REVIEW: COLD MOUNTAIN

 

CAST

Nicole Kidman (Bewitched)
Renee Zellweger (Jerry Maguire)
Jude Law (Spy)
Natalie Portman (Thor)
Eileen Atkins (Robin Hood)
Brendan Gleeson (Troy)
Giovanni Ribisi (Ted)
Donald Sutherland (The Italian Job)
Ray Winstone (Snow White and The Huntsman)
Kathy Baker (Edward Scissorhands)
James Gammon (The Iron Giant)
Ethan Suplee (My Name Is Earl)
Charlie Hunnam (Pacific Rim)
Jena Malone (Sucker Punch)
Lucas Black (Fast & Furious 7)
Taryn Manning (The Breed)
Emily Deschanel (Bones)
Cillian Murphy (Batman Begins)
Richard Brake (Hannibal Rising)
Philip Seymour (The Ides of March
Philip Seymour (The Ides of March)
James Rebhorn (Big Lake)

 

MV5BZjZlMzRlOGQtMzViMS00NDk4LWFmOWUtZDRiZWZjYWE3Y2ZhXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyOTYxNzc0NjU@._V1_When North Carolina secedes from the Union on May 20, 1861, the young men of a rural, provincial, North Carolina backwater known only as Cold Mountain hurry to enlist in the Confederate military. Among them is W.P. Inman (Jude Law), a carpenter who has fallen in love with Ada (Nicole Kidman), a minister´s daughter, and finds their whirlwind courtship interrupted by the American Civil War.

Cold Mountain 550Three years later, Inman finds himself in the trenches of Petersburg, Virginia, during the Battle of the Crater. Union soldiers tunneling beneath Confederate fortifications detonate over 300 kegs of gunpowder, in a futile attempt to undermine the position prior to their assault. As the ill-fated attack begins, Oakley (Lucas Black) an old acquaintance of Inman’s from Cold Mountain, is impaled on a bayonet and mortally wounded. Inman rescues him from the fighting and takes him to a field hospital. Later that day Oakley dies in the hospital, with Inman and Stobrod Thewes (Brendan Gleeson) beside him. The next night, Inman, along with his Cherokee friend Swimmer (Jay Tavare), are sent to flush out surviving Union troops trapped behind their lines. During the raid, a burst of friendly fire kills Swimmer and seriously injures Inman. As Inman lies in the hospital near death, he has a letter from Ada read to him in which she pleads with him to stop fighting, stop marching, and come back to her. Inman recovers, and—with the war drawing ever closer to an inevitable Confederate defeat—decides to go home to Cold Mountain.

On his journey he meets the corrupt preacher Reverend Veasey (Philip Seymour Hoffman), who is about to drown his pregnant slave lover. Inman stops Veasey, and leaves him tied up to face the town’s justice. Exiled from his parish, Veasey later rejoins Inman on his journey. They help a young man named Junior (Giovanni Ribisi) butcher his cow, and join him and his family for dinner. Junior leaves the house after the feast, the women in Junior’s family seduce Veasey, and Junior’s wife, Lila, tries to seduce Inman. Junior returns home with the Confederate Home Guard, and both Inman and Veasey are arrested and led away with other deserters. During a subsequent skirmish with Union cavalry, Veasey is killed and Inman left for dead. An elderly hermit living in the woods (Eileen Atkins) finds him and nurses him back to health.
Cold Mountain
Inman later meets a grieving young widow named Sara (Natalie Portman), who is raising her infant child Ethan alone; he stays the night at her cabin. The next morning, a party of Union foragers arrive demanding food. Sara orders Inman away for his protection, but he hides only a few feet away from the house. The leader, Nym (Richard Brake), and his lieutenant harass Sara, steal her livestock, and leave Ethan in the cold, though the third soldier (Cillian Murphy) attempts to keep the baby warm. Nym tries to rape Sara but both he and the lieutenant are killed by Inman. Inman forces the kind forager to surrender and lets him go, but as the latter flees, an enraged Sara fatally shoots him. In parallel with Inman’s adventures, the film follows Ada’s wartime experiences. Ada is a city gentlewoman who only recently moved to the rural farm named Black Cove. She met Inman on her first day at Cold Mountain and had a brief, chaste romance with him the night before he left for the army. Shortly after Inman leaves, Ada’s father (Donald Sutherland) dies, leaving her alone on the farm with no money, food, or livelihood, and with little prospect for help, as the young, able-bodied men are off at war.
nicole-kidman-cold-mountain-qa-1Ada is completely inept at working the farm, having been raised as a southern lady. She manages to survive thanks to the kindness of her neighbors, one of whom eventually sends Ruby Thewes (Renée Zellweger) to her. Ruby is a young woman who has lived a hard-scrabble life and is very adept at the tasks needed to run the farm. Ruby lives at the farm with Ada, and together they take the farm from a state of disaster to working order. Meanwhile, Ada writes constant letters to Inman in hopes of meeting him again and renewing their romance. The two women form a close friendship and become each other’s confidantes. They also are friends with the Swangers (James Gammon and Kathy Baker), who live down the road from Ada’s farm Black Cove. It is at the Swangers’ well that Ada “sees” a vision of Inman coming back to her in the snow, surrounded by crows.
During the war, Ada and Ruby, and other members of their community, have several tense encounters with men of the Home Guard. This branch of the Home Guard is led by Captain Teague (Ray Winstone), whose grandfather once owned much of Cold Mountain. He and his deputies hunt deserters, partially with the goal of Teague’s seizing their land. Teague also lusts after Ada. Although the purpose of the Home Guard was to protect the South and its citizen population from the North, they have become violent vigilantes who hunt and often kill deserters from the Confederate Army, and terrorize citizens who they believe are housing or helping the deserters. This includes the Swangers’ sons, who, by torturing their mother, they coax out of hiding and kill. Esco Swanger—the family patriarch—is also killed protecting his sons.

Ruby’s estranged father Stobrod, a Confederate deserter and a violin player, arrives, reconciles with her, and convinces her to make a coat for his intellectually challenged banjo player Pangle (Ethan Suplee). Ruby finds herself drawn to mandolin player Georgia (Jack White). While camping, Stobrod, Pangle, and Georgia are cornered by the Home Guardsmen led by Teague. Pangle unintentionally reveals the band as the deserters Teague is seeking. Georgia is hidden a few feet away and witnesses the shooting of Pangle and Stobrod. He escapes to Black Cove Farm and informs Ruby and Ada, who rush to the campsite to find Pangle dead and Stobrod badly injured. Ada helps Ruby remove a bullet from Strobrod’s back, and they decide to take shelter in some cabins in the woods to avoid Teague and his men.
At this point the two story lines come together. Inman, half-dead from starvation, finally reaches Cold Mountain and is almost killed by Ada before she recognizes him. They later consummate their love and spend the night together.  The Home Guardsmen, however, soon find them, having captured and tortured Georgia to learn that the women are harboring deserters. In the ensuing gunfight Inman ambushes and kills Teague and most of his band, but Teague’s violent young lieutenant Bosie (Charlie Hunnam), escapes up the mountain. Cornering him near the top, Inman urges him to surrender peacefully, but Bosie draws, forcing him to fire; both men are mortally wounded. Ada goes after Inman, and finds him just as she saw him in her vision at the well… coming back to her in the snow surrounded by crows. He dies in her arms. The film ends several years later with Ada, Ruby and their families celebrating Easter. Ruby has married Georgia, and the two have a young daughter and an infant child. It is also revealed that Ada’s night with Inman has produced a child, Grace Inman.MV5BMTQwNTE5MjE4OF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMDc2ODAxNw@@._V1_A very intense and sometimes moving movie experience with a brutal battle sequence, and indeed many further violent incidents both at Cold Mountain itself and indeed on ‘Inman’s’ journey. The film harbours many fine performances from it’s star-studded cast-list. Well worth a re-visit or indeed a first viewing.

REVIEW: 13 GOING ON 30

CAST

Jennifer Garner (Alias)
Mark Ruffalo (The Avengers)
Judy Greer (Jurassic World)
Andy Serkis (Lord of The Rings)
Kathy Baker (Edward Scissorhands)
Phil Reeves (Election)
Sam Ball (Roswell)
Marcia DeBonis (The Truman Show)
Christa B. Allen (Youth In Revolt)
Sean Marquette (Van Wilder)
Lynn Collins (John Carter)
Ashley Benson (Pretty Little Liars)
Brie Larson (Trainwreck)
On May 26, 1987, Jenna Rink (Christa B. Allen), an unpopular girl, celebrates her 13th birthday. She especially wants to join the “Six Chicks”, a school clique led by Lucy “Tom-Tom” Wyman (Alexandra Kyle), who takes advantage of Jenna’s desire to fit in by manipulating her into doing a school assignment. Before her birthday party, Jenna’s best friend Matty Flamhaff (Sean Marquette) gives her a doll dream house that he built for her and a packet of “magic wishing dust”, which he sprinkles on the house.

Tom-Tom and the rest of the six chicks show up at Jenna’s party where they play a cruel practical joke on her during a game of “Seven Minutes in Heaven”. Jenna, mistakenly thinking Matt was responsible, barricades herself in the closet where she put the Dream House. She cries and rocks backs and forth, bumping into the wall, wishing to be “30, flirty, and thriving”. The wishing dust from the dollhouse sprinkles on her, causing her to fall asleep. The next morning, Jenna awakens as a 30-year-old woman (Jennifer Garner) living in a Fifth Avenue apartment. It is now 2004, and Jenna has no memory of the 17 years that have passed since her 13th birthday.

30-year old Jenna’s best friend, Lucy (Judy Greer), drives her to her work office, where Jenna discovers that she works for Poise, her favorite fashion magazine from when she was a teenager. Missing her best friend from 1987, Jenna asks her assistant to track down Matt. To her dismay, Jenna learns she and “Matty” have been estranged since high school when Jenna fell in with the in-crowd and became best friends with Tom-Tom, who now goes by her real name Lucy. Matt (Mark Ruffalo) is now a struggling photographer who’s engaged.

After Jenna overhears Lucy badmouthing her to a co-worker, she realizes that what she thought she wanted wasn’t important. She has lost almost all contact with her parents and is having an affair with the husband of a colleague. Not only is she generally hated by her co-workers, she is suspected of giving her magazine’s ideas to a rival publication, Sparkle. Jenna realizes that the person she has become is neither trustworthy nor likable and begins to reverse the situation by distancing herself from her new, shallow boyfriend.

She heads back to her hometown in New Jersey and hides in the same closet as 17 years before and cries. Her parents return and find her hiding, and they welcome her in for the night. The next day, she reminisces by looking through school yearbooks and other items from her school days and catches up on the 17 years she doesn’t remember. Over several outings and working together on a magazine project, Jenna becomes friends with Matt again, asking his help for her project. Although Matt is engaged and Jenna has a boyfriend, they kiss.
After arranging a magazine photo shoot with Matt, then making a presentation for a revamp for Poise, Jenna gets bad news from the publisher: Poise is shutting down because the work she put into the relaunch ended up in Sparkle. Jenna learns from Lucy that she was responsible for sabotaging Poise by sending their material to Sparkle for months. When Lucy had earlier learned this, she had conned Matt into signing over the photo rights from the relaunch shoot to her. Lucy was given the position of Sparkle editor-in-chief instead of Jenna.

When Jenna remembers that Matt is getting married that day, she rushes to his house and begs him to call off the wedding. Dazed, Matt realizes he loves Jenna but cannot change the past. From his closet, he pulls the “dream house” he made 17 years before, and Jenna asks for it back. Jenna leaves in tears, crying over the dream house.

Unknown to Jenna, specks of wishing dust remain on the dream house, and she silently wishes to be 13 again. When she opens her eyes, she finds herself back in the closet of the basement at her parents’ house in 1987. When Matt comes to check on her, she kisses him. She also tells Tom-Tom she can be the pot and kettle all by herself, rips apart the school project and then ruins Tom-Tom’s outfit by spilling punch on her. Some time later, Jenna and Matt are shown getting married and moving into a house which resembles the dollhouse.Although it’s Big with flashy lip-gloss, it’s incredibly captivating with Garner on top form along with a awsome cast which includes Mark Ruffalo, Judy Greer and LOTR’s Andy Serkis.