CALIFORNIA SUITE (15)
CALL ME BY YOUR NAME (15)
D: Luca Guadagnino
Sony Picture Classics/Frenesy/La Cinéfacture/Water's End/RT/MYRA (Peter Spears, Luca Guadaganino, Emilie Georges, Rodrigo Teixeira, Marco Morabito, James Ivory & Howard Rosenman)
🇺🇸 🇮🇹 🇫🇷 🇧🇷 2017
W: James Ivory [based on the novel by Andre Aciman]
DP: Sayombhu Mukdeeprom
Ed: Walter Fasano
Mus: Sufjan Stevens
Timothée Chalamet (Elio Perlman), Armie Hammer (Oliver), Michael Stuhlbarg (Mr. Perlman), Amira Casar (Annella Perlman), Esther Garrel (Marzia)
Despite being one of the most critically-lauded films of 2017, Call Me By Your Name was also met with much controversy, albeit for the wrong reasons by many people who haven't seen the film and quite possibly refuse to.
This coming-of-age drama focuses on a gay relationship which blossoms between 17-year-old Elio Perlman and a 24 year old university graduate in the rural settings of Northern Italy during the early 1980's.
Claims that the film and its story promote pedophilia are completely unsubstantiated, primarily because its the younger of the two men who initiates the seduction, and also because the age gap is no different from that in a film about a lesbian romance (2015's Carol) or even a straight one (1987's Dirty Dancing). It also has to be said that the romance is very tastefully done, with the message of the film presented that the first love of a gay person can be just as confusing, intense and heartbreaking as a straight relationship.
Personally, I would have preferred a little more conflict in the story, other than the internal conflict between the two main characters who feel they have to keep their sexuality secret despite the chemistry between them, but the performances are very well handled, especially Timothée Chalamet with a breakthrough performance that was rightfully rewarded with an Oscar nomination.
For wrong reasons or otherwise, it's a divisive piece of filmmaking, but those who berate it really should watch it before judging.
CAPTAIN FANTASTIC (15)
D: Matt Ross
Universal/Bleeker Street (Monica Levinson, Jamie Patricof, Shivani Ravat & Lynette Howell Taylor)
W: Matt Ross
DP: Stephane Fontaine
Ed: Joseph Krings
Mus: Alex Somers
Viggo Mortensen (Ben Cash), George Mackay (Bo Cash), Samantha Isler (Kielyr Cash), Annalise Basso (Vespyr Cash), Steve Zahn (Dave), Kathryn Hahn (Harper)
Viggo Mortensen received his second Oscar nomination for his performance as Ben Cash, a former liberal activist who raises his six children in the wilderness of Washington state, away from capitalism so he can teach them about philosophy, survival skills and left-wing politics, all of which don't help them when they experience the real world following their mother's suicide.
The quirky comedy will draw comparisons with Wes Anderson's work, so it's fair to say that this an acquired taste. Viggo Mortensen's performance may well be fantastic but the film itself, not so much.
CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF (PG)
D: Richard Brooks
MGM/Avon (Lawrence Weingarten)
W: Richard Brooks & James Poe [based on the play by Tennessee Williams]
DP: William Daniels
Ed: Ferris Webster
Paul Newman (Brick Pollitt), Elizabeth Taylor (Maggie Pollitt), Burl Ives (Big Daddy Pollitt), Jack Carson (Cooper Pollitt), Judith Anderson (Big Mama Pollitt)
Tennessee Williams plied his career on writing plays uncovering the brutal underside of seemingly innocent domestic idylls, particularly in the Deep South. Cat On A Hot Tin Roof is of similar cloth, as it takes a closer look at the Pollitt family and the secrets they hold, and while much of the homosexual undertones have been lightened for the big screen transition, the metaphor is still quite obvious to see.
Dying of cancer, Big Daddy Pollitt (Burl Ives) has become disenchanted with his two sons, one of whom, Brick (Paul Newman), an alcoholic ex-football player has fallen out of love with his wife, Maggie (Elizabeth Taylor).
Though it's evident that the content of the play has been toned down for a cinema audience, the main trio of performance are nothing short of excellent, particularly Burl Ives, who steals the movie, but some may say that this is representative of Elizabeth Taylor's finest acting performance.
THE CHAMP (15)
D: Franco Zeffirelli
MGM (Dyson Lovell)
W: Walter Newman [based on the story by Frances Marion]
DP: Fred J. Koenecamp
Ed: Michael J. Sheridan
Mus: Dave Grusin
Jon Voight (Billy 'Champ' Flynn), Ricky Schroeder (T.J. Flynn), Faye Dunaway (Annie), Jack Warden (Jackie), Joan Blondell (Dolly Kenyon)
This remake of a 1931 drama was released at the tail end of the 1970's and scored a legion of fans, especially male boxing fans who hail it as one of the biggest tearjerkers of all time.
Wallace Beery won an Oscar for his performance in the original movie, replaced in this remake by Jon Voight, off the back of an Oscar victory himself for his performance in 1978's Coming Home and amongst the biggest male film stars at the time of filming.
Voight plays Billy 'Champ' Flynn, a former boxing champion turned horse trainer, raising his 8-year-old son, T.J., on the racing stables of a Florida resort. Billy becomes resentful when his ex-wife and Billy's mother come back into their lives, expecting a relationship with her son following seven years with no contact.
Billy becomes indebted by gambling debts before a short spell in prison, where he plans his comeback in the ring against a formidable opponent.
Perhaps I'm a victim of watching this film too late, but the plot was very predictable, and the late-70's setting just doesn't ring as true as would have in the original film, set during the Great Depression of the 1930's.
Still, the father-son relationship between Voight and young Ricky Schroeder is marvellously well done, and it's easy to understand why many people would be choked by the ending.
D: Stanley Donen
Universal (Stanley Donen)
W: Peter Stone
DP: Charles Lang
Ed: James B. Clark
Mus: Henry Mancini
Cary Grant (Peter Joshua), Audrey Hepburn (Regina Lambert), Walter Matthau (Hamilton Bartholomew), James Coburn (Tex Panthollow), George Kennedy (Herman Scobie)
Often considered to be a Hitchcock film, the Master of Suspense's usual style is duplicated with great effect by director Stanley Donen and screenwriter Peter Stone, throwing in plenty of mystery, double-crossing and red herrings aplenty.
A Parisian woman (Audrey Hepburn) is pursued by three shady men following the death of her husband and is offered help by a mysterious stranger (Cary Grant), but are his intentions genuine, or is he the real murderer?
Charade is a mystery-thriller which will always keep you guessing, pepped up with some light comedy and a dash of romance. The pairing of Cary Grant & Audrey Hepburn also adds some Hollywood golden age glitz. Some aspects feel a little dated, but the film remains one of the best from 1963.
A huge Yuletide nostalgia comedy hit in the native US, but didn't do the same business in the UK and I kind of understand why.
From my point of view, I couldn't relate to it because it wasn't my childhood. Perhaps the reasons are both generational and geographical.
It's set in the late-40's and is told through the rather innocent eyes of a young boy in the build up to Christmas for which all he wants is a BB-gun. He goes to school, looks after his kid brother, listens to radio shows and gets his mouth washed out with soap & water whenever he uses foul language.
It's not a bad film by any means and the kid steals the show without any doubt. I just couldn't relate to it. Give me A Christmas Carol anyday.