A Victorian thriller with rather heavy echoes of Jack the Ripper, this film struggles to rise above the murky atmosphere it weaves. And the plot itself is as dense as the low-lying London fog. But the gifted cast members make the most of the talky dialogue, drawing the audience into a twisty mystery even if it perhaps isn't as surprising as it hopes to be.
This is 1880 East London, where Inspector Kildare (Bill Nighy) has been dogged by rumours that he's "not the marrying kind", so he's given the most hopeless case in town: finding a ghostly serial killer who is staging increasingly elaborate murders. With Constable Flood (Daniel Mays) helping him, Kildare narrows the suspects down to philosopher Karl Marx (Henry Goodman), stage star Dan (Douglas Booth), novelist George (Watkins) or playwright John (Sam Reid), whose actress wife Lizzie (Olivia Cooke) is on trial for poisoning him. For some reason, Kildare becomes particularly intrigued by Lizzie's case, hoping he can get some inside information about her stage colleagues from her.
In adapting Peter Ackroyd's novel, Jane Goldman seems intent on including all of the book's gyrations and details, which can't help but make the film feel overstuffed. Plot-strands head off in every direction (including flashbacks and imagined sequences), many simply vanishing while others take turns that don't quite make sense. Even so, alert viewers will easily work out whodunit by about halfway through. Then the script waits until the very end to reveal this.
Continue reading: The Limehouse Golem Review
It's the early 1940s and World War II is in full swing. Bombs are raining down on London in the Blitzkrieg threatening to tear the country in two, but the British are made of sturdier stuff. Catrin Cole is a writer who comes to realise that the absence of ambitious young men in the workplace due to recruitment into the army has opened a door for her. She is appointed by the film division of the Ministry of Information to write the supplementary women's dialogue of a new propaganda film about Dunkirk, however she is told that she'll get no screen credit and won't be paid as much as her male counterparts. She goes one step further and writes the whole script, impressing all involved if leaving them a little indignant. Plus, she finds an unlikely ally in an aging film star named Ambrose Hilliard, who longs for the days he had major roles.
Continue: Their Finest Trailer
Strong characters help hold the attention as this overcooked drama develops, but in the end it feels so concocted that it's difficult to believe. While there's plenty of potential in the premise, the film becomes distracted by irrelevant subplots that try to stir up some tension but never quite manage it. And for a movie about food, the cuisine is simply too abstract to be mouthwatering.
At the centre is Adam (Bradley Cooper), a bad boy chef whose partying ways ended his high-flying career in Paris. After a period of penance in New Orleans, he moves to London to start again, with the goal of finally getting his elusive third Michelin star. Since he has alienated his friends, he turns to Tony (Daniel Bruhl), a guy who always had a soft spot for him and happens to be running a posh restaurant, which Adam quickly takes over. He rustles up some old colleagues (Omar Sy and Riccardo Scamarcio) and hires hot-shot Helene (Sienna Miller) as his sous chef. But his demanding perfectionism is keeping things from running very smoothly.
This set-up is ripe for both black comedy and soul-searching drama, and yet writer Steven Knight throws in irrelevant sideroads including a mandated therapist (the wonderful Emma Thompson), a bitter rival (a jagged Matthew Rhys), a couple of randomly violent loan sharks and a precocious little girl. Even though the actors do what they can to make every scene intriguing, none of these story elements add anything to the overall film. Still, Cooper holds the movie together with sheer charisma, even if his sudden transition from absolute tyrant to cuddly sweetheart isn't terribly convincing. At least he adds some surprising textures to his scenes, and indulges in sparky banter with those around him. And while Miller is solid in her thankless role, even she can't breathe life into such a thinly developed romance.
Continue reading: Burnt Review
When the Nazis took over Vienna prior to the Second World War, they stole countless, priceless artefacts. One of these artefacts was the Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I, and an Austrian Holocaust survivor has the perfect claim to it. Maria Altmann (Helen Mirren) hires Randol Schoenberg (Ryan Reynolds), a lawyer of Austrian decent, to help her become once again acquainted with the famous painting of her aunt. The problem is, that the painting is held in a Vienna art gallery, and the Austrian government are adamant in keeping the national treasure. Altmann, on the other hand, is desperate to get back what is rightfully hers.
Continue: Woman In Gold - Trailer And Clips
There was great news for UK channel Gold as its new series of Yes, Prime Minister saw figures double compared to the usual amount that tune in to the station at that time. However that was about as good as it got as the first series of the political drama since 1988 took a critical mauling, which would probably suggest Gold’s success will be a fleeting one.
To the good news first though; Broadcast reports that the show took an average of over 280,000 viewers during the 40 minutes, not a huge amount by any means but over double the 114,000 average the channel can usually expect at 9pm on a Tuesday evening (January 15). Then the bad news; The Independent made a point at how dated it all felt by comparing it to the runaway success of recent political drama The Thick Of It, writing “For one thing, you just can't pretend that The Thick of It never happened, as this seemed to do in featuring a scene of political advisers wincing as their boss flounders through an interview.”
The usually timid Radio Times wasn’t impressed either: "The new Hacker seems much more aware of Sir Humphrey's scheming, which takes away a key dynamic of the original: Hacker mistakenly thinking he had outsmarted Sir Humphrey and made his own decision," they wrote. Digital Spy had their knives fully out; they wrote "Sadly, what could have been a triumphant return for one of the best British sitcoms is undone by bad decisions and ruinous execution." Enjoy that ratings boost Gold, it could be your last for a while.
Watch the trailer for Taking Woodstock
Woodstock Festival was almost not meant to be, originally the permit was pulled, only when Elliot Tiber stepped in and spoke to the organisers offering them the use of his parents motel and his next door neighbour, Max Yasgur, land that things got rolling. Taking Woodstock starts the moving story of Elliot Tiber and his personal struggle to keep the family motel open, what eventually develops from Elliot's plans is way beyond anyone's expectation.
Directed by Academy Award winner Ang Lee
UK Release date: 13th November 2009
Starring: Demetri Martin, Emile Hirsch, Liev Schreiber, Paul Dano, Henry Goodman, Imelda Staunton, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Eugene Levy, Jonathan Groff, Kelli Garner, Adam LeFevre, Edward Hibbert, Dan Fogler, Damian Kulash, Christina Kirk, Skylar Astin and Gabriel Sunday
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A Victorian thriller with rather heavy echoes of Jack the Ripper, this film struggles to...
Strong characters help hold the attention as this overcooked drama develops, but in the end...
When the Nazis took over Vienna prior to the Second World War, they stole countless,...
Watch the trailer for Taking WoodstockWoodstock Festival was almost not meant to be, originally the...