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The Luzhin Defence Review


Very Good
Early on in the period drama The Luzhin Defence, Emily Watson's Natalia proclaims that she wants something different, and that's just what we get through most of this adaptation, based on Vladimir Nabokov's novel of chess and madness. But as acclaimed director Marleen Gorris (Mrs. Dalloway) takes us toward the vital final act, that sense of originality seems to fade.

Luckily, we are saved throughout by Watson's performance. As a woman vacationing with her pesky mother in 1920s Italy, she stumbles upon eccentric, pained, chess genius Alexander Luzhin, or more accurately, he stumbles upon her. Luzhin, played by a solid and risk-taking John Turturro, is disheveled and awkward, the kind of absent-minded obsessive that draws stares of both scorn and jealousy. Watson and Turturro, both at the top of their talents, create a sort of Romeo and Juliet -- he's reckless and unkempt, she's proper and well-mannered.

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The Madness Of King George Review


Good
1994's last Oscar contender crawled into Austin last week, the much-heralded film The Madness of King George. Adapted from the acclaimed stage play, Nigel Hawthorne reprises his lead role as King George III, the British monarch during the time of the American Revolution, who didn't quite have a full bag of marbles.

It all starts innocently enough, with a relatively sane King George administering government alongside the Queen (Helen Mirren). But soon George falls victim to an unpredictable nervous disorder, causing the King to completely lose his mind. For the next 20 minutes, people inexplicably chase the rambling King in his bedclothes, either in his castle or on the fields. I suppose there's a fine line between whether you can actually tackle a King or if he should be allowed to gallop around England unmolested, but I'm just a cold-hearted anti-Royalist American who wouldn't understand the intricacies of managing the throne.

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The Luzhin Defence Movie Review

The Luzhin Defence Movie Review

Early on in the period drama The Luzhin Defence, Emily Watson's Natalia proclaims that she...

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