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Category: We Need to Talk About Kevin

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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-- Noel Murray

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


'Coriolanus,' 'We Need to Talk About Kevin': Betsy Sharkey's picks

January 25, 2012 |  5:50 pm

 

"Coriolanus" and "We Need to Talk About Kevin" -- two exceptional dramas that dropped in briefly in December to qualify for Oscar consideration -- are back in theaters for their real run. And they are certainly worth your consideration as well.

On the one hand there is "Coriolanus," Ralph Fiennes’ modern-day take on Shakespeare’s great war story with its brash mix of fighting, politics, economics and clashing egos.

Fiennes has proven to be as superb a director as an actor; he does both in "Coriolanus." With a talent-packed cast that includes Vanessa Redgrave, Gerard Butler and Jessica Chastain and a truly exceptional Brian Cox, it’s a sprawling story filled with big ideas and bigger action, and definitely worth the big screen.

On a more intimate level, there is the tragedy of Greek proportions with its family betrayals and loyalties stretched to the breaking point in "We Need to Talk About Kevin." It features yet another searing performance by Tilda Swinton, one of the top actresses working in the field today, and a fine job by the talented teenager Ezra Miller.

They play mother and son in this dark, stark disaster. Saturated with despair, it is not easy watching, but it couldn’t be more affecting. Sometimes you just have to let a film break your heart.

RELATED:

Betsy Sharkey's best film picks of 2011

The thrill of 'Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy'

'The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo': Wow

-- Betsy Sharkey, Los Angeles Times film critic


'We Need to Talk About Kevin': Kenneth Turan's film pick of the week

January 19, 2012 |  8:30 am

Tilda Swinton and Rocky Duer in We Need to Talk About Kevin

Returning to theaters after its Academy qualifying run, "We Need To Talk About Kevin" is well worth catching up to. It's about a nightmare on your street, not Elm Street. It's a domestic horror story that literally gets to us where we live, a disturbing tale told with uncompromising emotionality and great skill by filmmaker Lynne Ramsay.

Working from Lionel Shriver's celebrated novel, Ramsay and her equally unflinching star, the mesmerizing Tilda Swinton, present a troubling, challenging examination of what Ramsay, speaking at Cannes, called "one of the last taboo subjects: You're meant to instantly love your baby from the moment he's born, but what if you don't?" And what if that baby grows into someone terrifying?

What holds us in the film, besides Ramsay's skill, is Swinton's fearless, ferocious performance as someone not only trying to come to terms with an endless nightmare but also agonizing over what part she might have had in its creation.

The Oscar-winning Swinton's gifts are of course no secret, but this is a special performance, even for her.

RELATED:

Review: "We Need to Talk About Kevin"

'A Separation': Kenneth Turan's film pick of the week

Tilda Swinton, Lynne Ramsay birth a nightmare called 'Kevin'

-- Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times film critic

Photo: Tilda Swinton and Rocky Duer in a scene from "We Need to Talk About Kevin." Credit: Nicole Rivelli / Oscilloscope Laboratories


'Tyrannosaur' takes top prize at British Independent Film Awards

December 4, 2011 |  3:06 pm

 Peter Mullan in Tyrannosaur

"Tyrannosaur," a drama about a rage-filled man who finds redemption thanks to a charity store worker,  on Sunday was named best film at the British Independent Film Awards. Olivia Colman won lead actress and Paddy Considine also earned the Douglas Hickox Award for debut director for the film.

Michael Fassbender won the lead actor award for his performance as a sex addict in "Shame." 

Best director went to Lynne Ramsay for "We Need to Talk About Kevin," a drama about a woman with a troubled son.

Veteran Vanessa Redgrave was named supporting actress for her role as the lead character's mother in "Coriolanus," based on the Shakespeare classic. 

Michael Smiley won for supporting actor for the horror thriller "Kill List." And Richard Ayoade won for his screenplay of "Submarine," a comedy about a 15-year-old boy.

Best achievement in production went to the gay love story "Weekend."

 "Senna," a documentary about the late Brazilian Formula One racing driver Ayrton Senna, was named best British documentary. Iran's "A Separation" earned the award for best foreign independent film. And Tom Cullen, who starred in  "Weekend," won most promising newcomer.

Special awards were also handed out Sunday. Ralph Fiennes, whose feature directorial debut,  "Coriolanus," opened Friday, earned the Richard Harris Award, which recognizes "outstanding contribution to British film by an actor." Kenneth Branagh, currently in "My Week With Marilyn," received the Variety Award, which "recognizes an actor, director, writer or producer who has helped to focus the international spotlight on the U.K."

Other awards handed out Sunday:

Raindance Award: "Leaving Baghdad"

Short film: "Chalk"

Special jury award: Graham Easton

Technical achievement: Maria Djurkovic for production design for "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy" 

The awards were held at the Old Billingsgate Market in London.

RELATED

'King's Speech' tops British Independent Film Awards

'Shame,' 'Tinker' lead British Independent Film Award nominations

-- Susan King

Photo: Peter Mullan stars in "Tyrannosaur." Credit: Stran Releasing.

 


National Board of Review names 'Hugo' best picture

December 1, 2011 | 12:52 pm

Hugo

"Hugo," director Martin Scorsese's family film reflecting his love of cinema, was named the best film of the year Thursday by the National Board of Review of Motion Pictures. The lavish 3-D fantasy set in a Paris railway station in 1931 also won best director for Scorsese.

Ironically, the black-and-white silent film "The Artist," which won the New York Film Critics Circle honor Tuesday, was shut out of the list of awards, though it was named one of the top 10 films of the year by the National Board of Review.

Lead actor honors went to George Clooney as the father of two in Alexander Payne's Hawaii-set "The Descendants," and Tilda Swinton was named lead actress as a mother of a troubled son in "We Need to Talk About Kevin."

Veteran Christopher Plummer won supporting actor as a widower who comes out of the closet in "Beginners," and Shailene Woodley won supporting actress honors as Clooney's rebellious teenage daughter in "The Descendants." The film also won best adapted screenplay for Payne and Nat Faxon & Jim Rash, with Will Reiser winning the original screenplay prize for the cancer-themed film "50/50."

"Rango" took best animated feature honors, and two actresses were recognized for breakthrough performance honors: Felicity Jones for "Like Crazy" and Rooney Mara for "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo." J.C. Chandor won best debut director for "Margin Call," and the cast of "The Help" earned best ensemble.

The Spotlight Award went to Michael Fassbender for a quartet of performances -- in "A Dangerous Method," "Jane Eyre," "Shame" and "X-Men: First Class."

The National Board of Review, which was founded in 1909, is made up of film professionals, educators, historians and students.

Though considered by some to be a bellwether for the Academy Awards, NBR and the Oscars haven't seen eye-to-eye on the best film selections since 2008's "Slumdog Millionaire." Two years ago, NBR chose "Up in the Air" as the best movie of 2009, while the Academy Award went to "The Hurt Locker." Last year, "The Social Network" was the organization's top choice, but the Oscar went to "The King's Speech."

The NBR awards will be presented Jan. 10 at Cipriana's 42nd Street in New York City.

Other winners announced Thursday:

NBR Freedom of Expression: "Crime After Crime"

NBR Freedom of Expression: "Pariah"

Best Foreign Language Film: "A Separation"

Best Documentary: "Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory"

Special Achievement in Filmmaking: The Harry Potter Franchise  -- A Distinguished Translation from Book to Film

RELATED:

 New York critics name 'The Artist' best film of the year

-- Susan King

Photo: Chloë Grace Moretz and Asa Butterfield star in the movie "Hugo." Credit: Jaap Buitendijk / Paramount Pictures / GK Films LLC


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