Osage County

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August-Osage-CountyThis film should come with a warning, stating “if you feel slightly depressed then do not watch this film” or maybe? This film might cheer you up because it may make you realise that life isn’t that bad for you after all. This isn’t probably the best way to start off this review because despite the depressive and dark to this film it is probably the best film in terms of performances 2013 and 2014. I think this should be up there with 12 years a slave, Gravity and American hustle. This is coming from the converted as I had no real interest in seeing the film beforehand. The trailer really didn’t reach out to me and although I think Meryl Streep is an amazing actress, I have never really been into her films. I think she is definitely up there with the likes of Bette Davis and Catherine Hepburn, you don’t get 18 Oscar nominations for being an amateur.

The film is based around a very dysfunctional family in Osage County with Meryl Streeps character being the most dysfunctional and head. There is no doubt that she is in charge and everyone knows it. A funny incident came at dinner when she remarked that the men had taken their suit jackets off, they soon sheepishly followed orders and put them back on. The family are brought together by tragedy, which leads to an uncomfortable stay at mum’s house. Each member has their own issues, which all goes back to the way their mum behaves and how they were brought up. This leads to a lot of arguments, truth telling and uncomfortable/ shocking revelations.

The three daughters barely have a relationship and there is plenty of resentment, although deep down there is love for one another. Julia Roberts is the strong willed sister who takes charge, doesn’t mince her words and is struggling to keep her marriage together. This is the future head of the family and even more mum has to take note. This being shown in the hilarious “fish scene”. Julia Roberts shows real emotion in this film and I think this is one of her best ever performances. The anger really hits you and the sad realisation at the end really makes you sad.

All three daughters are different, Juliet Lewis plays the tarty sister with a flash boyfriend who is trying to find love, but never finds the right man.she is desperate to gain recognition and love from her mum, but always gets pushed aside. You can really feel the pain as each slight from her mum meets her every aspiration. Another great performance!
Jullianne Nicholson plays the daughter who stayed in Osage, the dependable one who will never find a man. The one that is always there when things go wrong, but is seen as the weak one. She does find love, but unfortunately the complications are beyond any realm we could imagine. She dreams of finally getting away and feels bitter at being left behind by her other sisters.

All the characters have their own woes and weaknesses which leads to a very interesting dinner table. You feel like you are sitting there yourself as you get drawn into the conversations, that can be vicious, funny, sad and brutal. You are the quiet one observing and taking in what is happening, having to control your laughter at times because it might be deemed to be inappropriate.

This is a must see film with so many great performances! It’s a real insight to human nature and the end is given to you to decide.

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The Wolf of Wall Street

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Brilliant performances, brilliant direction,brilliantly funny and brilliantly ridiculous! This is 3 hours of pure circus involving lots of sex, lots of drugs, lots of money, lots of near death edge of your seat stuff. Everything in this film involves “lots of” and for me it meant lots of laughs. I’m not sure if Scorsese set out to make a comedy, but it really worked because I think if it hadn’t been taken from this stand point then I think it would be truly depressing.

This man rose up from the depths to become a very rich and powerful man. He started out as a young married man who had a moral code, which was completely shattered by the stockbroker lifestyle. I’m not sure what changed him? Was it the money? The power? Or the drugs? Either way they all add up to creating a monster. It is human nature to want more and when you can have everything it is very dangerous.

This is not a film for those that are shocked very easily or prudish about nudity because there are more naked women then you care to imagine. Ladies you get the chance to see Leo in his birthday suit too, if that appeals to you? It is a life in full abandon, even the man himself can’t believe he is still alive. The drugs alone should have killed him let alone a sinking yacht, near crashes in a helicopter and an unforgettable drive home from the country club.

Leonardo is absolutely electric in this film,to such an extent you leave the cinema buzzing yourself. The energy he commits to the role is outstanding, his comedy timing and the hilarious way he uses his body in such an elastic way when using drugs is side splitting. The emotions of laughter, anger, disgust, fear and sadness are all brought so close to you by his performance. I think very few could pull this off and still make the film believable. The transition made from innocent young man to hedonistic ring master is seamless, almost like playing two completely different characters. I think Leonardo doesn’t get the credit he deserves sometimes, but it’s hard to name a film where he doesn’t perform. Any other year he would be taking home the Oscar, but unfortunately he is up against a lot of big performances this year.

Jonah Hill was only paid 36,000 for this film, which to you and me is a massive sum of money, but in Hollywood it is a pittance. Jonah Hill so wanted to work with Scorcese that he was willing to give up his house. In return he has got an Oscar nomination so everyone was a winner. I haven’t seen Jonah in many films, apart from a quick turn on turn off of Superbad, which I believe was aptly named. This however was a great comedic performance and the partnership with Leo seemed so natural despite how completely different they were. He was able to talk so dryly and seriously about the most ridiculous things. An example of this was the discussion about throwing small people at a large target.

The whole cast made this a film to remember each adding a bit of comedy to the film due to their various characteristics and idiosyncrasies. Please don’t expect any justice and if you can be quite happy to go along with the ride you’ll have a fun 3 hours.

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aaarrrgh! its all coming out at me, erm no its not!

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I love film and I do not think I can repeat this enough! There are very few things that annoy me when films come into conversation. I could endlessly chat about all the film’s I have watched, my favourite stars and the subject that films can bring to the public’s attention. I am a member of Cineworld meaning that I can go to the cinema as often as time allows me to. I can go and see films that I usually wouldn’t see without having to think about the cost of going to see a bad film. I no longer have to wait for that special film to arrive each year because I no longer have to spend a fortune to see it. This means that I have come across quite a few surprises over the last year, which has been really refreshing. This however is not want I want to talk about.

I do have a bug bare about 3d film, not only the point of it, but also it’s dominance of screening time at the cinema. I do not like 3d film, one thing is wearing the glasses, which is not so much a problem now because I no longer have to wear specs, but I find them a nuisance. The film’s don’t always look great in 3d and I don’t really understand the benefit. This is, I must admit coming from a person that has only watched a few films in 3d, so I can in no way can render myself an expert. This being said I have been completely underwhelmed by the film’s I have seen in 3d. One film I was really looking forward to seeing in 3d was The Life of Pi and it really did fall flat. It is a great film which did not utilise the 3d capabilities, whether this was due to budget or the fact that it couldn’t be worked, I am not sure? The best 3d effects were in the opening credits, which seemed a complete waste. This has put me off watching any further films in 3d. I would like to be educated by anyone that has more knowledge of 3d and has seen more films than me in that concept? I would love to be proven wrong.

Another annoyance is the amount of screens 3d takes up, especially when there are more than one film using that concept. My partner and I wanted to see Gravity and it proved difficult because the majority of screens were now being used for the same film in 3d. This meant that due to our shift patterns we only had the opportunity to see it at 2 screen times throughout the time it was at cinemas. As it happened I would have rather have missed it, but that’s neither here nor there. We are very lucky to have a 12 screen cinema near where we live, but surely cinemas smaller that this must struggle to screen 2d films? Cinemas are barely full at the best of times, so do people really go to 3d films? Please educate me on this.

Moan over

PICEDITOR-SMH

The Railwayman

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I am not sure what the stats are, but I remember seeing them at some point and they are enough to send a shiver down your spine. The issue of suicide after war is not one that will go away and I believe it is on the increase in the U.S military. I write this after seeing The Railway man at the weekend, which dealt with life after war for one soldier who suffered horribly at the hands of the Japanese during ww 2. The events that took place became a small fraction of his life, but they took hold of him in a way meaning his life never really got going again until he was awoken by the love of a beautiful woman.

The suffering he went through and then bottled would explode onto the love of his life, proving that he needed to face this demon in order for his life to begin and eventually be happy again. It would be very easy to judge and label such a man’s behaviour not knowing what he had been through, but then how many could love enough to help him through. He was lucky enough to have such a woman who would not give up on him. Her understanding and love was unquestionable, making him face the nightmares, the thoughts of revenge and the complete isolation he felt. His friend, too, although suffering also put him first and gave him the ultimate signal that this man’s life had to change.

I really enjoyed the film. Colin Firth playing the well spoken Englishman, in which he has become famous. The look of complete emptiness across his face for a large part of the film must have proven to be a difficult task. There were few elements of joy in this film, but then given the subject it was hardly going to be a song and dance. The beautiful first meeting between Colins character and Nicoles was one of almost childlike happiness, like 2 children gazing into each others eyes with a great naivity, acting like a bright light beaming out to the audience.

Nicole played a middle age English wife with great subtlety and strength. It is hard to believe that there is an Australian accent hidden behind her performance. The sadness of her husband, which of course is then reflected onto her cheeks as the tears roll down her face show how it’s not just the individual that is affected. Nicoles character had to be the stronger of the two without being over the top. It was a great performance to achieve this.

The friend played by Stellen Skarsgard was also caught up in a great sadness, going through life keeping the secret of what had happened in Japan. This could almost be seen in his face as he resigned himself to unhappiness. There were again flickers of brightness shown in his admiration of his friend who was seen by all as a great hero. The friend gained strength to help Colins character even if he believed that his own life could not be changed.

The scenery perfectly represents how the character feels, often giving the viewer the feeling that this is shot in black and white due to the lack of colour. The vastness of the beach as Colins characters eyes pierce through you as if you are invisible feel like they represent his emotion. The dreary weather in a life where the sun only shines through the passion for trains is a clear depiction of how low this man is. I may well be reading too much into it, it may just be that this man lived precisely at this location although I hope it was used for the former. The contrast between the scenes in England is huge and despite the harshness and torture received in Japan, it almost seems that the worst of the torture was awaiting them on their return home.

The last part of the film is the journey back to Japan to face the nemesis that had caused the nightmares of the last 40 years. This one man was the focus of all the anger that had built up during the time after the war. Was this man evil? Was this man devoid of human emotion? How had this affected his life? This story is told at the very end and I won’t spoil it. I will say that the final part gives you a great insight into human emotion and sends a lasting message that should not be forgotten.

I give this 8/10 fine performances for a story which I hope will inspire and maybe help to put those little troubles into perspective.

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yes, my bum does look big in this. But its acting “darling”

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Self image is very important in our modern day world, this can be in the shape of size, looks, make up, clothes, it can be linked to the type of music you listen to or your age, class or the programmes and films you watch. Your age can often determine how susceptible you are to the images portrayed in the media. I have never been a person to follow a particular celeb or want to look like them, whether that it is their hairstyle, weight, clothing etc.. I, as most people know love film and there are many actors that I respect for their talents and will quite often watch a film because they are in it. Sometimes actors have to go to extremes to portray a role, dramatically changing what they look like to fit into a part, whether that is to just look like them, maybe go through what their character went through or maybe because they are more likely to gain awards. There are a number of famous actors that have done this, probably the most extreme has to be Christian Bale, particularly in the film The Machinest where he lost a large amount of weight by just eating an apple each day and a cup of coffee. There are also others like Tom Hanks, Charlize Theron, Rene Zellwegger and Robert Deniro who have lost and gained weight for particular parts.

 

 

 

The reason why I am writing this is because recently it was put to Christian bale that his weight changes for the parts he has played were just a gimmick. What do you think? Is it too extreme? Should actors be doing this? Do you think that this is method acting or is it done just to gain awards? In an age of CGI, new make up techniques and prosthetics, does an actor really need to work to such extremes? I personally think that if there are serious effects on the actors health, then it really isn’t worth it. Then you have the issue of how quick the actor can get to their regular shape once they have finished the film. I am a person that likes to look after themselves by going to gym and eating a balanced diet. The thought of having to gorge myself on fatty foods to gain weight brings me out in a sweat, fearing that I would not be able to lose the weight after. I know actors get help and they must have specialists while they are going through this change to make sure that it is safe. I definitely do not think it is a gimmick, gimmicks are generally not so painful, do not need such physical and mental strength and usually involve a bit of fun. I do enjoy their appearance and it does catch you eye when the actor is almost unregonisable in a film due to their weight gain or loss.

 

In the last week I went to see American Hustle, which is up for many awards, deservedly so because the acting from all involved is top class. The story line is pretty simplistic, but then I think the best films can have the most simplistic story lines. Christian Bale gained a huge amount of weight, shaved his head so he could sport an outragious comb over and grew a beard for the role. The director didn’t ask him to do this, but Christian insisted. So what were they going to do if Christian hadn’t changed his image so much? Add padding? Put a something on his head to make him look bald? Would his performance be any less good? I personally enjoyed the change, but is Christian Bale putting his health at risk? I believe he had major issues with his back due to the posture he had when sitting and walking, which was an affect of the weight. What made the director pick Christian?, considering that he looked nothing like the character? “He wasn’t necessarily in good shape, and he had this combover that was rather elaborate …” states Sydney Prosser. Does this sound like Christian Bale? It doesn’t really matter now as he pulled it off and produced a great performance.

 

 

So what will he do next? He lost extreme amounts of weight for The Machinest, bulked up for Batman and The Fighter and gained a paunch for American Hustle, surely he cannot continue to change shape?

 

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Tom Hanks is another actor who has had to change his body for acting roles, for instance he lost weight to play an Aids sufferer in Philadelphia and had to gain and lose weight for Castaway. Tom hanks lost 26 pounds to play Andy in Philadelphia, which is not that much, but then he was much thinner back then anyway. In castaway he went from being overweight at the start, before becoming the food starved Island survivor as the film went on. He lost 50-60 pounds over a year to play the part and grew a beard too. He recently stated that he now has type 2 diabetes, was his continual weight changes a cause? He has now stated that directors will have to take him as he is now.

 

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Its not just the men that go through a change to play parts, women do too. Charlize Theron gained a great deal of weight for her part in Monster playing Aileen Wuornos, a prostitute turned serial killer. Aside from the body change it was a great performance and it’s pretty hard to believe that it’s Charlize under all that weight. Is it harder for women to play roles like this? The media attention and the crazy image that they like to portray gives women a harder time than men. Men can gain a bit of weight, but they do not receive quite the judgement that women do. I think for an actress like Charlize theron to gain that much weight was pretty courageous and I think it proved that she could act and she wasn’t just in films for her looks.

 

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Charlize isn’t the only female to gain a little weight for a role, as Rene Zellwegger had to gain a few pounds for Bridget Jones, How else would she fit into those big pants? She gained 30 pounds and was warned by specialists that this was dangerous, but when duty calls eh? It was a great role for her to play and it really put the spotlight on her, mainly because of her performance, but unfortunately for Rene her weight has continued to grab the story lines. I think as long as you are healthy and happy then weight shouldn’t be such a major issue.

 

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I believe the record for weight gain is still with Vincent D’Onofrio who gained 70 pounds eating all the junk food he could to play his Character in Full Metal Jacket. Before that Robert Deniro was top dog gaining 60 pounds to play Jake LaMotta in Raging Bull. It must be even harder to Bulk up for the part as he did to play Jake in his boxing career then go onto put weight on to play the same person in bad shape and overweight. Its not just the look, it must effect you psychologically as well and put so much strain on your body. I think the dedication to their work shows you that they are not in it just for the fame and physical change does help when it comes to awards, but we are looking at some of the finest actors around when we look to the people above. The awards are well deserved and in no way are they gimmicks!!

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