Tag Archives: Derek Jacobi

Dead Again

A MYSTERY ABOUT TRUE LOVE… AND CERTAIN DEATH. Los Angeles private eye Mike Church (Kenneth Branagh) tries to learn the identity of a woman (Emma Thompson) with amnesia and finds ties to a spectacular 1949 murder… An interesting early noir story from writer Scott Frank, bombastically (perhaps a tad overdone) staged by Branagh in his … Continue reading Dead Again

Henry V: Branagh and the Bard

THE GREAT ADVENTURE OF A KING WHO DEFIED THE ODDS TO PROVE HIMSELF A MAN.  When I was a teenager, maybe this was around 1990, my class was treated to a performance of Shakespeare’s ”Hamlet”. It was not a bad production; the young leading actors went on to have successful careers. But we were an … Continue reading Henry V: Branagh and the Bard

Murder on the Orient Express

EVERYONE IS A SUSPECT.  In 1934, famous detective Hercule Poirot (Kenneth Branagh) finds himself on the Orient Express where a notorious businessman (Johnny Depp) is murdered. Another star-studded version of Agatha Christie’s most famous mystery is similar to the slightly superior 1974 movie and has no new twists to offer. Which is probably a good … Continue reading Murder on the Orient Express

Cinderella

This adaptation of the old fairy tale was made by Disney and is heavily inspired by their 1950 animated version. The story of the orphaned girl (Lily James) who is mistreated by her wicked stepmother (Cate Blanchett), but gets a magical shot at wooing Prince Charming is girlishly romantic and fun for kids. Handsomely mounted, … Continue reading Cinderella

Grace of Monaco

THE GREATEST ROLE GRACE KELLY WOULD EVER PLAY. In 1963, at a time when France is challenging Monaco’s sovereignty, Princess Grace (Nicole Kidman) is offered to return to Hollywood for a lead role in a Hitchcock movie. After delays, public protests from Monaco’s royal family and signs of disapproval from the film’s distributors came this … Continue reading Grace of Monaco

My Week with Marilyn

Young Colin Clark (Eddie Redmayne) gets a foot inside a British movie studio just in time to witness the chaos behind Laurence Olivier’s new film project, which partners him with Marilyn Monroe. A very entertaining, sweet and elegant look behind the scenes of the making of The Prince and the Showgirl (1957) where two icons … Continue reading My Week with Marilyn

Anonymous

WAS SHAKESPEARE A FRAUD? At the end of the Elizabethan era, the Earl of Oxford (Rhys Ifans) hires a playwright called Ben Jonson (Sebastian Armesto) to act as his front, hoping to use his own plays as a political weapon. A labor of love for Roland Emmerich that nevertheless turns out much like his previous … Continue reading Anonymous

The Odessa File

A GRIPPING PUZZLE OF PURSUIT AND ESCAPE. In 1963, German reporter Peter Miller (Jon Voight) becomes involved in the search for a brutal concentration camp commander who disappeared after WWII with help from ODESSA, a network of former SS men. ODESSA may really have existed, and the “Butcher of Riga” certainly did (he was found and arrested a few years … Continue reading The Odessa File

The King’s Speech: Royal Pains

IT TAKES LEADERSHIP TO CONFRONT A NATION’S FEAR. IT TAKES FRIENDSHIP TO CONQUER YOUR OWN. After watching this brilliant drama, I knew I had to consult YouTube for the speech King George VI made after Britain’s declaration of war against Germany. Sometimes, historical events portrayed in films absurdly seem a bit small in comparison with … Continue reading The King’s Speech: Royal Pains

Underworld: Evolution

After the climactic showdown of the first film, Selene and Michael (Kate Beckinsale, Scott Speedman) are on the run, but one of the vampire elders (Tony Curran) is awakened and starts hunting them. Our heroes have another monster to battle, another physical link to those days when their ancestors first clashed. Neither the story, its background … Continue reading Underworld: Evolution

Endgame

PATRIOT. TERRORIST. NEGOTIATOR. PEACEMAKER.  South Africa, 1985; British businessman Michael Young (Jonny Lee Miller) tries to start talks between the ANC, represented by Thabo Mbeki (Chiwetel Ejiofor), and Botha’s regime, represented by professor Will Esterhuyse (William Hurt). The story of the last years before the release of Nelson Mandela and fall of the Apartheid system … Continue reading Endgame