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Our weekly round up of film news featuring some great news for the Irish at the Golden Globes, some drone strikes and Jane, who has a gun. It’s The Showreel…
The Golden Globe Nominees are Out
All the nominees for the prestigious Golden Globes have been released ahead of the ceremony, hosted by Ricky Gervais in LA, on the 10th of January and are ususally seen as a good indicator for where the Oscar nominations will go. Irish film fans will be delighted to hear that Saoirse Ronan was nominated for her strong performance in the John Crowley directed Brooklyn which tells the story of a lonely Irish woman trying to fit in in New York.
The Lenny Abrahamson directed Room was nominated for 3 awards including Best Motion Picture, Best Actress for Brie Larson and Best Screenplay for Emma Donoghue’s adaptation of her own award winning novel. Irishman Michael Fassbender was also nominated as Best Actor for his portrayal of Apple founder Steve Jobs.
Room which is also produced by Irish company Element Pictures will be up against Mad Max: Fury Road, Carol, The Revenant, and Spotlight for the coveted Best Picture, Drama Award, while The Big Short, Joy, The Martian, Spy and Trainwreck are up for the Best Picture, Comedy Award.
Will this finally be the year for Leonardo Di Caprio to win his Oscar? Well, he has been nominated here and he looks a strong contender up against Fassbender, Bryan Cranston for Trumbo, Eddie Redmayne for The Danish Girl, and Will Smith for Concussion. Brie Larson will be up against Rooney Mara and Cate Blanchett for their roles in Carol, Alicia Vikander for The Danish Girl and the afore mentioned Carlow woman Saoirse Ronan.
Irish actress Caitriona Balfe has also been nominated for a Best Actress in a Television Drama Series Globe for her role as Claire Randall in hit TV show Outlander. It really is great to see so much Irish talent battling for some of the biggest awards in film and television and hopefully they will all be competing for Academy Awards in the Spring. Let’s just hope that if Saoirse Ronan wins, someone better than Dennis Quaid will be on hand to announce it. He actually calls her Sheesha!
Check out the full list of Golden Globe nominees here.
Eye in the Sky
Directed by Gavin Hood. Starring Helen Mirren, Aaron Paul, Alan Rickman.
London-based military intelligence officer Colonel Katherine Powell (Helen Mirren) is remotely commanding a top secret drone operation to capture a group of dangerous terrorists from their safe-house in Nairobi, Kenya. The mission suddenly escalates from a “capture” to a “kill” operation as Powell realizes that the terrorists are about to embark on a deadly suicide mission. From his base in Nevada, American drone pilot Steve Watts (Aaron Paul) is poised to destroy the safe-house when a nine year old girl enters the kill zone just outside the walls of the house. With unforeseen collateral damage now entering the equation, the impossible decision of when to strike gets passed up the “kill chain” of politicians and lawyers as the seconds tick down.
The drone has become such an important and devise weapon of war that it is inevitable that they form the basis of film and TV shows. Earlier this year I watched an interesting film from New Zealand director Andrew Niccol (Gattaca, Lord of War) called Good Kill, starring Ethan Hawke and January Jones which dealt with the psychological effects of bombing targets in Afganistan then returning home to a normal suburban life in middle America. While the moral and ethical subtleties of this new form of warfare were well discussed, the true nature of this warfare was not explored to its effects on both the “pilots” and on the people on the ground who suffer, often collaterally, as a consequence of any mistakes (of which there are many).
While Eye In The Sky may seem to play the moral balance card as its centrepiece, some part of me (the cynical part, I assume) tells me that in reality the ethical bridge of collateral killings is crossed many many times and the consequences, which is exemplified as the 9 year old girl for dramatic nuance in the trailer for Eye In The Sky, are not taken into account as defiantly as they are in the trailer. The bombings of the MSF hospital in Afghanistan in October is a perfect example of this.The film has received some great early reviews and looks like a taut and tense thriller, with Helen Mirren continuing to upstage every actor she ever works with. Aaron Paul is still fighting to emerge from the trapping of his character Jesse in Breaking Bad and the rest of the cast seems very impressive. Any film which tries to raise questions as to the morality of modern warfare should be viewed, and Eye in the Sky is in Irish cinemas April 8th 2016
Jane Got A Gun
Directed by Gavin O’Connor. Starring Natalie Portman, Ewan McGregor, Joel Edgerton.
A woman asks her ex-lover for help in order to save her outlaw husband from a gang out to kill him.
Jane Got A Gun had a very troubled production and initially was set to have a completely different cast and importantly a completely different director. Originally the film was to star Michael Fassbender however a spiky relationship between him and initial director Lynne Ramsay caused him to leave the production. Then, on the first day of shooting Lynne Ramsay decided not to show up leaving the producers scrambling to find a replacement. Ramsay had previously directed the deeply unsettling We Need To Talk About Kevin and left the film due to the producers denying her final cut. Jude Law was also set to star but left the production in solidarity with Ramsay. The fantastic cinematographer Darius Khondji also left the project. Eventually Warrior director Gavin O’Connor was brought on board and filming finally got under way. Considering that was in 2013, and the film is only being released now is testament to how fraught the whole process has been.
But all that aside, the film now boasts a strong cast with Natalie Portman leading the way as the titular Jane. Joel Edgerton (Animal Kingdon, The Great Gatsby) and Ewan McGregor also star, along with Noah Emmerich (The Truman Show). From the trailer it all seems somewhat safe and regardless of the decent cast, perhaps the influence of the producers has nullified the edge the story should have. However it is great to see a Western back on the big screen however you feel Jane Got A Gun may be lost in the flurry of snow and blood once Quentin Tarantino‘s The Hateful Eight arrives.
It has been a great year for Westerns with both Slow West and Bone Tomahawk making my personal top 10 of 2015, and with The Hateful Eight and Jane Got A Gun due out in the next month, 2015 could very well be one of the best years for one of my favourite genres.
Where to Invade Next
Directed by Michael Moore.
To learn what the USA can gain from other nations, Michael Moore playfully “invades” them to see what they have to offer.
Like him or loathe him, Michael Moore is actually a very important documentary film maker and has done more for the genre in the last 20 years than perhaps any other film maker. Regardless of his manner, his documentaries are meant to be completely subjective, as opposed to a balanced, even-handed debate. This is solely Michael Moore’s film and importantly, this is just his point of view. You do not have to agree with him, and you do not necessarily have to believe him but he has a point and that is what he stands for. His controversial views aside, Michael Moore’s films are all thoroughly entertaining and his large hulking presence on screen, accompanied by his cynical but amusing narration make a surprisingly engaging medium for delivering his thoughts on America, its government, its systems and its problems.
His latest offering seems more of the same in terms of style and delivery. Interestingly it is his first film in nearly 6 years and this time he sets his sights on American foreign policy after previously debating capitalism, the healthcare system, gun control and a certain George W. Bush.
The Best Films on TV This Week
The Prestige (2006) – BBC2 – 10.45pm Saturday 12th
Released in the middle of Christopher Nolan‘s Batman trilogy, The Prestige went a little under the radar but it is a very enjoyable film full of wonder and sleight of hand, both in terms of the action on screen, and the techniques employed by Nolan as he weaves an intricate and mesmerising story of revenge and rivalry. The fantastic cast includes Christian Bale, Hugh Jackman, Scarlett Johansson, Michael Caine and David Bowie.
Aladdin (1992) – Channel 4 – 5.20pm Sunday 13th
The late Robin Wlliams is in great form as the quick fire genie in this classic Disney film. Supposedly Williams has it written in his will that a sequel can never be made and many would agree with his sentiments, doubting any film could match the quality and delivery of Aladdin.
Lawless (2012) – Film4 – 11.10pm Monday 14th
Starring Shia LeBeouf and Tom Hardy, Lawless was not inspiring many audiences upon its release however further viewing is recommended as it is filled with great performances from a cast which also includes Jessica Chastain, Jason Clarke, Guy Pearce and Mia Wasikowsk. Director John Hillcoat has made some fantastic films including The Road and The Proposition and is returning to our cinemas in the coming months with Triple 9, which actually looks very good.
The Possibilities Are Endless (2014) – Film 4 – 11.25pm Tuesday 15th
Imagine your mind has been wiped: memories, knowledge, experiences, language – every word you ever spoke, has vanished. If eventually you found the words, what would you say? For Edwyn Collins, ‘The Possibilities Are Endless’.
This fascinating documentary tells the story of musician Edwyn Collins, who is probably most famous for his hit song “A Girl Like You” released back in 1994. However the focus of this documentary is the story of Edwyn Collins following a massive cerebral haemorrhage he suffered in 2005. Upon awakening from a coma, Collins had lost all memory of everything that came before and was able to say just a few words, “yes”, “no”, his wife’s name, and one sentence, “The possibilities are endless”.
2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) – BBC4 – 11.00pm Wednesday 16th
It is amazing to think that this film is nearly 50 years old. Back then I wonder did Stanley Kubrick understand the influence his seminal science fiction film would have on ALL cinema moving forward. He probably did in fairness… he did know what he was doing. Everything about 2001: A Space Odyssey is perfection and is a text book on film making. In fact everything Kubrick made was a masterpiece, He was good like that.
Feature Image Credit: movieweb.com