Monday, November 3, 2014

At the Movies – November 2014 – Part 1: Independent Films

Art-House Dramas:

The Theory of Everything – Biographical Drama – Nov 7
Plot Summary: A look at the life of physicist Stephen Hawking – a brilliant young student studying at the University of Oxford who makes a breakthrough in theoretical physics – understanding how the universe formed. The film also focuses on the development of his disease: a motor neuron disease related to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. But mostly, this is a love story. Hawking meets Jane, another student at Oxford. Their relationship would forever change his life and propel him forward. It is based on a book by Jane Hawking Key Filmmakers Involved: Director James Marsh, composer Johann Johannsson, and cinematographer Benoit Delhomme. Actors Involved: Eddie Redmayne, Felicity Jones, Charlie Cox, Emily Watson, and David Thewlis. Quality Potential: High/Medium. Director James Marsh has made some excellent documentaries, most notably Man on Wire; however, he has never made an excellent feature film (probably his best is Red Riding: In the Year of Our Lord 1980, assuming that counts). The Theory of Everything looks like a good character drama, built upon very strong leading performances from Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones (both of whom will likely end up with many awards nominations). I have a feeling that this is a film to see more for the performances than anything else – in other words, it will likely be good but not great overall (and while it seems on track to end up with a Best Picture Oscar nomination, I am not sure it will be deserving; but, maybe I am talking out of school, having not seen it). To learn more about Hawking’s work, check out A Brief History of Time, Errol Morris’s documentary. Trailer: Here.

Rosewater – Drama – Nov 14
Plot Summary: Maziar Bahari is a western journalist in Iran covering an election. He is detained for over 100 days and brutally interrogated in prison after the election ends in revolt. This film is based on his book. Key Filmmakers Involved: Writer-director Jon Stewart and composer Howard Shore. Actors Involved: Gael Garcia Bernal, Shohreh Aghdashloo, and Claire Foy. Quality Potential: Medium. Comedian Jon Stewart (from The Daily Show) makes his directorial debut with a film dealing with much more serious political content and tone than his show. The film has played to fairly mixed reviews during its screenings on the festival circuit; however, it does look like a powerful drama with some potentially gripping thriller elements. It features a good cast as well. I think this is worth checking out for those who enjoy political films, as it plays as an interesting comparison piece to the continued prosecution of journalists around the world (most recently in Ukraine and the Middle East). Trailer: Here.

No comments:

Post a Comment