Wednesday, October 29, 2008

'Emboldened' adjectives

Special Interest
  • First things first, I managed to hunt down another video interview-ette with Jennifer Ehle on the red carpet, this time from the aptly named Buzzine Magazine. Have a look over at YouTube.
  • Tez brought our attention to Esquire's Q&A with Noah Emmerich, in which Mr. Emmerich reveals his favorite on-screen kiss:

    I've had so few on-screen kisses. It's terrible, I've haven't really had a romantic on-screen kiss. So probably my favorite on-screen kiss is this one, in Pride and Glory, which is so not sexy. It's with Jennifer Ehle [whose character is dying of cancer]; she was spectacular in the film, shaved head and everything. So my favorite on-screen kiss would be with a bald woman.

  • And, an interview with Gavin O'Connor at Premiere incites us to say a little prayer to the Movie Gods that the deleted scenes from Pride and Glory will be included on the DVD:

    [Q] A while ago I interviewed Jennifer Ehle for the film Before the Rains, and she mentioned that she had just finished Pride and Glory. Given the nature of the beast, she was worried that her scenes may be cut from the film, despite having shaved her head for the part. Yet, it seems impossible her scenes deleted as she seems to be the moral compass for Frannie.

    [A] There was another scene when she dies. I did end up cutting it from the movie because once I got into the third act, the scene in the bathroom [between Ehle and Noah Emmerich] is really about giving [Emmerich's character Frannie] the motivation to do the right thing. After that, we didn't need to go any further because she lifted Frannie and pushed him toward the light, and that was her purpose in a way.

Review Rhapsody

The Pride and Glory reviews are continuing to arrive by the truckload this week! Normally we try to post most everything we find, but a change of tactics is necessary since it would be pure madness to post them all. I mean, we’re crazy, but not that crazy. So, for the benefit everyone’s mental health, I’ll focus solely on the reviews that specifically mention Jennifer Ehle’s performance. There are, thankfully, plenty of those. And although the reviews run the gamut from positive to mixed to negative to outright painful, they seem to be unanimous in declaring that Jennifer Ehle excels in her part, even if it is too brief. No surprises there!

(FYI - If you're interested in keeping tabs on some of the top critics' reviews, visit Rotten Tomatoes.)

First off, Joan E. Vadeboncoeur of Entertainment finds Pride and Glory to be "long and unsatisfying," but she also asserts that Jennifer Ehle is the best thing in the movie:

[...] Best is Jennifer Ehle, the wife of Emmerich's character, who is dying of cancer. In fact, she emerges with the best acting of the film. [...]

Tim Basham of Paste Magazine sums things up nicely when he says that "Jennifer Ehle gives a small but outstanding performance as Franny’s wife who has terminal cancer."

The Cape Cod Times' Tim Miller claims that the actors carry this film. In particular, he says:

[...] Jennifer Ehle — star of the 1995 version of "Pride and Prejudice" — gives a wrenching performance as Fran's wife, Abby, who's dying of cancer, that's so good it belongs in a much better movie. [...]

While Bailey Henderson of Real Movie News thinks the film is formulaic and particularly dislikes the final 15 minutes, he nevertheless commends the cast for their performances:

[...] The acting cast is includes fine actors like Edward Norton and Colin Farrell, who play Ray and Jimmy respectively. Norton brings his patient tone to his character and Farrell brings his usual fire to the role of Jimmy. Jon Voight delivers one of his better performances in years as the father figure that likes to drink a little too much. Noah Emmerich is also strong in his role as the brother Francis that is in charge of the officers killed in the drug bust gone wrong. As Francis’s cancer-stricken wife, Jennifer Ehle is solid as well and should have been given more scenes to work with. [...]

Likewise, Joshua Starnes from states that the performances are what keep the film afloat, and he lauds the authenticity of the scenes between Emmerich and Ehle:

[...] Emmerich's been a decent character for years who rarely gets a major lead role, but he makes the best of this one. It's easy to feel the emotional turmoil he's going through, especially in his scenes with Jennifer Ehle, and it all feels real. [...]

IF Magazine's Abbie Berstein doesn't think that Pride and Glory quite manages to succeed on a "narrative" or "emotional" level, but she still describes Jennifer Ehle as "terrific":

[...] The under-billed Emmerich, who is really the second lead, is intriguing and authentic as a rather ordinary man in an increasingly extraordinary situation and Jennifer Ehle is terrific as his seriously ill wife, though the subplot concerning her character lacks what seems to be intended resonance. [...]

Mal Vincent of The Virginian-Pilot describes Jennifer Ehle as being part of a "sterling ensemble" and later adds:

[...] Marking her return to movies after a too-long absence is Jennifer Ehle in the role of Emmerich's dying wife. She has terminal cancer and, for the role, she has shaved her head. Ehle, the daughter of legendary actress Rosemary Harris, makes her home near Winston-Salem, N.C. She is best known for playing Elizabeth Bennet in television's memorable adaptation of Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice." [...]

(Hmm, I don't believe Mal meant to say that Ms Ehle herself has terminal cancer.)

Though not a fan of the film's 'familiar melodrama' and 'cliched dialogue,' Sarah Granger of the Arizona Reporter concedes that "Jennifer Ehle and Lake Bell make their scenes memorable" even though the "female characters are peripheral" to the story.

Though the people at Thighs Wide Shut *cough* reiterate the cliched-ness of the movie that many have discussed before, they also like the authentic NY setting. More importantly, they mention "Jennifer Ehle's strong turn" as Emmerich's wife, but further explain that it is "a side story lost somewhere between all the gunplay."

Janet Garber and Shelly Hanner from Senior Film Files seem even more frustrated by the relegation of female characters to the background of the story:

[...] The actors are all very capable but are given nothing to do. In fact, actresses Jennifer Ehle, Lake Bell, Carmen Ejogo and Leslie Denniston could just as well have been left out of the movie without jeopardizing the plot one bit. [...]

Seattle PI's Sean Axmaker expresses similar sentiments:

[...] "We protect our own. That's all I know," offers clan patriarch Jon Voight in the way of advice. And that's pretty much the sole conflict of the film, which owes its moral soul to the saintly guidance of Frannie's cancer-ridden wife (Jennifer Ehle). For the rest of the film, the women are sent out of the room for the men to work things out, as if they live in some '50s time warp. [...]

In the realm of Blogdom, Film Intuition's Jen Johans loved the movie and provides a long and thoughtful review. Interestingly, she disagrees with what many have said regarding the 'peripherality' of the female characters:

[...] Additionally, while normally in police movies-- especially in regards to The Departed-- the family and especially women are typically left out of the mix but above all, Pride is a family story and this isn't the case. British actress Jennifer Ehle (most famous for portraying Elizabeth Bennett in the BBC miniseries of Pride and Prejudice opposite Colin Firth) is extraordinarily good in her supporting role as Francis Jr.'s cancer-stricken wife whose quiet dignity and strength inspire her husband to try and set things right before it's too late. [...]

Not Unseldom Drastic is less enthusiastic, but parenthetically states:

[...] (Incidentally, his brother's wife is played by Jennifer Ehle, who is not much present in the movie, but whose performance was impressively wrenching). [...]

In My Movie Reviews, Wes finds that:

[...] The most believable performance comes not from Norton or Farell, or even Voight, but from character actor Noah Emmerich, a familiar face you've seen in many, many films and TV shows. [...] Emmerich's character is the one caught in the middle, and his character is the most shaded and one experiencing the most change, with his wife's (Jennifer Ehle, in a heartbreakingly sad performance) illness. [...]

Furthermore, Wes wishes that more of the film were dedicated to these two characters:

[...] Emmerich and Ehle's story is by far the most palpable and watchable, and the script devotes far less time to it, instead focusing on the brutality of Farell's character or the goodness of Norton's. [...]

Finally, Brian Orndorf of Filmfodder gives the movie a respectable B+ and astutely notes:

[...] Francis Jr. has worked hard to reach a level of authority, only to see his force succumb to the temptations of crime, not to mention nursing a wife (Jennifer Ehle, in a ghostly, heartbreaking performance) stricken with cancer; [...]

Sooo, just to review what has been said, Jennifer Ehle's performance in Pride and Glory is the best, outstanding, wrenching, solid, authentic, terrific, memorable, strong, extraordinarily good, impressively wrenching, heartbreakingly sad, and ghostly heartbreaking. Well done, Ms. Ehle!

Friday, October 24, 2008

U.S. release of Pride and Glory!

Well, we've all been waiting to use the words 'Pride and Glory', 'out' and 'is' in the same sentence for a long time, and now we can, for today the film was finally released in America! To say reviews had been pouring in would be an understatement, so assuming your readershiply consent, the mounds of new pieces will be examined gradually as opposed to being heaped in one go (and thus giving us all an extreme case of linkicitis).

There are however two conclusions that a significant portion of reviews have arrived at: 1) that Pride and Glory's acting outweighs its writing, and 2) that Jennifer Ehle's performance is rather excellent. Being, as we are, completely sane and logical, we will address these conclusions backwards, starting with the evidence accumulated thus far in support of the latter.


  • A. O Scott of The New York Times clearly has feet in both camps regarding the film as a whole, claiming it 'relies a little too much on expository shouting', but admitting however that 'there are nonetheless some fine details and powerful, tense scenes.' Despite criticising Mr Farrell and Mr Norton, Scott praises other actors, going on to say:
[...] The best stuff can be found around the edges of the main family drama, in subplots and in the supporting performances of Shea Whigham, John Ortiz...and Jennifer Ehle (as Frannie’s wife, Abbie [sic] who is dying of cancer). [...]
  • Michael Phillips of the Chicago Tribune uses different words to come to the same conclusion, describing how the film is 'full of interesting little grace notes' and has an 'excellent' cast, but also 'grows more and more frustrating'. However, he lauds Ms Ehle as being part of one element that improves the film's overall grade:
[...] What works in Pride and Glory? The little things help, such as the way Voight hits his character's degree of drunkenness at a family get-together...or the tenderness Emmerich brings to his scenes with his dying wife, played by the superb Jennifer Ehle. [...]
  • The Denver Post's Lisa Kennedy is much more complimentary from the word go, claiming that Pride and Glory is 'well-paced, well-acted [and] much richer than routine.' But she also continues the above theme, this time using Ms Ehle's performance to illustrate a larger achievement of the film:

[...] The movie is greatly abetted by Jennifer Ehle's turn as Francis Jr.'s wife. Abby is battling cancer and losing the fight. She wears a scarf on her shaved head. She takes an exhausting amount of pills. She sits next to her children's bedside at night watching. She senses her husband's fear at her situation, but also something else gnawing at him.

Too often in cop-family tales, the primary relationships are between cop and quarry, cop and cop. Full of the requisite violence and brotherly angst, Pride and Glory makes delicate, impressive use of wives and mothers. With a couple of dynamic scenes between Abby and Franny, Pride and Glory reminds us how seldom other lives — and other ways of dying — get their due. [...]

  • Bill Goodykoontz of the Battle Creek Enquirer again liked the acting while disliking the writing, explicitly blaming O'Connor and Carnahan and the 'ludicrous, macho-cop posturing' they (according to him) included. Ms Ehle is again however seen as an exception, with Goodykoontz picking out what he sees as a particularly well-done scene:
[...] Francis Jr.'s wife, Abby (Jennifer Ehle), is dying of cancer and serves as a sort of moral compass. She's good in a limited role. A scene in which she looks at her children as they sleep and bursts into tears says so much by saying nothing at all — a rare moment of subtlety in an otherwise paint-by-loud-numbers affair. [...]
  • Continuing the yays is Stephen Shaefer of The Boston Herald, who mentions 'a sublime, bald Jennifer Ehle after praising O'Connor for 'draw[ing] first-rate work from his large cast.' Jeff Simon meanwhile, of The Buffalo News, refers to the sacrifice Ms Ehle made for the role:
[...] [Tierney] is more than a little distracted by a wife (Jennifer Ehle, daughter of actress Rosemary Harris) who is dying of cancer. What that means is that Ehle — nothing if not superb and a serious actress in the family tradition — has shaved her head to simulate the effects of chemotherapy. [...]
  • Like critics before him, Liam Lacey's analysis in The Globe and Mail follows some negative footsteps - 'a talented cast can't dislodge a sense of ho-hum predictability' - and, like others, he speaks most positively about the film's domestic aspects, but does come to an original conclusion:

    [...] Most memorable, in a few brief scenes, is Francis Jr.'s wife, Abby, a young mother who is terminally ill with cancer and clearly too good for this fallen world. She is played by Jennifer Ehle (the radiant Tony-winning actress and star of the nineties BBC series Pride and Prejudice), and she is definitely too good for this movie. [...]


Out of the reviews that do not mention Ms Ehle specifically, quite a few are firm residents of the 'yay' camp:

  • Rolling Stone describe Pride and Glory as 'probing', considering it to be 'directed with grit and grace', 'sizzling with a subversive subtext', and to include a 'cast of outstanding actors'.
  • Flick Filosopher too, fill their piece with positivity, while interestingly remarking that there 'is something wonderfully old-fashioned about [the film's] sincerity, candidness and muscular integrity.'
  • Lastly, Donald Munro in the Macon Telegraph calls the film 'well-crafted' and 'sharply plotted', considering Norton's performance and O'Connor's 'sprinkling' of 'intense scenes of domesticity' to be the elements that make it unique in the genre.


The film does have its fair share of nays however, although none of them seem to find fault with Ms Ehle's performance. Backing up our point 1 from earlier are four reviewers:
  • Ron Wynn (from the Nashville City Paper) finds the acting 'strong', mentioning 'exciting moments' and 'intense performances' - but regards these points unable to rescue 'what's otherwise a formulaic piece'.
  • Sonny Bunch (The Washington Times) quickly praises the male leads, but gives mainly a 'nay', claiming that 'when Joe Carnahan's name pops up in the opening credits, you know you're in for a rough time.'
  • Performances again are the only thing preventing Rene Rodriguez's nay (Miami Herald) from becoming a very strong nay, whilst James Sanford (Kalamazoo Gazette) says basically the same thing, but illustrates his varied criticisms with a somewhat amusing example - ('the New York City police officers...don't have much use for understatement. When they get bad news, mere tears are not enough: they have to run into a bathroom, smash the mirror and pull the medicine cabinet off the wall.')
  • Lastly is Roger Ebert from the Chicago Sun-Times, who singles out the film's predictable ending as a problem point.


  • Carina Chocano's piece for the Los Angeles Times wins the award for the most nay-filled nay so far (although she does mention an intriguing scene with a potato.)


  • Also featuring heavily in the monsoon of reviews are those critics with a foot in both camps. The author of The Sobering Conclusion for example, thought the film 'decent', but unfortunately his vision was clouded by the hand-held camera-opening of the film which made him feel 'queasy' and 'claustrophobic'.

More in due course. In the meantime, a quick reminder that the film's official website is now super spiffy. Take a peek. Go on.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Pride and Glory: What's the verdict? + a video bonus

First, apologies for missing this little gem, which Janet recently uncovered for us -- When Pride and Glory was at the Toronto Film Festival last month, MoviesOnline interviewed Edward Norton, Noah Emmerich, and the two O'Connor's. While it is an interesting read all around, this bit from director Gavin O'Connor is especially delightful:
[...] So that was a joy to have all those guys and Jennifer Ehle. We both saw Jennifer in a play, The Real Thing, back in 1999 or 2000. When we were doing the script back in 99, when Joe and I wrote it, Greg and I were always talking about Jennifer Ehle to play the part of Abby because we’ve seen her on stage and I was just floored by this woman. Fortunately, we were able to get her in the movie. She’s a gift. She dove right in the process with these guys. It’s a weird thing how√Ę€¦ maybe it’s if your antenna is kind of sensitive, you start pulling in people who have similar sensibility and want to make a film in a similar way. There are actors who just want to get the script, show up, say their lines, and go home. Right? They do. We don’t do that. It’s not about that. [...]
On the review front, it looks like the jury is still out:

  • Peter Martin of Twitch Film can't seem to find enough wonderful things to say about Pride and Glory, waxing lyrical about the performances, the screenplay, and the direction. There are too many great quotables to include here, but his last statement sums things up nicely: "Pride and Glory strikes me as one of the finest dramatic films of the year."

  • In a review at Catholic News, Harold Forbes has some reservations about the amount of violence in the film, but he asserts it is a very worthwhile story. Most importantly, he specifically applauds the performance of a certain actress:
    [...] Ray is tempted to stray from the honorable course, and Francis the younger -- struggling with the burden of wife Abby (Jennifer Ehle in a deeply felt performance) dying of cancer -- must come to terms with some very heavy wrongdoings happening on his watch. His epiphany comes when Abby -- with only scant knowledge of the facts -- tells Francis he needs to be the same honorable man she married if she is to trust him to take care of their children after she dies. [...]
  • Steve Gow of Metro Canada has choosen to single out the performance of Noah Emmerich instead:
    [...] A drama that relies on some intense character work, it's a movie that also fits actors like Norton and Farrell like a glove. More surprising is the stellar performance of relative unknown Emmerich (Little Children) who steals several scenes from his more-famous cinematic brethren as a tortured man who may be ultimately responsible for the scandal. [...]
  • Overall, Katey Rich of Cinema Blend is more critical of the film:
    [...] Some family dynamics work their way into the story, including a weird subplot in which Francis' wife (Jennifer Ehle) is dying of cancer for no reason and a beautifully drunken, tearful toast at Christmas dinner. But for the most part director Gavin O'Connor (who co-wrote the film with Smokin' Aces director Joe Carnahan) sticks to the cop beats, giving some of the most touching scenes and subplots to the minor police characters. [...]
    However, she ultimately concludes that the movie can be enjoyed "for what it is."

  • AP critic Christy Lemire is not at all shy about saying she didn't care for Pride and Glory. Regarding Abby Tierney, she claims: "A subplot involving Francis Jr.'s wife (Jennifer Ehle), who has cancer, feels like an underdeveloped afterthought." In the same vein, Dan Hudak of Faxts News suggests that the female characters are "irrelevant to the story." Going from bad to worse, Robert Wilonsky gets personal in an extremely vexing review at City Pages. Read at your own discretion.


  • Daily Motion has a brief video of red carpet interview-ettes with the cast of Pride and Glory at the NY premiere, though a certain Someone is regretfully left out. A much lengthier interview with Jon Voight can be seen at WoodTV.
  • Aha! I just found another red carpet video from Hollyscoop (which can also be viewed at YouTube), and it does include a certain Someone. Jennifer Ehle and her cast mates answer the question, "Why should we see this movie?" in under 10 seconds. Enjoy!

Monday, October 20, 2008

A few little things to start the week with


Most importantly today, Wireimage have three videos from Wednesday's Pride and Glory premiere in New York, with a gem more than compensating for two barely existent others. In it, a radiant Ms Ehle reveals that the already much-mentioned B. A. B. Y is due in March 09. We wish the family again all our love and best wishes.

Further red carpet pictures can be found at Monsters and Critics (numbers 8 and 14 being the best) while Ms Ehle can (just) be glimpsed in the background of Access Hollywood's feature with male cast members (also on YouTube).

A number of other videos fail to feature Ms Ehle but nonetheless provide some nice insights into the film and its actors. Take your pick from AMC TV's testosterone-filled Shootout (with Misters Emmerich, Norton and O'Connor and two male interviewers), AP's chats with Mr Farrell and Mr Norton, and lastly Jon Voight's appearance on CW11 Morning News, viewable via the site's weblog. Slightly less serious conversations with Chris Holley and Lake Bell, were filmed by UGO.


First in the collection of penned reviews and interviewage, Michael Sragow of the Baltimore Sun quotes his conversations with Edward Norton about the films links with Iraq:

[...] We started saying to each other that the institutional lying at the center of Pride and Glory mirrored the crucible the country was going through. What's so fascinating to me about Abu Ghraib or Guantanamo or any flash point is that somewhere around it there is a person who surely has deep feelings of loyalty to his fellow soldiers, his unit, his army, his country. Yet he reaches a moment where he says, 'I'm going to distribute a disc with the pictures because they show a corruption of the things we're supposed to be standing for.' For an actor, that's an incredibly interesting tension. [...]
(Sragow also deals with Norton's attitude to films that he is a part of - a subject put most centrally under the spotlight by Stephen Whitty at the Star-Ledger in his lengthy interview with the actor).

We return to evaluation of the film itself with Prairie Miller at Newsblaze, who after describing it as 'a kind of Godfather in blue', finds novelty within the project's oft-tackled genre:

[...] This type of sinister police noir is nothing new, but the story is elevated by the...gritty intensity of the male ensemble chemistry. [...]
She goes on to evaluate that:

[...] though the narrative rife with brutality and cynicism leads down a path that comes together way too over the top to make sense of it all, the journey there stings with the crushing weight of a raw and devastating emotional power. [...]
Elsewhere, despite identifying a problematic ending, the author of Back-Seat Critic thinks the film is 'expertly shot and paced', believing the O'Connors should be 'proud' of their creation. On a similar note, Radar, who consider the writing and direction 'flawless', dismiss any negative appraisals by stating simply, 'it's complicated but great—you should just see it'.


Next, a reminder (as if you need it) that Pride and Glory arrives in US cinemas in four days' time. The release comes in the middle of the Rome Film Festival, but as Variety and The Hollywood Reporter explain, the run-up to that has not been as smooth as one may have liked. It will be going ahead however, and Pride and Glory's newly created little page informs us that screenings of the film at the event will take place on three consecutive days, from October 28-30.


Ensuring we don't forget Before the Rains amid this week's Glory focus, South Africa's Pretoria News sum the film up as 'melodramatic, but beautifully filmed', while contented reviewers mean the movie continues to maintain a score of 4.5/5 over at Amazon.


Finally, excellent news on the Rosemary Harris front, in that Courteney Cox's 19 minute short, The Monday Before Thanksgiving, is now completely viewable online (as is a nice little poster). The film is part of Glamour magazine's Reel Moments, a project explained in more detail by the Associated Press/WBZtv:

[...] Reel Moments, now in its fourth year, invites actresses and other women in entertainment to adapt and direct films based on real women's stories. ... Cox showed "The Monday Before Thanksgiving". [She] opened the program by announcing, "I'm available for directing.""I love it," she said in an interview. "I would do it again in a heartbeat." [...]
Cinematical reminds us again of the story and Ms Harris' co-stars:
[..] Courteney Cox's short casts her alongside Laura Dern and Rosemary Harris in the story of a woman who loses her mother right before Thanksgiving. But rather than focus on grief and loss, the short focuses on the the insistence to be coupled and being happy single. [...]
The film premiered with its Reel counterparts on October 14 in Los Angeles. Ms Harris' performance as inspiring-and-accomplished-lady-on-bus, Ms Cotlo, starts 12 minutes in (although the entire film is worthy of your fine eyes). Enjoy!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Photo Op-timity

Lookie! Here is the much desired "evidence of Jennifer Ehle's growth and health" that I mentioned last time. That is, photos from Pride and Glory's New York premiere can be seen at Getty Images, WireImage, FilmMagic, WENN, Tangled Magazine, and Rex Features, which has some particularly adorable photos of Ms Ehle. (Search for "Jennifer Ehle" at all of the sites.) I've also downloaded some of the pictures into our photo album. Enjoy!

On behalf of the blog team, many congratulations to Ms Ehle!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Screenings + clips, caps, and quotes

First, Special Agent Ann posted at our Chat Extension to let us know that 1) Jennifer Ehle will be attending the New York premiere of Pride and Glory on Wednesday, October 15 and 2) there are free tickets to said premiere! (See the Extension for the details.) Unfortunately, Tez discovered that all of the tickets are gone. That part is disappointing, but on the bright side...Jennifer Ehle + Premiere = Red carpet photos a.k.a. long-awaited "evidence of her [continued] growth and health."

Tickets to the premiere may be unattainable, but if you live in the Washington D.C. area, you can win a pass to see an advanced screening of Pride and Glory (the date has not been specified). All you have to do is be one of the first 40 people to leave a comment at Reel Screening - Pride and Glory. Include your name and the answer to this question: What or who is the "Pride and Glory" of your life? See FilmGordon for further instructions. As of now, there are 17 spots available, so go to it!


To help raise awareness of Pride and Glory's upcoming release, has posted seven video clips from the movie, courtesy of Warner Brothers. (Before you get your hopes up, none of them feature Ms Ehle.)


Our photo album is now home to a bunch of screencaps from Before the Rains. They have all been taken from the Linus Roache Livejournal community, where many additional (i.e. non-Jennifer Ehle) caps can also be seen.

  • Many thanks to our precious Blog Mother Tez for calling our attention to the following three links. The first is a piece from Emanuel Levy, which discusses the characters and performances of Pride and Glory's leading actors. (Reader be warned of potential spoilers.) Here is the so-fabulous-you-have-to-read-it-twice part:

    ~Jennifer Ehle~ Abby Tierney's illness turns out to be not only a crucible but also a catalyst for her husband. "One of the ironies about Abby is that even though she has cancer and is in the last stage of her life, in my opinion she is the strongest and most grounded character in the movie," says Emmerich. "In fact, her strength resonates so palpably that it transforms Francis and gives him the strength to be a better man. Their relationship is so beautiful; it's a true love."

    Abby is played by award-winning stage actress Jennifer Ehle, who comments that in coming to terms with her own approaching death, "Abby reminds her husband of his own moral code and lets him know that the most loving thing he can do for her now is to be the man she married and trusts with the lives of their children."

    "Jennifer is an incredibly gifted actress," says Gavin. "She was totally committed to the role. I hope I have the opportunity to work with her again; she's one of the greats."
    One of the greats, indeed! Good to know she's still a 'director's darling.' The article ends with these lovely sentiments from Gavin O'Connor:
    [... ] "Every member of the cast brought so much to their roles," states Gavin. "My attitude has always been that even if an actor is in only one scene, that character has as much value to the story as any of the leads. Every piece of the puzzle means so much because all those pieces accumulate to complete the story. I was so proud of all the actors in the movie because they truly poured themselves into their characters."
  • More of the same plus a bit more can be found at Wild About Movies.

  • The film didn't quite make the grade for critic Emanuel Levy, who gave it a mediocre "C," but Levy also found many things to commend. For example:
    [...] The film's strongest scenes involve the femmes and family gatherings. As Abby Tierney, Francis's terminally ill wife and mother of their young children, Jennifer Ehle is truly heartbreaking. Her illness turns out to be not only a crucible but also a catalyst for directing her husband in the right direction. Though she has cancer (she's already bold) and is in the last stage of her life, Abbey is the saga's strongest and most grounded character, knowing the difference between right and wrong. [...]
  • Regular folks seem to agree that Jennifer Ehle is the yay within the nay - A film blogger thought the movie itself was "dull" but couldn't resist saying: "I must just mention the shaved head of Jennifer Ehle. She had a tiny role but she was amazing and totally without vanity."

Just for fun

  • A bookish blogger has written a thoughtful review of Alpha Male while simultaneously reminding us why we-the-blog exist.

  • has finally happened! I am talking about Meryl Streep Syndrome (MSS) in reverse. Let's hope it spreads and becomes something of an epidemic.
    [...] So I was in the shower, and all of a sudden I was all, OMG. MERYL STREEP GIVES OFF THE JENNIFER EHLE VIBE. [more]

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Glorious music and a few thoughtlets

Apologies firstly for the missing post - the result of a few hiccups and a day reshuffle! The crumbs left on the table today:
  • Music people Varese Sarabande draw our attention to Pride and Glory's soundtrack, available for pre-order. Among Mark Isham's pieces are Track 9, 'Abby', and Track 4, 'Fran and Abby'. A reminder that the CD - out October 21 - can also be purchased and enjoyed courtesy of Amazon.

  • The Sun offers an 'exclusive' clip of the film and interestingly suggests a later UK release of November 7. Ireland's Herald informs us that Colin Farrell is to receive a special pre-Oscar award.

  • On the reviews board, Flixer is mixed - giving a pessimistic prediction for the film whilst praising some of its component parts. Record Online do some similar weighing-up, finding the pace to be the problem area but accentuating the film's plus points:

[...] Though it's got big stars and dirty cops, Pride & Glory has a truly independent heart. ... the story teems with originality by spending a lot of time with its families. Unfortunately, as each character is given a distinct personality, the story slows to a crawl, making the film feel longer than its two-plus-hour running time. Pride & Glory has some great dramatic twists. It just takes too long to arrive there. [...]

Finally in the Glory Pot is a little 'Reflections' piece from the crew at Woodstock, and a trailer-ish selection of film clips from Odeon Filmcast (at about 08.25 mins in).
  • In the Rains Pot, Canada's Pique News Magazine is rather unforgiving, claiming that despite a 'dedicated' performance from Rahul Bose, the film 'never rises above mediocrity and that’s largely because it offers nothing new on the subject of the British Raj.'

  • One blogger left the film much happier, acknowledging a few 'nay' elements but recommending the film and praising its 'genuine and matter of fact' portrayal of emotion. Another, on Movies Wawa, cannot find fault at all it seems:
[...] Beautifully filmed. Richly sound-tracked. ... Linus Roache does a great job ... but the show is totally taken by the performance of Rahul Bose. ... The leading lady here is Nandita Das who also does a wonderful job. The supporting cast is too numerous to list individually, but I think everyone was great. ... They make it easy to forget this is acting. Because this story is so compelling and believable its easy to get swept up into. [...]
The only glimmer of a criticism is considered 'not all bad':
[...] To me, what passes prior to this film, and after, are as interesting ... than the film itself. But, we are left without explanation of what precedes and what follows this portion of the story. That may not be all bad however. It leaves much for us to think and talk about. [...]
Outside the Rains/Glory sphere, a writer on the Hagood Blog gives Sunshine 8.5/10, and after mentioning a 'great' supporting cast, praises its magnetism:

[...] This movie has a great beginning; it pulled me right into it. This is something not usually seen in movies of this type, so it makes it an unusual, yet pleasant experience. [...]

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Proud and Glorious

DVR Alert

Woodstock News Feed

  • Pride and Glory has been generating quite a bit of excitement since it was shown at the Woodstock Film Festival on Thursday night. The Times Union's blogger Graeme McKenna, for instance, writes about Day 2 of Woodstock:
    So, the big buzz today has been around the film Pride and Glory starring Edward Norton, Colin Farrell and John Voight with a release date of October 24th. This is one to keep on your radar.
  • Similarly, Filmonista reports:
    Another feature getting rave reviews is Pride and Glory starring Edward Norton and Colin Farrell and directed by Gavin O'Connor. I've been hearing folks compare the pulpy cop drama to James Grey's We Own the Night [...]
  • A third blogger in attendance thought the acting was "superb," but felt the movie as a whole had "too much gore."

  • An article in the Daily Freeman provides us with some quotage from Gavin O'Connor's post-screening Q&A session:

    Even though most of the police depicted in the Woodstock Film Festival's opening movie "Pride and Glory" were corrupt at some level, Gavin O'Connor, the director and co-screenwriter, described it as "a celebration of honest cops."

    Speaking at a question-and-answer session following Thursday's 6:15 p.m. screening, O'Connor, who also directed "Miracle," said he was nonetheless worried about how New York City police would take the script when he approached the department for guidance, but was pleased to find "they understood what we were trying to do."

    . . .

    O'Connor noted he was "committed to the language of the world" and that he resisted the studio's desire to add subtitles to scenes in which characters speak in Spanish, as the movie would be more "truthful." Language is unimportant, he said, when the emotion and orientation of a scene is properly expressed.

    O'Connor and his brother said they were interested in exploring the world of New York City police, as their father worked for the department. The project came to explore "institutional corruption" and the "impenetrable ... blue wall of silence." [...]

    Read the rest of the article for comments from a couple of regular folks who had the good fortune of seeing the film. (I should warn you that one of these comments contains a major spoiler!)

Film Festival Circuit

  • Pride and Glory will be hitting two more festivals prior to its US/UK release. First, it will be shown at the Chicago International Film Festival on Wednesday, October 22 at 7:30pm. Then it's off to Italy for the International Rome Film Festival, which will take place October 22-31. I can't find the relevant screening date/time, but according to Variety and AFP, Pride and Glory has the distinction of being the only American feature film included in the lineup. Woot!


  • speculates about how Pride and Glory will fare once it's released on October 24:

    Lost in the shuffle this weekend is likely to be Pride and Glory, a crime drama starring Edward Norton and Colin Farrell. They play police officer brothers in the NYPD who get embroiled in dirty cop deeds. Norton investigates the wrongdoings and family strife ensues. Jon Voight plays their father.

    In truth this looks like a fairly solid effort, showcasing the acting talent that Norton has (especially in his smaller fare) and a possible second wind for Farrell’s career. It could be a very good film and an attempt at a relatively early awards contender.

    However, the release date is pretty bad. The weekend is already crowded and marketing space is going to be limited. The one strength Pride and Glory has is that it might serve as good counter-programming. With younger-skewing crowds going for any of the other three films, older (mostly male) audiences may choose this instead. If they know about it.

Non-P&G news:

  • Jim Booth of Scholars and Rogues includes John Ehle in a list of authors he deems worthy of winning the Nobel Prize for literature!

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Almost steals the show

  • You Tube, also on the Pride and Glory front, have a Canadian Press video we seemed to have missed from Toronto, featuring snippets from Gavin O'Connor and Edward Norton at the film's press conference. Also worthy of a peek are a comprehensive one-on-one with Mr N and a short collection of red carpet comments from various Pride and Gloryers, courtesy of the aptly-named RedCarpetDiary.

  • In other quarters, it seems one is less likely to find Snakes on a Plane than Rains on a Plane. One blogger mentions that Before the Rains was one of the available selections on her long-haul flight, even if it 'wasn't as good as [she] had hoped'.

  • The film however is given the highest mark of movies reviewed this week by The Vast Picture Show, who come up with several thumb ups:

[...] Director Santosh Sivan approaches the theme of betrayal with classical simplicity. Also a cinematographer, [he] conjures lush topography and sensuality.

But he coaxes too some wonderfully nuanced performances from his excellent players. Henry’s wife (Jennifer Ehle) makes a late entrance and her face, a slow-motion car crash of realisation, almost steals the show.

Sivan is aided by a fine script from Cathy Rabin [and] the film’s moral complexity captures precisely the political and emotional tenor of the period. [...]

  • Another member of the blogosphere loosely agrees with the 'yay' verdict, arguing that:
[...] while Before the Rains is not nearly as powerful a film as Sivan’s The Terrorist...this Merchant Ivory production [nonetheless] is a beautifully realized, thoughtful and thought-provoking study of the three characters who all make terrible choices. [...]
  • Debashine Thangevelo from Tonight speaks with Rains' Nandita Das who, on the experience of making the film, says:
[...] It was shot like a dream and the backdrop is beautiful. ... Everyone involved with the film made it so special with what they brought to the table. Santosh, with his cinematic vision, created a comfort level that energised the actors. The making of this film has been one of my best experiences. [...]
  • Lastly, Buzzine's Issac Butler asks whether the US should have a national theatre, in a Utopia-mentioning piece that avid theatre readers might find a pleasant way to spend five minutes. Enjoy!