Scheduled for release Friday, 24 April 2015, there are three movies for your consideration. I hope you will take the time to consider the productions detailed in this article.
Directed by: Lee Toland Krieger
The film, starring Blake Lively, Michiel Huisman, and Harrison Ford, tells the tale of a young woman, born at the turn of the twentieth century, rendered ageless due to a freak accident, after many years of isolation finds the possibility of not only true love but a real opportunity to shed her immortality.
Film: Little Boy (2015)
Directed by: Alejandro Monteverde
When it comes to ambition, the phrase “go big or go home” frequently springs to mind. Set during the Second World War, Little Boy focuses on the lengths Pepper Flynt Busbee / Little Boy (Jakob Salvati) goes to end the war, a singleness of purpose, which would ultimately see his father return home.
Film: The Water Diviner (2014)
Directed by: Russell Crowe
The 2014 Russell Crowe directed drama The Water Diviner, also known as The Last Hope, was released in Australia Boxing Day – Friday, 26 December 2014 and is scheduled for release in these United States Friday, 24 April 2015. I cannot help wondering why it is this film has taken so long to be picked up by American movie theaters.
The film, with a world premiere at the State Theatre in Sydney, Australia on Tuesday, 2 December 2014, is set in 1919, focuses on Connor (Crowe), a farmer and water diviner. Whilst this film is fiction, there are true stories which mirror events depicted in this film.
Prior to the Great War, ending in 1918, the world had not seen such carnage. The age of innocence had finally come to an end. The fat lady had taken her last curtain call. Those that were left still standing had to find a way to carry on with their lives the best way they knew how. For some people, those that had lost loved ones during the war, this was an impossible hurdle to jump. This film touches significantly upon the aftermath of what we now refer to as being the First World War.
Whilst I am disappointed Allegiance was cancelled after only five episodes, the news of the cancellation is not completely unexpected.
Let’s face it. Television networks don’t make money from series which have small viewership ratings. High budget low viewership doesn’t cut it in the marketplace. Television networks make money from series which have significantly high viewership ratings.
Television series which have enjoyed significant longevity, especially over the past ten years, have been low budget reality television series. It doesn’t take much intelligence to watch such shows.
Allegiance, with an intelligently crafted storyline, simply does not speak to a large enough proportion of American population.
The pilot episode, written and directed by George Nolfi, should have been enough to capture the imagination of a significant audience.
The series, focusing on highly gifted CIA analyst in Russian affairs Alex O’Connor (Gavin Stenhouse), had much promise.
Unbeknownst to Alex, his mother, father and older sister (Hope Davis, Scott Cohen, and Margarita Levieva) are part of a Russian sleeper cell that have been reactivated with the express purpose of monitoring him and preventing the identities of key Russian assets from being revealed in the course of his investigation.
As for international audiences, forget about it. American television networks, whilst making money distributing series to other countries, are only interested in the audience ratings for these United States. They care nothing for foreign audiences.
The last scene of the series finale, the thirteenth episode, was filmed on Sunday, 15 March 2015.
Charlie Cox, the actor that plays Matt Murdock / Daredevil, in the Netflix series Marvel’s Daredevil has taken the marvel character to an entirely new level. This is something which should draw an audience to the exclusive Netflix series.
The character Ben Affleck provided audiences in the 2003 Mark Steven Johnson directed film Daredevil was somewhat two-dimensional. This was more to do with the level of the writing than it was with the quality of the acting.
The Daredevil character, a blind lawyer by day, with his other senses superhumanly enhanced, fights crime as a costumed superhero by night.
Whilst the series is part of the Marvel Universe, it is highly unlikely we will see Tony Stark / Iron Man zooming around the sky. The same is true for the other Avengers.
Everything is connected.
There are seemingly subtle references in Marvel’s Daredevil which tie in with the rest of the Marvel Universe. One just has to listen clearly and which with eyes wide open to see what is directly in front of our faces.
Truly great television requires great stories. The heart of any good story is a set of believable characters. All the characters have to be believable. The same is equally true for the supporting characters as it is for the main ones.
In addition to Cox playing the title role, you will find such talent as Rosario Dawson, Vincent D’Onofrio, and Toby Leonard Moore appearing in key roles. D’Onofrio, better known for playing Detective Robert Goren on the long running crime drama series Law & Order: Criminal Intent, plays Wilson Fisk in the Netflix series.
It is of popular opinion that D’Onofrio is not only a great actor but killed it as Wilson Fisk, the Kingpin.
The first season ended in spectacular style. The second season promises to be every bit as rewarding as the first season was.
There is something to be said for quality entertainment. A television series needs to not only have a great cast, it should also have a captivating premise. The NBC series The Blacklist, created by Jon Bokenkamp, best known for his directorial work on the 2000 mystery thriller Bad Seed, has both and significantly more.
The Blacklist, currently in its second season, stars James Spader as Raymond ‘Red’ Reddington, also known as The Concierge of Crime. Red, number 5 (five) of the FBI’s Most Wanted List, is every bit as charismatic as the suave and sophisticated criminal defence attorney Alan Shore, the character Spader played for both the legal drama The Practice and the spin-off dramedy Boston Legal.
Each character adds a unique depth to the series which, without that character being there, would not only not be there, it would be detrimental to the series.
Every episode of this series, with several twists and turns no one would expect, has been splendidly crafted to leave viewers guessing which direction the main storyline is to go. Where is the storyline going this season? I would highly recommend watching to discover what it is Red has up his sleeve. It is sure to be epic.
- The Sting (1973)
The 1973 crime dramedy The Sting, directed by George Roy Hill, is a particular favourite film of mine and it has almost nothing to do with the fact I was born in the year the film was released. Almost nothing.
Starring Paul Newman, Robert Redford, and Robert Shaw, The Sting boasts a screenplay written by David S. Ward. Ward is possibly better known for being the writer on such productions as Major League, King Ralph, Sleepless in Seattle, Major League II, and Flyboys.
Interestingly The Sting bested American Graffiti, Cries & Whispers, The Exorcist, and A Touch of Class for the much coveted Academy Award for Best Picture. Even more interesting is the sheer number of quality productions that was not nominated for the top category award. These productions included but is by no means limited to Papillon, Serpico, The Way We Were, The Wicker Man, Paper Moon, Walking Tall, The Day of the Jackal, and The Paper Chase, to name just a few.
In addition to walking away with the top category award, The Sting also received the awards for Best Director (Hill), Best Original Screenplay (Ward), Best Art Direction (Henry Bumstead and James W. Payne), Best Costume Design (Edith Head), Best Film Editing (William Reynolds), and Best Score (Marvin Hamlisch).
Whilst it is true The Sting is often overlooked because of it being sandwiched between The Godfather (1972) and The Godfather: Part II (1974), there will always be a special place in Oscar film history for this particular George Roy Hill production. At least this special place will exist in my mind.
Head, the queen of the costume department, won no less than eight Academy Awards, her eighth being a result of working on The Sting.