Part Deux: Dance of the Demented Poodle

Normal
0

false
false
false

EN-US
X-NONE
X-NONE

MicrosoftInternetExplorer4

/* Style Definitions */
table.MsoNormalTable
{mso-style-name:”Table Normal”;
mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0;
mso-tstyle-colband-size:0;
mso-style-noshow:yes;
mso-style-priority:99;
mso-style-qformat:yes;
mso-style-parent:””;
mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt;
mso-para-margin:0in;
mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt;
mso-pagination:widow-orphan;
font-size:11.0pt;
font-family:”Calibri”,”sans-serif”;
mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri;
mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;
mso-fareast-font-family:”Times New Roman”;
mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-fareast;
mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri;
mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;
mso-bidi-font-family:”Times New Roman”;
mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-bidi;}

…or “Popcorn for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner”

When I started the post about four films worth seeing that were all opening on the same weekend, I really hadn’t intended to see them all on that same weekend.  The project sort of took shape of its own volition and I felt compelled to see it through.

One of my very good friends and I used to do movie marathons on occasion and I think our record was six. In one day. We’d study the logistics and map out the theaters and show times as well as timing our travels around the city with the precision of a general leading an invading army into battle.  I also know that there are bigger, more well-traveled, more extensively-read bloggers than I who regularly attend something called the annual “Butt-Numb-a-Thon”, where they watch movies for 24 hours straight. My point is, it was certainly no hardship to see four films in a weekend. I don’t regret spending my weekend at the movies.  I just didn’t get much else accomplished that’s all. Oh well.

First up, on Friday night, was Limitless.

It is an entertaining film as long as the viewer is able to check the 20% of their own brain currently in use at the door. There are some serious plot holes and some threads that are just left flapping in the breeze, however, it’s also a lot of fun if you can just sit back and enjoy the ride.

Bradley Cooper must have been sleeping with Director of Photography, Jo Willems.  He looks fantastic in this movie. The camera certainly makes good use of the actor’s amazing eyes.  There are lots of closeups. It’s also worth noting how much better looking he gets, the smarter he gets. As if it’s not enough that with the drug there are no limits (Limitless, get it?) to what he can do and achieve with his brain, we have to add sex into the mix or else it’s all for naught. (Apparently the filmmakers are unclear on the concept that smart and talented is sexy.)

Willems certainly wasn’t sleeping with Anna Friel. In her first scenes (which are flashbacks) I thought I was looking at Evangeline Lilly before I remembered Friel was in the movie. By the time she shows up again, she is truly unrecognizable. I know it was makeup, but sheesh. (Either that or the dissolution of her long-time relationship with David Thewlis has REALLY taken its toll!)

I don’t think I’m spoiling anything to say that Johnny Whitworth gets the Mark Strong Award for “Good Actors Cast in Tiny Parts in Big Movies”. And in this film, Friel shares it with him. I’ve been waiting for Whitworth to break out since The Rainmaker. Still waiting.  I’m hoping this will also lead to bigger things for Friel. “Pushing Daisies” was terrific, but it ended over two years ago. She’s also in the much anticipated (by me) London Boulevard. Hopefully that will see the light of day soon.

I loved Andrew Howard’s Russian gangster. A lot of the reviews I’ve read seem to be saying that an old school villain like Gennedy has no place in a movie like this, with such a modern premise.  I disagree.  Considering how he became involved with Morra, I think what came next is entirely plausible (within the unplausible context of this story.) Granted, I do have to agree that more could have been done with the character and his relationship to Cooper’s, but this wasn’t his story. And if you’re going on the ride at all, you have to be prepared to endure the bumps.

I have to say DeNiro is more DeNiro than we’ve seen in a long time, but he’s still not as DeNiro as he could have been. This was the DeNiro of Righteous Kill not Heat (to contrast two films with both DeNiro and Pacino).  Regardless, he’s always a joy to watch.

Abbie Cornish was underutilized. JMHO, but anyone could have played Lindy. Maybe you disagree.

I really enjoyed the trippy techno soundtrack music. I think I’ll have to see the movie again before I decide whether or not to add it to my collection.

I have to say, Roger Ebert summed up Limitless perfectly: “{It} only uses 15, maybe 20 percent of its brain. Still, that’s more than a lot of movies do.” I recommend it, although it will lose nothing in the translation from big screen to home viewing.

On Saturday morning, me and a handful of geeks bounced into the theater to see Paul. I’m quite sure some of them had already seen it at least once. The excitement in the air was tangible. The movie did not disappoint. It was, in a word, hilarious. The script, co-written by its two stars, must have contained a reference to every sci-fi movie made in the last 30+ years. (I’m sure I missed some of the references and will have to see it again if I hope to catch them all.) Filming part of the movie at Comic Con (and indeed using it as the jumping off point for the plot) was inspired. It was obviously a labor of love and a valentine of sorts to comic book geeks and sci-fi nerds.

Seth Rogan as the voice of Paul, is pitch perfect. I honestly can’t remember when, since "Freaks and Geeks", that I’ve enjoyed a performance of his more.  It’s also evident in his voice that he was enjoying himself as well. Indeed, it looked to me like everyone involved was having a great time. Perhaps that’s because I was following Simon Pegg’s Tweets while they were making the film, but I don’t think so.  I suspect there will be one hell of a blooper reel on the dvd (or at least I hope so.)

I’m trying to remember a comedy team with which to compare Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. Their timing can be compared to Abbot and Costello or Martin and Lewis, and Nick Frost certainly has the sweet charm of a Lou Costello or 50’s era Jerry Lewis, but Simon Pegg is nowhere near as arch as Bud Abbott or as suave as Dean Martin. Over the course of three films and a television series, their chemistry has not been diluted at all, probably owing to the fact that they are close friends. Some of the best laughs in Paul come from just a look or a tilt of the head between them. Indeed, the bromance is at the heart of the film. Not only is it laugh out loud funny, it is also very sweet, in an ET kind of way, as well as a ‘we all have to grow up sometime and realize our true potential’ kind of way.

While I don’t remember most of the soundtrack, I will say it was nice to hear some ELO again.

I recommend this one as well and again, I don’t think it will lose much in the translation to home viewing.

After the credits rolled on Paul, I went immediately in to see The Lincoln Lawyer.

The opening credits of a film should be used to set the tone for the movie, but rarely are they to such good effect as for this film.  We get our first taste of the incredible 70’s flavored R & B soundtrack that is to come and the bold graphics reminded me of countless movies from the 70’s from Shaft to Death Wish to Prime Cut. I even got a bit of an Across 110th Street vibe, although that one is set in New York and this is totally an LA movie.

I’ve read a couple of references in reviews of this movie to both The Long Goodbye with Elliot Gould and Twilight (Not the one with the vampire angst, the one with Paul Newman, Gene Hackman and James Garner.)

The former is an updated (at the time) take on Raymond Chandler from the 70’s in which Gould played Philip Marlowe and the latter is about an aging ex-cop turned PI. It was made in the late 90’s, but they share a "feel" with this movie. It was definitely this particular flavor of LA that the director was going for.

I knew nothing of Brad Furman before this film and judging from his CV on imdb, there’s not much to know. I’m not sure what anyone saw in him to make them think he was capable of making a multi-million dollar movie, let alone one with any nuance, but, JMHO, I think their faith was justified. I really like what he did with this. 

Normal
0

false
false
false

EN-US
X-NONE
X-NONE

MicrosoftInternetExplorer4

/* Style Definitions */
table.MsoNormalTable
{mso-style-name:”Table Normal”;
mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0;
mso-tstyle-colband-size:0;
mso-style-noshow:yes;
mso-style-priority:99;
mso-style-qformat:yes;
mso-style-parent:””;
mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt;
mso-para-margin:0in;
mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt;
mso-pagination:widow-orphan;
font-size:11.0pt;
font-family:”Calibri”,”sans-serif”;
mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri;
mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;
mso-fareast-font-family:”Times New Roman”;
mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-fareast;
mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri;
mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;
mso-bidi-font-family:”Times New Roman”;
mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-bidi;}

The story itself was one you’d think would be more at home on the mean streets of New York, but instead they used LA (because the writer of the books did, I realize) and made it almost another character.

The color palette was very muted, almost washed out. This was the LA where ordinary people live and work. As McConaughey’s character Mick Haller rolled down the streets in his late model Lincoln, he did so past railroad tracks and cement gulleys (like in To Live and Die in LA) or small houses.  It was all very sun bleached, not quite seedy, but by no means glamorous. (I actually think the house in the hills in which Haller lived was used in Twilight, although I won’t swear that was the film.) They seemed to be using natural lighting.  Everyone, with the exception of the preternaturally cool Ryan Phillippe’s character, had a sheen of sweat that would come from existing in the heat of Southern California.

I can never get enough of William H. Macy. He’s one of the most talented actors alive and when he shows up looking like he could be Easy Rider-era Dennis Hopper’s younger brother, you know you’re in for a treat. He’s not on screen for nearly long enough. The same can be said of Michael Pena and John Leguizamo, who tones down the crazy in this one. Speaking of toning down the crazy, Frances Fisher finally dimmed her hair color so she looks less frightening. Ironic.

Uber-Douche played an Uber-Douche (although to be fair he was also a sociopath. Not sure if he is in real life or not.) I suppose I ought not to continue to refer to Ryan Phillippe in this manner, but I thought I should carry it through from my last post. I just don’t get his appeal. What was “pretty” in his 20s is now just “soft” in his 30s, and it’s just too much and yet not enough for me to take seriously.

I do have to say, that Marisa Tomei looks incredible. Better than she did at 25. As an actress, she’s light years from where she was at 25 or even 29 (when she won an Oscar.)

That funky soundtrack is worth coming back to. There are some original classics, some remixes and some that were complete modern remakes and they all completely jibe with the film; a soundtrack in the truest sense. In any case, I will be adding it to my collection.

Finally, Matthew McConaughey went a long way toward redemption in my eyes with this one. Speaking of eyes, one of the things he’s always done really well is to let his emotions play through his and he uses that talent to good effect here. Even before this movie was finished, I was thinking about how I wanted more of this character.  This felt like it was somewhere in the middle of the series and I know that there are many more books featuring Mickey Haller. I want to know how he got where he was and where he’s going next. I wouldn’t mind seeing this become a franchise, as long as they continue to do them right.

The Lincoln Lawyer was not a perfect movie, but I really enjoyed it.

Finally, on Sunday morning, came the film that I was undoubtedly looking forward to the most: Jane Eyre.

Oh, Focus Features, I forgive you for so shamelessly toying with me. Your film was well worth the enhanced anticipation you created by making me wait an additional week and in fact, you had me at the title card.

Cary Fukunaga, with all of two major films on his resume has positioned himself to be a cinematic force to be reckoned with. It’s staggering, considering how young he is, to think of the career that is ahead of him. Back-handing away any notion of a sophomore slump, he followed up the beautiful Sin Nombre with the equally beautiful and haunting Jane Eyre. On the surface, these two films could not be more different, but at their core they are both about the fragility and resilience of the human spirit. Fukunaga has created a film as beautifully and deftly as any old world master would put paint to canvas.

I’ve seen many versions of this story and they all have something to recommend them. This one is my new favorite.  Screenwriter Moira Buffini’s choice to land us in the middle of the story and use flashback to fill in the gaps helped to make it seem fresh. It was the most atmospheric and gothic production, although two recent BBC versions came close, that I can recall. It was again augmented by the use of natural light, which in those days meant a few candles and a hearth.  When Jane creeps through the dark hallways of Thornefield Hall holding a single candle, we only see as much as she sees, all of us waiting for something to jump out of the darkness. There is an instance where the entire audience did jump and it happens in broad daylight (well, as broad as it gets in the north of England,) but I won’t spoil it here.

The chemistry between the two leads was palpable from their first exchange. When they are onscreen together, everything and everyone else falls away. This scene that I showed you a few weeks ago, encapsulates all of that (and would have shown again if my post weren’t "too big".)

What I said at the time,This is the hottest piece of celluloid that I have seen in a LOOOOOONG time. I can’t stop watching it. And every time I do, I sit here with my mouth agape and my chest heaving with the effort to resume the breath caught in my throat, a hot tickle in my stomach…

TMI? Or the ultimate compliment to the palpable sexual allure of Michael Fassbender, an allure that has heretofore not so much remained hidden, but severely underutilized.”

I thought I was prepared. I thought I’d seen it so often that the magic had worn off, that I couldn’t possibly “feel it” the way I did the first time I saw it. I was wrong. Think about the frame of that scene a thousand times larger, with that voice booming out in Dolby THX (or whatever the hell the sound system at your local theater is)…imagine that and you’ll begin to get an inkling. It not only still took my breath away, but it rocked me to my toes. It was quite simply…erotic. Considering that the participants were both fully clothed and only their hands touched, that’s saying something.

Beyond all of that, (and frankly because of all that, Fassbender and Wasikowska could have been acting on a bare stage,) the English country side was used to spectacular effect. Just as LA became another character in The Lincoln Lawyer, so did the moors of northern England in Jane Eyre. It is easy to forget that England is geographically such a small country when there seem to be so many vast areas that appear to remain untouched, natural and wild and mostly uninhabited. In the film, as in the novel, the harsh landscape is a reflection of Jane’s life. We see it flower and bloom very briefly when Jane does, but for the most part it is harsh and unyielding.

The supporting cast, led by Dame Judi Dench as the housekeeper Mrs. Fairfax and Jamie Bell as St.John Rivers, is all marvelous, as is befitting a movie made in a country where it appears every one of its citizens lives to act.

I must also mention the score by Oscar winner Dario Marianelli. (He won in ’07 for Atonement and was nominated for 2005’s Pride and Prejudice.) Gorgeous, just gorgeous. Actually, lush is a better word.  It’s not too early for me to predict another nomination.

JMHO, but the entire thing was utterly swoon-worthy and I can’t wait to see it again. It goes without saying that I highly recommend this one and I’d go so far as to say, see it, if at all possible, on the big screen. It will no doubt play well at home, but the sight and sound of 10 ft. tall Fassbender is worth the price of the ticket.

May I also just reiterate what a joy it is to see a movie at an art-house where only adults go to see movies? Not only were there people waiting for the doors to open for the first showing of the day (and not just for Jane Eyre, but obscure films like Poetry,) but inside the theater you could have heard a pin drop throughout the entire movie. (Unlike Limitless where I had to endure the five kids from the nearby technical high school that acted like they were on a field trip and came in 15 min. in, parked themselves next to me in the front row and proceeded to talk to the screen and to each other the entire time. Between them and the transient loudly SNORING at the end of the row, you people are lucky you didn’t see me on the news.)

Thus endeth my weekend at the movies.

As always, thanks for reading. Next up, Win Win on Wednesday night!

Dance of the Demented Poodle

Seriously, I can’t remember the last time that there were four films opening on the same weekend that I actually want to see!

The first, of course, is Jane Eyre. I would like to be able to punish Focus Features for yanking my chain and only opening it in two markets last weekend, you know the date on all of the promotional material that’s been peppering the web for months. I can’t, however, do it to Michael Fassbender. He had nothing to do with the shenanigans of the distributor and he deserves my support. (Yes, I do realize that I would only be punishing myself. I’m not totally delusional. And frankly, I’ve been too good to be punished… well maybe…nevermind…)  Anyway, I’m going. 
Much to my surprise given the numbers it posted in two cities last week, it is only playing in two theaters in this artsy, academic, cultural mecca.  I saw the last Fassbender opus at the cool, eco-friendly art house so I think this time I’ll venture out to the old-fashioned, bohemian independent theater with the gigantic screen and red velvet drapes that dramatically part as the auditorium darkens. Seems fitting.

Next is The Lincoln Lawyer. I have not read any of Michael Connolly’s novels, although they have been recommended to me by friends. I keep meaning to. (I’d probably have gotten to them already if Ken Bruen weren’t so prolific…but I digress.) In any case, I have a soft spot for legal thrillers and an unashamed weakness for Matthew McConaughey. The finely chiseled actor Matthew McConaughey, with the piercing and intelligent blue eyes, at the height of his powers in Lone Star and another legal thriller, A Time to Kill, both from ’96. He was still there in ’97’s Contact with Jodie Foster and even up to  Frailty (a superb and too-little seen creep fest from 2001.) There were even glimpses of him in 2002’s Reign of Fire, but then came the rom coms and the pointless action adventure movies wherein Actor McConaughey was subsumed by Shirtless Himbo McConaughey, the hunk whose roles often seemed a parody of his off-screen personality.  Well, it’s 2011 and the Himbo has, if not a wife, at least a long term partner (with whom he did NOT co-star) and two small children. It’s time for an image make-over. It’s time for Actor McConaughey to take back his career. Enter The Lincoln Lawyer.  We’ll see.

I want to see Paul because I think hearing Seth Rogan’s voice coming out of that little alien is enough to warrant the price of a ticket on its own, but I absolutely adored Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz. Both of those films starred Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, and although Paul does not have Edgar Wright at the helm, it does reteam this impeccable comic duo. While they’ve achieved some success separately, most notably Pegg played Scottie in the recent Star Trek reboot and Frost was hilarious as Dr. Dave in Pirate Radio, they are brilliant together. After Paul, they’ll next appear onscreen in Spielberg’s The Adventures of Tintin…  (Written by Edgar Wright and "Dr. Who" showrunner, Steven Moffat.) It also must be said that Paul director Greg Mottola comes with his own pedigree, having directed Adventureland and the waaaaay better than it had any right to be, Superbad. (His first film was The Daytrippers from ’96 with Stanley Tucci, Liev Schreiber, Campbell Scott and Hope Davis. It’s got to be on Netflix Instant by now. If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend this well-written, well acted and very funny little gem.) Along with Pegg and Frost, Mottola has filled Paul with a dream cast of familiar comic actors, like Jeffrey Tambor and Jason Bateman (that he worked with on "Arrested Development".) Oh and Sigourney Weaver, too. I certainly hope her comedic skills are put to better use than in last year’s You Again. (The trailer was enough to make my eyes bleed.)

Last, but not least, is Limitless. One of its stars is in danger of forever toiling in McConahunk territory, where all that’s required of him is appearing tanned and shirtless, and occasionally strutting while being filmed in slo-mo. His co-star is hopefully using this film as a ladder with which to crawl out of the Pit of Dismal Comedies with Bad Puns for Titles. The female lead is a wonderful actress who needs to make people forget that she broke up America’s Sweetheart’s marriage to an Uber-Douche who apparently knocked up some "model" either just before or just after THEY broke up. So I have high hopes for this one. It has a great premise. What would happen if there was a pill that let us use all of our brain instead of the small fraction we actually do? Kind of like a "Flowers for Algernon" for the new millennium. I don’t yet know if they end in the same or rather, a similar way, but I’m guessing there will be consequences.

And just to prove that all roads lead to

this film contains FOUR former co-stars. There are no prizes if you can tell me who they are, (other than cyber-noogies) but you’ll have my complete admiration.

“Ohhh Rochester…” Another Fassbender Post

Normal
0

false
false
false

MicrosoftInternetExplorer4

st1\:*{behavior:url(#ieooui) }

/* Style Definitions */
table.MsoNormalTable
{mso-style-name:”Table Normal”;
mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0;
mso-tstyle-colband-size:0;
mso-style-noshow:yes;
mso-style-parent:””;
mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt;
mso-para-margin:0in;
mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt;
mso-pagination:widow-orphan;
font-size:10.0pt;
font-family:”Times New Roman”;
mso-ansi-language:#0400;
mso-fareast-language:#0400;
mso-bidi-language:#0400;}

I like my books a little hard boiled, a little rough around the edges, if you will, but if I have to read a ‘romance novel’, I prefer the classics. 

Normal
0

false
false
false

MicrosoftInternetExplorer4

/* Style Definitions */
table.MsoNormalTable
{mso-style-name:”Table Normal”;
mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0;
mso-tstyle-colband-size:0;
mso-style-noshow:yes;
mso-style-parent:””;
mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt;
mso-para-margin:0in;
mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt;
mso-pagination:widow-orphan;
font-size:10.0pt;
font-family:”Times New Roman”;
mso-ansi-language:#0400;
mso-fareast-language:#0400;
mso-bidi-language:#0400;}

I tend to gravitate toward what are known as ‘Byronic heroes’ like  Captain Wentworth in “Persuasion” by Jane Austen, Heathcliff from Emily Bronte’s “Wuthering Heights”,  Dorian Gray from “The Picture of Dorian Gray” by Oscar Wilde, and Steerforth from Charles Dickens’ “David Copperfield.” And then, of course, there is Edward Rochester from Charlotte Bronte’s  Jane Eyre”

“Jane Eyre” has been filmed many, many times (the first dates back to 1910) and unlike some other translations of novel to screen, there have been many excellent adaptations, including but not limited to Robert Stevenson’s film from 1943 with Orson Welles and Joan Fontaine as well as Franco Zefferelli’s 1996 version featuring William Hurt and the underrated Charlotte Gainsbourg. Anna Pacquin played the young Jane.

When I heard that there was to be yet another cinematic retelling of this classic novel, my first reaction was to wonder whether or not we really needed one.  We just had the PBS/BBC co-production in 2006 with the great Toby Stephens and Ruth Wilson (“Luther”). And after the last one that I saw, 1997’s BBC adaptation starring Ciaran Hinds as Rochester and Samantha Morton as Jane, (which in turn followed closely on the heels of the Zefferelli film)  I thought ,“That’s it. Hinds is the definitive Rochester. I’m done, show me no more.”

…and then Cary Fukunaga had to go and cast Michael Fassbender. Oh my sweet hell…

 

Moviefone exclusive clip:

If this scene is indicative of the rest of the movie, then the film will be absolutely pitch perfect. Watch it again…notice the way that they inch toward each other…

 (Actual conversation between me and one of my besties:

KB: How did she pull away???? She’s a better woman than me…

 Me: I don’t know. I mean, I know it’s acting, but still! A will of iron!

 KB: You MUST lean toward the screen, hoping to get to his mouth

 Me: Or at least hoping Jane will…     I think part of it is that Fassbender doesn’t appear to be that much "larger" than Jane and then there’s that voice. You don’t expect that voice…

 KB: No you don’t, but WE knew it was there…)

This is the hottest piece of celluloid that I have seen in a LOOOOOONG time. I can’t stop watching it. And every time I do, I sit here with my mouth agape and my chest heaving with the effort to resume the breath caught in my throat, a hot tickle in my stomach…

TMI? Or the ultimate compliment to the palpable sexual allure of Michael Fassbender, an allure that has heretofore not so much remained hidden, but severely underutilized.

Sure, those of us who are followers of Mr. Fassbender’s work have seen it. We saw it in doomed Esme1, in (again doomed) young Stelios2, in Lt. Archie Hickox3,  (What is it with the dying?) There were hints in Connor in Andrea Arnold’s brilliant Fishtank, but while brimming with sexual magnetism, he was at the very least a cad, at worst a predator. It was there in Azazeal from “Hex”, but he was, you know, Satan. (Byronic heroes are supposed to be, like Byron himself “mad, bad and dangerous to know”4, but that’s taking things to an extreme.)  

I submit the closest we’ve gotten, to this point, was Thomas Rainsborough in 2008’s mini-series “The Devil’s Whore.” (If in doubt, watch episode 4. It’s on youtube,) but Fassbender fans have never seen him play a romantic hero like this.

We have been waiting for a role like Edward Rochester. 

Rochester is stern and not particularly handsome, but he and Jane are kindred spirits. He is the first person in the novel to offer Jane lasting love and a real home. Although he is Jane’s social and economic superior, (men were widely considered to be naturally superior to women in the Victorian period) Jane is Rochester’s intellectual equal and moral superior. He is a true ‘Byronic hero’.

 

The Byronic hero typically exhibits several of the following traits:

  • Arrogance
  • intelligence and perception
  • cunning and adaptability
  • suffering from an unnamed crime
  • a troubled past
  • sophisticated and educated
  • self-critical and introspective
  • mysterious, magnetic and charismatic
  • struggles with integrity
  • possesses the power of seduction and sexual attraction
  • exhibits social and sexual dominance
  • emotionally conflicted, moody, perhaps even bi-polar
  • a distaste for social institutions and norms
  • is an exile, an outcast, or an outlaw
  • disrespect of rank and privilege
  • jaded, world-weary
  • cynicism
  • self-destructive behavior

Three of my favorite actors, Gerard Butler, Tom Hardy and yes, Michael Fassbender can tick off a great many traits on this list, which is undoubtedly part of why I’m drawn to them.  In a bit of verisimilitude, Hardy has played Heathcliffe. Butler, the titular role in The Phantom of the Opera, (which although it’s not my favorite among the characters that he has played, it does fit the bill to a tee.) Now Fassbender has Rochester. 

Jane Eyre would seem to be an odd choice for wunderkind Cary Fukunaga’s second feature film. His first, 2009’s Sin Nombre, was nominated for and won numerous festival and critics association awards, but nothing about it suggests that its director was ready to deliver a fresh, sexy, nuanced take on a classic of Victorian ‘chick-lit.’

Based on a trailer and two clips, Australian actress Mia Wasikowska looks to become the definitive Jane Eyre. Physically she’s perfect; frail and small one moment, but hinting at an inner strength. Plain enough to appear ordinary and then beautiful with the transforming power of love. She may have a difficult name, but she is one of a crop of current ‘IT girls’, and an extremely talented one. Since appearing as Alice in Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland, she’s played one of Annette Bening and Julianne Moore’s kids in The Kids Are Alright and in addition to Jane Eyre, she has two other completed films due for release in 2011 and is currently filming The Wettest County in the World with Tom Hardy.

As for Michael Fassbender, I’ve talked about him a lot on this blog. (Hit his tag on the left and the posts will come up.) He is already “obsessed over by cool people”5, and I’d like to think I can count myself in that number. His Rochester will become just another arrow in his artistic quiver. It may not even be the most interesting performance we see from him this year, since he’s already got Carl Jung (David Cronenberg’s A Dangerous Method) and Magneto under his belt.

Jane Eyre is released in the US on 11 March 2011.

Official site: trailers.apple.com/trailers/focus_features/janeeyre/

(trailer and clips can be found here)

ivillage exclusive clip: www.ivillage.com/exclusive-clip-jane-eyre/1-h-321698

1.       Francoise Ozon’s Angel, 2007

2.      Zack Snyder’s 300, 2007

3.      Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds, 2009

4.      Lady Caroline Lamb

5.      Nathaniel Rogers, TheFilmExperience.net 10 February 2011

******************************************

Speaking of Magneto…

I never saw any of the other X-Men films, although I tried to watch the Hugh Jackman prequel Wolverine (operative word being "tried"). I’ll see X-Men:First Class for two reasons 1. Matthew Vaughn, director of Layer Cake, Stardust and Kick-Ass. We love Matthew Vaughn  and 2. Michael Fassbender.  "Peace was never an option."  *shudder…thud*

Here’s the trailer along with commentary by Fassbender and MTV’s Josh Horowitz


*************************************

In other news, it has been confirmed that The Weinstein Co. has indeed purchased the US distribution rights for Ralph Fiennes’ Coriolanus! As I’ve already postulated, this really bodes well for the film’s prospects.