Hollywood PDA: Stars go public with their affection

And the award for luckiest woman in the whole entire world goes to .... Lupita Nyong'o. The "12 Years a Slave" star cozied up with none other than Leonardo DiCaprio on the red carpet at the 2014 Producers Guild Awards on Jan. 19, 2014.

Simply put, AMERICANAH is Lupita Nyong'o's chance to win the Best Actress Oscar

This is a companion to my earlier Moviepilot posting on AMERICANAH! INTERVIEW magazine is a photo journalism publication and they included photos of their proposed cast for AMERICANAH. Hey, I can do that, too!

Not to make too fine of a point, but Lupita Nyong'o is only the 2nd black woman to appear on the cover of Vogue in its history. Isn't that remarkable?

The Supporting Actress Oscar has been won by 4 black women (Hattie MacDaniel 1939, Whoopie Goldberg 1990, Octavia Spencer 2011 and Lupita Nyong'o 2013), but the Best Actress Oscar has only gone to one black woman: Halle Berry (2001). Before Halle Berry, the closest a black woman had come to winning the Oscar was Cicely Tyson in 1972, Whoopie Goldberg in 1985 and Angela Bassett in 1993. After Halle Berry, the nearest to a Best Actress Oscar win for a black woman was Viola Davis in 2011. These Oscar opportunities do not come around very often!

Simply put, AMERICANAH is Lupita Nyong'o's chance to win the Best Actress Oscar.

Lupita Nyong'o

Lupita Nyong'o will be the present day Ifemelu, of course, but KEKE PALMER would be killer as the younger Ifemelu! In terms of visual storytelling, having Ifemelu leave Africa as KEKE and return asLupita would have the maximum possible impact !!

Is Christopher Nolan's Interstellar Fundamentally Flawed? NO SPOILERS !!


Okay so I've forced myself to stop following this movie until I see it in theaters. I'm not even going to watch the trailer again (after finishing this post) because I noticed too many things by pausing the trailer and watching it too many times to the point where you notice the little details and connect dots that may or may not spoil the movie in some ways. And this is based on the trailer, rumors, a basic understanding of science, and Nolan's style of storytelling.

I'll stop myself from mentioning these possible spoilers, all of which you can discover for yourself if you look for them. I'm going with what Nolan said himself which is to go into a movie knowing as little as possible.

Moving on, just knowing the basic synopsis of the film, I can tell there's a huge flaw with it, one that may be addressed in the film and would make this whole article irrelevant.

This flaw comes from what David Oyelowo's character says to Matthew McConaughey, "The world doesn't need anymore engineers." Excuse me but what the flying f*ck does that mean? Do they even realize what an engineer does? They design and build things that fix problems.Kinda like the person who designed that freaking sweet spaceship in the movie.

If there isn't enough food in the world guess what we'd ACTUALLY do.Go ahead, guess. We'd design and build sh*t that would make us able to grow food.

THE LAST THING WE'D DO IS SEND A FEW FARMERS OFF TO SPACE FOR YEARS FOR THEM TO SPEND EVEN MORE TIME GROWING FOOD ON THE PLANET THEY JUST SPENT YEARS TRAVELING TO (yes it's going to take a f*ck load of time to get to Saturn, which is where the wormhole is discovered, as far as I can tell from the trailer.

Plus the time for them to colonize the planet and make food there... wait... that sounds... pretty dumb now that I type this... cus they could just do whatever it is they need to do on THAT planet on EARTH, getting it now?)

(Unless the planet has it's own food... which would be incredibly dangerous to just bring back foreign food that hasn't been tested in the long run. But it would be cool if it did, which would mean... wait for it... 3...2...1... aliens! Good luck with that one, Nolan fans, he wouldn't touch that subject matter with a 10 googolplex foot stick)

Here's a short list of incredibly important things we'd need to invent if we sent Matthew McConaughey to Saturn:

1. Faster rockets, like WAY faster (great for both the economy and science)
2. Life sustaining deep sleep (which they have in the trailer, it's those things where we see the characters being sucked into the zip lock bags and going under water)

3. Food (once again a gap in logic based on the synopsis) that's both healthy and lasts many years (ramen noodles doesn't qualify)
4. Depending on if the ship itself will land on the planet or not (I'm assuming not, don't ask why because it just seems like a huge ship like that would be better off not being f*cked with on a newly discovered planet. Just keep it in orbit while they grow food) they'd need specialized pods that can handle the planets gravity, atmospherics, etc. and would need landing gear and relaunching gear (which we don't have either).

5. A F*CK load of oxygen or a way of creating it (which could be another gap in logic when it comes to the "we can't grow food on Earth" problem, but I don't know much about farming. Actually, I don't know sh*t about farming)
I'm no expert but there could be more that I'm not thinking of.
See Also - Assassin's Creed Unity: EPIC FAIL or New Beginning?
These things have not been invented yet, according to everyone's friend, Neil DeGrasse Tyson.

The ultimate point I'm trying to make is...
A society that could build those things could very easily find a way to build something that makes the soil fertile and the air rich.
To be fair, they are using the "slash-and-burn" (Google "slash-and-burn technique") method of regrowing their food in the trailer, so at least all 7 billion of us aren't entirely relying on a space farmer. (Now I can't help but think of Billy Bob in The Astronaut Farmer)

I'm a huge Nolan fan, I've said it before and I'll say it again. But in a couple of his movies he has such huge plot holes (or dare I say, worm-holes, ha... ha... ha...)
However big this plot hole, I think Interstellar will still be the best movie of the year. I'd be willing to put money on it grossing over $700 million, possibly even a best picture nod (with no chance of winning, unfortunately).
I will try to suspend my disbelief by saying the whole trip is for a purpose greater than anything Hollywood could imagine: FOR SCIENCE!
If at the very least it should spark some interest in astronomy, which is the coolest f*cking thing ever.

I shall leave you with this. Good night.

Pirates of the Caribbean 3 Officially The Most Expensive Movie Ever

The movie industry is now synonymous with astronomical mounds of cash. Movie execs aren't interested in thousands, or even hundreds of thousands, now it's all about hundreds of millions - and, if you're really lucky (or Marvel), billions.
For the longest time, I was under the impression that Avatar, as the highest grossing movie of all time, was in fact the most expensive movie ever made. At the time of its release, a lot of hubbub was made about special cameras, expensive special effects and the fact James Cameron - and man who knows no expense - was in charge. However, today we've been reminded that in fact,Avatar is not the most expensive, in fact it's not even in the top five.
Business Insider recently compiled a list of the most expensive movies made, once adjusted for inflation. In reality, it was Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End - perhaps the most forgettable Pirates movie - that really cost the most, with the the final price tag coming in at $341.8 million. In fact, it turns out even Waterworld, the 1995 Kevin Costner semi-flop, cost more to make than Avatar. Check out the top 20 of Business Insider's list below:
  • 1. Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End (2007) - $341.8 million
  • 2. Cleopatra (1963) - $339.5 million (Original estimated budget: $44 million)
  • 3. Titanic (1997) - $294.3 million
  • 4. Spider-Man 3 (2007) - $293.9 million
  • 5. Tangled (2010) - $281.7 million
  • 6. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009) - $275.3 million
  • 7. Waterworld (1995) - $271.3 million
  • 8. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (2006) - $263.7 million
  • 9. Avatar (2009) - $261 million
  • 10. The Hobbit (2012) - $257.2 million
  • 11. The Dark Knight Rises (2012) - $257.2 million
  • 12. John Carter (2012) - $257.2 million
  • 13. Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003) - $256.8 million
  • 14. King Kong (2005) - $250.4 million
  • 15. Spider-Man 2 (2004) - $250.1 million
  • 16. The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian (2008) - $246.9 million
  • 17. X-Men: The Last Stand (2006) - $246.1 million
  • 18. Superman Returns (2009) - $244.9 million
  • 19. Wild Wild West (1999) - $241.1 million
  • 20. Speed 2: Cruise Control (1997) - $237.16 million

There a certainly a couple of surprises on the list, most notably that Tangled, an animated flick which are traditionally quite cheap to produce, actually cost more than Avatar, while Cleopatra - a rather severe flop from 1963, was the most expensive movie ever made until 2007.
With this in mind, let's have some more financial filmic fun.
Avatar might be the highest grossing in terms of pure, hard numbers, but once you allow for changes in inflation, the Top 10 list becomes much more interesting. In fact, big hitting modern blockbusters like The Avengers are nowhere to be seen, instead we get a run down of some classically iconic, and lucrative, titles.

  • 1. Gone with the Wind (1939) - $3,301,400,000
  • 2. Avatar (2009) - $2,782,300,000
  • 3. Star Wars (1977) - $2,710,800,000
  • 4. Titanic (1997) $2,413,800,000
  • 5. The Sound of Music (1965) - $2,269,800,000
  • 6. E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982) - $2,216,800,000
  • 7. The Ten Commandments (1956) - $2,098,600,000
  • 8. Doctor Zhivago (1965) - $1,988,600,000
  • 9. Jaws (1975) - $1,945,100,000
  • 10. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) $1,746,100,000
So these movies made major bank, but to be fair a lot of them also had pretty titanic budgets - especially in the case of Titanic. So what is the most profitable movie ever made, that's the one which cost the least, but proportionately made the most?
Well there's a bit of a debate here. There are two contenders and both are very similar. Found footage founder The Blair Witch Project did make it into the Guinness Book of Records as the most profitable movie ever, however it may have been more recently overtaken by Paranormal Activity. It all comes down to which production figures you use, some place Blair ahead, others Paranormal.
However, according to BoxOfficeMojoParanormal Activity might just inch ahead with its cited production budget of $15,000. Considering it made $193,355,800 at the box office, this means Paranormal made $12,889 for every dollar it spent. Meanwhile, with a budget of $60,000, The Blair Witch made $248,639,099, meaning it made $4142 for every dollar. In reality, when you consider the marketing budgets for these movies, the real profit margins may have been less impressive or clear cut.
But what about the other end of the spectrum. Which movies sent execs crying in the shower and making frank phone calls to their accountants. What are cinemas' biggest flops? Well, when adjusted for inflation we see some familiar, and obviously less familiar titles:

  • 1. The 13th Warrior (1999) - Estimated Loss: $97,896,514—182,838,584
  • 2. 47 Ronin (2013) - Estimated Loss: $151,923,973 
  • 3. Cutthroat Island (1995) - Estimated Loss: $137,346,554 
  • 4. Mars Needs Moms (2011) - Estimated Loss: $136,816,444 
  • 5. Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within (2001) - Estimated Loss: $96,474,415—136,431,190 
  • 6. The Adventures of Pluto Nash (2002) - Estimated Loss: $126,461,993
  • 7. The Fall of the Roman Empire (1964) - Estimated Loss: $126,417,784 
  • 8. Sahara (2005) - Estimated Loss: $121,194,169
  • 9. The Lone Ranger (2013) - Estimated Loss: $95,926,537—121,237,251
  • 10. Heaven's Gate (1980) - Estimated Loss: $120,953,664

I guess these lists just go to prove, if you want to dress Johnny Depp up in some funny clothes and get him to run around, you better have some seriously deep pockets because it's going to cost you. Unfortunately, The Lone Ranger proves you're not always going to see this money come back.

Movie review: Edge of Tomorrow is a fantastic sci fi film

Tom Cruise continues to entertain us with Sci Fi films and his latest one, Edge of Tomorrow is one of the most entertaining films he has done in the recent past.The movie opens with clips of international news channels reporting invasion of Europe by extraterrestrial entities.

The aliens are "Mimics" for their ability to mimic and counter Earth military combat strategies.Major William Cage (Tom Cruise) is sent to the front though he has no combat experience.Cage along with a team are sent to the beach front but what they didn't know is that the Mimics had information about their arrival and were waiting to ambush them.

​The problem is that each time Cage is back to square one and you have to go through the recap again and again which becomes too annoying and tedious but the combat scenes are great fun.
Director Doug Liman and screenwriters Christopher McQuarrie, Jez Butterworth and John-Henry Butterworth put together a great film. If you have enjoyed Tom Cruise in the Mission Impossible Series and even Magnolia, you will love this one too.

No doubt Tom Curise is an ageing star but he can still give the younger lot a run for their money. For Tom Cruise fans this is a must watch!

'The Hobbit' 3 spoilers: Official movie trailer comes out July

"The Hobbit 3: The Battle of Five Armies" will hit the theaters at the end of the year, but it's not surprising that so many fans of the movie and "Lord of the Rings" trilogy are waiting for regular updates. So, what is the latest on "The Hobbit 3?" The movie trailer is coming out this July.
A report from OneRing.com states that the movie trailer is set to be released on July 20. Well, this is an educated hunch as the people behind OneRing.com based it on the release of the past trailers. If this is true, we'd all get a closer look at what to expect in "The Hobbit 3: The Battle of Five Armies."
According to IBT, the plot of the third Hobbit movie will stay close to the plot of the book, where Thorin Oakenshield will sacrifice himself. Fans of the movie are hoping that in the movie, Oakenshield stays alive.
Nevertheless, there hasn't been much spoilers about the movie that came out yet. But some of them include the "epic battle," as what David Clayton describes the battle between Smaug and the good guys to IGN. In fact, the movie will open with Smaug terrorizing Lake Town.

Review: The Simplicity of 'The Rover'.. Is this ok to Watch ?

Robert Pattinson

Ten years after the civilized world bites the dust, making way instead for a criminal wasteland run on greed, violence, sex trafficking, and any number of other unthinkable vices, we meet a man who just wants to take back what was stolen from him. The terrific thing about The Rover is its simplicity. The vast contrivances of its post-apocalyptic world and the dozens of questions that arise as a result of its many mysteries aside, the film never strays from its focus on the bones of grisly Guy Pearce, a man on a mission who just happens to live on a surreal new version of the planet Earth.

Pearce chauffers the audience through the nooks and cranies of a tattered Australian outback, giving us a look at the dingy yet colorful customs of the dark era while sticking with promise to his revenge-and-retrieval journey.

The script doesn't give Pearce a lot of breathing room, resigning the hot-heated, closed-mouthed character to his mission without much room for exploration. While we celebrate the simplicity of his quest, the simplicity of Pearce's character — and more importantly, his performance — does keep from instilling The Rover with the nuance that would afford it true flavor.

Beside him is Robert Pattinson, playing a young man of questionable mental capacity, roped along for the ride thanks to his tenuous knowledge of where Pearce's desired possession has been taken. Pattinson impresses as the far more vibrant of the duo, his performance abetted by the stark contrast to anything we've seen of him to date — even the stellar Cosmopolis kept the actor moreover subdued. But here, he's given free range to be vulnerable, menacing, and funny.

Ultimately, The Rover delivers on everything it offers up, but nonetheless lands short of what feels like a complete and compelling feature. Though the brevity of its intent is one of its strengths, you almost wonder if the story wouldn't have been better served as a short film instead. But we aren't likely to see Robert Pattinson break free from routine in a short film, so I guess that's reason alone for the 102-minute runtime.

Le Samourai Movie

Le Samourai

After killing a night-club owner, professional hitman Jef Costello's seen by witnesses. His efforts to provide himself with an alibi fail and more and more he gets driven into a corner.

2014 Domestic Grosses

Total Grosses of all Movies Released in 2014

RankMovie Title (click to view)Studio
Total Gross /TheatersOpening / TheatersOpenClose
1Captain America: The Winter SoldierBV$255,886,0003,938$95,023,7213,9384/4-
2The LEGO MovieWB$255,859,0003,890$69,050,2793,7752/7-
3The Amazing Spider-Man 2Sony$194,928,0004,324$91,608,3374,3245/2-
4X-Men: Days of Future PastFox$189,101,0004,001$90,823,6603,9965/23-
5Godzilla (2014)WB$185,043,0003,952$93,188,3843,9525/16

Downfall Movie - The final secretary for Adolf Hitler tells of the Nazi dictator's final days

 Movie: Downfall

Downfall Movie

Closely Watched Trains (1966)

Closely Observed Trains

An apprentice train dispatcher at a village station seeks his first sexual encounter and becomes despondent when he is unable to perform.
Nice Movie: Closely Watched Trains (1966)

Edge of Tomorrow Review - "Edge of Tomorrow" is less of a time travel movie than an experience movie

Edge of Tomorrow Review
"Edge of Tomorrow" is less of a time travel movie than an experience movie; that statement might not make sense now, but it probably will after you've seen it. Based on Hiroshi Sikurazaka's novel "All You Need is Kill", it's a true science fiction film, highly conceptual, set during the aftermath of an alien invasion. Maybe "extra-dimensional being invasion" is more accurate. The fierce, octopod-looking beasties known as Mimics are controlled hive-mind style by a creature that seems able to peer through time, or rupture it, or something. When the tale begins, we don't have exact answers about the enemy's powers (that's for our intrepid heroes to find out), but we have a solid hunch that it can see possible futures through the eyes of specific humans, then treat them as, essentially, video game characters, following their progress through the nasty "adventure" of the war, and making note of their tactical maneuvers, the better to ensure our collective extermination.
Edge of Tomorrow Movie

Tom Cruise, who seems to be spending his fifties saving humanity, plays Major William Cage, an Army public relations officer. Cage is a surprising choice for the role of hero. He's never seen combat yet inexplicably finds himself thrown into the middle of a ferocious battle that will decide the outcome of the war. The film begins with Cage en route to European command headquarters in London, waking up in the belly of a transport chopper. The rest of the movie may not be his dream per se, but at various points it sure feels as though it is. The world is wracked by war. Millions have died. Whole cities have been reduced to ash heaps. The landscapes evoke color newsreel footage from World War II, and much of the combat seems lifted from that era as well.

When Cage meets the general in charge of that part of the world's forces, he's told he's being sent right into this movie's version of D-Day and is to report for duty immediately. No amount of protest by Cage can halt this assignment, and soon after he joins his unit and learns the rudiments of wearing combat armor (this is one of those science fiction films in which soldiers wear clumping bionic suits festooned with machine guns and other weapons) he dies on the battlefield. Then he wakes up and starts all over. Then he dies again and starts over again. He always knows he's been here before, that he met this person, said that thing, did that thing, made a wrong choice and died. Nobody else does, though. They're oblivious to the way in which Cage, like "Slaughterhouse Five" hero Billy Pilgrim, has come unstuck in time.

Cage's only allies are a scientist (Noah Taylor) who believes the creatures are beating humanity through their mastery of time, and Rita Vrataski (Emily Blunt), an Audie Murphy or Sgt. York type who's great for armed forces morale in addition to being an exceptionally gifted killer. Rita has experienced the same temporal dislocation that Cage is now experiencing, but at a certain point it stopped. She recognizes his maddening condition but can no longer share in it. She can, however, offer guidance (and a key bit of information that defines his predicament), and speed up the learning curve by shooting him in the head whenever it becomes obvious that they're going down a wrong road that'll lead to the same fatal outcome.

Although the film's advertising would never dare suggest such a thing, for fear of driving off viewers who just want the bang bang-boom boom, Cage is a complex and demanding role for any actor. It is especially right for Cruise, in that Cage starts out as a Jerry Maguire-type who'll say or do anything to preserve his comfort, then learns through hard (lethal) experience how to be a good soldier and a good man. He changes as the story tells and retells and retells itself. By the end he's nearly unrecognizable from the man we met in the opening.

Cruise is hugely appealing here, not just in the early scenes opposite Gleeson in which he's in Tony Curtis mode—he's always fantastic playing a smooth-talking manipulator who's sweating on the inside—but later, where he exhibits the sort of rock-solid super-competence and unforced decency that Randolph Scott brought to Budd Boetticher's westerns. He was always likable, sometimes perfect in the right role, but age has deepened him by bringing out his vulnerability. There's an existential terror in his eyes that's disturbing in a good way, and there are points in which "Edge of Tomorrow" seems to simultaneously be about what it's about while also being about the predicament of a real actor trying to stay relevant in a Hollywood universe that's addicted to computer generated monsters, robots and explosions. Cruise deserves some sort of acting award for the array of yelps and gasps he summons as he's killed by a Mimic or shot in the head by Blunt and then rebooted into another version of the story.

The rest of the cast has less to do because this is Tom Cruise's movie through-and-through, but they're all given moments of humor, terror or simple eccentricity. Taylor often gets cast as brilliant but haunted or ostracized geniuses, and he's effective in another of those roles here. Gleeson, as is so often the case, invests a rather stock character with such humanity that when the character's motivations and responses change, you get the sense that it's because the general is a good and smart man and not because he's just doing what the script needs him to do. Emily Blunt is unexpectedly convincing as a fearless and elegant super-soldier, and of course a magnificent camera subject as well. Director Doug Liman is so enamored with the introductory shot of her rising up off the floor of a combat training facility in a sort of downward facing dog yoga pose that he repeats it many times. The film's only egregious flaw is its attempt to superimpose a love story onto Cruse and Blunt's relationship, which seems more comfortable as a "Let's express our adoration for each other by killing the enemy" kind of thing.
Tom Cruise Movie

There's no end to the number of films and novels and other sources to which "Edge of Tomorrow" can be likened. "Groundhog Day" seems to be everyone's reflexive comparison point, but Liman's elaborately choreographed tracking shots and unglamorously visualized European hellscapes evoke "Children of Men," the creatures themselves have a touch of the Sentinels from the "Matrix" films, and the monsters-vs.-infantry scenes will remind you of James Cameron's "Aliens" and its literary predecessor "Starship Troopers." (Bill Paxton, one of the stars of "Aliens," plays Cage's drill sergeant, a mustachioed Kentucky hard-ass with an amusingly sour sense of humor.)   It's also an exceptionally brutal film, so bone-and-skull-crushingly violent and fairy-tale frightening that its PG-13 rating is stupefying. Parents should avoid taking young children who'll be both confused by the fractured narrative and terrified of the Mimics, nightmare creatures that look like razor-tentacled squid and roll across the landscapes like tumbleweeds.

In all, though, "Edge of Tomorrow" is its own thing. One of its most fascinating qualities is its keen judgement of the audience's learning curve. The early sections of the film repeat scenes and dialogue until you get used to the idea of the story as a video game or movie script, but just when you start to think, "Yes, I get it, let's move on," the film has in fact moved on and is now leaving things out because they're not necessary. By the end of the movie the script—which is credited to Christopher McQuarrie and Jez and John Henry Butterworth—has gotten to the point where it's tactically withholding information and waiting for us to figure things out on our own. It repeats key images and lines near the end as well, but always for good reason. When you see the familiar material again you feel different about it, because its meaning has changed. The movie has an organic intelligence and a sense that it, too, exists outside of linear time. It seems to be creating itself as you watch it.  

Grace of Monaco review – not Nicole Kidman's finest hour

On Broadway, the phrase "not since Carrie" once served as searing shorthand for a truly disastrous musical production. In cinema, the equivalent put-down du jour appears to be "worse than Diana", the phrase bandied around after the Cannes premiere of Olivier Dahan's preposterous (non-)historical romance, Grace of Monaco. All but disowned by scissor-handed distributor Harvey Weinstein, and branded a "farce" by the real-life descendants of its embattled characters, this cack-handed snapshot of "Grace Kelly's greatest role" is destined to become another epithet-coining catastrophe, the benchmark by which badder-than-bad biopics will be judged in years to come.

Except, as director Dahan keeps telling us, this is not a biopic ("I hate biopics!"). Rather, it is "fiction based on real events... a human portrait of a modern woman who wants to reconcile her family, her husband, her career" and who just happens to stop France from invading Monaco in the early 60s in the process.

Things start creakily with a lengthy opening sequence (lifted wholesale from Diana) in which our heroine is pursued from behind, her face carefully concealed until the big reveal when Nicole Kidman is finally confronted at her dressing table, looking uncannily like... Nicole Kidman! Over the course of the next couple of hours, Dahan will spend an inordinate amount of time shoving his lens right into poor Ms Kidman's face, focusing on her bloodshot eyes, drooling over her oddly distinctive upper lip, daring someone to whisper out loud: "That's not Grace Kelly – that's the woman who peed on Zac Efron."

Things get worse with the arrival of Prince Rainier, played by a chain-smoking Tim Roth in a register somewhere between lolloping Reservoir Dog and naff Butlins Rat-Pack looky-likey; you half expect him to interrupt his affairs of state with a pub singer selection of karaoke Dean Martin hits. Everyone else is equally broad: Robert Lindsay as Citizen Onassis, making jokes about whale foreskins; Parker Posey auditioning for pantomime as Princess Grace's scowly-faced aide Madge; Paz Vega, heavy with the lippy as a horse-riding Maria Callas; Roger Ashton-Griffiths, all stomach, chin and elongated vowels as Alfred Hitchcock, who wants to take poor Gracie away from this hell.

Grace of Monaco
Eyelash-fluttering diplomacy: Nicole Kidman as Grace Kelly in Grace of Monaco. Photograph: AP
We may well sympathise with Hitch, but his on-screen presence serves primarily to flag up Dahan's infatuation with rear-projected Hollywood-period artifice, which presumably goes some way towards explaining the self-conscious creakiness of much of the drama. Trapping his heroine between her final shots for High Society and the arrival of an enticing script for Marnie (in which Kelly considered starring), Dahan seems constantly to be nodding his Vaseline-smeared lens toward the cinema of a bygone age. Or is he? More than once, I found myself asking; "Is this homage or just horseshit?" In many instances, I couldn't decide, concluding that it most be both. Surely no one makes a movie this bad by accident?

The biggest problem is Arash Amel's script, which asks us to side with tax evaders and gamblers (Monaco did indeed incur a French blockade for tax-sheltering their billionaires), and to imagine that there is something beautiful and noble about allowing companies to shirk their revenue responsibilities. (Presumably the forthcoming DVD will be heavily promoted on Amazon?)
Grace of Monaco Movie

Worse, it pretends that the solution to problems as knotty as the Algerian war and the economic crisis could be solved by someone fluttering their eyelashes at the then French president, Charles de Gaulle (at a banquet at which he was not present, fact fans), and announcing that they do believe in fairies. Or at least in fairytales, of which this is one of the very worst, despite opening with Kelly's quote that "the idea of my life as a fairytale is itself a fairytale".

"I did not do any special research about Grace of Monaco," Dahan has declared, somewhat redundantly. "I need to make films that resonate with me and my feelings [so] I dug into my personal life." Herein lies the hilarious rub. Faced with a potentially intriguing story about personal and political conflict on both an intimate and global scale, Dahan has opted instead to make a movie about himself – a self-regarding portrait of tantrums and tiaras with zero interest in (or apparent knowledge of) the awkward realities of real life.

This should come as no surprise from a director whose previous film La Vie en Rose (another non-biopic, this time of Edith Piaf) was largely notable for airbrushing the second world war from its brash burlesque history. But at least Marion Cotillard managed to rise above the mire of Dahan's vacuous storytelling, giving us something to cling to amid this most caricatured of carry-ons. Not so Kidman, who spends most of the movie looking like someone who has just fallen flat on her face.

Meanwhile, the recriminations continue, with Dahan branding Weinstein's preferred edit of his film "a piece of shit", while Weinstein appears to have sided with the Monaco royals who "have a legitimate problem with the movie, they actually do". Further cuts may yet ensue, although it's hard to see how edits could make this nonsense any better. Or worse. Only a shorter running time would be an improvement, by any measure.



'10,000 Nights Nowhere' ('10000 noches en ninguna parte'): Film Review

The third film from restless auteur Ramon Salazar puts one troubled young man’s dreams and desires onscreen.
10000 noches en ninguna parte

10,000 Nights Nowhere signals a radical shift in style for a director whose first two films, the well-received Stones and 20 Centimeters, were focused on women. This time the focus is on a lonely young man dreaming of a brighter life, and while there’s little happening at the level of either plot or character development, Ramon Salazar’s command of his materials generally makes it an engrossing, if somewhat over-extended, viewing experience that mostly avoids the easy accusation that it is self-regarding.

'This Is Not a Ball': Film Review

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10,000 Nights Nowhere (a reference to all the time this 27-year-old has spent lost in his dreams) is all about psychology, mood and suggestion, with stylistic nods to the early Terrence Malick. Unsettlingly, the film begins with a lengthy dinner table scene in Berlin featuring a menage a trois: painter Claudia (Najwa Nimri, reprising from Stones), Ana (Paula Medina), and Leon (Manuel Castillo), all somewhat stoned and giggly. They’re accompanied by the shy, introverted unnamed Son (Andres Gertrudix), an edgy, shy visitor who doesn’t seem quite to belong there.
The reason for this is that Claudia, Ana and Leon might not in fact exist: although other explanations are available, they are probably figments of the Son’s imagination as he fantasizes about escape from the tedium and horror of his actual existence (calling it a "life" would be stretching things). A worker in a dingy underground garage, he looks the very definition of unhappy repression. Just when we’re starting to wonder why he’s like that, we find the explanation in the form of his mother (Susi Sanchez), who’s just tried to burn down the house, is given to picking up and sleeping with younger men, and an alcoholic who doesn't hesitate to remind the Son and his embittered Sister (Rut Santamaria) that if she drinks, it’s their fault.
So that the Son’s other life is in the mental journeys he makes -- not only to Berlin, where Claudia and Ana, in their own ways, each end up falling for him -- but also to Paris, where he meets a Friend (Lola Duenas, also from Stones), with whom he runs gaily  through the city to music and with whom he has the outlines of a relationship.

If it sounds whimsical and overblown, then some of it is -- particularly in the Paris sections. But then again, there is always a palpable sense of Salazar’s commitment to things. He cares deeply about his unhappy hero and his vividly-rendered dreams, and it is refreshing to see a youngish Spanish filmmaker really trying to find the form that will allow him to tell his story best -- even though, after about an hour, the structure, shuttling between the Son’s fantasies and his reality, starts to wear thin, particularly since this is earnest, soul-searching fare where practically no time has been made for anything resembling comic relief.
While the Son prefers the largely wordless fantasies of the liberation offered by Berlin and the romance offered by Paris, it’s likely that the viewer will prefer the grimly realistic scenes of his Madrid life. There is an awful fascination in watching this dysfunctional family -- neatly paralleled by the happy, freedom-loving Berlin trio -- struggle to stay together under the constant pressure of the mother from hell, powerfully played by Susi Sanchez, throwing herself wholeheartedly into a demanding role. Other performances are strong, with Nimri -- perhaps the highest-profile of the cast members -- also generating some real intensity as she whispers and mutters. Gertrudix, practically omnipresent, is good but struggles against a basic fact that Salazar seems to have forgotten -- that despite all his issues, the Son is actually rather a dull character with whom to spend almost two hours.

Editing is key to bringing the film’s three sections together as the product of the Son’s wandering mind, with flashes and echoes of previous scenes opening up and explaining his troubled psychology.
D.P.s Ricardo de Gracia and Miguel Amoedo are careful to give each section its own tone and color, but basically it’s all about elegant hand-held photography that busily swoops and glides, spending a great deal time on the Son’s intense, otherworldly gaze: visually at least, Gertrudix is a compelling screen presence. The music is key to the mood, and tends towards the tremblingly delicate, whether through the incorporation of a harp or through a hesitant version of "Mr Tambourine Man," performed by Medina: The Cinematic Orchestra’s "To Build a Home" bring things to a potently emotional conclusion.

Production: Elamedia, Encanta Films
Cast: Andres Gertrudix, Lola Duenas, Najwa Nimri, Susi Sanchez, Paula Medina, Manuel Castillo
Director, screenwriter: Ramon Salazar
Producers: Roberto Butragueno, Salazar
Director of photography: Ricardo de Gracia, Miguel Amoedo
Production designer: Alejandro Prieto Barral
Editor: Salazar, Abian Molina
Music: Najwa Nimri, Ivan Valdes Sound: Alvaro Lopez-Arregui
Wardrobe: Clara Bilbao
No rating, 113 minutes

Balu Mahendra - A fascinating journey in filmdom

There she was, under that huge tree, her face shining brighter than the thousand lamps she lit up, to welcome him home, after years spent in jail. The climax of Yathra was moving. And pretty as a painting. Only a director, and a cinematographer, with delicate sensibilities could have shot it like that. Balu Mahendra, who died in Chennai on Thursday at the age of 74, was both.

Not many in Indian cinema have both called and performed ‘cut’ as well as he did. Yes, he did most of his work in Tamil, his mother tongue, but his contribution to Malayalam cinema is not inconsiderable, either.

Yathra remains one of the greatest love stories in Malayalam cinema. The poignant story of a forest officer, who is arrested by the police mistaking him for a criminal, and a poor girl from his neighbourhood was a big commercial success too.

Fine performances from Mammootty and Shobana and pleasing music, both songs and background, by Ilayaraja also ensured that Yathra would be remembered long after it was released in 1985. “ Yathra is my personal favourite in Malayalam,” Balu had told this writer in an interview over three years ago. “I had to shoot the entire sequence of the climax in one night and we had lit up 1,500 lamps, but a wind would come and blow out many of them; it was a tiring task.”

Balu’s journey in Malayalam cinema had begun long before that, in 1974, when he was assigned as the cinematographer by Ramu Karyat for Nellu . He went on to crank the camera for talented directors such as P.N. Menon, K.S. Sethumadhavan, Bharathan, and K.G. George. He was also Mani Ratnam’s first cinematographer; the film was in Kannada, Pallavi Anu Pallavi .

He shot one of the biggest blockbusters ever of South Indian cinema – Sankarabharanam . “The film was rejected by as many 45 distributors before it was first released,” he had said.

Balu could make a sudden impact as a director too, with films such as Azhiyadha Kolangal , which he said was autobiographical, Marupadiyum and Moondram Pirai , which should be among the finest films in Tamil.

His first Malayalam film, Olangal , was based on Erich Seghal’s novel Man, Woman and Child . The film that sensitively portrayed the human emotions in a complex situation was well received.

EXCLUSIVE: Paul Walker’s brother to star in remaining "Fast and Furious" Movie

The lookalike brother of tragic Fast and The Furious star Paul Walker is being lined up for a recurring role in the hit box office franchise after stepping in for the star.

Cody, 25, agreed to film crucial scenes for the Fast and The Furious 7 following the star's death in November as a tribute to his older brother.

And a production source tells Mail Online that Cody will be given a role in future movies, saying: 'Paul's character Brian O'Conner will be seen retiring, while his younger brother will join the crew.'

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