Barnaby Thompson

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Burke & Hare Review


Weak
You can see what Landis was trying to do here: recapture the funny-scary tone of one of his biggest hits, 1981's An American Werewolf in London. But the mix of comedy and grisliness in this comical take on a true story is off the mark.

In 1828 Edinburgh, friends William Burke (Pegg) and William Hare (Serkis) realise they can make good money supplying cadavers to world-class surgeon Dr Knox (Wilkinson). But when they can't find a dead body, they kill someone instead. Hare's wife (Hynes) finds out and wants in on it, but Burke can't tell his aspiring actress girlfriend (Fisher) how he makes his living. Meanwhile, Knox is battling a rival surgeon (Curry) for the King's seal. And the local militia captain (Corbett) is closing in.

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Dorian Gray Review


Weak
Oscar Wilde's classic novel is turned into a schlock horror movie, totally engulfed by gloomy atmosphere and over-the-top filmmaking. It's watchably cheesy, but completely lacks Wilde's incisive wit or observation.

Dorian (Barnes) is an orphan who inherits a sprawling mansion when his tyrant grandfather dies. Young and eligible, he's quickly taken under the wing of Lord Henry (Firth), who introduces him to the licentious ways of late 19th century London. But the sex and drugs sabotage his relationship with an innocent young actress (Hurd-Wood), and Dorian pledges his soul to the devil in exchange for eternal youth. Now instead of aging, a portrait painted by his friend Basil (Chaplin) shows the scars of his depraved life.

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Easy Virtue Review


Grim
Priscilla, Queen of the Desert helmer Stephan Elliott has translated Noël Coward's Easy Virtue, a breezy and witty take on the post-war British upper class, into a sort of gussied-up comedy of manners that falls somewhere between Meet the Parents and Junebug. Beholden more to Coward's stage play than Alfred Hitchcock's 1928 silent adaptation, Elliott's version highlights a burgeoning 25-year-old Coward, still apprehensive of his talents, though that isn't to say there aren't some choice bits.

The film opens on a newsreel of Larita (Jessica Biel), an American racecar driver, with "Mad about the Boy," a song Coward famously wrote, playing over it. The footage opens up and we see Larita taking the eye of young John Whittaker (Prince Caspian himself Ben Barnes). Not long after, they are married and heading towards his family home in the country to meet his parents (Kristin Scott Thomas and Colin Firth). From there it takes little time for the mother, whom Thomas plays with her uncanny icy veneer, to decide that she will wreck the marriage to the scandalous American.

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Picture - Barnaby Thompson and Oliver Parker London, England, Monday 10th December 2007

Barnaby Thompson and Oliver Parker - Barnaby Thompson and Oliver Parker London, England - Premiere of 'St Trinian's' at Empire, Leicester Square - Arrivals Monday 10th December 2007

Barnaby Thompson and Oliver Parker
Barnaby Thompson and Oliver Parker

Imagine Me & You Review


Terrible
A massive cinematic industry has been cultivated on the idea that people aren't exactly in control of whom they fall in love with. But movie charades of predetermination often squelch the lure of this subject matter. Such is the fate of Imagine Me & You, a sit-comish Brit romance that waffles between Four Weddings and a Funeral's fuzzy cuteness and Notting Hill's middling novelty. The clever thing here is the homosexual relationship... you'd think. But, nowadays, even the gay angle has become a titillating surrogate for originality.

The mediocrity begins with florist Luce (Lena Headey) meeting Rachel (Piper Perabo) at her wedding to lifelong friend-become-lover Heck (Mathew Goode channeling Hugh Grant). They become smitten girlfriends since Rachel remains sexually confused. And, though Luce tells Heck she's gay -- and he tells womanizer buddy "Coop" (Darren Boyd) -- Heck remains blind to her and his wife's mutual attraction.

Continue reading: Imagine Me & You Review

Imagine Me & You Review


Terrible
A massive cinematic industry has been cultivated on the idea that people aren't exactly in control of whom they fall in love with. But movie charades of predetermination often squelch the lure of this subject matter. Such is the fate of Imagine Me & You, a sit-comish Brit romance that waffles between Four Weddings and a Funeral's fuzzy cuteness and Notting Hill's middling novelty. The clever thing here is the homosexual relationship... you'd think. But, nowadays, even the gay angle has become a titillating surrogate for originality.

The mediocrity begins with florist Luce (Lena Headey) meeting Rachel (Piper Perabo) at her wedding to lifelong friend-become-lover Heck (Mathew Goode channeling Hugh Grant). They become smitten girlfriends since Rachel remains sexually confused. And, though Luce tells Heck she's gay -- and he tells womanizer buddy "Coop" (Darren Boyd) -- Heck remains blind to her and his wife's mutual attraction.

Continue reading: Imagine Me & You Review

Hope Springs Review


Grim
Not to be confused with Hope Floats, the Hope in Hope Springs is a small town, and the springs in question is a noun.

Hope Springs brings us the direct-to-video story of a U.K. artist (Colin Firth), who recently has been dumped by stuffy fiancee Minnie Driver. He jets to the U.S. to seek solace in the town of Hope, promptly finding the much different, free-spirited Heather Graham as his new muse. It's only a matter of time before Minnie's back in the picture... who will he end up with?

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An Ideal Husband Review


Weak
Get ready from Romance... British style.

The Victorians were well known for keeping a stiff upper lip about everything, and their romance was absolutely no exception. Their entire world was constructed around subtlety, and, in tune with that, the one word that can be used to describe An Ideal Husband is subtle.

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The Importance of Being Earnest (2002) Review


Excellent
The Importance of Being Earnest is a sharp, humorous look at the duality of romance and the fear of commitment, served up on a delicate and witty plate in this summer season of comic book heroism and galactic space battles.

The story revolves around two dashing English gentlemen in the 1890s - John "Jack" Worthing (Colin Firth) and Algy Moncrieff (Rupert Everett) - and their trials and tribulations in the games of love and marriage under the moniker of Ernest. Jack spends his days watching over his bookish charge Cecily Cardew (Reese Witherspoon) - the granddaughter of his adopted father - at his country estate. When his restless spirit calls for adventure, he travels to London and visits his wayward city brother "Ernest." In London, Jack becomes "Ernest" and partakes in decadence with his affluent but reckless best friend Algy and ends up madly in love with Algy's sophisticated society cousin Gwendolen Fairfax (Frances O'Connor) - who has a strange love for the name of "Ernest."

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Lucky Break Review


OK
Prison flick meets musical comedy in this oddball conflagration of genres, a British feel-good flick that just so happens to be the follow-up film director Peter Cattaneo made after The Full Monty. Four years went by, Cattaneo's name became all but forgotten, and films like this became Cattaneo's legacy. (Four years after Lucky Break, Cattaneo is finally shooting his next film.) The lovely Olivia Williams shoulders a lot of love here as the object of one prisoner's sights -- at least when he isn't doing double duty as a showman in the warden's play and planning his big escape. Lively enough to keep you paying attention through to the end, even if the whole affair is a bit absurdly silly.

High Heels and Low Lifes Review


Weak
If you're at all intrigued by the idea of High Heels and Low Lifes, I recommend seeing it as soon as possible, because this little movie will be gone from theaters in two weeks -- at most -- and that means you'll have to wait at least 90 days before it hits video.

Stop me if you've heard this one before: Two crazy girls overhear a crime going down, then decide to turn the tables on the criminals by extorting some cash for themselves. Hilarity ensues! Oh, you have heard it... well this time it's different -- you see, one girl is British and one is American.

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