Thursday, June 30, 2016

Films That I Saw: June 2016

2016 is nearly half-over but honestly, I wish it was over right now. Not just because of the numerous deaths of famous figures in art and sports but also with the chaos that has been happening with the shootings in Florida, the recent attack in Istanbul, Great Britain leaving the European Union, and all of the bullshit that is happening over who will become the next President of the United States. It’s really a fucked up year that is likely to get worse as it’s just bad all around. Is this what will happen? Maybe it is time for the world to just implode since there’s too many fuckheads who are just there to make things worse with no sense of reason or rationality.

Earlier this month, I did switch digital cable providers from the very expensive AT&T U-Verse to the more affordable Direct TV. Direct TV does offer some excellent channels in HD as well as some easier navigation in the DVR as well as broader and more free selection of stuff on demand. That is the upside but the downside is that the package I got didn’t include VH1 Classics nor anything relating to EPIX which had been part of the Dish Network and U-Verse as preview-like packages of sorts but only comes for free every few months in the year. It definitely screwed up a lot of the things I wanted to see but thankfully there’s some really good films coming that I will record so it’s not really too bad.

In the month of June, I saw a total of 30 films in 15 first-timers and 15 re-watches as it was down from last month though it's not surprisingly due to the change in cable providers. One of the highlights of the month was my Blind Spot assignment in Seven Beauties as here are the Top 10 First-Timers of June 2016:

1. The Martian

2. Je Tu Il Elle

3. Love & Friendship

4. La Cage aux Folles

5. Gertrud

6. The Stanford Prison Experiment

7. Pride

8. All Things Must Pass: The Rise & Fall of Tower Records

9. Ordet

10. Chico and Rita

Top 10 Re-Watches:

1. The Apartment

2. The Man Who Fell to Earth

3. Sleepers

4. Battle Royale

5. Bull Durham

6. Slacker

7. Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief

8. Hot Rod

9. Batman Returns

10. Ocean's Thirteen

Well, that is all for June 2016 as there’s no mini-reviews this month while there’s nothing much to report in the world of music as I didn’t hear any new albums this month as my work on the list on Prince is still in the works. I didn’t get to see the Cure this month as I wanted to so my list on them is shelved for the time being. Next month will focus largely on American films from westerns, New Hollywood, and other kind of films based on this list as well as a few on Richard Linklater who is the next subject of my Auteurs series. Until then, this is thevoid99 signing off…

© thevoid99 2016

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Hot Rod

Directed by Akiva Schaffer and written by Pam Brady (with additional re-writes by Schaffer, Andy Samberg, and Jorma Taccone), Hot Rod is the story of an amateur stuntman who tries to raise money to pay for his stepfather’s heart transplant and later kick his ass just to earn his respect. The film is an unconventional comedy that plays into a young man trying to find himself with the aid of his half-brother and their misfit friends. Starring Andy Samberg, Jorma Taccone, Bill Hader, Danny McBride, Isla Fisher, Will Arnett, Sissy Spacek, Chris Parnell, and Ian McShane. Hot Rod is an idiotic yet hilarious film from Akiva Schaffer.

What happens when a goofball that wants to become a stuntman decides to create a fundraiser for his stepfather’s heart transplant by pulling off the craziest stunt ever? That is what the film is about as it revolves around a delusional yet kind-hearted young man that is eager to gain the respect of his stepfather who often disrespects him verbally and physically because the young man is such a goofball. With the help of his half-brother, a couple of friends, and a grad student whom he has feelings for, Rod Kimble (Andy Samberg) hopes to succeed and later give his stepfather the ass-kicking he deserves. Along the way, hilarity ensues as the film’s screenplay doesn’t just kind of spoof a few films of the 80s as it relates to BMX biker films and such but also all sorts of things.

Especially as Rod tries to do whatever to create stunts where it often becomes a disaster as he wouldn’t give up despite how bad the outcome is. Even as the film’s second half would force him to find out the truth about his father who he thought was a stuntman working for Evel Knievel. Still, Rod would eventually realize what he must do as it is part of him trying to become a man which is what his stepfather Frank (Ian McShane) has been trying to do to Rod though he is still convinced that Rod couldn’t kick his ass.

Akiva Schaffer’s direction is quite simple for most of the film in terms of its approach to comedy as well in the compositions. Shot on location in Vancouver and parts of British Columbia in Canada, the film is presented as this simple story set in the suburbs where Rod and his friends are trying to have fun. The usage of wide and medium shots help play into that sense of enjoyment including a weird but silly scene of Rod’s friends and his half-brother Kevin (Jorma Taccone) dancing to Stacey Q’s Two of Hearts with Rod and Denise (Isla Fisher) watching. There are also these weird moments in the film that are very off-the-wall and surreal as it plays into the film’s offbeat humor. Notably a moment where this character named Richardson (Chester Tam) is there just dancing for no fucking reason whatsoever. It’s among these quirks that are baffling but also fun such as a homage to Footloose as well as a scene of inspiration that goes horribly wrong. All of which plays into this young man wanting to pull off the ultimate stunt so he can save his stepfather and then kick his ass. Overall, Schaffer creates a silly yet exhilarating film about an amateur stuntman.

Cinematographer Andrew Dunn does excellent work with the cinematography from the colorful and sunny look of the daytime exterior scenes as well as some unique lighting for some of the interiors. Editor Malcolm Campbell does amazing work with the editing as it is straightforward but also playful in its usage of rhythmic cuts in the humorous and very silly moments. Production designer Stephen Altman, with set decorator Mary-Lou Storey and supervising art director Chris August, does fantastic work with the look of the home Rod lives with the family as well as some of the props that are made for the stunts. Costume designer Tish Monaghan does nice work with the costumes from the jumpsuit and cape that Rod wears to some of slacker-like clothing his friends wear.

Visual effects supervisor Charlene Eberle Douglas does terrific work with some of the minimal visual effects as it include some of the stunts that Rod tries to do as well as some of the crazier moments in the film. Sound designer Sean Garnhart does superb work with the sound in capturing some of the livelier moments of the film as well as the impact or lack of impact in the stunts. The film’s music by Trevor Rabin is wonderful for its mixture of rock and orchestral music to play into moments that are inspirational or comedic while music supervisor Steven Baker creates a fun soundtrack that largely consists of music from one of Rod’s favorite bands in Europe as well as music from acts like Stacey Q, Moving Pictures, Cutting Crew, The Lonely Island, Giorgio Moroder, John Farnham, and Queens of the Stone Age who make a cameo as glam metal band called Gown.

The casting by Susan Taylor Brouse, Lynne Carrow, and Allison Jones is great as it features some notable small roles from director Akiva Schaffer as a guy giving Dave acid, Brittany Tiplady as Dave’s younger sister, Alvin Sanders as furious boss upset over one of Rod’s stunts, Mark Acheson as a homeless dude giving Rod’s friends instruction during a montage, Britt Irvin as a fast-food cashier Rod tries to go out with to impress Denise, and Chester Tam as a guy named Richardson who likes to dance erotically for no reason other than just be cool. Chris Parnell is terrific as an AM radio host Barry Pasternak who wants to host the stunt event as he dislikes color TV and FM radio while Will Arnett is superb as Denise’s dick-head boyfriend Jonathan who thinks Rod and his buddies are uncool. Sissy Spacek is excellent as Rod and Kevin’s mother Marie who understands what Rod is trying to do but also tell him the truth about who his father really is.

Ian McShane is fantastic as Frank as Rod’s stepfather who doesn’t think highly of Rod as just this immature goofball and a loser as it’s a very comical performance from McShane. Danny McBride is amazing as Rico as Rod’s friend who helps build ramps and such while being the tough guy with a heart of gold. Bill Hader is brilliant as Dave as Rod’s friend who helps in organizing as well as get people ready for the stunts while having a moment where he would trip on acid as it’s major plot point in the film. Jorma Taccone is marvelous as Rod’s half-brother Kevin as the nerdy yet kind-hearted guy who helps films and edit all of Rod’s videos. Isla Fisher is remarkable as Denise as a grad student who joins Rod’s team as she helps him with the stunts as well as give him confidence seeing that he is at least doing something he loves instead of the people she’s met in college. Finally, there’s Andy Samberg who is awesome as Rod Kimble as this dim-witted, delusional, and gutsy young guy who likes to put on a fake mustache to think he’s a man when he is really still a kid at heart as it’s a very funny performance to watch.

Hot Rod is a spectacular film from Akiva Schaffer. Featuring a great cast, a fun soundtrack, and a hilarious premise that is filled with a lot of offbeat and quirky humor. It’s a film that doesn’t take itself seriously while also proving that it can be stupid fun no matter how idiotic things are. In the end, Hot Rod is a phenomenal film from Akiva Schaffer.

© thevoid99 2016

Tuesday, June 28, 2016


Written, directed, and co-starring Richard Linklater, Slacker is the story of a group of people wandering around Austin, Texas as they try to figure out what to do in the span of an entire day. A plot-less film that follows many characters, the film is an experimental one of sorts with several non-actors and amateurs trying to understand the world and what they want to be. Also starring Kim Krizan, Stella Weir, Louis Mackey, and Teresa Taylor. Slacker is a strange yet entrancing film from Richard Linklater.

Told in the span of 24 hours in Austin, Texas, the film is about the lives of many people who wander around the city as they discuss a lot of things as well as meet up with each other whether they’re connected or not. The film’s script is very loose where it just follows around random people whether it’s an aging anarchist, a conspiracy buff, a woman trying to sell pap smear claiming it’s from Madonna, or other regular people who deal with whatever it’s around them. Especially as they talk about all sorts of things from existentialism, not wanting to conform, and other things. Some of it is funny while some of it is very engaging such as the anarchist, a TV collector, women talking about love, and people who are just regular people that are just trying to live.

Richard Linklater’s direction is definitely intoxicating in the way he just presents the simplicity of life of random people in Austin, Texas. Shot on location in Austin and on 16mm film blown-up into 35mm, the film is presented in a somewhat documentary fashion with its usage of hand-held cameras but also with some steadicams and crane shots. Linklater’s direction would utilize some close-ups but mostly medium shots with a few wide to play into the people he randomly captures throughout the film. Especially in how he would introduce one character to another where they would be in one scene and then walk into another as they meet some other person who is then either the next subject or a set up for someone that is around that person.

Some of it would be presented in long takes as it says a lot to say what is happening or what are these people talking about. It’s an approach from one transition to another where it can meander or be episodic but because it goes into a different person and a different location makes it more intriguing. Even as the people that are being profiled are all interesting as it showcases a world that is very interesting now matter how down or uncertain some of the people in Austin are. Overall, Linklater creates a rapturous film about a day in the life of random people in Austin.

Cinematographer Lee Daniel does excellent work with the film‘s cinematography as it is colorful but also feels real in capturing the sunny aspects of the day as well as maintaining something natural for scenes set at night. Editor Scott Rhodes does amazing work with the editing as it is straightforward with a lot of emphasis on the long takes with a few stylish cuts that play into the transitions. The sound work of Denise Montgomery is superb for playing up the natural elements in the sound as well as not embellish too much in the mix as well as capture a lot of the music that is played on the background.

The casting by Anne Walker-McBay is fantastic as it features an array of appearances and performances from director Richard Linklater as a man who just arrived to Austin in the film’s beginning, Kim Krizan as a woman at a restaurant questioning about happiness, then-Butthole Surfers drummer Teresa Taylor as a woman selling Madonna’s pap smear, Louis Mackey as an aging anarchist, Stella Weir as a woman from Dallas, and many others as they all stand out. Many of which don’t provide anything that feels false as it adds to something that is very real.

Slacker is a phenomenal film from Richard Linklater. It’s a film that explores not just a day in the life of random people in Austin, Texas but a film that showcases the world at its most diverse as well as similarities that make humanity unique. In the end, Slacker is a spectacular film from Richard Linklater.

Richard Linklater Films: It’s Impossible to Learn to Plow by Reading Books - Dazed & Confused - Before Sunrise - SubUrbia - The Newton Boys - Waking Life - Tape - School of Rock - Before Sunset - The Bad News Bears (2005 film) - A Scanner Darkly - Fast Food Nation - Me and Orson Welles - Bernie - Before Midnight - Boyhood - Everybody Wants Some!! - The Auteurs #57: Richard Linklater Pt. 1 - Pt. 2

© thevoid99 2016

Monday, June 27, 2016


Based on the non-fiction novel by Lorenzo Carcaterra, Sleepers is the story of four young boys from the Hell’s Kitchen section of New York City whose lives were changed when they were sent to a brutal juvenile hall as they endured sexual abuse by guards only to get revenge on them many years later as adults. Written for the screen and directed by Barry Levinson, the film is an exploration of men who deal with the abuse that had changed them as two of them go on trial for the murder of one with two of the men trying to find ways to mess the trial up as one of them is a prosecutor trying against them. Starring Jason Patric, Brad Pitt, Kevin Bacon, Minnie Driver, Billy Crudup, Ron Eldard, Brad Renfro, Joe Perrino, Jonathan Tucker, Geoffrey Wigdor, Bruno Kirby, Dustin Hoffman, and Robert de Niro. Sleepers is a chilling yet evocative film from Barry Levinson.

Told in the span of nearly 20 years, the film revolves around four boys living in the Hell Kitchen’s section of New York City where an act of theft just to eat hot dogs led to an accident that nearly killed a man. In response to what happened, the boys are sent to the Wilkinson Home for Boys where they would be abused physically and sexually by guards as the experience would haunt them as adults where two of them would finally get revenge on one of the guards as they’re tried for murder by one of the men who would mastermind everything to make sure he loses and his friends go free. It’s a film that is part of a revenge film but it’s also about abuse and what drove these men into trying to free themselves from this horrific experience. All of which is told by one of the men who is a journalist as he reflects on his childhood as well as what he wants to do where he even gets a local priest involved in the trial.

Barry Levinson’s script has a unique structure as much of the first half is set in the mid-to-late 1960s as it revolves around these four boys who were just regular kids that go to church, do small yet non-violent jobs for a local Mafia kingpin, and play stickball. Due to a prank where everything went wrong and be sent to this juvenile hall, their lives change thanks in part to this guard named Sean Nokes (Kevin Bacon) who would abuse them in the worst way with three other guards. The abuse becomes intense to the point that they couldn’t even tell their parents nor their priest in Father Bobby Carillo (Robert de Niro). The film’s second half takes place fourteen years later where the boys become adults as Tommy Marcano (Billy Crudup) and John Reilly (Ron Eldard) have become career criminals and discover Nokes eating a restaurant where they confront and later kill him. With the aid of assistant district attorney Michael Sullivan (Brad Pitt) being their prosecutor who wants to lose the case against them with help from the washed-up alcoholic attorney Danny Snyder (Dustin Hoffman) to represent Marcano and Reilly.

Yet, Sullivan and Lorenzo “Shakes” Carcatetta (Jason Patric) are aware that it’s not enough to help Marcano and Reilly be found not guilty as they would also mastermind revenge on the three other guards with the aid of the local Mafia boss King Benny (Vittorio Gassman) as well as longtime childhood friend Carol (Minnie Driver) as the latter would later learn about the abuse Carcatetta, Marcano, Reilly, and Sullivan endured as Father Bobby would also learn what happened. Yet, the film’s third act is about what Father Bobby is being asked to do by Carcatetta to help Marcano and Reilly as it does become not just a moral issue but also in seeing if Father Bobby could help these men he knew as boys.

Levinson’s direction does have an air of style in the way he presents 1960s Hell’s Kitchen as a place where things were innocent despite some of the dark aspects that surrounds the boys such as Carcatetta seeing his mother be beaten by his father or some of the things that King Benny does to keep his neighborhood clean. It’s as if Levinson recreates 1960s New York City as a time where things were enjoyable and had a bit of danger to it that still made it fun with the usage of the wide and medium shots. By the time the film moves upstate at the juvenile hall, it becomes a much tighter and more unsettling film as Levinson’s direction really maintains that haunting atmosphere. The scenes of abuse are never shown as Levinson is more concerned about what will happen before and its aftermath which just adds that sense of terror.

Once the film reaches its second half, it is set in a more modern world but one that is very dark in terms of its imagery but also in the impact of the violence. Notably the scene where Marcano and Reilly see Nokes and confront him as it is quite eerie as well as being very violent. Levinson’s direction would become stylish in the way Carcatetta and Sullivan would set things up as it includes a meeting between King Benny and another crime lord in Little Caesar (Wendell Pierce) as it relates to the latter whose brother was in the same juvenile hall the four boys were in. It’s a small scene but one that showcases an air of respect in the world of crime but also in the fact that some debts just can’t be paid with money as King Benny would learn the truth about what happened to boys he had cared about despite what he does for a living. The trial scenes are just as intense emotionally as well as in the climax as it involves Father Bobby’s testimony as it is one of the most chilling moments in the film. Overall, Levinson creates a mesmerizing film about four men getting revenge on those that had abused them at a juvenile hall.

Cinematographer Michael Ballhaus does excellent work with the film‘s cinematography from the sunny and lively look of the film‘s first act in Hell‘s Kitchen to the eerie look at the juvenile hall that includes some de-colored film stock for a football sequence between the kids and the guards. Editor Stu Linder does nice work with the editing as it has bits of style in a few montages while also being straightforward in its drama and some light-hearted moments. Production designer Kristi Zea, with set decorator Beth A. Rubino and art director Tim Galvin, does fantastic work with the look of the juvenile hall as well as some of the places in Hell‘s Kitchen and the restaurant where Marcano and Reilly see Nokes.

Costume designer Gloria Gresham does terrific work with clothes from the look of the kids in the 1960s to the clothes the characters would wear as adults in the 1980s. Sound designer Richard Beggs and sound editor Tim Holland do superb work with the sound in capturing the vibrant energy of Hell‘s Kitchen to the tense and scary world of the juvenile hall. The film’s music by John Williams is amazing for its low-key yet heavy orchestral score that plays into the drama with its string arrangements as it carries a lot of weight into the story while the soundtrack features an array of music of the 60s like Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, the Beach Boys, Donovan, Spencer Davis Group, Love, Dusty Springfield, and Doris Day to music from the Gap Band, Soft Cell, and Everything is Everything.

The casting by Louis DiGiaimo is incredible as it feature some notable small roles from James Pickens Jr. as an African-American guard who doesn’t take shit from Nokes and protects the boys on their first day, Frank Medrano as a Hell’s Kitchen hood in Fat Mancho, Monica Potillo as the young Carol, Aida Turturro as a woman who witnessed Marcano and Reilly at the restaurant, Eugene Byrd as a tough African-American kid named Rizzo the boys befriend at the juvenile hall, Dash Mihok as a juvie who gets into a fight with Sullivan at the juvenile hall, Angela Rago as Shakes’ mother, and John Slattery as a kind English teacher at the juvenile hall. Other noteworthy small roles include Bruno Kirby as Shakes’ father who is strict but fair towards him and Wendell Pierce as the crime lord Little Caesar who is also Rizzo’s older brother as he learns the truth about what happened to him. In the roles of the three guards who abused the boys with Nokes in Jeffrey Donovan as the aspiring politician Henry Addison, Lennie Loftin as the corrupt Adam Styler, and Terry Kinney as Ralph Ferguson are superb in their roles as three men who are quite scary.

In the roles of the younger version of the boys, Joe Perrino as the young Shakes, Brad Renfro as the young Sullivan, Jonathan Tucker as the young Marcano, and Geoffrey Wigdor as the young Reilly are all amazing as they display an innocence to guys who live in the streets of Hell’s Kitchen as they’re unprepared for what they deal with as well as the abuse they’re too ashamed to unveil to their parents and Father Bobby. Vittorio Gassman is excellent as King Benny as a former bodyguard for Lucky Luciano turned local Mob king who learns about what happened to the boys as he does whatever to help them without leaning towards the world of crime. Minnie Driver is fantastic as Carol as a childhood friend who helps Shakes in trying to help Marcano and Reilly while learning about the truth about what happened to them as kids which made her very uneasy. Ron Eldard and Billy Crudup are brilliant in their respective roles as John Reilly and Tommy Marcano as two men who are haunted by their experience as they turn to crime where they finally get some vengeance upon seeing Nokes at a restaurant.

Dustin Hoffman is great as Danny Snyder as this alcoholic lawyer that is given a chance to defend Reilly and Marcano though he is largely unaware of the role he is playing other than getting a chance to become someone again. Robert de Niro is remarkable as Father Bobby Carillo as a priest who has been the one person the boys can turn to as he learns about what happens where he is put into a situation that goes against everything he’s been doing as a priest. Kevin Bacon is phenomenal as Sean Nokes as this abusive and sadistic prison guard who likes to beat up the kids as well as do things to them in his own perverse way of making them tough. Brad Pitt is marvelous as Michael Sullivan as an assistant district attorney who is masterminding the case as an act revenge as he tries whatever he can to lose convincingly while dealing with his own issues as it relates to the abuse he suffered as a kid. Finally, there’s Jason Patric in a tremendous performance as Lorenzo “Shakes” Carcaterra as a journalist who helps Sullivan in trying to get revenge but also is forced to tell Father Bobby and Carol the truth as he also reflects on his past that still haunts him.

Sleepers is an outstanding film from Barry Levinson. Featuring a great ensemble cast, a multi-layered storyline, and eerie yet compelling stories about sexual and child abuse as well as vengeance. It’s a film that is stylish but also manages to do a lot without being heavy-handed nor go too far into material that is quite intense. In the end, Sleepers is a magnificent film from Barry Levinson.

Barry Levinson Films: (Diner) - (The Natural) - (Young Sherlock Holmes) - (Tin Men) - (Good Morning Vietnam) - (Rain Man) - (Avalon (1990 film)) - (Bugsy) - (Toys) - (Jimmy Hollywood) - (Disclosure) - (Wag the Dog) - (Sphere) - (Liberty Height) - (An Everlasting Piece) - (Bandits (2001 film)) - (Envy) - (Man of the Year) - (What Just Happened) - (You Don’t Know Jack) - (The Bay) - (The Humbling) - (Rock the Kasbah) - (The Wizard of Lies)

© thevoid99 2016

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Ricki and the Flash

In Memory of Bernie Worrell (1944-2016)

Directed by Jonathan Demme and written by Diablo Cody, Ricki and the Flash is the story of a middle-aged rock singer who learns about her daughter’s divorce as she goes to see and help her while dealing with the family she left to pursue her dream as a rock star. The film is a simple family drama where a woman returns to her family to help her daughter as well as cope with the decision she made in abandoning them to pursue her dream. Starring Meryl Streep, Kevin Kline, Mamie Gummer, Audra McDonald, Sebastian Stan, Ben Platt, Nick Westrate, and Rick Springfield. Ricki and the Flash is an exhilarating and heartfelt film from Jonathan Demme.

The film follows a woman who abandoned her family to pursue her dreams to be a rock star as she finally returns home after hearing about her daughter getting a divorce. It’s a film where a woman not only deals with not just the decisions she made to pursue her dreams but also make an attempt to set things right again for herself and her family. Especially as she still wants to play music in California as she fronts a band called the Flash. Diablo Cody’s screenplay doesn’t just explore the world that Linda “Ricki” Rendazzo (Meryl Streep) lives where she plays at a bar with her band that includes her guitarist Greg (Rick Springfield) who has feelings for her. It’s also in the fact that Ricki is struggling to get by as she’s working at an organic supermarket and paying off her debts. The first half of the film is about Ricki returning to Indianapolis to see her ex-husband Pete (Kevin Kline) and their daughter Julie (Mamie Gummer) as the latter has fallen apart because her husband left her for another woman.

Cody’s script also play into Ricki’s struggle with her family as well as the fact that the void she left was filled by Pete’s second wife Maureen (Audra McDonald) who did a lot for Julie as well Julie’s older brothers Joshua (Sebastian Stan) and Adam (Nick Westrate). The latter of which is gay while the former is about to get married to Ricki’s own surprise as she is also quite conservative in her views despite the music she plays. It adds a lot to the complexity of Ricki but also her own flaws as she is quite selfish as well as ignorant though she means well. Especially when she is confronted by Maureen despite what Ricki had done to help Julie as it would lead to this third act which revolves around Joshua’s wedding.

Jonathan Demme’s direction is quite stylish in terms of the looseness he creates for many of the scenes set in California while going for something that is more controlled and tight for the scenes set in Indianapolis as much of the film is shot in upstate New York. Yet, a lesser director would struggle with trying to create a balance in the two styles but Demme does find that balance where it never feels like two different films. Notably as the film features a lot of music from Ricki playing with her band as well as a scene where she plays a song to Pete and Julie. Demme’s usage of close-ups and medium shots for many of the scenes in Indianapolis are quite intriguing as well as playing into some of the family tension when Ricki sees her sons for the first time in years. The scenes at the bar where the Flash play is quite lively as it include some line dancing as well as moments that are quite raucous where Demme does use a few wide shots to capture the space of the bar. The film’s climax at Joshua’s wedding is a mixture of the different visual styles yet Demme does find a way for all of it to come together. Overall, Demme creates a touching yet entertaining film about middle-aged rocker coming home to help her daughter and mend old wounds with her family.

Cinematographer Declan Quinn does excellent work with the cinematography as it is very straightforward with some unique lighting for the interiors at the bar and the scenes set at night in both California and Indianapolis. Editor Wyatt Smith does nice work with the editing as it is largely straightforward with a few stylish cuts for some of the musical performances. Production designer Stuart Wurtzel, with set decorator George DeTitta Jr. and art director Patricia Woodbridge, does brilliant work with the look of the bar Ricki and the Flash play as well as the home that Pete and Maureen lives in at Indianapolis.

Costume designer Ann Roth does terrific work with the costumes from the stylish clothes of Ricki as well as the more straight-laced look of Pete and the mixture of both in Julie. Visual effects supervisor Luke DiTommaso does wonderful work with the minimal visual effects in the film as it‘s mostly a few set-dressing pieces for some of the scenes in Indianapolis. Sound mixer Jeff Pullman does superb work with the sound as it is straightforward as well as play into the energy of the concerts that Ricki and the Flash perform at. The film’s soundtrack features not just a lot of songs ranging from rock to pop music that Ricki and the Flash performs but also music from Spirit, the Feelies, and Electric Light Orchestra that is played in the background.

The casting by Tiffany Little Canfield and Bernard Telsey is great as it features cameo appearances from Adam Shulman as a customer at Ricki’s supermarket, Bill Irwin as a father at a donut shop who is annoyed by Ricki and Julie’s conversation, Charlotte Rae as Pete’s mother, Beau Sia as Adam’s partner Desmond, and Gabriel Ebert as Julie’s ex-husband Max whom Pete and Ricki confront during a night-out with Julie. In roles as members of the Flash, there’s legendary Parliament-Funkadelic keyboardist Bernie Worrell as keyboardist Billy, famed session drummer Joe Vitale as the drummer Joe, and famed session bassist Rick Rosas as the bassist Buster (whom the film is dedicated to) as they all provide a great presence to their roles as the musicians. Hailey Gates is wonderful as Joshua’s fiancee Emily who is bewildered by Ricki while Ben Platt is terrific as the bartender Daniel who worships at the altar of Ricki and the Flash. Nick Westrate and Sebastian Stan are excellent in their respective roles as Ricki’s sons Adam and Joshua with the former not really fond of his mother accusing her of being a homophobe with the latter wanting to make peace but is unsure of inviting her to the wedding.

Audra McDonald is brilliant as Pete’s wife Maureen who had become the maternal void filled for Ricki’s children as she tries to make peace with Ricki as well as give her some truths that Ricki has to face. Mamie Gummer is amazing as Julie as Ricki’s daughter who has become a wreck following a divorce as she is quite funny in the way she does things as well as be someone who is very fragile. Rick Springfield is fantastic as Greg as the Flash lead guitarist who is in love with Ricki as he gives her some advice as well as tell her how important she is as a mother. Kevin Kline is incredible as Pete as Ricki’s ex-husband who tells Ricki about Julie as he copes with Julie’s mood as well as trying to maintain the peace in the family while admitting he still cares about Ricki. Finally, there’s Meryl Streep in a sensational performance as Ricki Rendazzo as this middle-aged rocker that is trying to reach her dream while helping out her daughter get back on her feet as it’s a lively and entertaining performance from Streep.

Ricki and the Flash is a marvelous film from Jonathan Demme that features a dazzling performance from Meryl Streep. Also featuring a witty script by Diablo Cody, a fantastic ensemble cast, and a killer soundtrack, the film is a heartfelt yet entertaining film that manages to be fun as well as state the importance of family. In the end, Ricki and the Flash is a remarkable film from Jonathan Demme.

Jonathan Demme Films: (Caged Heat) - (Crazy Mama) - (Fighting Mad) - (Handle with Care) - (Last Embrace) - (Melvin & Howard) - (Who Am I This Time?) - (Swing Shift) - Stop Making Sense - (Something Wild) - (Swimming to Cambodia) - (Married to the Mob) - (The Silence of the Lambs) - (Cousin Bobby) - (Philadelphia) - (Storefront Hitchcock) - (Beloved) - (The Truth About Charlie) - (The Agronomist) - (The Manchurian Candidate (2004 film)) - (Neil Young: Heart of Gold) - (Man from Plains) - Rachel Getting Married - (Neil Young Trunk Show) - (Neil Young Journeys) - (A Master Builder)

© thevoid99 2016

Friday, June 24, 2016

The Auteurs #56: Bob Fosse

While his name maybe synonymous more with musical theatre and Broadway, Bob Fosse does hold an important place in the world of cinema. Despite only making five feature films and a TV concert special that was shot on film, Fosse’s contributions remain vital for its approach to choreography and how musical numbers are captured on film. Even as he would break the rules of what could be done in a musical as well as delve into elements of darkness that the genre wouldn’t venture into. Though it has been nearly 30 years since his passing, Fosse remains an important figure in the world of entertainment whether it’s through film, dance, or the musical theatre.

Born in Chicago, Illinois on June 23, 1927, Robert Louis Fosse was second youngest of six children to Cyril and Alice Fosse as he was raised in an environment surrounded by music. Upon meeting dancer Charles Grass where they formed a dance duo that played several theatres in Chicago, Fosse would later be recruited to dance for a variety show that played in military bases in the Pacific. After moving to New York City where he married dancer Mary Ann Niles, Fosse and Niles would be a dance duo in the city as they got the attention of the comedy duo of Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin in 1950 where they would be part of Lewis and Martin’s act until a year later where Fosse and Niles divorced. In 1953, Fosse would sign a contract with MGM where he appeared in a few films as a dancer as well as choreograph one of the dances in the film Kiss Me Kate. Yet, Fosse didn’t enjoy his time with Hollywood as he took the risk of going back to theatre where he would choreograph the stage musical The Pajama Game to great success.

While getting work as a choreographer where he would work on George Abbott’s Damn Yankees, Fosse met dancer Gwen Verdon who would become his third wife as Fosse would later choreograph the film version of Abbott’s musical play. Despite getting work in both film and theatre as a choreographer, Fosse realized he wanted to do more as he would get the chance to direct a musical play in Redhead as he would also do the choreography. The play won five Tony Awards which includes Fosse for choreography and a Best Actress prize to Verdon. Throughout the 60s, Fosse was a big name in the world of stage theatre as he was also considered an innovator for fusing different dance styles into one as part of the choreography. Fosse also would use lighting as a tool in how to stage his production and dance numbers as it raised his reputation as the go-to man for lavish musical stage productions.

Sweet Charity

In 1966, Fosse directed and choreographed a musical stage production of Sweet Charity that was written by Neil Simon with lyrics by Dorothy Fields and music by Cy Coleman as it was based on Federico Fellini’s 1957 film Nights of Cabiria. The story revolved around a woman who works as a taxi dancer for a dancehall as she seeks love in New York City while enduring many trials and tribulations in her quest. The play was a smash both on Broadway and at London’s West End a year later where Fosse was offered the chance to make his feature-film debut as a director on a film version of the play. Fosse said yes though he knew he couldn’t have wife Gwen Verdon to play the lead role of Charity as Fosse would get Shirley MacLaine to play the role. While Fosse was able to get John McMartin to play the role of Oscar like he did in the play, Fosse would get a big ensemble in the likes of Ricardo Montalban, Chita Riviera, Barbara Bouchet, and Sammy Davis Jr.

Despite his inexperience in directing film, Fosse knew he didn’t want the film to be set too much into the confines of a soundstage as he would also shoot the film entirely in Manhattan which was considered risky. Even as he was given a $20 million budget from Universal where Fosse would shoot a different ending to appease them. Still, Fosse was able to get things his way in sticking with the film’s original ending as it plays into elements of reality as much of the film is about reality vs. fantasy just like in the play. Fosse also wanted to incorporate some of the visual elements of Fellini whom he is fond of as a way to give the film a unique look that was different from many of the musicals that were coming out at the time.

The film made its premiere in April of 1969 where despite some excellent reviews, the film was a commercial disappointment making only $8 million against its $20 million budget. Despite receiving a rousing reception at the Cannes Film Festival a month later and receiving three Oscar nominations for its art direction, score, and costume design. The film’s box office failure was something becoming common with the musical genre as it was in decline due to audiences wanting something more real. Nevertheless, Fosse was proud of the film as he went back to the world of theatre as he would do so whenever he isn’t making a film.


Having seen the Broadway musical play Cabaret, Fosse was interested in turning the play that was based on Christopher Isherwood’s short novel about a cabaret singer and her relationship with an American writer in 1931 Berlin in the early days of Nazi Germany. While he wanted to helm the film version of the play, many weren’t sure due to the commercial failure of Sweet Charity. Still, executives Fosse would be the right filmmaker as he teamed with screenwriter Jay Allen in turning the play into script while retaining the songs written by John Kander and Fred Ebb. During the pre-production, Fosse wasn’t happy with Allen’s script as he asked Hugh Wheeler to do re-writes though Allen would retain credit and Wheeler credited for research as the latter wasn’t a member of the Writer’s Guild of America.

While Liza Minnelli had been attached to the project before Fosse’s involvement, Fosse was excited to work with Minnelli while he also succeeded in getting Michael York to play the role of writer Brian Roberts while Minnelli played the lead of Sally Bowles. Joel Grey, who had played the emcee in the theatrical versions, would also be in the film as the cast would include Marisa Berenson, Helmut Griem, and Fritz Wepper. Fosse would receive the services of cinematographer Geoffrey Unsworth to shoot the film as much of it was shot near Munich. Not wanting to make the film to bear many elements of the musicals of the past, Fosse decided to have the musical be sung live at the club where Bowles’ character would often sing at. There, Fosse would add some realism as well as a sense of danger to the choreography as it plays into this conflict of a club trying to stay alive during this emergence of Nazism in Germany.

The film made its premiere in February of 1972 where it drew rave reviews while also becoming a major hit in the box office grossing more than $42 million against its $3 million budget. The film’s success would be huge as it would win 8 Oscars for its art direction, sound, score, editing, cinematography, a Best Supporting Actor prize to Joel Grey, Best Actress to Liza Minnelli, and Best Director to Bob Fosse while also being nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Picture. While the film did court some controversy over its content and sexually-provocative dancing, the film did prove that the musical was still alive as it needed a makeover in the era of New Hollywood.

Liza with a Z

With the massive success of Cabaret being big news, Fosse and Minnelli decided to create a special that was based on the latter’s talents as an entertainer with Fosse directing the production. Made as a TV concert special, Fosse would have the show be presented at the Lyceum Theatre in New York City with Minnelli singing sings as well as doing dance numbers with numerous dancers to Fosse’s own choreography. Having noticed that many TV concert special were shot on video, Fosse hired cinematographer Owen Roizman to shoot the special on 16mm film. Fosse hired film composer Marvin Hamlisch to be the special music coordinator as the concert was filmed on May 31, 1972. The special featured numerous dance numbers and witty monologues from Minnelli as it would be more than just a showcase of her talents.

The special made its TV premiere in September of 1972 on NBC where it was ratings smash as it would win Fosse two Emmys for its direction and choreography as well as two more as overall special and for its music. While the special would air a few more times during the 70s, it wouldn’t be seen for years until Minnelli, who had a copy of special, gave it a re-release in the early 2000s in a new remastered print as it drew rave reviews once again. Around the same year, Fosse directed a stage presentation of Pippin which won him two Tony Awards for its direction and choreography. In the span of a year, Fosse would become one of the most powerful and celebrated men in the world of entertainment.


After a whirlwind year that had Fosse win nearly every accolade in entertainment, Fosse decided to take a detour from the world of musicals by going into another project that revolved around his fascination with the dark side of entertainment. Having seen Julian Barry’s play on the life of the controversial comedian Lenny Bruce, Fosse asked Barry to write a script that would be an unconventional bio-pic on Bruce. Especially as it plays into his work as a stand-up comic who would push the envelope on what could be said and the things he would talk about. Fosse and Barry both agreed that the narrative would largely be based on Bruce doing his standup as well as commenting on his own legal issues that would ultimately be his downfall as well as have the story told from his lover in a stripper named Honey.

With Dustin Hoffman cast as Bruce and Valerie Perrine cast in the role of Honey, Fosse knew that he didn’t want to go for something lavish as he chose to shoot the film in black-and-white film with cinematographer Bruce Surtees. It was to give the film a distinctive look that played more into classic cinema but also with a sense of grit. Notably in the scenes where Bruce does his standup as it’s never shown with a sense of polish as Fosse makes it direct and to the point. Even as Fosse wanted to play into that air of realism as it once again marked a recurring theme of fantasy vs. reality that had been prevalent in his previous films. After doing much of the shooting in early 1974, Fosse would take a break to act and choreograph The Little Prince for Stanley Donen where he would return to work on editing the film with editor Alan Heim who would become a key collaborator for Fosse throughout his film career.

The film was released in the U.S. in November of 1974 where it was well-received while doing modestly well in the American box office making more than $11 million. While it would receive six Oscar nominations including a Best Director nod for Fosse, it didn’t win anything. In May of 1975, the film played at the Cannes Film Festival where Valerie Perrine won the festival’s Best Actress prize. Yet, making the film as well as juggling other projects including another stage show for Liza Minnelli was starting to strain Fosse just as he was about to mount one of his most successful projects in a musical play called Chicago that some called one of his crowning achievements.

All That Jazz

Despite all of the success he’s garnered in film and theatre, Fosse was burned out as he would stage another musical production in 1978’s Dancin’ that won him another Tony for its choreography. Still, the experience of trying to stage Chicago and edit Lenny in 1974 forced him to create a project that would reflect not just his manic creativity but also his near-flirtation with death. Teaming up with writer Robert Alan Aurthur in creating a script, the film would be a mixture of fantasy vs. reality as well as the struggle to make art as it would revolve around a workaholic director trying to finish a film as well as a stage a musical production. There, he would have several encounters with the Angel of Death while living on the edge as he stubbornly tries to work as well as do other self-destructive habits that would eventually catch up with him.

While he retained a few of his collaborators in editor Alan Heim, music composer Ralph Burns, and costume designer Albert Wolksy as well as a few of his theatre collaborators in actors Ben Vereen and Ann Reinking as the latter was his girlfriend at the time. The cast would also include Leland Palmer, John Lithgow, Erzsebet Foldi, and Jessica Lange as the Angel of Death while the lead role of Joe Gideon was given to Roy Scheider. To shoot the film, Fosse brought in renowned cinematographer Giuseppe Rotunno who had worked with Federico Fellini in recent years as Fosse cited Fellini as a key influence in the film. The production was ambitious though the budget of $12 million was small in comparison to the budget of his first film. Especially as it played into many of the things Fosse faced in his life as he was trying to slow things down.

Following another extensive post-production period, the film was finally released in December of 1979 where it drew rave reviews as well as grossing $37 million in the U.S. box office giving Fosse another hit. Months later, the film would win four Oscars for its costume design, art direction, music, and editing while receiving five more including Best Picture and Best Director for Fosse. In May of 1980, Fosse showcased the film at the Cannes Film Festival where it share the festival’s top prize in the Palme d’Or with Akira Kurosawa’s Kagemusha. While the film did maintain Fosse’s stature as a top figure in entertainment, the specter of death still loomed over him as another project relating to the film in a documentary about why people want to perform fell apart as it would be one of many Fosse would abandon.

Star 80

After a break between projects, Fosse decided to make another film that explored the dark aspects of fame and celebrity as he had been intrigued about the life and death of Playboy Playmate Dorothy Stratten who had been killed in a murder suicide by her husband/manager Paul Snider in August of 1980. Despite the fact that a 1981 made-for-TV movie was made about Stratten that starred Jamie Lee Curtis in the role, Fosse chose to adapt his own version based on Teresa Carpenter’s Village Voice article that won her the Pulitzer Prize. Knowing that certain legalities would prevent him from using certain names including filmmaker Peter Bogdanovich who had been involved with Stratten in her final days. Fosse still wanted to tell the story about Stratten as well as her troubled relationship with Snider.

With collaborators in editor Alan Heim, costume designer Albert Wolsky, and music composer Ralph Burns taking part in the production, Fosse received the services of the famed cinematographer Sven Nykvist to shoot the film as it would be set on location in Los Angeles and Vancouver as Stratten was from the latter. With a cast that would include Carroll Baker as Stratten’s mother, Cliff Robertson as Hugh Hefner, and Roger Rees in his film debut as a fictionalized version of Peter Bogdanovich. Mariel Hemingway was cast as Dorothy Stratten while Eric Roberts was cast as Paul Snider. With a $12 million budget, the film was presented in an unconventional narrative as it is told through flashbacks, interviews, and other events as it opens with a bloody Snider looking over Stratten’s corpse. Fosse wanted to play into the concept of jealousy and obsession as it relates to Snider being left out while Stratten would mature and find a happier life outside of his control that was unfortunately brief.

The film made its U.S. premiere in November of 1983 where despite excellent reviews including raves for Eric Roberts, the film was a commercial disappointment only grossing $6 million. Months later at the 1984 Berlin Film Festival that February, the film played in competition for the Golden Bear where it was well-received but didn’t win anything. The film would unfortunately be the last feature film Fosse would make in his lifetime as he was dealing with health issues in the remaining years of his life.

Unrealized Projects & Final Years

In 1986, Fosse would stage what would be his last Broadway musical in a production called Big Deal that was based on the 1958 Mario Monicelli film Big Deal on Madonna Street. The musical was well-received as Fosse another Tony Award for Best Choreography as well as four more nominations yet the show only lasted for 69 performances as Fosse was already considering about focusing more on films rather than musical theatres. While he had been attached to direct The King of Comedy, he passed on it despite its subject matter as he was also approached to do a remake of The Bad and the Beautiful but it never materialized. Other projects Fosse turned down was a film version of Dick Tracy and a bio-pic on cult actress Edie Sedgwick that was to star Michelle Pfeiffer in the role with Al Pacino as Andy Warhol.

Among the projects Fosse was interested in helming to the big screen was a bio-pic on the gossip columnist Walter Winchell as it played into Fosse’s fascination with the dark side of fame and celebrity. The other project that Fosse wanted to make into a film was a film version of his most celebrated musical Chicago just as it had returned to Broadway to great success. Sadly, neither projects would materialize as Fosse died of a heart attack on September 23, 1987 at George Washington University Hospital in Washington, D.C.

It’s been 30 years since the passing of Bob Fosse yet his influence in theatre, dance, and film still remains just as the musical has been getting a resurgence in the world of film. Though his work in film is small, his contribution to the medium is still vital and important as he’s managed to influence so many not just in musicals but also other genres where filmmakers note his contribution and what it meant to them. Even as Fosse was someone that wasn’t afraid to go into dark places and make it entertaining as well as create something that is magical in an era where it was about pure entertainment. Even if it isn’t safe as Bob Fosse never played it safe as it’s a big reason why remains so important to the world of entertainment.

© thevoid99 2016

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Absolute Beginners

Based on the novel by Colin MacInnes, Absolute Beginners is the story of a young photographer who tries to deal with the changes in his life due to his girlfriend wanting to become a fashion designer while being lured by a businessman into a world that would cause trouble. Directed by Julien Temple and screenplay by Richard Burridge, Christopher Wicking, Don MacPherson, and additional dialogue by Terry Johnson, the film is a musical set in late 1950s London in its Soho district where young people deal with a changing world. Starring Eddie O’Connell, Patsy Kensit, James Fox, Anita Morris, Bruce Payne, Graham Fletcher-Clark, Sade Adu, Ray Davies, and David Bowie as Vendice Partners. Absolute Beginners is a dazzling yet flawed film from Julien Temple.

Set in the summer of 1958 in the Soho district of London during a youth boom, the film revolves around a photographer trying to live his life and impress his girlfriend only to lose her when she becomes a hit at a fashion show and be engaged to an aging fashion designer. In turn, he gets lured by an exploitive adman for his photographs where he becomes blind to what is happening in the streets of London as racial tension starts to occur from White Supremacists. It’s a film that is a young man trying to define himself as a photographer while hanging out with his friends and listen to jazz yet is unsure of what he has to do to impress his girlfriend who would unfortunately be part of a world that she would eventually not like.

The film’s script doesn’t just play into the world of the youth culture in the late 1950s but also into the conflict that its protagonist Colin (Eddie O’Connell) endures in trying to impress his girlfriend Suzette (Patsy Kensit) who wants to be a fashion designer. The film also has these characters who are willing to exploit the youth culture such as the fashion designer Henley of Mayfair (James Fox) and an adman in Vendice Partners. The latter of which is this eccentric yet charming man with a transatlantic accent who could convince anyone to sell out. The film’s third act becomes serious and changes its tone from being this whimsical and playful musical into a film about racial tension. While the first two acts would hint and reveal events slowly that would cause the tension, how it gets unveiled is clunky where it definitely feels like an entirely different film.

Julien Temple’s direction is definitely stylish in terms of the world he creates where it is largely shot at a studio to recreate the world of the Soho and neighborhoods in London. Featuring an intricate yet stylish tracking shot that goes on for several minutes early in the film, it does capture a lot of what was happening in Soho as Temple’s usage of wide and medium shots capture that vibrancy. Especially in the clubs where there is a lot of dancing as it was choreographed by David Toguri as well as moments where the dancing occurs in other sequences including the riots which is one of the odd moments in the film that doesn’t feel right. The scenes relating to the race riots, as it’s based on the real-life Notting Hills race riots of 1958, feels like it’s a different film where despite carrying similar visuals and compositions. It’s third act is quite problematic as it is clear Temple wasn’t sure what kind of film he wants to make but also is having trouble going back to just being an upbeat and lively musical despite its ending. Overall, Temple creates a messy yet enjoyable film about a young photographer trying to impress his girlfriend in late 1950s London.

Cinematographer Oliver Stapleton does excellent work with the film‘s very colorful cinematography in the way Soho was shot for the scenes set at night as well as its nightclubs along with the more lavish and brightened lights of people in London‘s high society. Editors Richard Bedford, Michael Bradsell, Gerry Hambling, and Russell Lloyd do nice work with the editing as it‘s very stylish in the jump-cuts, transitions, and other cuts to play into the energy of the film. Production designer John Beard, with art directors Stuart Rose and Ken Wheatley, does amazing work with the set design from the look of the clubs and posh homes to some of the musical numbers including the sequence where Partners wins over Colin by song.

Costume designers Sue Blane and David Perry do fantastic work with the costumes from the clothes that Henley creates to some of the suits of the men as well as the dresses that the women wear. Sound mixer David John does terrific work with the sound as it plays into the atmosphere of the clubs and parties that the characters venture into. The film’s music score by Gil Evans is wonderful for its mixture of jazz and early rock n‘ roll to play into that world of late 1950s Britain as the soundtrack itself would feature original songs sung by Ray Davies of the Kinks, the Style Council, Sade, Slim Gaillard, Tenpole Tudor, Smiley Culture, and three songs by David Bowie including its title track and a cover of Volare.

The casting by Leonara Davis, Susie Figgis, and Mary Selway is incredible as it features cameos from Robbie Coltrane as a shopkeeper, Sandie Shaw as a mother of a teen idol, Bruno Tonioli as a lodger at the home of Colin’s parents, Slim Gaillard as a singer at a posh party, and Smiley Culture as the reggae singer at the end of the film. Other notable small roles include Carmen Ejogo as Cool’s young sister Carmen, Julian Firth as the Misery Kid, Paul Rhys as the mod Dean, Joseph McKenna as Colin’s gay friend Hoplite, Chris Pitt as the young teen idol Baby Boom, and Sade Adu as the nightclub singer Athene Duncannon. Performances from Steven Berkoff as a supremacist leader, Edward Tudor-Pole as the Teddy boys leader Ed the Ted, and Bruce Payne as the supremacist enforcer Flikker are superb in their antagonistic roles while Alan Freeman as the talk show host Call-Me-Cobber and Lionel Blair as the pop impresario Harry Charms are fantastic as the men who would exploit the youth movement.

Eve Ferret and Tony Hippolyte are excellent as Colin’s friends in the flamboyant lesbian Big Jill and the jazz-trumpeter Cool, respectively, who deal with the chaos of their world. Graham Fletcher-Cook is terrific as Colin’s ambitious friend Wizard who is very cynical about everything as he does whatever he can to make money and align with anyone with power. Ray Davies and Mandy Rice-Davies are amazing as Colin’s parents with Ray as the neglected and melancholic father who wants a quiet life and Mandy as the mother who is very cruel to her husband. Edward Fox is brilliant as the snobbish Henley as this fashion designer who marries Suzette to help his business only to take her for selfish reasons. Anita Morris is wonderful as the gossip columnist Dido Lament as this woman who would exploit both Suzette and Colin but also would play a key part in helping the latter in its third act.

Eddie O’Connell is terrific as Colin as a young photographer that is trying to live his life to the fullest as well as dealing with the need to sell out in order to impress his girlfriend. Patsy Kensit is radiant as Suzette as a young woman that wants to make it in the fashion world only to realize what she had to do forcing her to make compromises that she doesn’t want. Finally, there’s David Bowie in a small yet spectacular performance as Vendice Partners as this adman with a transatlantic accent that is about selling dreams as he would convince Colin the way to succeed is to sell out as a form of motivation.

Absolute Beginners is a stellar yet messy film from Julien Temple. While it features a great cast and a phenomenal soundtrack, it’s a film that wants to be a lot of things but loses sight in its third act. In the end, Absolute Beginners is a terrific film from Julien Temple.

© thevoid99 2016