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Russell Crowe

Boy Erased (2018)

DIRECTOR: Joel Edgerton

CAST: Lucas Hedges, Nicole Kidman, Russell Crowe, Joel Edgerton

REVIEW:

Boy Erased, the second directorial feature of actor Joel Edgerton and based on the memoirs of Garrard Conley (with names changed to protect both the innocent and some not-so-innocent), is not a feel good viewing but a worthwhile and important one.  Conley’s memoirs, and now the film adaptation, shine a light on the long-running practice of so-called “conversion therapy”, a phrase which may not even be familiar to some viewers.  Performed most often on underage children, and roundly debunked by virtually every reputable psychiatrist as both ineffective and unethical and psychologically harmful, conversion therapy aims to “convert” an individual with homosexual or bisexual inclinations into a heterosexual.  To this end it uses a step-by-step program of indoctrination including techniques amounting to both psychological and physical abuse.  While increasingly a discredited practice and banned in a growing number of states, conversion therapy remains legal on the books in thirty-six states.  By telling one former patient’s story, Boy Erased offers both a frank condemnation of the insidious quackery of conversion therapy, and the dramatically compelling true story of one young man who emerged triumphant on the other side.

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Man of Steel (2013)

DIRECTOR: Zack Snyder

CAST: Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Michael Shannon, Kevin Costner, Diane Lane, Russell Crowe, Laurence Fishburne

REVIEW:

Man of Steel is to Superman as Batman Begins was to Batman; resurrect a popular comics character left floundering in the wake of poorly-received previous cinematic outings (the last attempt at a grand return, Bryan Singer’s Superman Returns, flopped) and bring him back to the big screen better than ever. Continue reading

Les Misérables (2012)

DIRECTOR: Tom Hooper

CAST:

Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway, Amanda Seyfried, Eddie Redmayne, Samantha Barks, Sacha Baron Cohen, Helena Bonham Carter

REVIEW:

WARNING: THIS REVIEW MAY CONTAIN “SPOILERS”

Based on the phenomenally popular, long-running musical stage production which debuted in 1985, which itself was based on Victor Hugo’s 1862 novel, this musical big screen adaptation of arguably the greatest French novel was a long time coming. Continue reading

Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (2003)

master-and-commanderDIRECTOR: Peter Weir

CAST: Russell Crowe, Paul Bettany, Billy Boyd, James D’Arcy, Robert Pugh, Richard McCabe, Lee Ingleby, Max Pirkis, Max Benitz

REVIEW:

An adaptation of the exploits of characters created by Patrick O’Brian, who wrote twenty novels in the Master and Commander series, The Far Side of the World (which takes its name from one of O’Brian’s books but includes plot elements from several) differs from lighter entertainment centered around high-seas derring-do such as the Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy in the rigorous pains it takes to be technically and historically accurate. The specific adventure portrayed is not a true story, but it is set in the historical backdrop of the Napoleonic Wars, and the filmmakers did extensive research into warships of the time period. Australian director Peter Weir (Picnic At Hanging Rock, Witness, Dead Poets Society, The Truman Show) filmed an actual typhoon and blended the authentic footage into a scene in which the crew battles a storm at sea. What little special effects there are are blended into the real thing with indistinguishable versimilitude. Continue reading

Gladiator (2000)

DIRECTOR: Ridley Scott

CAST:

Russell Crowe, Joaquin Phoenix, Connie Nielsen, Djimon Hounsou, Oliver Reed, Richard Harris, Derek Jacobi, Tomas Arana, Tommy Flanagan, Ralf Moeller, David Schofield, Spencer Treat Clark, Sven-Ole Thorsen

REVIEW:

Gladiator is the first sword-and-sandals epic in four decades, and harkens back to epic spectacle on a scale seldom mounted while updating the Roman epic with modern effects (and modern violence). Gladiator is a ferocious epic of sand and blood that might attract both fans of Spartacus and those who appreciated Rob Roy, The Last of the Mohicans, or Braveheart, but in some ways is on a more epic scale than all of them, and combines spectacle, red-blooded action, and narrative prowess into a rousing and dynamic film.

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