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March 21, 2015 7:27 pm  #541

Re: Recently watched movies.

We watched a couple of movies in the last few days...

Our Netflix wasn't working for some reason so we pulled out our director's cut DVD of Oliver Stone's Nixon - (1995) to rewatch one night.

What a cast!  I love A. Hopkins' portrayal of "Tricky Dick".  He didn't have the physical characteristics of RN but by shear acting skill (getting the speech/breathing patterns, mannerisms and body language) he made me believe he was Nixon.  I know that they used a prosthesis for AH to give his nose a more Nixion look but I think it wasn't even necessary really - I would have seen Nixon in the performance anyway I think.  

This is one of my most favourite films - it is so theatrical in its presentation and so well structured.  I love when a director has a vision and executes it with such audacity and determined skill.  Nixon contains some of my favourite moments in film - the extremely creepy scene when Sam Waterston (as CIA director Richard Helms) quotes Yeats among his orchids - (the whole scene is great but the real horror show starts at the 8:50 mark) -

The other is one of the best lines delivered in all film - it comes about the two hours and 16 minutes into the film and is a one on one meeting between E. Howard Hunt (played by Ed Harris) and John Dean (played by David Hyde Pierce).  It takes place on one of the bridges in Washington DC in the dead of the night and still makes me shiver even when I just read the text...

E. Howard Hunt: [To John Dean] John, sooner or later. Sooner, I think, you're gonna learn a lesson that's been learned by everyone who's ever gotten close to Richard Nixon. That he's the darkness reaching out for the darkness.

"The darkness reaching out for the darkness"... WOW!  The reaction shot of DHP's Dean is so masked and yet so understanding it is perfection!  Just a beautifully dramatic scene. 

I can't think of one role in this movie that wasn't played strongly.  James Woods as Halderman, Joan Allen as Rat Nixon, Paul Sorvino as Henry Kissinger, E.G. Marshall as John Mitchell, Madeline Kahn as Martha Mitchell, Brian Bedford as Clyde Tolson, Bob Hoskins as J. Edgar Hoover, Mary Steenburgen as Dick Nixon's mother Hannah, the list could go on and on... they are all great in their roles. 

If you do see it on DVD make sure it is the director's cut edition - anything else is far inferior to this one. I absolutely love Stone's very Shakespearean take on recent historical events and his homage to Orson Well's Citizen Kane in the opening sequence of Nixon!! 


Another movie we saw was Cheerful Weather for the Wedding (2012) comedy drama from the UK starring Felicity Jones among others.  It also had Elizabeth McGovern (of Downton Abbey fame) in a supporting role and Luke Treadaway (who was in The Whisleblower with Ben) who played the love interest to FJ's character. 

It wasn't a great movie (the reviews for it were brutal) but I found it unusual, interesting and the twist in the end left me really intrigued.  Has anyone every seen this one?  I would love to discuss the ending with someone who has thoughts on it.  You can PM me if you like or do it in this thread. 

Last one we saw was The Good Doctor (2011) starring Orlando Bloom.  I am not a LotR fan (I have read the books but the movies aren't my thing) so I am not familiar with OB at all. This is the first starring role I have seen him in (I might have seen him in some minor roles in movies I have seen but I don't recognise him at all).

I liked the movie overall but sometimes Bloom's performance just irratated me (in this movie at least he seemed to talk into his chin in very low tones for most of it) and yet some scenes he did beautifully.  So his performance just seemed all over the map. 

But the actual plot was really, really interesting and kept both our interests throughout.  And I liked that it was very quirky in its moral centre (which is highly unusual for a film of this sort). 

I read the reviews afterward and it seems that most critics thought it was a dark comedy!  Both Dan and I didn't see any "comedy" in this film (dark or otherwise) and I think looking at it in this way kind of explains why the reviews were mediocre at best and horrid for the most part.  Even on a shoestring budget ($6 million) it was an unmitigated disaster - it made less than $6,000 in BO from 2 screens in NA and then was pulled! 

If you are into unusual, quirky psycho-thrillers that are more than kind of creepy then you should check this one out.

Just remember to be able to crank up the volume on the TV clicker whenever Bloom's character appears!  Oh yeah, J.K. Simmons has a small role in it towards the end - he is very good. 



"The only shipping I know is shipping containers."
                                           -Benedict Cumberbatch

March 23, 2015 2:37 am  #542

Re: Recently watched movies.

Dan and I watched Werner Herzog's Cave of Forgotten Dreams last night.  

In case you aren't familiar with the film it is a 2010 documentary which follows Herzog, and a small crew of his, into the nearly inaccessible Chauvet Cave in France to view and record on 3D film the most ancient visual art known to have been created by man.  Without a doubt it's an unforgettable cinematic experience that provides a unique glimpse of the pristine artwork dating back to human hands over 30,000 years ago - almost twice as old as any previous discovery of Paleolithic cave art.  

Even though we stumbled across this film by accident at 1:30 in the morning it was too good of an opportunity to pass up just to get two hours more sleep.

Several years ago we had the amazing experience to be able to visit 2 caves in Southern France (Pech Merle and La Grotte de Rouffignac) as well as the excellent replicate Lascaux II. It was one of the most enriching and profound events of my life seeing those cave painting deep in the underground of the limestone strata of the Dordogne and the Midi-Pyrénées.   

Viewing the movie last night brought the feelings of awe and wonder all back again.  

Herzog was the ideal person to do a film like this. First he has long been fascinated with cave artwork. He is also a perfect mixture, as a director, of an uncompromising artist with penchant for Wagnerian dramatic leitmotifs (which is present in the musical score of this film but also are noticed in his themes as he interviews the scientists who are caretakers of one of France's most treasured sites).   

He is the narrator of this film (as well as writer and director) and is persistent in his deep questioning of the motives for the prehistoric artists as to why they would struggle so to put their pictures up on the cold dark walls of Chauvet.   

As well, he doggedly struggles himself (as a sympathetic gesture to the Paleolithic creators?) to use a film technique he has no natural love for (3-D) to demonstrate the movement of the paintings to help "capture the intentions of the painters". You can see Herzog's philosophical bent taking hold. He uses the term “proto-cinema” to describe their efforts. It is amazing to see him work out these themes and motifs on camera as he proceeds.  

Herzog still believes that 3-D is not suited for general use in cinema, but realised very quickly that it had to be used in this production to capture the wall's subtle bulges and contours which are reflected into the artists works.   

Unfortunately we weren't able to take advantage of the 3-D format (it was broadcast on regular TV) but even that disadvantage didn't entirely mute the beauty of the artwork contained within the film. I think it did help however that we had seen similar works in real life not that long ago. Still I would love to see it in 3-D as he intended.  

After watching the film (and getting to bed at 3 am.) the following morning I looked up a number of reviews on it. Rotten Tomatoes rates it as 96% Fresh (122 Fresh reviews / 5 Rotten ones).

It's hard to pick a favourite out of the many glowing reviews but perhaps this one from Kenneth Turan of The Los Angeles Times is emblematic of most of the reviewers feelings of high praise for this wonderful film - 

And I will repeat Mr. Turan's ending in hearty agreement as I leave you with my highest recommendations for this cinematic wonder -  

“But even if we'll never know what these people were thinking, that doesn't get in the way of the profound feelings viewing these images awakens in us. It's a privilege and a pleasure to be present in a sacred space where the human and the mystical effortlessly intertwine, and we are in Werner Herzog's debt for that great gift.”  


Thank you Werner Herzog!!


"The only shipping I know is shipping containers."
                                           -Benedict Cumberbatch

April 6, 2015 6:19 am  #543

Re: Recently watched movies.

Wow…  belatedly, nice reviews!  I notice you watch a lot of titles I haven't heard of - very 'thoughtful' stuff, talking about types of movies, and great at summarizing.  Heard stories of caves like that, but just vaguely - interesting to imagine all of that.  Haven't even gotten to go in any caves, but would love to.

Speaking of films that entertain but also play with your head a bit…
So I saw the most interesting film the other night - have many of you heard of/seen 'Locke'?  It's basically just a guy driving in a car late at night, and the whole story unfolds through a series of increasingly suspenseful phone calls.  The guy fantastically carrying the whole film is Tom Hardy, although Andrew Scott is one of the callers he talks to! 

I guess it's not a film for everyone, but I found the idea of such a 'closed bottle' scenario where you fill in the mental image of his situation fascinating, and are kept in the dark as you slowly put the pieces together.  Plus his acting (being as you only see him from the torso up) and the arty camera shots mixing up the views of him, the car, blurry lights and highway/traffic, and sense of urgency/movement were really great.  Every time he gets another phone call from one of the multiple people involved in a different scenario, you awkwardly hope and wonder how it's going to turn out for him when the night is over.  Recommend.


We solve crimes, I blog about it, and he forgets his pants.  I wouldn't hold out too much hope!

Just this morning you were all tiny and small and made of clay!

I'm working my way up the greasy pole.  It's… very greasy.  And…  pole-shaped.

April 7, 2015 4:25 am  #544

Re: Recently watched movies.

This morning hubby and I went to see Fast & Furious 7. I wouldn't normally watch this kind of movie; I'm not into cars, street racing, over-the-top action, destruction, mindless violence or half-naked women wriggling around on the screen (my husband is  ). However, I went to school with the director James Wan, so I thought I would give it a chance. I watched it for about the first 1.5 hours before it started to get exhausting and I drifted off for a bit thinking of other things... But I was alert for the ending, which was very moving and I actually found myself shedding a few tears. It must have been a very sad time for the cast and crew, finishing the film after one of the stars, Paul Walker, died in a car accident. They did a great job of making the ending a tribute to the actor and a nice farewell to the character.

So if you're into this kind of movie, I can recommend it as being a cut above the usual.



April 9, 2015 5:25 pm  #545

Re: Recently watched movies.

I am desperate to watch Locke! Tom is marvellous! 

Don't make people into heroes John. Heroes don't exist and if they did I wouldn't be one of them.

April 10, 2015 7:17 am  #546

Re: Recently watched movies.

We saw "Locke" at the movies, and although in the end I had the feeling that something was missing to completely blow me away, I was pretty impressed by Tom Hardy and the fact that the concept of the movie worked as brilliantly as it did. The film was enthralling and engaging from beginning to end, and I agree with Russell, you just couldn't wait to hear and see what would happen next.
And what a great project for an actor. I definitely would love to see Benedict in something like this.  

"Am I the current King of England?

"I see no shame in having an unhealthy obsession with something." - David Tennant
"We did observe." - David Tennant in "Richard II"


April 10, 2015 5:34 pm  #547

Re: Recently watched movies.

SolarSystem wrote:

We saw "Locke" at the movies, and although in the end I had the feeling that something was missing to completely blow me away, I was pretty impressed by Tom Hardy and the fact that the concept of the movie worked as brilliantly as it did. The film was enthralling and engaging from beginning to end, and I agree with Russell, you just couldn't wait to hear and see what would happen next.
And what a great project for an actor. I definitely would love to see Benedict in something like this.  

Oh cool, another viewer with a similar reaction!  Yes, it was totally enthralling!    But I also at the end was kind of 'wait… that's it?!'  Not sure what I expected… more 'conclusion'?  It's not like they could continue it after he arrived and got out of the car, while keeping the theme, but… still.

And yes, Davina, he is!! 


We solve crimes, I blog about it, and he forgets his pants.  I wouldn't hold out too much hope!

Just this morning you were all tiny and small and made of clay!

I'm working my way up the greasy pole.  It's… very greasy.  And…  pole-shaped.

April 13, 2015 4:58 pm  #548

Re: Recently watched movies.

Dan and I saw Promised Land (2012) last night. 

Always been a fan of Matt Damon ever since Good Will Hunting but I had my reservations about watching this one because I thought it would be perhaps a bit shallow with the serious issue of fracking. 

It wasn't until after I read a comment about the movie by none other than BC himself recommending it and saying it was a very interesting film.  Here's the exact quote from the interview...

"I saw Promised Land on the way to New Zealand where I was doing some more work on Smaug, the dragon in The Hobbit, and it was again, another superlative performance, the writing with John Krasinski, and just a great, great drama, setting up those arguments about the future of small-town America, and really, all small communities across the world, the crisis they face about money and income versus environmental concerns and community. It was a peaceful way of tackling it."

Well, needless to say, that intrigued me! 

So we settled down to watch it last night and... Ben was spot on! 

The movie was absolutely delightful and extremely well done.  All the characters were presented as fully rounded human beings, who had both positive and negative aspects about their personalies.  The ideas behind the action were complicated and well thought out.  And the ending was so original.  It was surprising and at the same time it fit really nicely into the characterisation that had been presented throughout. 

Matt Damon was the main star but in a major supporting role was another actor I really love - Frances McDormand.

The movie was a financial flop and although it had some critical supporters it also received a lot of bad press from ultra-conservative quarters (The Heritage Foundation) and some major media outlets.  

To me, it resonates within the same atmosphere as Cumberbatch's own The Fifth Estate.  Both films are hard pills for some quarters of the American public to swallow (they present the idea of a sometimes flawed America). They both ask the public to critically examine issues that are complicated and nuanced - definitely not pop-corn movies.  In both cases there were those who had a vested interest for movies like this ("thinking" films) to fail so they promote the idea that these types of films aren't worth anyone's time to go see and try to undermine the importance of the issues behind the film (by focusing instead on miniscule "faults" that cloud the bigger ideas and significant themes).  

But I am glad I took the time to watch this one!  It was provoking, subtle, thoughtful and entertaining. 

Definitely would recommend this one anytime!!



"The only shipping I know is shipping containers."
                                           -Benedict Cumberbatch

April 25, 2015 2:45 am  #549

Re: Recently watched movies.

I just saw Insurgent with a few of my friends, and I'd say it was a good movie. It didn't follow along to the book exactly as I would have liked it to, for example in the book Tris cannot use a gun because she is overwhelmed with memories of her mother and father and Will, but in the movie she handles the guns with no problem. It would be an amazing movie if it didn't have the book expectations to live up to, but nonetheless it was still very entertaining. The actors were brilliant, I thought they portrayed the characters very well. The soundtrack was also very good, it had exactly the right music at the right times. I thought the movie really showed the emotions Tris was having wonderfully, with her decision to hand herself over to Erudite to the helplessness she was feeling as her friends plunged to their deaths. I think my favorite scene was when she was put under the truth serum in Candor and was forced to say she killed Will, Shailene Woodley gave an incredible performance. I would highly recommend seeing it.

"I'm not a hero. I'm a high functioning sociapath! MERRY CHRISTMAS!"

                     ~Sherlock Holmes, His Last Vow

"Hello, little brother. Enjoying your exile?"

"I've only been gone four minutes!"

           ~Mycroft and Sherlock Holmes, His Last Vow

May 2, 2015 4:48 pm  #550

Re: Recently watched movies.

Yesterday I saw The Theory of Everything. The movie was ok, but I understand why Eddie Redmayne won Oscar for Best Actor. Wow, what a performance. I found the movie worth watching for him alone.

"We'll live on starlight and crime scenes" - wordstrings

Team Hudders!

May 3, 2015 3:41 am  #551

Re: Recently watched movies.

We watched another recommendation from BC a few nights ago.  This time it was the TV movie of The Sinking of the Laconia.  Well, to tell you the truth, we have almost watched it (as of tomorrow night we will finish it up).

Part One was on last week and now we are looking forward to seeing the second half tomorrow night. 

Luckily it was presented in HD which really did it justice. 

I especially loved the claustrophobic camera work aboard the German submarine.  Andrew Buchan (yes that is the same actor who BC said he would like to see play himself in that Vanity Fair video just before the Oscars) was excellent in the role of Junior Third Officer Thomas Mortimer.  But the real surprise for me was Ken Duken as the commander of the U-156.  Wow - he just blew me away!  Another real treat was the presence of Brian Cox - love his acting... always!!  Although sadly he won't be around in Part 2. 

The production values of this TV movie is stunning. 

We are both looking forward to the conclusion tomorrow night.  After reading that this TV film was included on Ben's favourites list I read about it (and the history behind the real life event) and was sorely tempted to order it as a DVD - but it didn't come in a format friendly to my machine (seems it is only in Region 2 DVDs) so I gave up hope of viewing it.  We came across it totally by accident last week while watching the hockey playoffs.  Now we have a copy of it on our DVR machine.  It's a keeper for sure! 

Thanks Ben!!


"The only shipping I know is shipping containers."
                                           -Benedict Cumberbatch

May 3, 2015 4:48 pm  #552

Re: Recently watched movies.

I will try to catch this. Sounds good. I am wondering how it compares to Das Boot, which I adore.

Don't make people into heroes John. Heroes don't exist and if they did I wouldn't be one of them.

May 3, 2015 6:29 pm  #553

Re: Recently watched movies.

Well, Das Boot is one of my favourite movies so I think I can offer some comparisons that might be  relevant. 

I haven't seen Das Boot in a while but it still is heavily imprinted in my memories (I watched it twice in the theatres - once in German with English subtitles and the other time seeing a dubbed version) plus I have seen it several times (subtitled version) on TV. 

The Sinking of the Laconia covers much more territory, as far as its scope is concerned, so it isn't as intense a study of the psychology of war as Das Boot is I think. 

With DB the focus is narrow and extremely personal (mainly just the crew aboard the sub).  It takes the viewer through the traumas and everyday boredom that the crew lived through while serving aboard the sub.  Laconia is much more sweeping in its context and is much more thinly spread to me - still good but just not as intense.  Laconia is telling a tale that is larger in scope and covers a lot of territory - politics, social, personal and historic.  I haven't seen the last half so I can't form any real conclusions (I will add more if upon viewing Part 2 my views change) but I think it is excellent when comparing and contrasting the British POV (both offical and personal) and the German POV (again both the offical political view and the personal).  I really like that about Laconia - it is much wider in scope and covers many aspects of the war. 

But I also love the deeply intimiate POV of Das Boot - you feel like you are a part of the crew and empathise completely with the men who lived in that cramped metal tube.  It shows clearly without a lot of extraneous exposition the wastefulness of war and the damage it does to moral people no matter what system they are products of (some were fanatic facists but many were just ordinary seamen who just wanted to serve and get home). 

In Laconia the sub scenes are claustrophobic and are extremely well done.  But of course on Das Boot you again have everything about the claustrophobic conditions magnifiied because it is so much a focus of the whole story and it is also more than just atmosphere - it is also symbolic of the political system that the crew found themselves a part of.  The closing in around them was not only situational, it was psychological as well and was a manifestation of their own state of mind as well. 

At least to me that seems to be what is a major aspect of the film - others of course may have a very different interpretation of it.

I would say both films have a high level of skill in getting to the heart of their stories - they just have different stories to tell.  But both  seem worthwhile to me - Das Boot has my highest recommendations; The Sinking of the Laconia (from the part I have seen) has it as well.


"The only shipping I know is shipping containers."
                                           -Benedict Cumberbatch

May 5, 2015 6:58 pm  #554

Re: Recently watched movies.

We finally got around to watching all of The Sinking of the Laconia last night. 

We re-watched the first half in HD this time and strangely it made a bit of a difference.  The images were so much clearer and the quality of the film really stood out.  It made me somehow appreciate the performances better. 

But the second half - it was... WOW!  Even though the first half had the action sequence of the torpedoing of the ship, the last part had a lot more tension for both Dan and me.  It was outstanding and Buchan's character really shone in this half.  I can see now why Ben admires the acting of Andrew Buchan so much.  He really brought all the underlying character traits out on display - both his weaknesses and strengths (which were underutilised in the writing of the first half I think).  Some of his quiet scenes with Franka Potente were stunning in their intensity and emotion - but never overtly done at all.  Just very stong in their looks and silence. 

The film also used the last half to drive home (but never in an obvious manner I thought) the politics of the era, but did so in such an interesting and unique way (through the various characters).  Very thoughtful and nuanced.  I really liked that the director, Uwe Janson, kept a firm but delicate hand on the material and never let it get away from him. 

Before seeing part 2 I would have rated this film high but not exceptional - just goes to show you how it is important to see things in their entirety before passing judgement.  Now I would definitely rate it much higher - it is certainly a truly remarkable piece of film/TV. 


"The only shipping I know is shipping containers."
                                           -Benedict Cumberbatch

May 9, 2015 2:46 am  #555

Re: Recently watched movies.

Dan and I watched Inside Llewyn Davis last night and although I wasn't blown away with it initially after mulling it over the next day I decided it was a very superior movie. 

It is one of those films that you have to ponder and let sink in a bit to get the full effect of it.  Also time is needed to recognise all the symbolism going on in the material and the format.  I think as well, if you haven't read (or at least familiarised yourself with) James Joyce's Ulysses, then the movie won't ressonate quite the way it should to you as a viewer.  But even if you haven't, it still is an interesting story about a folk singer in 1960s New York who is reaching a crisis point in his career and his life. 

Like Joyce's book (which itself is structured after Homer's epic poem Odyssey) this film is enveloped around a journey (in the form of a road trip to Chicago) but also the main character is constantly on the move (he is next to homeless since he just bums sleeps on friend's couches whenever possible).

He isn't a likeable character - but he is a character that elicits sympathy (at least to me).  He is self-centred, more than a bit arrogant and too prideful for sure.  But he also cares about the people he has hurt in his life and has a good measure of regret for the distructive actions he becomes involved in.  And he cares about music - folk music in particular.  Cares about being a pure artist, true to his ideals about his art.  He is a very human invention.  Even the woman who treats him the most harsh during the film still can't help but feel for him.  This is one complicated puppy for sure.

Beautifully played by Oscar Isaac, Llewyn Davis sticks to you like a burdock that clings to you sock after a walk in the woods.  It's hard to shake him from your thoughts and finally you have to just give in and like him.   

And then there's the music.  I have a strong distaste for musicals in film - in fact I would have to say I actually hate that genre of film for the most part.  But this one is different - it has lots of singing in it but it isn't a musical.  It's a film about a musician and music is his life so the songs are intergrated into the story - they aren't THE story.  Which pleases me to no end.  And folk music is something that is near and dear to my hubby's heart so I have learned to appreciate it muchly.

The film is Isaac's for sure but all the other supporting actors are equally strong and perfect for their roles -
Carey Mulligan is luminous as Jean, Justin Timberlake is great as Jean's partner, the slick professional Jim.  Star Trek: Voyager's Ethan Phillips is wonderful as the professorial Mitch Gorfein and I would be remiss if I didn't mention the hilariously scary cameo by John Goodman as well. 

The Coen brothers are the auteurs behind this film and to be honest their record is hit and miss with me.  I love, love, love Fargo, The Big Lebowski and Oh Brother, Where Art Thou? but wasn't impressed with Raising Arizona or No Country for Old Men.  But this one reminds me of Fargo - just a gem of a little movie that is perfect in every way - when you give it time to settle into your consciousness.

Highly recommended but don't expect a lot of action - unless you count chasing a giner cat all over NY high adventure!  LOL!


"The only shipping I know is shipping containers."
                                           -Benedict Cumberbatch

May 13, 2015 2:13 pm  #556

Re: Recently watched movies.

Good review, Val.  I remember when the movie came out, and seeing the ads for it, it made me think of Once because of the folk music.  I never got a chance to see it, but it sounds worth watching someday.

I saw Woman in Gold yesterday.  I really liked it.  It tells the true story of Maria Altmann, who was the niece of the woman in Klimt's Portait of Adele Bloch-Bauer.  It was stolen from her family by the Nazis, along with other works, and the story of the film alternates between the lates 1990s when Maria (Helen Mirren) and a lawyer Randy Schoenberg (Ryan Reynolds) try to get the painting back for her, and when she is a young woman in Austria as the Nazis arrive.  The younger version of her is played by Tatiana Maslany, who has become famous for her roles on Orphan Black.  Other than the story, Tatiana was definitely one of the draws to the film for me, and her performance was great. She plays in the flashback scenes, so I wasn't sure how much time would be spent on her, but she had some quite lengthy and difficult scenes (speaking German almost exclusively!), and she did a great job.  The scenes from the past were some of the most poignant, and I am not ashamed to admit that I cried a few times.

Since this is based on a true story, there are some slight differences in details of the story that I read about, but the story is still essentially the same, and I think it was told well.  I would recommend it, for both the story and the performances.

Last edited by Yitzock (May 14, 2015 1:43 pm)

Clueing for looks.

May 14, 2015 12:04 am  #557

Re: Recently watched movies.

Thanks for your kind comment about my review. 

Still haven't had a chance to see Woman in Gold but I hope we can see it soon. 

Both Dan and I have a real passion for Klimt.  We travelled to Vienna a couple of years ago and loved seeing the collection of Klimt in Österreichische Galerie Belvedere (including The Kiss and Judith among many others).  Then we were in Nagasaki Japan two years ago and by chance just wandering around the waterfront. we came across an art exhibit (in the glorious glass concoction of the Nagasaki Prefectural Art Museum) centering around Klimt's Life is a Strugggle/The Golden Knight, which also included some of his lesser known works (as well as other Sucessionist art). It was such a delightfully unexpected treat!   

I did follow the story of the Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer with great interest when it was in the news. 

It certainly seemed like a natural story for a movie to be sure!

I will look forward to the performance of Tatiana Maslany - although I has never seen the TV show you mentioned so I am not familiar with her work.

Thanks for the info on her role in the movie.


"The only shipping I know is shipping containers."
                                           -Benedict Cumberbatch

May 15, 2015 11:58 am  #558

Re: Recently watched movies.

I adore Klimt's work! Great reviews Val! And more film to add to my must watch list. I finally managed to watch The Usual Suspects the other day. Really liked this movie. I am a big Spacey fan anyway and Gabriel Byrne is just great.  Loved pretty much everything about the film. Clever, brilliantly acted, well-written, great camera work, good use of music etc. Well worth watching if you have never done so.

Don't make people into heroes John. Heroes don't exist and if they did I wouldn't be one of them.

May 15, 2015 3:52 pm  #559

Re: Recently watched movies.

Thanks Davina.  The Usual Suspects is one of my fav movies too.  I'll have to watch it again sometime. 

Dan and I found a wonderful film to watch last night - Copenhagen.  It is an American-Canadian production made for a pittance and completed in only 12 days.  This is the first film for Canadian director Mark Raso and I can't wait to see more from him as a result.

I am going to confess - I wasn't enthusiastic at all about watching this movie from the description on Netflix.  It was only because Dan insisted that we give it a try and I aquiesced because he had also agreed that we re-watch Star Trek into Darkness as a result of me agreeing on to watch Copenhagen (he doesn't like rewatching movies 3 or 4 times). 

But, boy oh boy am I glad I did watch it!  One of the best movies I have seen in a long time!  Just knocked me over.  Basically it is a story of a young, bitter American man's journey to find the grandfather in Denmark that he had never met to deliver a letter (written in Danish).  The letter was written by William's dad to his own father but never posted.  Eventually William recruits the aid of a teenage Danish girl Effy to translate for him and she takes an enthusiastic interest in helping William find his grandfather. 

But it is so much more.  Effy is intelligent, resourceful, and definitely wiser than William, but not in the usual precious, adult put-down, precocious "teen way" from mediocre TV shows and films that we so often see.  She is mysterious and quiet (not sulky), she is worldly and yet impulsively naive and trusting.  She is only 14 but a few days away from the age of majority in Denmark, so acutely aware of the adult world and all its implications.

William is a very, very complex character.  He is a total jerk - absolutely someone who you would more than willingly love to hate.  But even still, he has this quality of woundedness that seeps through the rage and snark.  He isn't a bad person  - he just can't help himself to act like a complete asshole almost without fail.  But Effy sees something in him that isn't present on the surface... so we give him a little slack and wait to see what will develop.  

And develop it does - at least we understand, as the movie progresses, why William is so angry at the world and we see how he has the ability to shift his anger away from the world at general and focus on who exactly he should be upset with (and more importantly who he shouldn't be so rude to).  

The movie doesn't offer any pat answers.  Not by a long shot.  It is too much like real life to do that and real life is exceedingly complicated.  But it does give us a hope to enjoy.  And a sense that things will be better for the characters in the long run.  It never shys away from some very touchy subjects (lust, pedophilia, controlling personalities, infidelity, child abandonment) but it does it all with a very adroit manner - never being heavy-handed or preachy.  It doesn't judge - it just presents and observes the consequences.  

The photography was exceptional - many scenes were like a work of art. The one in the museum (described in detail in a review I will post later in this comment) was as beautiful as the reviewer describes.  But there were so many more gorgeous scenes - one exceptional one for me was when the two main actors (Gethin Anthony and Frederikke Dahl Hansen) are in his hotel room on the bed - the wall is a dark brownish/grey and Hansen is so pale, wearing a super-saturated pair of bright green jeans... she looks so clear and other worldly and the surrounding light is so lovingly embracing her face.  It isn't sexual/sensual at all but it is stunning.

Here is a review from Roger that says everything about this movie (only much more skillfully than I am able to do here) -

This film is sooooo worthwhile to see.  Highly, highly recommend it, especially if you like independent movies that will intrigue you to the core.  Definitely THE best movie I have seen in 2015.

Oh, and BTW, both of us really enjoyed seeing STiD again too!!



"The only shipping I know is shipping containers."
                                           -Benedict Cumberbatch

May 19, 2015 4:36 pm  #560

Re: Recently watched movies.

Dan and I finally went to see Woman in Gold yesterday.  We both really enjoyed it from many perspectives. 

First, it was like revisiting Vienna - glorious memories!  The on location photography was stunning.  We had fun occasionally whispering "That's where we were!".  It was like being back in that lovely city!!

What a contrast to the cityscapes of LA (been there too and had a wonderful time but it can't compare to Vienna for architecture and beauty). 

Next, Helen Mirren's perfect portrayal of Maria.  Just sublime.  She was feisty but also defeated at times.  Calm and determined but overcome with fearful memories as well.  Everything about her character was shifting constantly in the movie and yet it remained constant throughout - I know it contradicts but her character was full of contradictions. 

Also all the scenes in the past (war time), they were so well done.  The lighting, the costumes, all the actors (including Yitzock - that perfect performance by the actress you mentioned Tatiana) seemed so perfectly suited for their roles.  Tatiana was a complete doppleganger for a younger Helen Mirren.

Ryan Reynolds - probably the weakest of the lead actors.  I was really disappointed in his performance in the first half of the movie but he did kick it up a notch during the last half so it did improve things.  Still he was almost like cardboard compared to the rest. 

Daniel Brühl - oh my!  His performance just confirmed all my feelings of admiration for his skills as an actor.  He was the reason I that I loved Rush - a movie about racing cars (something which I detest thoroughly).  And he was my motivation initially for going to see The Fifth Estate (the movie in which BC's performance completely blew me away and I became totally besotted with Ben Cumberbatch!!).  Brühl's role was definitely supporting but still powerful enough to blind when anywhere in the vicinity of Reynolds.

The story was interesting (and yes, I cried in a couple of places too) - just the type of movie both of us love - based on true historical events, emotional and filled with other times and places but also layered with so much humanity it can't help but capture your heart and mind.  It wasn't as intense as The Imitation Game but it was a close relative of it as far as I am concerned.  There were many parallels  (both in content and form) IMO.

And of course lastly - the painting!  Klimt... to see a film centred around his glorious artwork was so special.  I'm glad that the portrait of Adele ended up on public display, but a part of me grieves that circumstances dictated that it couldn't remain in the Belvedere.  If only things (and some very recalcitrant people) had been different maybe it's rightful owner would have felt more inclined to let it remain in Austria.

Best funny line in the movie -   
Schoenberg: I am going to Austria.
ticket agent: Austria!  My kids always wanted to go there - they love kangaroos!


Last edited by Ah-chie (May 19, 2015 4:37 pm)

"The only shipping I know is shipping containers."
                                           -Benedict Cumberbatch

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