Shakespeare's Scottish play returns to the big screen with earthy energy, visual style and roaring performances. Acclaimed Australian filmmaker Justin Kurzel (Snowtown) takes an artistic approach that makes terrific use of sweeping landscapes and harsh weather, which allows the cast to put their guts into their roles. Yet while the film looks absolutely amazing, the sound mix is so muddled that anyone unfamiliar with the play will find it difficult to follow.
Michael Fassbender plays Macbeth, an 11th century general who has just triumphed on the Highland battlefield but is struggling internally after he and Lady Macbeth (Marion Cotillard) lost their infant child. So when three witches tell him that he is destined to become king, his wife encourages him to make it happen sooner rather than later. In secret, Macbeth murders King Duncan (David Thewlis) and pins the blame on his son Malcolm (Jack Reynor), who flees in fear, raising suspicion. Now on the throne, King and Queen Macbeth are overwhelmed by paranoia about any hint of a threat to their power, raising distrust of loyal friends like Banquo (Paddy Considine) and Duncan's defender Macduff (Sean Harris). Meanwhile, Malcolm has raised an army in England and is coming back to claim his title.
This is one of Shakespeare's bleakest, leanest plays, and Kurzel gives it an intriguingly expansive tone by setting most of the action outdoors in the elements rather than in shadowy castle corridors. In addition to adding a gritty, muddy kick, this allows the battle sequences to take on a Lord of the Rings-scale intensity. So the effect of this violence on the characters is that much more resonant. Lady Macbeth turns inward, tormenting herself in an extended dream sequence, while Macbeth goes the other way, killing anyone who seems even remotely shifty. But of course they also understand that their ambition and guilt are causing these extreme reactions.
Continue reading: Macbeth Review
Kassie (Aniston) is a professional woman in New York who has given up waiting for Mr Right and starts looking for a sperm donor. This rather unsettles her best friend Wally (Bateman), who has always had a crush on her but was afraid to tell her. When Kassie finds the perfect man (Wilson), her plan moves ahead, but Wally drunkenly makes a last-minute switch. Seven years later, Kassie returns to New York with her little boy (Robinson). Wally realises what has happened, but he's even more afraid to break the news now.
Continue reading: The Switch Review
Kassie is ready to have a baby, the problem is she isn't in a relationship and doesn't plan on settling down with a certain someone anytime soon. After much deliberation she decides that she's going to find a sperm donor and raise the child on her own. To Kassie the idea is absolutely fine but her best friend Wally is, to say the least, a little dubious that it's a good idea. Kassie throws a party to celebrate her last night of drinking and un-motherhood and she invites all her friends including Wally but when he gets a little too drunk he accidentally spills the donors sample Wally goes to extreme measures to cover up the accident and replaces the specimen with some of his own.
Continue: The Switch Trailer
Most likely the fan base features a healthy mix, which means they have a 50-50 shot at either enjoying Snakes on Plane for incorporating traces of all possible techniques, or feeling disappointed when their preferred approach gets the short shrift. Full disclosure: I couldn't describe my interest in watching Jackson fight snakes as anything but sincere.
Continue reading: Snakes On A Plane Review
As such, a movie full of music geeks may seem a little unbearable, and in a lot of ways, High Fidelity is. That it manages to often redeem itself is the biggest surprise in the movie, and not for the reasons you might think.
Continue reading: High Fidelity Review
John Cusack plays the bitterness of being dumped with droll aplomb in "High Fidelity," an observant and acerbic dark comedy in which he is our overly-reflective tour guide through the farcical misery of a bad breakup.
Cusack adapted the screenplay himself from Nick Hornsby's underground best-seller about a London slacker who opened a used record store in his 20s and has employed it as an excuse to never grow up.
For the film, the action is moved to Chicago (the star/screenwriter's old stomping grounds), where Rob Gordon (Cusack) hangs out all day in his shop full of tattered record bins plastered with radio station stickers, composing musically pretentious Top Five lists (Top Five Side-One First Tracks, Top Five Formerly Great Sell-Out Musicians) with his equally idle and smug clerks (Todd Louiso and Jack Black).
Continue reading: High Fidelity Review
The BBC drama starring Aidan Turner returns to BBC One on September 4th.
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