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Posts Tagged ‘Brendan Gleeson’

Michael Fassbender, Brendan Gleeson

Michael Fassbender, Brendan Gleeson

“TRESPASS AGAINST US”  My rating: B- 

99 minutes | MPAA rating: R

As much a sociological study as a conventional melodrama, “Trespass Against Us” unfolds among a band of “travelers.” That’s how the Brits refer to the nomadic gypsies who have lived for centuries on the fringes of society.

Our unconventional hero is  Chad Cutler (Michael Fassbender), a fearless master thief and taunter of police who, with the approach of middle age, is feeling the uncomfortable pull of responsibility.

Though Chad,  his wife Kelly (Lindsey Marshal) and their children Tyson (Georgie Smith) and Mini (Kacie Anderson) live a traditional gypsy life in a caravan (i.e., a trailer or mobile home), he’s beginning to want more  than a nonstop diet of carousing and crime interrupted by the periodic spells in stir.

The problem is Chad’s father Colby (Brendan Gleeson), the head of this particular band, who has no use for such posh niceties as literacy, conventional careers or societal approval.  Colby is more than just patriarchal — he’s practically Old Testament.

So even as Chad is laying secret plans to break away from the clan and set up a new life in an actual house, he still finds himself a reluctant participant in Colby’s criminal enterprises, including the burgling of a rural estate that nets a fortune in antiquities.

Despite some action sequences, “Trespass Against Us” is essentially a character study of two headstrong men positioning themselves for a colossal confrontation. And Fassbender and Gleeson, two of best actors in U.K. cinema, are clearly up to the challenge.

There’s nothing particularly wrong with the film (the direction is by Adam Smith, the screenplay by Alastair Siddons). But in the end it’s somewhat underwhelming.

| Robert W. Butler

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heart-of-the-sea-trailer-10162014-073506“IN THE HEART OF THE SEA”  My rating: C+  

121 minutes | MPAA rating: PG-13

“In the Heart of the Sea” is a romantic title for a most unromantic film.

The latest from director Ron Howard is based on the real-life tragedy of The Essex, an American whaler that in 1820 was rammed and sunk by a huge sperm whale. Surviving crew members were adrift in longboats for more than three months before being rescued.

By that time they’d begun eating their dead comrades.

Happy Holidays!!!!!

The story of the Essex inspired Herman Melville to write Moby Dick, and Charles Leavitt’s screenplay begins in 1850 with a visit by Melville (Ben Wishaw) to the whaling center of Nantucket MA to interview the last surviving member of the Essex’s crew.

Thomas Nickerson (Brendan Gleeson) was the Essex’s cabin boy and 30 years later is still reluctant to discuss his experiences. He’s a depressed drunk; only financial desperation forces him to accept  Melville’s offer of cash for a night’s conversation.

As the two men drink and talk, the doomed voyage unfolds in flashbacks.

It all plays out like a variation on Mutiny on the Bounty/Men Against the Sea. 

The Essex’s experienced first mate, Owen Chase (Chris Hemsworth), is a farmer’s son who rose through the ranks. He was promised his own ship but the owners have reneged.

Instead the command goes to George Pollard (Benjamin Walker), who lacks Chase’s skill but has the social connections that come with being a member of one of Nantucket’s great mercantile families.

So there’s class conflict and professional resentments brewing.

Of course, personal issues are irrelevant when you’re battling a furious behemoth of the deep. Once the Essex has gone to the bottom the men in the longboats face weeks of thirst, hunger and madness. Simple survival is all that matters.

(more…)

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Brendan Gleeson, Kelly Reilly

Brendan Gleeson, Kelly Reilly

“CALVARY” My rating: C+ (Opening  Aug. 15 at the Glenwood at Red Bridge, the AMC Studio 30, and the Cinemark Plaza)

100 minutes | MPAA rating: R

Not even a great-ish performance from Brendan Gleeson can disguise the confusion at the heart of “Calvary,” the new Irish movie from writer/director John Michael McDonagh.

As the film begins it seems to be setting up a Hitchcockian dilemma.  In the confessional, Father James (Gleeson) is threatened by a parishioner who as a child was repeatedly raped by his parish priest.

The perpetrator is long dead, but the victim still wants revenge. He announces (we hear his voice, but don’t see him) that in just a week he will kill Father James. The fact that James is a good priest and in no way connected to the long-ago outrage will only make for a more devastating “statement.”

James thinks he knows who this individual is.  And his superior informs him that when a priest’s life is threatened, the sanctity of the confessional is no longer an issue. James is free to go to the police.

But he doesn’t…which is only one of many improbabilities McDonagh pile atop one another.

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Brendon Gleeson, Taylor Kitsch

Brendon Gleeson, Taylor Kitsch

“THE GRAND SEDUCTION”  My rating: C+ (Opening June 27 at the Glenwood Arts)

113 minutes | MPAA rating: PG-13

 

We know exactly what the Canadian comedy “The Grand Seduction” is trying to do.

Only problem is that it’s been done so much better by movies like”Local Hero” and “Doc Hollywood” and the TV show “Northern Exposure.”

The premise has “quaint” and “quirky” scrawled all over it.  For a full generation, the residents of the tiny fishing village of Tickle Head on the coast of Newfoundland have watched their tiny burg deteriorate. The once-busy harbor is now all but empty. Nowadays nobody fishes for a living.  Just about every adult  is on welfare.

There’s a slim chance that a petrochemical company may be enticed to set up a recycling plant there.  One of the requirements, though, is that Tickle Head have a full-time physician.

So the locals, led by the usually inactive Murray French (Brendan Gleeson) — whose totem animal should be a hibernating, grouchy bear — launch a massive deception to lure an M.D.  Their target is Dr. Paul Lewis (Taylor Kitsch), who after a run-in with the law is assigned to do a few weeks of public service in Tickle Head.

Murray and company use the Internet to find out everything they can about Paul. Learning that he’s a cricket fanatic, they create a team of former fishermen and outfit them with makeshift uniforms and equipment (a sawed-off rowboat oar becomes a cricket bat). Even more galling, as long as the doc is in town the menfolk who gather to watch cable TV in the local bar must eschew the hockey championship while pretending to be enthusiastic about reruns of famous cricket matches.

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Brendan Gleeson

“THE GUARD” My rating: B+ (Opens wide on Sept. 2)

96 minutes | Audience rating: R 

Brendan Gleeson has always been a great actor, but he’s spent most of his life in supporting roles.

“The Guard” won’t change that, but it should.

This absolutely wonderful film from first-time feature director John Michael McDonagh (who also penned the script) finds Gleeson dominating every second he’s on screen in a role tailor-made for his imposing physical presence and bullish personality.

The movie is a crime saga, a buddy flick, a black comedy…but most of all it’s a terrific character study of a guy we’re not sure we like, but who grabs our attention and won’t let go.

Gleeson here plays Sgt. Gerry Boyle, a member of the Guardia (Ireland’s national police force) stationed on the west coast near Galway.

Boyle is fat, cynical and sarcastic…at first glance he might be the Hibernian equivalent of a redneck Southern sheriff. (more…)

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