Category Archives: Costume Drama

The Man With the Iron Heart (2017)

AKA HHhH AKA Killing Heydrich

Director: Cédric Jimenez
Starring:  Jason Clarke, Rosamund Pike, Jack O’Connell, Jack Reynor, Stephen Graham .UK. 2h 

World War II has a host of characters that will be eternally admired and despised, routinely Hollywood steps in to honour the brave hero’s with a rendition of their stories, just lately we’ve been finding more names of brave men who rose up to fight the evil tyrants of the SS. Hopefully these reminders will help remind future generations of the price of freedom!?

There seemed to be a race to release a homage to operation Anthropoid, this particular movie, with a working title of HHhH (Himmlers Hirn heißt Heydrich),  was put on hold and renamed to make way for a film released in  2016 which took the converted and obvious title of “Anthropoid” , starring Cilian Murphy but is this really the poor relation to the saga? Poor, no but an alternative perspective.. just maybe. Both cover the basics of the 1942 plot by Czech resistance who sent two young recruits from London to Prague to assassinate Reinhard Heydrich, the ruthless psychopath who came up with an evil plan known as the Final Solution. 

Continue reading The Man With the Iron Heart (2017)

300 (2006)

Director : Zack Snyder
Starring : Gerard Butler, Lena Headey, David Wenham, Vincent Regan, Michael Fassbender, Andrew Plevan, Andrew Tiernan, Rodrigo Santoro . USA | Canada | Bulgaria | Australia. 1h 57m

 

 

Out of all of the graphic novels and comics I’ve read over the years, this was surprisingly one I never considered to be a good candidate for a film adaptation. While I stand divided on if it should have been created, I’m forever blown away by every aspect 300, even with all the campy parodies and piss takes, for me, at least it’s still a rocking stylised story of ultimate bravery and sacrifice, but with so many of the pages from the novel coming to life periodically throughout the action, it seems I was wrong and 300 was made for the big screen. Continue reading 300 (2006)

England is Mine (2017)

Director: Mark Gill.
Starring. Jack Lowden, Jessica Brown Findlay, Simone King. UK. 1h 34m.

I never really planned on watching this biopic as I have no interest in Morrissey and only casually listen to the Smiths from time to time, obviously like most people born in the 80s and 90s at least, I’m aware of “that song” but overall I spend more time watching Morrissey’s own fans cringe whenever he opens his mouth about topical issues, and if they are cringey about it I am sure I don’t really want to get involved. Eventually I did, through more curiosity about the film than the man, and I am forever pleasantly surprised as the film distances itself Morrissey the man and somehow manages to find a modest insight into any misunderstood awkward Manchurian. This modest approach to such a controversial figure is both clever and has resulted in a poetically beautiful film. Continue reading England is Mine (2017)

The Asphyx (1972/3)

Director: Peter Newbrook.
Starring. Robert Powell, Robert Stephens, Jane Lapotaire, Alex Scott, Ralph Arliss. USA. 1h 39m.

A moralistic story written with a heavy gothic horror backdrop by Christina and Laurence Beers has been cleverly adapted by Peter Newbrook in a pseudo Hammer Horror-esque style. In a large opulent mansion a brilliant Victorian scientist becomes obsessed with the idea of becoming immortal. Continue reading The Asphyx (1972/3)

Excalibur (1981)

Director: John Boorman.
Starring.Nigel Terry (RIP) , Helen Mirren, Nicholas Clay, Cherie Lunghi, Paul Geoffrey, Nicol Williamson (RIP) , Liam Neeson, Patrick Stewart. Ireland/USA/UK. 2h 20m.

Based on:15th-century Arthurian romance Le Morte d’Arthur by Thomas Malory

There aren’t too many movies that I can mention from my childhood that have such an epic reaction of admiration as this definition of epic fantasy. Albeit a guilty pleasure, I generally hang around heavy alternative scenes where this has become a fashion guide as well as cult classic pieces of cinema, but there’s a wealth of shiny aesthetics and magical storytelling which has never really been mimicked again making this truly unique stand alone opulent piece. Continue reading Excalibur (1981)

The Man Who Killed Hitler and Bigfoot (2019)

Director: Robert D. Krzykowski .
Starring.Sam Elliott, Aidan Turner, Bigfoot, Larry Miller, Caitlin Fitzgerald. USA. 1h m.

So we have a film with the title but seems to pluck headlines from clickbait news titles and you’d be forgiven for believing that this was going to be some fanciful psychotropic romp, but instead in Robert D krzykowski slightly downtrodden epic we find a very down to earth and grounded adventure/drama, but without pop characters, huge explosions and superhero’s there’s a lot of cinema gold here and it seems to work purely because of Sam Elliott’s total coolness.

You’ll also be forgiven for believing that this film is set in an alternate reality, but the movie is set in our reality, but back in 1987, where we find the now aged Calvin Barr played by he panty dropping silver fox and his infamous mustache, which should get as much credit as whatever David Bowie was hiding in his pants in Labyrinth (1986). Continue reading The Man Who Killed Hitler and Bigfoot (2019)

Deathwatch (2002)

Director: M J Bassett
Starring: Jamie Bell, Ruaidhri Conroy, Mike Downey, Laurence Fox, Kris Marshall, Hans Matheson, Matthew Rhys, Andy Serkis. UK. 1h 34m

The general trends with World War II movies is to punch your audience right in the gut with the violence and depression of the war. With all the progressions of cinema they all translate in more effect ways of demonstrating the darkest side of human nature and the brutal fight for freedom, but this isn’t the only way to portray the horrors of this dark chapter, since the was there have been numerous ghost stories written about lost soldiers, everlasting love and the occult nature of the “the enemies” of righteous civilisation. But is Deathwatch the new ghostly war story we need?

Bassett’s track record includes an array of action movies all tinged with the macabre, but Bassett is versatile in his approach with the lavish fantasy Solomon Kane filled with magic myth and monsters, and Wilderness, a group of wayward chavs verses a mystery slasher while stranded on a secluded island, he’s not a man who liked to be pinned down with a specialty apart from directing engaging movies. Continue reading Deathwatch (2002)

Història de la meva mort / The Story of my Death (2013)

Director: Albert Serra
Starring: Eliseu Huertas, Lluís Serrat Massanellas, Vicenç Altaió . UK. 2h 28m

Albert Serra, the Catalan trailblazer, always fascinates with his interpretations and adaptations of withering classic figures. Through a dusty lense he creates lavish cultured tapestries for them to play in, sometimes seeming alive now and again they seem as fragile and shaggy relics they have left behind.

His baroque mix up of pleasure meets desire in the guise of Cassanova meets Dracula combines fantasy and fiction in a flight of fancy style, at times it’s pretty grotesque while bolsters by lots of risque blush and tickles, a truly great adventure set against an unusual Transylvanian setting. Continue reading Història de la meva mort / The Story of my Death (2013)

Swing Kids (1993)

Director: Thomas Carter
Starring:
Robert Sean leonard, Frank Whaley, Barbara Hershey, Noah Wyle, Martin Clunes, Christian Bale, Kenneth Brannah . USA. 1h 54m

In Thomas Carter‘s bold coming of age melodrama, three friends find themselves having to become men in a world being ripped apart by hitler’s iron hand, when all they want to do is dance the night away to Harlem jazz. Sadly they are children of a world that they didn’t make, but the free spirits find themselves in trouble and soon swinging to the mantras of a fascist regime.

Carter seems to have this habit of working on lots of TV shows then cracking out a startling film usually entangled into a taboo or some kind of controversy like his later hit Coach Carter (2005). Continue reading Swing Kids (1993)

The Necromancer (2018)

Director: Stuart Brennan
Starring: Stuart Brennan, Marcus Macleod, Mark Paul Wake….UK. 1h 28m

This darkly twisted fairy tale follows a group of soldiers fleeing a war zone who find themselves lost deep in the woods where only magical things can happen.This British horror with a small budget definitely dreams big and while it has a solid story the execution comes across a little trying.

There is evil inside all of us.

Continue reading The Necromancer (2018)