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
Reuniting after Theory of Everything, Eddie Redmayne’s maverick meteorologist (yes, really) and Felicity Jones’ daredevil balloonist would rather take on the weather in a perilous record-breaking flight than face the scorn and strictures of Victorian society, thereby proving what a pair of plucky underdogs can achieve with sufficient grit, persistence and determination. Yes it’s that kind of movie. And if you’re not good with heights, maybe give it a miss.
Someone’s made a musical out of this misogynistic celluloid garbage and someone needs to put a stop to it. A high-gloss Hollywood rip-off of Pygmalion, this ‘classic modern fairy tale’ is one of the worst movies of the last forty years. Warning: rant ahead.
A heart-warming family drama with three strong female leads that is also a superhero movie without the bash, smash and crash. Part Midnight Special, part X-Men, but with a grittier edge than A Wrinkle in Time, Fast Color doesn’t need buckets of blood and blowing s* up every five minutes to tell a proper story. Mr Bay and Mr Snyder please take note… Continue Reading
The easy labelling of Wash Westmoreland’s twisty adaptation of Susanna Jones’ novel as Hitchcockian may be praise too far, but Netflix’s Earthquake Bird is a tense, bilingual, multi-layered drama.
From the first frame, Alicia Vikander’s stranger in a foreign land is clearly a broken soul, travelling the crowded streets and subways of Tokyo in bleak isolation. When she becomes involved with creepy street photographer Teiji (Naoki Kobayashi), and they try to wheedle out each other’s many secrets, you’re wondering if this is another Michael Powell Peeping Tom, or a darkly subdued Basic Instinct.
A young woman travels back in time to save the future by changing the past. Not Terminator Dark Fate, this twisty little Indie-inflected slice of sci-fi is a more thoughtful drama centred on the detective that has a one-day window to stop her serial killing spree every nine years.
Predictable comparison from me: it is like an over stretched Twilight Zone episode in four acts – yes, you could crank up the plot and be done in 88 minutes, but then you would lose the personal and family drama of leading man Boyd Holbrook. His lowly beat cop is the only person who makes the time travel connection and whose life and career falls apart as everyone else thinks he’s crazy.
And the award for daftest title of the year goes to: fast-and-loose, science-historical, no-villains, revisionist, bio-pic flim-flammery which is supposedly the battle between Eddison and Westinghouse, but is actually about the battle between Michael Shannon and his period moustache.
Benedict Cumberbatch lends his earnest baritone to yet another real-life ‘sciencist’, rogue businessman and patent-thief Thomas Eddison, in the battle for dominance of AC vs DC current in domestic energy supply. Not exactly Highway to Hell.