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
The previous Liu/Diaz/Barrymore re-boots were so execrable, this Angels re-re-boot doesn’t need to do much to clear a very, very low bar; but the formula it needs to follow doesn’t make it nearly the feminist triumph the studio claims. Despite Elizabeth Banks writing, producing, directing and co-starring, there’s still too much hair, heels, make-up and tight clothing for the three latter-day Jane Bonds to be anything but a marketing man’s wet dream. Taking less than half its’ budget, we probably won’t get another. Continue Reading
If you don’t love Aardman Animations, then you have a cold, dead soul. The latest Shaun the Sheep adventure sees our plasticine pal befriend ET in a wordless, silent clown tribute to every classic sci-fi from our childhoods.
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.
Yorgos Lanthimos’ historical tragi-comedy-drama is notionally the story of two cousins vying for position in the hopelessly corrupt royal court of 1704, Rachel Weiss as the formidable power behind the throne, Lady Marlborough versus her cunning but impoverished cousin Abigail (Emma Stone); both are outshone by Olivia Coleman’s Queen Anne.
In the age of the fop and the dandy, beneath the wigs and brocade, this is royal politics as a blood sport; acerbic, witty, profane, vulgar and strikingly modern.
A DVD copy of Rip-off PD surfaced in a charity shop and reminded me what a load of ghoulies this is. Imagine the worst possible mashup of Men in Black with Randall and Hopkirk, with a dollop of Ghostbusters; nope, you’re not even close. Deeply derivative and unimaginative, this ‘comedy-adventure’ isn’t funny and is quite dull despite all the crash-bash-and-smash CGI mayhem. Continue Reading
Cinema’s most polite ursine hero returns in an entertainingly inventive sequel that is sheer delight from start to finish. In a fantasy version of London that doesn’t bat an eyelid at a talking bear, Paddington’s latest caper is treasure hunt, prison break and steam train chase – with plenty of marmalade sandwiches. Continue Reading
Since the two Guardian‘s movies made a pile of cash, every Marvel movie now has to look and sound like Guardians; hence the third instalment of Thor is a gargantuan smash-bash-and-crash sci-fi comedy that ditches the mythic sweep of Dark World in favour of waspish one-liners a la Big Bang Theory in an early franchise reboot. Droll Kiwi actor-director Taika Waititi (What We Do in the Shadows, ‘Wilderpeople, Moana) is a fine choice if this flavour of comic-book action floats your spaceship. Hip, flip and glib, The Dark Knight this ain’t. Continue Reading
An amusing genre mash-up of horror and classic literature tumbles out of the one-joke, no-budget, B-movie drawer. The cast has a whale of a time turning Jane Austen into the Walking Dead with bonnets, but for all it’s knowing winks and attractive stars, it’s little more than an overstretched French and Saunders sketch.
If you’re in the narrow, venn diagram demographic of classic literature, period drama and bloody body-horror fans, you will appreciate the genre clash, but maybe not all the way to the creaky, Hammer-inflected climax. Continue Reading
Marvel’s audacious X-men/Wolverine spin-off-spin-off wants to have it’s cake and eat it: sweary, subversive and knowingly parodic, it is also puerile, violent, gory and laughs too often at its own jokes.
Which is presumably why they got puerile, self-referential Ryan Reynolds in the lead, despite his dubious track record (Blade Trinity, Green Lantern). Continue Reading