Jonathan English

Jonathan English

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Ironclad Review


Weak
Turning a rarely dramatised chapter of British history into a riotously grisly romp, this film starts out strongly as an exploration of people power then soon degenerates into a series of increasingly gory clashes.

After signing the Magna Carta in 1215, King John (Giamatti) launches a bloodbath of revenge against the barons who forced his signature. So Marshall (Purefoy), a Templar monk who has taken a vow of nonviolence, is forced to take up his sword to defend the people from their king. He joins a rabble mob led by charismatic Albany (Cox) and they head for the pivotal castle of Lord Cornhill (Jacobi). As the king lays siege to their stronghold, Marshall finds other vows tempted by Lady Isabel (Mara) and her heaving bosom.

Continue reading: Ironclad Review

A Good Woman Review


Grim
Shot in 2004 and (sort of) released in 2006, this oddball updated of Oscar Wilde's Lady Windermere's Fan never quite connects, thanks largely to its awful casting of Helen Hunt in the lead role. Here, Hunt plays an American on holiday in Italy, who gets wrapped up in scandal when whe seduces the husband of a younger woman (Scarlett Johansson, not much better than Hunt here). Never mind that you'd have to be nuts to trade Johansson for Hunt, it's the problematic transition of Fan from light comedy to semi-drama (replete with period details and bodice ripping) that doesn't work at all. Despite a stellar supporting cast (with Tom Wilkinson at the head), A Good Woman never develops the slightest amount of spark or intrigue. I'm sure director Mike Barker thought he was producing Oscar bait here, but he ended up with something altogether different.

Romance & Rejection Review


Grim
Mike (Reece Dinsdale) is a lonely composer looking for love in the big city (London, I guess, in this case). Only John Hannah's presence is meriting the release of this film on DVD six years after its creation.

In the end, this sad-sack melodrama/romantic comedy proves it's nothing new -- with Mike's neurotic and nerve-wracked pursuit of Clara Bellar (last seen as the Nanny robot from A.I.) taking up the bulk of the film. We're meant to find this as amusing, but Dinsdale invents Mike as such an enormously unlikable loser that I actually felt a little giddy when he kept missing the girl's phone calls.

Continue reading: Romance & Rejection Review

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