Categories Film News & Reviews In the Valley of Elah

Drama examines war’s hidden toll

Paul Haggis, the co-writer and director of the volatile Crash, essays the toll of the Iraq war in In the Valley of Elah.

That premise suggests horrific combat scenes and explosive emotions among a range of characters, all caught with the intense close-ups and jerky editing rhythms that propelled Crash.

Yet Haggis’ new film, which is set almost entirely stateside, is slow, somber and discreetly framed. It takes its cue from its central character, a retired Army sergeant who served in the military police and for whom ironclad control is first nature.

Tommy Lee Jones pours his underspoken authority into the painful role of Hank Deerfield, an unapologetic patriot who will interrupt an important errand to see that an incorrectly displayed American flag is flown properly.

Continue reading Drama examines war’s hidden toll

Categories Battle in Seattle Film News & Reviews Interviews

Charlize Theron and Stuart Townsend Talk ‘Battle in Seattle’

On December 10, 2006, singer-actor André Benjamin of Outkast fame donned a cardboard turtle suit and joined a group of fellow “protesters” on the streets of Seattle. Seven years before, tens of thousands of real demonstrators had descended upon the Seattle Convention Center and surrounding hotels to protest the actions of the World Trade Organization (WTO). The turtle-clad demonstrators — whose costumes highlighted the plight of turtles killed by shrimp nets — joined other anti-globalization vocalists and rallied against the leaders of the WTO, the International Monetary Fund, and the World Bank in sometimes violent clashes with police. Benjamin’s participation in the re-enactment of the events of November 30, 1999, was for Battle in Seattle, a feature film by first-time helmer Stuart Townsend (perhaps best known for his role as Lestat in Queen of the Damned that stars an ensemble cast including Woody Harrelson, Michelle Rodriguez, and Martin Henderson, as well as Townsend’s long-term girlfriend, Academy Award–winner Charlize Theron.

Continue reading Charlize Theron and Stuart Townsend Talk ‘Battle in Seattle’

Categories Interviews

Just A Minute With: Actress Charlize Theron

Oscar-winner Charlize Theron has shown a range of talent acting in thrillers and in movies on social issues but her latest film about the Iraq war reveals another side to the actress — her political awareness.

Theron, 32, won the best actress Oscar of 2005 for playing a female serial killer in “Monster,” and her new movie, “In the Valley of Elah,” which opened last week, looks at the impact of the Iraq war on returning soldiers and their families.

The South African actress, who also acquired U.S. citizenship this year, took some time to talk to Reuters about the movie and her interest in politics and social issues:

Continue reading Just A Minute With: Actress Charlize Theron

Categories Site Awards

SOTM at Nicole’s Magic

A great big “thank you” goes out to Jess for making us the featured site at Nicole’s Magic this month. If you aren’t familiar with the site, then you should definitely head on over and check it out because it is a fantastic site dedicated to the lovely Nicole Kidman. 🙂

Categories Film News & Reviews In the Valley of Elah

Charlize Theron Journeys ‘In the Valley of Elah’

Charlize Theron plays another put upon working woman in In the Valley of Elah. The only female detective in a police precinct, her character, Det. Sanders, faces sexism and resistance from her colleagues and superiors. She colors her hair dark and wears long sleeves and pants to cover her fabulous curves, but it’s not about how she looks.

“Paul [Haggis] and I talked a little bit when we started to talk about Sanders. I said to Paul, ‘People make such a big deal about it. The irony of it is when it comes to finding a character for me, it’s just about the facts.’ You look at this woman, so it’s not about how can we make me look different? I think the great thing about being an actor, it’s not about that. It’s about how do we get access to the truth. To me, that’s always the biggest question whether it’s where is the scene going or how do I physically look or how are we going to facilitate Paul in telling this story correctly.”

Continue reading Charlize Theron Journeys ‘In the Valley of Elah’