Dallas Buyers Club

February 21, 2014

There are those who question the validity of making a movie like Dallas Buyers Club, a biopic of a self-serving homophobe who formed one of the many organisations that helped prolong- if not save, the lives of thousands of people in the US during the height of the AIDS epidemic.

As a way of getting around the lengthy and deeply flawed FDA approval process, Ron Woodroof(Matthew McConaughey) read everything he could on the disease. He bought AZT on the black market (to avoid being given the same sugar pills doing nothing for those on the wrong side of the test group coin) and- when that puts him in the hospital, he smuggles unapproved drugs across the border, taking advantage of a loop-hole in the law to make a quick buck off of others in a similar predicament.

Dismissing the people he got the plan from as, ‘some fags from New York’- it’s no wonder people are perturbed at the moviemakers’ decision to tell this story rather than dramatising the grander tale of how Act Up saved millions of lives without gauging their brethren.

Read the rest of this entry »

Gravity

February 21, 2014

If Miss Congeniality floating about in space, giving rousing speeches against a crashing score is your bag, then strap yourself into Gravity. It lives and dies by it’s leading lady, who, after years of delivering dialogue care of the bottom of the barrel, is put to work in a movie as contrived as it is exhilarating. There is benign support from George Clooney- and stereotypical character arcs abound, but it’s Bullock who has to make you forget the mawkish monologues and ‘oh come on’ twists so that you wish her back to earth in one piece.
Read the rest of this entry »

The Butler

February 21, 2014

Much like the title character it essays here, Lee Daniels’ The Butler had to wear two faces to get made. Beneath the ‘stars in biopic drag’ that parade at the forefront of this period piece, is a far-reaching socio-political discussion that charts the splintering of two generations of the all African-American family.
Read the rest of this entry »

Joe Dowling once said that when he watched Meryl Streep play Juliet, at the age of 62, he knew that no age appropriate actress could possibly do the part justice. “Armed with the ability to look back, she knew exactly what the psychological process was to follow.”

Ben Power runs this train of thought to the end zone by filleting the text of Romeo and Juliet, sprinkling bits of various sonnets and other plays throughout, and imagining a world where the lovers lived to grow old together. The hope and abandon of these star crossed lovers becomes comfortable and deep rooted and what was once hot, rebellious and irrepressible becomes sage and wistful, loaded with memory and experience. The tragedy of a love extinguished by faith and circumstance is now one culled by sacrifice, a killing of kindness.
Read the rest of this entry »

It was said of Annabelle Comyn’s production of The House that when Eleanor Methven was on stage she managed to provide a focus to performances around her that dissipated when she was not.

There’s a similar issue at play in Garry Hynes The Colleen Bawn. It’s not that there is a lack of focus – in fact the performers commit to what they are doing, achieving the unity we’ve come to expect from a Druid production.

But my god, Ashling O Sullivan takes your breath away from the very first sight of her. As the heiress Ann Chute- think Kenneth Williams meets Tracy Piggott, she captivates as a woman enamored with one man but not beholden enough to throw herself at him.
Read the rest of this entry »