Thursday, Oct 17, 2019
 
search SGN
SERVING SEATTLE AND THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST FOR 37 YEARS!

click to visit advertiser's website


Javascript DHTML Drop Down Menu Powered by dhtml-menu-builder.com

Last Weeks Edition
   
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website




 
 

 

 

[Valid RSS]

click to go to advertisers website
to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, April 19, 2013 - Volume 41 Issue 16
Movie Reviews
Arts & Entertainment
ALL STORIES
  next story
Good company - Robert Redford's latest directorial effort is familiar yet entertaining
by Sara Michelle Fetters - SGN A&E Writer

THE COMPANY YOU KEEP
Opens April 19


Sharon Solarz (Susan Sarandon) has been arrested. Thirty years after her involvement in the robbery of a Michigan bank that led to the death of a guard, the former Weather Underground operative, now living as a suburban wife and mother, has found herself in handcuffs, FBI Special Agent Cornelius (Terrence Howard) showcasing intense pride in taking her into custody.

Thing is, she was on her way to turn herself in, having decided it was time to meet with the authorities and discuss just how involved she was in the actual robbery. What she did not expect was that young journalist Ben Shepard (Shia LaBeouf), at the urging of his beleaguered editor, Ray Fuller (Stanley Tucci), would be drawn to her story like a dog in heat. Understanding the value of what the chronicling of her capture could mean for his career, knowing how it could skyrocket him into the national consciousness if he could somehow ascertain the whereabouts of her supposed co-conspirators, the reporter starts digging like mad, discovering half-truths he hurriedly fleshes out into complete stories long before full understanding is gained.

Enter public-interest lawyer Jim Grant (Robert Redford). His younger wife recently deceased, the single father of 12-year-old Isabel (Jackie Evancho) knows he is about to be forced to make a major sacrifice. Calling the brother (Chris Cooper) he promised never to embroil in his complicated past mistakes, he leaves the girl in his care as he races into the wilderness to right a wrong he had long hoped would be forgotten. With time running out, and with Ben doggedly on his tail, Jim is on a collision course to discover the whereabouts of his ex, Mimi Lurie (Julie Christie), the truths about their complicated relationship the key to discovering just what happened at the Michigan bank three decades prior.

MEDIA MATTERS
Based on the novel by Neil Gordon and with a screenplay by Lem Dobbs (Haywire, The Limey), Redford's latest directorial enterprise is a very '70s-style political thriller that goes out of its way to comment on the current state of American journalism. On that front, the filmmaker eviscerates what he sees as too much corporate interference coupled with youthful malaise engineered by social media and the pressure to be first to report a story no matter what (even if the story is inaccurate). If the protagonists of All the President's Men are the pinnacle of journalistic ethics, The Company You Keep's Ben Shepard is an energetic lost, if smart, lamb trapped in a barren pasture of his own design, his eagerness to be popular inadvertently subverting his intellectual drive for the truth.

As for the other story, similarities to the Redford-starring Sneakers aside, it's pretty straightforward, and for all the star cameos (Nick Nolte, Sam Elliott, Richard Jenkins, Brit Marling, Brendan Gleeson, Anna Kendrick, and Stephen Root filling key supporting roles) it isn't exactly a surprise where any of this is headed. Grant's journey is a familiar one, and while his ultimate reasons for seeking out Mimi are a bit interesting, it's not exactly a shock if the viewer has put the pieces together long before their climactic conversation ever takes place.

While the portion of the film commenting on today's standards of journalism can be on the heavy-handed side, and while the actual suspense-thriller-mystery sections are too familiar, all the same I found myself enjoying The Company You Keep. Redford's confident, effortless handling of this material is moderately impressive, and where some of his recent efforts haven't exactly made the grade (The Conspirator, The Legend of Bagger Vance) or lived up to expectations (Lions for Lambs), this one comes remarkably close to doing so even with a few important elements working decidedly against it.

AWESOME CASTING
It helps that the cast is aces across the board. Better, Dobbs has given them all something interesting to play, and even if their screen time is brief all of them manage to give their respective characters a memorable trait giving them dimensionality easy to respond to - and, in most cases, relate to. On top of that, both Grant and Shepard are worthy protagonists, each of them not what they initially appear with both Redford and LaBeouf diving in making them come to life with a complex electric vitality I couldn't resist.

The Company You Keep is far from perfect, and I think with maybe one more rewrite Dobbs could have crafted something that rose to the same heights as his work for Stephen Soderbergh has in the past. Still, thanks to expert craftsmanship (as always, the director/star has assembled a crackerjack technical team, the movie looking and sounding terrific) and solid performances by all involved, I enjoyed the film. While not as prescient as it thinks it is, or as twisty as the filmmakers hoped, the tale intelligently being spun remains a solid one, and, as old-school political thrillers go, Redford has done a reasonably good job that many will happily be satisfied with.


Playing catch-up with the Oscars - 2012's most celebrated films are now out on Blu-ray
by Chris Azzopardi - SGN Contributing Writer

So how many of the big winners at the 2013 Academy Awards have you actually seen? It's time to sit down and get up to speed, now that many of them are available on home video. Here are several to get you started.

LES MISÉRABLES
Wins: Actress in a Supporting Role (Anne Hathaway), Sound Mixing, Makeup and Hairstyling
Boasting of its eight Academy Award nominations, three Golden Globe wins and 'perfect' picture and sound, the Les Misérables Blu-ray - all right, you got me with that velvet-soft slipcase, Universal - is as showy as director Tom Hooper's stuffy, up-the-nose shots of his live 'singers.' And if you want to hang out in Hugh Jackman's nostril cavities, then be my guest. Other reasons for seeing Hooper's version of the Broadway hit: You like overwrought musicals where people sing about suffering, and then sing about suffering some more. For almost three hours. You are curious to hear just how bad Russell Crowe sounds. You want to see Anne Hathaway own that Oscar win as a prostitute in need of a shower, who sings better than Susan Boyle. That performance, and also Jackman as Jean Valjean, elevates one of the greatest misses of last year, but only so much. And not enough. If you want to see Anne (pretend to) get emotional discussing her character - and ogle a shirtless Hugh at the gym - the extras are for you, too.

SKYFALL
Wins: Original Song, Sound Editing
For a half century, the James Bond franchise - 23 films, including this one - has built a wildly heteronormative world based on chases and girls and beating the bad guys. So, of course madness and mayhem and machismo endure in Skyfall, but this exhilarating joyride doesn't stop there: A bad call in the beginning puts Bond's life in danger, things get complicated between 007 and M (Judi Dench, chewing up every scene) and a deranged arch-nemesis (maniacal marvel Javier Bardem) puts the moves on his foe. Bond himself, played by Daniel Craig at his best, even suggests he's maybe a little Gay (uh-oh). With a team of shrewd writers, and director Sam Mendes' stylistic influence (he won an Oscar for American Beauty), Bond is more grounded - more human - than ever: He's aging and he knows his days are numbered. Mortality and loss are at the film's rich, gritty center, but Skyfall - a major comeback after Quantum of Solace - soars with life. The hour-long doc 'Shooting Bond' looks at the dashing stunts and psychedelic title sequence, which accompanies one of the best Bond themes ever, by you know who: Adele.

WRECK-IT RALPH/PAPERMAN
Wins: Short Film (Animated)
People adored Sarah Silverman as the squawking tyke. They loved her rainbow-colored world. All the 'joyful' nostalgia and turd jokes? They loved those, too. Not me. Wreck-It Ralph, with Jane Lynch essentially doing an animated Sue Sylvester, is a genius concept that goes 'Game Over' after a promising start - where the bad boys of arcade, including ransacker Ralph, sit in group therapy and discuss their aggressiveness - left-right-lefts into an obnoxiously grating ADHD nuisance. I kept wanting Ralph to wreck this and restart. That's not to say Ralph doesn't make clever gaming-culture cracks, but not nearly enough to justify spending almost all its time in the acid-trippy 'Sugar Rush' game, run by the stereotypical 'Nelly wafer' King Candy. If you wanna spend an hour in Candyland, call your Gayest friend and get the board game out. Extras aren't so great either, though it does include Disney's enchanting Oscar-winning short Paperman, which is better than the feature film.

ZERO DARK THIRTY
Wins: Sound Editing
During a short featurette, director Kathryn Bigelow says she wouldn't do her Osama bin Laden docudrama - an unnerving and exceptional retelling of the arduous manhunt - without Jessica Chastain. And good for her. Chastain is an actress of immense versatility with an already impressive resume, and her Maya (which nabbed the star a Best Actress Golden Globe) is portrayed with feminist fierceness, strident determination, confidence, and ultra-badassery. She knows it, too. 'I'm the motherfucker who found this place,' she tells an inquiring CIA agent. They believe her, at least enough to crash into and shoot up Bin's compound, because she believes in herself. The tense, gripping search, with its false leads, suicide bombings, torture interrogations, and eventual raid (spectacularly and realistically shot, by the way), becomes just as much about the man behind the 9/11 attacks as it does the woman - that's right: the woman - who nailed him. With all the supplemental possibilities, it's a shame only four featurettes - the best being the one on Chastain - round out the set. LINCOLN
Wins: Actor in a Leading Role (Daniel Day-Lewis), Production Design
Set during the Civil War just as Honest Abe enters his second presidential term, Steven Spielberg's inspiring biopic spotlights the landmark amendment to abolish slavery and the knuckle-clenching courtroom drama that ensued. As the Supreme Court hears arguments for Gay marriage, Lincoln is both timely and hopeful (we know what happened then: equality prevailed). The first half of out scribe Tony Kushner's meticulously focused script is dense and dry in textbook history - it's all conversation (too much conversation) after that deceptive opening war scene - before delegates group for the big climactic vote. Day-Lewis makes a riveting Abe that, like Lincoln himself, will go down in history. Not only is the resemblance uncanny, he emancipates every scene with gravitas. Sally Field also does career-best work as wife Mary Todd. She gets to cry. Enough said. Special features are scant, but they decently skim all aspects of Lincoln, from the artistic production design to casting. LIFE OF PI
Wins: Directing, Cinematography, Visual Effects, Original Score
It's perfectly normal to have Ang Lee envy. Aside from winning the coveted statue at this year's Oscars for his soul-awakening masterpiece, the filmmaker (who's luckier than you) also directed Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal's spit-and-stick tent scene in Brokeback Mountain. Then Ang went ahead and made Life of Pi (the nerve!), an aesthetic dazzler that's also a spiritually rich thinker, based on the bestselling book, about a boy who survives a shipwreck and fights for survival in the middle of the ocean on a raft with a gaggle of animals. Lee immerses you in an extraordinarily breathtaking CGI-enhanced out-at-sea adventure, with all the majestic wonder of a dream. At dawn, it's rich and lucid; nighttime is celestial and shimmery. No film in 2012 looked better than Life of Pi (both 2D and 3D formats are available on Blu-ray). So, even if the allegory doesn't click, you won't be at all bored trying to figure it out. Extras include an hour-long doc covering the story's novel-to-screen evolution and an entire feature dedicated to Richard Parker, the tiger. ARGO
Wins: Picture, Adapted Screenplay, Film Editing
Nobody's feeling sorry for Ben Affleck anymore - probably not even Affleck himself. Though wrongfully snubbed of even a nomination for Best Director, Affleck's historical account took home the Big One - as it should have - for his life-or-death dramatization of 1979's Iranian hostage crisis, when six U.S. Embassy escapees hide in the home of Canadian ambassador Ken Taylor (out actor Victor Garber). You might already know how it all shakes out when CIA staffer Tony Mendez leads the rescue mission, but Affleck's effective no-nonsense direction moves every scene along with nail-biting intensity - and, in the peripheral film-within-a-film, welcome comic relief - that no history book could possibly replicate. Besides an Affleck commentary, 'Picture in Picture: Eyewitness Account' headlines an impressive bunch of historically informative extras on the actual crisis. Chris Azzopardi is the editor of Q Syndicate, the international LGBT wire service. Reach him via his website, www.chris-azzopardi.com.






Rewriting Jessie Ware - The British journalist-turned-singer makes her U.S. debut
------------------------------
Sensational Swan Lake shimmers at McCaw Hall
------------------------------
The Trial will arrest your attention
------------------------------
Just desserts - The Gingerbread House is a spicy, if insubstantial, dark comedy
------------------------------
A flash of brilliance - Flashdance: The Musical surpasses all expectations
------------------------------
Musical minds - Seattle U concert is a lesson in what makes an artist
------------------------------
Visually spectacular Oblivion an unoriginal muddle
------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------
Good company - Robert Redford's latest directorial effort is familiar yet entertaining
------------------------------
Playing catch-up with the Oscars - 2012's most celebrated films are now out on Blu-ray
------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------
Crystal Castles gets an upgrade
------------------------------
Northwest News
------------------------------
Letters
------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

click to visit advertiser's website

click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
Seattle Gay Blog post your own information on
the Seattle Gay Blog
 

gay news feeds gay news readers gay rss gay
http://sgn.org/rss.xml | what is RSS? | Add to Google use Google to set up your RSS feed
SGN Calendar For Mobile Phones http://sgn.org/rssCalendarMobile.xml
SGN Calendar http://sgn.org/rssCalendar.xml

Seattle Gay News - SGN
1605 12 Ave., Ste. 31
Seattle, WA 98122

Phone 206-324-4297
Fax 206-322-7188

email: sgn2@sgn.org
website suggestions: web@sgn.org

copyright Seattle Gay News - DigitalTeamWorks 2012

USA Gay News American News American Gay News USA American Gay News United States American Lesbian News USA American Lesbian News United States USA News
Pacific Northwest News in Seattle News in Washington State News