Monthly Archives: September 2013
Hugh Jackman stars as the father of a missing girl in this convoluted crime thriller
Canadian director Denis Villeneuve is known and admired for his 2010 movie Incendies, a mysterious and involved tale that I thought worked as a kind of prose-poem about memory and identity, and about how violence and bloodshed are the creator/parents of a traumatised future – but I wondered about its straightforward believability as drama. Now Villeneuve has made his first English-language film, Prisoners, a long, brutal and occasionally gripping forensic crime drama. Hugh Jackman stars as a man whose little daughter has been kidnapped; Jake Gyllenhaal is the cop assigned to the case, and Paul Dano is the disturbed individual who holds the key to the whole thing. This movie keeps plenty of suspects in play, along with multiple plotlines running and plates spinning. It all finally ties up – sort of. Prisoners is as involved and twisty as any airport bestseller: not an adaptation, though, but an original screenplay by the TV writer-producer Aaron Guzikowski.
A pedigree cast fails to ignite a mediocre and ultimately pointless rehash of Diana’s life
Neither as good as its pedigree suggests (director and star both have weighty credentials) nor quite as terrible as its detractors insist, this stodgy middle-of-the-road stiff is boringly ordinary and depressingly well behaved. Shying away from the laugh-out-loud bollocks of the altogether more enjoyable TV movie William & Kate, this addresses the most inaccessible part of Princess Diana’s over-exposed life – her relationship with heart surgeon Hasnat Khan – to oddly pointless, speculative effect. Only when it intersects tangentially with The Queen do we get an inkling of what may have attracted Hirschbiegel (director of Downfall) and Watts to such an ill-conceived project in the first place – the prospect of making a movie that might function as an awards-courting companion piece/prequel to Stephen Frears’s Oscar-winning hit.
Promoting his sequel to The Shining, King says that Stanley Kurbick’s version of Wendy Torrance is ‘one of the most misogynistic characters ever put on film’
Stephen King’s distaste for Stanley Kubrick’s film of The Shining is well-documented, with the author claiming it’s the only movie adaptation of his work he could “remember hating”. But in an interview with the BBC to promote his sequel, Doctor Sleep, King has explained further issues he has with the 1980 film.
It was, he told Will Gompitz, “cold” in its regard for the characters, who the audience observes as you might “ants in an ant hill”. Jack Nicholson’s portrayal of Jack Torrance made it plain from the start that this was a character in meltdown – an eccentric, rather than an everyman.
In 1977, the film director had ‘unlawful sex’ with 13-year-old Samantha Geimer, an event that has overshadowed their lives ever since. So why would he get in touch with her now?
There isn’t much in the way of revelation to be found in Samantha Geimer’s new memoir, The Girl; every rotten detail of Roman Polanski’s conviction in a US court for “unlawful sex with a minor”, flight and subsequent exile in France has been in the public eye for years. What there is, more than three decades on, is Geimer, at 48, having her say. “It’s very hard to control the narrative,” she says. “But I’m doing the best I can.”
We meet in her publisher’s office in New York, where Geimer is bright with nerves and what is probably a little too much media training. She and her husband, David, have flown in from Las Vegas and while he paces the corridor, Geimer attempts to delineate a subtle position in regards to Polanski. As the victim of a sex crime, she isn’t unusual in saying that the experience of going to court and the attendant publicity was more painful than the incident itself. The difference, of course, is that Geimer has never been allowed to forget it. “When I see his name, it’s always followed by ‘convicted’ or ’13 year old’.” She smiles strenuously. “And that’s always me.”
Ron Howard’s biopic of James Hunt and Niki Lauda’s rivalry captures their racy lives. But in truth the two were good friendsDirector: Ron HowardEntertainment grade: B+History grade: C+In 1976, the rivalry between motor racing drivers James Hunt and Nik… Continue reading
What started out as a puff piece has transformed into a comprehensive demolition of disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong
Hardcore Star Trek fans irritated at second sighting of character from rival science-fiction franchise
It could be the last straw for hardcore fans angry at the long-running sci-fi saga’s shift into space opera territory: R2D2, the diminutive robot star of the Star Wars films, has been spotted in a second Star Trek movie.
The boy addicted to porn; the girl who endured sexual assault to get her BlackBerry back… In Beeban Kidron’s sobering documentary British teenagers open up about how they use and feel about their smartphones and the internet Continue reading…
An excruciatingly well-intentioned biopic laced with bizarre cardboard dialogue
Poor Princess Diana. I hesitate to use the term “car crash cinema”. But the awful truth is that, 16 years after that terrible day in 1997, she has died another awful death. This is due to an excruciatingly well-intentioned, reverential and sentimental biopic about her troubled final years, laced with bizarre cardboard dialogue – a tabloid fantasy of how famous and important people speak in private.
Actor apparently refusing scripts as sources say he ‘can no longer remember the lines’ – but he will remain a public figure