Browse Tag

Charlotte Rampling

Blu-ray / DVD: Oscar winner ‘The Big Short’ and Guy Maddin’s ‘Forbidden Room’

Big ShortThe Big Short (Paramount, Blu-ray, DVD, VOD) – Adam McKay is not necessarily the guy you look to for dramatic outrage at the greed and failure behind the economic collapse of the last decade. He is, after all, the director who guided Will Ferrell through such comedies as Anchorman, Talladega Nights, and The Other Guys. Yet here he is, adapting Michael Lewis’ nonfiction book on the reasons behind the financial collapse and coming away with a hit movie, five Academy Award nominations, and an Oscar win for Best Adapted Screenplay (shared with Charles Randolph).

The Big Short is serious and angry. It’s also very funny, which is its secret weapon. What’s a subprime mortgage? Here’s Margot Robbie in a bubble bath to explain it to you. Need to explain what a CBO is without driving audiences away? How about Selena Gomez at a casino?

In the hands of McKay and his co-conspirators, the financial fraud of the 2000s is nothing short of a criminal farce with dire consequences. For us, that is, not the folks who perpetrated the crisis out of greed, criminal neglect, and reckless abandon. In this company of thieves and accomplices, the heroes of this story are a few men who saw through the façade and proceeded to bet against the house. They are, of course, outliers with idiosyncrasies.

Keep Reading

Review: 45 Years

Tom Courtenay and Charlotte Rampling in ’45 Years’

It might be grounded in kitchen-sink reality in many ways—here is a small English town, here are its unglamorous citizens, here are the everyday habits of two people who have been married a long time. But my favorite film of 2015 has an undercurrent of the fairy tale about it, as though a touch of dark magic were animating the crisis at the movie’s heart.

This is Andrew Haigh’s 45 Years—now you know how long the couple has been married—and maybe it’s more ghost story than fairy tale.

Continue reading at Seattle Weekly

Review: Zardoz

[Originally published in Movietone News 32, June 1974]

In the opening sequence of John Boorman’s new film, a huge stone head resembling a Greek tragic mask drifts in the air above the Irish countryside, like the floating spirit of Astaroth; it spits forth a spray of rifles and exhorts a congregation of horsemen to go forth and kill. This is the god Zardoz, who decrees that the rapidly reproducing populace must be exterminated, that the gun is good and the penis evil. Here, “deep in a possible future,” the Year 2293, we thus discover John Boorman, in his first film since Deliverance, dealing once again with the conflicts between nature’s way and humanity’s way.

Keep Reading

Review: The Forbidden Room

‘The Forbidden Room’

In a recent Film Comment interview, the madcap Canadian filmmaker Guy Maddin describes the different movie genres he’s re-creating in The Forbidden Room. There’s the “virgin sacrifice volcano movie,” a submarine picture, a Western, the “Japanese shamed-father genre,” and of course “a lot of different vampire films, because they’re radically different from culture to culture.” Even this sampling—there are more—doesn’t hint at this gleeful mishmash, which presents a series of fever-dream glimpses of Maddin’s imagined world of old movies. This thing is either for straight-up surrealists or fans of long-gone movie styles. That’s a narrow margin, but within it, Maddin thrives.

Continue reading at Seattle Weekly

Review: The Night Porter (2)

If the first half of The Night Porter at last manages to set an acceptable pace by way of intercutting between the present and past lives of the characters, the latter half sags beneath the weight of a narrative gone sour and Liliana Cavani’s gropings for some way to end the thing. It is here, as Bogarde and Rampling are besieged inside the former’s apartment by his Nazi ex-comrades (they mean to have Rampling killed because she knows too much of Bogarde’s past and his association with them—a threat whose seriousness is never made quite tenable in the screenplay), that the Bogarde character loses any credibility he might have had as a sexually hung-up, former Nazi torturer with a soft spot in his heart and a streak of childish perversity which makes his villainy seem more ridiculous than menacing. Down to their last Hershey bar and half-empty jar of strawberry preserves, they still live to make love, spending the rest of their time lying about with starved, listless expressions or wide-eyed stares of encroaching madness. Bogarde wipes the kitchen table a lot—a reference to how, earlier, he had nervously wiped the table inside the restaurant while talking to Mario, another face out of the past whom Bogarde himself subsequently murdered because he knows too much; Rampling slithers and scrounges like a hungry cat.

Keep Reading

Review: The Night Porter (1)

[Originally published in Movietone News 38, January 1975]

The Night Porter is a strange, richly textured affair, and one sign of its dark brilliance is its success in holding some imposing limitations at bay. For one thing, its plot is highly contrived: an Austrian hotel night porter (Dirk Bogarde) is a Nazi war criminal; he is preparing for an annual meeting of old Nazis who have organized in order to continue escaping detection; but his standing with the group is put in jeopardy by the arrival at the hotel of a concentration camp survivor (Charlotte Rampling) with whom he had had a sadomasochistic love affair. Matters are made even trickier by the somewhat devious contrast of the couple’s unconventional eroticism and the Nazi group’s hypocritical puritanism. But Liliana Cavani’s graceful and intelligent direction and the performances of Bogarde, Rampling, Philippe Leroy, Gabriele Ferzetti and Amedeo Amodio give the proceedings (script by Cavani and Italo Moscati) a depth that they might not have otherwise had.

Keep Reading

SIFF 2012: ‘The Eye of the Storm’

Bringing The Eye of the Storm to the screen involved the reunion of a filmmaking “family,” a brilliant bevy of old Oz hands from that heady era of filmmaking hailed as the Australian New Wave. Cast as the lead, legendary Charlotte Rampling is neck-deep in Australian acting royalty: Judy Davis (from My Brilliant Career, 1979, to Woody Allen’s To Rome with Love, 2012); Geoffrey Rush (from Children of the Revolution, 1996, with Davis, to The King’s Speech, 2010); as well as lesser lights such as Helen Morse (Picnic at Hanging Rock, 1975), honorary Aussie Colin Friels, Billie Brown, Dustin Clare (Gannicus in TV’s Spartacus), et al.

Geoffrey Rush, Judy Davis, Charlotte Rampling

In 1978, Fred Schepisi’s The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith launched his successful directorial career abroad; Eye of the Storm is the first film he’s shot on home ground since the uncompromising A Cry in the Dark (1988). Nobel-winner Patrick White’s hefty novel was adapted for the screen by Judy Morris, so striking as the star of Peter Weir’s The Plumber (1979), and subsequently scripter of hits like Happy Feet and Babe: Pig in the City.

Morris’ two-hour adaptation has at its center—or eye—the long dying of wealthy matriarch Elizabeth Hunter (Rampling). A formidable personality, the old woman makes her bedroom a kind of theater, which estranged son Basil (Rush) and daughter Dorothy (Judy Davis) must attend, in hopes of cashing in on a much-needed inheritance. This trio of greater and lesser monsters—emasculating mother, narcissistic son, daughter bereft of joie de vivre—have at each other unlovingly, though it’s clear the aging kids desire nothing so much as the queen’s unqualified admiration. Well, except for her money.

Continue reading at Straight Shooting