (Monster’s Ball). Together they pursue the pompous Gustav Graves (Toby Stephens), a wealthy jetsetter with the usual world beating schemes. Graves is actually a very good and charming villain, and he has a dangerous sidekick, Zao (Rick Yune).

Much of the second half of the film is borderline, pure sci-fi, but in the hands of Lee Tamahori (Along Came a Spider), the action is intense and has the wall-to-wall ferocity of anime (Japanese animated films) and mania of a comic book. The script by Neal Purvis and Robert Wade, the screenwriters of The World is Not Enough, is well written and does a good job straddling two film genres – espionage and action. Though the movie runs a bit long, the thrills of the second half are well choreographed and relentless.

Die Another Day has some excellent small parts: John Cleese, in his best outing as Q, Judi Dench as the dour M, and Michael Madsen, always a welcome sight as a tough guy, who should have had a bigger part.

The movie is part secret agent thriller and part loud cartoon. I would like to see more of the former, but, on the whole, it is a very entertaining film and a near perfect film for people who just love loud action movies.

7 of 10

2003 Golden Globes: 1 nomination: “Best Original Song - Motion Picture” (Madonna-music/lyrics and Mirwais Ahmadzaï-music for the song "Die Another Day")
2003 Black Reel Awards: 1 nomination: “Theatrical - Best Supporting Actress” (Halle Berry)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Review: An Education

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 21 (of 2010) by Leroy Douresseaux

An Education (2009)
Running minutes: 100 minutes (1 hour, 40 minutes)
MPAA – PG-13 for mature thematic material involving sexual content, and for smoking
DIRECTOR: Lone Scherfig
WRITER: Nick Hornby (from the memoir by Lynn Barber)
PRODUCERS: Finola Dwyer and Amanda Posey
CINEMATOGRAPHER: John de Borman (D.o.P.)
EDITOR: Barney Pilling
Academy Award nominee


Starring: Carey Mulligan, Peter Sarsgaard, Alfred Molina, Cara Seymour, Dominic Cooper, Rosamund Pike, Olivia Williams, Matthew Beard, and Emma Thompson

An Education is, at the very least, an exceptional coming-of-age film because it is exceptionally well-directed and well-written, and the actors give high-quality performances. However, it is Carey Mulligan’s star-making turn that anchors An Education.

Set in England in 1961, An Education focuses on Jenny Mellor (Carey Mulligan), a bright schoolgirl who is focused on taking and passing the A-levels, the exams that could help her get into Oxford. She meets David Goldman (Peter Sarsgaard), a charming, older Jewish man, and the two begin a relationship that steadily leads to romance. David even manages to charm Jenny’s protective parents, Jack played by Alfred Molina, giving his usually fine performance, and Marjorie (Cara Seymour).

David introduces Jenny to his fast lifestyle and to his friends, Danny (Dominic Cooper) and Danny’s girlfriend, Helen (Rosamund Pike, who is so radiantly beautiful that she steals practically every scene in which she appears). Jenny becomes torn between studying for a place at Oxford and enjoying the more exciting and fun alternative lifestyle that David offers, but then, she must also confront the darker side of David’s freewheeling lifestyle.

In creating Jenny Mellor, Carey Mulligan fashioned the kind of female character that carries a drama all the way to victory. Mulligan convincingly gives Jenny that cheeky arrogance which makes high school age teens believe they know how to live a much better life than any adult they know has ever lived. Jenny is a clever girl, and Mulligan makes sure her smarts shine through every time. This is a rich, multi-layered performance that absorbs everything that An Education is trying to convey to its audience and makes it crystal clear.

Mulligan’s wonderful turn almost eclipses the exceedingly fine performance by the underrated Peter Sarsgaard as David. Sarsgaard deftly keeps David’s secrets close to him, making David act as the perfect foil for Jenny’s haughty smarts, but Sarsgaard also gives David an edge that is somehow too sweet to resist. Sarsgaard’s wonderful contribution and Mulligan’s terrific performance make An Education a coming-of-age story that will work its magic through the ages.

8 of 10

2010 Academy Awards: 3 nominations: “Best Motion Picture of the Year” (Finola Dwyer and Amanda Posey), “Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role” (Carey Mulligan), and “Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published” (Nick Hornby)

2010 BAFTA Awards: 1 win: “Best Leading Actress” (Carey Mulligan); 7 nominations: “Best Costume Design” (Odile Dicks-Mireaux), “Best Director” (Lone Scherfig), “Best Film” (Amanda Posey and Finola Dwyer), “Best Make Up & Hair” (Elizabeth Yianni-Georgiou), “Best Screenplay – Adapted” (Nick Hornby), “Best Supporting Actor” (Alfred Molina), and “Outstanding British Film” (Amanda Posey, Finola Dwyer, Lone Scherfig, and Nick Hornby)

2010 Golden Globes: 1 nominations: “Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama” (Carey Mulligan)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010