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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.
Dino Time – also known as Dino Mom – is the latest animated feature to hit cinemas and is brought to us by CJ Entertainment - apparently one of the biggest entertainment companies in South Korea. Helmed by a couple of relatively unknown directors, Dino Time's premise offers a lot more than it suggests.
We meet Ernie (Adlon); a mischievous little boy who is always on the lookout for a new and an exciting adventure. He spends most of his day cruising around on his rocket-powered skateboard whilst dodging the spying eye of his annoying younger sister, Julia (Strong), who gets her own kicks by landing her older brother into trouble with their live-by-the-rules mom, Sue (Lynch).
One day, after sneaking out from his bedroom window, Ernie drops in on his best friend Max (Lowenthal). Rummaging around the family garage, the boys stumble upon, and are instantly intrigued by, a shiny egg-shaped time machine that Max's inventor dad is still trying to perfect. Naturally, things soon get out of control when they accidentally set off the time-machine and are transported to another time and place where dinosaurs and other supposedly 'extinct' creatures roam the earth.
They soon come face-to-face with a real life T-Rex named Tyra (Griffith) and her hyperactive orphan dinosaur son, Dodger (Schneider). What makes things even worse is that they seem to have lost the time-machine power key and are unable to return home. Meanwhile, more disturbing obstacles appear – involving the spiteful pair of dinosaurs (voiced by two of the Baldwin brothers) – who are plotting to steal Tyra's precious egg.
The expectations of watching a film that has never been released on the big-screen anywhere else in the world is usually pretty low. However, in this case, one is pleasantly surprised to see a story with so much vivacity and heart. Sure, there's a certain ‘TV-movie’ quality to it and it's far from the visual excellence we're all used to, but the drawbacks of its relatively inexpert computerised imagery never divert from the more amusing moments that the story itself brings.
The cast, which includes some of Hollywood's best, do a super job in keeping Dino Time fun and entertaining. Best-known for her role as Marcy in the popular and controversial TV-show Californication, Ms. Adlon lends her voice to our main protagonist, Ernie; bubbly and incredibly enchanting, Adlon carries the story like a pro. Other stars such as veteran actress Melanie Griffith and funny man Rob Schneider are a perfect fit for their roles, while the Baldwin Brothers – Stephen and William – serve up slightly bland and forgettable performances.
All in all, Dino Time is not a blockbuster nor is it a ground-breaking work of art. However, it does manage to take you back to a much simpler time, when the story actually mattered. Take your youngsters, they will have a blast!
The latest reboot and retelling of one of the most cherished and iconic comic book characters, makes one thing clear right from the very start; Superman is the original and ultimate superhero.
Man of Steel opens with a lengthy – yet extremely gratifying – prologue of Superman’s origins on the distant planet of Kryptonite, where noted scientist Jor-El (Crow) and his wife Lara Lor-Van (Zurer) have just welcomed a healthy baby-boy into the world, which they name Kal-El. Their planet, as Jor-El anticipates, is dying and before an attempted military coup by General Zod (Shannon) and his gofers, the worried parents transport Kal-El to down to the safety of planet Earth in an effort to preserve their people.
Jumping ahead thirty years, we find a grown-up Kal-El (Cavill) – now Clark Kent – trying to find his place in the world. Through a series of flashbacks, we learn about the different stages of his upbringing in Smallville, Kansas and the issues that arise as he comes to discover his superpowers. His adoptive parents, father Jonathan Kent (Costner) and mother Martha Kent (Lane), have always tried to impart wisdom on the boy and his dad, who has played a major role in his life, has continuously encouraged self-control and advised him never to reveal his superhuman abilities to anyone.
Soon, Clark is left with no choice but to have his identity exposed when General Zod, along with his commander – the menacing Faora-Ui (Traue) – arrives on earth and threatens to invade Earth if he doesn’t surrender. Along with the help of the persistent journalist, Lois Lane (Adams) – the only person who knows his true identity – Superman needs to do everything in his power to protect the innocent and serve as a beacon of hope.
Helmed by 300 director, Zack Snyder, and scripted by The Dark Knight screenwriters, David S. Goyer and Christopher Nolan, Man of Steel has been one of the most anticipated film of the year and delivers in no uncertain terms. Sophisticated and sleek, everything about Man of Steel feels unvaryingly tight and incredibly easy to follow, and the two-hour plus running time never poses as an obstacle to the story.
Gone are the days of whimsical optimism and goofy humour; this Superman is exceptionally dark – ala The Dark Knight – and boasts a surprisingly relatable and highly-complex storyline. Snyder, who has already showcased his incredible visual panache in 300, once again delivers some of the most thrilling and head-spinning action sequences in the busniness. But then again, it’s the dream-like quality to the flashback scenes and Hans Zimmer’s phenomenal and moving score that provides real richness and depth to the story throughout.
Cavill, the first British actor to take on this iconic role, is truly superb. His depiction of a troubled superhero, who strives to always do well by everyone, is wonderful and never sappy. The role of Lois Lane stays away from the usual damsel in distress dramatics and Adams takes it on with aplomb; she’s charming, strong and incredibly feisty. As the antagonist of the story, Shannon is incredibly compelling and demands attention every time he appears on screen, while Crowe, Costner and Lane contribute just as much in their briefer roles.
This is it. This is the one Superman film everyone has been waiting for and we’re happy to report that Man of Steel is everything we hoped and expected it to be; it’s the sophisticated, adult take that the world’s most famous superhero has so desperately needed.