Review: Alice Rohrwacher’s ‘The Wonders’ Is an Intriguing and Sometimes Bizarre Deep Dive into Family Dynamics

The Wonders_PosterIt’s been a while since I rapped at you all, so it’s nice to get back on the horse with a really interesting film. Alice Rohrwacher‘s The Wonders is as unique a film as I’ve seen this year, one in which we have all been overloaded with superheroes and super spies. It’s little films like these that occupy the nether regions of the cinematic universe that glue it all together.

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The film follows a family of beekeepers in rural Italy trying to make an honest living and create something beautiful from the land they inhabit. The patriarch, Wolfgang (Sam Louwyck), ostensibly runs the operation, but it’s really his talented daughter Gelsomina (Maria Alexandra Lungu) that is brains of the operation. She has a preternatural understanding of the bees and the honey harvesting operations, something her father seems to have to resent. Along with her sisters and a family friend, the family trundles along doing their best to build a strong business. Two things disrupt their lives and throw the world they know into upheaval – the family takes in Martin (Luis Huilca), a juvenile delinquent from Germany, and the interest of a television show looking for the best Countryside Wonders. Both promise much needed money to upgrade their operations and help provide a stronger base. However, Wolfgang doesn’t want to train the boy (that duty falls to Gelsomina) and he doesn’t want to whore out his family in an effort to win what equates to a reality TV show competition, something that is at odds with nearly everyone else in the family. As one might expect, the family dynamics shift and change and very few things go according to plan.

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While it might not seem that a drama about beekeeping could hold one’s interest for the 105 minute running time of the film, I can assure you it does. Rohrwacher‘s bold choices in location as well as the incredible cinematography work of DP Hélène Louvart (who also shot Wim Wnders‘ incredible doc Pina) creates a singularly unique experience. The color palette mimics the feeling of the characters, the land they inhabit. You feel totally immersed in the experience of these characters because Rohrwacher orchestrates all of these components like a symphony.

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One of my favorite parts of the film is when the family, who is swimming after a long day of tending hives comes across the TV show shooting promotional spots for their upcoming contest. The ethereal nature of the shoot (seen in the picture above) is compounded by the presence of Milly (Monica Bellucci, whom I would argue is at the top of the list of the most beautiful women on Earth). Her presence in every scene she appears in carries with it the most dreamlike feeling, one that experienced most of all by Gelsomina. This adds an entirely new level of depth to the film and to the characters experiences.

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This is a really interesting film and one quite worthy of catching should you have the chance. This film is being distributed by Oscilloscope Laboratories and The Match Factory, both top quality outfits. This film hit theaters on both coasts last week. Hopefully it will be expanding into your area soon.

Get there, people.

Review: ‘Spectre’

SpectreDaniel Craig has spent much of the past few months answering questions to his future as the iconic super agent 007, and much of what we’ve heard is a tired actor ready to move on from the franchise, and maybe that’s not a bad idea. Coming off the biggest film in this storied franchise’s history, Skyfall, director Sam Mendes returns with star Craig with Spectre, and action packed thrill ride that feels more like a retread of past Bond films rather than it’s skillfully crafted predecessor.

Bond (Daniel Craig) runs along the rooftops in pursuit of Sciarra in Mexico City in Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures/Columbia Pictures/EON Productions’ action adventure SPECTRE.

Bond (Daniel Craig) runs along the rooftops in pursuit of Sciarra in Mexico City in Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures/Columbia Pictures/EON Productions’ action adventure SPECTRE.

Spectre begins with Bond (Craig) tracking a group of terrorists lead by an assassin named Marco Sciarra, who are planning to to blow up a stadium full of people during the Day of the Dead celebration in Mexico. The pursuit of Sciarra leads Bond to an ever larger revelation as he comes in possession of a ring with a mysterious octopus symbol on it. On his return to London, Bond is placed on indefinitely leave by M (Ralph Fiennes) after his actions in Mexico. We meet a new player in the Bond universe, C (Andrew Scott), the head of the Joint Intelligence Service, which consists of the recently merged MI5 and MI6. C is intent on disbanding the 00 program and replacing it with “Nine Eyes”, an intelligence co-operation agreement between nine countries set to provide unprecedented surveillance resources to these governments.

Ralph Fiennes in Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures/Columbia Pictures/EON Productions’ action adventure SPECTRE.

Ralph Fiennes in Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures/Columbia Pictures/EON Productions’ action adventure SPECTRE.

Bond goes dark and continues to investigate the mysterious organization that he comes to know as Spectre, an organization of powerful people headed by Oberhauser (Christoph Waltz), a man that seems all too familiar to Bond. To infiltrate Spectre, Bond must confront one of his previous foes, Mr White (Jesper Christensen), whose daughter, Madeleine Swann (Léa Seydoux), can help Bond find the answers he’s searching for. The two must travel the globe to follow the clues they hope will lead them to uncover Spectre’s plan, but an assassin and a high-ranking member of Spectre named Mr Hinx (Dave Bautista) is in hot pursuit.

Dave Bautista in Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures/Columbia Pictures/EON Productions’ action adventure SPECTRE.

Dave Bautista in Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures/Columbia Pictures/EON Productions’ action adventure SPECTRE.

Overall, Spectre is a bit of a mess and it relies on way too many Bond cliches, but it’s still a Bond movie with a lot of enjoyable action sequences. The fun about Bond is, of course, seeing the character in action, but if you’re expecting something more groundbreaking than Skyfall, you’ll be left disappointed.

Stars:

3 out of 5

After Credit Scene?

No

Trailer:

Bond (Daniel Craig) runs along the rooftops in pursuit of Sciarra in Mexico City in Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures/Columbia Pictures/EON Productions’ action adventure SPECTRE.

Bond (Daniel Craig) runs along the rooftops in pursuit of Sciarra in Mexico City in Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures/Columbia Pictures/EON Productions’ action adventure SPECTRE.

Final Trailer for ‘Spectre’ Has Arrived!

Spectre

EON Productions, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Sony Pictures Entertainment have released have released the brand new Spectre trailer and we have it for you below!

A cryptic message from the past sends James Bond on a rogue mission to Mexico City and eventually Rome, where he meets Lucia Sciarra (Monica Bellucci), the beautiful and forbidden widow of an infamous criminal. Bond infiltrates a secret meeting and uncovers the existence of the sinister organisation known as SPECTRE.

Meanwhile back in London, Max Denbigh (Andrew Scott), the new head of the Centre for National Security, questions Bond’s actions and challenges the relevance of MI6, led by M (Ralph Fiennes). Bond covertly enlists Moneypenny (Naomie Harris) and Q (Ben Whishaw) to help him seek out Madeleine Swann (Léa Seydoux), the daughter of his old nemesis Mr White (Jesper Christensen), who may hold the clue to untangling the web of SPECTRE. As the daughter of an assassin, she understands Bond in a way most others cannot.

As Bond ventures towards the heart of SPECTRE, he learns of a chilling connection between himself and the enemy he seeks, played by Christoph Waltz.

Spectre hits theaters and IMAX on November 6, 2015.

007 is Back in the New Trailer for the Upcoming Sequel ‘Spectre’

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EON Productions, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Sony Pictures Entertainment have released have released the brand new Spectre trailer and we have it for you below!

A cryptic message from the past sends James Bond on a rogue mission to Mexico City and eventually Rome, where he meets Lucia Sciarra (Monica Bellucci), the beautiful and forbidden widow of an infamous criminal. Bond infiltrates a secret meeting and uncovers the existence of the sinister organisation known as SPECTRE.

Meanwhile back in London, Max Denbigh (Andrew Scott), the new head of the Centre for National Security, questions Bond’s actions and challenges the relevance of MI6, led by M (Ralph Fiennes). Bond covertly enlists Moneypenny (Naomie Harris) and Q (Ben Whishaw) to help him seek out Madeleine Swann (Léa Seydoux), the daughter of his old nemesis Mr White (Jesper Christensen), who may hold the clue to untangling the web of SPECTRE. As the daughter of an assassin, she understands Bond in a way most others cannot.

As Bond ventures towards the heart of SPECTRE, he learns of a chilling connection between himself and the enemy he seeks, played by Christoph Waltz.

Spectre hits theaters and IMAX on November 6, 2015.

Battle of The Actors Round 1 Match-Ups Part 8! Final Match-Up of Round 1!

Untitled-1Last Week Orson Welles, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Johnny Depp and Bill Murray moved on with Robert Downey Jr. beating Sean Penn to move on in the bonus match-up. This week, it’s the final women’s matchup of the first round! Lets get it on!

Brad’s Bracket:

Brad's Bracket- Sarah Jessica Parker vs Fay Wray

  • Sarah Jessica Parker (64%, 14 Votes)
  • Fay Wray (36%, 8 Votes)

Total Voters: 22

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Jeremy’s Bracket:

Jeremy's Bracket- Monica Bellucci vs Elizabeth Taylor

  • Elizabeth Taylor (90%, 19 Votes)
  • Monica Bellucci (10%, 2 Votes)

Total Voters: 21

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Liz’s Bracket:

Liz's Bracket: Vera Farmiga vs Tatiana Maslany

  • Vera Farmiga (63%, 12 Votes)
  • Tatiana Maslany (37%, 7 Votes)

Total Voters: 19

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Melissas’ Bracket:

Melissa's Bracket- Helen Mirren vs Thandie Newton

  • Helen Mirren (100%, 20 Votes)
  • Thandie Newton (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 20

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Michael’s Bracket:

Michael's Bracket- Eva Green vs Marion Cotilaard

  • Eva Green (55%, 11 Votes)
  • Marion Cotilaard (45%, 9 Votes)

Total Voters: 20

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James Bond 24 Cast and Title Announced!

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And there it is..while you were sleeping, Albert R. Broccoli’s EON Productions, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios and Sony Pictures Entertainment announced that the 24th James Bond film will be titled Spectre! This particular name that will no doubt peak the interest of Bond fans everywhere. SPECTRE (SPecial Executive for Counter-intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion) is a fictional global terrorist organisation featured in the James Bond novels by Ian Fleming, as well as the films and video games based on those novels.The group is led by evil genius and supervillain Ernst Stavro Blofeld. Read More →