A Victorian thriller with rather heavy echoes of Jack the Ripper, this film struggles to rise above the murky atmosphere it weaves. And the plot itself is as dense as the low-lying London fog. But the gifted cast members make the most of the talky dialogue, drawing the audience into a twisty mystery even if it perhaps isn't as surprising as it hopes to be.
This is 1880 East London, where Inspector Kildare (Bill Nighy) has been dogged by rumours that he's "not the marrying kind", so he's given the most hopeless case in town: finding a ghostly serial killer who is staging increasingly elaborate murders. With Constable Flood (Daniel Mays) helping him, Kildare narrows the suspects down to philosopher Karl Marx (Henry Goodman), stage star Dan (Douglas Booth), novelist George (Watkins) or playwright John (Sam Reid), whose actress wife Lizzie (Olivia Cooke) is on trial for poisoning him. For some reason, Kildare becomes particularly intrigued by Lizzie's case, hoping he can get some inside information about her stage colleagues from her.
In adapting Peter Ackroyd's novel, Jane Goldman seems intent on including all of the book's gyrations and details, which can't help but make the film feel overstuffed. Plot-strands head off in every direction (including flashbacks and imagined sequences), many simply vanishing while others take turns that don't quite make sense. Even so, alert viewers will easily work out whodunit by about halfway through. Then the script waits until the very end to reveal this.
Continue reading: The Limehouse Golem Review
Long before the days of Jack the Ripper, there was another monster haunting the streets of London. A killer so terrible that locals dub him the Golem. Dan Leno, a real life theatre comedian, is for some reason dragged into the investigation by Inspector John Kildare of Scotland Yard, who is struggling to find a link between the murders. And he also enlists the help of a young woman named Elizabeth Cree whose terrified that she's next on the Golem's hit list. Kildare knows there is a witness, or witnesses, somewhere, and the Golem soon reveals that he is also aware that somebody knows who he is and leaves a warning that 'he who observes spills no less blood than he who inflicts the blow'.
Continue: The Limehouse Golem Trailer
The beloved 1970s British sit-com gets the big screen treatment, although there's been very little attempt to do anything clever with it aside from A-list casting. There are some terrific gags in Hamish McColl's script, but director Oliver Parker (Johnny English Reborn) fails to find the comical potential in the material. So the film feels clumsy and muted, which is certainly not going to attract a new generation of fans to the premise.
It's 1944 in the small village of Walmington on the southern English coast, where the men who were unfit to serve in the regular army have volunteered for the Home Guard when they're not working their normal jobs. The platoon's captain is bank manager Mainwaring (Toby Jones), who leads a ragtag group of retirees (Tom Courtenay, Michael Gambon and Bill Paterson) and younger army rejects (Daniel Mays and Blake Harrison) through a series of exercises along the seaside cliffs. They've been tipped off that there's a Nazi spy in the area, but they're all so smitten by the curvy visiting journalist Rose (Catherine Zeta-Jones) that they fail to notice that she's up to something nefarious.
The material is ripe for political-edged comedy, which the script touches on in between the relentless double entendre. And the cast is definitely up for it, delivering solid performances that bring out character details while playing up the goofy interaction between them. But Parker leaves them looking adrift on-screen, never cranking up either a sense of pace or a spark of life. Each set-piece falls utterly flat, starting with the movie's opening scene in which the gang is chased around afield by a supposedly angry bull. And everything that follows feels half-hearted, which means that the Carry On-style innuendo, physical slapstick and nutty action all fall flat.
Continue reading: Dad's Army Review
Everybody's favourite British regiment is back in the new version of Dad's Army. Director Oliver Parker has recruited the much loved classic British TV Show with the help of some of the UK's best known actors. Like the TV show, the movie is set in 1944 and World War II is almost at its peak. The Home Guard is patrolling the streets of Walmington-on-Sea and their spirits are rather dampened by the thought of the imminent invasion. Their only light relief comes from a visit from a beautiful journalist going by the name of Rose Winters. Rose soon has all the men on their best behaviour and all the ladies of the town attempting to up their game. However it's soon 'back to work' for the men when they find out there's a spy living amidst the residents in their small seaside town.
Continue: Dad's Army Trailer
Igor Strausman is the less thought about assistant of the insane but brilliant Victor Frankenstein. He's as genius as the passionate medical student he aids in experiments, but more rational when it comes to ethics. He does, however, share Frankenstein's obsession with eternal life and becomes equally as excited when they manage to bring a dead animal back to life. This in itself marks a unique scientific advancement, but Frankenstein's morbid curiosity fails to stop there. He wants to be able to create human life, but doing this involves sourcing body parts from mortuaries - and any other place they can find. Igor's timid nature, though deeply involved passion for the project, keeps him from doing his best to dissuade Frankenstein from completing their 'monster', until it's too late. Now they have a rogue beast on their hands, not to mention the police who are out for blood.
Continue: Victor Frankenstein Trailer
And they're back! The hilarious band of men that put their lives on the line for their country return in an all new adventure on the big screen. World War II is at its very peak during the 1940s and the Home Guard at Walmington-on-Sea are about to have an unusually eventful episode. Hours of patrolling the army base at Dover - trying to keep spirits up on the eve of the soldiers' impending journey to France to take on the Germans - are over for now, because UK intelligence have just uncovered a mysterious secret signal over the radio - apparently someone has been sending messages from Walmington to Berlin, and now nobody can be trusted. The Home Guard aid the mission to uncover the spy - though nobody dares put too much faith in this bumbling lot.
Continue: Dad's Army Trailer
Harry Potter actor Rupert Grint will be spreading his acting wings by treading the West End boards.
Rupert Grint, AKA Ron Weasley, will be putting his Potter days behind him as he makes his stage debut on the West End. The prestigious theatre circuit will be a baptism of fire for the 24 year-old actor who has never performed on stage before, having captured the attention of the Warner Bros. producers when he submitted a rap, aged 11, proclaiming how much he wanted the part of Harry Potter's best friend, Ron.
Grint: Eyeballing A West End Role.
It has been confirmed to BBC News that Grint will star alongside Ben Whishaw (Skyfall, The Hour) in a gritty play entitled Mojo that was originally performed at the Royal Court in 1995, followed by a film adaptation in 1998. Opening at the Harold Pinter theatre in October, black comedy Mojo will be set in a seedy 1950s Soho nightclub with Grint playing 'Sweets' who has a penchant for amphetamines and dark humour. The Thunderpants actor will star alongside Whishaw, Downton Abbey's Brendan Coyle and Made in Dagenham's Daniel Mays.
Continue reading: Rupert Grint To Make West End Debut Alongside Ben Whishaw
By Rich Cline
Nearly 20 years after Interview With the Vampire, Neil Jordan returns to the genre to breath some new life into a mythology that has grown stale, predictable and rather mopey (see Twilight). With a lively script by Buffini, Jordan creates a lushly stylish dramatic thriller that continually takes us aback with off-beat storytelling and complex characters who don't always do what we expect them to.
The story centres on mother-daughter immortals Clara and Eleanor (Arterton and Ronan), who are on the run when they arrive in a fading British seaside town. The resourceful Clara seduces the nervous Noel (Mays) so they can stay in his dilapidated Byzantium guesthouse. To earn some cash, the always resourceful Clara turns the empty rooms into a brothel. Meanwhile, Eleanor befriends the fragile young Frank (Jones) and reveals the fact that she and her mother are actually more than 200 years old and need human blood to survive. Through all of this, they're being chased by two elder vampires, the ruthless Ruthven (Miller) and the more sympathetic Darvell (Riley), both of whom share a tangled romantic past with Clara.
Unusually intelligent, the film holds our interest with an astonishing series of twists and turns plus an array of colourful characters that play on stereotypes. Holding it all together is a fairly simple plot that reveals itself in bits and pieces until the full picture comes into focus. From this point, we pretty much know what has to happen in the big finale, but watching events unfold is satisfying and sometimes both thrilling and moving.
Continue reading: Byzantium Review
Clara and Eleanor are a mother and daughter, born two centuries ago as vampires and surviving only on the blood of mortal beings. They escape to an English seaside town and are taken into an abandoned guesthouse by the owner, Noel. While Clara takes on a job as a lady of the night who drains the blood from her clients, Eleanor has dreams of being a writer, chronicling her life as a vampire in pages that she usually scatters in the wind. It isn't long before they are discovered, both by the mortal people of the town and by The Brotherhood; an all-male vampire organisation that seek to find and kill Clara. Eleanor meets a boy called Frank, who she develops feelings for and spills the secrets of her world to, angering her mother who fears for their safety. As knowledge of their existence spreads further and further, they are forced to confront their past and the deadly secrets that come with it.
Continue: Byzantium Trailer
By Rich Cline
After the tiny drama Shifty, British filmmaker Creevy turns to both Hong Kong and Hollywood for inspiration, creating an unusually glossy, explosive London cop thriller. But for all the sleek filmmaking and energetic action, the film struggles to make us care about characters who are dark and troubled. Their complexity is interesting, but not hugely engaging.
Adding to the visual sheen, the action is set among the gleaming glass and steel skyscrapers of Canary Wharf in East London, where detective Max (McAvoy) is still struggling to accept his inability to stop a heist three years earlier. The mastermind Jacob (Strong) managed to escape then, but he's back in town now, so Max is chomping at the bit to grab him. Max's lieutenant (Morrissey) tells him to back off, but he secretly works with his partner Sarah (Riseborough) to join the hunt. Meanwhile, Jacob teams up with an old pal (Mullan) to find out why one of the gang members (Harris) is on a murderous rampage. Which puts Jacob on a collision course with Max.
With so much full-on gunplay in a city where cops aren't actually armed, the film feels like it's set in some sort of parallel reality London. And Creevy augments this fantasy tone by indulging in shootouts that are sudden and brutal - like John Woo crossed with Michael Mann. The plot is full of clever twists, as motivations are revealed and a political conspiracy becomes apparent. It's all a bit convoluted and implausible, and the details are annoyingly murky, but within this premise the cast are able to find some emotional resonance.
Continue reading: Welcome To The Punch Review