Review: The Tempest


I supposed my reaction to Julie Taymor’s photographically bold, yet cinematicly flat rendition of William Shakespeare’s play could be summed up by comparing the performance of Alan Cumming from her previous film Titus to the one he yields here. In Titus, he is a campy-over-the-top force of nature, a pure delight of showmanship. In The Tempest, he is yawning his way through the inevitable march across the Hawaiian voclanic badlands with an equally subdued Chris Cooper and David Strathairn. Maybe the gory Grand Guignol of Titus was a more suitable fit than the more introspective, meta-ish nature of The Tempest for her particular sort-of-a-stage-production-sort-of-a-film style. Outside of the farcical comedic elements, Alfred Molina is at his bawdy best here, with Russell Brand providing somewhat consistent support, which seem to capture the best elements of Shakespeare’s ability to play to the back of the room, The Tempest merely makes me want to go back and revisit Peter Greenaway’s take on the Bard with Prospero’s Books, or for that matter, just re-watch Tarsem’s The Fall.
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Clips and Images for Taymor’s “The Tempest”

Which is really all I need to know I’m seeing this asap. Kind of a lover her or hate her director it seems, I personally love the visual flair and flavor of Taymor’s style. The only other director that is comparable in the original and fantastical look of their films is probably Tarsem.

I personally can’t wait for this adaptation. Taymor seems to like her Shakespeare and with Mirren, Whishaw, Cumming, Molina, Cooper and Strathairn, how can anyone not? Definitely in my most anticipated list of movies for December.

Collider was kind enough to let me steal all of their images and mash all of the clips into one long streaming experience of rad.

clip and more stills below the seats…
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DVD Review: St. Trinian’s

St. Trinian's DVD Cover

Directors: Oliver Parker, Barnaby Thompson (An Ideal Husband, The Importance of Being Earnest)
Screenplay: Piers Ashworth, Jamie Minoprio, Nick Moorcroft, Jonathan M. Stern
Producers: Oliver Parker, Barnaby Thompson
Starring: Mischa Barton, Rupert Everett, Colin Firth, Lena Headey, Caterina Murino, Stephen Fry, Jodie Whittaker, Celia Imrie, Anna Chancellor, Gemma Arterton, Russell Brand, Toby Jones
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Running time: 97 min.

A film like St. Trinian’s goes to show one thing: even good directors make catastrophic mistakes. Sadly, this isn’t one that can be completely attributed to the director but it certainly makes me wonder what Oliver Parker was thinking when he agreed to direct this script; a script of such epically misguided proportions that it apparently required a team of writers.

St. Trinian's Movie StillIt’s a straightforward story and one that, on the surface, appears to be the perfect vehicle for its young starlets and a good, positive watch for the pre-teen/teen girls who it directly markets.

When their headmistress proves to be at a loss on how to prevent her school from financial ruin and closure, a group of girls at the boarding school hatch a plan to save their beloved learning institution. It sounds harmless enough but early on it’s clear that this film will not go over well. True, it’s reminiscent of the cartoons it’s based on but the previous films appear to have done a much better job of capturing the adventure of St. Trinian’s while this new incarnation feels more like tortured and ill conceived update of the source material.

The rundown institution is led by Camilla Fritton (Rupert Everett in very bad drag), a drunk, careless headmistress who worries more about her dog than her girls. One can overlook this as a poor attempt at comedy and a story function that allows the girls to rise up and take control of the situation but it’s clunky and unfunny. This is, however, the least of the film’s problems which reach epic proportions when we meet the girls who we’re supposed to be cheering for.

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Forgetting Sarah Marshall Gets a Spin-Off

It was announced a little while back that Jonah Hill and Russell Brand – who played British rocker and sex crazed Aldous Snow in the fantastic Forgetting Sarah Marshall – would be teaming up for an Apatow produced movie titled Get Him to the Greek. Well, it turns out that Brand will be reprising his role as Aldous Snow in this movie, according to CHUD.

The movie will follow a recently graduated insurance adjuster (Hill) who is hired to accompany the rock star from London to a concert at Los Angeles’s Greek Theater. Of course, hilarity and unpredictable events ensue. No word on whether or not Jonah Hill is playing the same character as he did in Sarah Marshall, but I highly doubt it.

Everybody must have been impressed with Nicholas Stoller’s work directing Sarah Marshall (which was his directorial debut), because he’s on board to direct again although this time he’s taking on the role of writer as well. I reckon the studio enjoyed the $60+ million this made domestically and the 85% approval rating from critics.

I’m more than convinced Brand can carry a movie on his shoulders and I’m interested to see how this turns out. I can think of far worse ideas for a spin-off.