Review: Wonderstruck

Wonderstruck has been on my radar for quite a while. I like the director Todd Haynes past work very much, especially Carol and Far From Heaven. His films have such a distinctive artistic look that the mere looking becomes almost as important as the story. Continue reading “Review: Wonderstruck”

Review: Carol is Brilliant

Carol was a simple story about two people falling in love. It was much more as well. It was a story about Carol (Cate Blanchett) and Therese (Rooney Mara) and the hidden look in their eyes, the hidden meaning in their touch, the hidden hope in their togetherness.

Mild spoilers ahead. Continue reading “Review: Carol is Brilliant”

Watch This: New Trailer for Carol

I’m way behind the times with this trailer for Carol. It looks like an emotional and possibly heartbreaking ride.

Carol stars Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara in a story set in 1952 New York City. It tells the story of a young female clerk and her love affair with an older, married woman. Also in the film are Sarah Paulson and Kyle Chandler.

The film is based on a novel “The Price of Salt” by Patricia Highsmith. The screenplay was written by Phyllis Nagy. Todd Haynes is the director.

The film looks very stylish and moody and 1950ish, if there is such a thing as 1950ish. The publicity stills have been a love affair with Cate Blanchett’s face, so I expect lots of beautiful shots of her in the film.

Late November will be the release date. Adding to the excitement over the release, the film received rave reviews at the Cannes Film Festival and at other festivals where it has appeared.

Watch This: Trailer for Carol

Carol is a love story set in the 1950s. It stars Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara as the two lovers. Back in the 50s, we would have called that “forbidden love.”

Rooney Mara and Cate Blanchett in Carol
Rooney Mara and Cate Blanchett in Carol

Rooney Mara plays Therese, a department store clerk. Cate Blanchett is Carol, a wealthy woman in a loveless marriage. Kyle Chandler plays her unlucky husband. Poor guy, imagine snagging Cate Blanchett and then realizing she bats for the other team.

When Variety reviewed the film after Cannes, they described it as, “an exquisitely drawn, deeply felt love story that teases out every shadow and nuance of its characters’ inner lives with supreme intelligence, breathtaking poise and filmmaking craft of the most sophisticated yet accessible order.”

The Telegraph reviewed the film after Cannes as well, and said, “More than hugely accomplished cinema, it’s an exquisite work of American art, rippling with a very specific mid-century melancholy, understanding love as the riskiest but most necessary gamble in anyone’s experience.”

Such glowing reviews! I’m convinced.

The film is based Patricia Highsmith’s novel “The Price of Salt” with a screenplay by Phyllis Nagy. The director is Todd Haynes. Based on the previews, it appears that Todd Haynes decided to emphasize the 1950s setting with artistic atmospheric touches. The preview also gives new meaning to the song “My Foolish Heart.”

The preview is mostly longing glances and unexpressed desire, but the film is rated R for sexuality.

Carol will be in US theaters on November 27. For those in the UK, it will premier there on October 14 at BFI London Film Festival.

Here’s an earlier clip from the film.

Images © 2015 THE WEINSTEIN COMPANY

Gimmie Some of That Ol’ Time Music

Two biopics about two great but very different singers from the old days are in the works and I cannot wait to see them both. It’s early yet there’s no news on release times.

Bessie Smith

Queen Latifah to play Bessie Smith on HBO
Queen Latifah to play Bessie Smith on HBO

The first is a biopic for HBO about Bessie Smith. I’m seeing the name Blue Goose Hollow for this film, which may be the final name. Queen Latifah is producing the film and will star as blues singer Bessie Smith. The film was written by Dee Rees (Pariah). Also in the cast of this one are Mo’Nique and Khandi Alexander. Mo’Nique will portray blues singer Ma Rainey and Alexander will play Smith’s older sister.

I don’t think we need to worry about the singing in this one, since Queen Latifah has pretty much proved she can do anything with her voice she wants. Does Mo’Nique sing? I can’t find any evidence that she does, but with actors it isn’t surprising to find that they can do all kinds of performing – even if it’s something they’ve never had a chance to show off before.

Peggy Lee

Reese Witherspoon will star in biopic about Peggy Lee.
Reese Witherspoon will star in biopic about Peggy Lee.

Reese Witherspoon will star in a film about singer Peggy Lee. We’ve heard her sing like June Carter Cash, but Peggy Lee had a very different sound. It will be interesting to see how Witherspoon performs as a jazz vocalist. This one has been slow getting going. Writer Nora Ephron died before the project was completed. There was also an issue finding a director, but Todd Haynes (Far from Heaven) recently signed up for the job.

Everything seems to be in place now for this one to move forward.

Gimmie Some

Just in case you’re too young to know what these two legendary singers are all about, here are some samples, starting with Bessie Smith.

Here’s a little sample of Peggy Lee.