Six Minutes to Midnight: Film Review

Six Minutes To Midnight

I love a period drama that shines a light on something I never knew about before and Six Minutes to Midnight certainly fits the bill.

The movie, directed by Andy Goddard and co-written by its star Eddie Izzard, is set 17 days before the start of World War II in 1939 and is inspired by the real Augusta Victoria College for girls in Bexhill-on-Sea on the south coast of England. The Nazi finishing school, the first and last school of its kind, had 20 German girls and was run by the English headmistress, Frau Rocholl (Judi Dench), and two teachers. When the English teacher disappears under mysterious circumstances, government agent Thomas Miller (Izzard) gets hired as his replacement so he can investigate what is going on at the school.

The fact that the finishing school actually existed blows my mind and I couldn’t wait to learn more about it. The opening scenes of the English teacher hunting frantically for something important, dashing away from the school and being taken out on Bexhill pier immediately hooked me in and I was gripped, excited to get to the bottom of what happened. The crime drama created around the real-life place was very interesting and engaging and I enjoyed the way the mystery unravelled. It gets more thrilling and dramatic as it goes on and Miller gets closer to the truth, but it’s not perfect, and I wasn’t completely sold on the ending.

Izzard isn’t somebody you’d expect to be cast as a government agent but I quite liked that – it was refreshing and it made sense as his appearance makes him a good fit for an undercover agent posing as a teacher. Dench is reliable as always, Jim Broadbent was delightful as the cheery bus driver Charlie, and James D’Arcy made a big impact as police officer Captain Drey. However, my favourites were Carla Juri as the other teacher, Frau Keller, and Tijan Marei as Gretel, an outsider amongst the girls.

Six Minutes to Midnight has some flaws here and there but I enjoyed the twists and turns of the story so much that I didn’t really mind them.

On Sky Cinema from Friday 26th March

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Blithe Spirit: Film Review

Blithe Spirit

Considering Blithe Spirit has been remade for the stage and screen many times, it’s quite incredible that I had never seen an adaptation or had the faintest idea about the plot going into this latest version.

In this period comedy, set in 1937, Dan Stevens plays Charles Condomine, a writer who is struggling to turn his book into a screenplay. Hoping to gather material for the project, Charles hires eccentric medium and clairvoyant Madame Arcati (Judi Dench) – who has recently been accused of being a hoax – to conduct a seance at his house. Madame Arcati somehow summons his deceased first wife Elvira (Leslie Mann), who haunts him and plans to get him all to herself by picking off those around him, like his new wife Ruth (Isla Fisher), who is unable to see her.

Blithe Spirit began as a stage play by Noel Coward in the 1940s and has been revived on Broadway and the West End many times, most recently with Angela Lansbury as Madame Arcati. Many will argue that there doesn’t need to be a remake of the 1945 David Lean film but I personally don’t see a problem with it being brought to life again, particularly now when we need some light escapist comedy.

And I really do mean light. This version is extremely lightweight, flimsy and unsubstantial so you don’t really care for the characters or the outcome of the story, but it is still an entertaining movie regardless. It made me laugh out loud often and I felt constantly amused by Stevens, in particular. The acting is heightened and deliberately hammed up, like you would expect from a 1930s-set farce, and it is a lot of fun to watch.

I particularly enjoyed watching Stevens venture into physical comedy as Charles, who is believed to be descending into madness by those around him as nobody else can see Elvira. This situation is ripe for many funny moments of him speaking to himself or fighting alone and Stevens seemed to be relishing the role. Mann was well cast as Elvira, who has a captivating presence and a threatening air and also the best hair, make-up and wardrobe of the cast. She looked gorgeous! Fisher is generally stuck in the straight man role between Charles and Elvira, but she has one memorable scene that was great fun. Dench rounds out the cast in a delightfully dotty turn as the medium.

Blithe Spirit may be light as a feather, absolutely silly, thinly written, and rather forgettable but I can’t deny that I found it entertaining!

Available on Sky Cinema from Friday 15th January

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Artemis Fowl: Disney+ Film Review

Artemis Fowl

Artemis Fowl was originally supposed to open in cinemas but, when the coronavirus pandemic hit, Disney made the surprising move of offloading its big-budget adaptation of Eoin Colfer‘s novels onto its streaming service Disney+ – but now that I’ve seen the movie, their decision makes total sense. The film is really not good.

[Read more…]

Cats: Film Review

When a film adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber‘s stage musical Cats was first announced, I let out a groan because I’m not a massive fan of the show. I didn’t really know what to expect from Cats the film, but I now know it is the weirdest, most bonkers and unique cinema experiences I’ve ever had.

[Read more…]

Red Joan: Film Review

I enjoy a good espionage story so I was very intrigued by Red Joan, but it wasn’t as satisfying as I’d hoped. It was a pleasant enough watch but didn’t give me the espionage thrills I was after.

[Read more…]

All is True: Film Review

Kenneth Branagh and Judi Dench are both Shakespeare veterans and have performed his works together on the stage so it’s no surprise that their latest collaboration is about the legendary playwright – although this time it is about his personal life rather than an adaptation of his works.

[Read more…]

Murder on the Orient Express: Film Review

I know the reviews for Murder on the Orient Express have been mixed at best but the cast is so incredible that I had to check it out anyway and I’m sorry to confirm that the masses were right – it is disappointing.

[Read more…]

Top Films for November

It’s the start of November, which means it’s movie preview time! We’re slowly getting into awards season, with a lot of London Film Festival favourites hitting general release, but that doesn’t mean the blockbusters have disappeared. Here’s my recommendations for November:

[Read more…]

Victoria & Abdul: Film Review

I didn’t look much into Victoria & Adbul so I assumed it was going to be this straightforward (and possibly boring) royal drama so I was pleasantly surprised by how funny and uplifting it was.

[Read more…]

Kate Winslet & Maisie Williams at the London Critics’ Circle Film Awards

Kate & Kenneth

Kate & Kenneth

Last night I went to down to the Mayfair Hotel in London to cover the London Critics’ Circle Film Awards and I must admit I was slightly disappointed with the line-up simply because I was expecting one of The Revenant cast to be there, or at least a few more global stars.

[Read more…]