Filmmaker Bernard Rose gives the period biopic a kick in the seat of the pants with this raucously creepy drama about 19th century violin virtuoso Nicolo Paganini, who played so innovatively that people thought he had made a pact with the devil. Rose takes this idea and runs with it, stirring in modern-day ideas of fame and celebrity and finding a series of very clever ways to make violin-playing feel fresh and intriguing. So it's a little frustrating that the central figure remains so oddly out of reach.
After struggling to get anyone to pay him any attention in early 1800s Vienna, Nicolo (played by real violin prodigy David Garrett) signs his soul away to Urbani (Jared Harris), a fast-talking promoter who turns him into a celebrity across Europe. In London, musician Watson (Christian McKay) wants Nicolo to play the Royal Opera House and restore the local fortunes, so hawks his home to bring him over. When he finally arrives, the streets are full of screaming fans, clamouring tabloid hacks (including Joely Richardson) and women protesting Nicolo's notorious womanising and devil worship. But Watson, his mistress Elizabeth (Veronica Ferres) and daughter Charlotte (Andrea Deck) try to sooth Nicolo's artistic temperament. Of course, Nicolo is immediately smitten by Charlotte.
The film has a refreshingly free-wheeling tone, with handheld camerawork, whizzy editing and a continual sense of the music, which is played at high-energy in a variety of colourful locations. Every scene is also layered with bawdy intrigue, as characters mistrust and/or lust after each other. The seasoned cast members have a great time with this. Harris is gleefully sinister with his towering hat and sinister accent. McKay is haplessly eager for his ship to come in far against the odds. And Richardson goes enjoyably broad as a journalist willing to do anything for a scoop.
Continue reading: The Devil's Violinist Review
Tara Palmer-Tompkinson and David Garrett Thursday 28th July 2011 Tara Palmer-Tomkinson out for a night with violinist David Garrett. Tara left the Ivy restaurant in high-spirits, before heading to Mahiki. She looked worse for wear when leaving the venue and almost fell over a pole. The socialite also looked to have spilled a drink on her top. London, England
My focus on the lips wasn't by chance, Parkhill actually opens and practically closes the film with zoomed shots of the lead's puckers. In Dot the I, the camera follows lips and eyes almost reverentially. It's as though Parkhill believes he can capture the soul of his actors in close-up shots of their faces. It's telling because despite the pretension of depth, the film is quite superficial, with an odd, almost off, affectation. Parkhill wants to tell us an engaging, deliriously snappy story but he loses us with half-baked dialogue and patchwork style.
Continue reading: Dot The I Review
In the first Deuce Bigalow, Rob Schneider created an amusing character, probably the first male prostitute to carry a feature film aside from American Gigolo, and there's no reason the joke couldn't have lasted through a sequel or two, except one: Schneider is a non-presence on screen. Whether he's wearing a diaper, swordfighting, or dancing to accordion music, or whatever else he's doing, Schneider has no comedic appeal, nil.
Continue reading: Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo Review
Man, was I wrong. Corky Romano is one of those throwaway, cliché-ridden TV-star-to-film vehicles built upon the most rickety of plots. Fortunately for Chris Kattan's precariously positioned career, Corky does have some good laughs, even if most of them are of the lowest-brow variety.
Continue reading: Corky Romano Review
Filmmaker Bernard Rose gives the period biopic a kick in the seat of the pants...
I like movies, I really do. But sometimes the movies have to meet you halfway....