Tag Archives: Kenneth Branagh

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

Dunkirk: Surviving the Beach

AT THE POINT OF CRISIS, AT THE POINT OF ANNIHILATION, SURVIVAL IS VICTORY.  About 25 years ago, Christopher Nolan and his wife Emma Thomas were crossing the English Channel together with a friend. They were in a small sailing yacht headed for the northeastern French town of Dunkirk, but what initially looked like a pleasant … Continue reading Dunkirk: Surviving the Beach

The Best Shakespeare Films

400 years have passed since William Shakespeare died on April 23rd, 1616. I recently finished Stephen Greenblatt’s amazing 2004 book “Will in the World”, which vividly brings the Bard to life in a way that feels down to earth. By using the historical facts and records of Shakespeare’s life that we have, and tying them … Continue reading The Best Shakespeare Films

Happy 200th, Frankenstein

On a dark and stormy night 200 years ago, Mary Shelley created Frankenstein. Traveling through Europe, visiting among other places Frankenstein Castle near Darmstadt, Germany, together with her future husband Percy, Lord Byron and the writer John Polidori, Shelley came up with the idea of a scientist who finds a way to reanimate a corpse. … Continue reading Happy 200th, Frankenstein

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

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

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit

TRUST NO ONE. Young Afghanistan War veteran Jack Ryan (Chris Pine) is recruited by the CIA to work covertly in a Wall Street company, but suddenly this analyst is turned into an operative and sent to Moscow on a mission. A reboot of Tom Clancy’s character that tries to turn Jack Ryan into Jason Bourne. … Continue reading Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit

Thor

TWO WORLDS. ONE HERO. Thor (Chris Hemsworth), the hot-headed son of Odin (Anthony Hopkins), is banished to Earth, which becomes an opportunity for his brother (Tom Hiddleston) to seize power of Asgard. The fourth film in the so-called Marvel Cinematic Universe shares ideas and references with its predecessors, and by the time a near-indestructible machine that … Continue reading Thor

The Boat That Rocked

1 BOAT. 8 DJS. NO MORALS. In 1966, teenager Carl (Tom Sturridge) is sent to a pirate radio ship in the North Sea to spend time with his godfather (Bill Nighy), the ship’s captain; the crew is a motley bunch of DJ’s. Director Richard Curtis’s first film since Love Actually (2003) is a celebration of an era that … Continue reading The Boat That Rocked

Celebrity

A NEW COMEDY ABOUT PEOPLE WHO WILL DO ANYTHING TO GET FAMOUS… OR STAY FAMOUS. After separating, travel journalist Lee Simon (Kenneth Branagh) and his wife (Judy Davis) enter the singles scene, but Lee in particular learns the pitfalls of trying to find happiness. Director Woody Allen satirizes all the absurd aspects of fame, but offers … Continue reading Celebrity

Valkyrie

MANY SAW EVIL. THEY DARED TO STOP IT.  In 1943, German Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg (Tom Cruise) joins a gang of conspirators trying to overthrow Adolf Hitler and negotiate peace with the Allies. The reason why this story hasn’t been told onscreen that many times is probably due to the depressing outcome of it. Still, … Continue reading Valkyrie