Monday 1/18/2016 January, 2016 by Francesca Rudkin
This month Julianne Moore and Tilda Swinton star in the Rialto Channel Film Star Face Off. Every Friday night a Moore film will face off against a Swinton film, giving you the chance to admire and respect the work of these fine actresses. Swinton and Moore have been involved with an astounding list of exceptional mainstream and indie films over the years. While Moore made a name for herself on an American television soap opera, it was Swinton’s early collaboration with British iconoclast Derek Jarman (Caravaggio) that turned her into an international art house icon, and yet throughout their careers both have made brave choices by selecting complex, real characters to portray. It seems almost disrespectful to pit these veterans up against each other, but it does mean we get the opportunity to watch some of their best work from over the past couple of decades. This week Moore’s The Kids Are Alright is up against Swinton’s Stephanie Daley and in anticipation, here’s a brief profile on these remarkable actresses.
Name: Katherine Mathilda Swinton
Provenance: London, England, then Scotland.
Training Ground: Edinburgh's renowned Traverse Theatre and the Royal Shakespeare Company.
Defining Moments: Most of her films, and sleeping for a week inside a glass box in the Serpentine Gallery
Oscar: Best Supporting Actress for Michael Clayton.
Next Up: Coen Brother’s Hail, Caesar! and Scott Derrickson’s Doctor Strange
Quote: Why cinema is good for the soul: ‘What it is for me is this amazingly humane opportunity to put yourself in the shoes of somebody else. It’s no more complicated and no less powerful than that.’
Name: Julie Anne Smith
Provenance: Fayetteville, North Carolina,
Training Ground: Franny Hughes (and sometimes her twin sister) on As the World Turns soap opera.
Defining Moment: Delivering a monologue to her screen husband, Matthew Modine, while naked from the waist down in Robert Altman’s film Short Cuts.
Oscar: Best Actress for Still Alice (her fifth nomination)
Next Up: George Clooney’s Suburbicon (written by the Coen Brothers)
Quote: ‘The audience doesn't come to see you, they come to see themselves.’
Here are a few highlights for the week:
In Order of Disappearance (Kraftioten)… Monday 18th January, 8.30pm
Stellan Skarsgård stars in this black comedy about a simple snowplough-driver who takes on one of Norway’s most notorious crime bosses. Just after he’s named Citizen of the Year for his services to the community, Nils Dickman’s son is killed by a drugs cartel – a case of mistaken identity. Dickman, a nice, quiet member of the society, responds in a rather unexpected way – he goes on a killing spree. Taking out one by one anyone that had anything to do with his son’s murderer, his vigilante routine accidentally starts a war between the two drug cartels in the neighbourhood, the vegan gangster The Count and the Serbian mafia boss known as Papa. The result is a film filled with cold blooded and brutal violence, but the there’s just enough dry humour here to also put a smile on your face – think Fargo meets Quentin Tarantino. Directed by Hans Petter Moland, In Order of Disappearance was released in 2014 and spent the year on the Festival circuit – most likely one of the lighter films on the scheduled. However, not only is it enjoyable watching Stellan Skarsgård in fine form, but the scenery is beautiful and lovers of Scandinavian light wood styled interiors will find plenty to admire here.
The Kids Are All Right … Friday 22nd January, 8.30pm
Nominated for four Oscars at the 2011 Academy Awards, The Kids Are All Right stars Annette Bening and Julianne Moore as a lesbian couple who are taken by surprise when their teenage kids, conceived via artificial insemination, seek out their biological father, played by Mark Ruffalo. Written and directed by Lisa Cholodenko, The Kids Are All Right is a warm, witty and accessible indie feature film that examines the postmodern family. The Kids Are All Right reminds us that all families and marriages are flawed and complicated, regardless of the dynamics or make up. The critics loved the smart script and pitch perfect performances and considering this dramedy was made for just US$4.5 million and grossed just under US$35 million at the box office, it would be fair to say it was a commercial success as well.
Escobar: Paradise Lost … Saturday 23rd January, 8.30pm
Escobar: Paradise Lost is the directorial debut from writer director Andrea Di Stefano, and stars Benicio Del Toro as the infamous drugs overlord and politician Pablo Escobar. Tel Toro is absolutely fantastic as the manipulative and quietly dangerous leader; one minute playing in the pool with his kids and the next hanging people up by their feet and setting them alight. It’s surely one of the best performances of 2015, but regrettably, Escobar is almost like a supporting player in his own biography with Andrea Di Stefano choosing to tell his story from the point of view of Nick, a Canadian surfer played by a wooden and guileless Josh Hutcherson (The Hunger Games). Nick arrives in Columbia with his brother and friends with the intention of living by the beach and teaching surfing. Nick meets and falls in love with a local girl called Maria, who just happens to be Escobar’s niece, and it’s not long before Nick is welcomed into the kingpin’s family. The film takes place in the lead up to Escobar’s negotiated surrender to authorities in 1991 – and this gives us a much needed tension filled thriller like ending. It’s a solid debut from Di Stefano, but it’s Benicio Del Toro that makes this film.