Mank: Netflix Film Review

Mank

Having David Fincher‘s name attached to a project is usually a promising sign. I love several of his movies and had high expectations about his latest one, Mank, but I came away from it pretty disappointed. 

Based on a screenplay by Fincher’s late father Jack, Mank tells the story of Herman J. Mankiewicz (Gary Oldman), who was hired to write the script for Orson Welles’ 1941 classic Citizen Kane. The main action takes place in 1940 when the alcoholic tries to write the script without his booze and is laid up in bed in a cast following a car accident. There are also many flashbacks throughout the early 1930s which illustrate Mank’s friendship with publisher William Rudolph Hearst (Charles Dance) and his partner, actress Marion Davies (Amanda Seyfried), who are said to be the inspiration for the main characters in Citizen Kane. 

The drama surrounding Citizen Kane, from Welles’ and Mank’s dispute over the writing credit to Hearst’s response to the movie, is real-life material ripe for a movie portrayal and I would have found that version of the story fascinating. But Mank doesn’t tell the story I was expecting it to. I was thinking it was going to portray the writing of it, the credit dispute and then perhaps the making of it and the fallout. But it focuses more on Mank himself, and, perhaps more surprisingly, studio system politics and a 1934 California gubernatorial election. I would have much preferred the focus to have been on Mank and Citizen Kane, not the rest of it. 

Mank is all over the place, and it’s very hard to keep track of the timeline of events and who’s who because it jumps around a lot. This film features so many famous faces from Old Hollywood and it assumes the viewer knows who everyone is, so I had to spend some time Googling (the beauty of watching at home) so I could grasp what was going on, and even then, I still had trouble remembering who someone was the next time they came back onscreen. 

I can appreciate Mank in certain respects though. It is a very ambitious movie, with a stunning black-and-white look, and Fincher had a clear vision that he executed well. There are some big get-together scenes which stand out as being particularly enjoyable and interesting to watch. And then there are the performances. Oldman gives an impressive performance as Mank and convinces as someone who is basically drunk all the time. But the star of the show was easily Seyfried, who is magnetic and captivating as the blonde bombshell Davies. She is the heart of the piece and had a vivacious, sparkly presence that injected life into every scene she’s in. They are a few more recognisable faces in this from Lily Collins as Mank’s secretary Rita Alexander, Tuppence Middleton as his wife Sara, and Tom Burke as Welles. The latter casting makes no sense – Burke is 39 when Welles was 25 in 1940. 

I could appreciate Fincher’s vision but Mank doesn’t work for me. I didn’t care about or connect with the story or the characters and I was never engrossed in it. I would maybe like it more on a second watch as I now understand the chronology of events and who everyone is, but I won’t be doing that any time soon – Mank is hard to follow and sometimes dull and ends as the real-life drama gets interesting. 

In selected cinemas now and on Netflix from Friday 4th December 

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Inheritance: Film Review

Inheritance

I like Lily Collins and I’m a big fan of Simon Pegg so I figured Inheritance was worth a watch – and it was not.

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Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile: Film Review

Many films have been made about notorious American serial killer Ted Bundy, who confessed to killing 30 women across several states in the 1970s (although it is expected to be many more) and so Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile goes for a fresh perspective – that of his longtime girlfriend Elizabeth Kloepfer, based on her book.

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My pics: Zac Efron and Lily Collins at the Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile European Premiere

Tonight it was the premiere of Sky Cinema’s upcoming Ted Bundy biopic Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile so the stars of the film – Zac Efron and Lily Collins – hit the red carpet at London’s Curzon Mayfair with their director Joe Berlinger.

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Cannes 2017: Films to get excited about

The 2017 Cannes Film Festival kicked off yesterday, and as always I’m filled with envy that I’m not there, watching the stars hit the red carpet and seeing the premiere of all these potentially amazing films. For the next ten days, there will be plenty of screenings but there are just a handful that I’m really excited about. Here they are:

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Rules Don’t Apply: Film Review

I had been looking forward to Rules Don’t Apply because I love films about classic Hollywood and I’m a fan of Lily Collins and Alden Ehrenreich so imagine when I finally saw it and discovered it was a confused and boring film that doesn’t know what it’s trying to be.

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Top Films for April 2017

It is the start of another month which makes it preview time! Here’s what I’m looking forward to in April:

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Golden Globes 2017: Best & Worst Dressed

Brie Larson. Credit: Photo by REX/Shutterstock

As I’m sure you are aware, the Golden Globes were last night! I’ve already covered the winners (here) so now let’s look at the fashion on the red carpet.

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Golden Globes nominations 2017: The comedy/musical section is obsolete

deadpool

The Golden Globe nominations came out today and you can read the full list here. The reason the Golden Globes annoy me is because they divide all the acting categories between drama and musical/comedy and frankly, there hasn’t been enough awards-worthy roles in the latter so it’s been filled with some questionable entries. Surely it’s time to just combine all the movie acting categories?

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Celeb pictures of the week

cruel

I’m kicking off a new weekly feature where I pick my favourite pictures uploaded onto social media by celebrities from the past week! Here are my picks:

Lily Collins & Jamie Campbell-Bower

lily

Lily Collins announced that she was back together with Jamie Campbell-Bower this week with this kiss pic. How adorable! The pair first dated between 2012 to 2013 after meeting on The Mortal Instruments set. Awww!

Cruel Intentions reunion 

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Reese Witherspoon, Selma Blair and Sarah Michelle Gellar reunited this week to catch the unauthorised musical of the 1999 teen drama (see picture above) and fans of the movie were so happy!! Selma and SMG also recreated that infamous lesbian kiss.

 

Lena Dunham 

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Lena showed off her new body confidence on Instagram and so she should too! The Girls star has been working out loads and is definitely more toned because of it. Work it girl!

 

Ed Sheeran 

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Ed came face to face with his doppelganger at Madame Tussauds New York this week and I have to say I’m pretty impressed with the likeness. Sometimes waxworks can be so naff! What I love about this picture was the caption – Ed said he was happy that his waxwork had “a bulge” in the trouser department. Ha!