Review: Murder On The Orient Express (2017)

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Agatha Christie’s classic murder mystery receives a star-studded if dreary update, directed by Kenneth Branagh, who also takes on the lead role of Hercule Poirot. The detective, on his way to London to solve another case, finds himself embroiled in an unexpected murder – one that takes place on the very train he’s travelling on. Each and every passenger is a suspect, most of whom are played by A-list talent dressed up but without the dialogue, including Judi Dench, Penélope Cruz and Josh Gad. Continue reading “Review: Murder On The Orient Express (2017)”

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Review: I’m So Excited (2013)

I'm So Excited

Pedro Almodóvar, one of Spain’s most internationally acclaimed directors (he’s won two Academy Awards to date), returns to familiar territory with I’m So Excited, his first out-and-out comedy since Women On The Verge Of A Nervous Breakdown was released some twenty three years ago. Gone are the somewhat sombre explorations of dark, labyrinthine subjects found within his recent crop of Continue reading “Review: I’m So Excited (2013)”

Six Of The Best: Pedro Almodóvar

Pedro Almodovar

Writer, producer and director Pedro Almodóvar is arguably the most well-known and well-regarded Spanish filmmaker in the country’s colourful history. With eighteen feature films under his belt, and another currently in post-production, Almodovar has gone from strength to strength in his 30-odd year career, creating films that not only entertain, but also educate and captivate. Continue reading “Six Of The Best: Pedro Almodóvar”

Penélope Cruz Reunites With Pedro Almodóvar For The Brief Lovers

In a move that will make many happy, myself included, Penélope Cruz has signed on to star in Pedro Almodóvar’s next film The Brief Lovers, Deadline has reported. This will mark the first time the duo have worked together since Broken Embraces, which was released three year’s ago.

Cruz will star opposite Cecilia Roth, Lola Dueñas, Raúl Arévalo, José María Yazpik and Javier Cámara in what is being described as a “very fresh and brazen Continue reading “Penélope Cruz Reunites With Pedro Almodóvar For The Brief Lovers”

Penélope Cruz Circling Ridley Scott’s The Counselor

Penélope Cruz (Volver) is circling a role in The Counselor, a dramatic thriller penned by author-turned-screenwriter Cormac McCarthy, THR has revealed.

Cruz, who won an Academy Award for her role in Woody Allen’s Vicky Cristina Barcelona, will star opposite Michael Fassbender, Brad Pitt, Javier Bardem and Angelina Jolie in what’s being described as “dialogue-heavy, violent and racy”.

The Counselor centers on an attorney (Fassbender) who finds himself caught up Continue reading “Penélope Cruz Circling Ridley Scott’s The Counselor”

Academy Awards 2012: Winners

At a glitzy awards ceremony in Hollywood, California this evening, the winners of the 84th Academy Awards were announced.

Hosted by Billy Crystal, with presenters including Penélope Cruz, Cameron Diaz, Tom Cruise, Tom Hanks and Melissa Leo, the ceremony delivered on big-named guests, subtle jibes, welcomed surprises and plenty of comedy.

The Artist and Hugo tied with five awards a piece, with The Artist claiming Best Picture.

The full list of winners are included below: Continue reading “Academy Awards 2012: Winners”

Review: Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (2011)

Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides is the fourth instalment in the multi-billion pound action-adventure franchise, and possibly the easiest to understand. This time, we follow Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) as he lands himself in a bit of a bind after being lured onto Blackbeard’s (Ian McShane) ship by enigmatic siren – and old flame – Angelica (Penélope Cruz), and is forced to seek out the Fountain of Youth.

While it’s certainly exciting to see Jack on another adventure, the frenzy soon fades, leaving in its midst Ted Elliot and Terry Rossio’s exhausted, clumsy and bland story – one that’s fuelled only by cliched action sequences. To add to this, On Stranger Tides completely fails to acknowledge anything that happened in the first trilogy. Yes, this film may be the standalone instalment producers were seeking, but it loses most of its credibility in the process.

Rob Marshall, who takes over directorial duties from Gore Verbinski, doesn’t inpart any visible influence on the film. His background in musicals and stage shows, where he basks in vivid colours and exciting set pieces, seems to have disappeared. On Stranger Tides is tinged with a dull, lifeless light, made worse only by Marshall’s pedestrian direction. It’s a shame, because the sequences involving the mermaids – which were genuinely exciting and engaging – were lit so dimly that you had to squint to be able to distinguish similarly clothed characters. Not an enjoyable experience in the slightest.

Nearly every performance within the film – both from new and recurring cast members – is muted and stoic. While Depp is still charming and enthralling as Captain Jack Sparrow, the plot and trite dialogue doesn’t leave him much room to breathe. Other actors, namely Cruz, Geoffrey Rush – who returns as Barbossa – and McShane, deliver adequate performances as their respective characters, but none are particularly noteworthy or seem to have the energy to prove their worth.

It goes to show that no matter how ridiculous Dead Man’s Chest and At World’s End were – nor how annoying Keira Knightley and Orlando Bloom’s characters had become – it’s a shame to see a franchise that started off so fresh transform into a sheer money-making wreckIf only Knightley’s Elizabeth Swan had shown up to re-utter one of the franchises best lines – “You like pain? Try wearing a corset” – On Stranger Tides may have saved itself. Just.

Trailer: Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

Director: Rob Marshall

Starring – Johnny Depp, Penelope Cruz, Ian McShane and Geoffrey Rush