Tag Archives: Keira Knightley

The Aftermath Movie Review

War has a way of changing relationships.

In the new movie, The Aftermath (based on the book of the same name by Rhidian Brook), Lewis Morgan (Jason Clarke) is a member of the British army who has been charged with rebuilding Hamburg just after the end of World War II. His wife, Rachel (Keira Knightley) is joining him after a prolonged separation. Though their marriage appears to be solid, there are cracks beneath the surface.

Their new home is a villa just outside of Hamburg. It belongs to Stephen Lubert (Alexander Skarsgård),  a widower with  a young daughter. While Lewis is preoccupied with work, Rachel and Stephen’s relationship changes from antagonistic to romantic. In this political and emotionally charged relationship, old wounds will be opened, personal histories will be revealed and questions about the future will have to be answered.

I am sorry to say that I was disappointed with this film. While it was well done and well acted, it was just missing something. I can’t put my finger on what was missing, but it did have the emotional impact I hoped it would make.

Do I recommend it? Maybe.

The Aftermath is presently in theaters. 

 

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Colette Movie Review

It has been said that behind every great man is great woman. But what happens when that woman decides to take the spotlight on her own?

In the new movie, Colette, Colette (Keira Knightley) is a young lady from the countryside who married the much older Willy (Dominic West) around the turn of the 20th century. Willy earns his living as a writer, but does not do the writing himself. He has a team of writers who work under him. Soon after taking their vows, Colette join her husband’s writing team. Her books become the most popular fiction of the day. But while Willy gets the acclaim, Colette remains in the shadows. That is, until she decides to not only publicize the truth of the authorship of the book and while doing so, flouts gender norms.

Based on the true story of Colette, whose full name was Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette, this movie is not the typical BPD (British Period Drama). It resonates with modern audiences because it still speaks to us today. Questions in regards to gender norms, gender identities, sexual identities, a woman fighting for her voice to be heard are still being asked in 2018.

I recommend it.

Colette is currently in theaters. 

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Flashback Friday-A Dangerous Method (2011)

Compared to other forms of medical treatment, psychoanalysis is a relatively modern form of treatment.

The 2011 film, A Dangerous Method, is the story of how psychoanalysis was born. Sabina Spielrein (Keira Knightley) is suffering from hysteria and under the care of Dr. Carl Jung (Michael Fassbender). Dr. Jung is following in the footsteps of Sigmund Freud (Viggo Mortensen), who pioneered the methodology of talk therapy to deal with mental illness and anxiety. Sabina aspires to sit on the other side of the couch and becomes a psychiatrist. Then things get interesting when the personal and professional relationships between the characters begin to shift and crack.

What I like about this movie is that it not only humanizes the very large figures of Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung, but it also introduces the audience to Sabina Spielrein, who, for the most part, has been forgotten, despite her contributions to the fields of psychoanalysis and psychiatry.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

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Thoughts On The 14th Anniversary Of The Release Of Love Actually

14 years ago today, Love Actually hit theaters.

Set in London a month before Christmas, the movie is about eight couples whose narratives and lives are loosely entwined. Daniel (Liam Neeson) has recently lost his wife and is trying to figure out how to raise his stepson. Mark (Andrew Lincoln) is in love with Juliet (Keira Knightley). Juliet is married to Mark’s best friend Peter (Chiwetel Ejiofor). Karen (Emma Thompson) and Harry (the late Alan Rickman) are a long time married couple. Harry’s eyes are starting to wander towards his secretary. Karen’s brother, The Prime Minister (Hugh Grant) has a crush on his assistant. I could go on, but I will let the trailer speak for itself.

What I love about the movie (besides the fact that part of the cast have been in Austen adaptations) is that this movie is neither overly romantic, overly corny, nor does it bash the audience over the head that it’s Christmas. It’s about love, relationships and the need for a human connection, none of which are confined to the Christmas season or to those who celebrate Christmas.

If you have not seen this movie, I highly recommend it. It is one of the few Christmas movies, that in my opinion, are worth watching.

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Flashback Friday-Bend It Like Beckham (2002)

Tradition clashing with the modern world is as old the world itself. A young person rebelling against tradition to find their own path is also an often told story.

In Bend It Beckham (2002), Jess (Parminder Nagra) comes from a traditional Sikh family living in England. Her favorite activity is playing soccer. She hopes to play professionally one day. But a good Indian girl from a traditional Sikh family does not play soccer, either informally or professionally. Jules (Keira Knightley) also wants to play soccer professionally, but her mother prefers that her daughter become a proper lady.

Coached by Joe (Jonathan Rhys Meyers), the girls believe that their future lays on the soccer field. But pressure at home will make the girls question their choices. Will Jess and Jules follow their hearts (and their talent) or will they bow to the pressure and become the good girls that their families want them to be?

I have not seen this movie in a long time, but I connected with it. I think we all reach a time in our lives when we have to choose between what our loves think is best and what we know is the only way live our lives.

I recommend it.

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The Critics Were Wrong (Maybe)-Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (2011)

The people in Hollywood know a good thing when they see it. In 2003, when Pirates Of The Carribean: Curse Of The Black Pearl was released, it was a massive success. That gave movie makers the green light to continue with the franchise. The problem is (as it is if often the case with most sequels) that as each consecutive movie was released, the reviews were not so full of praise and the audiences began to stay away.

Such is the case with Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (2011). Will (Orlando Bloom) and Elizabeth (Keira Knightley) are out of the picture. Making strange bedfellows/pirate odd couple are Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) and Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush).  Their quest is locate the fountain of youth. But they are not the only ones who are eager to locate the legendary fountain. Blackbeard  (Ian McShane) and his daughter Angelica (Penelope Cruz) are also on the same path. It’s not just a question of who will reach the fountain first, it’s a question of will the past and relationship that Jack had with Angelica come back to bite him in the behind?

This movie attempts to recreate the magic of the first film. Attempts is the key word here. Even without Bloom and Knightley in the cast, something is missing. Whether it is the fact that Jack Sparrow is becoming old or that the filmmakers attempts to inject a period appropriate character like Blackbeard, just something is missing.

Were the critics wrong? No.

I do not recommend this film.

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Throwback Thursday- The Duchess (2008)

“Happiness in marriage is entirely a matter of chance. If the dispositions of the parties are ever so well known to each other or ever so similar beforehand, it does not advance their felicity in the least. They always continue to grow sufficiently unlike afterwards to have their share of vexation; and it is better to know as little as possible of the defects of the person with whom you are to pass your life.”- Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

Jane Austen was right. Saying I do to another person is a risk. But for Georgiana Cavendish, it was her duty to marry well.

On June 7, 1774, Georgiana celebrated her 17th birthday. That day was also her wedding day. Her new husband was William Cavendish, the 5th Duke of Devonshire.

The 2008 movie, The Duchess, chronicles the turbulent and controversial life of it’s title character.

Georgiana (Keira Knightley) is bright, affectionate and a teenager. On her 17th birthday, she marries the much older Duke (Ralph Fiennes). Georgiana is expected to  provide her husband with a son and heir.  In her own time, Georgiana was the star of the era. She was unabashedly supportive of several politicians and threw extravagant parties.

But behind the scenes, all that glitters is not gold. Her husband is cold to her. He prefers to spend his time with his mistresses. When Georgiana invites Bess Foster (Hayley Atwell) into her home for a short stay, she does not know that Bess will become the third person in her marriage. After meeting Charles Grey (Dominic Cooper), Georgiana falls madly in love with him. She soon discovers that she is pregnant by him. Her husband offers her an ultimatum.  If she stays with Charles, she will loose her children. Forcing to make a heartbreaking decision, Georgiana returns to her husband and gives her youngest daughter to her Charles’s family to raise.

I like this movie. I especially like this cast. Knightley was perfectly cast as the lead character. I felt for Georgiana. Despite her wealth and stature, she has no power over her own life. She must do as she is told to do. Watching her story makes me grateful for the opportunities that I have.

I recommend this movie.

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The Imitation Game Movie Review

Alan Turing, to say the least, was a complicated man. A gay man in an era when being gay was a criminal offense, Alan Turing was a smart outsider who never quite fit in. He was also the man who created the modern computer and helped the Allies to win World War II.

Released late last year, The Imitation Game is the story of how Turing and his associates were able to break the Nazi code.

Taking on the lead role, Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock) brings to life the film’s complicated and later on tragic lead character. Co-starring Keira Knightley (Pride and Prejudice) Matthew Goode (Death Comes To Pemberley), Rory Kinnear, Allen Leech (Downton Abbey), Matthew Beard, Mark Strong (Emma) and Charles Dance, this movie is incredible and so is it’s leading man. This smart,  well made and extremely entertaining film deserves any and all praise that it receives.

This is one of the best movies that I have seen so far this year. I highly, highly, recommend it.

 

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The Best Movies Of 2014

2014 has been a very interesting movie going year for me. While I did not see any movies that would substantiate a worst movies of 2014 list, there have been more than a few that are vying for best movie of 2014.

Honorable Mentions

5. Noah-While this movie tried, it lived up to the title of biblical disaster for several reasons.

4. Get On Up– A biopic is always more interesting when the audience gets to know the whole person, warts and all.  However, that doesn’t mean there can’t be a few scenes that can be saved for the extra’s portion of the DVD.

3. Monuments Men– I like this untold World War II stories, but there was something lacking.

2. Wish I Was Here– A realistic view of adulthood that felt a little too real.

1. Begin Again– Keira Knightley, breaking from her previous BPD (British Period Drama) roles and Mark Ruffalo as a disgraced music exec.

And now the fun begins. (Drum roll please) The top 5 movies of 2014 are….

5. Tie between Philomena and Maleficent– Two women who must go on a journey to re-discover their pasts and who they are.

4. Tie Between Captain America: The Winter Soldier and X-Men: Days Of Future Past– Two excellent comic book movies which could easily stand on their own, but fit in perfectly with the rest of the genre.

3. Belle– A BPD with a woman of color and an engaging true story.

2. The Theory Of Everything– The life story of Stephen Hawking.

1. Ida– This movie is story telling at it’s best.

There you have it folks. My list of the best movies of 2014. See you next year.

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Flashback Friday-Badass Keira Knightley-Princess Of Thieves (2001) and King Arthur (2004)

Keira Knightley is part of a new generation of British actresses. She has the refinement and manners that non Brits assume all British people have. But she is also a performer who is moving beyond the BBC/PBS/Masterpiece type of roles that usually defines the career of a British actor or actress.

Two of her early roles exemplify her ability to choose interesting and realistic female characters.

In Princess Of Thieves (2001), Gwyn (Knightley) is the daughter of Robin Hood and the late Maid Marian. Her father (Stuart Wilson) is taken captive by the Sherif Of Nottingham (Malcolm McDowell). Gwyn must not only rescue her father, but the rightful heir the throne, Prince Philip (Stephen Moyer).

Three years later in 2004, she was Guinevere in King Arthur opposite Clive Owen in the title role.  Stripped of most of the  myth that is known about King Arthur, this movie is grounded in British history. Taking place in a time when the Romans were slowly receding back to the Mediterranean, the story revolves around the conflict between the Roman settlers  and the native Britain’s.

I recommend both.

 

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