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The former Beatle and his fiancee Nancy Shevell are both in the U.K., fuelling rumours that the pair will tie the knot this weekend (08-09Oct11).

John Wood and Sir Paul McCartney - Workmen make the finishing touches to a marquee constructed outside the St John's Wood residence of Sir Paul McCartney. London, England - The former Beatle and his fiancee Nancy Shevell are both in the U.K., fuelling rumours that the pair will tie the knot this weekend (08-09Oct11). Friday 7th October 2011

Lady Jane Review


OK
Released and immediately forgotten in 1986, Lady Jane is a fairly staid, somewhat off-center, and very long recreation of the very brief life and times of the 16-year-old Lady Jane Grey, who ruled England for nine days in 1553.

Starring Helena Bonham Carter as the little queen and Cary Elwes as her arranged husband, Jane dutifully takes us through her religious devotion, the difficulties of being married to a womanizer and drunk, their eventual coming around to love one another, Jane's rise to queen and rapid deposition, and eventually, her execution at the hands of Bloody Mary.

Continue reading: Lady Jane Review

The White Countess Review


Good
Audiences can expect one thing from the filmmaking team of Ismail Merchant and James Ivory: a Merchant Ivory film isn't meant to be watched, like other movies; it's meant to be visited, like a museum. While the results are sometimes dazzling and rich, and at others times stuffy and inert, the Merchant Ivory approach is nonetheless consistent. Each of their scripts lies somewhere between screenplay and novel. The attention they pay to period detail is lavish. And a Merchant Ivory cast typically reads like a roster of the world's leading thespians. Their most recent effort, The White Countess, is no different.

In it, all the Merchant Ivory hallmarks are present. The stalwart cast is led by Ralph Fiennes and a trio of Redgraves: Vanessa Redgrave, Lynn Redgrave, and Natasha Richardson, Vanessa Redgrave's daughter. The setting -- Shanghai in the period leading up to the Sino-Japanese War of 1937-1945 -- is lush and meticulously rendered. And the script, loosely adapted from Junichiro Tanizaki's novel The Diary of a Mad Old Man, was penned by acclaimed writer Kazuo Ishiguro.

Continue reading: The White Countess Review

The White Countess Review


Good
Audiences can expect one thing from the filmmaking team of Ismail Merchant and James Ivory: a Merchant Ivory film isn't meant to be watched, like other movies; it's meant to be visited, like a museum. While the results are sometimes dazzling and rich, and at others times stuffy and inert, the Merchant Ivory approach is nonetheless consistent. Each of their scripts lies somewhere between screenplay and novel. The attention they pay to period detail is lavish. And a Merchant Ivory cast typically reads like a roster of the world's leading thespians. Their most recent effort, The White Countess, is no different.

In it, all the Merchant Ivory hallmarks are present. The stalwart cast is led by Ralph Fiennes and a trio of Redgraves: Vanessa Redgrave, Lynn Redgrave, and Natasha Richardson, Vanessa Redgrave's daughter. The setting -- Shanghai in the period leading up to the Sino-Japanese War of 1937-1945 -- is lush and meticulously rendered. And the script, loosely adapted from Junichiro Tanizaki's novel The Diary of a Mad Old Man, was penned by acclaimed writer Kazuo Ishiguro.

Continue reading: The White Countess Review

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.

Continue reading: An Ideal Husband Review

Lady Jane Review


OK
Released and immediately forgotten in 1986, Lady Jane is a fairly staid, somewhat off-center, and very long recreation of the very brief life and times of the 16-year-old Lady Jane Grey, who ruled England for nine days in 1553.

Starring Helena Bonham Carter as the little queen and Cary Elwes as her arranged husband, Jane dutifully takes us through her religious devotion, the difficulties of being married to a womanizer and drunk, their eventual coming around to love one another, Jane's rise to queen and rapid deposition, and eventually, her execution at the hands of Bloody Mary.

Continue reading: Lady Jane Review

Ladyhawke Review


Good
Setting aside the hamfisted Alan Parsons score and Rutger Hauer's equally hammy performance, Ladyhawke is a fine little fantasy based on a timeless tale. A curse has caused Hauer and his lover (Michelle Pfeiffer) to never cross paths -- he turns into a wolf at night, she turns into a hawk by day. Matthew Broderick -- who redeems the film completely for any of its datedness -- plays the thief who aids the pair in exacting revenge on an evil bishop (John Wood, reunited with Broderick from WarGames). Moody and quite dark, this is a great movie for a sleepy Sunday afternoon.

Uncovered Review


Grim
Once upon a time, Kate Beckinsale used to star in movies that weren't crappy vampire stories.

The good news is that in these movies of old, she was often naked.

Continue reading: Uncovered Review

Metroland Review


OK
Metroland: a gritty post-modern thriller in the tradition of Blade Runner? Not quite. Metroland is actually a suburb of London, where Bale's character is questioning his life decision to marry Watson, after old friend and hedonist Ross shows up in town. Most of his anguish comes in the form of nostalgia over wild French ex-girlfriend Zylberstein, and rightly so. Dumping her for Watson was indeed a really, really stupid thing to do.

WarGames Review


Extraordinary
With the enormous selection of crummy techno-paranoia movies on video shelves these days (The Net, Virtuosity, and Hackers are among more recent titles), the discriminating viewer will eschew a flashy cover or a big star and rent one of the classics. Not only was WarGames the first film to tap into fears about the dangers of technology at the hands of mad geniuses, but it's easily the best as well. It's also the movie that put Broderick and Sheedy on cinema's map, and the picture was nominated for three Academy Awards in 1983, including one for Walter Parkes and Lawrence Lasker's brilliant screenplay. At the time, WarGames also sparked an almost inconceivable interest in computer hacking among our juvenile intelligencia (I was one of them), and the movie's effect on Hollywood and the American consciousness can still be seen today. While these days, Microsoft is a more frightening reality than lone hacker-types, the resonant phrase "Shall we play a game?" still retain its power.

Chocolat Review


Weak

A fanciful fairy tale for grown-ups, "Chocolat" takes place in a sleepy French village, circa 1959, and stars Juliette Binoche as a nomadic confectioner of sublime candy delicacies whose arrival -- just as Lent has begun -- stirs curiosity, gossip and scornful disdain among the locals.

Happy-go-lucky in the face of adversity and apparently a boat-rocker by nature, she sets up shop practically across the street from the church, providing almost cruel temptation to a population observing 40 days of fasting and penitence.

But the influence of the chocolaterie and its proprietor soon extends beyond simple taste bud enticement. Her enchanted chocolates and therapeutic personality have soon rekindled the marriage of a local couple, returned a smile to the face of her cantankerous landlady (Judi Dench), and inspired an abused wife (Lena Olin) to leave her husband (and come work for Binoche). This disruption in the status quo ruffles the feathers of the zealous and austere local nobleman (Alfred Molina), who considers the chocolate shop to be the work of the devil and sets his mind to seeing Binoche run out of town for interrupting the village's static tranquility.

Continue reading: Chocolat Review

The Little Vampire Review


Unbearable

If Jonathan Lipnicki is washed up at 18 and looking back on his career as a button-cute child star, "The Little Vampire" is will very likely be the picture that embarrasses him most.

A quick, sloppy production of a throwaway script about a little boy who befriends a family of bloodsuckers and helps them recover a magic amulet, it suffers from a pungent collective apathy that wafts off the screen from the cast and crew. The little kids in the picture seem like they're just playing vampire in grandma's dusty attic and not really trying to participate in the plot. The grown-ups in the cast (including respectable actors like Richard E. Grant and John Wood) give let's-get-this-over-with performances and most scenes feel like the director didn't say "Cut!" so much as "Oh that's good enough let's just move on."

Lipnicki ("Stuart Little," "Jerry Maguire") plays Tony, a kid from California who has just moved into a small, renovated Scottish castle with his completely vanilla mother (Pamela Gidley) and father (Tommy Hinkley), a golf course designer hired to build new links for a local lord (Wood).

Continue reading: The Little Vampire Review

John Wood

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