Tag Archives: Judi Dench

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

Queen Victoria in the Movies

I recently finished “Victoria the Queen”, a biography by the Australian writer Julia Baird, published in 2016. Subheaded as “An intimate biography of the woman who ruled an empire”, the book brings us close to this iconic monarch and her life, dispelling some myths, and creating a better understanding of her complex nature. This was … Continue reading Queen Victoria in the Movies

A Room with a View

In the early 1900s, Lucy Honeychurch (Helena Bonham Carter) is on holiday in Florence together with her older cousin (Maggie Smith) when she’s charmed by the philosophical and progressive George (Julian Sands). The first Merchant-Ivory production to gain wide international recognition is faithful to the novel, portraying rigid conventions in Edwardian England seen from a … Continue reading A Room with a View

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

Victoria & Abdul

HISTORY’S MOST UNLIKELY FRIENDSHIP. In 1887, Indian clerk Abdul Karim (Ali Fazal) is one of two men hired to deliver a ceremonial gift to Queen Victoria (Judi Dench) in England; the ruler becomes fascinated by Abdul and makes him her spiritual guide… Dench returned to the part of Queen Victoria after playing her in Mrs. … Continue reading Victoria & Abdul

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

STAY PECULIAR.  16-year-old Jake Portman (Asa Butterfield) goes to Wales together with his father to look for a mysterious orphanage that his granddad (Terence Stamp) told fanciful stories about from World War II… Tim Burton is the right person to make a movie out of Ransom Riggs’s imaginative novel, a fairy tale about a place … Continue reading Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

Tulip Fever

Amsterdam, 1634; an artist (Dane DeHaan) is hired to paint a portrait of Cornelis Sandvoort (Christoph Waltz) and his young wife (Alicia Vikander), but falls madly in love with her. The co-writer of Shakespeare in Love (1998) takes on the Dutch Golden Age and its notorious tulip mania without having anything interesting to say about … Continue reading Tulip Fever

The Chronicles of Riddick

ALL THE POWER IN THE UNIVERSE CAN’T CHANGE DESTINY.  This sequel to Pitch Black (2000) brings the story five years into the future where Richard Riddick (Vin Diesel) is hunted by mercenaries and becomes involved with a strange, religious force that conquers planets. The original was more of a straightforward thriller, but this action-adventure builds … Continue reading The Chronicles of Riddick

SPECTRE

As James Bond (Daniel Craig) chases a particularly powerful villain (and shadows from his past), the British intelligence community is about to change in a way that deeply worries M (Ralph Fiennes)… The 24th Bond flick connects with the previous three, and on a deeper level with one of the most classic ingredients of Sean … Continue reading SPECTRE

The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

The whole gang (almost) is here for another round of love, intrigue and fun under the sun at that charming hotel for seniors near Jaipur, India. The sequel to The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2012) suffers from the same problems as so many others; it’s contrived, overlong and whatever points the concept has were made … Continue reading The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

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

Philomena: The Searchers

THESE TWO UNLIKELY COMPANIONS ARE ON A JOURNEY TO FIND HER LONG LOST SON.  These past two months I have seen two other films by Stephen Frears, My Beautiful Laundrette (1985) and the recent HBO drama Muhammad Ali’s Greatest Fight. These experiences made me think of how the director’s career has evolved over the years. … Continue reading Philomena: The Searchers