Welcome to another installment of Movies, Movies, Movies!
Son of the Bride (2001) (El hijo de la novia – original title)
Starring: Ricardo Darin, Hector Alterio, Norma Aleandro, Eduardo Blanco, Natalia Verbeke, Gimena Nobile, David Masajnik, Claudia Fontan, Atilio Pozzobon, Salo Pasik, Humberto Serrano, and many more.
Director: Juan José Campanella
Genres: comedy, drama
Synopsis: Rafael (played by Darin) is the central figure and the son in the title of the film. Rafael has taken over the ownership and operation of the restaurant his parents started and made very successful. When the story begins, running the business is hands-down first priority for Rafael. His mother now has dementia and lives in a nursing home. His father visits his mother every day without fail. Rafael’s girlfriend would like more than the casual relationship she has with him. His daughter would like her dad more involved in her life. Rafael’s ex-wife has a new boyfriend who threatens to become more of a dad to his daughter than he is. Also coming upon the scene is a long lost childhood friend who needs an ear to bend after the loss of his wife and child. Rafael is being pulled in too many directions, especially when his dad decides he want to give his wife a church wedding. When dad asks Rafael to help him, Rafael has to decide what is important in his life and what can be left behind.
Impressions: Son of the Bride is a heartwarming family drama. The acting is first rate, with Darin easily filling the role of the planet upon which everyone else revolves around. The atmosphere is homey, the nursing home where mother lives is staffed by friendly helpful people, and the young daughter is charming without being cheesy.
Etc.: Made in Argentina, Spanish language with English subtitles; the director plays Rafael’s doctor in the film.
Awards: 35 wins and 12 nominations
Slow West (2015)
Starring: Kodi Smit-McPhee, Michael Fassbender, Caren Pistorius, Aorere Paki, Jeffrey Thomas, Hayden Frost, Kieran Charnock, Joseph Passi, Sam Manzanza, Tawanda Manyimo, David T. Lim, Bryan Michael Mills, Madeleine Sami, Eddie Campbell, Ben Mendelsohn, Michael Whalley, Jon Cummings, Brian Sergent, Edwin Wright, Ken Blackburn, Karl Willetts, Brooke Williams, Rory McCann, Kalani Queypo, Stuart Martin, James Martin, and many more.
Director: John Maclean
Genres: western, adventure
Synopsis: Back in Scotland, Jay (played by Smit-McPhee), the son of Lord and Lady Cavendish, is sweet on Rose (played by Pisotorius) who is the daughter of a commoner. When Lord Cavendish comes to fetch Jay from Rose’s house and Jay refuses to go, an argument breaks out and Rose’s dad shoves Lord Cavendish, who stumbles backward and is killed instantly when his head hits a rock. Jay runs off and leaves Rose and her dad to be charged with murder. Rose and dad escape Scotland to America but their wanted status follows them. When Jay later travels to America to find Rose, he’s a babe in the woods, a sheltered young man whose gentle heart knows no mistrust. As he muddles his way West he narrowly escapes death or worse by the grace of God. His luck is running out when he comes across Silas (played by Fassbender,) a seasoned cowboy who is also an ex gang member and current bounty hunter who happens to be hunting Rose and her dad for the $2,000 reward. Silas offers to get Jay to his true love safely for a fee with the intent to get Rose and dad – dead or alive – and collect the bounty. Silas’ old gang and every other bounty hunter in the territory are also looking to collect. The tension builds as all parties converge on their targets.
Impressions: I truly enjoyed “Slow West.” Smit-McPhee as the love-smitten young man is a good casting choice. It’s easy to care about him and want him to reconnect with his dear Rose. I loved seeing Fassbender in the jaded cowboy role as it was a much-appreciated palate cleansing from his David role in the Alien movies. He played Silas just right. Mendelsohn as Payne, the new leader of Silas’ old gang, has a standout role. There are several neat quirky bits in this movie that elevate it from something good to something great.
Etc.: filmed in New Zealand and Scotland; this is the director’s first feature film;
Awards: 7 wins and 20 nominations
Cut Bank (2014)
Starring: Liam Hemsworth, Michael Stuhlbarg, Bruce Dern, John Malkovich, Joyce Robbins, Christian Distefano, Aiden Longworth, Teresa Palmer, Billy Bob Thornton, Chilton Crane, David Burke, King Lau, Steven Hair, Len Crowther, Holly Turner, Oliver Platt, Matthew Brennan, and many more.
Director: Matt Shakman
Genres: crime, dark comedy
Synopsis: Dwayne (played by Hemsworth) and Cassandra (played by Palmer) are a young couple living in the small town of Cut Bank where not much happens. Dwayne cares for his disabled, non-communicative father but hates it. Cassandra is the sweet daughter of rich bully, Big Stan Steeley (played by Thornton,) who thinks Dwayne is a punk and beneath his daughter’s attention. Dwayne is filming Cassandra in a wheat field when the murder of Georgie (played by Dern,) the mailman, takes place that he fortuitously happens to catch on film. The murder of a federal employee pays out a million dollars if evidence is given to help capture the killer – which Dwayne is counting on to get out of Cut Bank. Things take a wicked turn when it is discovered it was no coincidence Dwayne captured the footage. Things become even more twisted when a domino of people end up mysteriously dead around the small town where nothing ever happens. Sheriff Vogel (played by Malkovich) would appear to be way out of his depth in trying to figure out what’s going on.
Impressions: I truly loved this movie. It reminds me a lot of the Coen Brother’s movie, Fargo. One minute you want to laugh and the next chills are going up your spine. There are a lot of moving pieces in this one, but like watching the gears in a clock work together, it’s such fun to watch it tick. Sheriff Vogel is by far the most compelling player of the bunch. I appreciate the time the writer took to develop his character.
Etc.: “Cut Bank” took two years to film and it was filmed in Edmonton and Innisfree, Alberta, Canada. Warning: some scenes of graphic violence.
Awards: 2 wins and 3 nominations