When we headed out today it was 31°F and overcast -- at 4:30 it was down to 23°F. The only way it was going to be 108°F in Holland MI today was going to be in the movies. Oklahoma, to be exact.
Oh, and once again, we were the kids in the audience, in a modestly full theatre on a Saturday afternoon. (grin)
August: Osage County [R]
Holland 7 Theatre #6 1:45pm 2x$9.00
In drama, funerals bring out all the old skeletons and everyone relives the old arguments. And revealing secrets create new ones. Think The Big Chill, only this time it's inside the family and we actually see Sam Shepherd alive first. August: Osage County is about a family in tension, tearing itself apart. The entire cast is excellent. And after so many roles like The Bourne Identity, it's so nice seeing Chris Cooper playing a really decent guy.
Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts are on all the ballots for the major awards this year. Watching Meryl tonight on the Screen Actors Guild Awards, you are suddenly aware at how much work it took to make her into a bitter old dying woman. And Julia as her eldest angry daughter, has made her forehead vein throb on cue in one pained moment to the next -- and I'm not making fun of her. It is only then it hits you -- despite the prosthetics, there is a visible absence of makeup, even for those characters wearing some makeup. Because this is broiling hot Osage County, Oklahoma. And these are real people.
The photography is gorgeous. The director apparently went to Oklahoma and realized that the film had to be shot there. The light, the haze, the lightly rolling plains. I am sure the play captures the spirit of Oklahoma, but seeing it feels right. And they did some very interesting things with reflections -- off glass, a mirror, multiple mirrors. Oh, and the set dressing is impeccable. This is a house that is lived in. The bathroom scene with all the bottles partly used on the window sill...
I checked up on Wikipedia and there are some interesting differences between the movie versus the original 2008 play. If you're confused by the movie, check these refs.
That's Ewan McGregor? He keeps on showing up in things and I don't peg him until later. How many of my favorite people are becoming chameleons like Holly Hunter and Gary Oldman, I mean really? And what with Season 3 of Sherlock showing up on PBS starting tomorrow night, it was startling to realize the bumbling Little Charles was Benedict Cumberbatch. And Abigail Breslin played the 14-year-old daughter -- we last saw her in the light role of Valentine in Ender's Game -- caught in the middle between Julia Roberts and everyone else.
For me, the quiet role of Ivy stood out. The sister who stayed behind, ends up having to deal with The Mother, and doesn't know how to tell anyone that she is about to go to New York with her boyfriend -- it's gets very complicated from here. Though they've done an exceptional casting job, so that those related to each other look like they are related, they have also paid attention to getting the individual looks right. Mousy straight hair, lightly freckled all over, sad eyes, Ivy looks like the put upon sister who stayed home. I knew I'd seen Julianne Nicholson before, but it wasn't til we were on the way to the grocery store that I realized she'd been Det. Megan with Jeff Goldblum on Law & Order: Criminal Intent, but with pixie short dark red hair and a great black leather jacket.
Much like The Big Chill mentioned earlier, it's easy to fall back and suggest the plot of August: Osage County is overly complicated and unrealistic. But this is a story -- film, novel, play doesn't matter -- and it's not that one person is having a bad day, it's that everyone is having the worst day of their lives. In a way, if your family isn't this screwed up, then just sit back and enjoy the amazing performances, and give thanks for your life.
Trailers: Beyond some trashy TV shows touted on the First Look programs show which did NOT match the demographics of this audience. Winter's Tale we saw last time -- time travel and magic? Grand Budapest Hotel isn't a rehash of The Best Marigold Hotel, but an insane looking comedic romp with Ralph Fiennes, F. Murray Abraham, Jeff Goldblum? and everyone else. We don't normally do comedies, but this isn't the ordinary. The Railway Man, perhaps the perfect double feature pairing with The Bridge Over The River Kwai. British POW lives through WW II and discovers years later that his Japanese tormentor is still alive. One Chance, an aspiring opera singer movie in the rarified air of Simon Cowell's Britain's Got Talent. Unexpected, looks like fun.