Archive for June 4th, 2009

With a high profile marriage to Brad Pitt and earning a reported $15,000,000 for her last film Wanted and $20,000,000 for Mr and Mrs Smith Angelina Jolie is probably the biggest female star in the world at the moment.  She is never out of the tabloids and glossy magazines and seen regularly topping lists of the most sexy woman in the world.   Today being her birthday seemed like a good time to look at the highlights of her career to date.

HackersHackers (1995) Is probably he first breakthrough film, it was directed by British director Iain Softley who had previously made Backbeat about the early days of the Beatles.  She stared along side he future husband Jonny Lee Miller (best known as Sick Boy in Trainspotting). It is the story of teenage computer hackers that is a good, fun, and enjoyable film that is probably best filed under guilty pleasures in your DVD collection (I don’t have the DVD but will happily watch it when on TV).gia

After a few average films her real breakthrough role was a star turn in the made for TV movie bio-pick Gia (1998).  Jolie took centre stage as Gia Carangi a 70’s/80’s fashion model who died of AIDS at the age of just 26 following intravenous drug use.  The film is well made is elevated from its TV origins by Jolie who gives a raw emotional performance capturing the highs and lows of the character. 

Playing by Heart (1998) has an all star ensemble cast but the Angelina Joilie, Ryan Philippe scenes stand out.

Co staring with husband number two Billy Bob Thornton Pushing Tin (1999) is more about Billy Bob Thornton and John Cusack but Jolie and Cate Blanchett shine in the scenes they have.

girl interuptedWinona Ryder plays the main character in Girl, Interupted (1999) But Angelina Jolie is the star!  Her Oscar winning performance as mental patient Lisa is even better than she was in Gia. 

 Mrs SmithMr. & Mrs. Smith (2005) A bit of disposable fun directed by Doug Liman (who also directed the excellent The Bourne Identity).  The film combines action and comedy and is well worth a look but is more significant as it co stars husband number three Brad Pitt.  It also spawned a short lived TV spin-off with Jordana Brewster taking over the Mrs Smith part.

Changeling (2008) was directed by Clint Eastwood and gave Jolie her second Oscar nomination.  She gives a towering performance in this true life story of a mother whose young son is kidnapped.

wantedWanted (2008) Directed by Night Watch director Timur Berkmambetov.  After the more serious and downbeat Changeling Jolie is back to her sexy best in this over the top kinetic action thriller with the unlikely but excellent co-star James McAvoy

Next up:  In Salt (2010), Jolie plays Evelyn Salt who works for the CIA until she is accused of been Russian sleeper agent.  She then goes on the run to clear her name.  Directed by Philip Noyce who previously directed her in the underrated The Bone Collector.  The film is in production at them moment and is due for release in summer 2010.

Also worth a look: The Bone Collector (1999), Gone in Sixty seconds (2000), The Good Shepherd (2006)

Don’t bother with: Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001 & sequel in 2003),  Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow (2004)

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mulholland drive posterIn 1999 David Lynch made his most conventional film to date; The Straight Story, then Mulholland Drive came out of nowhere.  The bulk of the film was shot two years earlier as a pilot to a TV series that did not get picked up (they chose an American version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, Why?) and TV’s loss became cinemas gain.  The French company Studio Canal funded extra shooting to make it into a complete film.  There has been much debate as to if there is a coherent narrative amongst the strands of the story.  The beauty of the film is that it is open to interpretation and there are lots of possible stories that could be happening.  You can take different things from repeated viewings. 

mulholland drive laura harringIt is probably best to see the film a few times before you read other peoples ideas on the narrative.  But if you have got to that stage you may be interested in a card that appears in the American DVD release of the film providing tips of a few things to look out for in the film.  This is no idiots guide to understanding the film it is an informative and slightly cryptic insight from the films director David Lynch.  The points have been common knowledge for some time but I have only just learned of them.  While I am glad I had not seen the list previously I watched the film again with the points close at hand to refer to and found that it cleared up a few lose threads and helped me decide between two interpretations of what is going on.  If you would rather stick to your own interpretation of the film do not read on.  If you do what to know the tips are:

  1. Pay particular attention in the beginning of the film: At least two clues are revealed before the credits.
  2. Notice appearances of the red lampshade.
  3. Can you hear the title of the film that Adam Kesher is auditioning actresses for? Is it mentioned again?
  4. An accident is a terrible event — notice the location of the accident.
  5. Who gives a key, and why?
  6. Notice the robe, the ashtray, the coffee cup.
  7. What is felt, realized, and gathered at the Club Silencio?
  8. Did talent alone help Camilla?
  9. Note the occurrences surrounding the man behind Winkie’s.
  10. Where is Aunt Ruth?

mulholland driveI am not going to answer these questions for you or tell you what conclusions I drew from it (that would ruin your fun!) but I think it gives a clear narrative for the film.  Even if you ignore everything else pay particular attention to “What is felt, realized and gathered at the club Silencio?” this is a key point in the narrative and most interpretations pivot on this part of the film. 

mulholland drive naomi wattsAnd a final thought even if you hated the film it made a star of Naomi Watts who had been appearing in films for ten years but had never had a breakthrough role therefore it is responsible for some of the great roles she has had in recent years.


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