Susanne Bier's films have been described as "harrowing" (After the Wedding), "heartbreaking" (Brothers), and "an urgent and compassionate thriller" (the Oscar-winning In a Better World) so it's a bit surprising to hear the award-winning Danish writer/director describe her new film Love Is All You Need as "unashamedly romantic."
Bier is the first to admit that the romantic dramedy is a departure from her previous line of work, which she described as "much more severe dramas." Love Is All You Need (whose Danish title is The Bald Hairdresser)— set in the stunning, picturesque Italian coast ("The location...is part of the story") — follows the luminous Ida (Trine Dyrholm, who is re-teamed with Bier for the first time since In A Better World), a cancer survivor whose husband has been having an affair, and Philip (Pierce Brosnan), a hardened businessman and widower, who met when attending the wedding of her daughter and his son. "It look a little bit of courage to be as unashamedly romantic [as this movie is]", she admitted.
But don't think that even in a softer, sweeter movie like Love Is All You Need that Bier and her collaborator Anders Thomas Jensen shy away from looking at the big picture. "You have to really sort of appreciate what is there, while its there," Bier said of the film's overriding theme. "I think that's kind of the most important part of the film, that things don't have to be forever, but if you can embrace and recognize when there is a real emotion or real affection or real compassion and be grateful for that."
Even more notably, in addition to being "unashamedly romantic" (which includes a swoon-worthy — or "cheeky" as Bier described it— soundtrack that includes romantic gold standards like "That's Amore") as Love Is All You Need (which has already played at the Venice Film Festival and the Toronto Film Festival) is, it doesn't pretend to be anything it's not: it revels in its romance. "If you look at a lot of the romantic comedies at the moment...there's an intrinsic cynicism in a lot of them...[Love Is All You Need] really does believe in love and hope."
It's all very evident, considering Bier is someone who still genuinely loves making movies. "If I go home from a day of shooting and I haven't at some point felt the magic, I'm really frustrated. Even if its like ten hours of things that are not [going well], if there's just a free second where you go, 'Wow, that was amazing,' then that's why I do it."
It also doesn't hurt when you're filming in such a gorgeous location ("[Italy] is part of telling the story") and with leads as easy to work with as Dyrholm ("She's so charming," Bier gushed) and Brosnan ("He's very generous and he's very humorous...I'm obviously biased, but I do think it's one of his most touching performances"). "This is my real talent, it's [finding]... a sense of chemistry. My favorite hobby is matchmaking," she said, adding, "It's a lot easier to do it in movies then in real life, because in real life people don't do what I tell them to do."
Bier's keen eye for chemistry allowed her to match up Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper again, for their upcoming Depression-era drama Serena. While Bier didn't give away anything about the reunion of the Silver Linings Playbook stars, when asked if she'd ever consider exploring something else out of her wheelhouse like the big screen adaptations of YA smash The Hunger Games, she opened up about her interest in that genre.
"I think I would be curious to do something like that," Bier told Hollywood.com. "I'm not like a careerist, I pick things that make me curious. The Hunger Games, particularly with Jennifer Lawrence… I really, really liked the first one. I think that would he hugely interesting, it's an interesting story. Depending on what it is, I would at all times go where triggers my curiosity. I think you have the excitement of climbing a big mountain every time."
But whether it's a glossier romantic comedy, a big budget action film, or a deeply personal drama, Bier — who is one of few female directors able to make their mark on the industry — put it simply, "I think I'm just trying to make the best movie I can. I don't think as a director you [should] put yourself in rules of society, you have to work according to where your artistic drive takes you. I've always been slightly hesitant about generalizing movies made by men and women being different in their nature, I think movies by each director are different. Having said that, I think that it's kind of disgraceful that there aren't more female directors."
Love Is All You Need opens in limited release on May 3.
Follow Aly on Twitter @AlySemigran
More:'Love Is All You Need' Trailer — WATCH Only 3 Women Are Directing Blockbuster Movies in 2013 and That's a Problem Kathryn Bigelow: Oscars' 'Best Directors' Didn't Need to Be a Boy's Club
From Our Partners50 Worst Celeb Mugshot Fails (vh1)33 Child Stars: Where Are They Now? (Celebuzz)
Forget Black Swan – Natalie Portman’s real crowning performance is to be found in the romantic comedy No Strings Attached in which director Ivan Reitman asks her to convey sincere unqualified affection for Ashton Kutcher. Portman much to her credit gamely complies and though she may not have the emaciated figure bloody nails and bandaged ankles to tell of her labors the psychic scars must no doubt be just as severe.
Exhibiting strong chick-flick leanings and a rambunctious soft-R comic tone (i.e. lots of F-bombs some menstrual humor and a few shots of Kutcher’s naked ass) No Strings Attached is built around a basic relationship role-reversal: The dude Adam (Kutcher) longs for a deeper lasting commitment; the chick Emma (Portman) insists on keeping matters purely physical. Emma’s motive is a practical one: As a doctor-to-be her busy residency schedule with its 80-hour work weeks and intensive exam preparations precludes a serious relationship. But alas a woman has certain needs (foreplay apparently not being among them) and who better to fulfill them than Kutcher’s non-threatening boy-toy?
Thus a “friends with benefits” arrangement is cemented whereupon the ripcord is to be pulled on the occasion that either of them develops stronger feelings. This does not last long for soon Adam is cloyingly lobbying for escalation. Emma demurs – not out of disinterest we are told but because she’s intimacy-averse and afraid of a broken heart. Why else would she resist a more permanent attachment to someone like Adam?
Perhaps it’s because Adam as played by Kutcher is about as interesting as cabbage. And yet No Strings Attached would have us believe he’s some kind of floppy-haired Albert Schweitzer. This despite the fact that his greatest aspiration in life is to join the writing staff of a High School Musical-esque television series the shallow inanity of which is one of the film’s recurring jokes. In vain support of his cause the filmmakers decorate Adam’s apartment with various props – vintage posters books about 1920s movies a guitar that is occasionally picked up but never actually played – that hint at a depth that Kutcher himself never manifests.
Still Portman sells us on Adam and Emma’s inevitable union with every ounce of her not inconsiderable talent. (And her comic chops are legit – as those who’ve glimpsed her appearances on SNL and Funny or Die can attest.) But she asks too much. And Elizabeth Meriweather’s script while witty and stocked with some keen observations on the evolving nature of relationships in the modern age becomes weighed down by sentiment unbecoming an R-rated comedy not directed by Judd Apatow. In the end Kutcher seals the increasingly contrived deal with the climactic line “I’m warning you: Come one step closer and I’m never letting you go ” (I’m paraphrasing but not loosely) by which time the film's already lost its grip.
Zach Braff is to step into comedy legend Chevy Chase's shoes and star in a new prequel of the 1980s movie franchise Fletch.
Bill Lawrence, the creator of TV comedy Scrubs, has been signed up by Harvey and Bob Weinstein to adapt author Gregory McDonald’s 1985 novel Fletch Won and direct the movie.
He wants Braff--the star of Scrubs--to play investigative journalist Irwin 'Fletch' Fletcher.
Lawrence says, "Zach is perfect for the role. I'm going to use all my pull trying to make him do it. My closest friends from high school don't care about my career.
"This is the only job I've ever gotten where every one of them said, 'Congratulations,' and then said, 'Don't f**k it up.'"
Braff is thought to be keen--earlier this year he discussed the role with director Kevin Smith, who was due to make Fletch Won himself, before pulling out.
Article Copyright World Entertainment News Network All Rights Reserved.
Loosely interwoven plotlines about five characters representing the human senses: A magic-fingered massage therapist (Gabrielle Rose); a bespectacled teenage voyeur (Nadia Litz); a cake baker whose taste in men gets her into trouble (Mary-Louise Parker); a music-loving Frenchman who is losing his hearing (Philippe Volter); and a bisexual house cleaner who says his sensitive shnozz can sniff true love (Daniel MacIvor). Tying the stories together -- sort of -- is the search for a lost young girl in the vicinity.
The terrific ensemble of mostly Canadian actors doesn't have a weak link. Playwright/performance artist MacIvor and Hollywood import Parker break up the picture's melancholy tone with much-needed moments of sarcastic humor. Veteran French thespian Volter gives a complex nuanced performance as a somewhat self-involved eye doctor whose impending deafness eventually generates real pathos.
Writer-producer-director Jeremy Podeswa has mixed success executing this abstract thematically ambitious work. Visually he and cinematographer Gregory Middleton serve up a true feast for the senses -- light streaming into imaginatively decorated rooms close-ups of objects so finely textured you want to reach out and grab them. On the narrative level the director has difficulty maintaining dramatic tension while intercutting between the several independent storylines.