Tag Archive: gary oldman

Becoming Churchill

Family Movie Night

By Karyn Bowman

One of the things that I always find amazing about the movies is the ability of the make-up and special effects crews to create the spectacular from tiny bits of powder and cream and prosthesis skin coverings.

darkest hour oldman churchillI haven’t seen Darkest Hour yet. But it is simply incredible how Gary Oldman goes from looking like himself to Winston Churchill in all of the trailers that I have watched. We follow Churchill as he is elected Prime Minister after Neville Chamberlin. We watch as he tries to keep the country motivated to fight against Hitler’s army that seems unbeatable.

Movie watchers know Oldman from the Harry Potter series as Sirius Black and Christopher Nolan’s Batman series as Commissioner Gordon. He is a younger man who is thin and three inches taller than Churchill who was 5’6”.

The make-up used on Oldman made him look older as Churchill was 66 years old during the time period depicted in this movie. Oldman turned 59 during the shooting of the picture.

Maybe it’s me but I sometimes think we have begun to age differently. I know people in their 60s who look younger than I remember my grandparents looking at the same age. I am often told I look ten years younger than I am (for which I am grateful. I don’t care if people are just being nice to me.) When I see Gary Oldman at 59, I think I am seeing a man in his 40s.

Darkest Hour oldmanBut as Churchill. Oldman is jowly. He is heavier and moves differently. Oldman stated he intensely studied Churchill for a year in order to have his moves and quirks, speak patterns and accent. In the end, though, Oldman stated he had to do more than impersonate. He had to interpret the man who brought England through the roughest part of WWII when it looked like the war was about to be lost.

Now that was the challenge. In every clip I have seen, Oldman is Churchill, he embodies all that we have ever known about him. He sounded like Churchill, especially during the “Beaches” speech. I know it is Oldman’s job to be incredible, to capture his subject’s spirit. Not everyone succeeds at the job. But even actors who have portrayed Churchill in the past, including Robert Hardy, have stated that Oldman’s performance is the best so far.

Others must agree for Oldman has won a Golden Globe award for this performance along with nominations for Best Actor from the Screen Actors’ Guild, BAFTA, (British Academy Awards), and the Academy Awards aka the Oscars TM.

churchill-darkest-hourOldman’s performance may be trans-formative but he is supported by other actors, including Kristen Scott Thomas and Ben Mendolsohn, that brings the era to life. Director Joe Wright has been incredible in his past efforts which include Atonement.

Darkest Hour is a movie I am looking forward to seeing, not just because I am a history buff, but because I enjoy high art that is also accessible to anyone and everyone..

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.


What Haven’t I Seen Yet

Family Movie Night

by Karyn Bowman

As much as I love slogging through old movies I love, I also get excited about movies I have not seen – yet.

Poster Image from IMDb.com

My kids went to see The Muppets while it was still in the theater but they went without me. But it sounded like they had fun watching Jason Segal and his girlfriend, Amy Adams, try to save the Muppet Theater from a nefarious oilman.

There is singing and dancing a lots of good fun in this movie, according to my kids. Heck, one of the songs won an Oscar for Best Original Song in a movie. I am pretty sure the next time we watch a movie, it will be The Muppets.

Another family movie coming to the racks this week is Hop starring Russell Brand. You might be wondering if Brand can dial down his raunchy sense of humor for a kid movie. Well, he does for the most part and it is a lot of fun.

It is a sweet story about the son of the Easter Bunny who wants to be a drumming rock star instead taking over his dad’s role of the Easter Bunny.  To make matters worse, there is a takeover plot at the Easter Bunny factory and ninjas.

My issues are with James Marsden who annoys me greatly in this movie for being such a loser, a purposeful loser. I am not even sure he is interested in actually working. But he connects with the little bunny and they work together.

This is a movie kids can watch and there’s some potty humor. Adults won’t be hitting their head against the wall out of boredom but I think you can get away with never having to watch it again after the first time.

Now there are two movies coming out for adults that I am really interested in seeing.

Poster Image from IMDb.com

The first is The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo starring Daniel Craig as a fallen journalist investigating the 40-year-old disappearance of a young girl. He is aided by punker Rooney Mara in this gritty movie that goes into the dark places most of us avoid.

Mara received an Oscar nomination for her performance that is tight and heavy and perfect for this movie. This movie is rated ‘R’ for strong sexuality, brutal violence and strong language. A child or a sensitive soul should not view this movie.

Finally, there is another Oscar nominated movie that I am looking forward to seeing. Gary Oldman was nominated for his role as George Smiley, a worker within British Intelligence who is trying to figure out who is the double agent.

Oldman is joined by Ciarran Hinds, Colin Firth, Toby Jones and John Hurt in this action-packed movie that also gives great character studies. It is rated ‘R’ for violence and language. Because of the content, this is not an advisable movie for younger children. But for those who want to see great acting, well, join me in being excited to see it.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

Family Movie Night


By Karyn Bowman


Bella and Edward from Breaking Dawn, Image from IMDb.com

This past week I was looking at the stories about the fall movie season and noted the large picture of Edward and Bella from the latest movie in the Twilight series.


As I looked over the ads, I saw a picture for Fright Night starring Colin Farrell as the villain of the movie.


I could not help thinking that I am happy to see vampires once again becoming the big mean bad guys. Sure, Edward is a romantic sort. So was the Brad Pitt character in Interview with a Vampire.


And yet, and yet, there is a reason for the folktales and legends of vampires. We are meant to be scared by them. These stories tell us to be wary of the dark and strangers – no matter how attractive they might be.


Poster Image from IMDb.com

One vampire movie that has always stuck in my head is The Lost Boys with Jason Patric and Kiefer Sutherland.


The story is about two boys and their mom who move in with their grandfather in a small California sea-coast town. The older boy is drawn to a rough crowd by a beautiful girl while the younger boy makes friends with comic book geeks who clue him in to the dangers of the town.


The older brother realizes he is on his way to being a vampire while Mom is dating a new guy. It becomes a full-blown battle to remain family with the living or join a new family of the dead.


It has been years since I have seen the movie but I cannot forget the song “When You’re Strange” by The Doors playing over the credits.


1992 Poster Image from IMDb.com

While perhaps it is a bit campy, Dracula starring Gary Oldman, Winona Ryder and Keanu Reeves still gives me a bit of a scare. It is reminiscent of the great German vampire movie, Nosferatu with its shadows and mood. The point is not to humanize the monster, which it tries to do, but to show that Dracula is a monster. That he has committed crimes against God that have led to his current life.


We might see Mina falling for the beautiful aspect of the Count. And yet to become his lover she must drink his blood, she must step over to the dark side. It will endanger all of her family but who cares when it comes to romantic obsession.


You might notice that none of these movies are meant for younger children and you would be correct. I firmly believe that some movies are meant for kids when they get older. Vampire movies that have no sense of limits when it comes to violence should have limits as to who can watch them. That is simply my opinion. However, I am curious what other people might think. I have friends who love the horror genre and share this with their teenager who is now making interesting short films in that genre. I am sure their opinion is different from mine.


As the Halloween season is near, I would like to hear from people what age is acceptable for various horror movies. You can drop a note below in the comment section. 

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.