Veteran author Alice Munro will miss out on collecting her Nobel Prize in Literature in person at the prizegiving in Sweden this December (13) due to ill health. The Canadian writer, 82, was last week (10Oct13) named the 2013 recipient of the coveted accolade, which is worth eight million Swedish krona ($1.15 million/£770,000).
A thrilled Munro, who retired following the release of her 2012 short story collection Dear Life, said at the time, "I knew I was in the running, but I never thought I would win."
However, the author has had to bow out of appearing at the Stockholm awards ceremony.
In a post online on Friday (18Oct13), Peter Englund, head of the Swedish Academy, writes, "Her health is simply not good enough. All involved, including Mrs. Munro herself, regret this."
Details about Munro's health have not been revealed, but she revealed in 2009 that she had undergone heart surgery and had had cancer treatment.
The very first moment of Robot & Frank is kind of a groaner: a title card flashes before the woodlands of upstate New York informing the audience that the film is set in “the near future.” At once the golden rule of show-don’t-tell is broken while the time-sensitive ambiguity of the information can come off as careless and frustrating. But Robot & Frank is for the few of us out there with enough patience to last beyond the initial five-second frame of a movie.
Everything thereafter is wholly impressive from the engrossing confusion that overtakes the audience when we first meet the on-in-years Frank (Frank Langella) a retired jewel thief struggling with the early-to-mid stages of Alzheimer’s. The story opens with Frank attempting to rob his own house — trapped in the motions of his youthful glory days and at painful odds with his increasing struggles with memory. Frank is alone: his affectionate flighty daughter Madison (Liv Tyler) is off traveling the world only speaking to her father via fleeting video-phone conversations. Frank’s resentful son Hunter (James Marsden whose only flaw here is that his ever-present charm makes him a little hard to believe as an embittered everyman with daddy issues) visits regularly to check on his father but brings nothing but malice and judgment. The only company Frank does have is a friendly librarian Jennifer (Susan Sarandon) the object of his flirtatious affections. Frank’s regular visits to Jen’s library — which is being “reimagined” as a digital cutting-edge social-media-incorporating blah blah blah experience — help to establish his lasting affection for the woman as well as the reality of the world in which this story is set. Jennifer like many in their society is abetted by a robot associate who helps to carry out her day-to-day.
It isn’t long into the film before Hunter decides that a caretaker robot would be the right fit for his father; unsurprisingly this is not an idea to which Frank takes too kindly. At first the highly intelligent android (voiced by Peter Sarsgaard) simply insists on feeding Frank a healthier diet taking him for hikes and employing the mindful activity of gardening. Frank is interested in none of this — except for the robot’s apparent knack for lock-picking. After taking note of Robot’s (he never gets a name) skill Frank decides to get back in the game: with his knowhow and Robot’s aptitude the two can really make a run for some high-profile items like the priceless copy of Don Quixote that the new owners of Jennifer’s renovating library plan on disposing (Frank wants to steal it so that he can give it to her — a sweet gesture if it weren’t so misguided). Beyond the monetary gain from this return to action is the first friend Frank has had in years. He shares stories with Robot relishing in his pal’s unwavering loyalty (he’s programmed that way after all) but lamenting in Robot’s frequent admissions that he is not actually alive.
Therein lies the heartbreak of the story: the affair of unrequited love. While Frank gradually (and begrudgingly — don’t you worry the process is quite begrudging!) comes to care for and cherish Robot he is placed with the new struggle of accepting his companion’s lack of ability to reciprocate any truly genuine affection. Robot is there for Frank through anything. He is “instinctually” driven to protect Frank from harm even if it means sacrificing his own well-being… as he understands he has no being to preserve. And although the self-involved Frank revels in this kind of relationship at first his love for and friendship with Robot becomes a source of deliberate pain in the film: beyond his shattered relationship with his children and his waning mind the sorrow is in Frank’s inability to accept that his closest friend is not really there.
As obvious ties can be drawn between this and the tragedy inherent in an Alzheimer’s sufferer grasping at things long gone the movie also serves as a truly interesting and approachable examination of the science fiction element of artificial intelligence — probably one of the best takes on the idea that film has given us in recent years. Capped with a fun albeit extremely odd performance by antagonist Jeremy Strong (as the new owner of Jennifer’s library) as well as an always welcome visit from Jeremy Sisto (as a crafty law enforcement officer with eyes on Frank… but don’t worry the heist motif never overtakes the film to the point of crime-thriller) as well as some genuinely unforeseen turns of events Robot & Frank is consistently gripping. A rare thing to say about a somber character study. Robot & Frank uses sci-fi as it was created to be used: to say something poignant about the human condition. Jake Schreier's Robot & Frank is not at all something you have to be "into" sci-fi to appreciate; it's simply a story about friendship and loneliness... something all humans (and some robots) can understand.
Widening the thematic scope without sacrificing too much of the claustrophobia that made the original 1979 Alien universally spooky Prometheus takes the trophy for this summer's most adult-oriented blockbuster entertainment. The movie will leave your mouth agape for its entire runtime first with its majestic exploration of an alien planet and conjectures on the origins of the human race second with its gross-out body horror that leaves no spilled gut to the imagination. Thin characters feel more like pawns in Scott's sci-fi prequel but stunning visuals shocking turns and grand questions more than make up for the shallow ensemble. "Epic" comes in many forms. Prometheus sports all of them.
Based on their discovery of a series of cave drawings all sharing a similar painted design Elizabeth (Noomi Rapace) and Charlie (Logan Marshall-Green) are recruited by Weyland to head a mission to another planet one they believe holds the answers to the creation of life on Earth. Along for the journey are Vickers (Charlize Theron) the ruthless Weyland proxy Janek (Idris Elba) a blue collar captain a slew of faceless scientists and David (Michael Fassbender) HAL 9000-esque resident android who awakens the crew of spaceship Prometheus when they arrive to their destination. Immediately upon descent there's a discovery: a giant mound that's anything but natural. The crew immediately prepares to scope out the scene zipping up high-tech spacesuits jumping in futuristic humvees and heading out to the site. What they discover are the awe-inspiring creations of another race. What they bring back to the ship is what they realize may kill their own.
The first half of Prometheus could be easily mistaken for Steven Spielberg's Alien a sense of wonder glowing from every frame not too unlike Close Encounters. Scott takes full advantage of his fictional settings and imbues them with a reality that makes them even more tantalizing. He shoots the vistas of space and the alien planet like National Geographic porn and savors the interior moments on board the Prometheus full of hologram maps sleeping pods and do-it-yourself surgery modules with the same attention. Prometheus is beautiful shot in immersive 3D that never dampers Dariusz Wolski's sharp photography. Scott's direction seems less interested in the run-or-die scenario set up in the latter half of the film but the film maintains tension and mood from beginning to end. It all just gets a bit…bloodier.
Jon Spaihts' and Damon Lindelof's script doesn't do the performers any favors shuffling them to and fro between the ship and the alien construction without much room for development. Reveals are shoehorned in without much setup (one involving Theron's Vickers that's shockingly mishandled) but for the most part the ensemble is ready to chomp into the script's bigger picture conceits. Rapace is a physical performer capable of pulling off a grisly scene involving an alien some sharp objects and a painful procedure (sure to be the scene of the blockbuster season. Among the rest of the crew Fassbender's David stands out as the film's revelatory performance delivering a digestible ambiguity to his mechanical man that playfully toys with expectations from his first entrance. The creature effects in Prometheus will wow you but even Fassbender's smallest gesture can send the mind spinning. The power of his smile packs more of a punch than any facehugger.
Much like Lindelof's Lost Prometheus aims to explore the idea of asking questions and seeking answers and on Scott's scale it's a tremendous unexpected ride. A few ideas introduced to spur action fall to the way side in the logic department but with a clear mission and end point Prometheus works as a sweeping sci-fi that doesn't require choppy editing or endless explosions to keep us on the edge of our seats. Prometheus isn't too far off from the Alien xenomorphs: born from existing DNA of another creature the movie breaks out as its own beast. And it's wilder than ever.
Sequels and adaptations are generally types of films that are most susceptible to harsh criticism. Fans of the original movies or source materials often take issue with liberties taken by the filmmakers, unjust representations of characters or events, or a failure to capture the essence of the story. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 has defied all odds and become one of the most well-reviewed movies I’ve ever encountered. No one seems to have a bad thing to say about the film. We’ve compiled a small list of a few of our colleagues’ thoughts on Deathly Hallows Part 2, all singing its unabashed praises.
Todd McCarthy, Hollywood Reporter
"It ends well. After eight films in 10 years and a cumulative global box-office take of more than $6.3 billion, the most successful franchise in the history of movies comes to an obligatory -- and quite satisfying -- conclusion in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2.…This is an exciting and, to put it mildly, massively eventful finale that will grip and greatly please anyone who has been at all a fan of the series up to now."
The Young Folks
"The best word to describe the second part of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is epic. But even that is an understatement. I was blown away by the movie, and it was only the test screening! The final Potter film is a tour de force, with enough momentum that I think it will ride in victoriously during awards season. (Finally!)"
"Non-fans might find it strange at times, but who cares? They shouldn’t have come to a seventh sequel in the first place. This movie is the close-enough-to-perfect cherry on top of a franchise that will be remembered for years to come. It’s ripe, beautiful, and you’ll be sad – but satisfied – when you’re done with it."
Peter Bradshaw, Guardian
"Sensational, satisfying, surreal ... an explosive final chapter puts the magic back into the Harry Potter franchise."
Justin Chang, Variety
"With its accelerated rhythm, relentless flow of incident and wizard-war endgame, Part 2 will strike many viewers as a much more exciting, involving picture than the slower, more atmospheric Part 1."
Helen O'Hara, Empire Magazine
"A worthy farewell that packs in as much action as its seven predecessors combined and manages not to stint on the emotional beats. Harry Potter leaves us as a quiet, bespectacled, corduroy-wearing hero for the ages."
Sean Munro, What Culture
"Bear with the slow start and what you get in this bookending installment's latter two acts is more pathos, exhilaration, and sheer entertainment value than anything else in the entire eight-film, ten-year saga. Potter has certainly saved the best for last."
"All too soon, in the words of the tagline, 'It All Ends'. Spectacularly. Emotionally. And Wonderfully."
Sam Reynolds, Digital Spy
"It's Harry Potter as a full-tilt action picture, yet unlike the mind-numbing action of Transformers, here you feel totally invested in the protagonists' plight."
Emanuel Levy, EmanuelLevy.com
"Defined by darker mood and greater gravity than previous chapters, this film concludes the series on a high note that should please viewers and get serious attention as Oscar contender."
The Queen and its star, Helen Mirren, were the big winners at Sunday’s Orange British Academy Film Awards (BAFTAs), winning the Best Film and Best Actress awards.
Elsewhere, Forest Whitaker won the Best Actor prize for Last King of Scotland, Little Miss Sunshine star Alan Arkin won Best Supporting Actor and Jennifer Hudson won Best Supporting Actress for her role in Dreamgirls.
The ceremony took place at the Royal Opera House in London's Covent Garden.
The full list of winners is as follows:
The Academy Fellowship: Anne V. Coates
Film: The Queen
The Michael Balcon Award for Outstanding British Contribution to Cinema: Nick Daubeny
The Alexander Korda Award for the Outstanding British Film of the Year: Last King of Scotland
The Carl Foreman Award for Special Achievement by a British Director, Writer or Producer in Their First Feature Film: Andrea Arnold, Red Road
The David Lean Award for Achievement in Direction: United 93, Paul Greengrass
Original Screenplay: Little Miss Sunshine, Michael Arndt
Adapted Screenplay: Last King of Scotland, Peter Morgan/Jeremy Brock
Film Not in the English Language: Pan's Labyrinth
Animated Feature Film: Happy Feet
Actor in a Leading Role: Forest Whitaker, Last King of Scotland
Actress in a Leading Role: Helen Mirren, The Queen
Actor in a Supporting Role: Alan Arkin, Little Miss Sunshine
Actress in a Supporting Role: Jennifer Hudson, Dreamgirls
The Anthony Asquith Award for Achievement in Film Music: Babel, Gustavo Santaolalla
Cinematography: Children of Men, Emmanuel Lubezki
Editing: United 93, Clare Douglas/Christopher Rouse/Richard Pearson
Production Design: Children of Men, Jim Clay/Geoffrey Kirkland/Jennifer Williams
Costume Design: Pan's Labyrinth, Lala Huete
Sound: Casino Royale, Chris Munro/Eddy Joseph/Mike Prestwood Smith/Martin Cantwell/Mark Taylor
Achievement in Special Visual Effects: Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, John Knoll/Hal Hickel/Charles Gibson/Allen L. Hall
Makeup & Hair: Pan's Labyrinth, Jose Quetglas/Blanca Sanchez
Short Animation Film: Guy 101, Ian Gouldstone
Short Film: Do Not Erase, Asitha Ameresekere
The Orange Rising Star Award: Eva Green
COPYRIGHT 2007 WORLD ENTERTAINMENT NEWS NETWORK LTD. All Global Rights Reserved.
Ask any of the homeless living in the tunnels and they’ll say that living underground isn’t so bad. They don’t have to pay rent they don’t have to pay for electricity and they can smoke their crack without anyone bothering them. The homeless featured here explain how they survive underground -- usually in graphic detail -- and it isn’t always pretty.
The subjects here are as real as they come: family men and women who reveal in detail how they ended up as drug addicts living in New York’s least prestigious borough.
Singer’s fascinating black-and-white exposé captures the pride these people have in their dilapidated homes and shows how they’ve adjusted to life underground. Firing off questions from behind the camera Singer manages to dig deep bringing one particular homeless woman to tears.