The Revenant

The Revenant is a tour de force. For Leonardo DiCaprio. And for director/co-writer Alejandro Inarritu. Awards are coming. Maybe, just maybe, a best actor nod for LD.

Leo’s character Hugh Glass is part of a group of hunter/trappers who, nearly two centuries ago, gather pelts in the wilderness of western America. Following a violent attack by Indians, the men escape downriver on a raft.

As they continue their journey on land, a bear attacks Glass. A big bear. The episode is brutally depicted. With help from his mixed race son Hawk (Forrest Goodluck), Glass survives. Soon he is left to die by Glass’s partner John Fitzgerald (Tom Hardy) who has killed Hawk. But he’s not quite dead.

Despite having limited movement and limited resources, Glass begins the long journey back to the fur company’s headquarters. His adventure is grueling, but the survival instinct is strong. A fortunate encounter with an Indian who provides food and temporary shelter provides hope. The goal is to stay alive and to extract revenge.

A revenant is one who returns after death or a long absence. Not long after company leader Captain Henry (Domhnall Gleeson) is told by Fitzgerald that Glass has died, Henry is shocked to learn Glass is still alive. As is Fitzgerald!

Inarritu, who won the directing Oscar last year for Birdman, is a true cinematic artist. His visuals include gorgeous vistas of sky and unspoiled frontier, contrasted with horrifying images of physically damaged humans and animals. His lingering extreme close-ups are effective in revealing the pain of the central characters. His presentation of a dream Glass has about his son is heartbreaking.

And that soundtrack! It is stirring and relentless, utilizing drums that recall the Birdman soundtrack along with full orchestrations that underline the tense drama.

Because of its grisly content (including the grizzly content), The Revenant may not be for everyone. But if you can handle the violence and the gore, you’ll be rewarded with a memorable film experience. And you might even see an Oscar-winning acting performance from Leo!





Love is an amazing thing. It can bring a person out of his or her shell. It can make a person love life itself more than he or she imagined. In Brooklyn, the transformation Eilis Lacey (Saoirse Ronan) undergoes when she falls in love is inspiring and heartwarming.

Brooklyn is a classic. In 1950, young Eilis works in bakery in a small town in Ireland. She lives with her widowed mother (Jane Brennan)and her sister (Fiona Glascott). She takes the bold step of moving to America, specifically Brooklyn.

She moves into a boarding house run by the entertaining Mrs. Kehoe (Julie Walters). She gets a job as a department store clerk where her boss (Jessica Paré) gives encouragement, even though Eilis is shy and tentative with customers.

Her local priest (Jim Broadbent) helps with night school tuition. At a church dance she meets Tony (Emory Cohen) and falls in love. His is a working class Italian family. Her romance is not the only factor that brings her out of her shell, but it is the big one.

A tragedy at home sends her back to Ireland for a visit. While there, a friend introduces her to Jim (Domhnall Gleeson), a handsome single man from a well-to-do family. Now that life and love have opened her up to new possibilities, she is torn between two men and two countries.

Should she stay in Ireland or should she return to Brooklyn? Should she stay with Jim or return to Tony?

Brooklyn is a film that bears similarities to movies made in the early 50s era where it is set. This is the kind of movie for people who say, “Why don’t they make movies like they used to?” (Tip your grandparents about this one!) The script is by Nick Hornby from a novel by Colm Toibin. Director is John Crowley.

Saoirse Ronan is a certain Oscar nominee for best actress. She is blessed with an expressive face that shows a wide range of emotions. Her understated beauty and her acting skill make her perfect for this dream role. With a strong resumé already at age 21, her future appears limitless. See the film, enjoy her performance!


About Time

Time travel is such a hokey plot gimmick. A few decades ago, time travel was used sparingly. Now, it’s a part of so many fantasy/sci-fi movies and TV shows that it has become ho-hum. Am I fatigued with time travel? God, yes!

Having said that, in About Time, the device of time travel delivers a romantic comedy with that’s sweet and funny. Sure it’s a gimmick, but in this case, it works.

About Time is written and directed by Richard Curtis who is best known for writing Four Weddings and a Funeral, Notting Hill and, in his debut as a director, Love, Actually. He also wrote the scripts for the two Bridget Jones movies. His movies are romantic, sensitive and, happily, funny. And generally set in the UK, as is this one.

Curtis does two daring things in About Time. First, he has cast as his male lead a relatively unknown, Domhnall Gleeson, a lanky ginger who was Bill Weasley in the last two Harry Potter movies. Gleeson is up to the task as Tim. He is fun and funny as a guy who uses the time travel trick to great advantage.

Second, Curtis has a scene where two guys meet two girls in a restaurant that’s totally dark. That’s right, the screen is black for a good couple of minutes as the guys chat up the ladies without benefit of seeing them. I’m not sure this literal blackout scene is a success, but it is memorable.

One of the unseen ladies is Mary (Rachel McAdams) who becomes Tim’s chosen love, thanks to a little time traveling by Tim. She’s earned her rom-com cred in The Vow and The Notebook, not to mention the raunchy rom-com Wedding Crashers. She is sexy, but in a non-sleazy sort of way. (Her dimples appear to get deeper with every film she makes.)

Tim’s Dad and Mum are Bill Nighy and Lindsey Duncan. Nighy is in great form as the one who shares the gift of time travel with his son. Curtis has handed him some good laugh lines and he lands them neatly.

Traveling in time cleans up many of life’s messes for Tim, just as it has for his dad. And that hokey gimmick is what gives About Time its charm.

The big question: Does Rachel McAdams have the star power to generate ticket sales? Because Domhnall Gleeson, as good as he is, is not a star. About Time will need good word-of-mouth to get bodies into movie houses. Here are my words from my mouth: If you like good rom-coms, you’ll like About Time.