Richard sits in on the CFRA Morning Show with host Bill Carroll to talk about the weekend’s big releases, the live action version of “Beauty and the Beast,” the drug addled “T2 Trainspotting,” the no-holds-barred “Goon: Last of the Enforcers,” and “The Sense of an Ending” with Jim Broadbent.
“Our life is not our life,” says Tony Webster (Jim Broadbent), “it’s just a story we’ve told to others.” Such is the theme of “The Sense of An Ending,” a gentle retelling of Julian Barnes’ Man Booker Prize-winning 2011 novel about human nature and the vagaries of memory.
Webster’s life is uneventful. An alarm wakes him at the same time every day. After a light breakfast he heads to his camera repair shop, puts in his hours and returns home. Occasionally he attends a birthing class with his pregnant-soon-to-be-single-mom daughter (Michelle Dockery) or enjoys a quick phone call with his cagey ex-wife Margaret (Harriet Walter).
A solicitor’s letter disrupts his quiet semi-retirement. Out of the blue he discovers the mother of his long ago ex-girlfriend Veronica (Freya Mavor) has died and left him something in the will. It is the diary of Adrian (Joe Alwyn) an old friend and classmate at Cambridge. Trouble is, Veronica (played in later life by Charlotte Rampling) doesn’t want to hand it over. Obsessed with getting what is rightfully his, Tony launches an investigation into Veronica and, ultimately, his own unsettled past.
Flip flopping between the present day and 1960s England, “The Sense of An Ending,” is an engaging look at what happens when the debris of a life lived enters into Tony’s well-ordered old age. The story is compelling—although the “as told to” nature of the flashbacks, complete with Margaret’s “so what happened nexts” seem a bit contrived—but the performances are bang on.
Broadbent is a careful mix of curmudgeon and charmer, a self-effacing man forced to confront and rediscover what is important to him. It’s subtle, effortless work and draws us deep into Tony’s tale.
He is supported by strong work from the women in Tony’s life, Walter, Dockery and Rampling. Each are key to the story and each help Tony on his journey of self discovery while never losing themselves or being relegated to stereotypical roles. Also worth a mention is a short but storing performance from Emily Mortimer as Veronica’s mother.
“The Sense of An Ending” is occasionally light and breezy when it should hunker down and dig a little deeper, but Broadbent and Co ensure it is never less than involving.
Richard sits in on the CFRA Morning Show with Bill Carroll to talk about the big Christmas releases, “Passengers” with Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt, the videogame flick “Assassin’s Creed” with Micheal Fassbender and the animated sing-a-long “Sing.”
Richard sits in on the CJAD Morning Show with Andrew Carter to talk about the weekend’s big releases, “Passengers” with Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt, the videogame flick “Assassin’s Creed” with Micheal Fassbender and the animated sing-a-long “Sing.”
Richard sits in with Erin Paul to have a look at the special Wednesday releases, “Passengers” with Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt, the videogame flick “Assassin’s Creed” with Micheal Fassbender and the animated sing-a-long “Sing.”
“Assassin’s Creed” may have the highest end cast ever for a movie based on a videogame. Ripe with Oscar nominees and winners like Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard, Jeremy Irons, Brendan Gleeson and Charlotte Rampling, it’s the poshest piffle to ever leap from the gaming consul to the big screen.
Based on the wildly popular Ubisoft videogames of the same name, the movie is a standalone that does not follow the storyline of the games.
When we first see Fassbender it’s the time of the Spanish Inquisition. He is Aguilar de Nerha, head of a stealthy brotherhood of assassins charged with making sure that rivals Knights Templar don’t get their hands on a holy relic called The Apple of Eden. “We work in the dark to service the light!” The stakes are high as the mystical device contains “the seed of man’s first disobedience.”
Jump forward to 2016. Fassbender is now Cal Lynch, a career criminal set on a bad path as a child when he saw his father murder his mother. On death row for the murder of a pimp he is to be executed. Instead he is whisked away by multinational corporate conglomerate Abstergo. “What do you want from me?” Callum asks. “Your past,” says lead scientist of the Animus project at Abstergo Foundation Sophia Rikkin (Cotillard).
Using something called the Animus Abstergo unlocks Cal’s genetic memory, essentially seeing through Aguilar de Nerha’s 15th century eyes as they look for clues as to the location of the Apple.
It’s ancestry.ca gone wild! It’s also an almost incomprehensible story about ancient rivalries and, more confusingly, “the genetic code for free will.” What, exactly does that mean? Who knows? The plot, such that it is, is essentially a load of gobbledygook that fills the gaps between the action scenes. Plot points are delivered with Fassbender’s trademarked intense glare and solemn intonations from Irons and the rest of the cast, so they must mean something, right? If you figure it out, let me know.
That is the question rattling around Kate Mercer’s (Charlotte Rampling) head as her forty-fifth wedding anniversary to Geoff (Tom Courtenay) looms on the horizon.
In retirement the couple have a comfortable life. He putters and reads, she makes arrangements for their anniversary bash. Their quiet, cozy life is disturbed when a letter arrives for Geoff with disturbing news; the body of Katya, his first love, has been discovered in the Swiss Alps, frozen and preserved, after falling to her death nearly five decades before. In the days leading up to the celebration of their relationship Kate begins to understand the depth of Geoff’s feelings for his long-ago love, leading to distrust and a re-examination of her “happy” marriage.”
Director Andrew Haigh knows this is an actor’s movie and puts Rampling and Courtenay front and center, showcasing them with unfussy and simple presentation. There is no soundtrack to set the scene or flashy editing to entertain your eye, just powerfully subtle performances. Rampling never overstates her devastation. Instead, she allows her nuanced facial expressions to speak volumes, filling in the unspoken parts of the story with tiny but effective looks and actions. It is the kind of introspective work that the big screen was invented to display.
“45 Years” is a master class in acting. It’s a mature story brought to life by two remarkable actors who aren’t afraid to trust the story’s emotional core and take the time to allow it to burrow deep into the viewer’s intellect and more importantly, heart.
Patrick White’s novel “The Eye of the Storm” is the only Australian book honored with a Nobel Prize for literature, and it is perhaps the novel’s intimidating reputation—and dense prose—that has kept filmmakers away for almost forty years.
The action centers around socialite Elizabeth (Charlotte Rampling), the terminally ill matriarch of the Hunter family. On her deathbed she lives life as she always has, controlling and manipulating everyone around her. That includes her nurses (one of whom is played by the director Fred Schepisi’s daughter, Alexandra), a flamboyant housekeeper and her two sycophantic kids, the lecherous stage star Sir Basil (Geoffrey Rush) and down-on-her-luck princess Dorothy (Judy Davis). Elizabeth has decided to dictate the terms of her passing, Basil has decided to try and bed younger women and Dorothy wants to et her hands on some much needed cash.
There’s a taste of “King Lear” in “The Eye of the Storm.” The similarities in the family dynamic are obvious, but beyond that, there is a theatricality to the movie which works well for the material. Normally I would find the movie’s monologues and posturing distracting, but it is a pleasure to watch Rush, Davis and Rampling clearly relishing the opportunity to immerse themselves in Patrick White’s world.