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 knowlingly 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
The Coen Brothers love letter to the golden age of Hollywood is a parade of sketches filled with nods and winks to thrill film aficionados. Leaving aside whether or not everyone else will get the joke, there are plenty of delightful cameos, smart lines, dry wit and sharp satire on the movie industry. But is that enough?
The main plot concerns a made-over version of Capitol Pictures studio ‘fixer’ Eddie Mannix’ (Josh Brolin – No Country) keeping the show on the road, while leading man Baird Whitlock (George Clooney – Tomorrowland) is kidnapped by Communist screen writers. Continue Reading
This won’t mean much to the rest of the world, but to Brits bought up on the 70’s sit-com of the Home Guard defending Britain against the Nazis, this is a surprising gold reboot; mischevous, whimisical and true to its source, Jones, Nighy and Gambon pull off an unlikely comedy hit.
So who do you think you are kidding Mr Hitler? Continue Reading
If you want to skip on, you just need to know this is the Aussie version of the Cohens’ Blood Simple. With sunshine.
Alice wants to leave town with mechanic boyfriend Dylan, but bar-owner husband Jack hires hitman Mr Wolf to kill her. Jack’s sister Lucy needs a substitute body to pull off an insurance scam with indebted gambler husband Nathan, who’s being stung by the corrupt town cop Bruce.
A solid Aussie genre-blending black-comedy-thriller, Kill Me Three Times is Blood Simple, with a workmanlike script, snappy editing and a good cast, with only one problem… Continue Reading
Genre-busting Aussie comedy-drama The Dressmaker brings Rosalie Ham’s book to the screen; part farce, part tragedy, part revenge-Western, the ensemble cast excel in this surreal 50’s tale of a broken outback town; but it’s Kate Winslet (Divergent, A Little Chaos) who delivers the central winning performance as the gunslinger with a Singer sewing machine – a GunSinger?
With the brash Aussie brio of Strictly Ballroom and Muriel’s Wedding, The Dressmaker switches from comedy to tragedy to farce with some predicatble and not-so predictble twists. Continue Reading
In 1973, lacrimose Northern playwright Alan Bennett allowed the homeless Miss Sheppard to park her van in his driveway in Camden’s smart Gloucester Crescent. She stayed fifteen years.
Bennett (The History Boys) adapts his much-loved memoir and stage play to the screen, with the ineffable Maggie Smith (Best Exotic, Quartet) in the title role as The Lady in the Van. In a cleverly self-aware script, directed by the National Theatre’s Nicholas Hytner (The Madness of King George) Bennett plays with fact, fiction and his own identity in a tragi-comic tale that is both universal, and as British as afternoon tea. Continue Reading