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Entries in Bill Nighy (7)

Tuesday
Sep102019

TIFF Quickies: Animated Bollywood, Mother/Daughter Science, and Annette Bening

by Nathaniel R

HOPE GAP (UK, William Nicholson)
Have you ever wanted to see Annette Bening play a retired British poet attempting to create her own 'Martha & George'  dynamic with her unwilling elderly husband (Bill Nighy)? That was a rhetorical question. Of course you want to see The Bening do that as you'd want to see her do all things onscreen if you have any taste. Hope Gap, the second directorial effort from long time screenwriter William Nicholson (Gladiator, Shadowlands, Nell, etcetera...), is about a married couple of 29 years whose marriage has died. The wife just doesn't know it yet and continually "has a go" at her husband, eager to see him fight back or express anything at all. Their loving but avoidant son (Josh O'Connor, doing a 180 from his breakout role in In God's Country) is completely out of his depth as he is forced into the role of shoulder-to-cry on, referee, and messenger boy all at once. Though Bening struggles a bit with the accent, she's on typical fire when it comes to blending a well of complex emotion with crackling comic timing...

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Sunday
Dec242017

To Me, You Are Perfect: Ranking the Stories in "Love Actually" 

By Spencer Coile 

Every holiday season, we sit down with our favorite festive movies and return to the magic these films have to offer. Some turn to classics such as Its a Wonderful Life or the various renditions of A Christmas Carol. Others favor Die Hard, Gremlins, or something a bit more contemporary -- The Family Stone, anyone? Regardless, we come back to our favorites for comfort and a jolly mood.

Love Actually, to me, is that Christmas movie. Using the “interwoven lives” structure that so many rom-coms have since used disastrously, Love Actually uses the formula with beautiful effect. The result is a kindhearted, giant hug of a film that always manages to lift the spirits. Put on your holiday hats as we rank the 9 storylines... 

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Wednesday
Dec202017

Soundtracking: "Love Actually"

Chris's weekly look at music in movies gets festive for Love Actually!

Love Actually is so loaded with musical sequences you could almost call it a quasi-musical. That said, it is light on holiday music even though it is set at Christmas time. However, you can easily forgive Love Actually if you want it to be loaded on melodic holiday cheer because it uses the Christmas song of the past few decades: Mariah Carey’s All I Want for Christmas is You”.

Like Spider-Man and multiple lobsters’ participation in this Christmas pageant, Love Actually throws everything it can into its insane mix but is nevertheless a delight because of the reliable charms of genre hallmarks. “All I Want for Christmas is You” is about as indispensable as they come and a guaranteed bop. How many times have you already heard it this holiday season and how many more times will you hear it again before it’s over? Despite its ubiquity, the answer to both questions is “probably not enough”.

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Thursday
Sep252014

Review: 'Pride,' the Year's Most Adorable Movie

This article originally appeared in Nathaniel's column at Towleroad. It is reprinted here with their permission...

Truth is stranger-than-fiction and also often gayer. The new feature PRIDE dramatizes a largely unknown historical anecdote from the bitter year-long miner’s strike in Thatcher-era Britain when a group of gay activists fundraised for the miners. This alliance is at first an awkward tense match but it eventually finds heartwarming pockets of oxygen when these two unlikely groups are breathing the same air.

It begins with a handful of gay activists (“and lesbian!” their only female member interjects with a small wave in a recurring joke), notice a sudden decline in police bullying in their neighborhood. They make the connection: the conservative government has a new minority to scapegoat. They form a group called LGSM “Lesbians and Gays for the Striking Miners” to help the people suffering without paychecks for months on end — a byproduct of Margaret Thatcher’s war against the unions.

At first, though, these gay heroes can’t even find a miner’s group that will take their money in this cross culture dramedy. [more...]

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Tuesday
Oct012013

NYFF: Charm Offensive

TFE's coverage of the 51st New York Film Festival (Sep 27-Oct 14) continues with JA discussing About Time.

Charm is a hell of a drug. Be it in real life or up on a movie screen, it can intoxicate a person right out of their senses, making the charmer in question immune from all kinds of quibbles - major or minor, animal vegetable or mineral. If that certain somebody or somebodies are lighting off sparks, we the charmed, defenseless and weak, are willing to overlook a lot whilst under their spell. Put those fireworks front and center in a romantic comedy and you're pretty well good to go...

And so it goes with Richard Curtis' new flick About Time. There's actually a sequence in this movie where the beloveds at center stage (played by Domhnall Gleeson and Rachel McAdams) are falling for each other and we're given a montage of time passing involving wacky outfit changes and god save us all subway buskers, and yet instead of reaching into my brain through my ear canal and lobotomizing myself right then and there I only rolled my eyes a little - not even a lot! That's a feat, one I must lay down in awe at the feet of our charm-riddled lovebirds. ("It's the H1N1 of romantic comedies!" = my poster blurb.) I almost always find McAdams worth watching when she tries (at last year's fest I positively luxuriated in the sight of her campily swanning around in lingerie in Brian DePalma's Passion) and here she's at her most homespun loveable, fringe and all - she knows her way around and back again with a sly knowing smirk.

But I'd be lying if I said it my scales (and the movie's, it must be said) weren't tilted ever so slightly in the favor of Gleeson - indeed I came out of this movie thinking I'd just been introduced to the world's skinniest gingeriest movie star since Julia Roberts squealed "Well color me happy there's a sofa in here for two," in thigh high pleather boots and a Carol Channing wig. Domhnall's been building up a memorable resume with everything I've seen him in, from Never Let Me Go to Anna Karenina, but here, to borrow a turn of phrase from Mama Grape, he shimmers and he glows. Total charm offensive.

He's so captivating that not only can I overlook mad-cap subway musician antics, I can very nearly tip-toe right past all kinds of questionable moral quandaries that his time-travel antics cough up, like gosh there's nothing at all creepy about relationships built on excessive one-sided manipulations (they're not really lie lies), and gosh, women don't so much need personal agency, do they, as long as somebody parrots their girly likes back at them. (A fixation on Kate Moss is a really strange fixation for a person to have though. Really very.)

Indeed the movie manages to swerve around these sorts of questions by pushing the third act's beating heart, where our expectations are set for the standard relationship implosion-to-reconciliation arc, into the body of a father-son picture instead (Bill Nighy's basically just playing Bill Nighy, or the Bill Nighy we all imagine Bill Nighy is, but I still like Bill Nighy, so I was okay with it); there's life in the fact that the movie manages to side-step our well-trod expectations, to be sure, but the movie actually kind of forgets about McAdams once she's good and won and churning out the babies. I hoped there'd be some curiosity bestowed upon her character regarding her amour's constant shuffling off into cupboards, at least? But that wasn't to be - she's set on the shelf while the film unearths its true colors, as a tear-jerking fantasy about family and memory and the passage of time, and also ping pong. Most meaningful ping pong!

Honestly though, truth be told, I was so high off what Domnhall was giving me it was only once the film was over and my love hangover set in that I began picking our personal love affair apart. And even then notsomuch. Subway buskers come and go, but Domhnall's grin is forever.

You should all make time (groan) for About Time when it plays at the festival tonight, 10/2, or 10/6. Then come tell me whether I was blinded by ginger or not.

Monday
Aug062012

Review: "Total Recall" 

This review originally appeared in my column at Towleroad

It's hard not to feel sympathy for Colin Farrell. His secret movie star weapon is those long, thick unmistakable eyebrows. When he's in distress his brow lifts and pulls them up into a converging point, creating a perfect triangular frame for big brown orbs of boyish angst. "Help me!" is written all over his eyes. That same furrowed brow expression with just minor flickering shifts can also say "Please love me!" and "Aren't I funny?" and "..." His capacity for impish excitement and moral confusion were a perfect match for his best star turn to date in the hitman seriocomedy In Bruges (2008) and it helps the TOTAL RECALL do-over more than it should.

Farrell plays everyman Doug Quaid who doesn't realize he's actually someone else because his memory has been erased. A trip to the fantasy memory banks of "Total Rekall" (a reversal of Eternal Sunshine's "Lacuna Inc" since the company aims to give you false memories rather than take real ones away) upsets his reprogramming and suddenly he's killing soldiers with the trained might of a futuristic Jason Bourne. Returning home his formerly loving wife (Kate Beckinsale) tries to kill him.

Quaid realizes he's completely lost in a false life with no memory of the real one. Cut to: plentiful moments of Farrell Furrowing!

But you shouldn't have time to think about the magic and mystery of physiognomy while you're watching an action movie. If you do your mind wanders and questions come cascading in like...

"When did Kate Beckinsale's Hair becomes self-aware like SkyNet?" When?!?

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