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Adela Quested (Judy Davis) finishes A Passage to India in the same manner she started the movie: her face is deformed by a window full of drops of rain. In both cases, she is looking at something more or less out of frame, blurred or uncertain, imaginary or physical. The placement of the camera, in the beginning and in the end, is at a different location. When the film starts, we are inside of a traveling agency and Adela is walking past the panoramic window. She stops for a second and stares at a large-sized model of a ship. We can’t see the ship entirely: just some chimneys, masts and ropes. We only know this is a ship because the previous shot—the first shot of the picture, actually—showed us this model.In the end of the movie, Adela is reading a letter concerning events that we have seen. »
- Victor Bruno
Hey, Queen: Herzog Can’t Convey Passion in the Desert
Acclaim does not seem to be the fate of Werner Herzog’s latest film, the long gestating and independently produced Queen of the Desert, a biopic of explorer Gertrude Bell, a name holding more reverence abroad and to aficionados of British history. In the German auteur’s first narrative feature since the delightfully weird 2009 double trouble duo of Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans and My Son My Son What Have Ye Done?, Herzog’s attempt at crowning Bell with a rightful epic legacy of her own falls short in many regards, though most noticeably with stupendously distracting casting choices. Herzog has purportedly refashioned his historical drama with a more streamlined cut. Despite a number of ambitious elements evident throughout the oddly textured feature, it remains a disappointing entry from the usually enigmatic director.
Beginning in 1902, Oxford educated aristocrat »
- Nicholas Bell
Werner Herzog has had one of the most fascinating careers in Hollywood history, which spans over 50 years. He has directed Oscar-nominated documentaries (Encounters at the End of the World), written and directed a unique slate of narrative features (Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans, Rescue Dawn) and even portrayed distinct characters in front of the camera (The Grand, Jack Reacher). The multi-hyphenate returns behind the lens to direct his first feature since 2009's My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done? with Queen of the Desert, which brings the story of Gertrude Bell to the big screen. She is well known as an important historical figure, whose travels and writings helped shape Middle East countries such as Jordan, Syria and Iraq in the early 1900s, but this sprawling biopic, which screened as part of AFI Fest in Hollywood on Sunday night, is plagued by wooden performances from an all-star »
★★★★☆ "Only two kinds of creature get fun in the desert. Bedouins and gods", the exquisitely cynical diplomat Mr. Dryden (Claude Rains) tells T.E. Lawrence (Peter O'Toole) in David Lean's Lawrence of Arabia (1962), "and you're neither." He could have added a third category of desert tourists: directors. The desert is a supremely photogenic location and filmmakers as diverse as Bernardo Bertolucci, George Lucas and Anthony Minghella have all basked on the shifting sands and now Brit-born Abu Nowar joins their ranks with Theeb (2014). It's 1916 and the world is at war but that feels very remote to Theeb (Jacir Eid), a young Bedouin who lives with his brother Hussein (Hussein Salameh) and his tribe.
- CineVue UK
Robert Pattinson: Actor to play E.T. astronaut. Robert Pattinson to star for Claire Denis If all goes as planned, Robert Pattinson will get to star in French screenwriter-director Claire Denis' recently announced – and as yet untitled – English-language sci-fier, penned by Denis and White Teeth author Zadie Smith and her novelist husband Nick Laird, from an original idea by Denis and writing partner Jean-Pol Fargeau. Among Claire Denis' credits are the interracial love story Chocolat (1988), the sociopolitical drama White Material (2009), and the generally well-regarded Billy Budd reboot Beau Travail (1999), winner of the César Award for Best Cinematography (Agnès Godard). Robert Pattinson, for his part, is best known for playing the veggie vampire in the wildly popular Twilight movies costarring Kristen Stewart and Taylor Lautner. Robert Pattinson, astronaut In Claire Denis' film, Robert Pattinson is slated to play an E.T. astronaut. But what happens to said astronaut? Does »
- Zac Gille
Since the final Twilight film opened in 2012, Robert Pattinson has found consistent work in artier fare, taking roles in David Cronenberg's stoic adaptation of Don DeLillo's Cosmopolis (2012), The Rover (2014), Cronenberg's Maps to the Stars (2014), the upcoming Dennis Stock and James Dean biopic Life, and as T.E. Lawrence in Werner Herzog's upcoming Queen of the Desert. Pattinson will continue on that path, taking the lead role in acclaimed French director Claire Denis's first English-language film, penned by Denis, Zadie Smith, and Smith's husband, Nick Laird. Pattinson will play an astronaut, according to Screen Daily, in the sci-fi film that takes place in a "future that seems like the present." Denis, an art-house auteur known for her slow, elliptical narratives and stygian tones, has played with genre films before, notably her brilliant pseudo-vampire film Trouble Every Day and last year's relentlessly cryptic Bastards, so there's no telling how Denis defines "science-fiction. »
- Greg Cwik
Omar Sharif in 'Doctor Zhivago.' Egyptian star Omar Sharif, 'The Karate Kid' producer Jerry Weintraub: Brief career recaps A little late in the game – and following the longish Theodore Bikel article posted yesterday – below are brief career recaps of a couple of film veterans who died in July 2015: actor Omar Sharif and producer Jerry Weintraub. A follow-up post will offer an overview of the career of peplum (sword-and-sandal movie) actor Jacques Sernas, whose passing earlier this month has been all but ignored by the myopic English-language media. Omar Sharif: Film career beginnings in North Africa The death of Egyptian film actor Omar Sharif at age 83 following a heart attack on July 10 would have been ignored by the English-language media (especially in the U.S.) as well had Sharif remained a star within the Arabic-speaking world. After all, an "international" star is only worth remembering »
- Andre Soares
Egyptian-born actor Omar Sharif has died, suffering a heart attack in a Cairo hospital at the age of 83. In his '60s heyday, he played lead roles in "Doctor Zhivago" and "Funny Girl," and had one of the great star-making introductions in movie history with his role as Sherif Ali in David Lean's epic "Lawrence of Arabia." "Lawrence" wasn't Sharif's first film, as he had been working in his home country for years before. But it was his first English-language role, and his introductory scene is perhaps that film's signature moment, in the way Lean's camera slowly and patiently turns Ali from a dot on the horizon into this figure who instantly horrifies Peter O'Toole's T.E. Lawrence. The effect isn't the same on a computer (let alone a phone) as it was up on the big screen, but it's still something to see: Also, years later, the Zaz »
- Alan Sepinwall
The full trailer for Werner Herzog’s “Queen of the Desert” is here, which means Robert Pattinson fans need to go ahead and push play to catch a longer glimpse at his T.E. Lawrence impression. But don’t expect him to be the one swinging with the swoons in “Queen” because the romantic spotlight has actually gone instead to Nicole Kidman and James Franco (and sort of Damian Lewis, too). The pair portray Gertrude Bell and her lover, and while Franco might be the multi-hyphenate Irl, it’s her character that does all the things in the movie, including writing, archaeology, exploring, cartography, an . »
Atlas Distribution plans a September 2015 release for Werner Herzog's portrait of British Intelligence officer and cartographer Gertrude Bell "Queen of the Desert." But don't expect an awards candidate here. Despite kudos for Nicole Kidman's performance as Bell, the romantic drama opened grimly at the 2015 Berlin Film Festival. Kidman stars as Bell opposite Robert Pattinson as T.E. Lawrence (better known as Lawrence of Arabia) and James Franco as British army officer Henry Cadogan. Kidman's buddy Naomi Watts was reportedly originally cast in the role of Bell before it went to fellow Aussie Kidman. Damian Lewis costars. Herzog penned and directed the $36 million epic, which wrapped in Spring 2014 (around the time when we hoped to see the film at his Telluride stomping grounds) and was shot in Morocco, Jordan and London. This is Herzog's first narrative feature since 2009's hilarious, acid entertainment "Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans" starring. »
- Ryan Lattanzio
"It is something that you in your world would never understand..." Atlas Distribution has debuted a new Us trailer for Werner Herzog's Queen of the Desert, starring Nicole Kidman as the legendary Gertrude Bell, who was an important figure in Middle East relations in the early 1900s. This isn't the first trailer we've featured, however the other trailer was an international version, this new one has a much more epic, Lawrence of Arabia-esque feel. Which is what they're really selling it like, with Robert Pattinson playing T.E. Lawrence and everything, but it's really a story about Bell's life. The cast includes James Franco, Damian Lewis and Jenny Agutter. This trailer does really give everything its got to try and sell tickets. Here's the official Us trailer for Werner Herzog's Queen of the Desert, found on Atlas' YouTube: The film tells the story of Gertrude Bell (1868-1926) who, »
- Alex Billington
Read More: Berlin Review: Why 'Queen of the Desert,' Starring Nicole Kidman, is Werner Herzog's Worst Movie in Years Werner Herzog and Nicole Kidman are bringing the larger-than-life heroine Gertrude Bell to the big screen in "Queen of the Desert." The drama co-stars James Franco, Robert Pattinson and Damian Lewis. Pattinson's character, T.E. Lawrence, was iconically portrayed by Peter O'Toole in the 1962 film, "Lawrence of Arabia." The film's official synopsis reads: "The film tells the story of Gertrude Bell (1868-1926) who, as historian, novelist and member of the British secret service, played a decisive role around 1920 in setting the course for the new political order in the Middle East...Predestined to be a mediator between the Orient and the British Empire, she contributes to defining the new borders in the region after the First World War. And then love enters her life. Werner Herzog uses the vast desert landscapes to depict the. »
- Kaeli Van Cott
Werner Herzog’s last actual drama was way back in 2009 with My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done, a thriller that is (literally) miles away from his latest. Queen of the Desert is a historical biopic on the life of Gertrude Bell, a British adventurer and scientist who explored the Middle East at the dawn of the 20th Century.
Nicole Kidman plays Bell in what looks to be an award-caliber performance, alongside James Franco, Damian Lewis, and Robert Pattinson channeling his best Peter O’Toole impression as T.E. Lawrence, Aka Lawrence of Arabia. The first trailer for the film has been released following its World Premiere at the Berlin Film Festival, where early reviews were notably rough (a dismal 38 on Metacritic), even for a Herzog movie.
Queen of the Desert opens September 3 in Germany and is expected to have a 2015 Us release date, though none has been announced yet. »
- Brian Welk
The first trailer has been released for Werner Herzog’s long awaited "Queen of the Desert," the biopic of legendary historian, writer, archaeologist, administrator, spy and adventurer Gertrude Bell who was a key figure in the establishment of several Middle East dynasties and even nation states in the early 20th century.
Nicole Kidman takes on the role here, joined by Robert Pattinson as T.E. Lawrence and the likes of Damian Lewis and James Franco in a film which premiered at the Berlin International Film Festival to mixed response. A limited release is currently targeting a late September U.S. bow.
- Garth Franklin
David Stratton is the curator and patron of the inaugural Great Britain Retro Film Festival. Nineteen classic British films, rarely seen on the big screen, will feature in the festival from August 6-19 at the Hayden Orpheum Cremorne, Melbourne's Cinema Nova and the Windsor in Perth. Stratton says there will be many highlights, not least the opportunity to see some of these classic films painstakingly digitally restored and presented for the first time in Australia in the 4K format. .I.m really excited about this retrospective film festival, particularly as I spent my first twenty years in Britain and have always been very fond of British movies. To see this collection of films, on the big screen, as they were intended to be seen, is indeed a rare pleasure," he says. Highlights of the inaugural Great Britain Retro Film Festival include:
. Australian premiere screenings of The Tales of Hoffmann (1951), the »
- Staff writer
Sound on Sight undertook a massive project, compiling ranked lists of the most influential, unforgettable, and exciting action scenes in all of cinema. There were hundreds of nominees spread across ten different categories and a multi-week voting process from 11 of our writers. The results: 100 essential set pieces, sequences, and scenes from blockbusters to cult classics to arthouse obscurities.
Whether storming a beach or a besieging castle, marching on foot or charging on horseback, in a historical epic or a fantasy extravaganza, battles scenes are some of the most complex and intricately choreographed of all action scenes. Capable of zooming in to a one-on-one fight between two foes or zooming out to show a big picture look at the action–and featuring anywhere from dozens to hundreds to thousands of extras, either flesh and blood or digital–these are the scenes in which wars are fought, tides are turned, and glory is won. »
- Shane Ramirez
Directed by Naji Abu Nowar
United Arab Emirates/Qatar/Jordan/UK, 2014
Echoes of Rudyard Kipling adventure yarns and Hollywood’s more pessimistic classic Westerns permeate Theeb, the directorial debut of Jordan-based filmmaker Naji Abu Nowar, whose film was also shot in that region and features non-professional actors from one of Jordan’s last nomadic Bedouin tribes to settle down.
It’s 1916, and in the Hejaz Province of the Ottoman Empire, Theeb (Jacir Eid), a recently orphaned young Bedouin boy, is learning survival skills from his elder brother, Hussein (Hussein Salameh). Their location means they remain ignorant of the various upheavals taking place in the world at the time, the plotting of British officer T.E. Lawrence and the Arab Prince Faisal to establish an Arab kingdom among them. It is only when a Bedouin guide (Marji Audeh) and a mysterious British officer »
- Josh Slater-Williams
T.E. Lawrence (1888-1935) ranks among the 20th Century’s oddest heroes. This short, smart, and mischievous British soldier helped organize the Arab Revolt against Turkey, a secondary front of the First World War. He became Emir Feisal’s trusted ally, painfully conscious that the Allies wouldn’t honor promises of independence. After the Paris Peace Conference, Lawrence retreated into the Royal Air Force and Tank Corps as a private soldier, T.E. Shaw… read the full article.
It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a little girl in possession of a good imagination must be in want of a heroine. At least, this was the truth of my childhood. Like many people of my generation, my »
Part I: The Lawrence Bureau
T.E. Lawrence (1888-1935) ranks among the 20th Century’s oddest heroes. This short, smart, and mischievous British soldier helped organize the Arab Revolt against Turkey, a secondary front of the First World War. He became Emir Feisal’s trusted ally, painfully conscious that the Allies wouldn’t honor promises of independence. After the Paris Peace Conference, Lawrence retreated into the Royal Air Force and Tank Corps as a private soldier, T.E. Shaw.
Lawrence lived a curious double life, befriending both private soldiers and notables like Winston Churchill and George Bernard Shaw. He wrote memoirs and translated Homer while repairing boats and seaplanes. His intellect, warmth, and puckish humor masked internal torment – guilt for failing to secure Arab freedom, regret for two brothers killed in the war, shame over an incident where Turkish soldiers sexually assaulted him.
In his autobiography Seven Pillars of Wisdom, Lawrence »
- Christopher Saunders
What does it say that we've both put off discussing the new Werner Herzog film? I must admit my profound disappointment at Herzog's first fictional feature film since his two-shot salvo of The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans and My Son, My Son, What Have You Done? in 2009 and certainly his most expansive drama for decades. With a cast of James Franco, Robert Pattison, and Damian Lewis led by Nicole Kidman, Queen of the Desert adapts the true saga of Gertrude Bell, an utterly unique woman who at the turn of the last century plunged into the deserts of the Middle East by herself and become better acquainted and more influential among its myriad tribes and factions than anyone else before and probably since.
Yet for a director so adept at discovering, eliciting and pursuing a kind of inspired mania and adventurousness in his fellow man, »
- Daniel Kasman
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