Reviews written by registered user
|6 reviews in total|
I usually love big epics in the mold of Braveheart and Gladiator, and I have always loved the myths about king Arthur and his famous knights of the Round Table. I just couldn't wait to see King Arthur the movie, even if the casting of Ioan Gruffudd and Keira Knightley didn't exactly top my list over suitable actors - and wow! Was I disappointed!!! Troy was boring, but at least glossy, Alexander was messy and campy, but at least (unintentionally) funny, but King Arthur??? By far the worst epic of last year!!! I don't even know where to begin...Clive Owen's dull, wooden Arthur, clearly unable to command the undying loyalty of any man, woman or child in the kingdom of Britain - the bony Knightley in warpaint and a laughable BIKINI from the days of yore - the mighty knights reduced to seven men, doing their best to kick some spark of life into the whole damn thing, but really just out of sync comic relief (Ray Winstone, Mads Mikkelsen - the Dane actually being the only man on show with a bit of charisma). Add to this woeful cast some downright boring dialogue and a storyline that makes no sense what so ever, and yes, you have one giant stinker of a movie! I want to know who decided to turn the magical legend of king Arthur into this tired, dull hokum! By all means, re-thinking the legend can be quite refreshing, and doing away with the magic and the supernatural to focus on the man behind the myth could have been very interesting. But it still requires a story, and there is none! For all its talk of grittiness, and showing the real world and not the romances, it's just all too neat, too limp, too anachronistic, with king Arthur harping on about the freedom of the British people, and battle scenes with the look of tidy studio choreography. Nothing worked - I still can't tell if the poor actors couldn't act, or if they were just completely let down by a totally inept script!!! If you want epics, watch Braveheart and Gladiator. Even Ben Hur and Spartacus are better epics, and they're not exactly what I would call untouched by time and better techniques and bigger budgets! But at least they can boast of characters you actually care about...a bit. Anyway, most movies, regardless of genre, are better than King Arthur!
I've just seen Port of Shadows for the first time in my life, and I must say I really liked it. I'm already a great admirer of old black & white pictures, and I enjoyed The Great Illusion as well. This one is rather different from Illusion, though from the same era and also with Jean Gabin as the quintessential Frenchman. It's hauntingly sad, quietly emotional, and even if it's a bit dated in some places (the pathetic hood played by Brasseur) it still manages to creep up on you and leaves you absorbed with the motifs of human loneliness and the not unreasonable, but ultimately impossible human dream of happiness. So it's not a laugh-riot, and you don't leave the cinema with a happy feeling, but you do feel good about having seen it. It's a masterpiece in French cinema history, Jean Gabin is ideal as the tough-as-butter soldier with a doomed soft spot for Michéle Morgan's beautiful waif, and in the end all you remember is the quiet mists of Le Havre harbor, and the sense of ill-fate and lost chances. Not to mention the beautiful eyes of a very young Morgan!
It's some time ago I saw this mini-series, adapted by Tillyard herself and based on her marvellous biography about the Lennox sisters. The biography is one of the best I've ever read, so my expectations were pretty high. Fortunately I was not disappointed. Like in most English literary adaptations all the details, settings and costumes were perfect, and the story about the Lennox sisters have everything you could wish for: love, court intrigue, tragedies etc. It's so absorbing that you almost forget that it isn't fiction, but real people with real and dramatic lives! All the actors were great, especially Jodhi May as the unfortunate Sarah Lennox. If you didn't get enough of the series, then read the biography!
I'm watching the British series Daniel Deronda every week on Swedish tv, and I will recommned it to everyone who fancies quality literary adaptations. The production values are impeccable, and the acting list very impressive. The one to catch your attention, though, is without a doubt Hugh Bonneville as the supervillain Grandcourt. He's everything a good oldfashioned villain from the 19.th century ought to be: suave, cool, arrogant, manipulative, morally corrupt, and with a razor sharp wit. In fact, he totally overshadows the meek and handsome, but oh so noble and earnest hero, poor Daniel Deronda! Hugh Dancy does his best, but it's hard work to make Deronda as interesting as Grandcourt! Likewise with the heroine. Romola Garai is beautiful to look at, but it's difficult to really care about Gwendolyn. She's such a silly, whiny, and cold person who would rather marry a man she dislikes than stoop to be a governess! It made me long to give her a good whipping! All in all, I think she and Deronda deserve each other, for being so awfully colourless and boring. I'd much rather spend the time watching the villain smirk, or wonder about miss Lapidoth's strange fate, among the Jews. As usual, being the villain pays off! Hugh Bonneville and David Bamber as Lush are the characters you remember! They really are perfectly selfish and dastardly mean!
La Ronde is undoubtedly a great film! I've only seen it once, years ago, but it made a big impression on me. I've always been very fond of old black & white classics, and this one has beautiful settings and light. The story may not be something entirely new, but is told with elegant wit, and the list of actors involved is a who's who of French cinema of the 40's/50's. The wonderful Simone Signoret is particularly good as the prostitute, and my own personal favourite is Gérard Philipe, though his role isn't terribly meaty and also seems a bit stilted. So, the verdict is: a great original by Max Ophüls! And it will seem even better if compared with Roger Vadim's lacklustre and obvious remake! I don't recall the title of Vadim's remake, but it was boring and totally without the charm and ease of the original. A waste of time! Do yourself a favour, ignore the remake and go watch the original...
Okay, perhaps not, but it certainly is a very good adventure-comedy! One of the best of its kind. It has everything: romance, swordfights, abductions, witty bantering between characters, sly remarks about war. And it can boast of inspired casting, with Gérard Philipe at his romantic peak, all handsome and dashing, with soulful eyes, sensitive features, and a beautiful, velvety speaking voice. A very young Gina Lollobrigida was never more alluring, and the stupid villain, the amorous king Louis, and the slimy royal valet Lébel are all great character actors. In fact there's never a dull moment in this gem of a French film! And didn't it win the main prize at Cannes?