Wednesday, 12 August 2020

What's new in Odeon's this week : Thursday 13th August 2020.

In the past few weeks I have reported on a number of major studio films that have had their planned release dates pushed back because of the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent halting or delays experienced by movie production houses, and only the partial reopening of cinemas worldwide. Those films rescheduled have been 'Tenet', 'No Time To Die', 'Wonder Woman 1984', 'The Conjuring : The Devil Made Me Do It', 'The French Dispatch', 'A Quiet Place : Part II', 'Top Gun : Maverick', 'Halloween Kills', 'The Eternals', 'Antlers', 'Ghostbusters : Afterlife', and 'Fast & Furiuos 9'This week to keep you ever in the loop, I update you on another four major films that have seen their already publicised release dates pushed back.

'MORBIUS' - this American superhero film is Directed by Daniel Espinosa, the Swedish film maker whose earlier credits take in 'Safe House', 'Child 44' and 'Life' in 2017. Based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name this will be the second instalment in the Sony Pictures Universe of Marvel Characters after 2018's 'Venom'. Here Jared Leto stars as Michael Morbius with Matt Smith, Jared Harris, Tyrese Gibson and Adria Arjona with Michael Keaton too. Initially scheduled for a 31st July 2020 release, this has now been delayed until 19th March 2021.

'LAST NIGHT IN SOHO' - is a psychological thriller film Directed, Written and Co-Produced by Edgar Wright whose previous Directorial credits include 'Shaun of the Dead', 'Hot Fuzz', 'The World's End', 'Scott Pilgrim vs. the World' and 'Baby Driver' in 2017. Here Anya Taylor-Joy, Thomas Harcourt McKenzie, Matt Smith, Diana Rigg and Terence Stamp star in this film which was originally slated for a 25th September 2020 release, but has since been pushed back until 23rd April 2021.

'SPIRAL : FROM THE BOOK OF SAW' - here we have the ninth film in the 'Saw' horror franchise that is this time Directed by Darren Lynn Bousman whose previous film making outings mostly in the horror genre include 'Saw II', Saw III', 'Saw IV', 'Mother's Day', '11-11-11', 'The Barrens' and 'Abattoir'. Here Chris Rock, Samuel L. Jackson, Max Minghella and Marisol Nichols star in this follow on to the earlier films but with a fresh perspective. Originally intended for a 23rd October 2020 release this was then moved forward to a 15th May 2020 release date, and this has now been rescheduled to 20th May 2021.

'VENOM : LET THERE BE CARNAGE' - is the sequel to 2018's 'Venom' which grossed US$856M off the back of a US$110M production budget making this follow up instalment inevitable. This time Andy Serkis Directs and this will be the third film in the Sony Pictures Universe of Marvel Characters following on from 'Morbius'. Here Tom Hardy reprises his role as Eddie Brock/Venom with Woody Harrelson starring as the antagonist Cletus Kasady/Carnage with Michelle Williams, Naomie Harris, Reid Scott and Stephen Graham. Originally intended for a 2nd October 2020 release date this was subsequently pushed back to 25th June 2021.

This week there are four new release movies showing at your local Odeon. We launch with a disaster film of post zombie apocalyptic proportions in this South Korean standalone sequel to a hugely popular and successful 2016 film, that sees a group of four soldiers return to a zombie infested wasteland to retrieve a stash of cash and get out alive . . . easy! Next we turn to another disaster, but this one brought about by a hurricane event, and a cop trying to organise the evacuation of an apartment tower in which lives a former cop now suffering ill health, as a gang of thieves close in intent on stealing a huge stash of cash hidden in said apartment block. We have next a comedy drama about an estranged father and son who embark on journey to Tuscany to visit, fix up and sell a run down old villa left to them by their late wife and mother; before closing out the week with a French offering about a man whose life long marriage is on the slide but he's given a chance to kind of 'time travel' by a stage company and so he revisits the place where he first met his future wife over forty years prior.

Whatever your taste in big screen film entertainment is this week - be it any of the four latest release new movies as Previewed below, or those doing the rounds currently on general release or as Reviewed and Previewed in previous Blog Posts here at Odeon Online, you are most welcome to share your movie going thoughts, opinions and observations by leaving your relevant, succinct and appropriate views in the Comments section below this or any other Post. We'd love to hear from you, and in the meantime, enjoy your big screen Odeon outing during the coming week.

'PENINSULA' (Rated MA15+) - this South Korean post zombie apocalyptic action horror film is the standalone sequel to 2016's 'Train to Busan' as is Directed by Yeon Sang-ho who also Directed that first instalment. This film was selected to be shown at this years Cannes Film Festival which was subsequently cancelled for reasons of COVID-19. And so the film was released in its native South Korea in mid-July, goes on limited release in Australia this week and in the US next week. The film cost US$16M to make and has so far grossed US$29M with US$27M of that haul coming from its local audience. It is also the first time since mid-March that the total global Box Office for a new film release has achieved over US$1M.

Set four years following the total decimation of South Korea in 'Train to Busan' Jung-seok (Gang Dong-won), a soldier who previously escaped the diseased wasteland, relives the horror when assigned to a covert operation with two simple objectives : retrieve an abandoned food truck containing a stash of cash amounting to US$20M and survive in the process. When his team unexpectedly stumbles upon survivors, their lives will depend on whether the best or worst of human nature prevails in the most deadly and dangerous of circumstances. Also starring Lee Jung-hyun and Lee Re.

'FORCE OF NATURE' (Rated MA15+) - is an American action film Directed by Michael Polish whose previous Directing credits include 'The Astronaut Farmer' in 2006 with Billy Bob Thornton, 'The Smell of Success' in 2009 with Thornton again, 'Amnesiac' in 2014 with Kate Bosworth, '90 Minutes in Heaven' in 2015 with Bosworth again and 'Nona' in 2017 with Bosworth once more. And here he teams up with Bosworth again for the latest hurricane heist set drama. And so here policeman Cardillo (Emille Hirsch) and a former cop suffering declining health Ray Barrett (Mel Gibson) married to Troy Barrett (Kate Bosworth) battle a gang of thieves led by John the Baptist (David Zayas) as they search for US$55M inside an evacuated building during a hurricane. This film seems to have divided Critics who have largely bestowed negative Press on the film, and audiences who have seemingly praised it. The film was released at the end of June on digital, DVD and Blu-Ray, gets a theatrical release in Australia this week, cost US$23M to produce and so far grossed US$150K.

'MADE IN ITALY' (Rated M) - this comedy film is Directed and Written by the English Actor James D'Arcy in his feature film making debut. Darcy has notched up nearly eighty film and television acting credits to his name in a career spanning twenty-five years. Here Robert (Liam Neeson) is estranged from his adult son Jack (Micheal Richardson), but they reunite to travel to Tuscany, Italy in order to sell the house they inherited from Robert's late wife. When they arrive they discover a run down largely dilapidated villa, that they must first set about restoring before they can even think about selling. As the renovations don't go quite according to plan, the father and son soon find themselves at odds with one another. Robert's obvious lack of DIY experience leads him to seek advice and assistance from some of the more colourful locals including the no nonsense Kate (Lindsay Duncan), an ex-pat who earns a living selling villas who also quickly captures his eye. For Jack, the state of the house seems to echo his search for memories of happier times with his mother. He soon falls for Natalia (Valeria Bilello), a vivacious young Italian chef, who restores both body and soul with culinary delights from her local trattoria, but her jealous and angry ex-husband may come between them. As Robert and Jack gradually restore the villa to its former glory, so too do they begin to heal their relationship.

'LA BELLE EPOQUE' (Rated M) - is a 2019 French romantic comedy drama film Directed and Written by Nicolas Bedos in only his second feature film making outing, although he has acted and written in various films and TV series over the years. The film first Premiered out of competition at the May 2019 Cannes Film Festival and was then released in its native France in early November last year to generally favourable Reviews. Here, Victor Drumond (Daniel Auteuil) is a man in his sixties whose forty or so year marriage to Marianne (Fanny Ardant) is on the rocks. When Victor meets Antoine (Guillaume Canet), the owner of a company which allows people to perform a version of 'time travel' by visiting a stage where the company acts out a staged historical reenactment, he takes the opportunity to revisit the moment when he first met Marianne on 16th May 1974 at a cafe in Lyon called 'La Belle Epoque', in the hope of reigniting his love for her. Also starring Doria Tillier and Michael Cohen.

With four new release films this week to tempt you out to your local Odeon, remember to share your movie going thoughts with your other like minded cinephile friends afterwards here at Odeon Online. In the meantime, I'll see you sometime somewhere in the week ahead, at your local Odeon.

-Steve, at Odeon Online-

Friday, 7 August 2020

UNHINGED : Tuesday 4th August 2020.

'UNHINGED' which I saw at my local multiplex earlier this week is an MA15+ Rated American psychological thriller film Directed by Derrick Borte, whose previous film making credits take in 2009's 'The Joneses', 2013's 'Dark Around the Stars', 2015's 'H8RZ', 2016's 'London Town' and 2019's 'American Dreamer'. Costing US$33M to make, the film has had its cinematic release date pushed back and brought forward several times in the hope of being amongst the first to test the waters as cinemas reopen. The film opened in Europe, Latin America and Asia mid last month, in Australia last week and is slated for its US release sometime in August, has so far grossed US$1.6M and has generated mixed Reviews.

The film opens with a lone man, later going by the name of Tom Cooper (Russell Crowe), sitting in his pick-up truck late at night in the pouring rain. He's popping pills, and playing with matches with an intensely angered look on his dial. He gets out of his car, takes off his jacket, folds it neatly and places it on the passenger seat. He then goes to the back seat and pulls out a can of petrol and a hammer. Walking up to the front door of a house with a recently listed for sale sign out the front, he smashes the front door in with said hammer. A man comes running out wondering what all the commotion is about followed by a woman. The pair are quickly bludgeoned to death with the hammer and the house then set alight. Driving away from the scene the house explodes in a ball of flame, as the rain drenched man sits behind the wheel expressionless.

Later that morning we are introduced to Rachel Hunter (Caren Pistorius), sleeping on the couch when her phone rings, waking her up late. It is Andy (Jimmi Simpson) on the other end of the line, her friend and divorce lawyer, saying that her soon to be ex-husband Richard, has filed a claim for the former matrimonial home. Andy says that he has already drafted a response rejecting the claim considering that Rachel paid for it, while her husband bummed from one job to the next. She says she'll think about it, they agree to meet up for lunch, and Rachel hangs up, saying that she needs to get her son Kyle (Gabriel Bateman) to school and they're already running late. On the drive to school, the traffic is at its usual peak hour standstill. They take the freeway but this is jammed tight. Rachel takes the hard shoulder and turns off at the next exit. She comes to halt at a red stop light behind a pick-up truck. The light turns green, but the truck in front doesn't move. She honks the car horn repeatedly trying to get the driver in front to move before the light turns red again. Out of frustration, she manoeuvres her beat up old Volvo station wagon around the pick-up truck just as the lights turn red, and she's clear, leaving the truck still standing. At the next stop, the pick-up truck pulls up beside her.

The man driving the pick-up truck is the same guy who killed and torched the couple's home earlier that night. He calmly winds his window down and motions to Kyle to do the same. Very matter of factly he tells Rachel that instead of repeatedly honking her car horn at him she should have given him a 'courtesy tap' - a couple of polite and quick beeps. After all he had just 'zoned out' for a minute or two, and besides he's having a very bad day. He apologises for keeping her waiting at the red stop light, and demands an apology from Rachel, so they can then both go about their business. Rachel refuses point blank to say sorry, despite the wishes to do so from Kyle in the back seat.

When the cars move off, Cooper chases Rachel and Kyle bumper to bumper down tight city streets, eventually evading the man, and dropping Kyle off at school. When alone, Rachel calls Andy and explains that she's just had a nightmare road rage experience, she was just fired by her best client for being late (again!), and Kyle will get a thirty minute detention for arriving late at school. Can they do breakfast instead of lunch? Andy agrees, and sends Rachel a diary insert to meet at their favourite diner for breakfast in half an hour or so. Rachel needs to refuel her Volvo, and pulls up at a petrol station. Having paid, she notices Cooper parked up directly behind her at the fuel pump. She doesn't know what to do. The attendant offers to call the Police, but Rachel declines. Another male customer offers to walk Rachel out to her car, and take Copper's license plate number. When Rachel is back in her vehicle and drives off, the kindly customer motions to Cooper to just leave her alone, and that they have noted his licence plate number. At this Cooper revs the engine and drives headlong at the guy at speed lifting him up onto the bonnet of his truck, before turning sharply in pursuit of Rachel once again. As the guy is thrown off the bonnet into the road, he staggers to get up only to be killed outright by a passing delivery truck. Rachel witnesses this in her rear view mirror.

In the meantime, while at the fuel stop, Cooper has stolen Rachel's mobile phone from her car, and replaced it with another which he locates in the centre console out of view. After giving chase upon exiting the petrol station, Cooper catches up with Rachel and motions through his window that he is now in possession of her phone. She successfully evades him again and brings her car to a stop under an overpass. She hears a phone ringing and rummaging around inside her Volvo she locates it in the centre console. By this time Cooper has caught up with Andy at their designated breakfast meeting time and place and introduced himself to the divorce lawyer as an old friend of Rachel's from out of town. Andy had tried unsuccessfully to reach Rachel not knowing that she was no longer in possession of her phone, or the reasons why. Needless to say, it doesn't end well for Andy particularly as he is a divorce lawyer and Cooper has gone through the very things that Andy is advocating for Rachel in her divorce from Richard, which only serves to piss off Cooper even more. At about 10:00am in a packed out diner Andy meets with a brutal end. All the while other diners look on in horror, with many filming the whole episode on their mobile phones, which is beamed across TV screens within the hour.

While this is going on, Rachel is on the phone with Cooper pleading with him to stop, but Cooper has no intention of stopping. As he walks out of the diner, he tells her that Andy is dead. Still driving and in disbelief Cooper calls Rachel and says that he has checked out her photos, her contacts, her voicemail messages on her phone. He transfers her life savings to Richard's bank account with a few clicks on the screen, and asks Rachel to choose who his next victim should be from her contacts list, otherwise he will choose someone else very close to her. She gives the name of Deborah Haskell (Anne Leighton) who was the valued client who fired Rachel earlier that morning. Needless to say, Rachel calls the Police to alert Haskell, but Cooper is calling her bluff!

Instead Cooper tells Rachel to collect Kyle from school and to call him back when he is in the car with her. In the meantime he drives to her house to find Kyle's uncle Fred (Austin P. Mackenzie) and his girlfriend Mary (Juliene Joyner). Cooper savagely beats up Mary, and as Fred tries to defend himself and Mary with a kitchen knife, Cooper thrusts Mary onto the blade being held out by Fred repeatedly. With Mary dead, Kyle is gaffer taped to a chair and has lighter fuel doused over him. At this point Rachel calls and is put on loud speaker so that Kyle can hear too. Fred, by now also badly beaten, reads out a letter, sobbing uncontrollably, dictated to him by Cooper as though it is from Fred's own hand, saying that Rachel is responsible for their deaths. At this point a Police officer charges in and fires off a round catching Cooper in the shoulder. He ignites the lighter fuel doused on Fred and pushes the chair in the direction of the Officer so that he can make his getaway. All the while Rachel and Kyle are listening in, distraught.

Back on the freeway, and Cooper has swapped vehicles and is now driving a people mover belonging to a neighbour of Rachel's. Back in the Volvo, Rachel and Kyle come to the conclusion that Cooper must be tracking them using Rachel's phone synched to her tablet which must be somewhere in the car. Rummaging about Kyle locates it switched on and taped to the underside of the passenger seat and out of view. Before you know it, Cooper is upon them once again. The Volvo accelerates ahead of Cooper's and pulls up alongside a Police car. The pair motion to the Officer to wind down his window and shout across that they are being pursued by the guy who has been all over the news earlier that day. Cooper nudges the Police car from behind sending it spinning across several lanes coming to rest against the flow of traffic. About to call it in, the Police car is taken out by a truck trashing the Police vehicle and its occupant instantly. Rachel hatches a plan to drive to her mothers house in the suburbs which has a maze of corridors and secret hideaways that Kyle can stow himself away in safely. Following another high speed chase to get to her mothers place, Rachel loses Cooper in the side streets, and with the tablet now out of juice, Cooper is unable to track the Volvo. He drives around until he spies the parked Volvo. While Cooper is preparing to get out of the vehicle Rachel T-Bones his car with her mother's vehicle, sending it toppling onto its roof. Getting out armed with a golf club, she goes around to the drivers side door to find it open and empty, whereupon Cooper emerges and beats her up leaving her semi-conscious on the ground. Cooper goes into the house in search of Kyle.

The house is all silent as Cooper makes out he is a Police officer and says it's safe to come out in a friendly welcoming tone of voice. Upstairs in a concealed attic space, Kyle is uncertain what to do. He jangles against a fire side setting sending the tools crashing, which alerts Cooper to his whereabouts, but Rachel gets to Kyle first. Thinking they are safe, Rachel is dragged backwards by Cooper into a bedroom and punched repeatedly in the face. He then grabs Kyle and drags him into the room punching him too, and wraps an electrical cord around his neck. As Kyle gasps for breath, Rachel jumps up from the bed wielding a pair of scissors that ultimately sees an end to Cooper. As the Police arrive, they advise the pair that Fred is going to be OK, and as they have made their statements they are free to go.

Tom Cooper is a nasty piece of work. He's got such a big chip on his shoulder it's a wonder he can walk straight, and he really takes road rage to the next level. But for all his anger management issues, his brutality and his malevolence there is something about him that makes for compulsive viewing. Perhaps it is because he is just so over the top unhinged and grounded in some sense of reality that makes this story as compelling as it is. After all, we see and hear almost every day either on the news channels or via social media platforms examples of real life road rage incidents that often leave the viewer dumbfounded and exasperated - but almost never on the level seen in this feature. But I guess the carnage, the brutal acts of violence which leave nothing to the imagination, the pure evil in Tom Cooper's motivations and the game of cat and mouse that ensues all add up to a package that is well crafted but lacks any reason to be, or message, and you just know that in the end the cat will get his comeuppance and the mouse will overcome.

'Unhinged' merits three claps of the Odeon Online clapperboard from a possible five claps.
-Steve, at Odeon Online-

Wednesday, 5 August 2020

What's new in Odeon's this week : Thursday 6th August 2020.

In the last couple of weeks I have reported on a number of major studio films that have had their planned release dates pushed back once again because of the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent halting or delays experienced by movie production houses, and only the partial reopening of cinemas worldwide. Those films rescheduled have been 'Tenet', 'No Time To Die', 'Wonder Woman 1984', 'The Conjuring : The Devil Made Me Do It', 'The French Dispatch', 'A Quiet Place : Part II', 'Top Gun : Maverick' and 'Halloween Kills'. This week once again I update you on another four major films that have seen their already publicised release dates pushed back.

'THE ETERNALS' - intended to be the 25th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and based on the Marvel Comics seven thousand year old immortal alien race of the same name. Directed by Chloe Zhao and starring an ensemble cast that includes Richard Madden, Gemma Chan, Kumail Nanjiani, Lauren Ridloff, Brian Tyree Henry, Salma Hayek, Barry Keoghan, Angelina Jolie, and Kit Harington the film was originally slated for a 6th November release, but has since been pushed back to 12th February 2021.


'ANTLERS' - this supernatural horror film is Directed by Scott Cooper and is Co-Produced by Guillermo del Toro and David S. Goyer. Starring Kerri Russell, Jesse Plemmons, Graham Greene, Scott Haze, Amy Madigan and Rory Cochrane this film was originally intended to be released on 17th April this year, but has been pushed back to 19th February 2021.

'GHOSTBUSTERS : AFTERLIFE' - this direct sequel to 1984's 'Ghostbusters' and 1989's 'Ghostbusters II' is Directed and Co-Written by Jason Reitman (the son of Ivan Reitman who Directed the first two films in this franchise) and the fourth film in the series. Starring Carrie Coon, Finn Wolfhard, Mckenna Grace, and Paul Rudd, with Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Ernie Hudson, Sigourney Weaver, and Annie Potts reprising the roles from the first two instalments. Initially scheduled for a 10th July release this year, it has now been delayed until 5th March 2021.

'FAST & FURIOUS 9' (aka 'F9') - this action film based on the hugely popular and successful 'Fast & Furious' franchise is Directed and Co-Produced by Justin Lin who also Directed the third, fourth, fifth and sixth films in the series. This is the ninth film in the series and the tenth film overall following the 2019 release of the spin-off 'Hobbs & Shaw' with those first nine films grossing worldwide a figure approaching US$5.9B. Here the ensemble cast is reunited, comprising Vin Diesel, John Cena, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Chris 'Ludacris' Bridges, Jordana Brewster, Nathalie Emmanuel, Sung Kang, Helen Mirren, Charlize Theron and Lucas Black. Scheduled originally for a 22nd May release date this year, the film was pushed back to 2nd April 2021.

This week we have four latest new cinematic offerings to tempt you out to your local Odeon in the coming week, and we kick start with two French films that have been kicking around for about a year but only now do they get a limited run in Australia. One is a long awaited sequel to a very popular 2010 film about a group of close friends who have lost contact with each other since the events of the last film but come together again for a surprise milestone birthday of one of their close knit cohort only to find that the surprise they were all hoping for is not quite the surprise it turns out to be. The second is a quirky absurdist comedy horror film about a guy suffering an acute mid life crisis who seems to be given another chance courtesy of a bewitched vintage animal pelt jacket. We then turn to a highly praised drama film charting a mid-teenage girls right to have an unwanted pregnancy terminated, but she needs to cross borders to have this performed and not without a few challenges en route. And closing out the week we wrap things up with an Aussie horror of cave divers, rising storm waters and killer crocs.

Whatever your taste in big screen film entertainment is this week - be it any of the four latest release new movies as Previewed below, or those doing the rounds currently on general release or as Reviewed and Previewed in previous Blog Posts here at Odeon Online, you are most welcome to share your movie going thoughts, opinions and observations by leaving your relevant, succinct and appropriate views in the Comments section below this or any other Post. We'd love to hear from you, and in the meantime, enjoy your big screen Odeon outing during the coming week.

'WE'LL END UP TOGETHER' (Rated M) - this French film is the long awaited follow up to 2010's acclaimed 'Little White Lies' that is once again Written and Directed by the French filmmaker, Actor, Writer and Producer Guillaume Canet. With seventy acting credits to his name, eleven as Writer, twelve as Director and seven as Producer Canet is currently in pre-production with his latest offering 'Asterix & Obelix : L'Empire du Millieu' in which he stars, writes and Directs. This film opened in France on 1st May 2019 where it went on to become the second highest grossing film in that country of that year, and only now does it get a limited showing in Australia from this week and has garnered generally positive press so far.

The years have passed by since middle-aged restaurateur Max (Francois Cluzet) has welcomed his friends at his idyllic summer house in the chic beach community of Cap Ferret. The group have generally reconnected there for his birthday, but since things didn’t exactly go to plann last time around, they haven’t seen much of one another in the intervening years. It turns out that Max is getting a divorce and his villa is up for sale, so when close friends Marie (Marion Cotillard), Vincent (Benoit Magimel), now-famous actor Eric (Gilles Lellouche) and his hapless buddy-turned-assistant Antoine (Laurent Lafitte) arrive unannounced to celebrate his 60th, it’s not necessarily a welcome surprise.

'DEERSKIN' (Rated MA15+) - this French comedy horror film is Written and Directed by the French electronic musician, DJ and film maker Quentin Dupieux. The film saw its World Premier screening at 2019's Cannes Film Festival, went on release in its native France in mid-June 2019 and was due for release Stateside in late March but that event was pulled due to COVID-19. Now the film gets a limited showing in Australia this week and has generated largely favourable Reviews so far. Here middle aged Georges (Jean Dujardin) has recently gone through a divorce and becomes obsessed with a vintage tasseled deerskin jacket that begins to influence an uncanny hold over him. With the backdrop of a sleepy French alpine village, he escapes from his hum drum life in the suburbs, blows his life savings and turns to crime. He falls into the guise of an independent filmmaker and befriends a trusting bartender and aspiring editor named Denise (Adele Haenel), who becomes his collaborator on a movie that will document a surprising new goal he sets himself.

'NEVER, RARELY, SOMTIMES, ALWAYS' (Rated M) - this American and British Co-Produced drama film is Written and Directed by Eliza Hittman whose previous feature film outings are 'It Felt Like Love' in 2013 and 'Beach Rats' in 2017. This film had its World Premier showing at this years Sundance Film Festival at the end of January, and was in competition for the Golden Bear at the Berlin International Film Festival in late February where it took out the Silver Bear Grand Jury Prize. The film has generated widespread critical acclaim. Here, seventeen year old Pennsylvanian resident Autumn Callahan (Sidney Flanigan) is faced with an unintended pregnancy and a lack of local support. So Autumn and her cousin, Skylar (Talia Ryder), travel across State lines to New York City because she is unable to get an abortion in her native State without parental consent, embarking on a fraught journey of friendship, bravery and compassion. Also starring Theodore Pellerin, Ryan Eggold and Sharon Van Ettten.

'BLACK WATER : ABYSS' (Rated M) - this follow up to 2007's Aussie horror 'Black Water' is once again Directed by Andrew Traucki whose other film making credits include 2010's 'The Reef', one of 26 worldwide film makers on 'The ABCs of Death' in 2012 and 'The Jungle' in 2013. The film charts the story of an adventure loving couple who convince their friends to explore a remote, previously uncharted cave system in the forests of Northern Australia. With a tropical storm approaching, they abseil into the mouth of the cave, but when the caves begins to flood, tensions rise as oxygen levels fall and the group find themselves trapped deep underground. Unknown to them, the storm has also brought in a pack of dangerous and hungry crocodiles. Starring Jessica McNamee, Luke Mitchell, Amali Golden, Anthony Sharpe and Benjamin Hoetjes.

With four new release films this week to tempt you out to your local Odeon, remember to share your movie going thoughts with your other like minded cinephile friends afterwards here at Odeon Online. In the meantime, I'll see you sometime somewhere in the week ahead, at your local Odeon.

-Steve, at Odeon Online-

Monday, 3 August 2020

The Odeon Online Obituary : The screen celebrities who passed away in July 2020.

In July, the world bid a fond farewell to a number of stars of the silver screen and the small screen. In brief, shown below, is my passing tribute to those stars who leave an indelible mark on the entertainment industry, and in particular the world of film and television. May you all Rest In Peace, and thanks for the memories . . . . Mike Walling, Kevin Rafferty, Mary Twala, Bettina Gilois, Nick Cordero, Ennio Morricone, Naya Rivera, Johnny Beattie, Kelly Preston, Maurice Roeves, Galyn Gorg, Phyllis Somerville, John Saxon, Olivia de Havilland and Alan Parker.

* Mike Walling - born 8th July 1950, died 2nd July 2020, aged 69. Walling was an English Actor, Writer and Comedian who first came to prominence in the 1970's talent show 'New Faces'. Working as a school teacher at the time, upon winning he immediately quit that job and began his career in comedy. His first small screen role was in 1980 on four episodes of 'Just Liz' and over the course of the following four decades he accumulated thirty-three screen acting credits and ten as Writer. His big screen roles took in the likes of 1983's 'The Pirates of Penzance', 1984's 'Scandalous', 2003's 'Chaos and Cadavers', 2010's 'Made in Romania' and 2017's 'Strays' being his final screen role. In the meantime there were TV series including six episodes on 'Bootle Saddles', six on 'Alfonso Bonzo', six on 'Billy Webb's Amazing Story', then thirty-eight on 'Brush Strokes', thirty-five on 'Harry's Mad', five on 'The Smoking Room', ten on 'Coronation Street', six on 'My Family' and two on 'Citizen Khan' in 2014. He also wrote multiple episodes of 'Not with a Bang', 'Birds of a Feather', 'The Brittas Empire' and 'A Prince Among Men'.

* Kevin Rafferty - born 1948, died 2nd July 2020, aged 72. Rafferty was an American documentary filmmaker, Producer, Cinematographer and Editor who notched up eight Producer credits, seven as Cinematographer, six as Director and four as Editor. His career took off in 1982 with perhaps his best known work on the cult classic doco 'The Atomic Cafe' which has subsequently received praise as one of the best Cold War movies of all time. He followed this up with 'Blood in the Face' in 1991(about Neo-Nazism and its proponents in the USA), 'Feed' in 1992 (about the 1992 New Hampshire Primaries), 'The Last Cigarette' in 1999 (about the 1994 Health and Environment Sub-Committee of the US Congress who held a hearing on tobacco products and health), 'Who Wants to Be President' in 2000 (about the 2000 New Hampshire Primaries), and his final film outing 'Harvard Beats Yale 29-29' in 2008 (about the 1968 football game played by two undefeated teams from Harvard and Yale). He Produced all of the films he Directed, was Cinematographer on four of them and Edited three. Rafferty was a nephew of US former First Lady Barbara Bush, and a cousin of former US President George W. Bush. In 2016 his film 'The Atomic Cafe' was selected for inclusion in the US National Film Registry.

* Mary Twala - born 14th September 1939, died 4th July 2020, aged 80. Twala was a South African Actress who accumulated forty-three screen acting credits to her name during a career which launched in 1975 with an uncredited bit-part in a South African film. Her next screen outing came in 1984 in 'Stoney : The One and Only' and in the years that followed she starred in the likes of 'Sarafina!' in 1992 with Whoppi Goldberg, 'Friends' in 1993 with Kerry Fox, 'Ghost Son' in 2007 with Pete Postlethwaite, 'Hopeville' in 2010 for which she was nominated for a Best Supporting Actress Award at the African Movie Academy Awards, 2013's 'Mandela : Long Walk to Freedom' with Idris Elba, 'Hector and the Search for Happiness' in 2014 with Simon Pegg, 'The Dark Tower' in 2017 with Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey, with 2019's 'This is Not a Burial, It's a Resurrection' being her final cinematic release with 'Comatose' recently completed but still awaiting a theatrical release date. In the meantime she appeared in numerous South African TV series as well as 'The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency', 'Wild at Heart', 'Strike Back', 'Wallander' and 'Roots' in 2016.

* Bettina Gilois - born 9th July 1961, died 5th July 2020, aged 58. Gilois was a German American Screenwriter and author who first appeared on the scene as an uncredited writer on the biographical feature film 'The Hurricane' in 1999 with Denzel Washington playing Rubin 'The Hurricane' Carter, and then in 2001 as an uncredited writer on TV miniseries 'The Mists of Avalon'. Her first credited screenwriting gig came with 'Glory Road' which she co-wrote with Christopher Cleveland and she followed this up in 2015 with 'Bessie' co-writing with Cleveland again and telling the story of blues singer Bessie Smith played by Queen Latifah. Gilois and her co-writers won an Emmy Nomination for Outstanding Writing of a Television Movie, a Black Reel Awards of 2016 nomination and two Image Award nods for their work. 2015 also saw her pen the screenplay with Cleveland once more for 'McFarland USA' about a 1987 Central Valley, California high school cross-country team coached in the film by Kevin Costner, who along with multiple challenges, leads his Hispanic runners to a state title. The film won the Cesar Chavez Award and the Truly Moving Pictures Award in 2015. In 2017 she wrote 'The Lost Wife of Robert Durst' a made for TV movie, and currently in production are a TV series for ABC 'Muscle Shoals', a Lifetime TV movie 'Mahalia' and a Netflix film 'A Million Miles Away' on all three of which Gilois is credited as Writer, and 'Johnny' which was recently announced but had yet to go into production.

* Nick Cordero - born Nicholas Eduardo Alberto Cordero on 17th September 1978, died 5th July 2020, aged 41. Cordero was a Canadian Actor of stage, screen and television who accumulated six theatre acting credits, six film credits and four TV credits throughout his career which kick started in 2005 in the TV series 'Queer as Folk'. From there he appeared in the short film 'Apartments at 254' in 2007 and then feature film 'Don Juan' in the lead role in 2011, followed by 'A Stand Up Guy', 'Going n Style', 'Inside Game' and 'Mob Town' most recently in 2019. His TV series roles took in 'Lilyhammer', then three episodes on 'Blue Bloods' and two on 'Law & Order : SVU'. Cordero's stage acting debut came with the title role in the off-Broadway production of 'The Toxic Avenger' in 2009. He also appeared in 'Rock of Ages' on Broadway in 2012 and on tour. He went on to appear on Broadway in 2014 in the musical 'Bullets Over Broadway' for which he was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Musical, and the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical. He won the Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical and a Theatre World Award for the role. After this, he appeared in 'Brooklynite', 'Waitress' and 'A Bronx Tale' from 2016 through 2018 for which he was nominated for an Outstanding Actor in a Musical Award at the 2017 Drama Desk Awards. Cordero died from complications as a result of contracting COVID-19.

* Ennio Morricone - born 10th November 1928, died 6th July 2020, aged 91. Morricone was an Italian composer, orchestrator and conductor. In a career spanning six decades he composed over five hundred scores for cinema and television, as well as over one hundred classical works. His score to 1966 spaghetti Western Directed by Sergio Leone 'The Good, the Bad and the Ugly' is considered one of the most influential soundtracks in history, and was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2009. Morricone's impressive filmography includes 'A Fistful of Dollars', 'For a Few Dollars More', 'Two Mules for Sister Sara', 'Cinema Paradiso', 'The Battle of Algiers', '1900', 'Exorcist II : The Heretic', 'Holocaust 2000', 'Days of Heaven', several major French movies, in particular the comedy trilogy 'La Cage aux Folles I, II, III' and 'Le Professionnel', as well as 'The Thing', 'Once Upon a Time in the West', 'Once Upon a Time in America', 'The Mission', 'The Untouchables', 'Casualties of War', 'Frantic', 'Hamlet', 'State of Grace', 'Mission to Mars', 'Bugsy', 'Disclosure', 'In the Line of Fire', 'Bulworth', 'Ripley's Game', 'The Best Offer' and 'The Hateful Eight'. In 2007, he received the Academy Honorary Award 'for his magnificent and multifaceted contributions to the art of film music'. He was nominated for a further six Oscars, and in 2016, received his only competitive Academy Award for his score to Quentin Tarantino's film 'The Hateful Eight', at the time becoming the oldest person ever to win a competitive Oscar. His other achievements include three Grammy Awards, three Golden Globes, six BAFTAs, ten David di Donatello Awards, eleven Nastro d'Argento Awards, two European Film Awards, the Golden Lion Honorary Award and the Polar Music Prize in 2010 amongst his total haul of 83 award wins and a further 91 nominations.

* Naya Rivera - born 12th January 1987, died 8th July 2020, aged 33. Rivera was an American Actress of film and television, a singer and model who accumulated twenty-five screen acting credits to her name, along with eight award wins and another nine nominations. She began her her career as a child actor and model appearing in a number of national television commercials before landing her first small screen role at the age of four on fifteen episodes of 'The Royal Family' between 1991 and 1992. Over the years that followed she had largely one off appearances in the likes of 'The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air', 'Family Matters', 'Baywatch', 'Even Stevens', 'Soul Food' and then eleven episodes on 'The Bernie Mac Show', 'CSI : Miami',  and then her best known role as Santana Lopez on 113 episodes of 'Glee' from 2009 through to 2015. Following this she also appeared on four episodes of 'Devious Maids' and twenty episodes most recently on 'Step Up : High Water'. In the meantime there were roles in a handful of movies - 'The Master of Disguise' in 2002, 'Frankenhood' in 2009, 'At the Devil's Door' in 2014 and 'Mad Families' in 2017. During her career, Rivera appeared on the covers of several magazines, including Cosmopolitan, Maxim, Rolling Stone, FHM and The Hollywood Reporter, and in May 2012 she made FHM's 100 Sexiest Women list, coming in at number 39 and she also made the Maxim Hot 100 list in 2012 for the third year in a row coming in at number 27.

* Johnny Beattie - born John Gerard Beattie on 9th November 1926, died 9th July 2020, aged 93. Beattie was a Scottish film and television Actor and stand-up comedian. In a career spanning six decades he first went into the world of stand-up comedy in the mid-1950's and by 1964 had landed his own comedy sketch show 'Johnny Beattie's Saturday Night Show' which ran until 1970. In 1974 he appeared in all four episodes of Scottish Television's 'A Grand Tour' alongside Billy Connelly, Stanley Baxter and Mark McManus. In 1977 he appeared in the short-lived TV series 'Welcome to the Ceilidh' and the following year made several appearances in Rikki Fulton's comedy sketch show 'Scotch & Wry' which aired from 1978 through to 1992 over 24 episodes and twelve New Years Eve specials. Between 1981 and 1984 he was the gameshow host on on 'Now You See It'. In 1990 he starred in a single episode of 'The Chief', then 'Rab C. Nesbitt', in the feature film 'The Big Man' alongside Liam Neeson, Billy Connelly, and Joanne Whalley and then a single episode of 'Taggart'. Then between 2002 and 2018 he starred as the same character in ten intermittent episodes of 'River City'. Beattie was the Honorary President of the Scottish Music Hall Society and in 2007 was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire in HRH the Queen New Years Honours List.

* Kelly Preston - born Kelly Kamalelehua Smith on 13th October 1962, died 12th July 2020, aged 57. Preston was an American Actress of film and television and was the wife of John Travolta - they were married in 1991. Her career which launched in 1980 took in 72 screen acting credits, with her first appearance on a single episode of 'Hawaii Five-0'. Her first big screen role came with 1983's '10 to Midnight' with Charles Bronson, then John Carpenter's 'Christine' that same year followed by the likes of 'Mischief', 'SpaceCamp', '52 Pick-Up' with Roy Scheider, 'Twins' with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVito, 'The Experts' with her future husband John Travolta, 'From Dusk Till Dawn' with George Clooney and Quentin Tarantino, 'Jerry Maguire' with Tom Cruise, 'Addicted to Love', 'Nothing to Lose', 'Holy Man' with Eddie Murphy, 'Jack Frost', 'For Love of the Game' with Kevin Costner, 'Battlefield Earth' with John Travolta again, 'What a Girl Wants', 'The Cat in the Hat', 'Eulogy', 'Return to Sender', 'Death Sentence' with Kevin Bacon, 'Old Dogs' with John Travolta and Robin Williams, 'Casino Jack' with Kevin Spacey, 'Gotti' alongside John Travolta once more in 2018 and 'Off the Rails' with Judi Dench currently in post-production. In the intervening years there were small screen appearances on 'Quincy M.E.', 'CHiPs', on twelve episodes of 'Love and Honor', 'Blue Thunder', on four episodes of 'Fat Actress', on four episodes of 'Medium', and on three of 'CSI : Cyber'. Both Preston and Travolta were and are devout Scientologists.

* Galyn Gorg - born 15th July 1964, died 14th July 2020, aged 55. Gorg (pronounced George) was an American Actress, dancer and occasional Producer who amassed fifty-six screen acting credits which launched with a background dancer bit-part in ZZ Top's music video for their 1983 hit 'Sharp Dressed Man'. From here she appeared in a single episode of 'Fame' in 1984 and that same year she secured her first feature film role in 'Strangers in Paradise'. She went onto have roles in 'America 3000', 'The Malibu Bikini Shop', 'Living the Blues', 'The Wrong Guys', 'Dance Academy', 'RoboCop 2', Kathryn Bigelow's 'Point Break' in 1991, 'Storyville', 'The Wrong Friend' in 2018 and 'Teller's Camp' currently in post-production for a 2021 release. In the meantime, there were roles on television series including 'The A-Team', 'Twin Peaks', on twenty-two episodes of 'M.A.N.T.I.S.', 'The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air', 'Xena : Warrior Princess', 'Star Trek : Voyager', 'Stargate SG-1', 'CSI : Miami', 'Lost', 'Parks and Recreation', 'Colony', and 'How to Get Away with Murder' amongst others.

* Maurice Roeves - both John Maurice Roeves on 19th March 1937, died 15th July 2020, aged 83. Roeves was a British Actor of film and television who notched up 124 screen acting credits to his name in a career that began with a single episode in 1966 on 'Dr. Finlay's Casebook'. His first big screen outing came later that same year with 'The Fighting Prince of Donegal' and then 'Ulysses' a year later. His feature film roles that follows included Sir Richard Attenborough's 'Oh! What a Lovely War' in 1969, then 'When Eight Bells Toll', 'Young Winston' for Sir Richard Attenborough again, 'The Eagle Has Landed' for Director John Sturges in 1976, 'Victory' for John Huston in 1981, 'Who Dares Wins', 'Hidden Agenda' for Ken Loach in 1990, 'The Last of the Mohicans' for Michael Mann in 1992, 'Judge Dredd' in 1995, 'Beautiful Creatures', 'Hallam Foe', 'The Damned United', 'Brighton Rock' in 2010 for Rowan Joffe, and 'Macbeth' in 2015 being his film feature film appearance. In the intervening years there were numerous roles on TV series taking in six episodes on 'Scobie in September', and then four episodes on 'The Scobie Man', 'The Sweeney', 'Crown Court', on thirteen episodes on 'Danger UXB', 'Magnum P.I.', 1984's 'Doctor Who', 'Remington Steele', on eight episodes of 'Days of Our Lives', 'Spender', 'Rumpole of the Bailey', 'Baywatch', 'Cheers', 'Star Trek : The Next Generation', 'Murder, She Wrote', 'EastEnders', 'The Bill', 'Holby City', 'Casualty',  and TV mini-series 'The Nest' from earlier this year being his final screen role.

* Phyllis Somerville - born 12th December 1943, died 16th July 2020, aged 76. Somerville was an American Actress of stage, film and television who amassed seventy-nine screen acting credits throughout her career which began with a role in the 1981 Dudley Moore and Liza Minnelli film 'Arthur'. Her next screen role came ten years later on two episodes of 'Law & Order', followed by further big screen outings on the likes of 'Leap of Faith' with Steve Martin, 'Montana' with Stanley Tucci, 'The Imposters' Directed, Written and starring Stanley Tucci, 'Above Freezing' with J.K. Simmons, 'Curtain Call' with Michael Caine, 'Bringing Out the Dead' for Martin Scorsese, 'Swimfan' for John Polson, 'Little Children' with Kate Winslet, 'Lucky You' for Curtis Hanson, David Fincher's 'The Curious Case of Benjamin Button', 'Surviving Family', 'Stoker' with Nicole Kidman, 'The Double' with Jesse Eisenberg, 'Our Souls at Night' with Robert Redford and Jane Fonda and 'Poms' last year with Diane Keaton. In the meantime there were single and multiple episodes on TV series taking in 'NYPD Blue', 'Sex and the City', 'The Sopranos', 'Law & Order : SVU', 'Law & Order : Criminal Intent', 'Life on Mars', 'CSI : Miami', 'House of Cards', on nineteen episodes of 'The Big C', 'Elementary', 'The Blacklist', 'Blue Bloods', 'Daredevil', 'The Good Wife', on thirteen episodes of 'Outsiders', and on four episodes of new TV series 'Mare of Easttown' still filming for a 2021 release. Somerville garnered four award nominations and two wins during her screen career.

* John Saxon - born Carmine Orrico on 5th August 1936, died 25th July 2020, aged 83. Saxon was an Italian American Actor and martial artist of film and television who amassed 198 screen acting credits throughout his long and varied career which spanned seven decades launching with two uncredited roles in feature films in 1954 - 'It Should Happen To You' and 'A Star Is Born'. From here he never looked back, appearing in such films as 'Running Wild' (his first credited movie role in 1955), then 'Rock, Pretty Baby' in 1956 and its follow up 'Summer Love' in 1957, 'The Unforgiven' in 1960 for John Huston, 'The Cardinal' for Otto Preminger in 1963, 'Joe Kidd' in 1972 for John Sturges, 'Enter the Dragon' with Bruce Lee in 1973, 'Raid on Entebbe' in 1976 for Irwin Kershner, 'Fast Company' for David Cronenberg in 1979, 'The Electric Horseman' in 1979 for Sydney Pollack, 'A Nightmare on Elm Street' in 1984 for Wes Craven and then 'A Nightmare on Elm Street 3 : Dream Warriors' in 1987, 'Beverly Hills Cop 3' in 1994 for John Landis, 'Wes Craven's New Nightmare' in 1994 for Wes Craven, 'From Dusk Till Dawn' in 1996 for Robert Rodriguez and 'The Extra' in 2017 being his final screen role before 'After the Thunderstorm' which was still filming at the time of his death and was slated for a December 2021 release. In the meantime, there were appearances on such TV shows including 'Dr. Kildare', 'Bonanza', 'Ironside', 'The Virginian', on 29 episodes of 'The Bold Ones : The New Doctors', 'Kung Fu', 'The Streets of San Francisco', 'Gunsmoke', 'The Six Million Dollar Man' and 'The Bionic Woman', 'Starsky and Hutch', 'Wonder Woman', 'Hawaii Five-0', 'Vega$', 'Magnum, P.I.', on six episodes of 'Fantasy Island', on six episodes of 'Dynasty', 'The A-Team', on thirty-two episodes of 'Falcon Crest', 'Murder, She Wrote' and 'Melrose Place' amongst many others. Saxon was the recipient of seven award wins and two other nominations from around the awards and festival circuit. He was a black belt in karate and spoke Italian fluently to the extent that he worked on numerous Italian film productions from the 1960's onwards.

* Olivia de Havilland - born 1st July 1916, died 25th July 2020, aged 104. de Havilland was a British American Actress of film, television and theatre and was the last major surviving star from the Golden Age of Hollywood Cinema and the oldest living Academy Award winner up until the time of her death. Throughout her career she notched up sixty-one screen acting credits which began with a lead role in 'Alibi Ike' in 1935 and she quickly followed this up with 'The Irish in Us' and 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' that same year both with James Cagney and also that year saw the first of her many screen collaborations with Errol Flynn in 'Captain Blood'. Her other starring roles with Errol Flynn took in 'The Charge of the Light Brigade' in 1936, 'The Adventures of Robin Hood' and 'Four's a Crowd' in 1938, 'Dodge City' and 'The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex' in 1939, 'Santa Fe Trail' in 1940, and 'They Died with Their Boots On' in 1941. She also appeared in 'Raffles' with David Niven in 1939, 'Gone with the Wind' also in 1939 opposite Clark Gable, 'The Strawberry Blonde' with James Cagney again 1941, 'Hold Back the Dawn' also in 1941 with Charles Boyer, 'The Male Animal' in 1942 with Henry Fonda, 'To Each His Own' in 1946, 'The Snake Pit' in 1948, 'The Heiress' in 1949 with Montgomery Clift, 'My Cousin Rachel' in 1952 with Richard Burton, 'Not as a Stranger' in 1955 with Robert Mitchum, 'The Proud Rebel' in 1958 with Alan Ladd, 'Lady in a Cage' in 1964 with James Caan, 'Pope Joan' in 1972 with Franco Nero, 'Airport '77' in 1977 with Jack Lemmon, 'The Swarm' in 1978 with Michael Caine, 'The Fifth Musketeer' in 1979 with Beau Bridges and 'The Woman He Loved' in 1988 with Anthony Andrews was her final screen role in this made for television movie. She also appeared in a small number of TV series including 'Roots : The Next Generations' in 1979, 'The Love Boat', 'North and South : Book II' and 'Anastasia : The Mystery of Anna' both in 1986. All up de Havilland won seventeen awards and a further seven nominations including two Academy Award wins for 'The Heiress' and 'To Each His Own' plus three other Oscar nods for 'The Snake Pit', 'Hold Back the Dawn' and 'Gone with the Wind'. She also picked up two Golden Globes and one nomination and a Primetime Emmy Award nod amongst her total haul. She and her sister, Joan Fontaine (1917 -2013) remain the only siblings to have won major acting Academy Awards and the only sisters to have won any Academy Awards. In 2008 de Havilland was awarded the National Medal of Arts by President George W. Bush, and in 2017 she was awarded the Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire by HRH Queen Elizabeth II.

* Alan Parker - born 14th February 1944, died 31st July 2020, aged 76. Parker was an English, Director, Producer, Writer and occasional Actor who clocked up twenty-five Directing credits, ten as Writer, seven as Producer and five as Actor throughout his career which began in 1971 with his original story and screenplay for the film 'Melody'. From here he Directed and Wrote his first short films in 1974 - 'Footsteps' and 'Our Cissy' before his first feature film in 1976 'Bugsy Malone' with a young Jodie Foster and Scott Baio. He followed this up with several other acclaimed features including 1978's 'Midnight Express' with Brad Davis, John Hurt and Randy Quaid, 'Fame' in 1980 with Irene Cara, 'Shoot the Moon' in 1982 with Albert Finney and Diane Keaton, 'Pink Floyd : The Wall' with Bob Geldof that same year, 'Birdy', 'Angel Heart' in 1987 with Mickey Rourke and Robert De Niro, 'Mississippi Burning' in 1988 with Willem Dafoe, Gene Hackman and Frances McDormand, 'Come See the Paradise', 'The Commitments', 'The Road to Wellville' with Anthony Hopkins, Bridget Fonda and Matthew Broderick, 'Evita' in 1996 with Madonna, Jonathan Pryce and Antonio Banderas, 'Angela's Ashes' in 1999 with Robert Carlyle and Emily Watson, and 'The Life of David Gale' in 2003 with Kevin Spacey, Kate Winslet and Laura Linney being his last filmmaking outing. He did Executive Produce the 2016 film 'Dad's Army'. All up Parker won twenty-two awards and a further thirty-one nominations including two Academy Award nods for Best Direction on 'Midnight Express' and 'Mississippi Burning', plus three Golden Globs nods for his Directing work on the two aforementioned films and 'Evita' and five BAFTA wins and another four nominations amongst others. Parker was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for his services to the British film industry in the 1995 Queen's Birthday Honours List and awarded a Knight Bachelor of the Order of the British Empire (KBE) in the 2002 Queen's New Years Honours List. He was a founding member of the Directors Guild of Great Britain and lectured at a number of film schools. In 2013 he received the BAFTA Academy Fellowship Award, the highest honour the British Film Academy can bestow upon a filmmaker. Parker donated his personal archive to the British Film Institute's National Archive in 2015.

Fifteen deaths reported this month from the film and television community at large, and that community is just a little bit poorer as a result. As some governments the world over are easing up on their COVID-19 restrictions, others are enforcing further stages of lockdowns because of a second wave in cases, remember the basic principles still being advocated - maintain a safe distance, hand hygiene and wear a mask if you are unable to maintain a safe distance especially - together we can all beat this thing. Stay safe and remain healthy.

-Steve, at Odeon Online-

Friday, 31 July 2020

THE BURNT ORANGE HERESY : Tuesday 28th July 2020.

'THE BURNT ORANGE HERESY' which I saw earlier in the week is an MA15+ Rated drama thriller Directed by Giuseppe Capotondi who has helmed numerous music videos over the years, television commercials and a small number of TV series and feature films. This film adaptation is based on the 1971 book of the same name by Charles Willeford and was chosen as the closing film for last years Venice International Film Festival and went on release in the US on 6th March and was then pulled when the world went into COVID-19 lockdown. It was re-released a couple of weeks ago now in Australia and is scheduled for a re-run in US theatres from 7th August, has generated mixed or average Reviews and has so far grossed US$208K.

The film opens up with ambitious and charming art critic, James Figueras (Claes Bang) who has fallen from grace somewhat and now spends his time lecturing rich American tourists into the why's and wherefore's of the art world around many Italian cities famed for their artworks.  He's happy to bend the truth by incorporating a series of convincingly told fabrications to demonstrate the power that art critics can have upon the unsuspecting admirer or purchaser, but comes clean in the end with his rouse when the lecture is over and his American customers are bidding their thanks and farewells.

All except Berenice Hollis (Elizabeth Debicki) who hangs back because of the free chips on offer, and because they seem to share a chemistry. That chemistry soon lands the pair in the sack together in Figueras' Milan apartment. Having learnt that Figueras was a failed art student who was advised to go into art journalism by his teacher, and that Hollis hails from a small town south of Duluth, Minnesota where an indiscretion with a married teacher has meant she is on forced leave for an extended period, there is little else we know about their back stories.

Following their night of passion Figueras invites his new love interest to the Lake Como home of wealthy art dealer Joseph Cassidy (Mick Jagger), who has contacted Figueras and extended an invitation for him to spend the weekend, for reasons that are as yet unclear. Upon arrival at the palatial home, the pair are escorted up to their room and told to make themselves available in one hour for lunch. Over lunch the three get acquainted, and taking coffee out on the verandah overlooking Lake Como, Cassidy announces that residing in a small cottage on the edge of the estate is renowned and very reclusive artist Jerome Debney (Donald Sutherland) who has not been interviewed for the past fifty years. Cassidy invites Figueras to break that drought, on one condition.

And that one condition, is that Figueras 'procures' a Debney artwork for his own collection, no questions asked, otherwise Figueras goes home empty handed and Cassidy will expose some dirt he has on the art critic from his past. Figueras reluctantly agrees although has no idea how is going to get his hands on a Debney painting without paying a princely sum for, or without the artist knowing about it. The first hurdle however, is getting the reclusive artist to agree to an interview.

The next morning while idling by the pool, along saunters Debney and the three strike up a conversation. By now Cassidy has had to fly out of town leaving Figueras and Hollis to make the most of the weekend and have the run of the estate. Debney is instantly taken with Hollis, and he agrees to let Figueras interview him if he can swim two lengths of the swimming pool under water, which he does, of course. Debney then sets out his agenda for the day which includes a boat ride later that afternoon and dinner that evening in his cottage, during which time they will engage in conversation rather than a formal interview.

For the boat ride across the lake Figueras makes his apologies saying that he needs to rest up, so deputising to Hollis to accompany Debney. Figueras has an ulterior motive naturally, and while the pair are away enjoying each others company, he attempts to break in to Debney's very secure cottage, albeit unsuccessfully. We have also learned subsequently that Debney has no surviving art works from his earlier years as these were all destroyed in two fires - the first at his home, and the second years later at a gallery which housed his collection. He then went into self imposed hiding and barely no one has seen him, or his paintings, for the past fifty years.

Later that evening having talked and eaten Figueras asks Debney if he can see his art work collection. Debney at first is offended by the request stating that it is his choice not to show the world his paintings and they are private works, but Figueras counters this with better the world to see his collection while he is still alive, than to have free rein when he is dead and ransack his work when he is no longer around to defend it. Reluctantly Debney agrees and takes them into a secure locked studio fitted out with unopened tubes of paint, brushes, blank canvases, easels, more blank canvases and more still. There is not a single painting in the whole room. Figueras, who was hoping to 'procure' a painting in an unguarded moment when on cue Hollis would drop her drink glass, is left dumbfounded and astounded by this revelation. Hollis happens to notice on the reverse side of a canvas the title of the supposed painting 'The Burnt Orange Heresy', and upon enquiring Debney responds that the title is just meant to fool anyone who comes looking. Figueras goes outside to catch his breath, and is joined by Hollis and Debney moments later. Debney takes his leave saying that he has a date with an older lady and he cannot leave her waiting and so bids them both farewell.

In walking back to the villa Figueras realises that he has left his laptop and satchel back at the cottage. He tells Hollis to pack their bags as they are leaving immediately. He walks back to the cottage to retrieve his laptop and satchel alone. There he forcibly breaks in, and re-enters Debney's studio. He bundles a whole bunch of paint tubes into his satchel, together with some brushes. He then takes the blank canvas with the inscription 'The Burnt Orange Heresy' written on the reverse and wraps this inside a towel. Next he upturns all the blank canvases, easels, rips up sheets of paper and then squirts a flammable paint thinner all around the room and then sets light to the room. He makes a quick exit as the cottage is very quickly engulfed in flames. He arrives back at the villa before Hollis appears with their bags, by which time he has bundled the blank canvas into the boot of his Range Rover out of sight. They then drive through the night back to Milan.

Hollis slumps exhausted on the bed, while Figueras says he going to start work on his interview notes while its still fresh in his memory. While Hollis sleeps Figueras retrieves the paints, brushes and blank canvas from his car, and sets them up in his office. The phone rings and it is Cassidy enquiring about the fire at his property and whether he was successful in securing a Debney painting before the place burnt to the ground. Figueras answers in the affirmative and Cassidy responds asking him to describe the painting to him which is called 'The Burnt Orange Heresy'. Cassidy much to his joy further adds that he is now the owner of the only Debney painting anywhere in existence since all of his other works burnt in the fire. When Cassidy hangs up, Figueras begins painting his own interpretation of 'The Burnt Orange Heresy' duly signing it with Debney's signature once complete.

Hollis wakes up later and ventures into the office and sees the still wet painting, touching the wet paint with her fingertip. She goes into the bathroom and confronts Figueras. Running a bath, the pair argue, and needless to say it doesn't end well for Hollis. Shortly after the fire, the art world mourns the loss of Debney who died of a heart attack. Sometime later, Figueras has written a book - a retrospective of Debney which is selling like hot cakes, and in New York at Cassidy's Gallery, the pair are seen schmoozing with the who's who of the art world and celebrating 'The Burnt Orange Heresy' which is there on display for all the world to see as Debney's sole surviving painting. One art critic remarks to Figueras that she finds it amazing that Debney had the foresight to leave his fingerprint slap bang in the middle of his artwork, which he had overlooked completely and reels away in horror. Cassidy makes some comments about the whereabouts of Hollis, who has mysteriously disappeared and states that Debney was found in the swimming pool of the villa, face down, drowned. Cassidy also tells Figueras that shortly before his death, Debney sent a sketch to Hollis' mother in Duluth, but as it wasn't signed it is worthless. The film closes out with the sketch of Hollis on her mothers fridge at their home in Duluth, beside newspaper clippings reporting on the first anniversary since her disappearance, and the camera comes to rest on Debney's signature.

Milan with its stunning architecture and Lake Como with its plush lakeside residences provide the smart sexy locations; the glamorous world of works of art, galleries, collectors, artists and critics sets the scene; intelligent dialogue; top notch performances from the four lead characters (even if Mick Jagger comes across as being out of his depth in the company of the other three acclaimed Actors) and a plot that has more surprises in store than you can keep track of, verging on the ridiculous by the time the end credits roll. The first two acts move along a good pace and will keep you riveted, but by the time the third act comes to be the imagination is stretched, all realism is lost and the believability of the pay day is forced to bring the films conclusion to a hastily delivered ending. The film certainly looks the part and there is a real chemistry between Debicki, Bang and Sutherland on screen - it's just a shame that their characters are not more fleshed out from their brief initial introduction, and the film will leave you hanging with plenty of unanswered questions.

'The Burnt Orange Heresy' merits three claps of the Odeon Online clapperboard, out of a possible five claps.
-Steve, at Odeon Online-