Sunday 17 November 2019
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Blame the Trump Mess on This Man, Alicia Vikander and Eva Green Take One Strange Trip, Horror Film or Snoozefest? Rare Chance to Remember Maudie Lewis and Rufus Sewell’s Lost Series Comes Home

Showtime’s hotly anticipated seven-part series The Loudest Voice begins Sunday, telling the story of the late Roger Ailes, advisor to three presidents and shaper of the modern Republican party and ultra-right-wing conservative broadcaster. He was eventually taken down by one of his reporters Gretchen Carlson whose claims of sexual harassment lead to his ouster. Outstanding makeup for Russell Crowe as Ailes makes the actor unrecognisable, with Naomi Watts and Carlson and Sienna Miller as his wife. 

Check out Alexis Bloom’s stomach-churning doc Divide and Conquer: The Roger Ailes Story goes a long way to explain what American politics has become. He boasts he created the new Fox network to “rile up the crazies”, get rich and settle personal scores. What a human being, eh? Ailes based the imagery of his Republican campaigns on the films of Nazi propagandist Leni Riefenstahl’s “Triumph of the Will” and he created the Obama birther fantasy.  It speculates that terror and pushed fueled him, memories of an abusive father.  He even threatened and terrorized his rival in the Cold Spring, New York mayoralty race, population 1,900.  Ailes’ wife called him “more important than America” and he bought it 100%. On Amazon Prime Video.

Alicia Vikander and Eva Green are estranged sisters in Lisa Langseth’s oddball mediation on death Euphoria. Green’s Emilie has invited Ines on a mysterious trip somewhere in Bavaria, a reparation gift to create a fresh start. Ines expects a spa as they helicopter into a remote rural property; Emilie is acting strangely and won’t answer questions about what’s they’re doing there. Owner Charlotte Rampling greets them and Ines is increasingly suspicious of the enforced Zen the woman enforces. She asks to leave but Emilie won’t hear of it, Ines is held captive, now facing the toughest situation of her life. Euphoria induces anything but, its melodramatic, dark and heavy, referencing David Bowie’s Rock ‘n Roll Suicide with a dash of cornpone. Not great.

Adam Brody and Amanda Crew headline Isabelle a.k.a. The Wanting a Canadian horror story about a happy young couple, expecting a baby who move into a charming small-town Victorian. As is well until the crazed neighbour lady (Sheila McCarthy) makes her presence felt with paranoid fantasies and warnings. The baby is stillborn, and all hell breaks loose. Her husband pleads with a priest for help as darkness falls and a waxy, grimacing ghoul makes faces at them from the window next door. Without a doubt this is the silliest story to be committed to film in recent memory, and McCarthy is wasted doing little but locking locks and looking freaked. Shot in part in Hamilton but don’t blame the city.

Anyone who saw the multi-award-winning biopic Maudie, with Sally Hawkins and Ethan Hawke, Aisling Walsh’ wonderful story of Nova Scotia primitive artist Maude Lewis, will want to see the new exhibit of her rarely seen works at the McMichael Collection in Kleinberg, Ontario. The exhibit starts June 29 and runs through January 2020.

Here’s a reminder of the remarkable woman that was Maudie. She suffered from severe juvenile arthritis, lived with a sadistic aunt and eventually runs away, taking a job as a homemaker for a local bayman Everett Lewis. They live in his one room shack in Marshalltown, Nova Scotia which Maudie fills with colourful, primitive paintings of outdoor scenes. An art dealer noticed and a career was born and today Lewis is one of Canada’s best-known folk artists. Great story and performances and her humble paintings of cows, houses, butterflies and birds are a joy.

A wonderful find! In 2012 the excellent three-part series Zen starring Rufus Sewell appeared on PBS then went missing. Well, its back, baby, on Britbox and I couldn’t be more excited that new viewers will discover it. Sewell plays Detective Aurelio Zen, a self-possessed, cool customer stationed in Rome. He’s investigating a murder which reaches into the highest echelons of politics, society and organised crime. While in the rural estate where a gruesome murder took place, Zen meets a mute feral woman who may hold key information. English actors use their native English accents, despite the fact that they are everyday workers in Italy’s capital. Same thing as Wallander in which the Swedish characters have English accents. It’s a folly that’s fascinating and mysterious and which I choose not to parse, rather just enjoy for the outrage.

Now on DVD the family film, Mia and the White Lion seems at first to be a sweet story about an English family running a lion farm in South African and their cute white lion cub who lives in the house. Young Mia has a special bond with Charlie but as he gets older and more powerful, Mia must let him live outside.  Her discourages the bond. Years later its clear Charlie is going to be sold or sent to a sanctuary. When Mia gets wind of the reality of the place Charlie’s sent to, she walks for days to rescue him and together they make an escape. Her father sold Charlie to a hunting farm where tourists shoot penned wild animals for trophies.  Together they search for a sanctuary where he can live in peace. Her relationship with the family takes years to mend.  Its powerful stuff watching star Daniah De Villiers interact with the lion actors so easily over the two-year shoot.  Gilles de Maistre’s warning about African hunting farms posing as sanctuaries is well-taken.

by @annebrodie

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