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Lovelace

It’s 1972 and Linda Boreman (played by Amanda Seyfried) is 20 years old. She’s been raised in middle America by her strict, religious and upstanding parents Dorothy (by Sharon Stone) and John (by Robert Patrick). She’s had her moments … a teen pregnancy a year or so before, but on the whole she’s a naive young woman who just wants a happy life, good marriage and to please her husband. Her friend, Patsy, (by Juno Temple) is far more curious and adventurous and she drags Linda along to parties to get her to “loosen up a little”. Linda meets charming Chuck Traynor (by Peter Sarsgaard) and they instantly fall in love. Although her parents are unimpressed, she moves in with Chuck and they are very happy together. Wanting to please her husband, Linda is happy to learn all the ways to make him happy … and he’s keen to teach her. Their sex life is healthy and – thanks to Chuck’s coaching – Linda develops some desirable skills for Chuck. Chuck decides he can take advantage of Linda’s skills and he uses his contacts, Butchie Peraino (by Bobby Cannavale), Gerry Damiano (by Hank Azaria) and Anthony Romano (by Chris Noth) to get her a role in a porn movie. She innocently complies and they produce “Deep Throat” – the first scripted porn movie. She’s unknown in the industry, and they promote her as Linda Lovelace – her notoriety soon grows when the movie is released. She’s a huge success and their life changes significantly. Chuck builds a business based on Linda’s reputation – but life is not what it seems for Linda. She is subjected to cruel abuse by Chuck and she never sees a penny of the money she has earned for him. She lives in a dark world of violence, fear and abuse – and nobody knows it …..

This is a good movie because it’s a true story. You won’t see any porn here – in fact, whilst there’s a lot of swearing, there’s very little nudity. It has been made to tell the story of the domestic violence endured by Linda Boreman during her “career” as Linda Lovelace. Her struggle to be heard by anybody through these years is palpable and the drama is portrayed well. Only her friend, Patsy, has any inkling that things are troubled. Linda’s parents are oblivious to what’s happening in her real life – seeing only the public persona and getting stuck in their own intolerance and misunderstanding of their daughter. Chuck Traynor is a nasty piece of work – entirely greedy, selfish, cruel and utterly heartless. His treatment of Linda is horrific. The performances are good – Amanda Seyfried is marvellous as Linda Boreman/Lovelace, Sharon Stone is totally unrecognisable as Dorothy Boreman, as is James Franco as Hugh Hefner. Peter Sarsgaard is very good – he’s frightening in this role. Chris Noth’s portrayal as Anthony Romano is great and it’s good to see Demi Mazar here too. Linda Boreman finally found the strength to speak out and also wrote a memoior about her horrific personal life, known as “Ordeal”.

Made in 2013. Directed by Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman.

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Posted by on August 10, 2014 in Movies

 

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Homefront

Phil Broker (played by Jason Statham) has lived life on the edge. As a drug enforcement agent, he’s worked undercover and broken some highly organised drug rings, but when a drug bust goes wrong he gets on the wrong side of a few seriously bad people. These days Phil is laying low and wants a quiet life for himself and his 9 year old daughter, Maddy (by Izabela Vidovic). They’ve moved around a bit and recently settled in a quiet bayou town. Maddy’s getting used to her school, thanks to her teacher Susan Hetch (by Rachelle Lefevre), but one day she defends herself against a bully, which brings attention on herself and her father. Being new in this small town, the locals are suspicious of Phil and two parents at the school, Jimmy and Cassie Klum (by Marcus Hester and Kate Bosworth), start to stir up trouble. Sherriff Keith Rodrigue (by Clancy Brown) keeps his distance, but doesn’t trust Phil or like the developing mood in town. Then Cassie’s brother and methamphetamine drug dealer, Morgan ‘Gator’ Bodine (by James Franco), starts to overstep his turf and Phil can’t ignore his DEA instincts – he investigates Gator’s set up, which puts him and Maddy at risk when he realises the extent of Gator’s activity in the town. He must break down the drug lab, keep his own identity secure somehow, but keep Maddy safe too …

This movie is okay, but doesn’t seem too sure about what it is. There are high action scenes (that possibly reflects the input of screenplay writer Sylvester Stallone), and there are calmer home-life family parts too – with even a smidgen of romance – but it never really settles on being a particular thing. In itself, the story is fairly average – a cop who gets in a fix, drops out of sight, tries to keep out of trouble but due to bad luck and timing the crooks uncover where he is – predictable overall. As Phil Broker, Jason Statham puts in a good performance, but it’s not overwhelming. Same can be said for James Franco and Winona Ryder – they do their work, but I wouldn’t rave over any of it. The performance with the most promise is Clancy Brown’s portrayal of Sherriff Rodrigue – at least this character has more than one layer, which makes him the most interesting to watch. Overall, the movie is okay – but I’d wait for it to come on television.

Made in 2013. Directed by Gary Fleder

 
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Posted by on July 29, 2014 in Movies

 

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Eat Pray Love

Elizabeth Gilbert (played by Julia Roberts) is a writer with a successful career. She is married to Stephen (by Billy Crudup) and she has a seemingly idyllic life – but she realises she’s not happy, she feels lost and confused and is searching for “something”. On a visit to Bali she meets a wise old man, Ketut Liyer (by Hadi Subiyanto) who starts her thinking about what’s real about her life – and what she really wants. So she takes it on – she leaves everything she knows and her best friend Delia (by Viola Davis) behind and starts her own journey. Along the way, she finds a short passionate romance with David (by James Franco), some wonderful locations, marvellous people including Richard from Texas (by Richard Jenkins) and much fruitful contemplation about her life, until she finally arrives at her point of calm awareness and her positive future opens up ahead of her. 

I am ambivalent about this movie. At first my expectations weren’t high – it had never really been a movie that interested me hugely, but I wanted to see it – so I did. As the story developed I wondered whether I had been wrong in my original presumption about it – perhaps there was more to this story that simply a heart-broken woman searching for “herself” through her next big love. I was pleased that Elizabeth Gilbert had shown strength and independence in her adventures in Italy, India and Indonesia and I have no wish to cast doubt on the self-discovery and enlightenment that the real Liz Gilbert did actually experience in her real life journey (upon which the memoir and this movie are based). But I had hoped that the key lessons and the life principles she was starting to develop would be more about inner strength, independence, self-belief, spirituality and the realisation that a relationship isn’t the be-all and end-all of life. I hoped that she discovered she could find peace, solace and happiness in things other than romance. However, this was not the case – in the end the story is just another banal tale about losing yourself, finding yourself and then finding love – ho hum … I think a much better title for this movie is “It’s all about me really” …..

Note – the supporting roles are all good – Richard Jenkins and Javier Bardem are great and best is Viola Davis who, in 2011,  was actually nominated for a Black Reel Award as Best Supporting Actress for this work. Shame their great talents are wasted in this – it’s no more than a chick flick, not a great piece for women as Oprah or Ellen may have mislead you to believe.

 Made in 2010. Directed by Ryan Murphy

 
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Posted by on March 11, 2013 in Movies

 

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Milk

Harvey Milk (played by Sean Penn) is an active political figure in 1970’s San Francisco, who became the first openly gay person to hold significant public office in America. Harvey moved to San Francisco from New York after he met his partner Scott Smith (by James Franco). Together they opened a camera store in Castro Street which became a popular meeting spot for the gay community and was also the activity hub where Harvey managed his attempts to run for public office.  Throughout these times, he became known as the Mayor of Castro Street as he amassed an effective campaign team, managed by Scott Smith and supported by Cleve Jones (by Emile Hirsch). As his loyal supporters grew in number and his activities gained more notoriety, so did his awareness of the possibility of achieving real change for people who up until that point had led rather secretive lives.

Using flashbacks from a statement Harvey recorded and current affairs archival footage, the film traces Milk’s career from his 40th birthday to his death in 1978 when he was assassinated by fellow San Francisco Supervisor Dan White (by Josh Brolin). It provides us with a dramatisation of the efforts and challenges Harvey went through to achieve significant change in America.

Sean Penn and James Franco are really great in this movie. Penn totally becomes Harvey Milk, his appearance is strikingly similar and his performance clearly and accurately portrays Harvey’s gentle nature, his canny understanding of politics, his courage and his determination for change.

It’s very good.

(Made: 2009)

 
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Posted by on February 7, 2012 in Movies

 

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127 Hours

‎127 HOURS is a great movie, based on the true story of a bush-walking adventurer who got into difficulties whilst on a lone weekend bush walk in the Utah mountains. Those who are bushwalkers and/or rock climbers amongst us will really identify with the main character Aaron’s (played by James Franco) love of the great outdoors and the sheer beauty of wilderness he finds himself in. However, his guts, presence of mind and sheer determination never to give in is something to see!!!  It is a well made movie too – an excellent effort by director Danny Boyle and James Franco.

 
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Posted by on November 22, 2011 in Movies

 

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