Thursday, January 29, 2009

Eine kleine amount of webly commotion

Greetings all!

Firstly today, the Region 1 release of Pride and Glory this Tuesday has awakened many Glory-following critics from slumber, prompting a fresh batch of cyber opinions.

The film

Thoughts have been varied as usual, with several people applauding the actors whilst condemning the script:

Movie Mom judged 'most of the cast, including Ms Ehle' to be 'excellent' yet found the script predictable; the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette agreed, balancing out their general nay with mention of an 'excellent cast, including Jennifer Ehle', while the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review credits the 'stellar' cast with 'keeping the film interesting'. Sympathising with the actors is blogger William, who claims that they '[do their] best to elevate the clichéd material they were forced to work with', while it was completely beyond Cynical Cinema's comprehension how such great actors were convinced to appear in 'a movie like this' in the first place.

Mentioning a specific achievement of the cast are Screaming Blue Reviews who depart briefly from their grim nay to mention the 'sweet scene' in which Francis presents his wife with a band promising love eternal, 'played expertly and without bathos by Emmerich and actress Jennifer Ehle'.

Also making an appearance today are many outright yays, from viewers either forgiving faults or failing to see any. Says People-Buzz:

[...] Though some unfavorably compared it with We Own the Night, I much preferred Gavin O’Connor’s striking, stirring...drama. Sure, it’s familiar territory, but it struck me as piercing and emotionally authentic. [...]
The Detroit News expected problems but was pleasantly surprised, admitting 'the movie actually works' and listing a 'fine' supporting cast and Farrell's 'explosive screen presence' as reasons. Big Picture Big Sound were equally astonished, stating that 'still, for some reason, it all works', while Killer Film thought the acting was 'top-notch' and 'really enjoyed the intensity, the characters, the grittiness' of the piece overall.

The featurette

Another significant talking point has been the DVD's documentary extra, Source of Glory, which appears to be very popular.

After claiming (interestingly!) that 'many of the [film's] extras are actual gang members' the folks at Pop Journalism start off the praise:

[...] [The] bonus feature [is] described on the back cover as a 'comprehensive documentary.' And that it is. 'Source of Pride: the Making of Pride and Glory' runs just over an hour. It goes behind-the-scenes seven weeks before shooting, showing location scouts and colourful auditions, and follows the production to the wrap. [...]
DVD Talk continue the love:
[...] O'Connor periodically does video diary entries for the piece which are fascinating. ... Hair and makeup test footage is shown, script read-throughs are filmed, and some of the cast (save for Farrell) discuss their time on the film. ... Casting sessions are filmed ... It's an excellent look at the production and helps make you see what O'Connor and many others had to deal with. [...]
Showing perhaps a little too much enthusiasm is Hollywood Chicago which goes so far as to say that 'in many ways, the documentary is more interesting than the film'.

Providing a pleasant alternative to the reviews is The Daily News Online's quick exchange with Edward Norton and Colin Farrell - actors who are apparently alike in that they can 'both chew scenery'. Norton describes how he, Farrell and Emmerich are on a different acting planet than Voight and 'other guys from that era', whilst Farrell refutes claims that the film's violence is gratuitous.

If you are in Region 1 and have any roubles left from buying that Darcy portrait, visit the 'About the DVD' section of the official website for a breakdown of the three Pride and Glory purchasing options. Region 2-ers can either wrestle with a Region 1 disc or pre-order for a March 2nd Region 2 release.

Sundry items
  • Apart from the brief listings mentioned in the last post, no further intelligence regarding The Greatest has yet wandered into our radar net. The large barrel of invisible roubles is thus still up for grabs.
  • If you are in the New York City vicinity and have not yet made your way to Florence Gould Hall, then make haste! There are just four performances of Oscar and the Pink Lady's New York run remaining. If you are still in need of convincing, take a netly promenade to our Chat Extension to peruse Jodes' thoughts on the play and its chameleon-esque performer.
  • Potentially also of interest is the Guardian's piece on the play-plus-orchestra concept currently taking over the National Theatre in the form of Sir Tom's Every Good Boy Deserves Favour.
  • Elsewhere, the Post-Gazette informs us that Richard Easton has been inducted into the Theatre Hall of Fame by none other than Jack O'Brien, an inductee from last year. There is a modicum of quotage from both legends. See Playbill for more.
  • Lastly, did you see the Lincoln Center's 1973 revival of A Streetcar Named Desire? Well, if you were elsewhere, unable to get tickets, or as yet unborn, fear not. The News Observer has let us know that Caedmon has released an archival full-cast recording for the first time:

[...] Caedmon's audio recording of the full play is most welcome - a good performance for enjoyment and study, [and] preserving the cast of the highly lauded 1973 Lincoln Center revival. Although there are fine actors portraying Stanley (James Farentino) and Mitch (Philip Bosco), the piece stands or falls on Blanche.

Here, Tony and Emmy award winner Rosemary Harris...makes the character more calculating than some but drifts frighteningly into ever-enlarging flights of fancy as Blanche unravels into madness. Harris is especially moving in the monologue about Blanche's young husband's suicide. [...]
Visit Caedmon for a delicious audio excerpt.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

News and Miscellany

Excitingly, has included Jennifer Ehle in the cast list of The Greatest, further corroborating what we learned from Entertainment Weekly and Variety this past week (see previous post). Though JE-centric information is still nearly impossible to come by, Femail has a nice interview with Pierce Brosnan about the film and The New York Daily News has interviewed Susan Sarandon. Also, here is a link to the May 18, 2008 article from Variety which first announced the movie and reported that filming would begin in the summer ('08) on the East Coast.

In other news, we are only days away from Pride and Glory's release on DVD. has a lengthy and detailed review from Kenneth Brown, part of which is definitely worth repeating here:
[...] Moreover, the actresses featured in the film -- Jennifer Ehle (playing Francis Jr's terminally-ill wife), Lake Bell (as Jimmy's suspicious wife and the Tierney's only daughter), Carmen Ejogo (as Ray's weary ex-wife), and Leslie Denniston (as the boys' faithful but knowing mother) -- that hold the film together and give the scenes that take place at their respective homes resonance and credibility. Sure, they only pop up for minutes at a time, but they give the male characters legitimate anchor points that define their every decision and motivation. In fact, anyone who wants to shrug off the film as entirely cumbersome or cliche need only refer to the heartbreaking scenes between Ehle and Emmerich to see exactly why this familial cop-drama is a substantial step above the average junk littering the genre. [...]
The article also includes this lovely screencap, much to our benefit. Somewhat echoing Brown's sentiments is Katherine Monk of the Calgary Herald, who declares:
[...] Despite being laden with cop movie cliches, this Gavin O'Connor drama is so earnest, and so desperate to be grounded in some believable reality, he finds traction on the shoulders of the supporting characters such as Jon Voight, who is brilliant as the alcoholic dad, as well as Jennifer Ehle, who draws the moral sword as a mother and wife dying of breast cancer. [...]
Another review at DVD Town includes a description of the special features, while the review at The Philadelphia Inquirer is very short and sweet:
Pride and Glory, which is due out Tuesday from Warner ($28.98 DVD, $35.99 Blu-ray, rated R), is arguably one of the best police thrillers of the decade. A tense, violent meditation on police corruption and brutality, it features scorching performances by Edward Norton and Colin Farrell.
  • Interestingly, Roger Friedman of FoxNews recommends Jennifer Ehle for the part of Maid Marian in the upcoming film Nottingham. Filming will supposedly begin in March of this year. (Too bad Ms Ehle will be more happily engaged during that time.)

  • Charles Isherwood's review of Oscar and the Pink Lady was published in The New York Times on Friday, and though he was not impressed by the play itself, he unsurprisingly found many things to commend about Rosemary Harris' standout performance:
    [...] An actor of formidable intelligence, refinement and warmth, Ms. Harris has a shelf of well-deserved awards and a long and distinguished history of stage work. She is among a small handful of performers who could induce me to endure a play about a dying child writing letters to God. (Did I mention the dying takes place during the Christmas season?) But I’m afraid even her imposing talent, indisputably on view in this solo show, in which she instills bright life into both the title characters — the ailing boy and an Irishwoman who befriends him — could not make endurance rise to the level of enjoyment. [...] Ms. Harris’s bravura performance might well be sufficient enticement to get you to pay Oscar and friends a visit. Under the direction of Frank Dunlop she impresses with her energy, the precision of her characterizations and the nimble shifts of voice, from the rough brogue of Granny Pink to the feisty piping of Oscar. She plays numerous other roles, too, including several more sick children with funny nicknames like Bacon and Einstein and Popcorn. Her acting always has a natural glow, and boy, does that glow get a workout here. [...]
  • Someone get the smelling salts! Mr Darcy is worth even more than we thought. According to The First Post:
    A portrait of actor Colin Firth as Mr Darcy (left, with Firth and Jennifer Ehle, right), which was commissioned as a prop for the BBC's 1995 adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, has fetched £12,000 at Bonhams in London, double its estimated price. The painting was accompanied by a signed letter from Firth, in which the 48-year-old star claimed Mr Darcy "has weathered better than most of us."
  • Were you among the happy few who got to see Jennifer Ehle in The Coast of Utopia two years ago? Then indulge in a trip down memory lane and describe your experience to the folks at Lincoln Center, who write:
    Please share one of your most memorable experiences seeing theater at Lincoln Center in 150 words or less. A selection of these remembrances will appear in the summer issue of the Lincoln Center Theater Review's Anniversary Issue and on our website.
    Visit the Lincoln Center Theater website for more information, and thanks to Jodes for drawing our attention to this.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Greatest (and the quietest!)

This is just a quick one to report the apparent news of Jennifer Ehle's latest project which has pleasantly appeared from nowhere at the Sundance Film Festival in Utah.

[Rub eyes, blink, shake head] Sorry, what?!

The film is called The Greatest and is IMDb-able, although Ms Ehle's name has curiously not yet been added to the cast list. However at Variety, Todd McCarthy's brief but specific reference to Ms Ehle points to this merely being an omission by IMDb, not an invention/mistake by reviewers (although that has not yet been ruled out). Sundance's page for the film (along with the two remaining screening times) can be found here.

What is the storyline, who else is in the film, and what are current opinions on it?

Also starring Susan Sarandon and Pierce Brosnan, the movie is about the aftermath of a car accident in which a teenage boy loses his life. The film deals primarily with the lives of the boy's mother (Sarandon), father (Brosnan) and young friend Rose, who turns out to be pregnant with the boy's child. After a detailed look at the story, McCarthy is enthusiastic about the project, calling the piece a 'well-observed study', a 'visual pleasure' and noting that the actors 'do admirable, potent work'. Entertainment Weekly then says almost the complete opposite.

What is Ms Ehle's part?

According to Variety, Jennifer Ehle plays Joan, the 'gorgeous mistress' of the boy's mathematics professor father, who after the accident tells Joan 'not to expect to see him' as he must 'do everything he can to support his wife'.

Have you any more information?

Not as yet, but we will of course shout it from the rooftops when/if we acquire some. According to the film's IMDb page, Cinemablend appear to have lots to say on the project, but unfortunately their site is out of action at present. Elsewhere, the Los Angeles Times has a piece in which writer/director Shana Feste discusses the film's title, among other things. As far as Ms Ehle's involvement is concerned, there is a large barrel of imaginary roubles waiting for any Sundancer willing to provide a confirmation or denial.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

A little something for everyone

Something Old
  • The Independent's review of The Real Thing from June 1999 popped up in my inbox (courtesy of Google alerts) the other day, so I thought I would re-post here it for your nostalgic pleasure.

Something(s) New

  • The nominations for MOSAEC's second annual MAE Awards were announced on Jan 12, and Before the Rains garnered four of them, including Best Film (Drama): Before the Rains, Best Actress (Film): Nandita Das, Best Director (Film): Santosh Sivan, and Best Foreign Film: Before the Rains. According to PRWEB:

    [...] the MAE Awards were created to spotlight some of the best in arts and entertainment. Awards are given in two categories - Artistic and Entertaining - with the former category being similar to traditional "best of" honors. MOSAEC's Entertaining awards vary from year-to-year. 2009 marks the first time that readers will have their say in whom and what walk away with honors as the majority of the awards will be determined by the public with the remaining determined by a jury. [...]
    Go to MOSAEC's website to vote for your favorites (ahem Rains) on or before Jan 26. The winners will be announced on the 31st.

  • If you've been paying attention, you'll know that Oscar and the Pink Lady, starring Rosemary Harris, opened at the Florence Gould Hall in NYC on Friday night. (See BroadwayWorld or Playbill for the details.) The play will run through Feb 1, so be sure to see it while you can. If you do have a chance to go, fan reviews are beyond welcome!

  • Speaking of Rosemary Harris, The Winston-Salem Journal reports that US President-elect Barack Obama is featured in the latest edition of The Amazing Spider-Man comic book, and Aunt May herself has reserved a copy:

    Bret Parks figured the latest issue of the comic Amazing Spider-Man would draw lots of fans because it features an appearance by Barack Obama.

    That was never more evident than when actress Rosemary Harris, who lives in Winston-Salem, popped into Ssalefish Comics, the store Parks manages, to reserve a copy. Harris has played Aunt May in all three Spider-Man movies.

    When Harris came in, Parks said, "I was automatically reduced to a mumbling fanboy. That's probably the coolest thing that has happened so far." [...]

Something Borrowed

  • Want to have a Pride and Prejudice-themed wedding? Then you are in luck because apparently you can rent some of the costumes from our beloved BBC movie. According to Stockport Express:
    [...] Newlyweds Denise and Stuart Vaughan dressed for their big day in the original costumes from the BBC production of Pride and Prejudice which starred Colin Firth as Mr Darcy and Jennifer Ehle as Elizabeth Bennet. [...]
    The couple were married on Dec 29 (coincidence??) and later couldn't resist posing for pictures at Lyme Park. Metro reports the same story.

Something Blue (er Blu)

  • As far as I know, we haven't yet announced that Pride and Prejudice has gone blue; that is, it became available in Blu-ray format (region 2) in Oct 2008, and the region 1 version will supposedly be released in March of this year. The reviewers at and IMDb are quite enthusiastic, claiming that the color has been restored to its original splendor. From an Aussie fan at, for example:
    After two dreadful DVD releases (the first and the 10th anniversary edition) in which all of the warmth had been drained from the glorious original 16mm print as seen on TV and on VHS, the BBC and 2 Entertain have finally repented and this, one of television's most beloved series has been restored to its former beauty. In 2005 I foolishly bought the 10th Anniversary Edition as the cover art-work suggested that the problems with the original transfer had been corrected. Upon viewing it, I wrote to the head of BBC in Australia with the challenge that if she could find any of the colours on the packaging actually on the DVD, I would happily walk naked down a Melbourne street at peak hour. Luckily for the locals, none could be found, and the offending item was returned. Now I am delighted to say that the original warmth has been lovingly restored in the Blu-Ray edition. Yes, as previous reviewers have stated, it was not shot in HD, nor even in 35mm - just humble 16mm, and at times some of the long-shots are not entirely distinct - yet it is a small quibble, and this is well worth the purchase to be able to once again see this iconic series in the rich tapestry of colours in which it was originally made. Thank you BBC/2 Entertain for restoring a true gem.
    If you have a Blu-ray player, it sounds like this is worth the rubles.


In case you're interested, the major reviews of the Bridge Project's production of Tom Stoppard's adaptation of Chekhov's The Cherry Orchard (starring three former Utopians) have been conveniently compiled by a blogger over at Critic-O-Meter.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

To see or not to see? That is the cuestion...

Insert favourite 'review' synonym here

Filmic thoughts this weekend continue to arrive from Spain and Poland, where Pride and Glory opened on January 1 and 9 respectively.

First up is La Opinion de Granada which (according to Babelfish) says:

''The secondary stories like the part dedicated to the disease of Abby provides some of the sequences with more force of a film that surpasses the two hours of length."

A plus, do we think?

Marginally more decipherable to fellow unfit linguists is a piece from La Republica Cultural - which usefully sums up its stance with the phrase 'Interesante filme'. (To work out the rest, dust off that Spanish dictionary or try Babelfish's web page translation for an amusing gist). Meanwhile, any native translations/amateur decodings of Poland's Kino Domowe piece will be gratefully received.

Representing the Anglosphere, Video Business are not overflowing with enthusiasm, considering the film 'adequate' and 'palatable' and predicting (derogatively it seems) that 'fans of such raw, gutsy fare will be suitably entertained'. South Africa's The Witness left the film more satisfied, summing up with 'good cop, bad cop...good film'. Criticisms are aired but counterbalanced with mentions of realism-enhancing filming techniques and 'exemplary' acting.

Upcoming dates

Of course you are all extremely organised and not in need of another reminder, but just to occupy blogly space:
  • Rosemary Harris' NYC run of Oscar and the Pink Lady starts on Friday January 16 at Florence Gould Hall. Tickets can be booked via the above link. The FIAF also draws our attention to a platform with writer Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt which is taking place at Le Skyroom on January 22.
  • In the realm of DVDs, Pride and Glory is released in Region 1 on January 27 and Region 2 on March 2.
  • Before the Rains is welcomed in Region 2 on March 9 and is already spreading joy in Region 1.


  • The oldie on the right (seemingly from the Daily Mail in 1999/2000) is included for no other reason than it was absent from our photo albums and has not previously been posted as a visual (although chances are it is archived somewhere in the glorious depths!)
  • Finally, further to the ex-Utopian newslies from the last post, Martha Plimpton is the subject of Robert Kahn's fast chat at PopMatters, while the WSJ's article on the Bridge Project includes some philosophical wisdom from Ethan Hawke:
[...] Mr. Hawke recently completed a year-long commitment to Mr. Stoppard's 'Coast of Utopia' trilogy on Broadway, and was so satisfied with the experience that he thought he was done with the stage for a while. But he decided that working in Chekhovian naturalism and Shakespearean style back to back was too intriguing to pass up. "Theater's my first love," says Mr. Hawke. "This was an opportunity that offered me the possibility of learning. I try to commit to things based on an imagined obituary. If I were dead, this would sound like an incredibly cool thing to have done." [...]

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Ah, the first post of 2009

I hope everyone had a good time ringing in the New Year!

"My Perfect Sunday"

Last November we posted a transcript of a magazine article that a fan kindly sent to us, but we weren't able to get the actual scan to work. Since then, we've figured it out and have added it to our photo album. It's Jennifer Ehle's eloquent description of what would constitute her perfect Sunday, published by the Telegraph's Seven magazine on November 9, 2008. Enjoy!

Continuing Reviewage

What would a post be without a review of Pride and Glory?! More praise is bestowed upon Jennifer Ehle for her portrayal of Abby Tierney, this time in Spanish. From El Confidencial:
[...] Es el caso de la parte dedicada a la enfermedad de Abby, la mujer de Emmerich (buena interpretación de Jennifer Ehle), que proporciona las secuencias con más fuerza de la película. [...]
My rough (aka gringa) translation: "The parts of the movie dedicated to Abby’s illness (great interpretation by Jennifer Ehle) are the most powerful scenes in the film."


For a great read about the Bridge Project, a new classical repertory theater company, check out this recent New York Times article, which includes quotage from participants Richard Easton and Rebecca Hall as well as instigators Kevin Spacey and Sam Mendes. Go rep! Here's a teaser:
[...] Mr. Easton, who at 75 remembers when repertory still thrived beyond the opera house, found that his recent experience in “The Coast of Utopia” — the trilogy of Tom Stoppard plays that ran in rep at Lincoln Center — reminded him why the system is worth the risk and expense. “You give a more total performance in each role,” he said, “because you don’t have to spend all your expertise in either one.” [...]
At Newsday, there is also an awesome interview with Martha Plimpton, who is currently starring in the musical Pal Joey on Broadway.

Here's to a great 2009!