Posts Tagged ‘ Bradley Cooper ’

THE BAFTAS

Baftas 2014
2013 Baftas

And so the round of award ceremonies, with their insincere heartfelt thanks and validation for those who demand more than most, begins with the Stephen Fry Show or the Baftas if you prefer to call it by its lesser known name. This year there has been a surfeit of great films-most released in the last two months in case the voters have short memories I presume- and most managed to take home a major prize thus ensuring no one film emerged as a runaway winner, although both Gravity and 12 Years A Slave triumphed several times in their nominated categories. There was even an ongoing joke about the Duke of Cambridge being Helen Mirren’s grandson-the Duke and the other Queen, Fry, made lame attempts to induce some hilarity out of this- due to a role she once memorably played. Oh, how we didn’t laugh!
However Martin Scorsese’s Wolf of Wall Street missed out on its best chance of an award for Leonardo DiCaprio’s outstanding performance as Jordan Belfort and of all the major contenders was the only film to leave empty handed. I was disappointed that probably one of the most underwhelming films I have seen in the last year , Philomena, win the best adapted screenplay but was delighted to see Jennifer Lawrence win for her supporting role in American Hustle as she was my favourite character and performance in this film which had so many to choose from.
Chiwetel Ejiofor may have deservedly won for 12 Years A Slave-DiCaprio would have been my first choice-but I thought Michael Fassbender may also have walked off with best supporting actor as his performance was of such an intense and commanding nature he stole most scenes he was in. The supporting actor award however went to relative newcomer Barkhab Abdi for Captain Philips, a film I have not seen due to the fact I am a total Tom Hanks phobic and find it impossible to sit through anything he is in.
Cate Blanchett came up against stiff competition in her category –Amy Adams and Judi Dench although the least said about Sandra Bullock the better- but waltzed off with the Best Actress prize for her role in Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine.
Controversy reared its head over Gravity winning the Best British Film category with it being directed by the Mexican Alfonso Cuaron and starring Bullock and George Clooney, both big Hollywood players, but it was filmed in England with a British crew and most of the post production effects were added here so it seems quite fitting it won this category. If any film in the last year has been about the effects then Gravity was it.
Usually seen as less prestigious dry run for the Oscars next month it will be interesting to see whether there is as much diversity in their choices or whether one film will dominate above all others. Personally I feel it will be a close call between 12 Years A Slave and American Hustle but as I am unaware of insider industry politics and who has been kissing the most asses over the last twelve months it is hard to predict any inevitable outcome. Lat night merely showed that quite rightly several different films need to be commended on individual achievements and as such it made more sense that with such a strong line up each received awards recognising this.
As a footnote let it be noted that the dresses were, in the main, quite awful. Brad and Angelina looked good in their matching tuxedos though. A lesson in glamour so many could learn from that might, in the future, prevent them from looking like dropped trifles.
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JUST AN OBSERVATION

Just an Observation
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Already more than half way through the first month of 2014 and whilst certain parts of the country are suffering terrible rains followed by destructive flooding Scotland emerges relatively unscathed. Without wishing to jinx things it hasn’t even been that cold yet. I know, I know, I keep being told winter doesn’t really kick in until February but there is no denying that thus far we have been extremely lucky as regards the weather both temperature wise and in just about every other way too. After writing this I am sure we will suddenly be treated to extreme weather conditions and if this happens then feel free to blame me.
This week saw the iconic Kate Moss turn forty and typical of the Daily Mail who feel the need to attack any form of individuality or lack of conformity, like some kind of avenging and pious rottweiler , the accusations flew thick and fast that she may have committed the unforgivable sin of actually looking her actual age. As Moss herself has stated in the past, why shouldn’t she? Surely someone who has been working since she was fourteen and been at the top of her game since she was sixteen has earned the right to live her life any way she chooses to. Personally the fact she has not succumbed to our society’s obsession with remaining ever youthful but is seemingly comfortable in her own skin and body is something to be commended not scorned.
Having met Kate at a Kills gig at the Liquid Rooms I can confirm that in person she is gorgeous but more than that she is actually down to earth and on the night in question she was merely out as a girl supporting her boyfriend- Jamie Hince now her husband- and was simply out to have a good night. She appeared to be unaffected by the fuss that went on around her and I spent the bulk of the night in her company finding her entertaining, informed and in possession of the elusive qualities of charisma and instinct.
Instinct, along with hard work, is probably the quality which has afforded her longevity in a business notoriously fickle and for someone whose career involves being dressed by others in their designs it is when she appears in clothes of her own choosing that she really hits the mark. It is those outfits that others slavishly follow and adapt rather than the high fashion spreads in which she also shines. Some may argue that as she has access to such clothes then how can she possibly go wrong? The answer to that is simply very easily as so many others with the same access fail miserably.
Having lived her life thus far exactly as she wanted to is inspiring in our bland world of uniformity. In a position to choose who she hangs out with, goes out with and even who she marries these may all be fiercely debated and commented on but make no mistake at the end of the day the final decision has always rested with her. Even after she was pilloried in the press for taking drugs- model on cocaine whatever next?- she played the contrite game and came back bigger than ever even managing to secure the contracts which had dropped her in the light of the so called scandal at a higher rate than before.
Happy Birthday Kate, just keep on doing what you are doing and after your Playboy shoot I predict there will even be a resurgence in pubic hair growth. Waxing to a prepubescent state is all so outdated now. Fashion needs you and you are proof that style and verve will always outweigh fashion and its dictates.
Out at the cinema this weekend are two excellent films, American Hustle and 12 Years A Slave, both worthy of all the accolades they are collecting. Of the two I think American Hustle has the edge as the superb seventies styling and soundtrack are excellent and although I don’t usually advocate award ceremonies finding them to represent industry insider wheeling and dealings rather than artistic enterprise in the case of these two films I think they may have actually nailed it. Despite this the battle between these two could be thrown into disarray with the arrival of the new Coen Brothers film ‘Inside Llewyn Davis’, a veiled look at a fledgling Bob Dylan type, which looks like it could be another award contender and if not the only reason will be its release date in the schedules.
Out on Monday January 20th is the Fini Tribe classic Balearic anthem ‘De Testimony’ with a surfeit of remixes from the likes of Justin Robertson and Robot 84. Coming with a seal of approval from Irvine Welsh who rates them as highly influential on a scene which inspired him the single is available in an extremely limited edition-only 350 copies- 12” EP on the FFFt label although a digital download will be available a month later with a further remix by 808 State.
In support of this release The Fini Tribe crew are joining up with Rammed, a live music club experience, for two separate and different nights at the Voodoo Rooms in Edinburgh. The single launch night will take place on February 28th where the Fini Tribe Sound System will rock the night out alongside regular Rammed DJ’s The Baron and Oli Findlay in the French Quarter boasting a dance floor with flashing lights. The second outing is on April 26th in The Speakeasy which will feature a rare live appearance by the band. Both nights are not to be missed and further details will be announced nearer the time although spaces are bound to be limited due to the carefully selected intimacy of the venues’
As if to confirm that maybe Edinburgh does have a burgeoning underground music scene a pre-release copy of Opium Kitchen’s two track single ‘Hommagination’ and ‘We Will Be’ found its way into my inbox then swiftly into my heart this week. Due out on February 18th the former track is a louche piece of verbal and insistent, incessant guitar riffing played out over a solid rhythm section. The second track resembles Iggy Pop’s ‘Fall in Love with Me’ filtered through Joy Division-in a very good way- with some rumbling bass and nu-glam handclaps powered along with Robert King’s dark vocal stylings all adding up to heady mix and bubbling cauldron of dark mysterious cacophony. Sterling stuff indeed! Definitely something to look out for and there will be a full review nearer the time of release.
Here to round off today is the original mix of The Fini Tribe’s ‘De Testimony’ and remember to clear the dates 28th February and April 26th for those Rammed outings. Best clear the next days too!

American Hustle

American Hustle
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Right at the start of this superbly stylised movie directed by David O Russell we are told that it is ‘loosely based on a true story’ and this is about the last truly coherent thing this convoluted rollercoaster of a film reveals to its audience preferring instead to second guess the viewer in a similar vein to the way the films four central protagonists constantly strive to second guess and outdo each other. It certainly is an exhilarating ride which seldom lets up or comes up for air and is genuinely worthy of all the plaudits it has been garnering.
With a cast that includes a barely recognisable Christian Bale, complete with pot belly, shiny bald head and super glued toupee, as Irving Rosenfeld a con artist more than adept at charming and smarming greedy folk out of their probably not so hard earned cash with the promise of capitalising on their investment. Where his schemes really come into their own though is when he teams up with street smart Sydney Prosser (Amy Adams) who re-invents herself as English gentry going by the name of Lady Edith. Their however are rumbled by FBI agent Richie DiMaso (Bradley Cooper) who offers them immunity if they co-operate in a scheme to ensnare city officials and congressmen on the make in a bid to stop corruption and further his career.
Added to this self serving trio of miscreants is Irving’s wife Rosalyn (Jennifer Lawrence) whom he brilliantly describes as ‘The Picasso of passive-aggressive karate’ and who frequently unintentionally delivers a few kicks and blows which constantly threaten to undermine all their hard laboured scheming and plotting with hilarious results. Along the way Robert De Niro hitches a ride as the legal representative of some high placed mobster.
The plot is simultaneously convoluted but constantly entertaining and it is hard not to become embroiled in the fantastical story lines as they crash, collide, twist, turn and resolve themselves in a far from predictable manner. Each of the four actors plays off the other brilliantly and I can honestly say this is the first film I have ever enjoyed Bradley Cooper in.
The stylisation of the movie is impeccable with hair pieces, cool shades and curlers fighting for screen space alongside Adams’ seemingly never ending collection of plunging necklines slashed to the navel. The soundtrack is also well crafted with Bowie, Steely Dan, America’s ‘Horse with No Name’, The Temptations, Ella Fitzgerald and Duke Ellington all adding to the vibe. At one juncture there is a dance off between Donna Summer’s ‘I Feel Love and ‘Delilah’ by Tom Jones taking place on the same night at the same time in two different places.
Already the recipient of several major awards at the Golden Globes-including the mighty Best Picture- ‘American Hustle’ now looks set to do the same at the Oscars in two months time with its nearest competition being Steve Mc Queen’s outstanding ’12 Years A Slave’. Whatever the outcome on the night and regardless of awards-which don’t always reflect quality but the prejudices and influence of industry insiders- both films definitely deserve the plaudits they are receiving and both are very much worth seeing.

THE PLACE BEYOND THE PINES

The Place Beyond the Pines

 GOSLING

This film directed by Derek Cianfranc-Blue Valentine– is an ambitious attempt to draw together three separate narratives with a linking linear thread which succeeds on many levels but ultimately feels cumbersome and over extended towards its conclusion. Featuring Ryan Gosling as a bleached blonde, heavily tattooed biker boy in a ripped Metallica t-shirt who performs stunts in a travelling show, Cianfranc bravely kills his star off after the first hour. His lead role duties baton is immediately handed over to Bradley Cooper who carries the film until it is handed down to two younger actors Dane DeHaan and Emory Cohen who lead the film out in its least convincing sequence.

 Opening with a long shot of Gosling’s ‘photo-shopped’ torso the first part of the film focuses on his drifter character Luke whose life and attitude changes when he discovers he has fathered a child with Romina-Eva Mendes- and decides to stick around and be involved in his son Jason’s life. However a life on the straight and narrow provides neither financial gain nor excitement so eventually he turns to robbing banks with his friend Robin –Ben Mendelsohn- which eventually leads to a police shootout with fatal consequences. This brief scene is the only moment Gosling’s character and Cooper’s policeman, Avery Cross, actually intersect but it is a pivotal moment which ensures their lives are forever entwined.

 The consequences of Avery’s shooting of Luke are far reaching- he has a son the same age as Luke’s and feels guilt at leaving a youngster fatherless- and eventually he finds himself involved in police corruption led by a superior officer named Deluca- an appropriately menacing Ray Liotta- which he has to extricate himself from by any means necessary but ultimately in the most advantageous to himself.

 Fast forward fifteen years and the two progeny-both now 17- of the leading characters end up bonding at High School over alcohol, drugs and their outsider status. Avery Cross is now involved in politics and running for public office. His son AJ is sullen and moody despite all the advantages he has at his disposal. Luke’s son Jason however is as much of a loner but has his father’s naturally withdrawn state to contend with as well. The two form an unconvincing friendship which rapidly falls into competitiveness and eventually out and out hostility.

 This last section of the film is its least convincing and feels as if it has been tacked on to give the narrative some sense of closure. The acting performances are also in a different league to those of Cooper and Gosling and lose some of the momentum the two actors have managed to attain thus far. Gosling especially makes the most of his screen time with a performance which relies little on dialogue but more on the nuance of expression. In a lesser actor it would come across as little other than method moping- a fault the two younger actors in the last third of the film fall into- but in his hands it is a riveting performance on a par with his turn in Drive.

 Ultimately The Place Beyond the Pines falls short of its lofty ambitions but it is still an accomplished film which is head and shoulders above many others on the circuit at the moment. It is mainly its last section which lets it down but until that point it is an admirable attempt at drawing two different stories and lifestyle together and showing how one moment’s decision can affect certain individuals lives for years to come and for generations in the future.

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