Never a fan of Du Maurier’s sub-Bronte shananigans, but desperate to like this one, Robert Michell’s costume psycho-drama proves the existence of LAS – Literary Adaptation Syndrome.
The necessary over-compression of a long novel beats all the mystery out of Du Maurier’s ‘did-she-didn’t-she’ plot, reducing it to Fatal Attraction in Crinolines, with all the subtlety of a bulldozer crashing through your window. Continue Reading
This witty and understated Austen adaptation is a sparkling team effort that gives the original text space to breathe in a sumptuous (when else do you get to use that adjective?) production where every frame is a tribute to the costume department. ‘Period drama’ doesn’t get any more period than this. Continue Reading
Netflix’ ‘fuzzy felt’ production line continues to throw content at the wall to see what sticks – and it’s not this. A poorly adapted, incoherent, journo-political thriller, despite Anne Hathaway acting her socks off, makes no sense whatsoever. Plenty of tension and skull-duggery during Reagan-era, Central American shenanigans, can’t reconcile Hathaway’s dedicated news hound to her run of catastrophic decisions. Continue Reading
A movie that isn’t a movie; a play that isn’t a play. Live-streamed from the Playhouse Theatre in London’s ‘glittering West End’, the Rostand classic gets a modern, no set, no props, Brechtian makeover, complete with rap, beat-boxing and no end of swearing.
More than that, one of theatre’s famously ugly leads is played by a bona-fide movie star, James Macavoy, without a false nose. Then he takes his shirt off. Continue Reading
Dreamworks rounds off it’s animated Dragon trilogy with a superlative coming-of-age adventure. It’s a charmingly bonkers fantasy world of goofy dragons, Scottish vikings, American teens, F. Murray Abraham voicing a Max Von Sudow villain; this time injected with some properly Y-A themes of taking on adult responsibility. And if that sounds all too grown up, just sit back and enjoy the flying sequences. Continue Reading
Sandwiched between Gone Girl and Desperate Housewives, Anna Kendrick and Blake Lively sparkle in a post-modern, suburban-noir thriller that twists and turns with flashbacks and unreliable narrators. Black comedy mixes with Internet memes and sharp satire on small-town America; quick, stylish and inventive, but still not quite the sum of its’ admirable parts.
Revelation: Warners finally delivers a DC movie with FUN! James Wan’s underwater Excalibur knows exactly what it is; a CGI-tastic, Technicolour spectacular with tongue firmly planted in cheek romping through every mythic quest cliché, as sultry cuddle-muscle Jason Momoa almost winks through every scene.
Caught with another girl in the back seat of a car on prom night, Cameron (Chloë Grace Moretz) is shipped off to an Evangelical ‘conversion therapy’ center to be ‘cured’ while bonding with fellow rebels, through enduring emotional and religious blackmail. Lazy summing up as Junior One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest (or Girl Interrupted?) meets The Breakfast Club doesn’t begin to do justice to the poignant, witty and often dark teen drama that unfolds.
E.L. James’ tedious trilogy limps away like one of it’s expensively featured designer brands; all surface gloss, while inside, the stitching is iffy and the handles will fall off before you get it home. Little more than a TV bonk-buster mini-series with added spanky-panky, nobody really cares about the mini-dramas of the over-privileged pretty people, and the power-couple at the centre bicker and bonk with equal disinterest. It’s all just a bit dull.
Thankfully about as far from the likes of John Wick 2 as it’s possible to get, Alicia Vikander swaps Tomb Raiding for Netflix’ seventeenth-century heritage cinema as a Girl With a Pearl Earring in the boom-and-bust era of sub-prime tulip bulb trading. With that and the title, no wonder it sank… Continue Reading