Currently browsing the "Matthias Schoenaerts" tag.

Review: The Old Guard

In the mood for a superhero action movie? Historical fiction? A supernatural flick? A war drama? Sci-fi/fantasy? A message movie? A hint of romance? A high-octane, double-dose of girl power? The Old Guard is all of the above. It stars Charlize Theron as Andy (aka Andromache of Scythia), the leader of a small army of immortal, centuries-old mercenaries who land in the present-day crosshairs of an ex-CIA operative and a cartoonishly evil big pharma CEO motivated by profits.

Mainstream Chick’s Quick Takes: Money Monster; A Bigger Splash; High-Rise

Money Monster is a satisfying crowd-pleaser that definitely benefits from the established rapport between lead actors George Clooney and Julia Roberts and the solid direction of Jodie Foster. Clooney plays an outlandish, self-centered, Jim-Cramer-Mad-Money-type financial TV host named Lee Gates who shares stock tips with what he thinks is an adoring public. Roberts plays his producer/director Patty. She’s the one who keeps Gates and the show on track from her seat in the Control Room. Their usual routine is disrupted on live television when a disgruntled investor named Kyle (British actor Jack O’Connell looking and sounding as American as apple pie) gets into the studio, straps an explosive vest on Lee, and demands to know the source of a so-called ‘glitch’ that caused a particular stock – and his investment- to implode. The result is a tense conspiracy thriller with enough light moments peppered throughout (including some funky dance moves from Clooney) to boost the overall entertainment factor. Money Monster doesn’t really need to be seen on the big screen, but it’s the best of the week’s new offerings for anyone just looking for a solid, well-paced drama with star power.

Far from the Madding Crowd

What a simply horrid problem Bathsheba Everdene (Katniss’s great-great grandmother?) has to contend with! She’s young and pretty and has inherited a big old house in the British countryside with its own working farm and the money to run it, and she has three, count them, THREE men who want to marry her. The downside to her situation is that she lives in Victorian England and women are not supposed to be independent or headstrong. In this latest adaptation of the Thomas Hardy novel, Carey Mulligan plays Bathsheba with a decidedly 21st century vibe. And that works because really at its core Far from the Madding Crowd is a timeless tale of recognizing the love that is right in front of you, no matter what anyone thinks.

The Oscar nominated Live Action Shorts

The live action shorts are not nearly as short as the animated ones. Some even clock in at over a half hour. (The cut-off is 40 minutes.) I imagine that is because animation is so labor intensive. But the added time is not wasted. These movies are more than scenes cut from a longer story. They are stand-alone films where the narrative may be compact, but the characters live out their full arcs. And the genres for these films are as varied as the locations they cover — drama, fantasy, even comedy, in New York City, Somalia, and Afghanistan. All of them are extremely well made with interesting stories, directed with assurance and with some surprising casting choices. The full roster of shorts is showing in some theaters around the country, but I think that is a horrible way to see them. They should be seen one at a time before a feature, as the film gods intended. (You can view all the trailers at the end of this post and decide for yourself if you want to venture out ahead of the Oscars.)

Rust and Bone (De rouille et d’os )

Rust and Bone opens with a man and a little boy hitchhiking, then on a train scavenging food from left-behind scraps. This is Ali (Matthias Schoenaerts) and his young son who are leaving Belgium and the boy’s mom behind for some sort of better life in the south of France, landing in Antibes at Ali’s sister’s house. They may be on the Cote d’Azure, but the neighborhood is strictly blue collar, and Ali’s sister, a cashier, soon gets him a job as a bouncer at a nice nightclub, thanks to his former life as a boxer. It is here he meets Stéphanie (Marion Cotillard) when he breaks up a fight she’s started and ends up driving her home. But it goes no further, since her boyfriend is waiting there. Nevertheless, Ali leaves his number just in case she needs anything.