Tag Archives: Nicole Kidman

Lagerfeld Confidential

Karl Lagerfeld is a German fashion designer, artist and photographer who is now based in Paris. He is most well known as head designer and creative director of the French fashion house Chanel and the Italian house Fendi. He also has his own successful label. As a recognised style icon, his trademark is his white hair tied back in a ponytail, his dark glasses and his stiff, high white collars. He is an enigma – a mysterious man with multiple layers and facets. This documentary follows his activities for several months to try to get closer to him and understand how he thinks.

I love watching movies like this. It’s a documentary that’s a “fly on the wall” biopic to show Karl Lagerfeld doing his day-to-day ordinary things. There’s no doubt that he is eccentric – he won’t be photographed without his glasses – and he’s an excellent artist – we watch him sketch several times, which is magical. But he presents a dilemma – confusing and highly fascinating at the same time – he’s direct and honest about himself, but can also get into long raves about his life philosophies that perhaps make sense only to him. The movie makes a big fuss about Nicole Kidman being part of it, but she doesn’t feature for long. I was far more interested in the surprise appearance of Princess Caroline of Monaco at a private function. I’m not sure that we are any better informed about Karl Lagerfeld at the conclusion of the movie, but it’s good to watch if you like this type of thing.

Made in 2007. Directed by Rodolophe Marconi,

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Posted by on January 25, 2015 in Movies


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Grace of Monaco

It’s 1956 and Grace Kelly has made a worldwide name for herself as a beautiful and talented Hollywood movie star. She stuns the world when she suddenly announces she will leave her movie career for love – she marries Prince Rainier III of Monaco and becomes Her Serene Highness the Princess Grace of Monaco. The couple have children soon after their marriage and by the early 1960’s the Prince and Princess have welcomed Prince Albert and then Princess Caroline to the family. Grace finds it difficult to adjust to life in the tiny French Principality and she has failed to build the confidence and engagement of her community. This becomes complicated when a significant political crisis arises between Monaco and France. The future of Monaco teeters and they are on the verge of a wholesale French invasion. With her marriage on shaky ground, her Monaco community viewing her with suspicion and the world waiting for her to fail in her most public of assignments, she must summon all the determination and confidence she can to show she is made of strong stuff and is the right woman for this, her most significant role ever.

This is an interesting movie, but it’s not at all what I expected. There is very little soap opera here and even less about the lifestyle, gowns, luxuries and foibles of royal life. The drama is squarely focussed on the difficulty young and inexperienced Grace Kelly had in gaining the acceptance of the Monaco community at the time – and on the politics of the months during the political crisis between French President Charles De Gaulle and Prince Rainier III. Depending on how much of it is true, it’s fascinating to see the roles and influence of personalities around at the time – Aristotle Onassis and Maria Callas feature strongly, as does Alfred Hitchcock and Father Francis Tucker. I wasn’t disappointed, it’s quite watchable.

Made in 2014. Directed by Olivier Dahan.

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Posted by on October 30, 2014 in Movies


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The Railway Man

Eric Lomax (played by Colin Firth) has always been a train enthusiast – there’s something about trains that’s fascinated and delighted him ever since he was a boy. In 1942, as a young British soldier (by Jeremy Irvine) stationed in Singapore in World War 2 when it falls to the Japanese, Eric becomes a prisoner of war (along with thousands of others) and is taken to the construction site of the Thai/Burma railway at Kempai. He is forced into hard labour on the railway and endures ongoing torture and deprivation at the hands of the Japanese. At the end of the war, he returns to England and settles in Berwick-upon-Tweed, where he maintains his interest in trains and enjoys his rides on the rails all around the country. One day, completely out of the blue, he meets the love of his life, Patricia Wallace (by Nicole Kidman) on a train journey. They soon marry and are very happy, but Eric’s war experiences have never left him and he struggles with daily life through his flashbacks and trauma. Patti is desperate to help Eric and searches for answers. She seeks out his local army mate, Finlay (by Sam Reid then by Stellen Skarsgard) who was in Thailand with him. He sheds some light on their experiences and gives Patti as much history as he can. He also tells her he’s discovered that that the main perpetrator of Eric’s torture, the young Japanese officer Nagase (by Tanroh Ishida and later by Hiroyuki Sanada), is still alive and working as a tour guide at the Thai/Burma Railway Museum on the very site of Eric’s horrific experiences. What to do?  Should Patti let Eric know about this … what will he do?  Will this make things better or worse for him?

There’s a lot that’s good about this movie based on a true story. The drama is told well and the authenticity of the experience cannot be questioned. But there are some implausible things too – I struggled with the casting of Nicole Kidman as Patti. This does not work at all – is she too young? She is supposed to be a mature aged, experienced woman who’s had twenty years’ nursing experience, but she just seems too young to me – it doesn’t fit with the rest of the story. At first, Colin Firth seems too young as the mature-aged Eric Lomax also – particularly on their wedding day, and it’s difficult to accept him in this role. But that feeling dissipates as you strart to understand more of the story and his experiences. His grey hair seems to disappear on his wedding day, but return for the rest of the story. The performance of Jeremy Irvine as the young Eric Lomax is marvellous – he does very well. Also good are both characters who play Finlay – the younger Sam Reid and the mature Stellan Skarsgård. It is weak in the beginning, but you should stick with it as it does get much better. I found it a little drawn out, but it’s worth hanging out until the end. The very best of it is in the final quarter. Colin Firth does very well here. The screenplay is adapted from the book by Eric Lomax “The Railway Man”, published in 1995. Director, Jonathan Teplitzky, won a SIGNIS Award at the 2013 San Sebastián International Film Festival.

Made in 2013. Directed by Jonathan Teplitzky

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Posted by on January 19, 2014 in Movies


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Dead Calm

John Ingram (played by Sam Neill) is happily married to Rae (by Nicole Kidman). They have recently been involved in a terrible car accident so they are sailing around the idyllic Pacific to relax and put some time and space between them and the traumatic memories at home. The voyage is like paradise, even when they are becalmed in the open sea and spend some days in isolation. Then one day another ship appears nearby – it looks to be in need of assistance so John and Rae get a bit closer to investigate.They encounter its one lone occupant, Hughie Marriner (by Billy Zane) and take him under their wing to make sure he is okay. The situation doesn’t seem quite right so while Hughie is sleeping, John boards his vessel to investigate – then discovers Hughie’s real intentions. In the meantime, he realises he has left Rae on board their own craft with the unstable and sleeping Hughie … John rushes to get back to keep Rae safe as he considers how much she’s at risk on board – then he sees his own ship steaming off into the distance without him …

This is a great movie – it is a classic, nail-biting thriller which is from the novel by Charles Williams. It is paced perfectly, builds suspense very well and compels the viewer onto the edge of their seat as the drama develops. Billy Zane is excellent as the unstable and evil Hughie, Sam Neill is rock solid as steady and plausible John and although she seems very young to be his wife, Nicole Kidman is great in this role as the desperate Rae, trying to escape from this lunatic on the high seas – she gives Rae real tenacity and energy. The Pacific is stunning and the backdrop of the wide ocean makes the isolation of this dangerous and frightening situation palpable. A really good movie.

Made in 1989. Directed by Phillip Noyce

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Posted by on June 28, 2012 in Movies


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Rabbit Hole

Becca Corbett (played by Nicole Kidman) and her husband Howie (by Aaron Eckhard) are happily married with a settled and affluent lifestyle. Becca was a career executive who became a stay-at-home mum to care for their young son, Danny. However, their idyllic life is shattered and changed forever when Danny is killed in a car accident. Becca tries to pick up the pieces and carry on with her life in the familiarity of family and friends but she has real difficulty in the adjustment. She finds solace in a fixation with a person she recently met – Jason (by Miles Teller) – he is a troubled young comic-book artist and also the man who was driving the car that killed Danny. Becca finds that her focus on him pulls her away from her memories of Danny. At the same time, in his grief Howie is still immersed in the past and he finds refuge with supportive outsiders who offer him what Becca is unable to give. The Corbetts – disconnected, drifting and directionless – make significant life choices that determine their fate.

This is an adaptation of David Lindsay-Abaire’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play. The performances are moving and the drama is honest. It provides a view of two people who don’t know how to become normal again after experiencing such trauma.

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Posted by on February 6, 2012 in Movies


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The Human Stain

Coleman Silk (played by Anthony Hopkins) is a long experienced and highly esteemed classics professor in small town New England. His career has recently been marred by allegations of racism and his reputation has become permanently damaged. He meets a mysterious but fascinating young woman, Faunia Farley (by Nicole Kidman) who has a few challenges in her life and they quickly begin an affair. At the same time, a writer and colleague, Nathan Zuckerman (by Gary Sinise) sets about to write the biography of his eminent, upright friend whose career has become so unravelled. During this and the turbulent relationship of Coleman and Faunia, a significant secret about Coleman is revealed. He has kept the secret for over 50 years – it unbalances everything everyone ever knew about him and could shatter his life.

This movie is an adaptation of the novel “The Human Stain” by Philip Roth. The subject matter is fascinating and the performances of both Anthony Hopkins and Nicole Kidman are great. The movie takes a completely different turn to what I was expecting. Although there is a significant age difference, the relationship between these two characters is believeable and the way it develops is touching, but realistic with honest exploration of the insecurities and issues you would expect from such a partnership. The friendship between Coleman and Nathan is also very well developed and gives another fascinating insight into this man, Coleman. As to the secret itself, I can’t reveal that here as it would ruin the development of the story, but the exploration of the issue in this film is very well done.  It’s a really great movie.

(Made: 2003)

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Posted by on February 4, 2012 in Movies


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