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Category: Rampart

Home Theater: 'Kevin,' 'Rampart' disturbing yet compelling

May 15, 2012 | 11:57 am

We Need to Talk About Kevin

Looking to catch a film on Video on Demand or DVD or Blu-ray? Following are some of the newest options available to home theater aficionados.

'We Need to Talk About Kevin'
Available on VOD beginning May 15

Writer-director Lynne Ramsay's first movie since 2002's magnificent “Morvern Callar” is an adaptation of Lionel Shriver's novel “We Need to Talk About Kevin” and stars Tilda Swinton as the ostracized mother of a sociopath. In keeping with Ramsay's usual style, “Kevin” is impressionistic, jumping around in time from the heroine's perspective as she tries to figure out whether her son is a creep because she's always been cold to him or if she's cold because he's so awful. The approach works magnificently for the film's first hour, until Ramsay has to deal more directly with the plot, at which point the movie becomes less about common parental anxieties and more about living with a monster. Still, Ramsay is worth paying attention to even when her material lets her down. The film comes to DVD and Blu-ray from Oscilloscope on May 29.

'Rampart'
Millennium, $28.98; Blu-ray, $29.99/$34.99

Woody Harrelson gives one of his best performances in “Rampart,” an ambitious character sketch set against the backdrop of the scandal-ridden late '90s LAPD. Director Oren Moverman and writer James Ellroy skip from incident to incident, as Harrelson's self-described fascist police officer Dave Brown beats up suspects, conspires with criminals and directly interferes with the case being built against him. “Rampart” contains enough characters and plot to fuel an entire season of an edgy cable drama. Harrelson is compelling as a character unyielding in his worldview. The DVD and Blu-ray include a featurette and a Moverman commentary track. Available on VOD beginning May 15.

'The Grey'
Universal, $29.98; Blu-ray, $34.98

Director Joe Carnahan and his co-screenwriter, Ian Mackenzie Jeffers, bring Jeffers' short story “Ghost Walker” to the screen as “The Grey,” starring Liam Neeson as a depressed oilman who helps his coworkers survive after their plane crashes in Alaska. “The Grey” is tough and elemental, focusing on the brutal cold and an encroaching pack of wolves that threatens to tear these men apart. When they're not fighting for their lives, the wanderers sit around the fire and talk about fate, God, families and the mistakes they've made. The DVD and Blu-ray add deleted scenes and a fascinating Carnahan commentary. Available on VOD beginning May 15.

'Norwegian Wood'
New Video, $29.95

Haruki Murakami's cult novel “Norwegian Wood” is an aching nostalgia piece, about a man looking back at his college years in Tokyo in the late '60s, when he lost a friend to suicide and had love affairs with two women -- one morose, one vivacious. Writer-director Tran Anh Hung's film version captures a lot of what's special about the book: the sense of a magical time and place and how much the protagonist (played by Kenichi Matsuyama) sleepwalked through it while mired in his own melodrama. Jonny Greenwood's dreamy score and cinematographer Ping Bin Lee's luminous images cast a spell. The DVD includes an hour-long making-of featurette and a 10-minute look at the film's reception at the Venice Film Festival.

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Photo: Ezra Miller and Tilda Swinton in "We Need to Talk About Kevin" Credit: Nicole Rivelli/Oscilloscope Laboratories


Oscar season: Some films let you make your own ending

January 2, 2012 |  2:25 pm

Woody Harrelson in Rampart
We live in an open-ended era with question marks hovering over our lives. So maybe it isn’t surprising that a quartet of current movies conclude ambiguously, leaving their characters’ fates not on the screen but in the minds of the audience.

We spoke recently to the filmmakers in question -- those behind "Rampart," "Like Crazy," "Martha Marcy May Marlene" and "Shame" -- about their cryptic conclusions. Needless to say, if you haven’t seen the movies (and, really, why haven’t you?), you’ll probably want to come back to this after you’ve first formed your own conclusions.

“Rampart”

The ending: His personal life and career in tatters, Woody Harrelson’s LAPD officer Dave Brown drives silently through the night, lost in regret.

First choice or later decision: “Rampart” originally had a substantially different ending, centering on a now-removed subplot involving bad cops, gangbangers and Officer Brown. “There was a killing spree, followed by a getting-killed thing,” Harrelson says. “When [writer-director] Oren [Moverman] first showed me a rough cut, I was a little startled.”

“No. He was shocked,” Moverman says. Midway through filming, Moverman began to feel that the dynamics of Brown’s family life were becoming the core of the movie. The shootout ending, he says, felt too “routine.”

“I felt like we had the opportunity to go deeper and shed the things more familiar from genre movies and concentrate on the interior voyage we take with this character,” Moverman adds.

Leaving the door open: “That drive is clearly a metaphor for the purgatory that he’s going to be driving in for the rest of his life,” Moverman says, “no matter if the rest of his life is five minutes from now or the next 30 years.”

“Like Crazy”

The ending: Immigration issues resolved, young lovers Anna (Felicity Jones) and Jacob (Anton Yelchin) finally reunite. It’s not exactly magical. They take a tentative shower together at Jacob’s L.A. loft while the film flashes back to more innocent times. The final shot of Jacob indicates resignation but no resolution.

First choice or later decision: “We had an extra scene that was on top of that, kind of a double beat with Anna and Jacob in the loft space on opposite ends of the frame,” says writer-director Drake Doremus. “But the shower scene ended up being so strong that we just ended the film right there.”

Leaving the door open: “My favorite films have endings where the rug gets pulled from underneath you and you’re stuck dealing with your emotions,” Doremus says. “That’s what I wanted to do here. Love stories are too often tied up in a nice, neat bow, and that’s not my experience in relationships. Love is gray. They don’t have conclusive elements sometimes. This is my version of that.”

“Martha Marcy May Marlene”

The ending: Martha (Elizabeth Olsen) believes that members of her old cult have found her. She's on the way to New York with her sister and brother-in-law when their car nearly hits a man walking across the street. Is it the same, familiar-looking man that Martha saw watching her swim earlier in the day? Martha looks back. The man is still there. She’s frozen in fear.

First choice or later decision: “We never talked about anything else,” says writer-director Sean Durkin. “I never thought it would be so discussed. People always ask me what happens. And it’s pretty equally divided. Half believe she’s paranoid. Half think they’re coming to get her. We tried to give as little information as possible. I was far more interested in creating the moment and having it feel true.”

Leaving the door open: “It’s the honest way to end the movie,” Durkin says. “It takes years to recover. She’s always going to be looking over her shoulder, thinking someone’s following her. The goal was to put you in her shoes.”

“Shame”

The ending: Brandon (Michael Fassbender) spies on the subway the same sexy redhead (Lucy Walters) he noticed on an earlier commute. They again lock eyes. She seems very open to the idea of cutting her subway ride short. Do they or don’t they?

First choice or later decision: “When I came to New York to start production, I had an ending, but I wasn’t happy with it,” says “Shame” writer-director Steve McQueen. “And it was one of those things. I was always riding the subway to work every morning, and the ending just came to me. It felt right to circle back to that woman he saw at the beginning of the film.”

Leaving the door open: “Does he change or does he stay on the train?” McQueen muses. “I’m not making a Disney film where he falls into the arms of his new love and lives happily ever after. That’s just not the way it is with addiction. It’s a struggle, and I hope that Brandon fights it in some form. But I don’t know if he’ll ever recover.”

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'Shame': Michael Fassbender's chameleon power [Video]

'Like Crazy': Filmmaker Drake Doremus casts his leads [video]

Golden Globes: Funny Woody Harrelson was 'liberated from concern'

-- Glenn Whipp

Photo: Woody Harrelson in "Rampart." Credit: Millennium Entertainment


'Rampart' ride-alongs left Woody Harrelson 'nervous and shocked'

December 3, 2011 |  4:58 am

Woody Harrelson Rampart

Woody Harrelson, Ice Cube and Sigourney Weaver all did law-and-order research for their roles in "Rampart," a film that presents a portrait of an LAPD veteran living life on the edge of chaos and crime.

Harrelson, talking during the Envelope Screening Series, said that his LAPD ride-along time was eye-opening and that he found a respect and connection with the cops after he got past the jolting things he witnessed.

 "Aside from all other research — reading every book or watching documentaries, movies, anything to do with cops and and just trying to absorb as much as I could about cops and also specifically about the LAPD and the history of it — I felt like the thing that helped the most was riding along with these
guys," Harrelson said. "And going from being a little nervous and shocked at what I was seeing to, you know, really respecting these guys and feeling the humanity in these guys and feeling like, 'I could be a cop.' " 

 

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Woody Harrelson's "Rampart" turning point

'Shame': Michael Fassbender's chameleon power [Video]

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-- Geoff Boucher

Photo: "Rampart" (Millennium Entertainment) 


'Rampart': Woody Harrelson's 'turning point' moment in LAPD role

November 18, 2011 | 11:56 am

 

 

Woody HarrelsonWoody Harrelson is an actor who likes the edge -- revisit “Natural Born Killers” or “The People vs. Larry Flynt” if you doubt it -- but on the first day of filming for “Rampart” the two-time Oscar nominee admits he got a little lost while walking on the wild side.

In conversation at the Envelope Screening Series, Harrelson revealed that his first stab at portraying a rogue LAPD cop named Dave Brown was off-target. That led to an anxious conversation the next day with director Oren Moverman and costar Ben Foster.

“The next morning we watched the dailies,” Harrelson said. “I watched as much as I could and I went up to Oren and I said, ‘Uhhh, can we talk?’ We go in the other room and it’s like, ‘Oh, my God, that didn’t work -- that just doesn’t work.’ We had this whole discussion where he was basically trying to lead me off of what I was trying to do. But I was trying to [say], ‘OK can you reshoot it because I can get this characterization thing down better.’ Then in comes Ben … .”

What happened next? Check out the video to hear how Harrelson got back on track for a role that has now landed him in the contender conversation for the upcoming Academy Awards.

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'Shame': Michael Fassbender's chameleon power [Video]

'The Descendants': George Clooney on the first day of filming

-- Geoff Boucher

Photo: A 2010 Woody Harrelson portrait. Credit: Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times.


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