Tag Archives: Geoffrey Rush

MINIONS

Minions (2015) 47

The MINIONS 3D computer-animated comedy movie begins from the dawn of time, with the relatively simple-minded MINIONS evolving from single-celled organisms, and then starting with the Jurassic Era becoming fiercely loyal beings who live just to serve history’s most despicable masters. The forever-young goggles-wearing yellow henchmen, from the two delightful ‘Despicable Me’ childrens’ movies, now have starring roles in this latest film produced by Illumination Entertainment for Universal Pictures. Sandra Bullock finally gets the role of a lifetime as the nasty super-villain, ‘Scarlett Overkill’.

‘Scarlett Overkill’ does mention the bard, and to quote William Shakespeare “She vaunted ‘mongst her minions t’ other day” (Henry VI Part 2). This retro ‘Despicable Me’ prequel is set during 1968 initially in New York and Orlando, with wonderful pop culture icons/references throughout. In the Swinging 60s London finale, Scarlett Overkill alongside her inventor husband Herb, wants to steal Queen Elizabeth’s crown from the Tower of London. The trio of Minions – Stuart, Kevin and Bob pass the henchmen recruitment process at Villain-Com International. Scarlett Overkill gives the job to her new henchmen, the trio of Minions, KEVIN (the leader), STUART (the teenage rebel with his ukulele) and the diminutive and very lovable BOB carrying Tim his Teddy Bear, and is easily identifiable with his brown/green “Heterochromia Iridum”. Via the bedtime story of THE THREE LITTLE PIGS, with “Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf” on the soundtrack, Scarlet threatens to kill the minions if they fail to steal the crown.

Continue reading MINIONS

THE BEST OFFER

Geoffrey Rush is outstanding as art auctioneer, Virgil Oldman
Geoffrey Rush is outstanding as art auctioneer, Virgil Oldman

When you walk out of a screening and just want to talk about the film it is an excellent indication that you have just viewed some wonderful cinema. You also have been entertained by a superb and controlled performance by the great Geoffrey Rush and to complete the experience there is the sumptuous display of many sublime classic paintings.

Geoffrey Rush’s character, Virgil Oldman, runs an elite auction house specialising in the paintings, sculpture and other objets d’art. He conspires with a flamboyant, long haired ostentatious art collector, Billy Whistler, played by Donald Sutherland, to purchase undervalued paintings, invariably of beautiful females, that end up in Virgil’s private collection.

Virgil’s measured and controlled world is disturbed by a telephone call he receives from a mysterious woman who wants to arrange the valuation and auction of the contents of her recently deceased parents’ villa. An arranged meeting does not occur and it emerges that Claire, played by the beautiful Sylvia Hoeks, is an agoraphobic, never even seen by the villa’s caretaker.

From this premise numerous story threads develop involving emerging love stories, the process of valuing a collection and preparing a catalogue for the auction, and the assembly of a mechanical contraption from various gears and cogs found scattered around the villa. The contraption is assembled by gifted technician Robert, played by Jim Sturgess.

I have outlined the set-up only as it is best to view this film knowing little about the plot. The exposition is intriguing and wonderful. Director and writer Giuseppe Tornatore (CINEMA PARADISO) and cinematographer Fabio Zamarion have constructed a visually exquisite film. The pedigree of this film is further demonstrated by having a score by Ennio Morricone.

I thoroughly recommend Tornatore’s fine film. THE BEST OFFER is on general release.

THE BOOK THIEF

THE BOOK THIEF1
Geoffrey Rush and Sophie Neliase in THE BOOK THIEF

The Palace Cinemas in Norton Street Leichhardt  have reopened and to celebrate the cinema ran a preview screening of one of the big films that will premiere in the New Year.

A steam train travelling across a snow covered landscape opens THE BOOK THIEF, a luscious, beautiful and inspiring film. The suffering and harrowing injustices endured by many in Germany prior and during the Second World War is contrasted against the inimitable spirit of Liesel Meminger, played with delicacy and maturity by young Sophie Nélisse, last seen as Alice in MONSIEUR LAZHAR.

This film is worth seeing for Liesel’s character and Sophie’s performance but there is so much more that is enjoyable and enriching about THE BOOK THIEF. Florian Ballhaus’ cinematography is wonderful. It is a joy to watch. The details of a small German town are intricately captured. The camera lingers on Liesel’s mesmerising face. The scans across the houses, rooms, fields and many other scenes are both intimate and breathtaking.

Geoffrey Rush gives yet another impeccable performance as Hans Hubermann. He nurtures Liesel Meminger through what could have been a miserable existence that is made bearable by his quirkiness, his cheeky sense of humour and his encouragement of Liesel’s reading.

Max Vandenburg (Ben Schnetzer) is a young Jew hiding in the basement of the Hubermann household and for Liesel and Max the power of words and imagination become the only escape from their precarious existence.

Liesel’s charming friendship with a classmate, Rudy (Nico Liersch), gives her further respite from the tumultuous events of the times. Ilsa Hermann (Barbara Auer) is the wife of the town’s evil but banal Mayor. She befriends Liesel and their mutual love of books provides essential relief for Liesel from her situation.

Emily Watson as the harsh foster mother Rosa Hubermann gives an excellent performance, haranguing Geoffrey Rush’s Hans and despairing with Liesel but occasionally shows signs of compassion and concern.

Director Brian Percival’s realisation of Markus Zusak’s superb novel understandably struggles to include all the complexity of the novel and cannot delve into all the horrors of Nazi Germany. A slightly sentimental tone and the beautiful cinematography seem a little out of touch with the bleak and miserable aspects of the life surrounding Liesel, but overall THE BOOK THIEF is a wonderful film and I thoroughly recommend it.

THE BOOK THIEF opens in Sydney on Thursday January 9.