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Posts Tagged ‘Raffey Cassidy’

Raffey Cassidy

“THE OTHER LAMB” My rating: B- (Streaming on Amazon and iTunes)

97 minutes | No MPAA rating

The feminist allegory “The Other Lamb” flirts mightily with pretension.  Good thing it’s so visually ravishing that it keeps you from asking the sort of questions that could deflate the whole affair.

Realizing that  Malgorzata Szumowska’s drama is about life in a religious cult, one might expect it to follow the template of other movies on that subject.

But Szumowska and screenwriter C.S. McMullen are more interested in establishing a dreamlike state than depicting harsh reality. And while their film eventually wears out its welcome, at least in the early going it’s fabulously seductive.

In a forest that looks like something out of a Grimm’s fairy tale there is a small religious community.  It consists of nine adult women clad in long red dresses — they call themselves “the wives” — and nine younger females in blue identified as “the daughters.”

There’s only one man in sight. He’s known as The Shepherd (Michael Huisman, a veteran of HBO’s “Treme” and “Game of Thrones”) and he rules his flock with a seductive self-assurance.

His theology…well, it’s hard to say.  Occasionally the ladies will break out in a traditional Christian hymn, but The Shepherd practices a form of monotheism in which he’s at the top of the food/sex chain.

The women do all the work…herding real sheep, preparing meals, maintaining the shacks in which they live.  The Shepherd thinks deep thoughts, allows himself to be pampered like a pasha and each night takes a different bride to bed. (more…)

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Natalie Portman

“VOX LUX” My rating: B 

110 minutes | MPAA rating: R

One of the movies’ recurring themes — the pop/country/rock idol who makes great music despite (or perhaps because of)  personal demons — gets an innovative reworking in Brady Corbet’s “Vox Lux.”

The ever-surprising Natalie Portman is terrific as Celeste, a sort of musical mashup of Madonna, Gaga and especially Sia (who wrote the film’s original songs). But whereas those divas seem to more or less have their heads on straight, Celeste is always walking a fine line between musical brilliance and emotional meltdown.

Interestingly enough, Portman doesn’t appear on screen until halfway through the film.  Corbet’s screenplay opens with a horrific scene from Celeste’s youth — a school shooting that leaves our teen protagonist (Raffey Cassidy) with a bullet permanently imbedded in her neck (this explains her  collection of scar-hiding chokers).

Almost by accident, Celeste’s fame as a survivor of tragedy segues into a burgeoning career in music. Under the guidance of a savvy but fatherly manager (Jude Law) she begins recording songs with her older sister Eleanor (Stacy Martin) and touring the world. (The sisters have parents, yes, but they are seen only fleetingly.  Clearly, they’re not important to this yarn.)

Initially the girls behave like the good small-town Christians they are…but life in the fast lane takes its toll.  Celeste loses her virginity to the lead guitarist (Micheal Richardson) of a semi-psychedelic rock band.

(more…)

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