25 January 2016

Mortdecai

  • Mortdecai 2015
  • Director: David Koepp
  • Based on the book by Kyril Bonfigliolo
  • Cast: Johnny Depp, Gwyneth Paltrow, Ewan MacGregor, Paul Bettany, Olivia Munn, Michael Culkin, Jeff Goldblum, Nicholas Farrell, Michael Byrne
  • Personal “oh yeah him/her” reaction, i.e. have seen this actor in:
    • Johnny Depp – Transcendence, The Lone Ranger, Dark Shadows, Life’s Too Short, The Rum Diary, Pirates of the Caribbean 1-4, Rango, The Tourist, Alice in Wonderland, Public Enemies, The Imaginarium of Dr Parnassus, Sweeney Todd, Corpse Bride, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Libertine, Finding Neverland, Secret Window, Once upon a Time in Mexico, From Hell, Blow, Chocolat, Before Night Falls, The Man Who Cried, Sleepy Hollow, The Astronaut’s Wife, The Ninth Gate, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, The Brave, Donnie Brasco, Nick of Time, Dead Man, Don Juan DeMarco, Ed Wood, What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, Benny and Joon, Arizona Dream, Edward Scissorhands, Cry Baby, Platoon, Slow Burn, Nightmare on Elm Street  
    • Gwyneth Paltrow – Contagion, Two Lovers, Infamous, The Royal Tenenbaums, Shakespeare in Love, The Perfect Murder, Sliding Doors, Moonlight and Valentino, Seven
    • Ewan MacGregor – The Impossible, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, The Ghost Writer, Stay, Star Wars I-III, Big Fish, Young Adam, Moulin Rouge, Little Voice, Velvet Goldmine, A Life Less Ordinary, Brassed Off, Trainspotting, Shallow Grave
    • Paul Bettany – Transcendent, The Tourist, Creation, The Young Victoria, Dogville, A Beautiful Mind, A Knight’s Tale, David Copperfield
    • Michael Culkin – Poldark, Mr Turner, Downton Abbey, Mrs Henderson Presents, Being Julia, The Hours, Shackleton, Our Mutual Friend, Photographing Fairies, The Fifth Element, Cold Lazarus
    • Jeff Goldblum – Igby Goes Down, Independence Day, Jurassic Park, The Fly, Silverado, The Right Stuff, The Big Chill, Nashville
    • Nicholas Farrell – Testament of Youth, Amazing Grace, Driving Lessons, Sex Chips & Rock’n’Roll, Hamlet, Twelfth Night, In the Bleak Midwinter, Othello
    • Michael Byrne – Quartet, Harry Potter and the Deadly Hallows I, Gangs of New York, Tomorrow Never Dies, Braveheart, Two Gentleman of Verona, Richard III, Henry VI Part Three, Henry VI Part One
  • Why? Johnny Depp and the rest
  • Seen:  24 January 2016      

       In spite of the cast my expectations aren’t terribly high on this one. The reviews have been less than raving and it sounds silly. But I’m prepared to be entertained.
       It’s more than silly. What are these excellent actors doing in this ridiculous film? Having fun maybe. Johnny Depp in the title role, with the same mannerisms he has successfully used so endearingly in earlier films, is in this one close to irritating. Gwyneth Paltrow doesn’t quite work as a smart sexy wife. Paul Bettany is amusing as an out-of-character Cockney thug-body-guard-valet and Ewan MacGregor is so handsome it’s impossible to connect him to the brilliant heroin addict of Trainspotting.
       One line gets a laugh. Upon being sent on a mission to the US, to his dismay, Mortdecai protests: ‘California?! Oh, icky!’
       A pleasant surprise is seeing Nicholas Farrell showing up as an auctioneer.
       Entertaining? Somewhat. At times. But I wasn’t expecting much so for the sake of the good cast and a couple of laughs:


2 * of 5

Jupiter Ascending

Jupiter Ascending 2015
  • Directors: Andy Wachowski and Lana Wachowski
  • Based on book: no
  • Cast: Channing Tatum, Mila Kunis, Sean Bean, Eddie Redmayne, Douglas Booth, Tuppence Middleton, Nikki Amuka-Bird, Maria Doyle Kennedy
  • Personal “oh yeah him/her” reaction, i.e. have seen this actor in:
    • Mila Kunis – Black Swan, The Book of Eli
    • Channing Tatum – Public Enemies, Battle in Seattle
    • Sean Bean – The Island, The Lord of the Rings trilogy, North Country, Troy, Golden Eye, Equilibrium, Stormy Monday
    • Eddie Redmayne – The Theory of Everything, Les Misérables, My Week with Marilyn, The Pillars of the Earth, The Other Boleyn Girl, Elizabeth the Golden Age
    • Douglas Booth – Great Expectations
    • Tuppence Middleton – Friday Night Dinner
    • Nikki Amuka-Bird – Coriolanus, Small Island, The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency
    • Maria Doyle Kennedy – Downton Abbey, Tara Road, Moll Flanders, The Commitments
  • Why? Eddie Redmayne, sci-fi
  • Seen:  22 January 2016       

       In dramatic start Jupiter is born after her father, an astronaut with a fascination for the planet, is murdered by the Russian Mafia.
       Then suddenly we’re in a futuristic society on some far off planet ruled by beautiful ruthless aristocrats who own Earth.
       On Earth Jupiter and her mother make their living in Chicago through cleaning jobs. Jupiter: ‘I hate my life.’
       Another gang of aliens. Bounty hunters or something.
       Oh well, let’s just watch the film.
       It’s a mixture of comedy, high tech space stuff, romance with a hunky freedom fighter against an evil Eddie Redmayne and his fellow bad aliens.
       A nice long chase scene of space ships and anti-gravity boots gives me the chance to take a little snooze.
       It’s silly and gender-stereotyped and the macho hero is completely un-sexy. The dialog is awful. But it’s unusual in its way and amusing at times. It’s fun to see a not-at-all nice Eddie Redmayne, but he won’t get an Oscar for this role.
       A lot of talent went into making this film. Too bad it wasn’t worth it. It has some similarities to Star Wars. That is not a compliment. Most of the SW films were awful.
       But it’s fun. At times.


2 * of 5

18 January 2016

The Dead Girl

The Dead Girl
  • Director: Karen Moncrieff
  • Based on book: no
  • Cast: Toni Collette, Piper Laurie, Giovanni Ribisi, Rose Byrne, Joany Tomsky, James Franco, Mary Steenburgen, Mary Beth Hurt, Nick Searcy, Marcia Gay Harden, Kerry Washington, Brittany Murphy
  • Personal “oh yeah him/her” reaction, i.e. have seen this actor in:
    • Toni Collette – Fright Night, Little Miss Sunshine, In Her Shoes, The Hours, About a Boy, Changing Lanes, Hotel Splendide, The Sixth Sense, Velvet Goldmine, Muriel’s Wedding
    • Piper Laurie – Dead Like Me, Tim, Carrie
    • Giovanni Ribusi – The Rum Diary, Avatar, Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, Cold Mountain, Friends, Lost in Translation, Saving Private Ryan, SubUrbia, The X Files
    • Rose Byrne – 28 Weeks Later, Sunshine, Troy, Star Wars Episode II
    • James Franco – 127 Hours, Milk, Spiderman
    • Mary Steenburgen – The Help, Honeydripper, Sunshine State, I Am Sam, Philadelphia, What’s Eating Gilbert Grape
    • Mary Beth Hurt – Bringing Out the Dead, Six Degrees of Separation, The Age of Innocence, The World According to Garp
    • Nick Searcy – The Assassination of Richard Nixon, Cast Away, Nell, The Fugitive, Love Field, Fried Green Tomatoes, The Prince of Tides
    • Marcia Gay Harden – The Mist, Into the Wild, Mona Lisa’s Smile, Mystic River, Pollock, Meet Joe Black, The First Wives Club, Miller’s Crossing
    • Kerry Washington – Miracle at St Anna, Ray, The Human Stain, The United States of Leland
    • Brittany Murphy – 8 Mile, Riding in Cars with Boys, Girl Interrupted
  • Why? Toni Collette
  • Seen:  16 January 2016      

       Now and then we watch a film knowing nothing about it. I bought this one because Toni Collette is in it. That’s usually reason enough to watch a film.
       As it is this time, though she’s not in it long. In the first scene we see her, haggard, repressed, glum. And she finds the dead body. Her life is already grim and isolated. She takes care of her nasty mother on an isolated farm. She flees her cruel mother and meets with a man she met at the supermarket who shows a morbid interest in the dead girl. A bizarre unhealthy relationship ensues.
       Switch to a new story. Leah. Her sister has been missing for years. Can the dead girl be her? She believes so. She hopes so. But it’s not so. Leah sinks back into her chronic depression.
       Third story. Ruth. Aging religious put-upon wife of a philandering husband. She finds evidence that her husband is the killer of many missing girls. She destroys the evidence.
       Fourth story. The dead girl’s mother. Who learns things about her daughter and husband she doesn’t want to know.
       Fifth story. The dead girl herself.
       It’s a family drama, a psychological thriller, a character study, a portrait of violence against women. It’s a strange, complex and suspenseful film, well done, heavy going. It’s a film that should be seen but it’s not an easy one to love.


4 * of 5

Love Actually

Love Actually 2003
  • Director: Richard Curtis
  • Based on book: no
  • Cast: Alan Rickman, Bill Nighy, Gregor Fisher, Colin Firth, Liam Neeson, Emma Thompson, Kris Marshall, Heike Makatsch, Martin Freeman, Joanna Page, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Andrew Lincoln, Keira Knightley, Hugh Grant, Nina Sosanya, Martine McCutcheon, Laura Linney, Thomas Brodie-Sangter
  • Personal “oh yeah him/her” reaction, i.e. have seen this actor in:
    • Alan Rickman – the Harry Potter movies, The Butler, Alice in Wonderland, Sweeney Todd, Snow Cake, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Dogma, Michael Collins, Sense and Sensibility, Robin Hood Prince of Thieves, The January Man, Die Hard, Romeo and Juliet
    • Bill Nighy – Hotel Marigold 1 and 2, Pirates of the Caribbean, The Girl in the Café, The Boat that Rocked, Valkyria, Hot Fuzz, Notes on a Scandal, The Constant Gardener, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Shaun of the Dead, Auf Wiedersehen Pet, Kiss Me Kate
    • Gregor Fisher – The Merchant of Venice
    • Colin Firth – Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, The King’s Speech, Genova, Mamma Mia, Then She Found Me, Nanny McPhee, Girl with a Pearl Earring, Bridget Jones’s Diary, Black Adder, My Life So Far, Shakespeare in Love, A Thousand Acres, Fever Pitch
    • Liam Neeson - The Dark Knight Rises, Life’s Too Short, The Next Three Days, Seraphim Falls, Kingdom of Heaven, The Gangs of New York, Les Misérables, Michael Collins, Rob Roy, Schindler’s List, Nell, Ruby Cairo, Ex Calibur
    • Emma Thompson – the Harry Potter movies, The Boat that Rocked, Brideshead Revisited, Nanny McPhee, An Education, Last Chance Harvey, Stranger than Fiction, Angels in America, Wit, The Remains of the Day, Henry V, Much Ado About Nothing, Peter’s Friends, Howards End, Dead Again, Fortunes of War, Impromptu, Tutti Frutti
    • Kris Marshall – Easy Virtue, The Merchant of Venice
    • Heike Makatsch – The Book Thief, Tara Road
    • Martin Freeman – the Hobbit films, Fargo, The World’s End, Hot Fuzz, Breaking and Entering, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Shaun of the Dead
    • Joanna Page – From Hell, Very Annie Mary, David Copperfield
    • Chiwetel Ejiofor – Dancing on the Edge, 2012, Children of Men, Kinky Boots, Dirty Pretty Things, Amistad
    • Andrew Lincoln – only this
    • Keira Knightley – Never Let Me Go, Atonement, Pirates of the Caribbean 1-3, King Arthur, Bend It Like Beckham, Star Wars Episode I
    • Hugh Grant – Cloud Atlas, Music and Lyrics, American Dreamz, About a Boy, Bridget Jones’s Diary, Notting Hill, Sense and Sensibility, Four Weddings and a Funeral, The Remains of the Day, Impromptu
    • Nina Sosanya – The Last Tango in Halifax, Bonekickers, Much Ado about Nothing (Retold), Manderlay
    • Martine McCutcheon – only this
    • Laura Linney – Jindabyne, Driving Lessons, The Squid and the Whale, Mystic River, Dave, Lorenzo’s Oil
    • Thomas Brodie-Sangter – Wolf Hall, Nowhere Boy, Bright Star, Nany McPhee
  • Why? The cast
  • Seen:  Twice before. Now 15 January 2016 

       Alan Rickman is no more. But he lives in his many films. We have recently watched the Harry Potter films and Snape will never leave us.
       In Alan Rickman’s memory we chose this film this evening.
       I know it’s silly and hopelessly romantic and all that. But with this cast, even Hugh Grant, and with the British humour we knew even the first time that it would be two hours of bittersweet….well, you know, British humour and love.
       And our Alan Rickman is one of them. Not nearly enough for our needs on this sad day after the news of his death. But in the bits he’s in he’s…well, you know, Alan Rickman.
       It’s a movie to love. And I do. Of course.  They know how to make us do that.
       It’s Christmas and I hate movies about Christmas but I forgive it because it’s just so…well, you know, what it is. Sometimes it’s nice to be manipulated. Me, an old toughie.
       Thank you, Alan Rickman. You will be remembered.

4 * of 5


        



        

14 January 2016

Macbeth 2015

Macbeth 
  • Director: Justin Kurzel
  • Based on the play by William Shakespeare
  • Cast: Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard, Paddy Considine, David Thewlis, David Hayman, Sean Harris
  • Personal “oh yeah him/her” reaction, i.e. have seen this actor in:
    • Michael Fassbender – Prometheus, Jane Eyre, Inglourious Basterds, Fish Tank, Hunger
    • Marion Cotillard – The Dark Knight Rises, Contagion, Inception, Nine, Public Enemies, La vie en rose, A Good Year, Un long dimanche de fiancailles, Big Fish
    • Paddy Considine – The World’s End, Hot Fuzz, My Summer of Love, In America, 24 Hour Party People, Born Romantic
    • Davis Thewlis – The Theory of Everything, the Harry Potter films, The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, Kingdom of Heaven, Whatever Happened to Harold Smith?, The Big Lebowski, Naked, Life is Sweet
    • David Hayman - The Hollow Crown – Henry IV Part 1, Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, My Name is Joe, Smilla’s Sense of Snow, Rob Roy, Sid and Nancy
    • Sean Harris– Prometheus, Brighton Rock, Harry Brown, 24 Hour Party People
  • Why? Shakespeare
  • Seen:  13 January 2016 at the cinema with Hal 

       Macbeth at the cinema – that should be a real cinematic experience.
       Well. An experience, but not the one I’d hoped for. It’s so slow it’s almost in slow motion. The lines are spoken in a monotone, facial expressions are essentially absent. I’m all for minimalism but did the director give his cast the order, ‘Whatever you do, don’t reveal any inner torment, doubt or remorse!’ In this play that’s all about inner torment, doubt and remorse. A less dramatic Macbeth is hard to imagine. It left me cold. And this is the play that ignited my passion for Shakespeare.
       I did like the harsh and beautiful Scottish landscape, and the choice to use simple wooden buildings and tents for the period before Macbeth is crowned king is a good one. The loving attention to visual effects gives the film a lift.
       Shakespeare is worth so much more. But Shakespeare also rises above this kind of misguided treatment. So it’s worth a couple of stars. David Thewlis, Sean Harris and especially Paddy Considine all show some emotion in spite of the above mentioned order and raise it a little more.

2 ½ * of 5



        

11 January 2016

Strange Days

Strange Days 1995
  • Director: Kathryn Bigelow
  • Based on book: no
  • Cast: Ralph Fiennes, Angela Bassett, Juliette Lewis, Tom Sizemore, Michael Wincott, Vincent D’Onofrio, Glenn Plummer, Richard Edson, William Fichtner, Josef Sommer
  • Personal “oh yeah him/her” reaction, i.e. have seen this actor in:
    • Ralph Fiennes – Spectre, The Invisible Woman, Skyfall, Harry Potter, Coriolanus, The Reader, In Bruges, The Constant Gardener, Maid in Manhattan, Sunshine, The English Patient, Strange Days, Quiz Show, Schindler’s List, Wuthering Heights
    • Angela Bassett – A as in Akeelah, Sunshine State, Music of the Heart, Contact, What’s Love Got to Do with It, Malcolm X, Boyz n the Hood
    • Juliette Lewis – The Darwin Awards, The Basketball Diaries, What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, Romeo Is Bleeding
    • Tom Sizemore – Pauly Shore Is Dead, Bringing Out the Dead, Saving Private Ryan, Heal, Devil in a Blue Dress, True Romance, Born on the Fourth of July
    • Michael Wincott – Le Scaphandre et le papillon, Seraphime Falls, The Assassination of Richard Nixon, Along Came a Spider, Before Night Falls, Alien Resurrection, Dead Man, The Crow, Romeo Is Bleeding, Robin Hood Prince of Thieves, The Doors, Born on the Fourth of July
    • Vincent D’Onofrio – Men in Black, Feeling Minnesota, Ed Wood, JFK, Full Metal Jacket
    • Glenn Plummer – Day after Tomorrow, Speed, Frankie & Johnny
    • Richard Edson – Sunshine State, Lulu on the Bridge, Do the Right Thing, Good Morning Vietnam, Platoon, Desperately Seeking Susan
    • William Fichtner – Elysium, The Lone Ranger, The Dark Knight, Crash, Equilibrium, The Perfect Storm, Contact, Heat, Malcolm X
    • Josef Sommer – Moonlight and Valentino, Hamlet, Witness, Silkwood, Independence Day, Reds, Close Encounters of the Third Kind
  • Why? Like it.
  • Seen: Twice before. Now 10 January 2016 
       Ex-cop Lenny has principles. He doesn’t deal in virtual reality snuff films. All other forms of sex and violence, fine. He buys them, he directs them, he arranges them…. And he makes money.
       It’s the future. Sort of. Made in 1995 it takes place in 1999. The Millennium is at hand. Meanwhile Lenny loses himself in his virtual memory discs of his lost love as society succumbs to drugs, racism, political assassination. And then a friend is raped and murdered.
       It’s rough and raw and romantic. The chaotic frantic pace never lets you catch your breath. Fiennes and Lewis are a long way from M, Voldemort and Becky of Gilbert Grape. It’s over-the-top and feels completely realistic. Some of the dialog is stilted but as a whole the film gets better with every viewing.

4 * of 5


      

        

Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?

Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? 1962
  • Director: Robert Aldrich
  • Based on book by Henry Farrell
  • Cast: Bette Davis, Joan Crawford, Victor Buono, Maidie Norman, Anna Lee
  • Personal “oh yeah him/her” reaction, i.e. have seen this actor in:
    • Bette Davis – The Whales of August, Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte, Pocketful of Miracles, All about Eve, The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex
    • Joan Crawford – Grand Hotel
    • Victor Buono – Beneath the Planet of the Apes, Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte, many TV series
    • Maidie Norman – many TV series
    • Anna Lee – Sound of Music, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, The Ghost and Mrs Muir, many TV series
  • Why? Bette Davis
  • Seen:  Twice before (at least). Now 8 January 2016 

       Are we really up to this? It’s scary, that much I remember.
       Two aging sisters – former movie stars - in Suburbia USA. Blanche is confined to a wheelchair after having been run down by sister Jane years ago. In her heyday she had made quality films. Jane made bad films, her glory days as child star Baby Jane long past.
       Jane is now a sadistic, slatternly drunken madwoman. Blanche is a righteous, long-suffering martyr, a prisoner, at the mercy of cruel Jane.
       Joan Crawford is good as the frightened cowed victim.
       Bette Davis is outrageously good as the lying, manipulative, increasingly insane, murderous and pathetic Baby Jane.  Did she get an Oscar for this? She should have.
       It’s still creepy but of course it doesn’t have the shock effect of when it came out in the early 60’s. As always I appreciate the black and white photography but that and Davis are its strengths. The rest? A competent product of the era.

3 * of 5


      

        

Cloud Atlas

Cloud Atlas 2012
  • Director: Tom Tykwer
  • Based on book by David Mitchell
  • Cast: Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Jim Broadbent, Hugo Weaving, Jim Sturgess, Doona Bae, Ben Whishaw, Keith David, James D’Arcy, David Gyasi, Susan Sarandon, Hugh Grant
  • Personal “oh yeah him/her” reaction, i.e. have seen this actor in:
    • Tom Hanks – Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, Catch Me If You Can, Road to Perdition, Cast Away, The Green Mile, You’ve Got Mail, Saving Private Ryan, Forest Gump, Philadelphia, Sleepless in Seattle, A League of Their Own, Joe and the Volcano, Punchline
    • Halle Berry – Things We Lost in the Fire, Monster’s Ball, X-Men, Bullworth, Jungle Fever
    • Jim Broadbent – Filth, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Another Year, The Young Victoria, Hot Fuzz, Vera Drake, Gangs of New York, Moulin Rouge, Topsy-Turvy, Little Voice, Smilla’s Sense of Snow, Richard III, The Crying Game, Enchanted April, Life is Sweet, Brazil, Black Adder
    • Hugo Weaving – The Hobbit the Battle of the Five Armies, The Hobbit an Unexpected Journey, V for Vendetta, Little Fish, Lord of the Rings 1-3, Matrix 1-3, The Adventures of Priscilla Queen of the Desert
    • Jim Sturgess – The Other Boleyn Girl, Across the Universe
    • Ben Whishaw – Spectre, Skyfall, The Hollow Crown – Richard II, The Tempest, Bright Star, Brideshead Revisited, I’m Not There
    • Keith David – Crash, Requiem for a Dream, Armageddon, Dead Presidents, Clockers, Reality Bites, Stars and Bars, Platoon
    • James D’Arcy – Bonekickers, Wilde
    • Davis Gyasi – The Dark Knight Rises
    • Susan Sarandon – Emotional Arithmetic, Romance and Cigarettes, The Exonerated, Alfie, Moonlight Mile, The Banger Sisters, Igby Goes Down, Anywhere but Here, Cradle Will Rock, Dead Man Walking, Little Women, The Client, Lorenzo’s Oil, Thelma and Louise, White Palace, A Dry White Season, The January Man, Bull Durham, The Witches in Eastwick, Atlantic City. The Rocky Horror Picture Show
    • Hugh Grant – Music and Lyrics, American Dreamz, Love Actually, About a Boy, Bridget Jones’s Diary, Notting Hill, Sense and Sensibility, Four Weddings and a Funeral, The Remains of the Day, Impromptu
  • Why? Sci-fi. The cast.
  • Seen:  3 January 2016 

       It jumps back and forth in time and space in a phantasmagorical tapestry of stories, one odder than the next. Past, present, future, history, fantasy, magic, murder, suicide, memories, prophesies, humour – is there anything this movie doesn’t have?
       It’s confusing for a long time but it doesn’t matter. Each scene, each story, each woven thread is fascinating and a kind of coherence emerges slowly.
       The actors all play multiple roles and part of the fun is trying to recognise them behind all of the outlandish costumes and make-up.

4 ½ * of 5


        

Bright Young Things

Bright Young Things 2003
  • Director: Stephen Fry
  • Based on book Vile Bodies by Evelyn Waugh
  • Cast: Stephen Campbell Moore, James McAvoy, Emily Mortimer, David Tennant, Michael Sheen, Stockard Channing, Fenella Woolgar, Dan Ackroyd, Julia McKenzie, Jim Broadbent, Simon Callow, Guy Henry, Imelda Staunton, Jim Carter, Peter O’Toole, Harriet Walter, Richard E. Grant
  • Personal “oh yeah him/her” reaction, i.e. have seen this actor in:
    • Stephen Campbell Moore – Amazing Grace, Hustle
    • James McAvoy – Filth, Wanted, Atonement, Becoming Jane, Starter for 10, Macbeth (retold) Inside I’m Dancing
    • Emily Mortimer – Hugo, Shutter Island, Lars and the Real Girl, Paris je t’aime, Dear Frankie, Young Adam, Love’s Labour’s Lost, Notting Hill, Elizabeth,
    • David Tennant – Fright Night, Hamlet, Dr Who, Extras, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
    • Michael Sheen – Far from the Madding Crowd, Frost/Nixon, Blood Diamond, The Queen, Kingdom of Heaven, Wilde, Mary Reilly, Othello
    • Stockard Channing – Sparkle, Out of Practice, Practical Magic, First Wives’ Club, Moll Flanders, Edie & Pen, Smoke, Six Degrees of Separation, Grease
    • Fenella Woolgar – Mr Turner, Wah-Wah, Vera Drake
    • Dan Ackroyd – Blues Brothers, Grosse Point Blank, Feeling Minnesota, Driving Miss Daisy, Trading Places, Blues Brothers
    • Julia McKenzie – Cranford, Notes on a Scandal, Shirley Valentine
    • Harriet Walter – Star Wars the Force Awakens, Downton Abbey, The Young Victoria, Atonement, Babel, Keep the Aspidistras Flying, Sense and Sensibility
    • Jim Broadbent – Filth, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Another Year, The Young Victoria, Hot Fuzz, Vera Drake, Gangs of New York, Moulin Rouge, Topsy-Turvy, Little Voice, Smilla’s Sense of Snow, Richard III, The Crying Game, Enchanted April, Life is Sweet, Brazil, Black Adder
    • Simon Callow – Angels in America, Shakespeare in Love, Four Weddings and a Funeral, Postcards from the Edge, A Room with A View, Amadeus
    • Guy Henry – Henry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Creation, Wallander, Lost in Austen, Extras, Starter for 10, V for Vendetta, Hustle
    • Imelda Staunton – Harry Potter, Another Year, Cranford, Taking Woodstock, Freedom Writers, A Midsummer Night’s Dream (retold), Nanny McPhee, Vera Drake, David Copperfield, Shakespeare in Love, Twelfth Night, Sense and Sensibility, Much Ado about Nothing, Peter’s Friends
    • Jim Carter – Downton Abbey, My Week with Marilyn, Cranford, Creation, Modigliani, Ella Enchanted, Shakespeare in Love, Keep the Aspidistra Flying, Brassed Off, Richard III, The Madness of King George
    • Peter O’Toole – Stardust, Troy, Murphy’s War, The Lion in Winter, Lawrence of Arabia
    • Richard E. Grant – Colour Me Kubrick, Gosford Park, Keep the Aspidistras Flying, Twelfth Night, Cold Lazarus, Karaoke, The Age of Innocence, Dracula, Withnail and I
  • Why? James McAvoy, Stephen Fry.
  • Seen:  2 January 2016 

       What a cast!
       Adam Symes has written a novel called Bright Young Things about the scandalous excesses of upper class youngsters in England just before the Second World War. Unfortunately for him the manuscript is confiscated by customs officials. And he’s already been paid. This is just the beginning of his troubles. With the rest of his co-eccentrics he is involved in one absurdity after another.
       It’s amusing but there’s an undertone of despair. Well, of course there is. It’s the late ’30s.
       ‘What a lot of parties!’ Adam cries as everything falls apart. 

3 ½ * of 5


      

        

4 January 2016

Sceptre

Spectre 2015
  • Director: Sam Mendes
  • Based on book by Ian Fleming (very vaguely)
  • Cast: Daniel Craig, Léa Seydoux, Ralph Fiennes, Ben Whishaw, Naomi Harris, Rory Kinnear
  • Personal “oh yeah him/her” reaction, i.e. have seen this actor in:
    • Daniel Craig – Skyfall, Defiance, Quantum of Solace, Flashbacks of a Fool, Casino Royale, Infamous, Road to Perdition, Hotel Splendide, Elizabeth
    • Léa Seydoux – Robin Hood, Inglourious Basterds,
    • Ralph Fiennes – The Invisible Woman, Skyfall, Harry Potter, Coriolanus, The Reader, In Bruges, The Constant Gardener, Maid in Manhattan, Sunshine, The English Patient, Strange Days, Quiz Show, Schindler’s List, Wuthering Heights
    • Ben Whishaw – Skyfall, The Hollow Crown – Richard II, The Tempest, Bright Star, Brideshead Revisited, I’m Not There
    • Naomie Harris – Skyfall, Small Island, Pirates of the Caribbean, 28 Days Later, White Teeth
    • Christopher Waltz – Carnage, Inglourious Basterds,
    • Andrew Scott – The Hollow Crown Henry IV Part Two, Longitude, Saving Private Ryan
    • Rory Kinnear – Skyfall, The Hollow Crown – Richard II, Quantum of Solace
  • Why? All the others
  • Seen:  31 December 2015 at the cinema with Hal, B-IS and ÖB 

       It’s got all the ingredients. Spectacular violent exotic intro, sexy women, cool maverick go-it-alone Bond, ultra-evil villains, car chases.
       After Skyfall I’ve been looking forward to this one. Sadly, it doesn’t live up to its emotionally charged predecessor. In fact the first half, though visually exciting, is rather boring. What keeps it interesting is the excellent Q (Whishaw), the best cast actor of the whole long series of films. Harris as Moneypenny and Fiennes as M are also very good.
       It picks up a bit in the end so one cares a little about the man behind the Bond façade. But it really is time for James to retire. I hope this is the last one.
       Fiennes, Harris and especially Whishaw raise it to

3 * of 5


      

        

Star Wars - the Force Awakens

Star Wars Episode VII – The Force Awakens 2015
  • Director: JJ Abrams
  • Based on book: No
  • Cast: Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Nupita Nyong’o, Domhnall Gleeson, Max von Sydow, Harriet Walters, Kate Fleetwood
  • Personal “oh yeah him/her” reaction, i.e. have seen this actor in:
    • Mark Hamill –  The Third Rock from the Sun, the first 3 SW films
    • Harrison Ford – The Fugitive, Presumed Innocent, Indiana Jones. Working Girl, The Mosquito Coast, Blade Runner, Apocalypse Now, Witness, the first 3 SW films
    • Carrie Fisher – When Harry Met Sally, Blues Brothers, the first 3 SW films
    • Adam Driver – Tracks
    • John Boyega – Robin Hood
    • Domhnall Gleeson – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, True Grit, Never Let Me Go
    • Max von Sydow – Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, Robin Hood, Shutter Island, Emotional Arithmetic, Le scaphandre et le papillon, Snow Falling on Cedars, Awakenings, Ingenjör Anrées luftfärd, The Exorcist, Nybyggarna, Utvandrarna, Vargtimmen, Hawaii, Det sjunde inseglet
    • Harriet Walter - Downton Abbey, The Young Victoria, Atonement, Babel, Keep the Aspidistras Flying, Sense and Sensibility
    • Kate Fleetwood – Les Misérables, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Macbeth, Hustle, Elizabeth the Golden Age
  • Why? Because it’s there
  • Seen:  30 December 2015 at the cinema with Hal and AB 

       Maybe it’s because it’s at the cinema, maybe it’s because it’s in 3D, maybe it’s because it feels modern. Whatever the reason, this is the best Star Wars yet.
       It’s very exciting and the humour is subtle, relaxed and not at all as self-conscious as it was in V and VI, or completely absent as in I-III. It’s great fun to meet up with the aging originals - Han Solo has never been so likeable – and the new characters Rey, Finn and Kylo Ren actually have some character. Glimpses of Harriet Walters and Kate Fleetwood add some thespian class.
       A thoroughly enjoyable cinematic experience! Bring on SW VII!

4 * of 5