Sign in using your account with
Coriolanus: Updated Shakespeare Tragedy
Taking cues from films such as Baz Luhermann’s Romeo + Juliet, Coriolanus is a Shakespearean tragedy, set in modern times. It may require a bit more concentration than regular films but it’s a treat hearing the prose just roll off of the tongues of trained actors.
The film takes place in Rome and tells the story of an army general by the name of Caius Martius Coriolanus (Fiennes). Stern, violent and anti social, he was nonetheless considered a hero by the people of Rome. When he decided to run for Consul however, his detractors used his rigidity against him and sparked a riot that had him banished from the city. In revenge, he teams up with his mortal enemy, Aufidius (Butler), leader of the Volscian army, to wreak havoc on the people who dared deem him a traitor.
Maybe because he isn’t hidden behind a ton of makeup and because this time around he has a nose, but Fiennes is more deranged in this role than he was as Lord Voldemort, and that’s saying something. He has an intensity that poor Butler, as his adversary, just can’t hope to match even though he does do a pretty good job regardless. In fact, the acting here is uniformly strong, but Fiennes is simply phenomenal. The only people capable of going toe to toe with him are Chastain, who plays his wife, and Redgrave, who plays his brutally chilling mother.
On the one hand the film analyses the connection between what the public wants from their politicians and the personas that said politicians present to them. Unlike every other politician in Rome, Coriolanus refuses to sugar-coat his words and openly declares his loathing of the people. His stubborn, idealistic nature greatly complicates his transition from the battlefield to the senate much to the chagrin of his mother - who’s probably even colder and more terrifying than he is. He’s a very ambiguous character and it’s this that gives the film much of its depth. He’s a bloodthirsty tyrant just like his mother yet also a bundle of intense emotions, be it love or disdain.
The film is a complete blood bath which shouldn’t come as a surprise in a film about an army general, but the intensity pervading the film takes the fights to another level. The Romans and Vulscians have a ‘fight or die trying approach’ to war directly inspired by their leaders’ complete contempt for their own lives. And while the cinematography captures the fight scenes really well - Aufidius and Coriolanus’ one-on-one fights are particularly thrilling - it does even better with the rest of the film. The protest scenes feel utterly contemporary and give the film a sense of immediacy; no mean feat when you’re speaking in Shakespearean English.
It’s not a perfect film but it's close and the acting, Fiennes in particular, is as close to perfect as you can get. Despite that though, the film’s main strength lies in the fact that it updates the play and makes it completely relevant to modern audiences. The themes that the play covers are ones that play out in our political arenas every day and it makes for absolutely riveting viewing.
Previously titled, All Creatures Big and Small and Two by Two before that, Oops! Noah is Gone is the latest European animated-take on the familiar Bible tale which has decided to spin the story of Noah’s Ark and tell it through the eyes of the animals. Cute but, awfully unengaging, the film manages to offer a few laughs but, unfortunately, not enough to override its flimsy script and generally unexciting plot.
The story follows the escapades of Dave (Malloney) and his son, Finny (Magennis); a pair of brightly-coloured troll-like creatures called Nestrians, who are shocked to learn that they won’t be allowed on board the specially-designed ark that is to take all of the animals of the world to safety until the enormous flood passes.
In order to sneak past the security, the two decide to dress up and disguise themselves as members of Hazel (Flynn) and her daughter, Leah’s(Connolly) family; cat-like beings called the grymps. However, when the floodwaters begin to rise, Finny and his newly-found ‘sister’ soon find themselves separated from the big boat and join forces with a blob-like creature called, Obesey (Tylak) who will help the two youngsters find their way back to the arc while their parents, are doing everything in their power to convince the lion captain (voiced by Stanford) to go back and find their kids.
Written and directed by Toby Genkel and Sean McCormack, Oops! Noah is Gone isn’t the worst animated feature you’ll see; the bright colours and the zany pacing will keep the youngsters happy and there’s a certain level of cuteness behind its main characters that even adults can’t deny. However, it’s certainly not the best one out there, either. Standing as a cross-between Ice Age, Madagascar and Finding Nemo - minus the heart – Oops! Noah is Gone – a film with almost no mention of Noah - feels underdeveloped and annoyingly unfocused and while kids may have fun watching it unfold frantically on screen, there’s nothing to appeal to adults.
The jokes – of the poo-poo and pee-pee nature mostly – are aplenty and the quality of the CGI, although decent enough, don’t have that wow factor that is expected from an animated feature of 2015 which unfortunately, has to share its world with the ‘big boys of animation’ such as DreamWorks and Pixar.
The fourth and final instalment in The Hunger Games film series is upon us and director Francis Lawrence has injected the closing chapter of Suzanne Collins’ best-selling dystopian adventure with a bit more heart and oomph than from what was witnessed in the first and rather dreary half of this two-part tale. However, although Mockingjay Part 2 is definitely a better and more exciting offering, it’s still not completely free of fault.
Mockingjay Part 2 picks up where Part 1 left off, with Katniss Everdeen (Lawrence) trying to recover after almost being choked to death by her former ‘lover’ and ally, Peeta (Hutcherson), who by the looks of things, seems to have been brainwashed and poisoned with thoughts of killing Katniss. Driven by the anger and her pure hatred for President Snow (Sutherland), Katniss soon escapes District 13 to join an assault on The Capitol under rebel leader, President Coin (Moore), only to discover that there is one last version of the Hunger Games still to play.
One thing’s for sure; Part 2 is a definite improvement over Part 1, which spent most of its time shifting about and setting things up for the big payoff. It’s a problem that we’ve seen before in the waves of adult-fiction novel adaptations – the first half spends so much energy in setting up the second that it fails to convince a stand-alone film. Although the pace picks up, there’s no sense of grandness to what is meant to be a huge finale and, actually, some may even feel underwhelmed by how the plot plays out.
On the plus side, the action is engaging and some of the battle scenes are staged with great attention to detail. In addition, Lawrence is, as always, her fantastic self and she’s once again the anchor on what has been a shaky ship.
As a story which has always attempted to frame the horrors of war through the eyes of a fiercely brave young heroine, so much more could have been done – much like the whole series, there’s something engaging about the finale, but it all feels like a chance missed.