REVIEW: THE MUPPETS (2011)

CAST

Amy Adams (Batman V Superman)
Jason Segal (How I Met Your Mother)
Chris Cooper (The Bourne Identity)
Rashida Jones (I Love You, Man)
Steve Whitmore (The Dark Crystal)
Eric Jacobson (Sesame Street)
Dave Goetz (Inside Out)
Bill Barretta (When Families Grieve)
Matt Vogel (Alice Through The Looking Glass)
Alan Arkin (get Smart)
Bill Cobbs (Oz The Great and Powerful)
Zach Galifanakis (The Hangover)
Ken Jeong (Community)
Jim Parsons (The Big Bang theory)
Kristen Schaal (Toy Story 3)
Sarah Silverman (School of Rock)
Donald Glover (The Martian)
Emily Blunt (The Girl On The Train)
Whoopi Goldberg (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
Selena Gomez (Spring Breakers)
Neil Patrick Harris (Gone Girl)
Judd Hirsch (Taxi)
John Krasinski (The Office)
Mickey Rooney (Making Waves)
Jack Black (Goosebumps)

Brothers Walter and Gary, residents of Smalltown, are fans of the Muppets, having watched The Muppet Show throughout their youth. Now adults, Gary plans a vacation to Los Angeles with his girlfriend, Mary, to celebrate their tenth anniversary, inviting Walter so he can tour the Muppet Studios. Mary feels Gary’s devotion to Walter is detracting from their relationship. In Los Angeles, the three visit the abandoned Muppet Studios. During the tour, Walter sneaks into Kermit the Frog’s office and discovers Statler and Waldorf selling the Muppet Theater to oil magnate Tex Richman and his henchmen Bobo the Bear and Uncle Deadly. After Statler and Waldorf leave, Walter overhears Richman reveal his plan to destroy the theater and drill for oil underneath. Walter explains to Gary and Mary that if the Muppets can raise $10 million by the time their original contract expires, they can repurchase the theatre.Agreeing to stop Richman, they find Kermit and inform him he must organize a telethon to raise the money, which appears difficult since the Muppets have gone their separate ways since the show ended its run. Convinced to try, Kermit sets off with the three to reunite the group. Kermit attempts to dissuade Fozzie Bear from continuing to perform in Reno, Nevada with the Moopets, a tribute group of uncouth Muppet impersonators. Meanwhile, Gonzo has become a plumbing magnate and, despite his initial objection, destroys his business and joins them. Animal is recovered from a celebrity anger-management clinic, before being instructed by his sponsor Jack Black to keep away from drums. The other primary Muppets rejoin through a montage. Later in Paris, the group finds Miss Piggy working as an editor for “plus-sized” fashion at Vogue Paris. Having failed to convince Miss Piggy to return, the group replaces her with Moopet counterpart Miss Poogy.The Muppets return to Los Angeles and pitch their telethon idea to several television networks, but are rejected. Following a show’s cancellation, CDE executive Veronica gives the Muppets a recently vacated two-hour slot in the network’s schedule, on the condition that they find a celebrity guest. The Muppets refurbish the theater, but their first rehearsal is unsuccessful and Kermit is unable to contact a celebrity guest. Miss Piggy returns, forces Poogy out, and informs Kermit that she refuses to work with him. Kermit inspires Walter to find his talent and perform in the telethon. Meanwhile, Mary goes sightseeing alone.Kermit entreats Richman to return their studio. Richman declines and reveals that the Muppets will also lose their trademark names, which he plans to entitle to the Moopets. Unsuccessfully, Kermit returns home and Miss Piggy enlists the remaining Muppets to kidnap Black as a celebrity guest. Meanwhile, after discovering that a devastated Mary has returned to Smalltown, Gary realizes that he must improve his relationship with Mary and follows her back home to reconcile, while Walter discovers he was intended to join the Muppets. After the Muppets rebuild the theater while dancing to “We Built This City”, the telethon begins and gradually attracts a large audience, with the Muppets raising donations with support from celebrity callers and Jack Black serving unwillingly as host. During the show, Richman cuts the theater’s power supply, but Gary and Mary return to Los Angeles and restore the power. Richman then attempts to destroy the theater’s television transmitter, but a regretful Uncle Deadly stops Richman. Kermit and Miss Piggy finally reconcile and the Muppets perform “Rainbow Connection” as their final act.However, the telethon runs short as the $10 million has yet to be collected. Having found his talent, Walter performs a whistling act, which is unanimously praised by the audience. Refusing to lose, Richman disables the telephone lines and evicts the Muppets from the theater, after the latter fall short of their monetary goal. Kermit gathers the group in the lobby and delivers a speech, suggesting that they will restart their career together as a family. Exiting the theater, the Muppets are greeted by a vast gathering of supporters on Hollywood Boulevard. With Gary’s encouragement, Walter greets the crowd and is accepted by the Muppets as their newest member. Gary proposes to Mary, Richman returns the theater and naming rights to the Muppets after suffering a head injury, and Kermit and Miss Piggy enjoy their private life.Clearly made with love for Jim Henson and his creations of fur and felt, The Muppets is one of the most delightful movies in recent years.

REVIEW: CRUEL INTENTIONS 2: MANCHESTER PREP

CAST

Amy Adams (Big Eyes)
Robin Dunne (Sanctuary)
Sarah Thompson (Angel)
Keri Lynn Pratt (The Smokers)
Barry Flatman (Earth: Final Conflict)
Mimi Rogers (Ginger Snaps)
Teresa Hill (Puppet Master 4 & 5)
Barclay Hope (Final Destination 5)
Tané McClure (Legally Blonde)
David McIlwraith (Hollow Man 2)

The film opens with Sebastian Valmont (Robin Dunne) conversing with his soon-to-be ex-principal, the principal’s insistence on having Sebastian’s permanent record relayed to his new school and thereby hampering his chance for a new start at Manchester Prep. Sebastian was a bad boy and a troublemaker in this school. Mostly he usually got in trouble with his teachers and principal. Initially, his principal was considering not to send his permanent record to his new school, but then Sebastian pulled a cruel stunt on his wife and made him and his wife a laughing stock in the community, he decided to send Sebastian’s permanent record to his new school. Following his arrival in New York, Sebastian discovers the wealth of his new family; meeting Kathryn Merteuil (Amy Adams) for the first time and bettering her with piano and vocabulary. This leads to a confrontation between Kathryn and Sebastian whereby she states that she has a comfortable lifestyle and that he “better not interfere”.Sebastian later begins school. While waiting to see his new headmaster, he encounters Danielle Sherman (Sarah Thompson), who is, unknown to him, Headmaster Sherman’s daughter. Luckily Sebastian switched permanent records before it was sent to the headmaster’s office and he can now start over with a clean slate. A school assembly follows, showing Kathryn delivering a speech to her classmates, but being persistently interrupted by uncontrollable hiccups coming from a student, who then begins to choke on the gum that she was chewing in a bid to stop her hiccups. She is saved by the quick action of Danielle who performs the Heimlich maneuver, allowing the student to expel the gum, which ends up flying into Kathryn’s hair. A meeting of a secret society of student elites presided by Kathryn takes place, deciding upon the fate of the new students. This leads them to Cherie, the student with the hiccups, as well as the discovery that Cherie’s family is wealthier than that of Kathryn; this, and the events of the assembly, cause Kathryn to seek a vendetta against Cherie.maxresdefaultSebastian, coming from a more humble upbringing, wishes to befriend his house staff. Doing so angers Kathryn, whose day is interrupted by not being able to contact her driver. This (along with Kathryn’s jealousy of Sebastian) causes her to admit that she is unhappy with her life. Sebastian attempts to woo Danielle: first, by asking her for coffee at her work; then, later, conversing with her over the telephone. Eventually, this evolves into a relationship, but Kathryn, seeing this, uses it as a way to get back at Sebastian. She first tries to tempt him away from Danielle by luring him with identical twins, who confide to Sebastian that Danielle is the only virgin at Manchester.Resident-Evil-The-Final-Chapter-Final-Poster-FeaturedKathryn’s attempt to sabotage Cherie backfires, as Kathryn’s mother tells her to become best friends with Cherie, in an attempt to encourage Cherie’s mother to donate a large amount of money to the school. In the end, Sebastian stays with Danielle; he professes his love for her, only to find that she does not reciprocate. It turns that Danielle is actually working alongside Kathryn in a secret plan to dupe Sebastian. Defeated by Kathryn’s manipulation, Sebastian states “if you can’t beat them, join them”, thus leading to a threesome with Danielle and Kathryn, followed by an alliance of the three to dominate and manipulate others. In the last scene, Cherie is seen riding her bike, which is run over by Sebastian’s car. Sebastian offers to give her a ride, and has sex with her. Kathryn and Danielle are seen, in the front of the car, pleased with the results.720full-cruel-intentions-2-screenshotAmy Adams is easily a match for Sarah Michelle Gellar (Kathryn in Cruel Intentions), being both convincingly cruel and very sexy; Thompson is great as the pretty poor girl of the school who captures Sebastian’s heart; and Keri Lynn Pratt is charming as the Manchester Prep virgin who learns why riding horses is so popular with young women. Manchester Prep might not be innovative groundbreaking cinema, but it sure is fun.

 

REVIEW: ARRIVAL

CAST

Amy Adams (Nocturnal Animals)
Jeremy Renner (The Bourne Legacy)
Forest Whitaker (The Butler)
Michael Stuhlbarg (Blue Jasmine)
Tzi Ma (Robocop 2)
Mark O’Brien (Anon)

While she is lecturing at a university, twelve extraterrestrial spacecraft appear across the Earth. U.S. Army Colonel Weber asks Louise to join physicist Ian Donnelly to decipher the aliens’ language and find out why they have arrived. The team is brought to a military camp in Montana near one of the spacecraft, and makes contact with two seven-limbed aliens on board. They call the extraterrestrials “heptapods”, and Ian nicknames them Abbott and Costello. Louise discovers that they have a written language of complicated circular symbols, and she begins to learn the symbols that correspond to a basic vocabulary. As she becomes more proficient, she starts to see and dream vivid images of herself with her daughter and of their relationship with the father.
When Louise asks what the aliens want, they answer: “offer weapon”. A similar translation of “use weapon” is made by one of the other sites. Fear of a potential threat from the aliens leads other nations to close down communication on the project, and some prepare for an attack. However, Louise argues that the symbol interpreted as “weapon” might have an alternative translation, such as “tool” or “technology”.Rogue U.S. soldiers plant explosives in the spacecraft. Unaware, Louise and Ian re-enter. The aliens give them a much larger and more complex message. Abbott ejects Ian and Louise from the craft as the explosion occurs, which leaves them unconscious. When Louise and Ian re-awaken, the military is preparing to evacuate, and the spacecraft moves higher above the ground. Ian works out that the symbols relate to the concept of time, and that the message is one-twelfth of the whole “gift”. They conclude that the aliens must want nations to cooperate.Meanwhile, China notifies the world that its military is planning to attack the spacecraft off its coast. Louise rushes back to the spacecraft in Montana, which sends down a shuttle to take her inside. She meets Costello, who communicates that Abbott is dying or dead. Louise asks about her visions of a daughter, and Costello explains that she is seeing the future (revealing that her “visions” were not flashbacks but flashforwards). Costello also communicates that they have come to help humanity by sharing their language, which is the “weapon” or “tool” because it changes the perception of time. The aliens know that 3000 years into the future they will need humanity’s help in return.

Louise returns as the camp is being evacuated. She has a vision of herself at a future United Nations reception, being thanked by General Shang for convincing him to suspend China’s military attack. He explains that she had called his private mobile telephone. He shows her its number, which he says he knows he must do without understanding why. In the present, Louise steals a satellite phone and calls Shang, but realizes she does not know what to say. Her vision continues with Shang explaining that she had convinced him by repeating his wife’s last words in Mandarin, which he tells Louise.[nb 1] This convinces Shang in present time; the Chinese attack is called off, and the other nations resume contact. The twelve spacecraft then disappear from Earth.
When packing to leave the camp, Ian admits his love for Louise. They discuss life choices, and whether they would change them if they could know the future. Louise foresees that Ian will father her daughter Hannah, whose name is an intentional palindrome, but will leave her after discovering that she knew their daughter would die before adulthood. Nevertheless, when Ian asks Louise if she wants to have a baby, she agrees.Arrival is one of the best films of 2016 and a really great example of science fiction filmmaking from Denis Villeneuve, who is perfectly suited to bring us the sequel to Blade Runner next year. I would happily put this film in the same league as something like Close Encounters of the Third Kind, one of the all time greats of sci-fi.

REVIEW: THE WEDDING DATE

CAST

Debra Messing (Will & Grace)
Dermot Mulroney (Young Guns)
Amy Adams (Nocturnal Animals)
Jeremy Sheffield (Creep)
Jack Davenport (Flashforward)
Sarah Parish (Atlantis)
Peter Egan (Bean)
Holland Taylor (Two and a Half Men)

Kat Ellis (Debra Messing) is a single New Yorker who returns to her parents’ house in London to be the maid of honor at her younger half sister Amy’s (Amy Adams) wedding. The best man is none other than her former fiancé, who unexpectedly dumped her two years ago. Anxious about confronting him and eager to impress him, she hires suave escort Nick Mercer (Dermot Mulroney) to pose as her boyfriend.Kat intends to make her former flame, Jeffrey (Jeremy Sheffield), jealous, but her plan backfires when Nick convinces everyone, including her, that they are madly in love. Kat then feels herself, too, falling for Nick as he slowly falls for her. The night before the wedding, Kat discovers Amy slept with Jeffrey when they were still together, and that Jeffrey dumped Kat because he believed he was in love with Amy. Nick had discovered this fact a day earlier, and when Kat finds that out, she feels betrayed from all sides, and puts Nick off. He decides to return to America, and leaves Kat the money she had paid him.

On the wedding day, seeing Kat distressed, her step-father (Peter Egan) asks Kat if Nick ‘is the guy for you’, and Kat realizes he is, so she sets off to find him. Meanwhile, just before the wedding, Amy confesses her betrayal to her fiancé, Ed (Jack Davenport), but professes her love for him. Ed, upset, chases Jeffrey out of the church and down the road. Jeffrey in distress of the chase, said he gave up on Amy and believes he’s done nothing wrong. To which Ed, calls him a “back-stabbing weasel”, though Jeffrey believes he’s still done nothing wrong because he slept with Amy before they dated. Ed shouts out that he was engaged to Kat, proving he was still in the wrong for what he did to Kat. Nick, driving away, picks up Ed as Jeffrey disappears into the woods.

Nick and Ed talk about love, and Ed decides he loves Amy more than he is angry. To make it more clear that he should go back, Nick tells Ed if he went back the couple would end up having great make-up sex. To which, Nick helps urge him more to return to the church, so they end up getting married, with Nick as ‘new’ best man. Just before the ceremony, Nick tells Kat he realized he’d “… rather fight with you than make love with anyone else”, and they kiss passionately. Kat and Nick begin a real relationship together. Amy and Kat now reconcile and Kat lets go of her anger and forgives Amy since she confessed the truth to Ed. TJ, Kat’s cousin also apparently enjoys a moment with Woody after the wedding. Jeffrey, the main cause of all the trouble, learns absolutely nothing. At the end he is seen trying to get the attentions of a female neighbour.

A fantastically entertaining, funny, feel good film with a wonderful cast and soundtrack

 

REVIEW: NOCTURNAL ANIMALS

CAST

Amy Adams (Batman V Superman)
Jake Gyllenhaal (Donnie Darko)
Michael Shannon (Man of Steel)
Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Kick-Ass)
Isla Fisher (Burke & Hare)
Ellie Bamber (The Falling)
Armie Hammer (The Lone Ranger)
Laura Linney (Mystic river)
Andrea Riseborough (Birdman)
Michael Sheen (Underworld)
Neil Jackson (Push)
Jena Malone (Saved)

The opening sequence of the film is of several obese women dancing naked in slow motion.The Real World

Angeleno art gallery owner Susan Morrow receives the manuscript for a novel penned by her estranged ex-husband Edward Sheffield along with an invitation for dinner during Edward’s upcoming visit to Los Angeles. Marred by her deteriorating marriage to unfaithful businessman Hutton Morrow, Susan becomes consumed by the novel, which is both dedicated to her and named Nocturnal Animals after Edward’s nickname for her.

The Novel

Tony Hastings is a peaceful man who runs afoul of three local troublemakers – Ray Marcus, Lou, and Turk – during a road trip through West Texas. Forced off the road, Tony is powerless to stop Ray and Turk from kidnapping his wife, Laura, and their daughter, India, and leaving him with Lou, who forces him to drive Ray’s car to the end of a road where he is abandoned. Tony manages to evade Ray and Lou when they return looking for him and makes his way to a nearby farmhouse to call the police.Detective Bobby Andes is assigned to the case and discovers the bodies of Laura and India near an abandoned shack, where they had been raped and murdered. Tony is wracked with guilt. He is contacted by Andes a year later and is asked to identify Lou, who is charged as an accomplice in the murders of Laura and India.Turk has been fatally shot in a botched robbery, leaving Ray as the final culprit to be brought to justice. Andes arrests Ray, but is ultimately forced to release him as they only have circumstantial evidence of his involvement. On the verge of retirement and having been diagnosed with terminal lung cancer, Andes decides to take matters into his own hands and with Tony’s help abducts Ray and Lou. Andes shoots Lou when he attempts to escape, but Ray succeeds in getting away. Tony tracks Ray down on his own to the shack where Laura and India were killed and the two have a violent confrontation, in which Ray admits to raping and murdering Tony’s wife and daughter, calling him weak. Tony fatally shoots him, but is blinded when Ray hits him on the head with an iron bar. Tony stumbles outside, succumbing to his brain hemorrhage, and dies after falling on his gun, shooting himself in the stomach in the process.

The Real World (cont.)

Shocked by the dark content and raw emotion of the novel, Susan reminisces about meeting Edward in college and their blossoming relationship, which Susan’s domineering mother Anne Sutton objected to, claiming that Edward was not worthy of Susan’s affections and that because of his romantic worldviews, he lacked the drive to actually achieve his goals; Susan ignored her mother’s objections, ultimately marrying Edward.After finding further evidence of Hutton’s extramarital affair, Susan resumes reading the manuscript. Susan begins to recall her troubled marriage to Edward, which was strained by her frustration with his fledgling career and her dismissive attitude towards his literary aspirations, and culminated with Susan cheating on him with Hutton and ultimately divorcing Edward to marry him. Edward attempted to repair their relationship, but ultimately cut ties with Susan upon learning that she was pregnant with his child but secretly had an abortion to ensure the divorce proceeded. Susan realizes that the novel is an allegory for the loss Edward endured during their separation and that he dedicated the novel to her as a form of revenge, having sent the manuscript to prove to her that he was capable of writing a successful novel. Susan reevaluates her current behavior and contacts Edward. She arranges a meeting with him in hopes of mending their relationship, but Edward does not show up.Tom Ford, the celebrated fashion designer who made his film debut with A Single Man, makes a fantastic return with his second film here, both as a director and a writer, adapting Austin Wright’s 1993 novel, Tony and Susan. The script is wonderful, the look of the film is beautifully dark, and it just all feels so purely cinematic. One of the best thrillers in recent years.

REVIEW: DOUBT

CAST

Meryl Streep (Into The Woods)
Philip Seymour Hoffman (The Master)
Amy Adams (Batman V Superman)
Viola Davis (Suicide Squad)
Alice Drummond (Ghostbusters)
Audrie J. Neenan (Funny Farm)
Carrie Preston (Duplicity)
John Costelloe (Die Hard 2)
Helen Stenborg (Another World)

Set in 1964 at a Catholic church in The Bronx, New York, the film opens with the jovial Father Flynn (Philip Seymour Hoffman) giving a sermon on the nature of doubt, noting that like faith, doubt can be a unifying force. The next evening, Sister Aloysius Beauvier (Meryl Streep), the strict principal of the parish school, discusses the sermon with her fellow nuns, the Sisters of Charity of New York. She asks if anyone has observed unusual behavior that would inspire Father Flynn to preach about doubt, and instructs them to keep their eyes open should any such behavior occur in the future. Sister James (Amy Adams), a young and naive teacher, observes the closeness between Father Flynn and Donald Miller, an altar boy and the school’s only black student. One day during class, Sister James receives a call asking for Donald Miller to meet Father Flynn in the rectory. When he returns, Donald is distraught and Sister James notices the smell of alcohol on his breath. Later, while her students are learning a dance in the gymnasium, she sees Father Flynn placing a white shirt in Donald’s locker. She decides to report her suspicions to Sister Aloysius.Under the pretext of discussing the upcoming school Christmas pageant, Sisters Aloysius and (to a lesser extent) James voice their suspicions that Father Flynn’s relationship with Donald may be inappropriate. Several times, Father Flynn asks them to leave the matter alone as a private issue between the boy and himself, but Sister Aloysius persists. Finally, he is pressured into admitting that Donald had been caught drinking altar wine, and he had promised Donald not to tell anyone about the incident. Having now been forced to break that promise and reveal the truth, he will need to dismiss Donald as an altar boy, which he had been trying to avoid. Before leaving, Father Flynn tells Sister Aloysius he is displeased with her handling of the situation. His next sermon regards gossip and how it is easily spread. Initially, Sister James is relieved and convinced of Father Flynn’s innocence, but Sister Aloysius’ belief that Flynn has behaved inappropriately with Donald is unshakable. Later, Sister James asks Father Flynn about the shirt he put in Donald’s locker, an observation she had hidden from Sister Aloysius. Flynn explains that the boy had left the shirt in the sacristy, and that he had put it back in the locker himself, instead of giving it back to him directly, to spare the boy additional embarrassment. Flynn goes on to explain that it is he, not Sister Aloysius, that really cares about the boy, and that Sister James shouldn’t let others tell her that the light in her is wrong. Flynn reminds Sister James that their savior taught love, and Sister James who has just received a letter from her sick brother appears to interpret Flynn’s love for Donald as fraternal. Sister James tells Flynn that she doesn’t believe the allegations.Sister Aloysius meets with Donald Miller’s mother regarding her suspicions. Mrs. Miller (Viola Davis) shocks Sister Aloysius with her lack of interest in the alleged misconduct on Father Flynn’s part. As far as she is concerned, Donald need only last to the end of the school year, as graduation from a prestigious church school would increase his chances of going to a decent high school. It is hinted that Donald is homosexual and revealed that his father is abusive, with the dialogue between them indicating that the father’s anger is fueled by his son’s effeminacy. Mrs. Miller begs that Sister Aloysius drop the matter, feeling that Father Flynn is a source of inspiration to Donald and a shield from the abuse he receives at home. She becomes angry when Sister Aloysius refuses to compromise and threatens to throw Donald out of the school. Mrs. Miller believes that Donald would be punished for a thing of which he was not the cause.

Despite having no evidence and no support from anyone, Sister Aloysius again confronts Father Flynn and demands that he tell her the truth. Otherwise, she will go to the Bishop. Father Flynn is adamant that there is no illicit relationship, but Sister Aloysius claims that she has learned that he has a history of problems, having moved to three different parishes in the last five years. She tells him that she has contacted a nun from one of his prior churches (she refuses to say whom), who corroborated her suspicions. Father Flynn is furious that she has contacted a nun rather than the church pastor, which is proper church protocol. Sister Aloysius tells him he doesn’t deserve to wear the collar, and asks for his resignation. Unable to stand up to her, he succumbs to her demands.

Following his final sermon, Father Flynn steps down from the pulpit and shakes hands with the members of the congregation. Some time later, Sisters Aloysius and James are sitting together in the church garden. Sister Aloysius tells Sister James that although Father Flynn resigned, the bishop has appointed him to pastor at a larger church with a parochial school, in essence promoting him to a more prestigious position and perpetuating the same issue with Father Flynn. She then admits she lied about speaking to a nun at Father Flynn’s former church, and thus drove him out with no more than her suspicions. Her justification is that if Father Flynn truly were innocent of wrongdoing, he would not have resigned. Repeating a line from earlier in the film, Sister Aloysius says that “in the pursuit of wrongdoing, one steps away from God.” Sister Aloysius concludes that she has paid a price in pursuing the wrongdoing of Father Flynn. While discussing her inability to fully expose Father Flynn and have him dismissed from the diocese as a whole, she reflects upon her larger faith in the Church as she breaks down in tears and says to Sister James: “I have doubts…I have such doubts.” The film ends with Sister James comforting Sister Aloysius as the church plays The First Noel.1024x1024The story is ostensibly a sort of ‘whodunnit’? (or rather ‘did-he-do-it’?) in regards to allegations of innappropriate relations with children but on a deeper level probes further into the nature of faith in an ever-changing and increasingly secularised world. Is Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s character a sexual predator or merely a misunderstood victim? is Meryl Streep’s character an overzealous gossip or true believer? there is indeed doubt. The film does not underestimate the intelligence of the audience and allows for several interpretations. Thought-provoking, engrossing and well-acted by a strong cast. A film that is well worth a watch.

REVIEW: BIG EYES

CAST

Amy Adams (batman V Sueprman)
Christoph Waltz (The Green Hornet)
Danny Huston (30 Days of Night)
Jon Polito (Burning Palms)
Krysten Ritter (Jessica Jones)
Jason Schwartzman (Funny People)
Terence Stamp (Superman 1 & 2)
Madeleine Arthur (The Killing)
Vincent Gale (Van Helsing)
Heather Doerksen (Pacific Rim)
Leela Savasta (Black Xmas)
Britt Irvin (Smallville)


In 1958, Margaret leaves her husband and takes her young daughter Jane to North Beach, San Francisco. Supporting her daughter alone, Margaret gets a job painting illustrations at a furniture factory. While creating portraits at an outdoor art show, Margaret meets Walter Keane, who is selling his Parisian street scene paintings. Soon, Walter proposes to her and they marry.

Walter goes to a popular jazz club and tries to convince the club’s owner, Enrico Banducci, to purchase the couple’s paintings. He only agrees to rent out the walls to Walter. A drunk woman is touched by one of Margaret’s paintings and buys it. Walter fights with Banducci and ends up on the front page of the local newspaper. When Walter goes to the club again it is packed with curious people. Dick Nolan, a celebrity gossip columnist (who serves as the film’s narrator), wants to know more about Walter’s art, but is only interested in Margaret’s paintings. Afterward, Walter shows Margaret all the money they have made from the sales. He tells her they are a great team, she can stay at home painting and he will sell her works.

Walter opens up his own Keane gallery, promoting the art as his own work, and sells reproductions. Margaret becomes more upset about Walter taking credit for her art and lying to Jane about who is the real artist. Margaret decides to paint in a different style with elongated features and small eyes, so that she can honestly tell people she is also a painter. Margaret and Walter move into a mansion. While going through a crate Margaret finds a stack of paintings of Parisian street scenes, but they are all signed by S. CENIC. She realizes Walter paints over the name of the original artist and claims the paintings as his own. Margaret confronts Walter, he confesses saying he always wanted to be an artist, but never had the talent. Walter learns of the New York World’s Fair and demands Margaret paint something to put on display; she refuses and Walter threatens to have her killed. Jane discovers her mother working on the World’s Fair painting “Tomorrow Forever”. Jane tells her mother she always knew that she was the real artist.

At a party, Walter is angered after reading John Canaday’s scathing review of the “Tomorrow Forever” exhibit and confronts Canaday. Back at home Walter is still enraged and starts throwing lit matches at Margaret and Jane. They run into the studio and lock the door. Margaret runs away with Jane. One year later, Margaret and Jane have settled in Honolulu, Hawaii. Walter will not agree to a divorce unless Margaret signs over the rights to every painting, and produces 100 more. Margaret agrees and continues sending paintings to California. Margaret is visited by two Jehovah’s Witnesses who convince her that honesty is important. The next time Walter receives the paintings, they are signed “MDH Keane”. On a Hawaiian radio show, Margaret reveals she is the real artist behind the paintings attributed to Walter, making national news. Dick Nolan publishes Walter’s claims that Margaret has “gone nuts”. Margaret sues both Walter and the newspapers that printed his version of the story for libel and slander.

At the trial, reporters swarm the courthouse in Honolulu. The court quickly dismisses the libel lawsuit against the newspapers. Without a lawyer, Walter defends himself against slander. Margaret testifies that she felt she had no choice. Walter asks himself questions as a witness. The judge directs both Margaret and Walter to create a painting in one hour as proof of the real artist. Margaret paints steadily, but Walter is hesitant, claiming his arm hurts too much to hold a paintbrush. Margaret completes her painting and wins the lawsuit. Outside the courthouse, Margaret says she doesn’t care about money and just wants credit for her paintings. A fan asks her to sign a copy of “Tomorrow’s Masters” and she does, finally autographing her own work.Excellent story based on the lives of Walter and Margaret Keane. Margaret ‘s work was plagiarised by her second husband Walter soon after they married in the mid fifties until their divorce in the mid sixties taking a high profile court case to determine who the real artist was. The film deals with quite a few topics from Walter’s domination of Margaret to his paranoia and mental delusion. Watch out for a cameo appearance of the real Margaret as an elderly lady sitting on a bench.