Tag: Historical Drama

THE DEVILS (MOVIE REVIEW)THE DEVILS (MOVIE REVIEW)

The Devils poster

The Devils is a 1971 British historical drama film written and directed by Ken Russell and starring Oliver Reed and Vanessa Redgrave. The Devils is probably one of the best socio-political commentaries, a biting satire of the excesses of religion and politics. While presented in a disturbing, visceral, sexually graphic manner that sometimes overshadows the message underneath, the power of its narrative remains undiminished almost half a century later.

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THE CROWN SEASON 4 (REVIEW)THE CROWN SEASON 4 (REVIEW)

The Crown Season 4

The Crown is a historical drama streaming television series about the reign of Queen Elizabeth II (played by Olivia Colman). Certainly, in modern times, no other royal family has captured public imagination like the Windsors. Also, in the context of the prolonged reign of Queen Elizabeth II, such a drama series is definitely merited. The Crown Season 4 perhaps begins the Queen’s most tumultuous years, to be concluded with Season 5, coming in 2022.

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IMMORTAL BELOVED (MOVIE REVIEW)IMMORTAL BELOVED (MOVIE REVIEW)

Immortal Beloved

Immortal Beloved is a 1994 historical drama depicting the final years of classical music composer Ludwig van Beethoven (played by Gary Oldham). The story revolves around a quest by Beethoven’s secretary and biographer Anton Schindler (Jeroen Krabbé) to find out the true identity of the “Unsterbliche Geliebte” (“Immortal Beloved”) addressed in three letters found in Beethoven’s private papers. 

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EMMA. (2020) MOVIE REVIEWEMMA. (2020) MOVIE REVIEW

Emma. Anya Taylor-Joy.

Jane Austen’s 1815 novel Emma has been adapted numerous times in film, TV and on stage. First time director Autumn de Wilde has done a fabulous job in presenting the latest version of this timeless story. An integral part of Emma’s success is the spot-on casting of the delightful Anya Taylor-Joy in the lead role.

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THE TRIAL OF THE CHICAGO 7 (REVIEW)THE TRIAL OF THE CHICAGO 7 (REVIEW)

The Trial of the Chicago 7

The Trial of the Chicago 7 is a historical drama based on real life events that took place in the late 1960s. 1968 was a tumultuous year for the USA. The assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Bobby Kennedy shook American politics. The nation was divided over the escalation of the USA’s involvement in the Vietnam War, which led to protests and demonstrations in the streets.

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WOLF HALL (TV REVIEW)WOLF HALL (TV REVIEW)

Wolf Hall

Wolf Hall is a British television serial first broadcast on BBC Two in January 2015. The six-part miniseries is an adaptation of two of Hilary Mantel’s novels, Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies, a fictionalised biography documenting the rapid rise to power of Thomas Cromwell in the court of Henry VIII through to the death of Sir Thomas More, followed by Cromwell’s success in freeing the king of his marriage to Anne Boleyn. Our review follows…

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THE IMITATION GAME: FROM TRIUMPH TO DESPAIR – THE TRAGEDY OF ALAN TURINGTHE IMITATION GAME: FROM TRIUMPH TO DESPAIR – THE TRAGEDY OF ALAN TURING

The_Imitation_Game_poster

Directed by Morten Tyldum.
Written by Graham Moore.
Starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Matthew Goode and Keira Knightley. 

Before discussing the merits of the film, it was ironic to discover that the movie was rated NC-16 for “homosexual references” in Singapore. Thus, despite receiving a royal pardon for his criminal conviction for gross indecency, Turing is judged again in this risible manner. Ah well.

Apart from that, there is nothing notably negative about The Imitation Game. The actors are all on their game – Cumberbatch delivers a stunning performance. The narrative jumps around from time to time in a satisfying non-linear fashion. And the grand injustice meted out to Turing before his death is given its due as a horrifying third act.

The message behind The Imitation Game is clear enough – prejudice is inhuman and those that stand out as different should be treasured not vilified. Of course, much of the human drama is glamorized for effect – Turing’s role in breaking the Enigma code and the relationship with Joan Clarke (Knightley) – but necessary to design an effective plot.

An enjoyable ‘message’ film that really should be seen by everyone from 12 upwards.

GEEK OUT!GEEK OUT!

300: Rise Of An Empire (Directed by Noam Murro)

To be honest, I had low expectations for this film. When it was first announced, I felt that there was absolutely no need for a sequel to 300 and this was simply a case of the studio trying to cash in on the original’s success (almost half a billion dollars worldwide). To all intents and purposes, it seemed to me that creator Frank Miller had been coerced into producing a sequel to 300 (viz. Xerxes), which remains unpublished. All of which spelled TROUBLE.

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GEEK OUT!GEEK OUT!

The sequel to 300, Zack Snyder’s adaptation of Frank Miller’s graphic novel opens in Singapore tomorrow. 300: Rise of an Empire is based on Miller’s as yet unpublished graphic novel Xerxes and focuses on the second Persian invasion of Greece in 480 BC. Noam Murro is the director whilst Snyder is involved as co-writer and producer.

Check out the latest trailer below.

REEL TO REALREEL TO REAL

Man’s inhumanity to his fellow man. Does this sad fact of life really need to be shoved down our throats by movie entertainment? Yes, as many times as possible so that hatred, bigotry and prejudice will be marked and branded as atrocities and crimes against humanity and not justified in the name of religion, economics or self-preservation.

Director Steve McQueen has, with two feature films viz Hunger and Shame, demonstrated a razor sharp ability for telling the unflinchingly unblemished truth about the unsavory aspects of life. Now with this adaptation of Solomon Northup’s 1853 autobiography – Twelve Years a Slave – McQueen turns his keen eye on a dark chapter in American history – slavery.

The plot is straight-forward enough. Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor) was a free negro plying his trade as a carpenter and violinist in Saratoga, New York in the mid-1800s. He was kidnapped and sold into slavery at New Orleans. He remained a slave for 12 years before finally re-gaining his freedom. Throughout those 12 years, he had to confront and endure physical and mental abuse – not to mention the despair of losing his family and his own identity, and in the latter case, for the sake of survival.

The story itself may be simple but the making of the film is anything but. Everything – from the cinematography to the acting performances, from the art direction to the costume design – demonstrates an attention to detail. McQueen is renowned for the realism of his films and 12 Years a Slave is no different. The locations – four historic antebellum plantations – come alive on screen and one is able to experience what it was like to live in those times.

The excellent cast flesh out these historical characters with conviction. Apart from Ejiofor’s sympathetic portrayal of Northup, special mention must be made of Michael Fassbender’s sadistic Edwin Epps, Lupita Nyong’o’s tragic Patsey, Paul Dano’s petty John Tibeats and Benedict Cumberbatch’s benevolent William Ford.

Not an easy or comfortable ride the moment Northup discovers his horrible plight – McQueen takes aim at the American South and Christianity and lays bare the monstrous attitudes that gives rise to the worst kind of behavior – that one segment of mankind is superior to the rest – demonstrated in Epps’ response to Northup’s accusation of sin – “A man does what he wants to his property” – even as he lashes the slave girl Patsey to an inch of her life.

Definitely a serious contender for best film of the year. Do not miss it!