My Cousin Rachel (Cinema Review)

12A – 106mins – 2017


 

YOU BEFORE ME

Orphaned as a child and raised by his older cousin, Philip Ashley (Sam Me Before You Claflin) remains in written communication with his guardian when sickness calls for Ambrose (also Claflin) to sojourn to warmer climes in the winter. Ambrose informs Philip that while in Italy he has met and swiftly fallen in love with Rachel (Rachel Youth Weisz), a cousin to them both, whom he marries. But worrying insinuations and a despairing tone to Ambrose’s letters perturbs Philip, who journeys out to Florence expecting to find his frail caregiver at the behest of a beastly gold-digger.

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DOCTOR WHO, 10.6 – “Extremis” (TV Review)

BBC One – 7:25pm – Saturday 20th May 2017

Written by: Steven Moffat

Directed by: Daniel Nettheim


 

WHAT LIES BENEATH

Well I certainly wasn’t expecting that. After setting up what was presumed to be a season-long mystery in “The Pilot” and teasing it in each subsequent episode, we were casually made privy to who was inside the vault the Doctor (Peter Capaldi) has sworn to guard at this innocuous mid-series point. I’m a week late in getting my “Extremis” review posted, but I will still warn those even tardier than I that SPOILERS FOLLOW, so continue at your own risk…

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Unlocked (Cinema Review)

15 – 98mins – 2017


 

KNOCKING OFF THE RUST

I’m no huge fan of security intelligence or counterterrorism films, but I was interested in seeing action-thriller Unlocked to witness Prometheus and Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2009) star Noomi Rapace take centre stage again. The original (and best) Lisbeth Salander is joined in this London-set spy game by a stellar cast including Orlando Bloom, Michael Douglas, Toni Collette and John Malkovich. Directed by former Bond-helmer, Michael Apted, surely Unlocked would be a Spooks-tacular adventure?

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Inferno (Cinema Review)

Image result for inferno film 2016

12A – 121mins – 2016


SEEK AND YE SHALL FIND

A decade after he first strapped on Robert Langdon’s cherished Mickey Mouse wristwatch in the much anticipated conversion of The Da Vinci Code from page-turner to must-see movie, screen legend Tom Hanks is back for a third global race against the clock as author Dan Brown’s sensationally-popular Harvard professor, cryptographer and Indiana Jones for the 21st century.

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The Moth Diaries (DVD Review)

15 – 79mins – 2011


 

SEX, BLOOD, DEATH… & LESBIANISM

“Sickly sweet but rotten…”

Alabaster-skinned British model Lily Cole (St. Trinians, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus) conjures a haunting otherworldly peculiarity which makes her sublimely cast as Ernessa Bloch, the enigmatic new girl with a dark secret at an exclusive all-girls’ boarding school.

Sarah Bolger (Emelie, TV’s The Tudors) plays bright-but-obsessive student Rebecca who grows increasingly concerned at the intense control Ernessa seems to hold over her increasingly-frail best friend, Lucy (Sarah 11.22.63 Gadon). Is the enigmatic flame-haired wraith a coffin-slumbering vampire, or does Rebecca’s jealous simply know no bounds?

Suicide, suspicion, strangely strong shisha, sex and the supernatural are all spun together in this diminutive but evocative conspiratorial horror, based on Rachel Klein’s Y.A. novel. There are some truly impactful standout scenes – including a Carrie-esque dream sequence and a troubling peek inside Ernessa’s dusty room – but the story is compromised by some atrociously heavy-handed editing which brings up numerous plot points (swimming lessons, period pain, inappropriate kiss, outdoor sex) only to mothball any consequences.

There is some poetic flair in paralleling the inexplicable goings on with some of literature’s bloodsucking icons in Mr Davies’ (Scott Underworld Speedman) gothic fiction class, but the abrupt, sketch-like approach to assembling the narrative means The Moth Diaries ultimately fails to take flight. What is scarier than any shocks in this jump-free teen adaptation is that it was directed by the same acute eye as acclaimed thriller American Psycho, Mary Haddon.

CR@B Verdict: 2 stars