Saoirse Ronan dazzles in this unabashedly romantic adaptation of the Colm Tóibín coming-of-age novel as a reluctant Irish migrant. A top supporting cast adds weight to a flat screenplay, with the exception of love interest Tony, veering between puppy-dog innocent Italian boy, and stalker-ish would-be serial killer. No wonder our Soairse has a Sliding Doors moment back in Ireland. 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
The script has forgiveable flaws; the performances are universally superb; the story is worth the telling in the twenty-first century. So why did director of photography Ed Grau have to spoil the whole thing by smearing Vaseline on the lens and shooting during an Earthquake? Continue Reading
Chameleon actor Tom Hardy (Batman, Legend) turns in a Brando-like performance as Russian war hero turned investigator Leo Demidov on the trail of a serial killer. In a paranoid Soviet state of suspicion and fear, executing its citizens at will, even his schoolteacher wife Raisa (Noomi Rapace – Prometheus, Dragon Tatoo trilogy) is afraid of him.
It’s not easy when ‘there can be no murder in paradise’; even when the latest murdered child – 44th – is the son of his army comrade; the totalitarian state is in denial of murder, even as it executes its citizens daily. This is Soviet Russia at the height of Stalin’s reign of terror, and even a war hero like Leo can be denounced and exiled to a remote factory town after failing to denounce his own wife, a suspected dissident. Continue Reading
This unassuming biopic of British scientist and father of modern computing, Alan Turing, is warmly and delicately told from his time as a schoolboy prodigy to his last days as a convicted, chemically castrated outcast.
Benedict Cumberbatch (Star Trek Into Darkness, The Fourth Estate) brings his other-worldly strangeness to the obsessive cryptographer and builder of the code-breaking Colossus machine at Bletchley Park.
British war-time period drama it may be, but there’s invention enough to lift it out of the ordinary, adding drama to the tragedy of the man who broke the German Enigma code. Continue Reading
Madame de Barra is a curiosity – a widowed woman gardener in seventeenth century France with the drive to make her visions a reality. When the unhappy gardening genius le Notre engages her to create a cutting-edge new al fresco ballroom for the King, it’s fairly obvious how it will all end.
Directed by, co-written by and featuring Alan Rickman as the bored and pointless seventeenth century French King, trapped inside a suffocating cage and wanting only the one woman he can’t have, it’s a deceptively tranquil take on ageing, loss and love. Continue Reading
Ever imagined the Gladiator redone by Roland Emmerich with Dante’s Peak on the side? Now you don’t have to as Paul W. S. Anderson (Event Horizon, Death Race and too many Resident Evil‘s) has made Pompeii.
Kit Harington (Game of Thrones) smoulders darkly and flexes his biceps from Celtic Britain to the Roman resort of Pompeii, where corrupt Senator Corvus (Keifer Sutherland – 24) pitches up to snatch provincial damsel in distress Emily Browning.
But yes, do you know how it’s going to end. Mostly… Continue Reading