Mar05

Jackie Review

 
I finally had the opportunity to see Jackie and thought I’d quickly weigh in with some thoughts.

I’m not a big fan of biopics in general but was optimistic after hearing that Jackie would be taking an unconventional approach. The film definitely does that, with a structure that hops forward and back along the film’s timeline.

Personally, there were few instances where this approach elevated the material for me. The ending moments, cutting to different scenes while building on an emotional state, are sublime but I mainly found the experience to be quite passive. I never really felt the stakes of what Jackie wanted to achieve.

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Feb20

Jackie: my review

 

After months waiting, Jackie opened in Spain the last Friday, and finally I had the chance to see it. After all this time, and all the good reviews, I was afraid that the film might not fulfilled my expectations… nothing further of reality.

It´s a GREAT film. It´s probably the more accessible and conventional Larrain´s film to date, but still it´s one of the most interesting biopics that have been made in recent years on an American figure… precisely because there is not a typical biopic.

Watching the film, I understand perfectly why it had so weak commercial success in the US: this is not a detailed story of what happened those sad days on November, it´s a deep study of a character for the four days more stressful and critical of her life. Yes, I say well the word “character” because, as Larraín said in one of the many interviews for the promotion of the film, this is a “fiction told from the intimacy of the private”. We’ll never know for sure what Jackie really was, but the film shows us a person full of nuances, contradictory, selfish, self-centered, but also intelligent, determined and emotional, which helped build, almost without intending, the legend of her husband.

There are also another reason why the movie is not conventional: who goes to a movie theater to see this waiting learn the ins and outs of all that happened these critical days for American history, will feel probably disappointed. the film part of the premise that everyone knows the story, and yes, gives very accurate brushstrokes here and there of what happened behind the scenes … but this is about Jackie and her vital experience during these days, and the film introduces you fully in her personal experience in those hard times.

And here is where Natalie comes into scene: simply she’s superb. the best perfomance of her career, certainly. She cries, laughs, despairs, she confesses in front of the camera. An amalgam of emotions that she shows perfectly in every scene. All of them filmed a few inches of her face by Larrain, always attentive to each gesture and each word.

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I’ll admit that I was not excited about Jackie when the project was first announced back in 2012 (was it really that long ago?). I was picturing a forgettable, paint by numbers biopic, and didn’t feel like Natalie looked the part of Jacqueline Kennedy. But when it was announced that Darren Aronofsky was involved in the production and Pablo Larraín was directing, I became more hopeful that Jackie could be something special. After the all the glowing reviews started pouring in earlier this year, I was impatient to see the finished film. Now that I have, I don’t feel like there’s much to say that hasn’t already been said. The hype is real, guys.

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Oct27

Jackie Tidbits

 
The film directed by Pablo Larraín and starring Natalie continues to generate news every week. Here are a few as Tidbits.

-First, a photo of “Jackie team”, taken during the screening of the movie for BAFTA members, a few days ago:

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Oct13

Jackie: third wave of reactions

 
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After Venice and Toronto, New York is the third major festival where the movie has been premiered … and it has caused a third wave of reactions as positive as before

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Sep17

More Jackie Tidbits

 
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Jackie, after passing through Venice and Toronto, continues to receive rave reviews (it has 95/100 on Metacritic and Rotten Tomatoes right now). Many specialized media include the film as one of the best seen in the TIFF, and Natalie´s perfomance as one of the best seen in the festival:

Variety: 9 Standout Performances From Natalie Portman to Emma Stone

Toronto Sun: From Natalie Portman to Casey Affleck, 10 performances we loved

The Hollywood Reporter: Critics’ Picks: 10 Best Films of the Major Fall Festivals (So Far)

-In another vein, here we have another interesting video interview with Natalie and Pablo Larraín to Deadline, in which they talk about the challenges of the film in general and especially playing Jackie:

Deadline: Natalie Portman On ‘Jackie’: “She Took This Real Control Over Her Family’s Story”

-And finally, a new batch of rave, interesting reviews:

Film Book: JACKIE: A Triumph of Storytelling & Captured History

Boston Globe: Among Toronto’s thrills: a superb Natalie Portman in ‘Jackie’

Boise Weekly: Natalie Portman as Jackie, the Most Iconic, Mysterious Woman of Our Time

Joblo: Jackie review

 

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Sep13

Jackie Film Review

 
Hey everyone. It’s been a while since I’ve written for this site. I attended both Jackie and Planetarium at the Toronto International Film Festival, and I am going to review both of these releases. First, here’s Jackie!

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When Billy Crudup’s journalist character asks Jackie Onassis what it sounded like when the bullet went through her late husband’s head, you know you’re getting a grizzly depiction of how the John F. Kennedy assassination went down. Jackie is co-produced by Darren Aronofsky, who was originally slated to direct this film and have his ex parter Rachel Weisz star as the titular former First Lady. Aronofsky and Weisz abandoned their posts, but the former stayed with the project while Chilean director Pablo Larrain got put in charge. Aronofsky’s dismal filmmaking definitely can be felt here, as Larrain’s perception of the tragic event is almost unsettlingly real. Natalie Portman, also an Aronofsky affiliate, was selected for the main role, and the rest is history.
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Just celebrated the premiere of Jackie in Toronto, and a new wave of amazing reactions is taking place:

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If yesterday was the “Jackie day” in Venice, today Natalie premieres Planetarium at the festival, out of competition.

-First of all, The Playlist has some beautifuls photos and two movie clips in the article/review on the film. In them we can see the acting work of Natalie, Lily-Rose and Emmanuel Salinger, as well as the wonderful production design.

-Speaking of reviews, unfortunately critical reception has not been as good as Jackie. Very lukewarm reviews at best, with some other more positive (The Guardian, for example):

The Hollywood Reporter: A good-looking misfire

Indiewire: Despite Strong Turns From Natalie Portman And Lily-Rose Depp, Rebecca Zlotowski’s Is A Star-Studded Bore

The Film Stage: “Planetarium,” an elusive drama tethered to so little, it makes us long for the traditional and tangible.

The Guardian: Natalie Portman shines in swirling supernatural chiller

Throughout the day we will see more Natalie appearances … stay tuned.

 

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Sep07

Jackie: First Impressions

 
The first press screening of Jackie finished half an hour ago … and the first reactions could not be better:

Soon we will see the first written reviews, but this look really good 🙂

 

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Aug19

ATOLAD USA release tidbits

 
This has been an intense week in terms of news and public appearances in Natland… but here are a few more, as Tidbits 🙂

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Earlier this week, new reviews of the film came out, and although it continued the lukewarm tone of last year, recent days have appeared some good ones that have made the movie percentage has risen in sites like Metacritic and Rotten. Here are some of the most positives:

-LA Times:

“Natalie Portman makes her directorial debut with the touching Israeli memoir A Tale of Love and Darkness”

-Slant Magazine:

“Like Jerusalem itself, A Tale of Love and Darkness is a multilayered tapestry of Jewish history, where the past and the present coexist in both material and psychological term”

-The New York Times:

“From Natalie Portman, Israel’s Birth Distilled in Mood and Memory”

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May08

Jane Got a Gun. My review…

 
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Since Dazza recently gave his opinion of the movie, and taking advantage of the fact that the film was finally released this weekend in my country, I will dare to give my humble opinion about the film 🙂

The truth is that it is easy to criticize this film: it has a slow pace, almost no action in ninety percent of the movie, and the story is nothing new (the umpteenth western siege, where the protagonists expect the arrival of the ” bad guys “to massacre them) ….

… But nevertheless, it has entertained me. It is not a perfect film, far from it. The story lacks verve, and numerous production problems are noticed, especially in the inclusion of some flashbacks … and the lack of thrust villain (embodied however with conviction by Ewan McGregor). Clearly they had to wring the brain so that the absence is not noticed (the actor could not join the shooting until the very end of it); although Gavin O’Connor takes some pretty good decisions to hide this fact (his appearances in flashbacks are quite good, and the fact resolve the final siege from the point of view of Jane, Dan and Bill, inside the house it is very smart … but unfortunately that does lose showmanship to the scene.

Actually, this movie is an intimate drama, wrapped in the makings of a western. A drama about loss, the value of the strength and the courage to stand up to adversity. Jane’s character is a woman dragged by the events of her life, who has the chance to finally stand up and face everything to protect her family. A woman who believed losing the man she loves, found another honest man who had the courage to protect her, and that after years of false comfort, is doomed to face the demons of her past …. all with the help of the man who loved, lost and broken by war, and finally will have the opportunity to redeem himself next to her.

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Apr23

Dazza Reviews JGAG

 
As you know, I’ve just arrived back in Berlin, and during the mind-numbing flight over I had the opportunity to finally catch Jane Got A Gun. Expectations were low. The troubled production didn’t phase me too much, as sometimes magic can be found by flying by the seat of your pants, but the shrugging reviews certainly didn’t have me expecting the next Heat.

On the positive side, it’s pretty entertaining and I quite enjoyed seeing Natalie play something of a bad ass. There’s still plenty of desperation in the performance, like one of the better flashback scenes, but Jane is one tough cookie.

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Mar11

KoC Tidbits


 
Knight of Cups is out in the world, no doubt confounding most audiences, but those who can sync with Malick’s vision are really responding well as you’ll see from a couple rapturous reviews below.

– First up is a new featurette with behind the scenes footage and interviews.

– Next up is a detailed write up of an actor who had no idea what he was getting into. It’s a really fun read and well worth checking out.

“We’re all standing there and Malick hands out these pieces of paper to all of us,” Lennon said. “And the one he gave me said, ‘There’s no such thing as a fireproof wall.’ And I ask, ‘Is this something I’m supposed to say in the scene?’ and he said, ‘I don’t know.’”

– Now two reviews, both of which couldn’t be more positive. The New Yorker review is deep and dense while SFGate doesn’t think many films will be able to match it this year. Bare in mind the film only has an overall score of 47% on Rotten Tomatoes, so again, this is a film made for the few, not the many.

Here is an excerpt from each review.

These images, brilliant and radiant with a love of light, rapturous with a love of motion, bring to the cinema a big and great idea: the overcoming of the distinction between subject and object, between recording and imagination.

Terrence Malick is inventing a new kind of cinema, one that calls for new language to describe it. This is a cinema of ecstasy, of the spirit, of witnessing the beauty in all things. As a story, his new film, “Knight of Cups,” is instantly forgettable, and that’s assuming you can find a story to follow. But the experience of the film is about something else, about creating a feeling of transcendence and joy through visual means. It’s remarkable.

 

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Mar01

More Knights

 
Looks like it’s going to be a big week for Knight of Cups news, leading up to the (tiny) opening on Friday. It has been a loooong wait to see the film and having seen it last year, it is probably not going to be worth the wait unless you are one of the few in-tune with the very personal and unique presentation that Malick is working with.

– Let’s start with a new video interview from One Big Soul.

– Next up is a new teaser trailer that is really great. The music and the visuals go together beautifully.

– Then we have a couple positive reviews.

The Village Voice calls it sumptuous.

You don’t reason your way through a film like this; you let it wash over you, pull you this way and that.

Or you reject it. Many will run screaming from Knight of Cups, even as some of us are enraptured. At times, Malick almost seems to welcome this polarized response.

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Feb07

Tidbits

 
We’re back with some more mini Natalie news items. Dig in!

– Let’s kick off with the box office and despite being one of the more robust holds during the week, Jane Got A Gun fell off a cliff this weekend. Granted, with such a poor first weekend we’re talking a pretty short fall. Speaking off planting face first into the dirt, many moons ago Natalie was to star in Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. It was to be written and directed by David O’Russell, but he dropped out and went on to become the Oscar darling of the last few years. Natalie dropped out soon after and there was a string of directors coming on board and then exiting.

The film was finally released this weekend and it’s another “why did they even bother?” with a massively underwhelming box office take.

– Next up, a new German Knight of Cups clip has arrived with Natalie and Christian Bale having some fun on a pier.

– Speaking of Knight of Cups, here are a couple very positive reviews for the film – Theology and Movies and Podcasting The Softly.

 

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Jan29

Rachel Reviews JGAG

 
I saw Jane Got a Gun this evening. Dazza told me to enjoy the film and asked me to write a review. I responded with “I’ll try,” and I did. I tried to care about the story. I tried to care about the characters. But I just couldn’t. I feel like the last couple of my reviews of Natalie’s films can be summed up as “Well, it wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t good, either,” and Jane Got a Gun is no exception.

Disclaimer: There aren’t any spoilers that you didn’t already see in the trailers. I am not Dazza or Andreas; writing is not my forte. You’ve been warned.

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Jan29

JGAG Tidbits

 
There is tons of Jane Got A Gun related news, which we’ll be trying to catch up with for days, so here is another collection of news items.

Box Office Mojo indicates that the theatre count plans have essentially doubled for this weekend from 550 theatres to 1,210 offerings.

Weinstein originally estimated it would only be arriving in 550 theaters, but that count rose to 1,210 theaters today making it a little more possible it could find a spot in the top ten, but it has a tough road ahead of it.

Not only did it have a troubled production, but the marketing campaign appears to be almost non-existent. A target figure for the weekend would seem to be $3 million, but the fact this is a Western with little juice behind it doesn’t seem to be working in its favor.

– A positive JGAG review has emerged from Screen Daily, which has an interesting take on the feminism of the film.

Portman’s Jane is strong and self-sufficient with a lucid take on survival — she’s not afraid to help herself and she knows when she requires help from others. Some very bad things have happened to her but she’s nobody’s punching bag. And not unlike Charlize Theron in Mad Max: Fury Road, one might be tempted to think that Portman is just too much of a natural beauty for this role, but any such objection quickly subsides.

– That feminist take is completely contradicted by a piece that calls the film “unbelievably sexist”

The past year was a great one for women on the big screen. We had Mad Max: Fury Road, Spy, Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation, Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens — movies that championed tough, smart, independent female characters.

And now, kicking off 2016 is Jane Got a Gun, a movie that runs screaming in the opposite direction.

 

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Jan27

JGAG Tidbits

 
Jane Got A Gun week continues and we’ve got lots of related updates.

– The film is opening on 550 screens this weekend, which is one of those mid-sized releases that isn’t a small platform release where they hope to build and certainly isn’t a wide release. The Weinstein’s aren’t in a good place financially, which could account for not only that but why there has been little to no marketing push. Perhaps a fitting release for a film that has had one of the most troubled releases in years. Thanks to Belerofonte.

– A couple reviews have landed with The Hollywood Reporter giving a mixed review.

Portman certainly commits herself fully to the role, and one can imagine how much the double-duty of starring in and presiding over such a troubled project was no simple turkey shoot. Still, at times, the actress seems almost too graceful to be playing a woman in Jane’s predicament, especially one living under harsh conditions and suffering years of strife across the continent.

The New Yorker is more mixed negative and touches on something that has bothered me in the trailers.

Can a face as famously beautiful as Portman’s ever show the weathering of such peril, or the scars of a hardscrabble life? Well, yes. It certainly did in “Cold Mountain,” where she played a lonely widow in a secluded shack, and which she stole in a few brief scenes—shooting down a fleeing soldier, and weeping at the touch of a hand. Somehow, “Jane Got a Gun” fails to be scuffed by that sense of desperation.

– This is a really nice video interview with Natalie and Joel Edgerton, in which they discuss working on Star Wars together, the troubles on set and Natalie ends by talking about the wage disparity between men and women.


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