Sunday, 13 June 2010


Available now on DVD and Blu-ray

I enjoyed Joe Johnston's update of The Wolfman earlier this year, a lot more than I expected to and more than most of my fellow reviewers. While not quite a guilty pleasure, The Wolfman has a castle load of gothic gore that's surprisingly entertaining: I'm usually a wimp when it comes to bloodletting but I found the murderous rampage of Lawrence Talbot (Benicio Del Toro) across the misty moors of the English countryside to be rather fun.

When Lawrence's brother goes M.I.A. on the moors, he returns to his manor home to investigate and it's not too long before family secrets, revealed by a scene chewing Anthony Hopkins as Lord Talbot, are jumping out of the closet – and out from behind trees and, eventually, across London rooftops.

After being attacked while in the woods, it's a case of once bitten, never shy for Lawrence as he in turn becomes a wolfman, by the light of the full moon, of course. But can the love of a good woman (talented Emily Blunt given little to do but looking good doing it) save Lawrence before Scotland Yard's Inspector Aberline (Hugo Weaving) pounds this puppy? Curl up on your couch and find out.
Link to orignal review:


EVERYBODY'S FINE (Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment)
While I welcome Robert De Niro's return to drama (I'm not a fan of the Meet The/Analyze series of films), this tale of a recently retired widower attempting to reconnect with his adult children during a whirlwind cross-country trip over Thanksgiving weekend doesn't exactly stretch the veteran. Writer Kirk Jones has assembled an impressive cast – Kate Beckinsale, Drew Barrymore and the always watchable Sam Rockwell – for his first directorial outing, but they come across as somewhat selfish offspring while De Niro's Frank is also hard to sympathise with. Still, the ending has an emotional impact when we learn the fate of the fourth sibling who has been M.I.A. throughout.

NINE (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment) Rob Marshall's return to the musical wasn't as warmly received as his Oscar-winning Chicago, but Nine, based on the stage musical which in turn was inspired by the Fellini film 8 ½, has much to recommend it and not just starlets in under garments. A singing Daniel Day Lewis, as the Fellini-like director, Guido Contini, suffering writer's block, is one point of interest; so, too, is the cavalcade of actresses who strut their stuff. And although Penelope Cruz scored an Oscar nod, it is Judi Dench, effortlessly stealing every scene she's in, and Marion Cotillard, playing Guido's long-suffering wife, who make the biggest impressions. Dion Beebe's cinematography is, of course, perfect.

BRIGHT STAR (Roadshow Entertainment) Jane Campion's first film in six years is an ode to love, detailing the chaste yet doomed relationship between poet, John Keats (Ben Whishaw), and neighbour-cum-muse, Fanny Brawne (Abbie Cornish). And only a woman, and perhaps only Campion, could make a chaste love affair so involving, helped greatly by her two leads, especially Cornish, who, at the very least, should have received a Best Actress Oscar nomination. I mean, if Sandra Bullock can win . . .

And speaking of Oscar winners, PRECIOUS (Icon Home Entertainment) was this past year's 'little film that could', scoring Best Picture and Director nods, and winning for Adapted Screenplay and Best Supporting Actress for Mo'Nique who, as the mother from Hell, was never in doubt to take home a gold statuette. Her daughter, Precious (nominee and first time actress, Gabourey Sidibe), overcomes her many obstacles, including rape, pregnancy and parental abuse, thanks to the loving support of a teacher – but Dead Poets Society it's not. Precious is heavy going but rewards those who see it through.

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