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.

Motherless Brooklyn: Film Review

Motherless Brooklyn is clearly a passion project for Edward Norton – not only does he star in almost every scene, but he also directed and produced the film and wrote the screenplay, adapted from Jonathan Lethem’s novel, which he has been trying to bring to the big screen for almost 20 years. Although his performance is tremendous, the film itself has serious issues with length, pacing and narrative.

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Welcome to Marwen: Film Review

Welcome to Marwen is not doing very well critically, and although I understand where people are coming from, I also can’t deny that I really enjoyed it and was moved by it.

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Blockers: Film Review

I have to be honest, I thought Blockers was gonna suck. I had the lowest expectations for it, so I came away pleasantly surprised by how funny, modern and relevant it was. A teen comedy for the ‘woke’ generation, if you will.

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Oscars 2018: Best & Worst Dressed

This awards season, I have been doing the red carpet analysis for all the major awards shows and we’re now at the climax – the Oscars!

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Oscars 2017: Best & Worst Dressed

HOLLYWOOD, CA - FEBRUARY 26: Actor Hailee Steinfeld attends the 89th Annual Academy Awards at Hollywood & Highland Center on February 26, 2017 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images)

Last night it was OBVIOUSLY the Oscars. I’ve already covered the winners, which you can read here, so it’s time to move onto the red carpet fashion.

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How to be Single: Film Review

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The romcom genre has been saved! Okay, so I probably won’t go QUITE that far but How to Be Single really feels like the best romantic comedy I have seen in a long time as it manages to avoid some of the formulaic and predictable plot points we have come to expect.

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Golden Globes 2016: Best & Worst Dressed

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Now I love me some fashion, and after a sad day like today I need to distract myself by looking through the red carpet outfits from the 2016 Golden Globes Sunday night.

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Top Films for April

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Divergent

I have already seen this and as a fan of the book, I give it a big thumbs-up. It deserves more but it has been lumped into the same boat as The Hunger Games and will not fare as well in comparison. Read my review here. Shailene Woodley stars as Tris in this dystopian world where the inhabitants are split into factions. She doesn’t fit into one, she is divergent, and that makes her dangerous. Released: 4th

The Double

I want to see this purely to see Jesse Eisenberg plays two people – his shy, boring character goes so unnoticed that nobody is aware of the weirdness when his mega-confident doppelganger arrives. This looks so interesting. Released: 4th [Read more…]

This is 40: Review

40a

If you love Judd Apatow movies, then you will love this. It is written in the same style as his other movies and the dialogue is as witty as its predecessor, Knocked Up.

This “sort-of sequel” focuses on Pete (Paul Rudd) and Debbie (Leslie Mann), who are both turning forty within the same week. You may remember their troublesome marriage from Knocked Up as Debbie was Katherine Hiegl’s sister in that movie. They were forever arguing and getting upset with each other, so you can only imagine what they are like a few years down the line. They have day-to-day struggles but the main concern in this film is their age and their financial troubles.

40c

The first hour was fantastic- I thought the dialogue was so realistic and the scenarios were completely plausible. They had their problems but it was funny, bickering problems. These then get worse and it just becomes a lot of shouting and swearing and gets a bit random in places. It stopped becoming funny because it looked like they may divorce and I just wasn’t enjoying the constant yelling. I would say that it was fine for the first 60-90 mins but then it gets a bit crazy.

40f

I think I liked this more than Knocked Up because the humour wasn’t through random happenings or characters, it was because their depiction of family life is very accurate. Things did get a bit over the top and random further into the movie, when everything descended into chaos.

40h

40e

I love Judd’s writing and I think Rudd and Mann had brilliant chemistry. They were brilliant together and it just felt like some of their dialogue was improvised. Their two children were hilarious in their own right- that may be because they were both played by Leslie and Judd’s real-life daughter, Iris and Maude. There were plenty of familiar supporting characters. Jason Segel is barely in it as Debbie’s personal trainer, Megan Fox gets the biggest supporting role as Debbie’s colleague, John Lithgow as Debbie’s dad, Melissa McCarthy as a parent (I didn’t like her part) plus Chris O’ Dowd and Lena Dunham pop up as workers at Pete’s record label. I would have loved to see more of these characters.

40d

 

40g

I really did enjoy this, for the most part. It doesn’t really relate to Knocked Up at all and Katherine Heigl makes no appearance despite them being close in that movie and there being family events in this. It did seem a bit strange. There isn’t much of a plot, just several obstacles that need overcoming. It could have been about half hour shorter as 135 minutes is a long time for a comedy. I think the dialogue and characterisation of the central family make up for that- they are spot on. I recommend.