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Posts Tagged ‘Fiona Shaw’

Fiona Shaw, Tamara Lawrance, Jack Lowden

“KINDRED” My rating: C+ (In select theaters and VOD)

101 minutes | No MPAA rating

Thrillers can be too classy for their own good.

Such is the case with the British “Kindred,” a variation on “Rosemary’s Baby” (and not a few other women-in-distress pictures) that has been well made and nicely acted but never sucks us in the way we want.

The premise of Joe Marcantonio’s film is tried and true.  Charlotte (Tamara Lawrance) and her boyfriend Ben (Edward Holcroft) are expecting a baby.  They reluctantly pop over to the rural estate where Ben grew up to inform his widowed mother, Margaret (Fiona Shaw), of the good news.

And to announce that they’re emigrating to Australia.

Mama is not pleased. The family’s once-resplendent castle in the country is now marked by peeling wallpaper and threadbare rugs; Margaret has long prayed that as the heir Ben would move back and return the place to its former glory.   Now her hopes are dashed.

That is, until Ben dies in an agricultural accident. Shortly thereafter the grieving Charlotte begins to suspect that far from being a pampered guest she is a prisoner in this shabby palace.

Marcantonio’s screenplay(with Jason McColgan) is noteworthy in that until the very end it keeps us guessing as to whether Fiona is a variation on the wicked witch or if it’s all in Charlotte’s head (her own mother had mental issues, and being preggers doesn’t exactly calm our heroine’s mind).

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Chloe Sevigny

“LIZZIE” My rating: C+ (Opens Sept. 21 at  Tivoli, Glenwood Arts and Barrywood)

105 minutes | MPAA rating: R

In “Lizzie” the infamous story of Lizzie Borden — the young Massachusetts woman accused in 1892 of giving her parents “40 whacks” with a hatchet — gets a very modern, feminist (sort of) spin.

Writer Bryce Kass and director Craig William Macneill adhere closely to the known facts of the case…and use their imaginations to fill in the unexplored gaps.

Lizzie Borden (Chloe Sevigny) is trapped. A spinster (unmarried at the age of 32), she lives in the household of her wealthy and domineering father, Andrew (Jamey Sheridan).

Andrew is an old-style patriarch so cheap he has refused to wire his home for newfangled electricity. His  wife Abby (Fiona Shaw),  Lizzie’s stepmother,  is his colorless appendage; his older daughter Emma (Kim Dickens) is obedient and personality deficient.

Lizzie, though, is rebellious — though whether that is the result of an admirable strength of character or mental illness is up to the viewer. Early on she defies her father’s edict against going out unaccompanied, attends the theater, and has an epileptic fit in the powder room.

She’s the weird daughter Andrew would like to keep locked in a tower.

Life in the sedate Borden household shifts imperceptibly with the arrival of Bridget Sullivan (Kristen Stewart), a new housemaid. She’s quiet and hard working…and before long Andrew is raping her on a regular basis.

At the same time, Bridget and Lizzie are entering into their own love affair, a desperate reaction to the misogyny of Andrew’s home.

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