Posts Tagged Abbie Cornish

Limitless: film review

When a drug called NZT enables a writer to kick-start his life, he quickly becomes addicted to the intense power it allows him. Once Eddie Morra [Bradley Cooper] takes one pill, he’s frenetically productive and accesses 100 percent of his brain. This gives him a photographic memory, the ability to pick up new languages within hours and amass all types of other knowledge. It’s addictive. How could it not be? It makes him a better, more interesting, more successful person than the struggling writer he used to be. He has idea after idea to make money and just can’t slow down. Eddie relies more and more on NZT and fails to consider what would happen if he runs out of the drug or stops taking it. When his drug connection gets killed, Eddie grapples with the startling side-effects of the unapproved super-drug.

Cooper excels as a smart guy who becomes brilliant, envied and unstoppable. You really root for him to succeed. He’s likable as a scraggly humble writer and with more confidence; his character only becomes that much more appealing. As the newbie and the seasoned executive, Cooper and Robert DeNiro trade plenty of snappy dialogue and provide plenty of twists. The delightful, talented Abbie Cornish turns in a refreshing performance as Eddie’s on-and-off-again editor girlfriend. And Anna Friel? Try to even recognize her. I didn’t. Neil Burger provides sharp direction that keeps the film tight and moving at a steady clip the entire time. Limitless is the best film I’ve seen this year.

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Women’s History Month: some of my favorite films by women

Grace of My Heart [1996]
written and directed by Allison Anders
–Loosely based on the tumultuous rise of singer/songwriter Carole King, Grace of My Heart is a tour-de-force and one of my favorite films ever. Starring Illeana Douglas, Grace of My Heart takes viewers through the music biz from the famed Brill Building to communes and the hip 60s and beyond as one woman strives to find her own voice in a male-dominated industry.

Waitress [2007]
written and directed by Adrienne Shelly
–a charming and heart-warming film about an independent, spirited small-town woman [Keri Russell] determined to leave her abusive husband and make it big on her own.

Monsoon Wedding [2001]
directed by Mira Nair

Away from Her [2006]
written and directed by Sarah Polley
–a graceful love story about a woman with Alzheimer’s

Searching for Debra Winger [2002]
directed by Rosanna Arquette
–documentary on women in film, which includes amazing and very honest commentary from stars from Gwyneth Paltrow to Whoopi to Vanessa Redgrave to Salma Hayek to Charlotte Rampling to of course Debra Winger. It’s great that these women feel comfortable with age but sad to see the frustration and that there still is the issue of great roles for women over 30.

Broken English [2007]
Written and directed by Zoe Cassavetes
— story of Nora [formidable, immensely talented Parker Posey], a 35-year-old who seems stuck in a rut—both personally and professionally. Nora has become complacent and settled at her hotel job. She is beginning to delve into the Bell Jar after years of seeming to know what she wanted and now being at the age where she feels she should already be there.

The Namesake [2006]
directed by Mira Nair
–the story revolves around Gogol [Kal Penn], a mid-twenties architect who has been fighting against his traditional Indian family and heritage. He gets pulled back in by an unforeseen family crisis and it changes his outlook and future forever.

Bright Star [2009]
written and directed by Jane Campion
–wondrously languid, romantic and exquisitely filmed. It tells the story of the tender and tragic love affair between poet John Keats [Ben Whishaw] and his muse and love Fanny Brawne [Abbie Cornish] as told through her eyes.

Come Early Morning [2006]
written and directed by Joey Lauren Adams
–a woman [Ashley Judd] who struggles with alcoholism tries to get her life on track

Fire [1996]
Earth [1998]
Water [2005]
written and directed by Deepa Mehta

scene from Water

2 Days in Paris [2006]
written and directed by Julie Delpy
–an American and a Parisian talk a lot, fight a lot

Girlfight [2000]
written and directed by Karyn Kusama
–focus on female boxers

Somewhere [2010]
written and directed by Sofia Coppola
–a wayward actor [Stephen Dorff] and his heartfelt relationship with his daughter [Elle Fanning]

The Parking Lot Movie [2010]
directed by Meghan Eckman
–three years following the ins and outs of the attendants at a parking lot in Virginia. truly riveting. really.

SherryBaby [2006]
written and directed by Laurie Collyer
–after serving a three-year prison sentence, Sherry [Maggie Gyllenhaal] returns to New Jersey to try to re-establish family ties, including one with her daughter

The Hurt Locker [2009]
directed by Kathryn Bigelow
–heart-pounding thriller about the guys who diffuse IEDs in Iraq

The Kids Are All Right [2010]
co-written and directed by Lisa Chodolenko
–the teenage children of lesbian parents decide to contact the sperm donor and meeting him has implications on the entire family

Please Give [2010]
written and directed by Nicole Holofcener

Winter’s Bone [2010]
written by Debra Granik and Anne Rosellini
directed by Debra Granik
–a teenager [Jennifer Lawrence] searches for her father in dangerous, bleak meth-country

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Has Bradley Cooper finally found a “Limitless” showcase for his talent?

Limitless
Starring: Bradley Cooper, Abbie Cornish, Anna Friel
A copywriter [Cooper] discovers a top-secret drug, MDT-48, that enhances intellect and other abilities. As his life rapidly changes and improves, he also considers the drug’s questionable origins.

in theaters in March.

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Overlooked Films on DVD: Bright Star and In the Loop

Bright Star, written and directed by Jane Campion (The Piano) is wondrously languid, romantic and exquisitely filmed. It tells the story of the tender and tragic love affair between poet John Keats (Ben Whishaw) and his muse and love Fanny Brawne (Abbie Cornish) as told through her eyes. She lives with her mother and two younger siblings. Quite popular among men, Fanny is known as a flirt and she has yet to settle into an arranged marriage like many of her peers. Love seems much more important to Fanny than money, even though her family is not a rich one. Fanny meets Keats when he and his boorish benefactor, Charles Brown (Paul Schneider), rent rooms at Fanny’s family home. At first, she’s unsure about Keats and even the value of poetry. She reads his first book of poems and finds that the young man has some promise. The more time the two spend together, the more fond they grow of each other. Unfortunately, Keats has no fortune and makes no money from his poetry. Fanny’s friends tell her that she should not spend so much time with Keats but the two complement each other and she’s already fallen for his charming demeanor and virtuous nature. Their pure and honest love gently grows and the bond between the two becomes powerful and enviable. In Bright Star, as Fanny, Cornish portrays nearly every emotion and it is a revelatory, refreshing and devastatingly stunning performance. Fanny is an independent woman, for that era, who needs no man to be happy yet finds the love of her life right in her own home, right under her own roof. Fanny sews her own clothes and is quite the fashionista among her circle of friends. She knows that she could even sell her clothes if she needed to make money. Fanny alternates between being achingly supportive and gently provocative. She remains extremely devoted to her family (her younger brother and sister often accompany Keats and Fanny on outings) despite the ongoing relationship. In his portrayal of Keats, Whishaw (Brideshead Revisited) turns in an introspective, yet commanding performance. His Keats is eyes and voice and empathy. Cornish and Whishaw have simmering chemistry. Campion has created an idyllic, artistic film which appears as beautiful as a watercolor painting. Each scene is so carefully executed and painstakingly acted that the audience shares in Fanny’s genuine journey with Keats. Bright Star is a serene, perfectly crafted film about the power of love.


U.S. Government staff filled with a “Master race of highly gifted toddlers.”

Hysterical, witty, brash British comedy the imagines the days behind closed doors at Downing Street and in other offices of the British and U.S. government leading up to the Iraq War. Basically the U.S. President and the British Prime Minister are gung ho [as history shows] to go to war but not everyone working for them is in agreement or in such a hurry to send the troops into harm’s way. In the Loop is about politicians who appear to be self-composed and put together and full of the perfect sound bites and then they collapse under pressure or are completely different away from the public and media. In the Loop is fast-paced and provides an insight into British politics as well as a bit of a viewpoint into what the Brits think of Americans [we are Rock Stars! in their eyes apparently]. Directed by Armando Iannucci and written by Jesse Armstrong and Simon Blackwell. An impressive cast includes: Peter Capaldi [Skins, Torchwood], Tom Hollander [The Soloist, Valkyrie], James Gandolfini [The Sopranos, The Mexican], Gina McKee [Atonement], Steve Coogan [Hamlet 2, Tropic Thunder], Anna Chulmsky [all grown up star of My Girl, Blood Car].

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Bright Star: on DVD January 19

bright_star_Poster

Bright star, would I were steadfast as thou art–
Not in lone splendour hung aloft the night
And watching, with eternal lids apart,
Like nature’s patient, sleepless Eremite,
The moving waters at their priestlike task
Of pure ablution round earth’s human shores,
Or gazing on the new soft-fallen mask
Of snow upon the mountains and the moors–
No–yet still steadfast, still unchangeable,
Pillow’d upon my fair love’s ripening breast,
To feel for ever its soft fall and swell,
Awake for ever in a sweet unrest,
Still, still to hear her tender-taken breath,
And so live ever–or else swoon to death.

–John Keats

brightstar2

Bright Star, written and directed by Jane Campion (The Piano) is wondrously languid, romantic and exquisitely filmed. It tells the story of the tender and tragic love affair between poet John Keats (Ben Whishaw) and his muse and love Fanny Brawne (Abbie Cornish) as told through her eyes. She lives with her mother and two younger siblings. Quite popular among men, Fanny is known as a flirt and yet has not settled into marriage like many of her peers. Love seems much more important to Fanny than money. Fanny meets Keats when he and his boorish benefactor, Charles Brown (Paul Schneider), rent rooms at Fanny’s family home. At first, she’s unsure about Keats and even the value of poetry. She reads his first book of poems and finds that the young man has some promise. Fanny is an independent woman, for that era, who needs no man to be happy yet finds the love of her life right in her own home, right under her own roof. Fanny expresses her artistic sensibility through beautiful, elaborate dresses with detailing such as pleats or a “triple mushroom collar.” Perhaps this is why she and Keats strike up a harmonious connection. The more time the two spend together, the more fond they grow of each other. Unfortunately, Keats has no fortune and makes no money from his poetry.

brightstar3

In Bright Star, Abbie Cornish, (Stop Loss) portrays nearly every emotion and it is a revelatory and devastatingly stunning performance. Fanny alternates between being achingly supportive and gently provocative. She remains extremely devoted to her family (her younger brother and sister often accompany Keats and Fanny on outings) despite the courtship. Their pure and honest love gently grows and the bond between the two becomes powerful and enviable. In his portrayal of Keats, Whishaw (Brideshead Revisited) turns in an introspective, yet commanding performance. His Keats is eyes and voice and empathy. Cornish and Whishaw have simmering chemistry. Campion has created an idyllic, artistic film which appears as beautiful as a watercolor painting. Each scene is so carefully executed and painstakingly acted that the audience shares in Fanny’s genuine journey with Keats. Bright Star is a serene, perfectly crafted film about the power of love.

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Best Film Performances of 2009

Audrey Tautou in Coco Avant Chanel

Abbie Cornish in Bright Star

Eli Roth in Inglourious Basterds

Hilary Swank in Amelia

Ellen Page and Kristen Wiig in Whip It!

Melanie Laurent in Inglourious Basterds

Taraji P. Henson in I Can Do Bad All by Myself

Meryl Streep in Julie and Julia

Sharlto Copley in District 9

Jeremy Renner in The Hurt Locker

Hugh Dancy in Adam

Sasha Gray in The Girlfriend Experience

Alison Lohman in Drag Me to Hell

Jessica Biel and Colin Firth in Easy Virtue

Zooey Deschanel and Joseph Gordon-Levitt in 500 Days of Summer

Mark Ruffalo, Rachel Weisz and Adrien Brody in The Brothers Bloom

Russell Crowe in State of Play

Mo’Nique in Precious

Emily Blunt in The Young Victoria

George Clooney in Up in the Air

Vera Farmiga in Up in the Air

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Bright Star: a Film Review

bright_star_Poster

Bright star, would I were steadfast as thou art–
Not in lone splendour hung aloft the night
And watching, with eternal lids apart,
Like nature’s patient, sleepless Eremite,
The moving waters at their priestlike task
Of pure ablution round earth’s human shores,
Or gazing on the new soft-fallen mask
Of snow upon the mountains and the moors–
No–yet still steadfast, still unchangeable,
Pillow’d upon my fair love’s ripening breast,
To feel for ever its soft fall and swell,
Awake for ever in a sweet unrest,
Still, still to hear her tender-taken breath,
And so live ever–or else swoon to death.

–John Keats

 brightstar2

Bright Star, written and directed by Jane Campion (The Piano) is wondrously languid, romantic and exquisitely filmed. It tells the story of the tender and tragic love affair between poet John Keats (Ben Whishaw) and his muse and love Fanny Brawne (Abbie Cornish) as told through her eyes. She lives with her mother and two younger siblings. Quite popular among men, Fanny is known as a flirt and yet has not settled into marriage like many of her peers. Love seems much more important to Fanny than money. Fanny meets Keats when he and his boorish benefactor, Charles Brown (Paul Schneider), rent rooms at Fanny’s family home. At first, she’s unsure about Keats and even the value of poetry. She reads his first book of poems and finds that the young man has some promise. Fanny is an independent woman, for that era, who needs no man to be happy yet finds the love of her life right in her own home, right under her own roof. Fanny expresses her artistic sensibility through beautiful, elaborate dresses with detailing such as pleats or a “triple mushroom collar.” Perhaps this is why she and Keats strike up a harmonious connection. The more time the two spend together, the more fond they grow of each other. Unfortunately, Keats has no fortune and makes no money from his poetry.

brightstar3

In Bright Star, Abbie Cornish, (Stop Loss) portrays nearly every emotion and it is a revelatory and devastatingly stunning performance.  Fanny alternates between being achingly supportive and gently provocative. She remains extremely devoted to her family (her younger brother and sister often accompany Keats and Fanny on outings) despite the courtship. Their pure and honest love gently grows and the bond between the two becomes powerful and enviable. In his portrayal of Keats, Whishaw (Brideshead Revisited) turns in an introspective, yet commanding performance. His Keats is eyes and voice and empathy. Cornish and Whishaw have simmering chemistry. Campion has created an idyllic, artistic film which appears as beautiful as a watercolor painting. Each scene is so carefully executed and painstakingly acted that the audience shares in Fanny’s genuine journey with Keats. Bright Star is a serene, perfectly crafted film about the power of love.

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