Posts Tagged ‘ Jennifer Lawrence ’

Film Review: Serena

serena

Wrapping in 2012 Serena has sat on a shelf until now, and maybe it was better that way. Director Susanne Bier’s disjointed anti-romance starring Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper may be highly anticipated but doesn’t seem to capture its audience quite as hoped.

The melodrama is set in America in the 1930s and tells the story of logging baron George Pemberton (Bradley Cooper). When Pemberton’s timber empire begins to crumble he leaves the beauty of the North Carolina Mountains to seek help from big city bankers. While sipping cocktails he spots Serena Shaw (Jennifer Lawrence) riding on the back of a white stallion, the wind in her hair and he instantly falls in love.

After a short and passionate courtship, they marry and George returns home to his trees with his beautiful bride in tow. His colleagues aren’t very welcoming but that doesn’t deter the outdoorsy and very capable Serena to soon take over. Continue reading

Oscars 2014: The Verdict

This Sunday marks the most prestigious night in the Hollywood calendar; the 86th Annual Academy Awards. Now many people are chiming in with their guesses for the big prizes however I have found myself conflicted on a number of categories with who I think will win and who I want win and so I have decided to acknowledge both. You can find a full list of those nominated here . Now not to ramble on like so many of the speeches this Sunday will.

Best Actor

ImageThis years Best Actor category is the most stacked category of the year. In my opinion any one of the five men nominated put in better performances than any and of the nominees from last year’s awards, Daniel Day Lewis included. We have been treated to five top class and diverse performances from five of the best actors working today. A lot of people have picked Mattew McConaughey as their pick for the winner which is perfectly understandable. In my opinion the best actor over the last 12 months is without a shred of doubt is McConaughey. Not only in Dallas Buyers Club but he also gave Academy Award nomination worthy performances in Mud and The Wolf Of Wall Street, not to mention his haunting stint on True Detective. However Best Actor is awarded to the best single performance of the year not the best Actor of the year overall. Chiwetel Ejiofor delivered that for me. 12 Years A Slave was a completely different animal of a movie which brought its cast to places rarely explored in Hollywood cinema. Ejiofor plays the protagonist with a combination of power and weakness that has stayed with me for months now. Another factor towards my favoritism of Ejiofor is that I feel this will be the best performance of his life while McConaughey has had several stunning performances, which is a testament to the man’s ridiculous talent. Continue reading

Silver Linings Playbook…

15A, general release, 122 minutes.

Director: David O’Russell

Stars: Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, Jacki Weaver.

Director of 2010s Oscar winning The Fighter which told the story of “Irish” boxer Mickey Ward and the brother who helped train him before going pro in the in the mid 1980s David O Russell is back only this time he has something a little different to offer. Having always been what one would refer to as an eclectic filmmaker this hardly comes as a surprise after all he is the same man who gave us Three Kings and I Heart Huckabees. This time around instead of focusing on the gritty true story of a working class hero he has something altogether more cerebral, uplifting and witty to offer eager audiences in the form of Silver Linings Playbook which is based on acclaimed novelist Matthew Quick’s book of the same name.

Despite being a much easier watch than The Fighter it is important to note that Silver Linings Playbook does in fact have its darker moments. When we first meet Pat Solitano (Cooper) he is dodging his medication in a Philadelphia mental institution. Naturally, it’s not long before we find out how he got there. Turns out Pat has quite the temper. Not only that but the doctors treating Pat have decided he is suffering from bi-polar disorder. All of this was originally discovered when Pat, a former high school teacher, returned home from work one day to find his beloved wife Nikki indulging in a shower with another man. As you can imagine Pat was not best pleased and proceeded to beat the guy half to death, and has been locked up ever since.

Refusing to give up on her troubled son is Pats saint-like mother Dolores (Weaver) who fights relentlessly (as only a mammy can) to persuade doctors to let him come home after eight months of incarceration. Eventually she manages to do so and Pat who is still avoiding his medication, is still dangerously unstable, and still cannot manage to get along with his equally obsessive and gambling addicted father Pat Senior (De Niro) returns to his family home. It is here that Pat becomes manically optimistic and convinces himself that his estranged wife Nikki will have no problem taking him back if he only works hard enough.

Pat as he himself puts it does not “have a filter.” So when he talks he does so with purpose and just what is his purpose? Why to tell it as it is of course. While this is a joy to watch and I often find myself envying his rather um refreshing honesty others who have to deal with Pat clearly do not feel the same way. However, when he is introduced to Tiffany (Lawrence) the younger sister of his best friend Ronnie’s wife it’s clear from the very start that he has finally met his match. Tiffany, you see has problems of her own: her husband has recently been killed in a horrific car crash a tragedy which has left her fragile and ever so slightly erratic. She also has as Pat so kindly informs her “poor social skills” which is true in fact they are just about as poor as his own.

It’s not long before Pat finds out that Ronnie and his wife Victoria (Julia Stiles – nice to see her back) still see Nikki on a regular basis. Knowing that he has very few people he can ask this favour of Pat soon asks Tiffany if she will deliver a love letter to Nikki on his behalf. She agrees but under one condition, Pat must train with her to enter a ballroom dancing competition and the rest as they say is history folks, well… sort of!

As you would expect it all becomes a little soppy in the last half hour but do not write this one off as a romantic comedy, it is way too good for that. This is a beautiful, smart, grounded and well put together film. Perhaps most impressive is the way Russell manages to mix so well the light with the dark. He does not, like so many others, shy away from the issue that is mental health. Instead he portrays characters who are complex and at times scarily relatable. Cooper, who I was worried for after his part in The Hangover 2 and Limitless is absolutely brilliant in this and it’s just great to finally see Robert De Niro taking on a role that is worthy of his talents – I cannot tell you how sick I was getting of Jack Byrne’s, honestly they should stopped after the first Meet The Parents. When it comes to Lawrence I’m sure you already know what I’m going to say in fact to sum up her performance all you need is one word and that is, sublime. In years to come I think we’ll look at Lawrence’s career and compare her to Hollywood’s finest leading lady; Meryl Streep.

After winning The Audience Award at this years Toronto Film Festival critics everywhere are saying Silver Linings Playbook will surely be in line for an Oscar with certain Oscar “locks” predicted including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Supporting Actor and Actress and Best Adapted Screenplay so why not go take in a must see tonight?

Kerrie Mitchell.

The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games, initially a novel written by American writer Suzanne Collins was first published in 2008. The Movie, released March 23rd of this year is co-produced by Collins herself, and voiced through sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) from District 12.
Hunger Games is set in a post-apocalyptic world in the country of Panem in North America. The Capitol, an extravagant abyss of horrendous fashion and titanic architecture, holds absolute power over twelve surrounding districts. The Hunger Games are an annual event in which a boy and a girl aged between twelve and eighteen are selected at random to compete to the death. The games are televised, Big Brother style.
Collins took her inspiration from hopping channels on TV, observing competitive reality TV shows and the Iraq invasion, imagining it as it ‘began to blur in this very unsettling way’.
The reviews have been nothing short of glittering. The New York Times’ John Greene thought it was ‘brilliantly plotted and perfectly paced’. Stephen King for Entertainment Weekly compared it to ‘shoot-it-if-it-moves videogames…you know it’s not real’. Not surprising then that since opening it has gathered a rather tasty $152.5 million already in the States.
The movie is sad, horrific, happy, shocking…an all-rounder really.
It’s the cast that finishes off the rather horrifying experience of The Hunger Games, Stanley Tucci adds the comedic splash whilst Elizabeth Banks ensures that we’re creeped out just enough throughout.
N.B. You most likely will find yourself in tears at least once throughout this film…