And the Oscar Goes To… Not a Clue

Currently browsing the "Nicole Kidman" tag.

Quickie Review: The Northman

This is a quickie because I know I am not the audience for this violent revenge epic.  It’s the latest from writer/director Robert Eggers who garnered high praise for his previous film The Lighthouse. Similar in tone, The Northman depends very heavily on atmosphere and creating an authentic time period rather than character or story. In a nod to Hamlet, Amleth (Alexander Skarsgård) sees his dear father King Aurvandill (Ethan Hawke) killed by his Uncle Fjölnir (Claes Bang) and his mother Gudrún (Nicole Kidman) taken by him as his wife. He escapes vowing, “I will avenge you, Father. I will save you, Mother. I will kill you, Fjölnir.” And that’s just what he does for the next 137 minutes.

Review: Being the Ricardos

Aaron Sorkin (The Trial of the Chicago Seven, The Social Network) is the undisputed master of clever, snappy dialogue.  And here he turns his gift to telling the story of the It Couple of the 50s — Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz. He focuses the narrative on one particular week in 1953 when their world came close to crashing down because of a couple of media stories. Nicole Kidman and Javier Bardem star as the power couple prepping for their weekly “I Love Lucy” episode while scrambling to make one huge (and one small) scandal disappear. And while that story is unfolding the backstory of their relationship comes out in flashbacks. Sadly though it should be a lot more satisfying that it ends up being. 

Review: The Prom

I miss Broadway. And while Hamilton certainly helped fill the void during this pandemic, the historical rapfest isn’t one of those big, splashy, colorful broadway musicals that you serendipitously try to catch after standing in the discount line at TKTS. The Prom fits that particular playbill. Director Ryan Murphy (TV’s Glee) saw the show on Broadway and immediately knew he could adapt it to the big screen (or small screen, as the case may be). Add a hefty dose of star power, make it available on Netflix, and let the party – or prom – commence.

Review: Bombshell

This movie has so much going for it – a knock-out cast, a ripped from the headlines #metoo #girlpower story, a humiliating takedown of the creator of Fox News – so why in the world isn’t it more compelling? Bombshell is taken from a true story. In case you missed it, a couple of years back, Gretchen Carlson (Nicole Kidman) one of the blondes of Fox News was fired and rather than just take it on the chin, she sued her boss, Fox founder Roger Ailes (John Lithgow), for sexual harassment and opened the gates for a flood of other women within the organization to come forward with similar stories, culminating in his ouster. At about the same time another of the beautiful women of Fox, Megyn Kelly (channeled here by the amazing Charlize Theron) decided to have her very own #girlpower moment during a Republican presidential debate when she famously asked GOP candidate Trump about his sexist treatment of women and was the recipient of one of his memorable disses about “blood coming out of her wherever.” You might think these two women would be natural allies then. But it seems that at Fox News it was every woman for herself.

Review: The Goldfinch

Some movies inspire me to run out and buy (or download) the books upon which they are based. The Goldfinch is not one of them. I’m sure it’s a fine book. It won the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and spent more than 30 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. But that doesn’t make it ripe for the big screen. It’s a long book, and a slog of a movie – despite having an interesting premise, an appealing cast, and strong cinematography. When the first trailers hit, I pegged The Goldfinch as early Oscar bait. Now I predict it will vanish from contention almost as quickly as the painting of a tiny bird chained to its perch vanished from a bombed-out museum.

Review: The Upside

The Upside is a good movie. But it’s an American remake of a better movie called The Intouchables. So I’m in a bit of a conundrum. My preference would be that everyone see the 2011 French indie, but I know that’s a big ask. So if you’re not inclined to see the superior version – or you’ve put it on the list of ‘movies to rent someday’ – then go ahead and check out The Upside, primarily to revel in the comedic and dramatic acting chops of Bryan Cranston. He plays a quadriplegic billionaire, Phillip Lacasse, who hires a recently-paroled ex-convict named Dell (Kevin Hart) to be his caretaker. Phillip figures Dell is the only candidate for the job who is irresponsible and reckless enough to let him die. 

Review: Destroyer

When beautiful actresses make themselves ugly for a role, it’s always hard to see them that way. In Destroyer, Nicole Kidman plays an LA detective whose life took a dark turn after an undercover stint that went terribly wrong. It’s been 17 years since then and she’s still haunted by it. And then the man who made her into the drunk and lonely woman she has become comes back into her life, and she’s on a solo mission to finally take him out. The film jumps around in time, back to when she was undercover and then forward to her pursuit, and it’s sometimes a bit intentionally fuzzy as to the timeline. It’s not a particularly new story, and the script uses a bit too many film noir clichés. But my biggest problem with the film is the way that the filmmakers chose to make Kidman ugly. She’s supposed to be so broken as to not care about how she looks, but she has highlights! And her hair looks like a bad wig, but it’s styled and the grizzled face make-up is just over the top. It’s entirely distracting because is doesn’t look real, and Kidman is on camera the whole time, frequently in close-up. Grrrr!

Review: Aquaman

Aquaman is a bit of a hot mess, but it’s not a total washout. It’s one of those ‘must-see regardless’ movies for fans and followers of the DC comic universe, i.e. the one that includes ‘Justice Leaguers’ Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman. It’s the first full-length feature film to dive into the origin story of Arthur Curry aka Aquaman (Jason Momoa), the half-human, half-Atlantean who wields a trident and can navigate two worlds– one on the surface, the other underwater. As it is, I always have to tread carefully when reviewing superhero movies so as not to inadvertently spoil things for the faithful. So I’ll keep it simple and brief, unlike the movie, which drags on too long, and tries to do too much.

Review: The Killing of a Sacred Deer

This is the second film I’ve seen from writer/director Yorgos Lanthimos, the first being The Lobster, which I thoroughly enjoyed. This one has the same altered-reality conceit, that the world is very nearly the one we live in, but has a few odd twists that set it apart. In The Killing of a Sacred Deer, a family lives a nice upper-middle class existence. The parents (Colin Farrell and Nicole Kidman) are both doctors. The kids are attractive and smart. Things seem great, until Dad introduces them to a teenage boy he’s taken under his wing and then things go sideways.

The Beguiled Review

When I heard this film was being done, my first thought was, “A remake of the 70s Clint Eastwood flick? Why?” But fortunately it’s not a remake. Sophia Coppola has turned the previously digested source material into her own sensually atmospheric historical drama. Starring a very talented bunch, including Nicole Kidman, Kirsten Dunst, Elle Fanning, and Colin Farrell, it’s a psychological tableaux set in the waning days of the Civil War at an isolated girls’ school in Virginia. When a wounded Union soldier (Farrell) is brought into their midst, their routine life is disrupted, they each begin to vie for his attention, and you just know it can’t end well.