Behind The Candelabra reminds me a little of a Scorsese film, with Michael Douglas’ toupe in particular bringing to mind the extraordinary hairpieces worn by the elderly Midwestern crime bosses in Casino. This is Steven Soderbergh’s frequently hilarious biopic about Liberace and his 6-year relationship with the much younger Scott Thorson. It is a world of palatial kitsch, excess and small dogs, Lear jets, plastic surgeons and boogie woogie piano.
The cover story of this month’s Vanity Fair paints a disturbing picture of a major Hollywood movie going off the rails. Over-budget and with its release date delayed, the film is further troubled by a lack of creative vision and no clear sense of how to deliver a concluding third act. These are production problems that you might assume would beset a mainstream blockbuster – the film in the Vanity Fair story is Brad Pitt’s zombie epic World War Z, by the way.
A collaboration between filmmaker Michael Winterbottom and star Steve Coogan, where a lad from the north west of England makes good in unconventional circumstances, accompanied by a bunch of like-minded, but broadly eccentric characters. This is the story of Soho porn entrepreneur Paul Raymond, but it could just as easily describe the trajectory of Tony Wilson, the subject of Winterbottom and Coogan’s first collaboration, 24 Hour Party People – or even Coogan’s own back story, which stretches back to his working class origins in Liverpool.
Hollywood has never quite known what to do with Park Chan-wook. On the face of it, a director of extremely violent genre films like Sympathy For Mr Vengeance and Oldboy, dig a little deeper however and Park’s output isn’t that easy to qualify. His films are violent, yes, and often in the most grisly sense possible, but they are also astonishing to watch – beautifully styled and composed – and undercut with a rich sense of the absurd.