Category Archives: Costume Drama

Blood (1973)

Director: Andy Milligan
Starring: Allan Berendt, Hope Stansbury, Patricia Gaul, Michael Fischetti . USA. 1h 9m

This bloodfest has everything in it, monsters, romance, carnivorous plants, a host of deformed servants, affairs, crooked solicitors and a batshit crazy old woman, and all in just over an hour, Andy Milligan really knew how to make a thrilling movie on no budget but with a bucket of originality and a touch of lowbrow comedy.

A stuffy estate agent takes a doctor to view a new property, there he attempts to make his excuses about the state of the property and show the man around but before he can lay on the bullshit he’s given a hefty cheque and forced out the house with reasoning not to return, the second his foot is out the door screaming shrouded figure is rushed in the back door by two crippled servants and a crazy freakish woman. The ghoulish melting corpse they uncover is one of the more gross scenes in the movie and it’s legendary that it’s done so early in the production, it turns out this vile thing is really the beautiful wife of Doctor Orlovsky, a brilliant scientist who’s returned home to claim his family fortune to further fund his experiments. Continue reading Blood (1973)

Mr Turner (2014)

Director: Mike Leigh .
Starring: Timothy Spall, Paul Jesson, Dorothy Atkinson, UK. 2h 34m.

There is so much praise I can lavish on Mr Turner but first and foremost I have to admit that the choice in leading actor is such a strange but perfect cast, Timothy Spall is such a seasoned actor with talent coming out of his arse but as for looking and being J W M Turner, he wouldn’t be a first choice but he totally embodies the persona of Turner, from what is known and how he’s been portrayed from first hand accounts he is the spirit of the great artist and that’s primarily why this movie is so successful. Continue reading Mr Turner (2014)

Der Hauptmann / The Captain (2017)

Director: Robert Schwentke
Starring: Max Hubacher, Frederick Lau, Bernd Hölscher, Waldemar Kobus, Alexander Fehling, Samuel Finzi. Germany. 1h 50m

Here is another chilling nightmare from the German home front, as the end of the war begins to loom into reality and defeat is imminent, a lone German runs deep into the woods while being chased by some overprivileged soldiers blowing horns and taking pot luck shots at him. The man manages to evade death and recapture and eventually stumbles on an abandoned car and uniform of a high ranking officer.

This crystalline black and white brutal masterpiece, possible shot in this style inspired by Spielberg’s Schindler’s List (1993) shows that the talented director Schwentke has gone back to basic and delivered something beautifully stark and somewhat monstrous. Continue reading Der Hauptmann / The Captain (2017)

Pe+et / Peter (2011)

Director: Skip Kite
Starring: Walt Kissack, Gary Sharkey, Ada, Lewis. UK. 1h 24m

Peter Sutcliffe has had a terrible reputation for a long time, and despite his feelings of remorse in this latter years public opinion hasn’t changed much. This drama is supposed to take you into the mind of one of the UK’s most notorious serial killers, using real archive footage it pieces together the biggest manhunt as well as dramatising Peters inner thoughts while he attempts to reflect internally. Continue reading Pe+et / Peter (2011)

Gotti (2018)

Director: Kevin Connolly
Starring: John Travolta, Kelly Preston, Pruitt Taylor Vince, Spencer Lofranco, William DeMeo .USA. 1h 50m

The gangsters paradise seems to have had its heyday with bold releases such as Goodfellas (1990) and Casino (1995), the amazing rag to riches backstories, garnished with riches and savage beatings really enthralled audiences, I was one of many who assumed that this release might just make the holy trinity of awesomeness, but who was I kidding, John Travolta as the Teflon Don!? I want to say that this abysmal movie is The Room (2003) of mobster movies but the room is so bad it’s good, it has some charm and is incredibly memorable where as this crumpled lackluster effort is easily forgettable and it pains me to have to write a review. Continue reading Gotti (2018)

Jackie (2016)

Director: Pablo Larrain
Starring: Natalie Portman, Billy Crudup. USA.  1h 40m

There’s a time when a country is on the verge of a historic event and during the run up it’s common to look back at the achievements or disasters, but with the verge of a new president this raw and varnished portrait of Jackie Kennedy arrived at a reverent time.

Concentrating on the events from the point of Jackie the film revolves around the shooting of her husband , the world was shocked but the world was talking politics, talking about men and often Jackie was totally ignored, considered a bystander having everyone assume her feelings and emotions at the time and for years after. Pablo Larrain set himself a massive challenge with his first English language film, he’s taken on a task which could offend a country but his subtle hand and sympathetic eye has assured this film will be warmly welcomed. With an event this large the film is able to jump around to and fro but encompasses the tragic and lonely situation that Jackie was left in. Continue reading Jackie (2016)

A Field in England (2013)

Director: Ben Wheatley Writer:Amy Jump

Starring: Julian Barratt, Michael Smiley, Reece Shearsmith, Ryan Pope and Richard Glover. UK. 1h 30m

A Field In England came out at a time when I was only just discovering how amazing Ben Wheatley is,  after Sightseers (2012), Down Terrace (2009) and Kill List (2011) it was easy to see that he was quite a phenomenal director in his own write,  and I especially admired his edition of the Dark Arts in kill List which seem to appear in a lot of his titles,  and for quaint little twists that bound each kill victim together, maybe one day if he was related to another Wheatley  who had mystified his audiences with the dark hearts back in the 70s??!!

But now he’s taking  an historical turn with this unique black and white drama, Instead of speaking about the black hearts he’s going back to the original source,  a group of men wandering around the English countryside during the civil war, after walking away from a battle; an act that they could easily have been hung for,  they managed to hook up with a devout and cruel necromancer and fall under his dark spells, O’Neill (Smiley)  terrorises the rest of the men and provokes them into helping him find a stash of treasure,  while under the influence of hallucinogenic mushrooms. Continue reading A Field in England (2013)

Limehouse Golem (2017)

Director: Juan Carlos Medina. Original Book : Peter Ackroyd
Starring: Bill Nighy, Olivia Cooke, Eddie Marsan, Douglas Booth, Daniel Mays. UK. 1h 49m

Lessons can be learnt from this gloomy victorian epic, it has all of right elements but it just lacks that little je ne c’est quoi. Characters fall flat and the mystery becomes boring and repetitive. Within the elaborate stages and cliche back streets of London, before the time of Jack the Ripper there was the Limehouse Golem, a mysterious killer who slaughtered at will for his audience.

John Kildare (Nighy) is thrown at the case as the powers that be believe the killer can’t be found, so he’s the fall guy, so without any backup and being dangled in front of the media and disapproving public he is forced into action, sparing their prized detective for other simpler cases, but Kildare jumps into the case, almost becoming obsessed; using his brilliant meticulous mind and working with his close friend Officer Flood (Mays) the two are an alternative Holmes and Watson. Continue reading Limehouse Golem (2017)

1922 (2017)

Director:Zak Hilditch .
Starring. Thomas Jane, Molly Parker, Neal McDonough. USA. 1h 48m.

This hot and melting messy murder film is quite an interesting brooding moralistic thriller. At first the rocky love affair between Wilfred Jane) and his feisty wife Arlette (Parker) is something on parallel to a Tennessee Williams play,  but it’s no secret that he’s planning to kill his wife for her land and cash, but it doesn’t seem plausible until he slowly bullies his son, Henry into helping him hold her down and slit her throat in a torrid gurgling bloody mess. He disposes of her corpse down the well soon after then the rats appear, crawling in and out of her corpse, the scene shocks him but he has some cleaning up to do and a lot of police dodging, until the Henry discovers that his teenage true love is pregnant and he has to escape the town and the two go on the run leaving Wilfred alone on the farm with the ever present rats for company.

Continue reading 1922 (2017)

Brimstone (2016)

Director: Martin Koolhoven
Starring: Dakota Fanning, Guy Pearce, Kit Harington, Carice van Houten  USA 2h 28m

Holymoly! I actually bothered to watch the trailer for this as Guy Pearce has actually become an amazingly versatile and seasoned actor who astounds me more and more as his career grows, and he has a particular edge to him when playing “the bad guy” and it was very evident that he is the ultimate bad ass in this film and continued to out do himself until the very end. Also there was a consolation prize that Datkoa is mute in the movie (sadly not all of it) but a majority and actually had to act which was a mad change. Continue reading Brimstone (2016)