Mike Leigh is a familiar name and face* when it comes time for Academy Awards nominations, as he’s been nominated for Best Writing five times and Best Director another two times since 1997. Unfortunately, Leigh never won for his critical darlings, Vera Drake and Secrets & Lies, but his fortunes may be about to change with this year’s sure-to-be-an-immediate-Oscar-contender, Mr. Turner, which Leigh wrote and directed. Mr. Turner stars Timothy Spall as the eccentric British painter J.M.W. Turner, who was clearly so important that he used three initials in his name. It’s not too unlike how I use POO for all of my bowling scores.
Variety’s Scott Foundas referred to Mr. Turner, which is entered at the Cannes Film Festival and will play in American theaters that have large old leather chairs later this year, as “an ecstatically beautiful and exquisitely detailed portrait of the artist as a cantankerous middle-aged man.” That is almost word-for-word the same description that I used for The Expendables 2, so it must be as good as advertised.
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*Is it just me or does he look a lot like Billy Joel?