The Greatest Showman (Cinema Review)

PG – 105mins – 2017


 

THE PRINCE OF HUMBUG

Eight years in the making, this original musical ring-mastered by Hugh “Wolverine” Jackman and directed by first-timer Michael Gracey is a spectacular if haphazard showpiece which often struggles to marry song and story with a true feeling of authenticity. Ironically for a film about a purveyor of hoaxes, The Greatest Showman has been criticised for taking giant liberties with its biographing of circus founder P.T. Barnum (Jackman) and his unconventional star attractions.

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A Quiet Passion (DVD Review)

12 – 120mins – 2017


 

THE LITERATURE OF MISERY

“Sometimes, Emily, you are as ugly as your poetry!”

Written and directed by Sunset Song‘s Terence Davies, A Quiet Passion is both a boldly compelling yet persistently frustrating portrait of a literary great: prolific 19th century American poet Emily Dickinson, whose unusual existence is chartered from youth to death by two actors: Emma Bell for the opening twenty minutes takes on Emily’s post-school days, morphing into Cynthia Nixon for the concluding hour and forty minutes

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The Big Sick (Cinema Review)

15 – 124mins – 2017


 

BEST SEEN COLD

While The Big Sick’s reputation precedes it, literally all I knew about this acclaimed indie rom-com prior to last night’s Cineworld Unlimited cardholder preview screening was that critics were raving about it Stateside, and it co-starred Ruby Sparks herself, quirky cutie Zoe Kazan.

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Jackie (DVD Review)

15 – 95mins – 2016


 

A MOTHER TO US ALL

“What did the bullet sound like?”

Set just one week after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy (Caspar Phillipson) in 1963, Pablo Larrain’s Oscar-nominated biographical drama takes the form of a private press interview between Billy Cruddup’s unnamed journalist and the grieving, newly-widowed First Lady (Natalie Portman). Throughout their on-the-record discussion, Jacqueline Kennedy flashes back to times before, during and after Lee Harvey Oswald’s fateful motorcade shooting, and the burial of her husband.

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Diana (DVD Review)

12 – 108mins – 2013


 

QUEEN OF HEARTS

A few years ago, before I had watched The Queen, Stephen Frears’ Academy Award-winning film about the monarchy’s reaction to the death of Princess Diana, I tried to blag my way through a discussion about it with an acquaintance who I knew had a high-brow taste in films. “It’s a serviceable drama,” I blagged, “but it plays like a TV movie.” This fabricated nugget came from my vague memory of hearing a critic make a similar derogatory comment. Plus, I knew the Peter Morgan-scripted piece of speculative fiction was produced by Granada (A.K.A. ITV). “And what’s so wrong with a TV movie?” my acquaintance shot back. I was stumped; ruse unravelled.

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A Street Cat Named Bob (Cinema Review)

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12A – 103mins – 2016


A BUSKER’S BEST FRIEND

A drug addict shunned by his family and repelled by society, James Bowen’s inspirational transformation from homeless deadbeat to self-sufficient and employable home-owner is detailed in his bestselling 2012 biography, from which Tomorrow Never Dies director Roger Spottiswoode’s big screen adaptation gets its name.

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Miles Ahead (DVD Review)

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15 – 96mins – 2016


THE JUNKIE AND THE FLUNKIE

“Man, what a waste! He’s probably more profitable to us dead than alive now.”

Set in Manhattan in the late 1970s during the King of Cool’s wilderness years, Don Cheadle – the man many in this Marvel-dominated cine-scape will know predominantly as “War Machine” – excels himself as co-screenwriter, director and lead actor in this surprisingly unsycophantic passion project which drops the iconic and isolated “social music” pioneer into an impromptu  gangster flick of sorts.

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