Tag: Biopic

HARRIET (MOVIE REVIEW)HARRIET (MOVIE REVIEW)

Harriet (Movie Review)

Harriet is a 2019 American biographical cum historical film drama directed by Kasi Lemmons, who also wrote the screenplay with Gregory Allen Howard. It stars Cynthia Erivo as abolitionist Harriet Tubman, with Leslie Odom Jr., Joe Alwyn, and Janelle Monáe in supporting roles.

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MANK (MOVIE REVIEW)MANK (MOVIE REVIEW)

Mank

Mank is a biographical drama about screenwriter Herman Mankiewicz (Gary Oldham) and the historical background behind Mankiewicz’s writing of the screenplay for Orson Welles’ legendary film, Citizen Kane. Mank is directed by David Fincher from a screenplay written by Jack Fincher.

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IMMORTAL BELOVED (MOVIE REVIEW)IMMORTAL BELOVED (MOVIE REVIEW)

Immortal Beloved

Immortal Beloved is a 1994 historical drama depicting the final years of classical music composer Ludwig van Beethoven (played by Gary Oldham). The story revolves around a quest by Beethoven’s secretary and biographer Anton Schindler (Jeroen Krabbé) to find out the true identity of the “Unsterbliche Geliebte” (“Immortal Beloved”) addressed in three letters found in Beethoven’s private papers. 

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THE GLORIAS (MOVIE REVIEW)THE GLORIAS (MOVIE REVIEW)

The Glorias movie poster

The Glorias is a biopic of the feminist activist Gloria Steinem. Director Julie Taymor based the movie on Steinem’s book, My Life on the Road. The movie stars Julianne Moore as Steinem, with Alicia Vikander portraying a younger Steinem, from ages 20 to 40. Timothy Hutton, Lorraine Toussaint, Janelle Monáe, and Bette Midler complete the cast.

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REEL TO REAL: LOVE & MERCY – A MOVIE OF TWO HALVESREEL TO REAL: LOVE & MERCY – A MOVIE OF TWO HALVES

Paul Dano

If you know nothing about Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys, I suggest that you swot up before watching Love & Mercy. Cuz it will get bewildering. Or maybe that’s the point of it all!

This biopic of Wilson elects to focus on two very specific periods in the singer-songwriter’s life. First, from about 1964 – 1967, where Wilson had suffered an anxiety attack and ‘retired’ from live performances to concentrate on recording and producing resulting in the masterpiece Pet Sounds LP and the failed attempt to delivered the radical Smile album (whereupon Wilson basically withdrew from the world). Second, in the 80s regarding his guardianship under dubiously abusive therapist Eugene Landy and his budding romance with Melinda Ledbetter (whom he would later marry).

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THE IMITATION GAME: FROM TRIUMPH TO DESPAIR – THE TRAGEDY OF ALAN TURINGTHE IMITATION GAME: FROM TRIUMPH TO DESPAIR – THE TRAGEDY OF ALAN TURING

The_Imitation_Game_poster

Directed by Morten Tyldum.
Written by Graham Moore.
Starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Matthew Goode and Keira Knightley. 

Before discussing the merits of the film, it was ironic to discover that the movie was rated NC-16 for “homosexual references” in Singapore. Thus, despite receiving a royal pardon for his criminal conviction for gross indecency, Turing is judged again in this risible manner. Ah well.

Apart from that, there is nothing notably negative about The Imitation Game. The actors are all on their game – Cumberbatch delivers a stunning performance. The narrative jumps around from time to time in a satisfying non-linear fashion. And the grand injustice meted out to Turing before his death is given its due as a horrifying third act.

The message behind The Imitation Game is clear enough – prejudice is inhuman and those that stand out as different should be treasured not vilified. Of course, much of the human drama is glamorized for effect – Turing’s role in breaking the Enigma code and the relationship with Joan Clarke (Knightley) – but necessary to design an effective plot.

An enjoyable ‘message’ film that really should be seen by everyone from 12 upwards.

REEL TO REAL – DOES AMERICAN SNIPER GLORIFY WAR OR CONDEMN IT?REEL TO REAL – DOES AMERICAN SNIPER GLORIFY WAR OR CONDEMN IT?

american_sniper2

Directed by Clint Eastwood.
Written by Jason Hall. 
Starring Bradley Cooper, Sienna Miller.

So will the real American Sniper please stand up? The film, a biographical account of Navy SEALs sharpshooter Chris Kyle –  deadliest marksman in U.S. military history – has split US audiences down the middle. From liberals decrying it as jingoistic propaganda to conservatives hailing it as a tribute to a deserving war hero.

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REEL TO REAL: MIKE LEIGH PROVIDES A SLICE OF AN ARTISTIC LIFE IN MR. TURNERREEL TO REAL: MIKE LEIGH PROVIDES A SLICE OF AN ARTISTIC LIFE IN MR. TURNER

turner big-2026

Written & directed by Mike Leigh.
Starring Timothy Spall.

Premiering at Cannes last year, Leigh’s biopic of famed English painter JMW Turner has already garnered a Best Actor award for Spall’s performance in the lead role and a special jury prize for the film’s cinematography for Dick Pope.

That just about sums it up really. Spall plays Turner as a brutish flawed man who had an unique ability to produce epic, awe-inspiring work which was extremely radical in its day. Pope manages to make virtually every outdoor shot a Turner painting and it is a wonder to behold! Check out the amazing of re-creation of The Fighting Temeraire (1839) below.

Turner-2

Leigh’s triumph with Mr. Turner is stringing together a loose collection of slice of life vignettes and filling them with all the relevant details to make that time and place come alive. The pacing is a little slow and nothing overtly dramatic happens but that’s the whole point of the exercise.

In the right hands, such evocative cinema is stirring and inspiring – Leigh and his heart-felt tribute deserves recognition as one of the best movies of 2014. Absolutely essential for art lovers everywhere.

Mr. Turner is in the cinemas now.