Bill Nighy

December 20, 2012

Happy Holidays: Lawless Heart

Lawless Heart: Intriguing

2001, 99 mins, Drama

I’m really not sure how this film got under my radar for so long, but I’m glad I finally saw it.
The other day I got home from work early, figure I watch a film and I searched on demand high and low. I found something called Lawless Heart and started to read into it. The film stars Bill Nighy (Underworld) and Tom Hollander (Pirates of the Caribbean). Well I figure that is a damn good enough reason to take a look.
The story straight from IMDB contains, Three intersecting stories about people whose lives are affected by the death of a gay restaurateur. 
The film starts off at the restaurateur’s funeral, which becomes a key moment for all and you will come back to this and other moments throughout the film.
Films that warp time and connect stories of different characters, always grabs my attention. I really love to watch films like that. The reason I think I do so much, is the crew, when making a film like this creates a lot of detail both inside the story and visually throughout the film. When you have great characters  this becomes something that grabs me and keeps me around for each persons story and to me that can create a damn good film because we seem not to get that anymore in films. 

Bill Nighy, in anything this guy does is simply great. He holds the screen and brings life to characters that you just don’t get out of other actors. He is always someone I look for when I’m looking for a film to watch.
Tom Hollander stands out in this film in a good way. He plays Nick, the gay restaurateur’s partner. He’s character’s story is quiet fascinating and intriguing in a way I never really see in a film.
All in all this is a wonderful acted and written film. I just wish we had more films like this come out more often. If you’re looking for a film to simply sit and relax too, then you should check it out.  
(The trailer is shit, but the film is really good)
December 16, 2012

Happy Holidays: Love Actually

WARM

Full disclosure.  I’m not the biggest fan of the holiday season.  I pretty much peter out after Thanksgiving and pray for New Years to start.  Pretty sure me and the Grinch are cousins.  Full disclosure.  I’m not the biggest fan of romantic films.  They are generally very color by numbers predictable or tragic for tragedy’s sake.  So, imagine my surprise when a film came along that combined both of my dislikes and still managed to knock my socks off.  Love Actually is that film.  For years I’ve held it up as my favorite, most watchable chic flick and my second favorite Christmas movie.  I’ll get to the first later.  No matter how many times I watch it, I’m left with a WARM feeling that actually gets me in the holiday spirit…if only for a little while.

Love Actually comes to us from writer and, then, first time director Richard Curtis of Bridget Jones’s Diary and Four Weddings and a Funeral fame.  The film is a collection of interwoven stories that explores the different aspects of love during the Christmas Season.  The stories range from slapstick comedy to heartfelt drama.  Some are hit and some are miss.  As a whole, however, they all compliment each other perfectly.

Love Actually set the ensamble films bar too high for puke inducing copycats like He’s Just Not That Into You, Valentine’s Day and New Years Eve to come close to reaching.  Ggack!  Just reading the titles of those films almost made me throw up a little.  You might think Love Actually out does those films because the quality of actors in it are amazing.  Liam Neeson, Alan Rickman, Colin Firth, Hugh Grant, Keira Knightly, Martin Freeman, Bill Nighy, Emma Thompson, Laura Linney, Rowan Atkinson and many more.  However, I think its because Curtis just knows how to use his talent in the proper way.  Each actor is the right fit for their roles.  They aren’t haphazardly thrown in to parts that we’re forced to accept because they’re Zach Efron or Taylor Swift.  If each side story were a full length film, the actor in place would still be properly cast.  The film, as a result, thrives because of these performances.  Especially those by Neeson, Rickman and Thompson.

Neeson’s story about a suddenly widowed husband and his stepson is the most dramatic driving force in the film.  It is an almost frightening coincidence that this scenario would actually happen to Neeson later in life.  The story is extremely well done and has a rare great child actor performance in Thomas Sangster.  Alan Rickman and Emma Thompson’s tale about a waning marriage and infidelity always evokes a different feeling in me every time I watch it.  You should really hate Rickman for straying from his wife.   However, Curtis presents the circumstances in such understandable way that you’ll find yourself sympathizing.  Though, the tale that is sure to put a smile on your face has to be the one about Bill Nighy’s aging rock star Billy Mack.  Of all the stories that I wished had a full length film or sequel, it would be Mack’s.  Nighy’s obvious nods to Mick Jagger and his brazen attitude toward those around him are easily the comedy high points of the film.

Love Actually is a great film to see if you want to feel good about Christmas but avoid the overly cliched shlock we’re usually bombarded with.  I’ve made a habit of watching it every year.  I, then, immediately plop on Die Hard right after in order to keep my man card.  What?  Its my favorite Christmas film.  Don’t judge me.  Watch it…watch your heart grow three sizes that day…plop on Die Hard after just to be safe…then tell me I’m wrong.

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