Showing posts with label Dominic Cooper. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Dominic Cooper. Show all posts

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

My Week with Marilyn

In 1956 the world’s most iconic film star, Marilyn Monroe travelled to England to star in a new romantic comedy, The Prince and the Showgirl alongside famed actor/director Sir Laurence Olivier. Throughout an arduous shoot a young man called Colin Clark who joined the production as third AD kept a diary which became the basis of his memoir and this film. The production took place at a difficult time in the lives of both stars and Clark became very close to Monroe in particular, allowing him to present a rare glimpse into the private life of one of Hollywood’s biggest stars.

My Week with Marilyn was generally well received upon its release in 2011 and was nominated for seven BAFTAS and two Oscars. I unfortunately missed it on its theatrical release but felt very happy when I caught up with it on DVD. The film is an enjoyable watch with some occasional dark turns which gives an almost unprecedented look into a brief snippet of the life of one of the world’s original mega stars.

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter

"However history remembers me before I was a President, it shall only remember a fraction of the truth..."

In 1818 a young boy by the name of Abraham Lincoln (Benjamin Walker) witnesses his mother’s murder and vows to get revenge on the man who took her life. In his late teens he finally plucks up the courage to enact his revenge but when he fires a pistol at the head of the assassin, the man simply gets back up and attacks the young Lincoln. The young man is saved by a strange man called Henry Sturgess (Dominic Cooper) who tells the future President about the existence of vampires and teaches him the art of killing them. Lincoln dedicates his life to the destruction of vampires but finds in later life that words and deeds outweigh the power of his axe and he eventually becomes a Lawyer and later President of the Union. During his Presidency the vampire rich South declares war on the North in the hope of creating a nation for vampires.

This film is a case of a title that is better than the movie. The idea behind it sounds great; that one of America’s most beloved Presidents was also secretly a Vampire Hunter, but the execution doesn’t live up to the premise. I’ve recently read books about the American Civil War and Lincoln’s assassination so probably know more than the average Brit about the President and this period of America’s history and there were nice details, incidents and characters taken from the period and Lincoln’s life that were included to give a bit of authenticity to the story. The truth, with the added inclusion of vampires could have created a really good film but alas it is not.

Tuesday, 31 January 2012

The Duchess

Based on the life of Georgiana Cavendish, Duchess of Devonshire The Duchess is set in late Eighteenth Century England. It follows Georgiana’s life from a teenager on her family’s estate and through her life as the wife of the Duke of Devonshire. Before the film I was unaware of her but her story is fascinating. Married to the Duke at a young age with the promise of bearing him a male heir, Georgiana settles in to a life in the spotlight with great ease, charming everyone she meets. Behind closed doors though, life is very different as her husband becomes increasingly angrier that despite three children, none are male. He looks elsewhere for a male heir, eventually inviting Georgiana’s closest friend in to their house as a second partner for himself.

Keira Knightley is well cast as the Duchess and gives grace and poise to the role. She is an equal match for the men around her and shows both great strength and vulnerability. She looks the part of an Eighteenth Century aristocrat, helped in no small way by the fantastic costume and makeup. It is not surprising that the film won an Oscar for its costume design. Each outfit looks wonderful and of the period. It must have taken months to design and manufacture the hundreds of dresses seen in the film.

Ralph Fiennes does a good job playing Knightley’s husband, The Duke of Devonshire. No one is better than him at playing an arrogant, grumpy bastard. Where the casting falls down I believe is in Dominic Cooper’s Earl Grey. I think that Cooper is a solid actor but here he seems out of place and hidden by the great performances around him. 

No one does grumpy like Ralph Fiennes 

I enjoyed The Duchess much more than I expected to. The story of a spoiled aristocrat played by an actress who I am not particularly keen on had little promise for me but the film makes the audience feel very sorry for Knightley’s Duchess, something that I believe is not easy to do. The story is interesting and the setting and costumes are impressive.