Sunday, August 31, 2008

The Buzz

Film Festivities
  • Edward Norton discusses the long-awaited Pride and Glory with the Baltimore Sun. Here is a snippet from the interview:
    [...] Looking like the folk tune's "worried man who sings a worried song," Norton walks into what he calls the "zone of truth" in the opening minutes of Pride and Glory, and doesn't leave it for two hours. He plays Ray Tierney, an NYPD detective from a family of cops - his influential old-school father ( Jon Voight), his Washington Heights precinct-chief brother (Noah Emmerich) and his slippery brother-in-law ( Colin Farrell), a cop in the same precinct. When Ray's investigation of a horrific group murder leads him to believe that his brother-in-law may be operating a drug-dealing hit squad, he's caught in a waking nightmare. No contemporary actor except Philip Seymour Hoffman can play ethical confusion as eloquently as Norton can, because he captures its volatility. Sometimes it comes out as distance and impassivity, sometimes as molten rage. [...]
  • The Daily Freeman gives us more details about when/where Pride and Glory will be shown at the previously mentioned Woodstock Film Festival:
    On Oct. 2, the U.S. premiere of "Pride and Glory" . . . will be shown at 6:15 and 9:30 p.m. at the Tinker Street Cinema in Woodstock.
    According to Film Festival Ticker, director Gavin O'Connor will be in attendance, and he will also be on hand for a Q&A after the screening.

  • In an article about the upcoming Toronto International Film Festival, ComingSoon lists Pride and Glory as one of "the most anticipated highlights of this year's festival." Similarly, the Times Herald-Record predicts that Pride and Glory's "simple story and great stars should make for a winner."

Like mother like daughter

  • Just like last year, both Jennifer Ehle and Rosemary Harris will have films showing at TIFF this September. Ms. Harris' film, Is There Anybody There, starring Michael Caine, is on the roster alongside P&G. Visit the TIFF website for more information.

A couple of raindrops

  • An article at IndiaFilmdom points out that:
    Chennai based SANTOSH SIVAN is today a filmmaker of international repute after his first film in English Beyond [sic] the Rains (2007) swept the critics off their feet and was also a commercial hit. [...]
  • At the Calgary Sun, Linus Roache talks about being true to his character:
    [...] The challenge for him, says Roache, was staying within the context of the times. Growing up in the south of England, Roache encountered some of these ex-Raj types in his childhood. "I knew a lot of those guys through my mother, and those old married Raj guys, they had had mistresses. It was not even morally questioned. Having servants was normal too. So it was okay, if you were brought up in that culture -- but then you have an interesting dilemma as an actor, 'cause your modern sensibility is, 'Oh god, they're not going to like me if I'm a little superior to the maid, or the foreman.' But that's chickening out of the truth of the moral context and social structure of the time. So you have to be true to it, and that also brings out the humanity of it." [...]


  • Someone has kindly posted Jennifer Ehle's 1996 BAFTA acceptance speech on youtube. For those of you who haven't seen it yet, it's a must!
  • Lastly, for your excessive diversion, there is a hilarious video dedicated to that very sensible man, Mr. Collins.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Woodstock, Rains, and Rosemary's angel

  • Variety have announced that Pride and Glory is one of three films that will open the Woodstock Film Festival (October 1-5). This showing on October 2 in New York state will be the film's US premiere.

  • TIFF-wise, the powers that be have scheduled another screening of the film on September 12 at 2.45pm, in addition to the previously announced showing on the 9th. If you would like to attend the latter, a few tickets are up for grabs on eBay - three from one seller, and two from another.

  • In the Before the Rains arena, one writer at The Case for Global Film comments substantially on the film. The piece is nice in its entirety, but below are some excerpts.
General thoughts:
[...] Before the Rains is an intriguing film. ... I enjoyed every frame... The long shots of tea plantations, mountain sunsets and waterfalls...are almost worth the price of admission alone. [...]
[...] The story comes across as a recreation of a classic raj melodrama – one perhaps written by Somerset Maugham. I half expected Bette Davis to emerge from the planter’s house. Louis Bromfield’s book The Rains Came (1937) produced two films, one in 1939 (with Myrna Loy) and one in 1955 (with Elizabeth Taylor). ‘Before the Rains’ is a title which points to the signalling of the climax of the melodrama when the first drops of the monsoon rains fall – most memorably at the end of Black Narcissus (1947). Yet, these are all narratives constructed by American/European writers, produced by Hollywood or UK studios and focusing on a white woman. Before the Rains reverses the narrative focus – the passion comes from an Indian woman, its consequences fall on an Indian man and the director is working with the colonial history of his own state. [...]
The writer also hits back at Philip Kemp's review in this month's Sight and Sound (not online, but here is the publication's link):
[...] I think he [Kemp] reads it in a misleading way. He criticises the film for being too predictable or not believable in terms of the characters’ actions. But this isn’t a ‘realist drama’. The characters all play symbolic roles. It’s a melodrama – one in which the ‘excess’ is there in the beauty and the expressionist nature of the cinematography and the acting. ... The execution of the melodrama is flawless and the issues surrounding the symbolic nature of the characters leads the attentive viewer into quite complex debates about the historical events and what is being represented. ... I for one didn’t find Before the Rains predictable... As a result, I was on the edge of my seat for the last few minutes. [...]
After some discussion of Sivan's background and previous work, the writer says:
[...] Before the Rains is a hybrid of different modes of Indian cinema and the Merchant Ivory mode of ‘quality cinema’. It sounds impossible, but it works. There are moments when Sivan goes for big close-ups which recall The Terrorist, but there are also nicely staged crowd scenes which reminded me of moments in Bhowani Junction, the 1956 Hollywood-British raj melodrama, which has a similar story in several ways. There is a tension in the film whenever it feels like Sivan will move into ‘Bollywood mode’ – but he never does. [...]
There is one reference to Ms Ehle:
[...] The most notable aspect of melodrama excess comes in some of the playing. I want to watch it a second time to be sure, but I remember some eye-rolling, I think from Nandita Das and Jennifer Ehle (as Mrs Moores), that would have been out of place in another film but here worked well. [...]

[...] I’d recommend anyone interested in Indian cinema to watch this film and to enjoy working through its complexities – as well as enjoying Kerala on screen. [...]

  • On the flipside, Been There, Read It, Seen That, Ate It offer a short but pretty searing indictment of most of the film.

  • Podcaster Ken Stoeffler mentions Rains on The Flatus Show, downloadable free on iTunes. His spoiler-ridden, non-serious and potentially offensive discussion about East and West starts at 35.30 minutes. But on the plus side, he does say 'go see the movie, it's really good'.

  • A reminder that Before the Rains comes out on DVD September 16 and can be pre-ordered now from Amazon. Or, if you're going through a lucky phase, Week In Rewind are giving away five free DVDs of the film (anyone can enter, but the discs are Region 1 only). The film's soundtrack can be purchased or downloaded.

  • Finally, busy bee Rosemary Harris has another new project in the works, according to IMDb. Ms Harris is listed as playing 'Light Angel' in a new sci-fi drama, entitled Radio Free Albemuth. Wiki also have a page for the film. Click here for a spoiler-giving synopsis of the novel the drama is based on. Filmed in California and currently in post-production, no release dates are yet available. However, this seemingly well-informed person gives the end of the year as the earliest possible release date.

That's all for today folks!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Today's post recipe

Some Pride and Glory
  • The Associated Press claims that Edward Norton, Colin Farrell, and Jon Voight will be attending the Toronto International Film Festival to promote Pride and Glory, but there's no indication (as yet) that Jennifer Ehle will be accompanying them. On the bright side, a tipster (see the chatterbox) tells us that Pride and Glory will be taking part in several film festivals in addition to TIFF before being released in October. We'll let you know if we find any googlable confirmation of this.

A grain of salt

  • For a bit of gossip, or er jossip, relating to Pride and Glory, check out (Don't forget the salt as this is more than likely just jossip!)

A dash of art

Just add water

  • Lastly, for some absolutely fabulous P&P icons, visit Red Scharlach's Livejournal, which explains:

    It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single blogger in the throes of an extended period of online silence must be engaged in icon-making. Well, perhaps it is less than universal, but it is certainly true in my own personal case on this one specific occasion, so there.

    This time the icons are all based on Pride and Prejudice, more particularly the 1995 BBC TV version, i.e. the one with Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle. As an added cultural bonus, most of the text is taken straight from Jane Austen herself (and the couple of bits that aren't shouldn't be too hard to spot, hem hem).

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Pride and Glory's world premiere - Sept 9

Pride and Glory

The full film list for the Toronto International Film Festival has now been released, with Pride and Glory forming part of the Gala Presentations group. The Gala schedule is also up and informs us that the film will be screened on Tuesday September 9, 2008 at 6:30pm. (The complete official schedule will be up from Aug 26.)

A plethora of articles mention Pride and Glory's line up in 'the world's second most prestigious filmfest', with Jam! for example shortlisting it as one of nine films 'whose buzz could reverberate well into the fall'. Among the rest, Australia's ABC News describe the film as 'hotly anticipated', while the New York Daily News ponders Hollywood's general fascination with New York cop movies.

Nicely putting the TIFF in context meanwhile, Thaindian explains:

[...] Unlike the festivals at Cannes, Berlin or Venice, Toronto is not known for its prizes but rather is seen as the starting gong for the North American film prize season, culminating with Hollywood’s Oscar ceremonies. [...]
It is unclear at this stage whether or not Ms Ehle will be attending the festival, which runs from September 4 to 13.

Before the Rains

In the run-up to Rains' release in South Africa on September 5, the South African Times offers a short article with some insightful words from the film's director:
[...] The story “is a metaphor for the great promise - and tragic flaw - of British colonialism. This man fights to straddle the great cultural and racial divide but he, his family and workers ultimately suffer for his attempts" [says Sivan]. "The colonial illusion about creating a British-Indian partnership always clouded their personal interactions and resulted in their destruction. This is a powerful theme because the world has not seen the last of imperialism and colonialism, as we now see in Iraq and Afghanistan, for example,” he says. “The timeless story of the unfaithful husband evokes the larger political drama,” says Sivan “because human beings don’t operate outside time; even the most enduring elements in human life take place under specific social and historical conditions.” [...]
In addition, a full 5 spots have been bestowed upon the film by yet another New York Times reader, whose evaluation reads as follows:

[...] Wonderful movie. I went hoping it would not be a soap opera and it was so much better than I thought it would be. Wonderful, understated performances by everyone. Beautifully directed and much more to the story than I had hoped. I was really impressed. I just wish this film were marketed better. It was kind of snuck into the local theater for a week and then gone. I just happened to get to see it. [...]
Finally, a blogger gives his thoughts on reading The Coast of Utopia for the first time, commenting briefly on the play, its players, and Sir Tom's metaphorical juggling abilities.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

One yacht sails into a harbour...

Rosemary Harris latest

Good news in that The Yankee King is now slightly less of a figment of our imaginations, being IMDb-able. The cast have not yet been listed, although there is no current reason to doubt initial reports of Ms Harris' involvement in the project.

The film's release date is being given as March 2009 (UK), while Sydney Macartney is now listed as director, as opposed to the aforementioned Gerry Lively.

Producer Jo Gilbert has added a brief summary to the site, nicely complementing the plot information we previously had:

[...] What happens when a luxurious yacht sails into Killaragh (sic) harbour and an impeccably dressed denim-clad Yankee walks through the town? He's an American with pockets full of money and an agenda. A fifty-year-old love story comes to a final close and a new love blossoms as the people learn the power of humour, passion, love and the American dollar. [...]
Meanwhile, Donna Freydkin of USA Today sheds more light on The Monday Before Thanksgiving's plot and general existence. She quotes director Courteney Cox as saying:

[...] "My short's about a girl, played by Laura Dern, who has a chance encounter on a bus that confirms the decision she makes to be single and reinforces her faith in herself." ... "I have so many single friends. It's tough. This story speaks to people. You don't have to have someone complete you." [...]
Freydkin goes on to explain:

[...] [Cox is] making her directing debut as part of Glamour magazine's 2008 Reel Moments series of short films. The project, which is in its fourth year, has enabled stars such as Kate Hudson, Gwyneth Paltrow, Bryce Dallas Howard and Jennifer Aniston to go behind the camera. This year, Cox, Demi Moore and screenwriter Kirsten "Kiwi" Smith ... get their shot. The shorts, sponsored by Suave, will be unveiled at a Los Angeles premiere Oct. 14 and afterward can be seen online at [...]
After the Rains

As well as several New York Times readers raving about Rains, a few You Tubers have been sharing their thoughts. Examples include:

[...] This movie is so awesome! Man! I just saw it, the whole movie is so surprising! and exciting in between! [...]

[...] Great movie. We loved it. [...]

[...] Incredible film. [...]

Also, an evaluation we missed from May, offered by edzia:

[...] Before the Rains is a visually soothing ... journey into history, time, and the interaction between human and nature. It is not just a simple fairytale or a simple story; rather it embodies a conflict between different emotions known to man. There is the conflict between loyalty and righteousness, ... the conflict between skin and soul, and all this has been vividly explore[d] among the beautiful landscapes in the heartland of South India.

Before the Rains is not only a tribute to the frailty of ... humans but it salutes the whole gamut of emotions which makes us humans ... socially active. The concept of social media takes its roots in these very primitive emotions through which [people] interact with other[s], yearn for lovers, pledge their loyalty and at the same time manipulate other people to achieve their ends and means. [...]

Any other business

  • See India Info for Rains' Nandita Das chatting about her first directorial venture set to be shown at the TIFF.
  • Take a peek at Sonia Kishkovsky's blog if you're about to visit Moscow and have been wondering where you can find a Bakunin monument.
  • Next, if you've ever lingered over Mr Bingley's soup or Mr Darcy's peaches, see this old New Statesman piece on the role of food in Jane Austen's novels.
  • And last but not least, visit the History Forum for a piece on the Russian intelligentsia with brief Utopian quotage. (Any excuse for a bit of that.)

Happy Saturday x

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

A Post-it Note

Only a couple of links for today:
  • In an article at Tonight, Santosh Sivan admits to being a fan of Jennifer Ehle in P&P:
    [...] "I really liked Jennifer Ehle, who plays Laura, in Pride and Prejudice, as well as Linus Roache." Rahul and Nandita, I always wanted to work with. The supporting cast of Malayalam actors, I have worked with before. "What's really great from the mixed cast and crew is that we had American producers and technicians from Kerala and Bombay," he says. [...]
  • Good news, Canadians. According to Variety, Pride and Glory will debut at the Toronto International Film Festival in September before being released in the US/UK on October 24.
    [...] "Pride and Glory," a drama about corruption in a family of Gotham police officers that stars Colin Farrell, Edward Norton, Jon Voight and Noah Emmerich, will open on 2,200 screens on Oct. 24. Before that Warner Bros. will unspool the film at a gala Toronto Film Festival screening in September. [...]
    (IGN Movies reports the same.) The TIFF will take place September 4-13, and although the film schedule is not available as yet, it should be posted at the TIFF official website soon.

Sunday, August 10, 2008


That Fine Actress
  • The Independent offers an interesting take on celebrity casting in an article about David Tennant, star of the RSC's Hamlet. Here is the relevant bit:
    [...] He is a tried and tested actor and was with the RSC before becoming a television star. But let's be honest. It's pretty unlikely that the RSC would have suddenly plucked him out of the ranks of the country's actors to play Hamlet if he had not acquired a national reputation as Doctor Who. TV stardom played a big part in this casting decision. These decisions can be slightly trickier than they seem. They don't always guarantee the packed houses that Tennant's Hamlet has achieved. In 1995, just after the BBC's massively popular Pride and Prejudice, the RSC brought the screen's Elizabeth Bennet, that fine actress Jennifer Ehle, also RSC-trained, back to Stratford to star in John Vanbrugh's Restoration comedy The Relapse. It most certainly did not sell out. [...]
"Into each life some Rain must fall"
  • Two more "Reader Reviews" of Before the Rains have been posted at the New York Times. While one reviewer feels that "Merchant Ivory really struck out" with this movie, the other claims, "it's an excellent film for a discerning audience." This discerning reviewer further asserts:
    Bored by gratuitous violence, far-fetched stories and insulting comedy, I found it refreshing to find a film this week that focused on beautiful cinematography, breathless settings, moral conflict, and depth of character. The dilemma created by lust and lack of judgment was expertly portrayed by Linus Roache as Henry Moores, English spice grower. Mr. Roache's role was supplemented superbly by the performance of his assistant when inner conflict is thrust upon a man because of indiscretions carried out by his boss and role model in the midst of the strict moral code of his native culture. All actors did an excellent job of bringing life to the tragic characters struggling to resolve an unresolvable situation. This is a film for an aficionado of quality.
    Note that the average Reader Rating is still 4/5 stars = woot!

  • I think it's safe to say that it wasn't love at first sight for the Irish Times and Before the Rains, but on the bright side, you can read an enthusiastic account of the movie from a member of our very own fan community by visiting the Chat Extension.

  • Musically speaking, there is a somewhat mixed review of the film's soundtrack at Popmatters. It starts off nicely:
    [...] With its exotic mix of ethnic sounds, tone poem pieces, and standard symphonics, what could be a tired bit of traditionalism actually comes across as exciting and quite evocative. [...]
    But ends with this assessment:
    [...] Where once we had music that dared to combine the elements of all environs, the finish (except for tracks “Coming for TK” and “End Credits") is devoid of such out of the ordinary flourishes.

Directors and Co-stars

  • According to Buzz18, Santosh Sivan's latest film, the interestingly titled Tahaan - A Boy with a Grenade, starring Rahul Bose, is slated to be released in September.

  • There's also an article about Linus Roache in the Knoxville News Sentinel that includes some quotage about Before the Rains:

    [...] " 'Before the Rains' was, I think, the most unique and creative experience I've ever had making a movie," says Roache, 44. "That was a small-budget movie, but it was such an extraordinary situation and circumstance with a creative-genius director and being in Kerala, India."

    . . .

    "Henry was … a pioneering spirit," says Roach by phone from New York. "He wanted it all and didn't think of the consequences and created a huge mess. That's where the drama lay.

    "I didn't realize what a great role it was till I started playing it. He's not a hero character at all. Part of the challenge was to make him human and accessible without watering him down." [...]

Reflecting on P&P

  • For an engaging read on the meaning and use of mirrors in several Jane Austen movies, visit Ellen Moody's website.

Happy Olympics, everyone!

Sunday, August 03, 2008

An eclectic post

The Pride and the Glory
  • Good news, everyone. A fab new trailer for Pride and Glory was released a couple of days ago. On the downside, it includes even less footage of Jennifer Ehle than the first one! Still, the movie looks very exciting. Both Trailer 1 and Trailer 2 can be seen at youtube.
  • In response, Filmstalker has posted some musings and speculations about the upcoming film and hopes that the trailer does not turn out to be one huge spoiler, but rather, "just the beginning of the thriller." (Perhaps Ms Ehle is the movie's secret weapon?)

Out and About

Wishful Casting

  • We don't have any genuine casting announcements to make at the moment, but "the Shelver" over at The Shelf Life blog has included Jennifer Ehle in a "dream cast" for a movie based on the new novel Guernsey Literary And Potato Peel Pie Society. Here is a description of Sophie, Ms Ehle's suggested character:
    [...] Sidney's sister Sophie is Juliet's closest friend. She and Juliet have known each other since boarding school and Sophie is Juliet's touchstone. Jennifer Ehle would be perfect! Juliet is wooed by a rich American publisher who appreciates her intellectual attributes as much as her physical ones. He's a little cocky, and very, very self-assured. Dermot Mulroney fits the bill perfectly. [...]
    Sounds intriguing, methinks, but how about Jennifer Ehle as Juliet instead?! She's overdue for another strong leading role and Juliet sounds like a good fit:
    [... ] The book is told primarily from the point of view of Juliet Ashton, a reporter for the Spectator during WWII, and now a writer in search of a meaningful subject for her next book. [more]

The Rain Gauge

  • The wonderfully named Betsy Pickle of the Knoxville News Sentinel lauds all four members of the Before the Rains acting quartet:
    [...] Bose gives an outstanding performance as T.K. He has a way of watching what's going on around him so intensely that his thought processes are impossible to misread. Roache ("Law & Order," "Priest") is perfect as the pleasant, new-experience-embracing entrepreneur who reverts to type when things go south. Das is compelling as the sensual but ultimately naive Sajani. Ehle ("Pride & Prejudice") brings more to the screen than the loving wife she first seems. [...]
  • Jeremiah Robert Wierenga of Boise Weekly speaks of the "always charming Jennifer Ehle," but wishes the film had been longer so the characters could have been more fully developed: (*slight spoiler alert*)
    [...] I rarely feel like a film deserves more than two hours of my attention, but in this case 98, minutes simply isn't enough. More detail on the Indian independence movement would have helped flesh out the story, and although all the actors admirably portray their characters, you can see there is much more to each of their stories. Henry's belief in his own omnipotence is shattered, but we don't get to see the aftermath, nor are we satisfied with his conflict over throwing T.K. to the wolves. We barely glimpse the depths in Sajani and Laura, both of whom love Henry and are crushed by his betrayal. [...]
  • A blogger in South Africa, who attended the Durban Film Festival, saw "beauty in Before the Rains."
    That was all I wanted to say. I experienced the beauty in tonights gem of the film fest. I wish I could see it again.
Leapin' Lizzies

  • Many thanks to the fan who sent us the links to these high-resolution photos from Pride and Prejudice. Enjoy!

(My apologies for the late postiness, everyone. I had a K9 emergency this weekend.)