Posts Tagged ‘Clive Owen’

Daisy Ridley

“OPHELIA” My rating B-

107 minutes  | MPAA rating: PG-13

Think of Claire McCarthy’s “Ophelia” as Shakespeare-lite  custom made for younger audiences…especially audiences of young women.

Like Tom Stoppard’s “Rosencranz and Guildenstern Are Dead,”  Semi Chellas’ screenplay retells  “Hamlet” from the perspective of one of the tragedy’s minor characters.

That it stars Daisy Ridley, the lead performer in the most recent iterations of the “Star Wars” universe, only adds to its marketability.

We begin with Ophelia’s childhood in the Danish court at Elsinore. As the daughter of the King’s adviser Polonius, little red-headed Ophelia views the castle as a sort of private playground…she’s particularly fond of the unladylike pastime of swimming in a nearby pond.  Ophelia is not allowed to study with her brother Laertes — she’s a girl, after all — but you can’t keep a smart gal from learning on the sly.

As she tells us in voiceover, she is a willful person who follows her heart and speaks her mind.

A decade later she has grown into a beauty who captures the eye of Queen Gertrude (Naomi Watts) and becomes a lady-in-waiting; this despite the disapproval of the other ladies, who object to Ophelia’s plebeian roots.  But, hey, Gertrude likes having someone around who isn’t afraid to speak up.  She also likes having Ophelia read her to sleep from a volume of Medieval porn.

On one of his rare visits home from university, Prince Hamlet (George McKay) notices the all-grown-up Ophelia and  falls hard before returning to his studies.

Meanwhile, skullduggery is afoot.  The King’s brother Claudius (Clive Owen in questionable Prince Valiant wig) is making a play for Queen Gertrude.  Ophelia eavesdrops on their illicit romance and, when the King dies suddenly and Claudius and Gertrude wed, she informs Hamlet of her misgivings.


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Clive Owen, Juliette Binoche

Clive Owen, Juliette Binoche

“WORDS AND PICTURES” My rating: C+ (Opens  June 13)

111 minutes | MPAA rating: PG-13

If “Words and Pictures” is about as deep as your average college entrance essay, at least it’s more entertaining.

Directed by veteran Aussie filmmaker Fred Schepsi,  “W&P” is like “Dead Poets Society” risen from the grave. There’s a bit of the zombie about it.

In a posh suburban prep school, an honors English teacher and an honors art teacher wage a love/hate feud over which has the most power and importance: words or visual images.

In this corner, Jack Marcus (Clive Owen), a once-promising poet/novelist who hasn’t written anything in years. Frustrated by his inability to share his love of literature with his indifferent students (if these entitled jerks in blue blazers are the school’s intellectual elite, I fear for our republic), Jack’s idea of preparing a class plan is to fill a thermos with ice-cold vodka.

The other brawler is a newcomer to the school. Dina Delsanto (Juliette Binoche) is a moderately-famous painter whose career has been cut short by crippling rheumatoid arthritis. Now she teaches  art to students who don’t appear particularly gifted or dedicated. Still, she tells the kids, pictures provide truth while words offer nothing but lies.


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Clive Owen, Billy Crudup

Clive Owen, Billy Crudup

“BLOOD TIES” My rating: C (Opening March 21 at the Leawood)

127 minutes | MPAA rating: R

The crime drama “Blood Ties” has a hell of a pedigree.

The cast boasts of Clive Owen, Marion Cotillard, Billy Crudup, Mina Kunis, Zoe Saldana, James Caan and Lili Taylor. Behind the camera is the French director Guillaume Canet, whose 2006 “Tell No One” was one of the most satisfying thrillers of recent years.

And yet the movie is a mutt.

Marion Cotillard

Marion Cotillard

Okay, so maybe that’s a bit extreme. “Blood Ties” is  competent. It’s just totally uninspired. There’s more oomph in five minutes of, say, “Goodfellas,” than in two hours of this effort.

The setup isn’t exactly original. Two brothers. One is a cop. The other is a crook.

Chris (Clive Owen) is finally released from prison after doing time for murder. He’s greeted at the gates by his sister (Lili Taylor) and younger brother Frank (Billy Crudup), an NYPD detective. They take Chris home for a reunion with their dying father (James Caan).

Chris claims he wants to go straight, but he has lots of baggage to deal with.  His ex-wife, Monica (Marion Cotillard) is a call girl and periodic junkie. She has managed to raise their two kids, who are now young teens and virtual strangers to Chris. But she wants money, lots of it.


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