VENICE: What will win… and what should

Posted by · 2:13 pm · September 9th, 2011

This year’s Competition strand of the Venice Film comprised 23 films — a large-ish number by major festival standards, and yet it still feels remarkably thin. Admittedly, I’m viewing the field with a slight eyepatch on, having only seen 17 of the 23 films. Yet compared to last year’s lineup — where the successes ranged […]

Continue reading »

Filed in: Daily

Dr. Leigh and the women

Posted by · 6:50 pm · November 1st, 2010

I often hear Mike Leigh described as a great “women’s director,” though that’s really only half the truth. Vivid, probing male characters abound in Leigh films, often as vital counterpoints to female star turns (see Eddie Marsan in “Happy-Go-Lucky” or Timothy Spall in “Secrets and Lies”) but sometimes in center stage too: in “Naked,” David […]

Continue reading »

Filed in: Daily

Schnabel holds ‘Miral’ for Venice

Posted by · 6:12 am · April 15th, 2010

One of the more eyebrow-raising omissions from the Cannes official selection announced this morning was Julian Schnabel’s “Miral.” The New York artist’s biopic of Hind Husseini, with a cast including Hiam Abbass, Willem Dafoe and Freida Pinto, had been widely deemed a good bet for the competition lineup, given its lofty arthouse profile and the […]

Continue reading »

Filed in: Daily

Focus backs Mike Leigh’s latest

Posted by · 4:15 pm · April 30th, 2009

Here’s something to brighten the day. It would seem that a new Mike Leigh joint (sorry, I couldn’t resist) is on its way sooner rather than later — great news considering the four-year gap between “Vera Drake” and “Happy-Go-Lucky.” Screen International reports that Focus Features International has secured worldwide rights to the still-untitled project, and […]

Continue reading »

Filed in: Daily

INTERVIEW: Sally Hawkins

Posted by · 10:30 am · December 10th, 2008

“We didn’t necessarily set out to create someone as perpetually sunny as Poppy,” says Sally Hawkins of her radiant performance in Mike Leigh’s “Happy-Go-Lucky,” which is currently making waves in the awards race. “But Mike was very dismissive of doing anything maudlin or moody with this project. So the optimism came early on for her. […]

Continue reading »

Filed in: Featured · Interviews

INTERVIEW: Eddie Marsan

Posted by · 8:29 am · October 20th, 2008

It is somehow fitting that I meet Eddie Marsan not in the lounge of some swanky West End hotel or members’ club, but amid the worn wooden chairs and scuffed 1970s wallpaper of his local pub in the villagey West London suburb of Chiswick. For Marsan is not a movie star, but an actor — […]

Continue reading »

Filed in: Featured · Interviews

More than just happy

Posted by · 4:41 pm · October 4th, 2008

I’ve already discussed how many critics seem to be misinterpreting Mike Leigh’s “Happy-Go-Lucky” and its protagonist, Poppy, by interpreting it as a sheer feelgood work — and in doing so, missing much of the film’s complex, subtle social observation. So I’m glad to see that Mike Leigh has addressed the issue at a NYFF press […]

Continue reading »

Filed in: Daily

‘Wrestler’: Is Golden Lion just the beginning?

Posted by · 2:17 pm · September 6th, 2008

As Kris just reported, Darren Aronosky’s “The Wrestler” has won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival. No surprise there — in what was widely deemed a lukewarm festival, Aronofsky’s film, which only screened yesterday on the Lido, was one of the few outright critical sensations. What is surprising is that Mickey Rourke, whose […]

Continue reading »

Filed in: Daily

‘Happy’ season for Miramax?

Posted by · 3:58 am · June 5th, 2008

I’ve been meaning to write about Mike Leigh’s “Happy-Go-Lucky” ever since I saw it some three weeks ago, but I haven’t found a window until now. I’m off to Berlin on the weekend and I’d really like to get this off my plate before I leave, so amid all the packing, I thought I’d hammer […]

Continue reading »

Filed in: Daily

REVIEW: “Happy-Go-Lucky” (***)

Posted by · 10:40 pm · April 30th, 2008

The common line in the British press so far on “Happy-Go-Lucky,” Mike Leigh’s alternately fascinating and frustrating new film, is that it’s a departure for him — an exuberant comic revelation following the spare, precise despair of “All or Nothing” and “Vera Drake.” How quickly we forget. Only nine years ago, Leigh gave us the […]

Continue reading »

Filed in: Reviews