Category Archives: Biography

AT ETERNITY’S GATE (2019): The Things I Liked…

At Eternity's Gate (2018), Willem Dafoe, CBS Films
At Eternity’s Gate (2018), Willem Dafoe, CBS Films

There’s plenty of beauty in director Julian Schnabel’s At Eternity’s Gate, a biography / drama about highly celebrated artist Vincent Van Gogh. The beauty lies first and foremost in the stunning cinematography, but also in the dialogue, editing and musical score.

As a big fan of colour and light, there’s certainly plenty of it to take in and enjoy  in Schabel’s movie; whether it’s the scenes in nature that Willem Dafoe’s Van Gogh is mesmerised by, or the beautiful blue of the jacket on the artist’s back.

Thanks to Schabel’s great execution, I enjoyed At Eternity’s Gate in its entirety. Even the heartbreaking moments that highlighted the truth of just how challenging Van Gogh’s experience of life must have been. The moments of suffering he endured made me sad and simultaneously grateful that he, at the very least had one of the most loving brothers anyone could ever wish for.

So engaging and immersive is the viewing experience of At Eternity’s Gate that it felt as though I was often there with Van Gogh; whether running with him through the beautiful vistas, laying down to take in the beauty of the sky and surrounding nature or even during his most tormented periods. Periods when there was next to zero colour in his days.

Watch At Eternity’s Gate because you appreciate visual art. Watch it to learn some truths about Van Gogh and for the mesmerising footage of an artist at work. By the very end, you may even be inspired to take  a trip to Amsterdam for the  Van Gogh Museum; or perhaps pick up some paint and brushes.

Time for me to look up Schnabel’s other films.

At Eternity’s Gate also stars Rupert Friend, Oscar Isaac, Mads Mikkelsen, Mathieu Amalric, Niels Arestrup…

Happy Film Loving 

G

BOY ERASED (2018): The Thing I Liked…

Boy Erased (2018), Nicole Kidman, Lucas Hedges
Boy Erased (2018), Nicole Kidman, Lucas Hedges

Boy Erased is a biographical drama based on a specific time in the life of Garrard Conley, a Baptist preacher’s son who as a teenager was forced to take part in a church-supported gay conversion program. A disturbing and damaging practice that I’m sadly unsurprised to learn still continues today. 

Besides standing out for being a heartbreaking true story that’s well acted and directed, Lucas Hedges, Nicole Kidman, Russell Crowe and Joel Edgerton’s latest movie features a number of scenes that I won’t soon forget. 

My very favourite one is a scene so moving that it made me realise I don’t actually recall the last time I wanted a person’s all important phone call to be answered so desperately. 

My second favourite scene takes place just before the one with the phone phone call. It’s a moment that had me hoping that every parent with a strong willed child recognises the value of their child’s will. Especially when the child chooses to question what appears as nonsense – at the most crucial time, regardless of who may be spewing it.

Boy Erased definitely has a number of unfortunate things that happen in this story; meaning you really won’t be laughing much, if at all. Still, I did find the experience worthwhile for the insight into what can occur at gay conversion camps and for the aforementioned well executed and memorable scenes which take place towards the end.

Watch it if it intrigues you enough and also because it’s more hopeful than you may think.

Happy Film Loving

G

TOLKIEN (2019): New Trailer From Nicholas Hoult, Lily Collins, Mimi Keene…

Tolkien (2019), Nicholas Hoult
Tolkien (2019), Nicholas Hoult

Tolkien is the new biography / drama about J. R.R. Tolkien, author of The Lord Of The Rings and The Hobbit.

Starring Nicholas Hoult, Lily Collins and Mimi Keene; director Dome Karukoski’s film will explore the formative years of the orphaned author as he finds friendship, love and artistic inspiration among fellow outcasts at school…

On account of fantasy not being my favourite genre, though I am quite curious about this Tolkien’s story, I’m more excited for big fans of the The Lord Of The Rings and The Hobbit movies.

I kind of just want to find out if I react to Tolkien the same way I did to The Lord Of The Rings movies.

Tolkien Release Dates: May 3rd, 2019 (UK); May 10th, 2019 (US)…

Happy Film Loving

G

BEAUTIFUL BOY (2018): The Thing I Liked…

Beautiful Boy (2018), Timothée Chalamet, Maura Tierney
Beautiful Boy (2018), Timothée Chalamet, Maura Tierney

At the centre of Beautiful Boy is a father’s struggle as he tries to help his drug addicted son turn his life around. Starring Steve Carell, Timothée Chalamet and Maura Tierney, this one is a story as heartbreaking and inspiring as everyone said.

I wanted to see director Felix Van Groeningen’s Beautiful Boy because of my curiosity about the experience of a parent whose child is battling addiction. Another motivation was a desire to witness Carell deliver yet another notable dramatic performance, which he does, of course. Then there’s Chalamet. It really was about time that I understood the reason behind all the hype concerning Chalamet’s acting skills. I understand the hype and I have zero objections.

Besides being fifteen to twenty minutes longer than is preferable, Beautiful Boy is well told and moving story. If I had to pick a favourite moment, I enjoyed the moment at the airport that conveyed the strong bond between father and son. The scene that moved me most however is the one with the vehicular pursuit near the family home. It’s a great moment that really brought to the fore the considerable suffering experienced by family members outside of the father / son relationship, one family member in particular.

Watch Beautiful Boy for the insight and a reminder of what a truly huge undertaking parenthood truly is. Praises be to all the great parents, who remain great especially when their children mess up. 

Happy Film Loving 

G

EXTREMELY WICKED, SHOCKINGLY EVIL AND VILE (2019): New Trailer From Zac Efron, Lily Collins, Angela Sarafyan, John Malkovich…

Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile (2019), Zac Efron, Lily Collins

Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile is a new Joe Berlinger directed biography / crime / thriller that chronicles the crimes of American serial killer Ted Bundy.

Starring Zac Efron, Lily Collins, Angela Sarafyan and John Malkovich, the story of Extremely Wicked is told from the perspective of Bundy’s longtime girlfriend, Elizabeth Kloepfer…

I want to believe I’ll be more impressed with the finished film than I currently am with the music choice and edit of this trailer, not that it’s terrible.

I also haven’t yet figured out whether releasing this trailer around the same time as the Netflix Ted Bundy documentary is a good idea. Either way, I want Efron to do well in this role.

Kaya Scodelario, Haley Joel Osment, Jeffrey Donovan and Jim Parsons also star.

Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile Release Dates…

Happy Film Loving

G

BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY (2018): The Things I Liked…

Bohemian Rhapsody(2018), Rami Malek
Bohemian Rhapsody(2018), Rami Malek

Directed by Bryan Singer and starring Rami Malek as late Queen frontman Freddie Mercury, Bohemian Rhapsody is a movie I really enjoyed. I’m certain that the ‘behind the scenes access’ it felt like the film was providing is a big part of the reason why.

Prior to watching, I didn’t quite know how moving and tragic Mercury’s story was. Now considering all the highs and lows in his life, it was just perfection that 1985’s dual-venue benefit concert, Live Aid, happened the way it did and that Queen were there to deliver their forever legendary performance.

There’s no doubt in my mind that Malek is well-cast especially in terms of his acting talent. Nevertheless, it would have been super if facially he looked a bit more like Mercury. Especially since the rest of Queen seemed to resemble their real life counterparts quite a bit. This is basically the only complaint (if one can call it that) that I have about Singer’s movie. 

Overall, I had a great time watching the brotherhood between the band members, adored Freddie’s wit and charm, especially liked the footage of the band’s time in the studio and during the very important negotiation before the song Bohemian Rhapsody was released. There’s also the moments of true and beautiful friendship that may stand out for you; they certainly did for me.

I say, watch Bohemian Rhapsody for all the reasons including the great music. Music I enjoyed so much that I found myself wishing that I’d been there on that special day at London, England’s Wembley Arena on July 13th, 1985.

Happy Film Loving 

G

VICE (2018): The Things I Liked…

Vice (2018), Christian Bale
Vice (2018), Christian Bale

Vice, writer /director Adam McKay’s biography of Dick Cheney (Christian Bale), the most powerful Vice President in history is a movie I both enjoyed and did not enjoy.

The parts I found least engaging were the moments that explained the ins and outs of the White House and / or American politics during Cheney’s time as VP. It’s quite unfortunate because I’d actually hoped that Vice would be a movie that caught me up on some of America’s political history. It turns out that the way McKay’s story is told just didn’t hold my attention the way I’d hoped it would. 

The parts that did have me most engaged were the moments that revealed Cheney’s character and emotional journey. Especially as he grew into a successful man. To put it another way, I liked the parts that revealed Cheney’s heart, the character study rather than the political details of his operations post 9/11.

Where his wife Lynn Cheney (Amy Adams) is concerned, even though I may not agree with much of what she stands for, it was great to see a strong, confident woman speaking up for herself and taking charge of her destiny. 

In addition to the great performances by Bale, Adams, Steve Carell, and Sam Rockwell, I also want to congratulate the makeup and prosthetics team for a job well done. I was most impressed by the transformation of Rockwell into George W. Bush.

As for the all important question of whether Vice is worth your time… if politics, American politics in particular is especially interesting to you, perhaps give it a go. I can’t guarantee that you’ll like the way McKay chose to tell this tory but you may enjoy the content. I myself probably would have stopped watching Vice long before the end if I wasn’t such a big fan of Bale and Adams.  

Watch it if you’re so curious.

Happy Film Loving 

G

RED JOAN (2019): New Trailer From Judi Dench, Sophie Cookson, Tom Hughes…

Red Joan (2019), Judi Dench
Red Joan (2019), Judi Dench

Judi Dench, Sophie Cookson and Tom Hughes are the stars of Red Joan, a Trevor Nunn directed biography / thriller about the KGB’s longest-serving British spy…

I’m watching because Dench and Cookson are great, I very much want to hear Joan’s justifications and… interrogations are usually fun to watch.

Melita Stedman Norwood is the real name of the spy whose story Red Joan is based on.

Stephen Campbell Moore, Kevin Fuller, Freddie Gaminara, Stephen Boxer and Paul Kerry also star.

Red Joan Release Dates: April 19th, 2019 (UK)…

Happy Film Loving

G