Tag Archives: John Malkovich

Ripley’s Game

Tom Ripley (played by John Malkovich) is a dedicated art lover. He lives with his wife, Luisa (by Chiara Caselli) in a stylish villa near Venice. He’s also a cool, but sinister swindler and he has just returned from a trip to Berlin, where he sold $3 million-worth of art forgeries to his one-time partner Reeves (by Ray Winstone). Some time later, Reeves arrives at Ripley’s villa – he needs Ripley’s help to eliminate a Russian rival who threatens to move in on his territory in Germany. Ripley considers this dangerous task and proposes that they select a total innocent as the assassin, whom they would pay handsomely of course. He knows the perfect candidate – his mild-mannered local picture framer Jonathan Trevanny (by Dougray Scott), who is terminally ill and will soon need money to leave to support his wife (by Lena Headey) and their son. This will be the perfect plan – as long as Ripley can maintain control of everything – but can he?

I previously enjoyed the deeds of Patricia Highsmith’s character, Tom Ripley, when he was played by Matt Damon in the 1999 movie The Talented Mr. Ripley … but this Ripley is better. In fact, the entire movie is much better. Although he is still cool, unflappable and conniving, there is a far more menacing edge to Tom Ripley these days. John Malkovich is perfect to play this role – I don’t think he cracks a smile for the entire movie and when he wants to convey a message, often no dialogue is required. His performance is stunning. The atmosphere throughout the movie is dark and moody – in perfect support of the plot. The movie is elegant and well done. It is a good thriller.

Made in 2002. Directed by Liliana Cavani

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Posted by on May 9, 2012 in Movies


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Dangerous Liaisons

In 1760, the Marquise de Merteuil (played by Glenn Close) has a lot of spare time on her hands. She lives for the excitement of intrigue, revenge and passion but she has had a string of unsuccessful relationships, which has made her a lonely, spiteful and mischevious woman. To entertain herself, she decides to create some trouble between a young and virtuous woman called Cecile de Volanges (by Uma Thurman) and her betrothed [Gercourt]. She persuades her ex-lover, Vicomte de Valmont (by John Malkovich) to seduce Cecile before her wedding day, thus publicly humiliating Gercourt. However, Valmont is just as conniving and counters this with an offer to sleep with the beautiful, married, and God-fearing Madame de Tourvel (by Michelle Pfeiffer) – but only if the reward is a night in the Marquise’s own bed – she agrees (thinking this will be impossible for him) and insists that he provides proof for her. Valmont progresses with both conquests – but he develops a set of morals along the way, which causes the Marquise de Merteuil to become even more bitter and vindictive. There are life-changing consequences for everyone involved …

This is basically a French soap opera. Glenn Close and John Malkovich are excellent as these characters and it is clearly an adaptation of a play. The costumes are wonderful and the music is divine. You will probably enjoy the youthful, fresh face of Keanu Reeves as Decany also. The movie itself – it’s not a soaring passionate love story, nor a tradgedy, but it’s okay.

The movie won three Academy (Oscar) Awards in 1988 for Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Best Costume Design and Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium. It is adapted from French author Francois Choderlos de Laclos’ 1782 novel “Les Liasons Dangeureuses”

Made in 1988. Directed by Stephen Frears

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Posted by on March 25, 2012 in Movies


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Burn After Reading

In Washington, Osborne Cox (by John Malkovich) is a CIA analyst expert on the Balkans who is suddenly fired from his job due to his drinking problem. He is bitter and throws wild accusations at the CIA, then starts a tell-all memoir about his work and the Agency. He saves all his evidence and background work on a CD, but then he mislays it. At the same time, his wife Katie (by Tilda Swinton) is having an affair with Federal Marshal Harry Pfarrer (by George Clooney). In another part of town, Linda Litzke (by Frances McDormand) is at work at a fitness centre – “Hard Bodies”, but she is so distracted about her looks and determination to get some plastic surgery that she doesn’t realise her boss Ted (by Richard Jenkins) fancies her like mad. Then another “Hard Bodies” fitness instructor, Chad (by Brad Pitt), who is a little slow on the uptake, finds the computer disk belonging to Ossie and views it, He sees what looks like CIA state secrets and when he tells Linda, they decide to run a blackmail scam – then Linda will finally have the money to get her face lift – but things don’t quite go according to plan …

I find the Coen Brothers’ movies are either great or awful.  This one is great – it has a fabulous and well-balanced mix between comedy and thriller.  All the characters work well in this madcap story and it’s very entertaining.  From the outset, John Malkovich’s Ossie is totally unlikeable – he is superb in this bitter and angry role. As Linda, you just want to shake Frances McDormand and get some reality back into her head … George Clooney is perfect as the suave but totally hapless Harry Pfarrer, he and Tilda Swinton are magic together … and Brad Pitt … what can I say? in roles like this he is just too funny … very good and he totally and delightfully inhabits Chad.  It’s really good – one of their best, well done.

Made 2008: Directed by Joel and Ethan Coen


Posted by on March 3, 2012 in Movies


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The Changeling

On a day in 1928 in Los Angeles, a 9 year old boy disappears. All his single mother Christine Collins (played by Angelina Jolie) knows is that she returned home from work that day and her son was gone. She immediately calls the police who start to search for the boy.  After five months, a boy who fits Walter’s description is found interstate and when he says he is Walter, he is returned to Christine with huge media frenzy. When the boy arrives back in LA to reunite with his mother he is met by flash-bulbs, newspapers, police and public officials.  But … Christine is quite sure this boy is not her son. She is insistent, but the police are not interested, presuming she is just hysterical from the shock of the experience. She keeps on with this and as the weeks go by local pastor Gustav Briegleb (by John Malkovich) starts a campaign to fight police incompetence and corruption and she is grateful for his support as she seeks to right this wrong … so the police and government try to intimidate her into silence. They try very hard indeed – many people would buckle under this sustained pressure over such a long period, but Christine’s resolve is strong.  At the same time, another boy has been found at a country property elsewhere who has his own horrific tale to tell of his treatment there. Could this lead to finding Walter?

This is a very well told, gripping, horrific and tense true story and it is a beautifully made move by Clint Eastwood. He is just a great director and movie maker – he manages it without wizardry, just good solid acting, great photography and excellent mood-setting. This is one of the best performances from Angelina Jolie that I’ve seen. John Malkovich, as always, is very good as Pastor Briegleb.

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Posted by on February 16, 2012 in Movies


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David Lurie (played by John Malkovich) is a professor who teaches poetry at a university in Cape Town, South Africa. He is divorced, lives alone and is apparently friendless. He displays an air of aloofness and this doesn’t help with the way he is regarded by his academic colleagues. When he is exposed as having a relationship with one of his students, Melanie (played by Antoinette Engel) and then admits to the forgery of a pass mark for a test she didn’t take, there is no mercy for him at his workplace. He is disgraced and is forced to resign his position. He leaves town and goes to visit his lesbian daughter, Lucy (by Jessica Haines) who lives on a remote farm. The environment is stark, unwelcoming and totally barren of emotion – as are most of David’s relationships. He stays with his daughter for several weeks and begins to make a life for himself there, then a violent incident occurs that changes his life forever.

This movie is an adaptation of J.M. Coetzee’s powerful Booker Prize-winning novel. The movie is dramatic and John Malkovich’s performance is excellent. Jessica Haines is magnificent as Lucy and she commands just as much screen respect as Malkovich does. They are a good balance – this is a good, dramatic movie.

(Made: 2009)

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Posted by on January 28, 2012 in Movies


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