Luke Mably

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Exam Review


OK
Setting a thriller in one room is a risky decision, and while writer-director Hazeldine creates a gripping sense of claustrophobia, this film feels both contrived and padded out with unnecessary sequences.

Eight people are called into an examination room by the Invigilator (Salmon) and given simple instructions to get through the last phase of a job interview.

But when the 80-minute clock starts ticking, they realise there's no question on their exam sheet. Trying to work out what to do involves collaborating and competing, and eventually turning on each other. And everyone seems to know something they're not telling the others.

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Colour Me Kubrick: A True...ish Story Review


OK
Talk about your reputation preceding you. In Alan Conway's case, however, it wasn't his reputation, but that of a certain notoriously elusive filmmaker named Stanley Kubrick. Brian Cook's Colour Me Kubrick: A True...ish Story follows the true-life exploits of a down-and-out, gay boozehound who managed, by passing himself off as Kubrick, to gain adoration and material support from a cross-section of London's gay artists and culture vultures in the 1990s. Of course, suspicion eventually caught up with Conway and his cover was blown by a Vanity Fair article and a police investigation that followed his trail of hoodwink and swindle.

Playing Conway-as-Kubrick is John Malkovich. He's the main attraction here, and for all of Colour Me Kubrick's considerable flaws, you can't take your eyes off Malkovich's flamboyant take on Conway. Depending on whom Conway's trying to hustle -- whether it's Jasper (Richard E. Grant), a hard-luck restaurateur; Rupert (Luke Mably), a studly would-be fashion designer; or Lee Pratt (Jim Davidson), a cut-rate Tom Jones-wannabe -- we see him adapting wildly different variations on the "Kubrick" persona. He's the sly English fop for the gay scenesters, or a variation on the brash, business-minded American (often with a shrill Brooklyn accent) for the investors and entertainers. Always, though, he dresses with the sensibility of a natty, low-rent hipster -- as if Kubrick must dress dowdily, yet with an impeccable sense of thrift-store chic. Conway's coup de grace involves conning the aforementioned Pratt, the English crooner, into believing he -- Kubrick -- is going to help him score a show in Vegas. After Pratt calls his bluff, the balance of Conway's vodka-loving life is spent in a rehab facility for the fancy rich. What we marvel at, beyond the gullibility of his victims, is how Conway is always playing a role, and getting away with it, right up to the very end.

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The Prince & Me Review


Bad
Fun fact about Julia Stiles, teen movie vet: She isn't much good in teen movies. She hit the right notes in 10 Things I Hate About You, playing a caustic outsider, but since then she's struggled to fit in with the Freddie Prinze/Selma Blair crowd. So long, in fact, that it's since become the Lindsay Lohan/Hilary Duff crowd (even if, in terms of youth-market trends, "so long" actually means about twelve hours).

Try as she might, Stiles doesn't fit comfortably within the framework. Her slightly deep voice has an intelligence to it that physically undermines her attempts to slum. Yet she persists. Unfortunately, I fear the onslaught of Down to You, Save the Last Dance, and now The Prince & Me has left Stiles a little stunted and worse for wear. She's spent so much time in the teen ghetto that even when she emerges in an allegedly grown-up movie like Mona Lisa Smile, something feels off. An aura of routine hangs in the air, and other actresses upstage her. Stiles may, in real life, resemble her character in The Prince & Me: smart, down-to-earth and good-humored. It's a tribute to the thinness of her starring roles that she still manages to come off awkward, even fake.

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The Prince & Me Review


Unbearable

Let me begin this review of the insultingly trite, insipidly twinkly, romantically suspect and aggressively unoriginal fairytale "The Prince and Me" with the least of the movie's thousands upon thousands of problems: It takes place in Wisconsin and Denmark between the months of September and January, and yet the trees are green, there's no snow on the ground and the characters never wear anything heavier than a long-sleeve shirt.

It's a movie in which all European royalty speak with English accents no matter what country they're from. It's a movie in which a character moves into a dorm room and starts taking classes 24 hours after deciding to go to college. (Admissions process? What's that?) It's a movie without an ounce of chemistry between its romantic leads, and it's a movie in which people are supposed to learn What's Really Important In Life -- and yet it cops out and goes for the crowd-pleaser ending that doesn't jive with the lessons supposedly learned.

But these are merely symptoms of a much larger problem, which is that there is not a single creative plot point, original line of dialogue, unique personality trait or even fresh note of music in the entire everygirl-meets-royal-hottie fantasy.

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Luke Mably

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There's already an Oscars buzz surrounding this movie.

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Luke Mably Movies

Exam Trailer

Exam Trailer

Watch the trailer for The ExamAfter reaching the final selection stage to join the ranks...

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Colour Me Kubrick: A True...ish Story Movie Review

Colour Me Kubrick: A True...ish Story Movie Review

Talk about your reputation preceding you. In Alan Conway's case, however, it wasn't his reputation,...

The Prince & Me Movie Review

The Prince & Me Movie Review

Fun fact about Julia Stiles, teen movie vet: She isn't much good in teen movies....

The Prince & Me Movie Review

The Prince & Me Movie Review

Let me begin this review of the insultingly trite, insipidly twinkly, romantically suspect and aggressively...

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