Tag Archives: Josh Brolin
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It’s Miller time! Sin Sity: A Dame To Kill For trailer

7 Mar

I am unreasonably excited by the new teaser trailer for Sin City: A Dame To Kill For, which has just been released. The first film was a stone-cold, hard-boiled cult classic, echoing Frank Miller’s Expressionist (in film terms) art with amazing precision while still adding life to the book – it didn’t feel like a second-hand reproduction as Watchmen did. That they didn’t tone down the violence was something of a miracle, though not every viewer had the stomach for a Harry Potter lookalike getting his arms and legs eaten off by dogs while still alive.

A lot of people are no fans of Frank Miller, and in some ways he’s the anti-Alan Moore. Right-wing in sensibility where Moore is left-wing to the point of anarchy, he also despises realism in superhero comics, pushing for archetypal stories of violence, desire and redemption. Whatever you may think of his politics and view of women, I’ve interviewed him and found him eloquent, intelligent, mildly irascible and good company.

It’s Frank’s year: 300, the movie you’d think couldn’t possibly have a sequel, gets a second go-round with Rise of an Empire. I visited the studios in Bulgaria when they had just finished shooting, and the crew were agog at what a monumental production it was, using up every single one of their massive soundstages for green-screen work. But to me, it looks overwrought from the trailer. No fun; just brutal.

Sin City: A Dame To Kill For, in contrast, looks to be a visual feast, with a knock-out cast that reunites Jessica Alba, Rosario Dawson, Jaime King, Powers Boothe, Mickey Rourke, and Bruce Willis, as well as adding Eva Green, Josh Brolin, Jamie Chung, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Juno Temple, Ray Liotta, Stacy Keach and, er, Lady Gaga. It’s been nine long years since the first film. Welcome back, big Marv.

LFF gala premiere: Kate Winslet’s Labor Day

15 Oct
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Kate Winslet and Josh Brolin in Labor Day

Last night was the May Fair Hotel Gala Premiere of Labor Day, starring Kate Winslet and Josh Brolin. It was great to be back on the red carpet – I used to go to all the LFF galas when at Time Out and The Times. Kate Winslet looked radiant in red, though she complained of “pregnancy brain” to one interviewer on the red carpet. What awesome timing, though – to be pregnant while promoting a film called Labor Day!

As to the film itself, it’s nearly brilliant. It has a great set-up: an agoraphobic mum (Kate Winslet) and her young son are forced to drive an escaped con (Josh Brolin) to their home, where he lies low until he can escape. The sense of menace is mixed with a palpable sexual tension as he ties her up “for her own good”, so that she can’t be accused of being his accomplice.

But later, when he unties her and starts doing jobs around the house, it becomes clear that he is not merely a good man, but an absurdly good one, the kind you wouldn’t find outside Mills & Boon (the film, by Jason Reitman, is based on a novel by Joyce Maynard). He fixes the car, the furnace, the garden wall; he cooks, he cleans, he irons with his shirt off; he teaches the son baseball and is kind to his disabled friend. In a faintly ludicrous sequence, reminiscent of a three-handed version of the pottery scene in Ghost, he teaches mother and son to make a peach pie, one of many heavy-handed visual metaphors for the family they are building together. Once the looming menace is replaced with the simpler fear that the police will find him before they can live happily ever after, the film loses much of its tension.

Me interviewing Francesca Cardinale

Me interviewing Francesca Cardinale

And then on to the after-party at the May Fair Hotel, which specialises in putting up stars from the world of film and fashion. Here I bumped into my old Cannes mucker, director Paul Wiffen, always with a stylish hat on his head and a beautiful actress on his arm. This time the young lovely was Francesca Cardinale, niece of the great Italian actress Claudia Cardinale, currently at a top acting school in Rome, opposite Cinecita.

I interviewed Francesca briefly, though between my lack of Italian and her lack of English, all I could glean was that she has a small role in Those Happy Years, an Italian film  well received at the Toronto Film Fest, and showing at the London Film Festival on Oct 18 and 19; and that in Paul Wiffen’s forthcoming secret agent romp SpyFail she plays the daughter of one Maria Gratis Tuttilenotte (geddit?) who is bent on revenge.

Wiffen also says he is on the verge of a casting coup for his secret agent character, Roger Most. I am sworn to secrecy until the ink has dried on the contract, but it’s someone handsome, debonair, ludicrously funny, and richly deserving of another big-screen outing. Watch this space.