Friday, 31 July 2009

Temple Grandin for 2010

Just seen this:

In HBO films, Claire Daines' portrayal of author, animal scientist and autism advocate, "Temple Grandin" debuts in February 2010. Catherine O'Hara, Julia Ormond and David Strathairn co star in the production, directed by Mick Jackson.


Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Surveillance DVD review 2

Here's Lettie's review of Surveillance.

I received my DVD copy of Surveillance at the weekend which had been ordered online for me. I heard the sound of the letter flap opening and the thud of the package onto the floor and knew instantly what had arrived. My heart skipped a beat with excitement as I thought about the new Julia Ormond movie I was going to watch that very day. Fans of the actress will understand this excitement as artistic output from Julia Ormond in recent years has been few and far between. True, she has recently appeared in small parts in Benjamin Button and Che: Part One but I really wanted to see her in a bigger part and I thought that Surveillance would deliver and it did: Julia Ormond played one of the main characters in the film. However, she played a role like none she has ever played before and it has taken some adjustment on my part to get used to the fact.

The opening scene of the film could have come straight out of 'The Texas Chain Saw Massacre'. Surveillance can be described as a thriller - horror - serial killer - murder mystery with a twist (which is obvious) at the end. The scenes of violence are graphic and bloody. There is no moral to the tale either - what happens just happens and it is then over. It is meaningless violence. It is a trashy, violent film. It is the second film of this calibre that Ormond has appeared in, the first being IKWKM, and let us hope that it is the last. Julia Ormond, Michael Ironside and Bill Pullman are fine actors and deserve much better roles. I had eagerly awaited this film and to say that I was disappointed would be an understatement.

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

New Traffik DVD on the way

The USA and Canada get a new DVD release of Traffik in September:

As seen on Masterpiece Theatre! Twenty years after this six-part British miniseries won an International Emmy®, a newly remastered version brings it to life more vividly than ever before. This riveting thriller also inspired Steven Soderbergh's Oscar®-winning film. Shot on location in Pakistan, Hamburg, and London, Traffik lays bare the international drug trade by tracing three intersecting lives: Jack, a British government minister who finds the scourge of heroin striking too close to home; Helen, a woman who embarks on a daring survival strategy after her husband's arrest; and Fazal, a Pakistani peasant who works for a menacing drug lord. Starring Bill Paterson (Little Dorrit, Smiley's People), Lindsay Duncan (Rome, Under the Tuscan Sun), and Julia Ormond (Legends of the Fall) in her extraordinary film debut.

Acorn Media proudly presents the September 29th 2-disc DVD release of Traffik - Remastered 20th Anniversary Edition. This collection of 6 episodes runs approx. 305 min., plus bonus material such as interviews with writer Simon Moore and producer Brian Eastman, an extended U.K. broadcast version of episode 6, a photo gallery, production notes, and cast filmographies. Presented in full screen, and English audio and subtitles. Cost is #39.99 SRP in the USA and CA$52.99 SRP in Canada.


Sunday, 5 July 2009

Surveillance DVD review

My Surveillance DVD arrived from Amazon UK yesterday and I watched the movie last night. I'll try to put down some initial thoughts without spoiling the story.

The movie is very much in that territory marked out by David Lynch. Thankfully there is a little more plot going on than in, say, INLAND EMPIRE.

There are two stories unfolding.

A framing story features two FBI agents who arrive at a police station to interview three witnesses. We're not told what they witnessed but it appears to be Something Very Bad.

The second story is a flashback to an almost deserted highway in a desolate part of the United States. Two of the most unpleasant cops you could ever hope to meet are taking potshots at passing motorists. The viewer know that Something Very Bad is going to happen because the little girl "saw something" and there is an effective buildup of dread.

Yes, there is a twist. To be honest I kind of saw it coming, but cleverly the big reveal is not right at the end of the movie so it still came as a surprise.

Thinking back to the earlier parts of the movie some of the dialog takes on a whole new meaning, such as Bill Pullman's line "you can't save her".

Julia gets to play a character completely different from any she has played before. And she gets to do things that she has never done before. You'll know it when you see it.

It's the small moments that work for me, such as Bill Pullman's doodle over the word "evidence".

In summary a very effective little movie. It has its unpleasant moments but is also packed with black humour, many involving the two druggies in the red car.

The DVD contains a deleted scene plus an alternate ending that isn't quite is a bleak as the one that was used.

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Julia Ormond driven by break

Here's a story that landed in my inbox...

Julia Ormond driven by break
Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Julia Ormond's career break made her more determined to succeed as an actress.

The 'Surveillance' star - who became a well-known TV and movie star in the 90s before relaunching her career last year with 'Curious Case of Benjamin Button' - says taking time off to raise her daughter Sophie, now four, gave her the determination to seek out more "varied" movie roles.

She said: "I guess this little break made me decide that I needed to try to work harder, or be more disciplined about finding roles that were more different, that were more varied."

Meanwhile, the 44-year-old actress - who also runs New York City movie productions company Indican - enjoyed filming independent film 'Surveillance' because it allowed her to work closely with female directorial staff.

She said: "Until women can carve out the time and have the time to do their own creative stuff - and be as great and courageous with the voice as director-and-writer Jennifer Lynch has been with 'Surveillance' - then we're not going to change how we are perceived."

The British actress was inspired to launched her own company because she believes it is important for female actresses to ensure their voices are heard over their male colleagues.

She added to Dark Horizons: "If it's a majority of male writers and a majority of male directors, then they're not necessarily going to be disposed to creating roles for women. I guess my take is that the only way to counter it is to do your own stuff."