AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY | BLU RAY REVIEW & GIVEAWAY

We reviewed this mega cast film in December 2013 and most of the kernels loved it. Well get excited – it is out now on Blu Ray, Digital and DVD and the amazing peeps at ROADSHOW ENTERTAINMENT have given us 5x copies of the Blu Ray to giveaway. AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY is rated MA15+ and runs for 121min. Just think Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Ewan McGregor, Benedict Cumberbatch, Margo Martindale, Chris Cooper, Sam Shepard and more – THE END. Suss after Kernel Andrew’s review to find out how to win a copy.

 

Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Ewan McGregor, Benedict Cumberbatch, Margo Martindale, Chris Cooper, Sam Shepard, Misty Upham, Juliette Lewis, Abigail Breslin, Dermot Mulroney, Tracy Letts, John Wells, August Osage County, Review, Andrew Brusentsev
AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY – THE SALTY POPCORN REVIEW

 

REVIEW BY ANDREW BRUSENTSEV

August: Osage County is an adaptation of Tracy Letts (who also adapted this for the screen) worldwide global smash hit play of the same name.

The play is an examination of the relationships and family dynamics of the Weston’s, a family from the plains of the US Mid West.  The Weston’s are deliciously dysfunctional. We, the audience, are able to visit with them during a particularly tragic life event. We eavesdrop during their intimate and not so intimate conversations. This is well worn territory for the great American novel. Indeed Tennessee Williams, Beth Henley and Robert Harling devoted a large portion of their careers to it’s examination.

This is subject matter that the Tony’s and Pulitzers have “done to death”, so to speak, so it would need something particularly unique or some brilliant performances to really make a contrast. Luckily this movie has the two in spades. The first, a very gifted writer. Tracy Letts is certainly onto a good thing combining his work on stage with that of the screen. His previous efforts have been the sublimely intense and dark “Killer Joe” as well as the interesting “Bug”. I have to say that Osage sees Letts getting more comfortable I believe in writing for the screen. I think because of his closeness to the story and writing this tale for the stage, he has been able to adapt and adapt brilliantly this story for the screen.

 

Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Ewan McGregor, Benedict Cumberbatch, Margo Martindale, Chris Cooper, Sam Shepard, Misty Upham, Juliette Lewis, Abigail Breslin, Dermot Mulroney, Tracy Letts, John Wells, August Osage County, Review, Andrew Brusentsev
AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY – THE SALTY POPCORN REVIEW

 

This is a John Wells directed movie, who I first encountered in 2010’s interesting “The Company Men”.  Wells is able to take Lett’s vision and turn it into a ensemble tale mixing the right amount of darkness, humour, love and sacrifice into a perfect snapshot of an extended family standing on the edge of a precipice. But that is not the real star attractions of this particular tale. That brings me to the second something. Let’s just cast your eyes onto the other arrow in this arsenal that of one of the best ensemble casts for a movie I have seen in a long time.

We have Violet Weston (Meryl Streep) as the family pill-addicted half crazed matriarch who brings to this role her usual formidable talent. In fact for me she is the greatest living Hollywood actress working today. Then there is someone who does not have as much credit with the audience but someone who is known amongst acting circles as an actors actor, I am referring, of course, to Margo Martindale, who is exceptional as Streep’s sister Mattie Fae. Elevated into this company and anchoring out the counterweight to Violet, her strong-willed eldest daughter, Barbara Weston (Julia Roberts).  Their confrontational scenes are deliciously hilarious with an undercurrent of real family pain & darkness ever present.

 

Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Ewan McGregor, Benedict Cumberbatch, Margo Martindale, Chris Cooper, Sam Shepard, Misty Upham, Juliette Lewis, Abigail Breslin, Dermot Mulroney, Tracy Letts, John Wells, August Osage County, Review, Andrew Brusentsev
AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY – THE SALTY POPCORN REVIEW

 

As most great novels and plays seem to have, Barbara has two other sisters. Family committed but emotionally vulnerable Ivy (Julianne Nicholson). Ivy has stayed around the family Oklahoma home to look after both Violet and her alcoholic father Beverly (Sam Shepard). The other is bird brained and flighty Karen (Juliette Lewis) who always seems to be between marriages this time bringing back to the family roost her current fiancée Steve Huberbrecht (Dermot Mulroney). Into this mix we also throw Barbara’s estranged husband Bill (Ewan McGregor) and their daughter Jean (Abigail Breslin). The cast is rounded out by Mattie Fae’s husband Charlie Aiken (another fantastic understated performance by Chris Cooper) and his slow witted but gentle son Charlie Aiken Jr. or Little Charles (Benedict Cumberbatch).

The tale is told over a series of a couple of days in the families oppressively hot, old, and dark Oklahoma home.  It seems that everyone and everything is a victim of not only the Oklahoma heat, the unfortunate event of Beverly’s passing (the Funeral the reason for everyone congregating together) but also Violet’s pill induced rages and vicious tongue. It doesn’t take long before the sins of the family, individuals both past, present and perhaps even foreshadowings of future are brought to the light at the dinner table. It all culminates at the post funeral dinner table where Roberts and Streep trade blows like Ali and Frasier in a knock em down drag em out fight to the finish.

 

Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Ewan McGregor, Benedict Cumberbatch, Margo Martindale, Chris Cooper, Sam Shepard, Misty Upham, Juliette Lewis, Abigail Breslin, Dermot Mulroney, Tracy Letts, John Wells, August Osage County, Review, Andrew Brusentsev
AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY – THE SALTY POPCORN REVIEW

 

With Streep and Roberts at times in danger of overplaying their hands it is up to the rest of the cast, especially seasoned veterans such as Cooper and Martindale, to anchor it to reality. Cooper and Martindale had me sucking in my breath with how effortless they are at this. Cooper’s easy grace has me shaking my head, he is a master craftsman. Martindale is given a quiet monologue toward the middle, a tender moment between herself and Roberts, it is amazing to watch. I have to say that the whole cast has to be given credit, everyone mentioned above provides a solid bedrock. As an ensemble piece it works perfectly. This bed rock allows our two protagonists to really fly and at times head towards the camp only to be pulled back by the anchors. It is delicious in it’s absurdity and hints of real darkness.

For me it was great to see so many fine actors really relish the meaty script that they had been given, all other aspects of the movie really play second fiddle. Adriano Goldman’s cinematography allows for a dark and brooding house as does Stephen Mirrione’s tight but sparse editing. Haigh and Evan’s set and costume design round out the mentions but this really is a movie you go to see  for the actors at the top of their game.

For me this could quite easily get a few Actor / Actress nods during award season.

 

KERNEL ANDREW’S POP SCORE:

4 and a Half Pops

KERNEL DARA’S POP SCORE:

4 and a Half Pops

KERNEL KATE’S POP SCORE:

3 and a Half Pops

JK’S POP SCORE:

3 Pops

 

With special thanks to ROADSHOW ENTERTAINMENT to win one of the 5 x copies on Blu Ray of AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTRY you need to either like and share this post on Facebook or retweet/ favourite it on Twitter, you then need to leave a comment below stating the answer to the following question:

What is your favourite Meryl Streep movie and why?  

If you do not have Facebook and Twitter then get with the times old timer haha – You can still enter, leave your entry below and email me at jking@saltypopcorn.com telling me you don’t have social media 

Good luck! Oh, and minor housekeeping – huge apologies for overseas readers, this competition is only available to Australian residents.

 

 

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