Tag: sam shepard

***2016 RECAP*** MOVIE REVIEW | Midnight Special (2016)

In a nutshell, Bored & Dangerous says: “The sci-fi spectacle is just a Trojan horse for some really intimate, internal story telling.”

Midnight 1
“You have no clue what you’re dealing with, do you?”

In just three movies, writer and director Jeff Nichols established himself as a new, unique voice of cinema about modern day, rural America, and what it means to be a family.  Shotgun Stories was a small story of loyalty, class struggle and standing up for something, even when you know winning is impossible.  Take Shelter took a possible paranoid schizophrenic and made an amazingly compelling and tragic story about the price you may pay by standing by those you love.  With Mud, Nichols took on coming of age with a story about a boy and a mysterious drifter, that was so much more than its pulpy plot may have indicated.  So when I saw that he had seemingly gone a lot bigger and more ambitious with the long awaited, long delayed Midnight Special, the wait only made me more intrigued and more excited.

Racing through back woods, Texas roads in the middle of the night, Roy (Michael Shannon) and Lucas (Joel Edgerton) are obviously trying their best to remain undetected.  It turns out, Roy has fled a cult and technically kidnapped his own son, Alton (Jaeden Lieberher).  Cult leader, and Alton’s adopted father, Calvin (Sam Shepard) has sent goons on their tail, while the government is also in hot pursuit.  It turns out that Calvin’s cult is built around the visions and trance like ramblings of Alton, that also happen to contain top secret government information. (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | Midnight Special (2016)

In a nutshell, Bored & Dangerous says: “The sci-fi spectacle is just a Trojan horse for some really intimate, internal story telling.”

Midnight 1
“You have no clue what you’re dealing with, do you?”

In just three movies, writer and director Jeff Nichols established himself as a new, unique voice of cinema about modern day, rural America, and what it means to be a family.  Shotgun Stories was a small story of loyalty, class struggle and standing up for something, even when you know winning is impossible.  Take Shelter took a possible paranoid schizophrenic and made an amazingly compelling and tragic story about the price you may pay by standing by those you love.  With Mud, Nichols took on coming of age with a story about a boy and a mysterious drifter, that was so much more than its pulpy plot may have indicated.  So when I saw that he had seemingly gone a lot bigger and more ambitious with the long awaited, long delayed Midnight Special, the wait only made me more intrigued and more excited.

Racing through back woods, Texas roads in the middle of the night, Roy (Michael Shannon) and Lucas (Joel Edgerton) are obviously trying their best to remain undetected.  It turns out, Roy has fled a cult and technically kidnapped his own son, Alton (Jaeden Lieberher).  Cult leader, and Alton’s adopted father, Calvin (Sam Shepard) has sent goons on their tail, while the government is also in hot pursuit.  It turns out that Calvin’s cult is built around the visions and trance like ramblings of Alton, that also happen to contain top secret government information. (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | August: Osage County (2013)

august_osage_county
The later part of the year always means the release of prestige, Oscar worthy movies.  Which means Oscar bait.  Usually, Oscar bait is over earnest, over sentimental, over the top syrup.  Bur every now and again, there’s Oscar bait that subverts all that stuff and uses its prestige cast, hoity toity theatre origins and Oscar trappings to make something really affecting that hits pretty hard, like August: Osage County.


Sam Shepard is Beverly Weston, patriarch of the Weston family.  Breaking the fourth wall, he opens the movie letting us know that he’s an alcoholic and that his wife Violet (Meryl Streep) is a pill head, using cancer to justify her addiction.  Beverly hires a live in nurse to help look after his wife, then disappears.  Violet calls her sister and brother in law (Margo Martindale and Chris Copper) for support, as well has her eldest daughter, Julia Roberts’ Barbara.

Not long after, Beverly is found dead on his boat from an apparent suicide and the rest of the Westons converge on Violet’s house for the funeral and a volatile reunion in the midst of an Oklahoma heat wave.  The three Weston daughters are rounded out by introverted old made Ivy (Julianne Nicholson) and Juliette Lewis as the youngest and flightiest, Karen.

Add to that Ewan McGregor as Barbara’s estranged husband, Abigail Breslin as their daughter, Dermot Mulroney as Karen’s three times divorced, Ferrari driving fiancé and Benedict Cumberbatch as their shy, put down cousin, Little Charles.  This is a massive ensemble of A-list stars, all at the absolute top of their game.

Two hours of horrible people being horribly horrible to each other might not sound like a great way to spend your time, but somehow August: Osage County makes it work.  And while everyone does an amazing job, Streep and Roberts are the standouts.  It was a little jarring at first to see them play such hostile, low class women, but the more they sink their teeth into it, the more entertaining they become.

August: Osage County also does an amazing job of making you feel the stifling heat.  The oven like feeling of Violet’s house, the searingly blurred horizon of the endless Oklahoma plains.  The sweat almost soaks through the screen.  It also helped that   Melbourne was going through it’s own heatwave, meaning it was 40°C (104°F) in my lounge room while I watched this movie.  So I could literally feel what they were going through weather wise.  It’s the kind of heat that almost justifies every act of assholery committed by every character.  And these people are all absolute assholes.

This movie is rough going.  It’s really well made, the performances are top notch all round and the story is compelling, but t’s not a feel good movie that will leave you with a smile on your face.  It’s brutal and doesn’t hold back on letting these characters indulge in all of their worst tendencies.  I felt sorry for a couple of them, but I didn’t like a single one.  August: Osage County is the kind of movie I’ll definitely recommend to others, but I never want to see it again.  Ever.

August: Osage County
Directed By – John Wells
Written By – Tracy Letts