Clive Merrison

Clive Merrison

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The History Boys Review


Good
Plays do not always make the transition well from stage to screen - they can come off too talky or stagnant, mannerisms that work well on a far-off stage sometimes appearing stilted on a big screen.

Fortunately, thanks to the rambunctiously energetic performances and Nicholas Hynter's equally jaunty direction, The History Boys looks right at home on screen; what poses a larger problem is whether it will translate as fluidly from Britain to America.

Continue reading: The History Boys Review

Heavenly Creatures Review


Essential
This film tells the story of two teenage girls, Juliet (Kate Winslet) and Pauline (Melanie Lynskey), who become friends in the course of comparing their illnesses.

Soon, it becomes apparent that each has great artistic ability, particularly in writing fantasy stories, and they begin to collaborate on their own version of the gothic fantasy novel. Soon, the line between fantasy and reality starts to blur for the girls, and in some sense, the two are able to conjure an entrance to their imaginary world, making the friends inseparable. Later, Juliet's parents decide to move out of the country, and the girls are crushed. Slowly, a plan develops to murder Pauline's mother, who they see as the major barrier to their happiness together.

Continue reading: Heavenly Creatures Review

Saving Grace Review


Weak

Grace (Brenda Blethyn) is a middle-aged English housewife whose husband has jumped out of a plane without a parachute, leaving her with a messy legacy of massive debt. Her beloved but modest estate in the friendly little hamlet she calls home is about to be foreclosed, and she just doesn't know how she's going to sustain herself.

She hocks her wedding ring and lets repo men take her riding lawn mower, but she's fast running out of options. That is, until her pot-head gardener Michael (Craig Ferguson) suggests they teach themselves a little DIY hydroponics and transplant his marijuana plants -- currently hidden under a tree at a local vicarage -- into her big, empty greenhouse where they can grow faster and become a source of income.

A choice little comedy with an enthusiastic spirit, "Saving Grace" gets a lot of mileage out of the paradoxical image of an adorable granny type lending her green thumb to the cannabis trade. And Blethyn ("Little Voice," "Secrets & Lies") couldn't be more ideal in the role, playing it at once na?ve and determined. "I'm becoming a drugs dealer!" she giggles effervescently.

Continue reading: Saving Grace Review

Clive Merrison

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