Cinderella (2015) – A Revisited Quick Capsule Review

Cinderella (2015) – A Revisited Quick Capsule Review

Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
As old school and classic Disney as you can get, Kenneth Branagh’s retelling of the classic Cinderella is a charming, funny and beautiful film that will be loved by older children and just about tolerated by most parents!  Actually that’s pretty harsh – the filmmaking craft alone on display here is worth watching (sumptuous visuals, glamorous clothing and stunning sets), as are the central  performances of Lily James, Cate Blanchett and Game Of Throne’s Richard Madden.   And in fact whilst it’s pitched, and often feels like classic straight Disney the Cinderella as presented here is no wallflower, instead a strong, independent Disney princess up there with some of the best of them.  So overall whilst you’ll be dragged along by the kids, you’ll probably end up secret quite enjoying it.  I did.

Best Bit: The Ball

Cinema, Stream, Avoid: Buy (for the kids)

If You Liked this Try: Enchanted, In The Woods, Maleficent

 

 


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Cinderella (2014) – A Quick Capsule Review (Revisited)

Cinderella (2014) – A Quick Capsule Review (Revisited)

Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
As old school and classic Disney as you can get, Kenneth Branagh’s retelling of the classic Cinderella is a charming, funny and beautiful film that will be loved by older children and just about tolerated by most parents!  Actually that’s pretty harsh – the filmmaking craft alone on display here is worth watching (sumptuous visuals, glamorous clothing and stunning sets), as are the central  performances of Lily James, Cate Blanchett and Game Of Throne’s Richard Madden.   And in fact whilst it’s pitched, and often feels like classic straight Disney the Cinderella as presented here is no wallflower, instead a strong, independent Disney princess up there with some of the best of them.  So overall whilst you’ll be dragged along by the kids, you’ll probably end up secret quite enjoying it.  I did.

Best Bit: The Ball

Buy, Rent, Stream, Borrow: Buy (for the kids)

If You Liked this Try: Enchanted, In The Woods, Maleficent

 

 


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Blog: Cinderella – A Quick Capsule Review

Blog: Cinderella – A Quick Capsule Review

Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
As old school and classic Disney as you can get, Kenneth Branagh’s retelling of the classic Cinderella is a charming, funny and beautiful film that will be loved by older children and just about tolerated by most parents!  Actually that’s pretty harsh – the filmmaking craft alone on display here is worth watching (sumptuous visuals, glamorous clothing and stunning sets), as are the central  performances of Lily James, Cate Blanchett and Game Of Throne’s Richard Madden.   And in fact whilst it’s pitched, and often feels like classic straight Disney the Cinderella as presented here is no wallflower, instead a strong, independent Disney princess up there with some of the best of them.  So overall whilst you’ll be dragged along by the kids, you’ll probably end up secret quite enjoying it.  I did.

Best Bit: The Ball

Buy, Rent, Stream, Borrow: Buy (for the kids)

If You Liked this Try: Enchanted, In The Woods, Maleficent

 

Author: Phil Hobden

Blog: All Things Film – The Monuments Men Reviewed

All Things Film Blog Other Cr*p Uncategorized

On paper – on canvas – this should really have worked a lot better than it did. The Monuments Men tells the story of a group of Yankee art lovers who quickly throw themselves through basic military training so they can get the OK from Roosevelt to recover a bunch of historic artifacts – or monuments – that Hitler is claiming for himself. Then you look at the poster – Clooney, Damon, Goodman, Murray – they’re all there, in a sort of exciting Oceans Eleven re-teaming, but this time, set in WWII.

Holy shit – did it have to be so boring and confused? This is more like ‘Leatherheads’ Clooney than ‘Good Night and Good Luck’ Clooney. Could it be that he’s spreading himself too thin in writing, producing directing AND starring? I don’t know – I think the issue here is that there’s plainly not enough story and certainly not enough happening in these events based on a true story. Sure, it’s important to keep art alive and out of the hands of the ‘do-badding’. Let’s put it this way; if the Germans do try it again, and decide to add great cinematic artwork alongside the Madonna and Mona Lisa, then if the original 35mm print of The Monuments Men is one of the ‘valuables’, I think we can probably just sit that one out.

The real crux of the problem is that this film is a mess. A pious, preachy mess. Oceans Twelve this ain’t. But then again, it’s hardly the Dirty Dozen, either. It’s just sort of – nothing. It’s bit part with teams of players, and none of them are used to their fullest. Bill Murray and Bob Balaban on screen in any other movie would be a real hoot, I’m sure. Here, they’re sort of standing around looking funny with their squinted eyes and shrugged shoulders. When that isn’t happening, gramophone music underpins their cause and any humour is vacuumed from the film. Goodman is one of the few that emerges unscathed – and in trying to scathe that vast canvas, it would seem anyone would fail – least of all Clooney.

Protracted, long and drawn-out and overstated beyond belief – much like its source material, The Monuments Men is a worthy cause of a story well worth telling. But Clooney and co. (who’d have thunk it?) prove not to be the team to do it.

 

Author: Andrew Mackay

Review: The Monuments Men (Cinema)

Uncategorized

The Review: The Monuments Men is the untold story of the men who protected and searched for stolen artwork and artefacts during the latter days of WWII. George Clooney plays Frank Stokes who is set the task by President Roosevelt to put a team of specialists together and go to German occupied France and Belgium to recover these valuable items. Needless to say, they are a rag tag bunch comprising of Matt Damon who is the curator of the Metropolitan Museum, architect Bill Murray, art critic Bob Balaban, sculptor John Goodman, painter Jean Dujardin and art historian Hugh Bonneville.

After having to go through basic training, the group are deployed across Europe, the majority of the time they are shouted at by senior officers who don’t care about protecting art, the rest of the time they seem to be chasing their tails apart from Matt Damon who goes to Paris where he meets Cate Blanchettes art curator who was employed by the Nazis to catalogue all of the stolen art and who may know its whereabouts.

Again Clooney proves that he is a solid director with this latest labour of love, it can almost be described as Oceans WWII as it focuses on a large cast of famous names stealing items from the rich and powerful albeit this time it’s the Nazis. The film itself is not without faults, the main one being trying to give each of the characters enough screen time to enable the audience to identify with them, some get too much (step forward Matt Damon and Cate Blanchette) and some are criminally underused (Bob Balaban and the always impressive John Goodman).

This is not the worst of it though, that is reserved for Cate Blanchette whose character is so wooden she could do with taking acting lessons from Keanu Reeves and Pinocchio. Blanchette phones the performance in and does not seem to be making any effort at all and it shows as each scene she is in seems to drag the film backwards.

The film is also disjointed in its narrative as it tries to balance the screen time for the characters as the months (and the viewing time) roll past. It is almost ninety minutes into the film that anything of real importance starts to happen.

In short, yes this is a worthy film as it sheds light on the role that The Monuments Men played in saving much of Europe’s art, however, like a school trip around an art gallery it soon becomes boring and forgettable.

 

Reviewed By: Matt Duddy

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Review: Blue Jasmine (DVD/BR)

Review: Blue Jasmine (DVD/BR)

Other Cr*p Uncategorized

The Review: Cate Blanchett stars as Jasmine in Woody Allen’s latest dramedy – a sort of retelling of The Prince and the Pauper, brought up to date to analyse just how far a fall from grace can land you in an unexpected place.
Jasmine is a deeply complex character – precisely because she’s maddeningly straightforward; a lady of luxury, married to a wildly successful business, she’s living the high life in their fancy houses and dozens of cars.

She’s from modest means; an adopted child, along with her non-biological (and non-biodegradable, as it turns out) sister, Ginger. However, the bottom falls out of the good time and her husband is arrested for fraud, her son flees home to avoid the disgrace and Jasmine finds herself stripped of absolutely everything… and on the doorstep of her bohemian sibling in San Francisco. She has nowhere to go and must now acclimatise herself to a life of extreme poverty – in her eyes, of course. To us, this modest, happy-go-lucky (with every pun intended) is fairly routine. But what if you had everything and then lost it?

Allen of late has been like a pinball in a mixed-genre machine; from crime caper, to the downright farcical (the less said about Snoop, the better) it’s fair to say he’s not been at his best since the near-perfect Crimes and Misdemeanours of the late eighties. A number of reasonable spikes – including Match Point, Vicky Cristina Barcelona and, arguably, Midnight in Paris – have not sold me on a return to the glory, heady days of Annie Hall and Bananas in the long term.

Yet – somehow – Allen achieves gold here with Blue Jasmine. I suppose when you make a film a year on a stream-of-consciousness assembly line, the stars will align eventually to produce a fascinatingly brilliant drama. Blue Jasmine is that film.
Consider a character as rich in conceit as Jasmine herself; she’s somehow very unlikeable to us and everyone she meets, but she plays it up on the understanding that this is a career; a life of luxury is not handed to you on a silver platter, even though your three main meals are. Cate Blanchett dominates the role; alternately passive and mad, yet somehow we still root for this ditzy, spoiled witch. And then there’s her sister played in scene-stealing fashion by our own Sally Hawkins. Her Ginger is a twee, goofy solid gold lump of adorableness; the better of the two halves.

In reality, we all know these two people, somewhere, but rarely have to siblings been more at odds with one another. This paves the way from some quality drama between the pair, as they both hope off their previous love boats (Alec Baldwin in typical greasy smarm-overdrive, and a wonderfully sharp performance by Andrew Dice Clay) and on to their new prospects (Stellan Skarsgaard in typical greasy smarm-overdrive, and a wonderfully blunt performance by stand-up Louis C.K.).

Woody Allen knows, seemingly, that he’s struck gold this time around. His labours of “like” in the previous years have been exactly that; stop-gaps in time till a story he lands on truly becomes a story worth telling.

Cate Blanchett and Sally Hawkins alone wrestle the movie away from Allen’s clutches – yet his script and deft, dry – near passive – direction wrestle it back from them, until both parties agree to let go and climb on the back and run with it. It really ought not to be as captivating and insolently fascinating as it must surely sound on the page, but the movie is truly something very special.

It’s a story of family, greed and sheer apathy – and a welcome glisten of hope to a return to form for Allen which, I dunno about you, I thought had long since departed.


Reviewed By: Andrew Mackay

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