Emperor

discs header what maisie knew

Welcome back to This Week In Discs! As always, if you see something you like, click on the image to buy it. What Maisie Knew Maisie (Onata Aprile) is stuck in an all too familiar place as her parents, Susanna (Julianne Moore) and Beale (Steve Coogan), fight their way through a bitter divorce and custody battle. She’s shuttled between the two, often left in the care of her mom’s boyfriend (Alexander Skarsgard) or dad’s girlfriend (Joanna Vanderham), but when she does get time with her parents it’s too frequently as a prop or tool in their ongoing fight. The future does not look bright from Maisie’s knee-high perspective. There’s a beautiful simplicity in Scott McGehee and David Siegel‘s fifth feature that sneaks in unobtrusively between the bouts of yelling, laughter, small victories and near-constant disappointment, and the result is a movie that compels you to watch and root for the little girl at the center of a terrible situation well outside her control. Viewers are privy only to what Maisie knows, we never see what happens behind closed doors or in lawyers’ offices, and while this forced perspective could have easily turned into a gimmick, it instead feels perfectly natural and necessary here. Acting is fantastic across the board, with newcomer Aprile being a true standout, and you really shouldn’t let the fact that Rex Reed is quoted on both the front and back of the Blu/DVD turn you away from this amazing little movie. [Blu-ray/DVD extras: Deleted scenes, commentary]

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Director Peter Webber (Girl With the Pearl Earring) has a new project coming up called Emperor that looks at the tension and confusion in Japan immediately after their surrender in World War II. The film will star Lost’s Matthew Fox as a man named General Bonner Fellers (or “boner feeler” as he was doubtless known in his junior high), who served General Douglas MacArthur as his leading expert on all things Japanese. Basically he was the 40s military version of kids that are really into manga and video games. Being the leading expert on Japan was a pretty important role in this particular moment in history, however, as Fellers ended up being the guy who had to decide whether or not Emperor Hirohito should be tried and hanged as a war criminal. That’s some pretty grave stuff, but Fox won’t have to handle the dramatic load alone. THR is reporting that veteran actor Tommy Lee Jones has now signed on to the project to portray General MacArthur. Emperor producer Gary Foster says of the choice, “Tommy will bring strength, intelligence and gravitas to the portrayal of Gen. Douglas MacArthur, a legendary American hero.” Gravitas is a good word to use there. Jones is one of those actors that just lends a certain weight to every role he takes, no matter how ridiculous the movie around him might be. I’m sure his familiar presence will add quite a bit to this historical drama. Hell, at this point he’s practically a legendary […]

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