Film reviews, news & interviews
Angelina Jolie carries this re-visited Disney classic. She is the flying buttress that supports the old story told anew, as commanding as the nuclear green energy she emits into the stratosphere and as striking as any original drawing may have been.While the famous curse scene is as honest an homage as it could be to the original animation, Maleficent draws upon the backstory of the supposedly evil villain from Sleeping Beauty. A woman mistreated and exacting her revenge, Jolie's powerfully...
The Jimi Hendrix redux directed by John Ridley, Oscar-winning scriptwriter of 12 Years A Slave (and the underrated Undercover Brother, among others), was highly anticipated - especially as this take on the great guitarist’s life would not, apparently, feature any hits.Although this sounded like a deliberate plan, one suspects Ridley was hampered by a perennial film budgeting problem: soundtracks cost a lot. So, no greatest hits but snippets of covers work perfectly well to tell the story of...
England was movie-mad long before the US. Contrary to appearances in a Hollywood-dominated world, the celluloid film process was patented in London in 1890 and by 1905 minute-long films of news and horse-racing were being made and shown widely in purpose-built cinemas, with added sound. The race to set up a film industry, though, was swiftly won by the entrepreneurial Americans, attracting eager new UK talents like Charlie Chaplin. However, it was a British film that in 1925 was the world's first in-flight movie, and soon the arrival of young suspense genius Alfred Hitchcock and a new legal requirement for a "quota" of British film in cinemas assisted a golden age for UK film. Under the leadership of Alexander Korda's London Films, Hitchcock's Blackmail (1929) is considered the first true sound movie, documentary techniques developed and the first Technicolor movies were made.
Brief_EncounterWhen war intervened, British filmmakers turned effectively to lean, effective propaganda documentaries and heroic, studio-based war-films. After Hitchcock too left for Hollywood, David Lean launched into an epic career with Brief Encounter (pictured), Powell and Pressburger took up the fantasy mantle with The Red Shoes, while Carol Reed created Anglo films noirs such as The Third Man. Fifties tastes were more domestic, with Ealing comedies succeeded by Hammer horror and Carry-Ons; and more challenging in the Sixties, with New Wave films about sex and class by Lindsay Anderson, Joseph Losey and Tony Richardson. But it was Sixties British escapism which finally went global: the Bond films, Lean's Dr Zhivago, Mary Poppins and The Sound of Music made Sean Connery, Julie Christie and Julie Andrews Hollywood's top stars.
In the 1970s, recession and the TV boom undermined cinema-going and censorship changes brought controversy: a British porn boom and scandals over The Devils, Straw Dogs and A Clockwork Orange. While Hollywood fielded Spielberg, Coppola and Scorsese epics, Britain riposted with The Killing Fields, Chariots of Fire and Gandhi, but 1980s recession dealt a sharp blow to British cinema, and the Rank Organisation closed, after more than half a century. However more recently social comedies such as Four Weddings and a Funeral and The Full Monty, and royal dramas such as The Queen and The King's Speech have enhanced British reputation for wit, social observation and character acting.
As more films are globally co-produced, the success of British individual talents has come to outweigh the modest showing of the industry itself. Every week The Arts Desk reviews latest releases as well as leading international film festivals, and features in-depth career interviews with leading stars. Its writers include Jasper Rees, Graham Fuller, Anne Billson, Nick Hasted, Alexandra Coghlan, Veronica Lee, Emma Simmonds, Adam Sweeting and Matt Wolf
Subscribe to theartsdesk.com
Thank you for continuing to read our work on theartsdesk.com. For unlimited access to every article in its entirety, including our archive of more than 7,000 pieces, we're asking for £2.95 per month or £25 per year. We feel it's a very good deal, and hope you do too.
To take an annual subscription now simply click here.
And if you're looking for that extra gift for a friend or family member, why not treat them to a theartsdesk.com gift subscription?
latest in Today
Fugitive beauty in late Strauss masterpiece
Baroque keyboard suites and Soviet violin music
This old Cat learns some new tricks
Adoring Gaga fans rewarded with show of multifaceted brilliance
The alternative Poet Laureate and National Treasure hits the road
Thomas J Mayer heads stellar cast in showy performance of Berg's maste...
The heavyweight German artist inaugurates prestigious blue-chip gallery in...
The desperate fate of addicts and outcasts is given bracingly humorous trea...
A clever twist on dungeon adventuring that mostly works
Tony-winning Broadway export is well-sung but unoriginal
Four brilliant players need a stage director, but still electrify in Beetho...
Intriguing taster gig suggests successful reunion is on the way
David Ayer and Brad Pitt take the war film by the scruff of the neck
Eerie enviromental dystopias and hair-raising misanthropic rages
A disappointing cliché-fest from the LA hard rockers
Engaging series about portraiture in action captures subjects at a crossroa...