Posts Tagged Hilary Swank
STEELE PICKS: 12 BEST FILMS of 2014
Posted by Amy Steele in Film on December 28, 2014
I’ll choose indie, quirky and dark over anything else anytime. Also quite clear that I support women screenwriters and directors and women in film. I also immensely like Kristen Wiig, Keira Knightley and Elisabeth Moss. THREE films from Knightley make the list. Themes running through my list: depression; finding oneself; feeling wayward; and musicians.
For two years while I worked at Harvard Business School I was a film critic for the newspaper The Harbus. I wrote reviews for several other publications but I’ve always been primarily a music critic. I’ve also become a book critic. I appreciate great films but don’t write about them.
incredible film about the power of music, redemption and perseverance.
starring: Miles Teller, JK Simmons
written and directed by: Damien Chazelle
2. Begin Again
promising singer-songwriter gets her shot at recording an album.
starring: Keira Knightley, Mark Ruffalo, Catherine Keenar, Adam Levine
written and directed by: John Carney
3. Under the Skin
a weird mesmerizing film. stunning cinematography.
starring: Scarlett Johansson
written by: Walter Campbell and Jonathan Glazer
directed by: Jonathan Glazer
In 19th century England, a young black woman gets brought up alongside her white cousin. She learns that she’ll never be treated equally despite their similarities. Belle [Gugu Mbathal-Raw] battles racism and joins the fight for equality under the law.
starring: Tom Wilkinson, Emily Watson, Gugu Mbathal-Raw
written by: Misan Sagay
directed by: Amma Asante
5. The Skeleton Twins
touching film about estranged twins with depression and stagnant lives. perfectly played by Kristen Wiig and Bill Hader.
starring: Kristen Wiig, Bill Hader
written by: Mark Heyman and Craig Johnson
directed by: Craig Johnson
didn’t expect to like this film as much as I did and I was blown away. it’s riveting and disturbing. Gyllenhaal outstanding in every scene.
Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Rene Russo, Bill Paxton
Written and directed by:Dan Gilroy
loved this film about not being quite an adult and no longer being a teenager either. That point where you just don’t know what to do with yourself anymore but know that you can’t remain in a stagnant life.
starring: Keira Knightley, Sam Rockwell, Chloe Grace Moretz
written by: Andrea Seigel
directed by: Lynn Shelton
sometimes the best (or most memorable) artists are eccentric, sad or both. Frank is about such a musician leading an indie group who makes it to perform at SXSW.
starring: Michael Fassbender, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Domhnall Gleeson, Scoot McNairy
written by:Jon Ronson and Peter Straughan
directed by: Lenny Abrahamson
9. The Homesman
Not generally a fan of westerns this one got me. a feminist Western with a strong, uncompromising woman [Hilary Swank] at its core.
starring: Hilary Swank, Tommy Lee Jones, Grace Gummer, Miranda Otto
written by: Tommy Lee Jones and Kieran Fitzgerald
directed by: Tommy Lee Jones
10. The Imitation Game
amazing story about the small group of mathematicians led by Alan Turing [Benedict Cumberbatch] who broke the Nazi’s Enigma Code during WWII. what happens to Turing in the 50s– getting prosecuted for being gay– is horrific. The film is wonderful. Keira Knightley excellent as the lone female in the group.
starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightley, Matthew Good, Allen Leech, Mark Strong, Charles Dance
directed by: Morten Tyldum
written by: Graham Moore
An important film about civil rights. So moving. I cried. Martin Luther King Jr. works to secure equal voting rights during the 1960s with a march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama.
starring: David Oyelowo, Carmen Ejogo, Tim Roth, Lorraine Toussant, Tom Wilkinson
written by: Paul Webb
directed by: Ava DuVernay
12. Listen Up Philip
starring: Jason Schwartzman, Elisabeth Moss, Jonathan Pryce, Krysten Ritter
written and directed by: Alex Ross Perry
Acerbic wit. Arrogant self-centered writer (aren’t most writers?). Highly quotable and darkly amusing film.
IN THE REALM: SCHOOL-THEMED FILMS
Posted by Amy Steele in DVD on September 4, 2013
The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012)
–two seniors (Emma Watson and Ezra Miller) welcome an introverted freshman (Logan Lerman) into their group in this touching, brilliant film
October Sky (1999)
–true story of a coal miner’s son Homer Hickman (Jake Gyllenhaal )–a coal miner’s son inspired by the first Sputnik launch and his high school science teacher (Laura Dern) to take up rocketry. His strict father (Chris Cooper) disapproves. He later works for NASA.
Freedom Writers (2007)
–in her first teaching job, an English teacher (Hilary Swank) inspires her at-risk students to express themselves by keeping journals
–in Harlem in the late 80s, an overweight, abused, illiterate teen (Gabourey Sidibe), pregnant with her second child, is invited to enroll in an alternative school in hopes that her life can head in a new direction.
Dangerous Minds (1995)
–an ex-Marine (Michelle Pfeiffer) takes a teaching job and struggles to connect with her students at an inner-city school
–after telling a white lie to her best friend about having sex with a college freshman, high school student Olive Penderghast (sparkling Emma Stone) decides its best to use her school’s rumor mill to her advantage in this smart comedy.
Dead Poet’s Society (1989)
–prep school. Poetry. Robert Sean Leonard. Ethan Hawke. Robin Williams. Seize the day.
The Breakfast Club (1985)
–“To the outside world they were simply a Brain, an Athlete, a Basket Case, a Princess, and a Criminal, but to each other, they would always be the Breakfast Club.”
The School of Rock (2003)
–substitute teacher (Jack Black) attempts to turn his prep school class into a rock band
DVD review: Amelia
Posted by Amy Steele in DVD on February 3, 2010
Directed by: Mira Nair
Starring: Hilary Swank, Richard Gere, Ewan McGregor
Running time: 111 minutes
Release date: February 2, 2010
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Amelia had little promotion and has had mixed reviews but it’s a film about a pioneering woman that stars two-time Academy Award winner Hilary Swank [Million Dollar Baby, Freedom Writers] and is directed by Mira Nair [The Namesake, Vanity Fair]. How bad can it be?
The script is weak at times but the scenes of Amelia Earhart flying are expansive, lovely and sometimes frightening. During her last flight, though you know the outcome, you cannot help but be at the edge of your seat with your heart racing. Nair has done an excellent job directing the landscape views but she’s not as strong in the more intimate moments.
Hilary Swank is phenomenal per usual as the daring, unconventional and trailblazing pilot. She delves into this role as Amelia Earhart and through her eyes we see her attraction to aviation: the adrenaline rush, the freedom, the independence and the power. Amelia tells George Putnam [a terribly miscast Richard Gere] that she’s not the marrying type. That she wants freedom. He’s jealous of her and wants her for himself and she ends up marrying him and they have an unusual love and marriage. It works for them. Amelia does have a long-term love affair with the charming West Point graduate Gene Vidal [a swoon worthy Ewan McGregor] who with Amelia’s help became Commerce Department’s Bureau of Air Commerce. Putnam is the ultimate PR rep for Amelia and at times quite smarmy. There’s too much focus on their relationship and not enough of Amelia’s professional life in Amelia and that is a massive detriment to the film and to Swank’s talents.
DVD Special Features include: deleted scenes, making of the film Amelia, more information about Amelia Earhart
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