Caroline Wood

Caroline Wood

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Dear Frankie Review


Very Good
Dear Frankie is a good movie stuck inside of a great story. Frankie is a nine-year-old boy (Jack McElhone) with one great joy in his life: corresponding with his father, a naval petty officer. The letters have defined and improved his life. Deaf, he barely speaks. In his letters he reads in a gentle, confident Scottish brogue. He devours books on marine life; a large map of his father's travels dominates his bedroom; and he declines fish with his chips. Though he's sick of moving, this town is different. It's by the sea.

In truth, Frankie's father is in Scotland, gravely ill. His life at sea was concocted by Frankie's mother, Lizzie (Emily Mortimer of Dirty Pretty Things), to keep the real, landlocked father out of their lives. We don't know much about Frankie's dad, only that he caused the boy's deafness and is so despicable that Lizzie, her mother, and Frankie raise stakes frequently to maintain their distance.

Continue reading: Dear Frankie Review

The Luzhin Defence Review


Very Good
Early on in the period drama The Luzhin Defence, Emily Watson's Natalia proclaims that she wants something different, and that's just what we get through most of this adaptation, based on Vladimir Nabokov's novel of chess and madness. But as acclaimed director Marleen Gorris (Mrs. Dalloway) takes us toward the vital final act, that sense of originality seems to fade.

Luckily, we are saved throughout by Watson's performance. As a woman vacationing with her pesky mother in 1920s Italy, she stumbles upon eccentric, pained, chess genius Alexander Luzhin, or more accurately, he stumbles upon her. Luzhin, played by a solid and risk-taking John Turturro, is disheveled and awkward, the kind of absent-minded obsessive that draws stares of both scorn and jealousy. Watson and Turturro, both at the top of their talents, create a sort of Romeo and Juliet -- he's reckless and unkempt, she's proper and well-mannered.

Continue reading: The Luzhin Defence Review

The Reckoning Review


Good
Starting out as a cunning variation on the crime thriller, this medieval mystery (set in England at the end of the 14th century) moves with dramatic vigor and an engrossing build. Too bad it gets bogged down in the final reckoning, with grand themes and indulgent speechmaking designed to ensure we get the message. We do, but it brings out the worst in our performers.

Putting the tale into motion is Nicholas (Paul Bettany), an earnest but lustful priest who is caught bedding a married woman of his flock and fleeing from his town in disgrace. On the road without any prospects, he encounters a troupe of itinerant actors making their way from town to town and earning their keep by staging scenes out of the Bible for an entertainment-deprived, rural public. Offering his limited skills, Nicholas convinces Martin (Willem Dafoe), the troupe's main man, to accept him into the ensemble against Tobias's (Brian Cox) grousing against it. Martin's sister Sarah (Gina McKee), on the other hand, is quick to overcome her initial distrust and soon develops a growing affection for the fair-haired newbie. As her eyes increasingly fasten on him, she brings a hint of sexual tension to the scenario.

Continue reading: The Reckoning Review

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Caroline Wood Movies

Dear Frankie Movie Review

Dear Frankie Movie Review

Dear Frankie is a good movie stuck inside of a great story. Frankie is a...

The Luzhin Defence Movie Review

The Luzhin Defence Movie Review

Early on in the period drama The Luzhin Defence, Emily Watson's Natalia proclaims that she...

The Reckoning Movie Review

The Reckoning Movie Review

Starting out as a cunning variation on the crime thriller, this medieval mystery (set in...

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