It’s just not Woking: Prince Andrew has already ruined The Crown 

The thought of having to wait a decade for the Netflix take on the most staggering spectacle of our time – Prince Andrew’s interview – is torture

Does anyone else wish The Crown would get a bloody move on? Because, sure, despite the new intake of actors, the third season of The Crown is exactly the same as the previous two. It’s slow and staid and sumptuous, and largely about a very rich woman who basically has a very nice time without any sort of incident most of the time. It’s good and impressive and all, but there isn’t exactly a lot of high drama.

I can’t speak for everyone but the reason I keep watching is because The Crown is, to all intents and purposes, Better Call Saul With Corgis. The drama isn’t in what we see onscreen, but what we all know will definitely happen later. There will be death. Divorce. Windsor Castle will burn down. Prince Charles will get married to Princess Diana, but declare his wish that he was another woman’s tampon. Prince Harry will dress up like a Nazi. And Prince Andrew will deny having sex with a minor at the behest of the world’s most notorious billionaire paedophile shortly after having a pizza in Woking.

This last one has prompted the biggest crisis the monarchy has had to face for over two decades, and there’s a real sense that the whole thing will end in total disaster if it isn’t handled with extreme care. Everything is going wrong, and we still cannot rule out the possibility that The Crown will end with Queen Elizabeth undertaking the royal equivalent of opening a Cinnabon in Nebraska. That’s dramatic tension, not countless scenes of Prince Philip demonstrating an appropriate level of excitement about the moon landing. Continue reading

Downton Abbey review – business as usual

The film version of the popular TV series is perfectly pleasant. Film review by Demetrios Matheou

Despite the fact that the Downton Abbey 2015 Christmas special wrapped the series up with a seemingly watertight bow, a cinema offering of Julian Fellowes’ much-loved creation was perhaps inevitable. And so virtually all of the series cast and a few new ones descend upon the fictitious Yorkshire pile for more misadventures upstairs and down.

With no loose ends, Fellowes needed to devise a new dilemma to unite the Crawleys and the many staff who keep their privileged lives on track in 1927. Cue a letter from Buckingham Palace that heralds the imminent visit to Downton of King George V and Queen Mary.

“This won’t help us to economise,” worries Lady Mary Crawley (Michelle Dockery) the only one in her family who seems to seriously wonder whether the aristocracy needs to hang up its finery and downsize to, well, a manor house.

But the main question for her parents Robert and Cora, the Earl and Countess of Grantham (Hugh Bonneville and Elizabeth McGovern, pictured below) and their pampered clan is what on earth to wear. For Mr Carson (Jim Carter), the curmudgeonly butler rushed out of retirement for the big event, lady’s maid Anna Bates (Joanne Froggatt) and their fellow servants, it’s how to continue to work their fingers to the bone – and do Downton proud – when the Royal’s own entourage is rudely intent on taking over.

There were a number of factors behind the series’ popularity: nostalgia for an England long gone, a fetishist’s fascination for the accoutrements of privilege, the gilded soap opera of gossip, scandal and romance, Dame Maggie Smith’s scheming dowager countess stealing every scene, a template in which a multitude of crises were invariably solved with as much effort as it takes to say “golly”. All these ingredients are now in play, lent a fittingly sumptuous, big screen sheen by director Michael Engler and his production team.

The final season of the series happened to be one of its most uneventful, which is to say lame, only one death of a marginal character marring a steady winding down to happy ever after. And the film clearly has no intention of spoiling the party. Even an IRA threat to the king and an unfortunate introduction into the local gay scene for the butler Barrow (Robert James Collier) are resolved with such ease that few of the major characters are ever aware.

It’s a long way from the film that put Fellowes on the map as a writer and allowed him to make Downton in the first place, Robert Altman’s magnificent Gosford Park, which offered a far more complex and barbed view of the class divide.

“I do love our adventures,” sighs Cora as this one jollies along. “But isn’t it fun when they’re over,” replies Robert. If only they were.

Source: THEARTSDESK

PJ Harvey Documentary A Dog Called Money Announced

The film about her 2016 album The Hope Six Demolition Project will premiere next year

PJ Harvey is the subject of a new documentary called A Dog Called Money, Stereogum reports. Directed by Irish photographer and filmmaker Seamus Murphy—who is a frequent Harvey collaborator—the documentary follows the creation of Harvey’s 2016 album The Hope Six Demolition Project. It features footage of the musician recording in London, as well as their travels to Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Washington D.C. A Dog Called Money is set to premiere at Berlinale 2019, the Berlin International Film Festival, in February.

Earlier this year, PJ Harvey shared her Dark River soundtrack song “An Acre of Land.” In September, she announced that she’ll be scoring the stage adaptation of the 1950 film All About Eve.

Source: PJ Harvey Documentary A Dog Called Money Announced

The Primal Attraction of ‘Beast’

Arresting lead performances give this British psychological thriller an alluringly dangerous sexual energy.

At first it comes on like a grim version of Sixteen Candles: a young, flame-haired woman flees her house after being upstaged at her own birthday party (where her older sister makes a happy announcement, with perfect malicious timing), then gets tipsy at a club and ends up with a dodgy boy who turns out to be a creep. Life is almost comically frustrating for Moll (Jessie Buckley), but Beast is no John Hughes scenario. Moll’s not a teenager anymore, and her stunted existence—she lives with her parents and helps tend a father with dementia—is shadowed by a troubling incident from her past.

Beast, which played during the first week of SIFF, is Michael Pearce’s feature writing/directing debut. The beast stalking the Isle of Jersey—that small enclave of Englishness just off the coast of France—has already killed a handful of people, including a victim slain the night of Moll’s birthday. Pearce rolls out the story as a whodunit, scattering a few viable suspects around—but Moll’s family, and the police, think the main candidate is Pascal Renouf (Johnny Flynn), the rough, scar-faced young man who came to Moll’s rescue the night she ran away. Moll and Pascal, both cast out by society, rush toward each other as though magnetized. She knows he could be the killer, but after having been surrounded by dullards on a small island all her life, the intoxication of their chemistry overwhelms her. When an insinuating police officer (Trystan Gravelle) interrogates Moll and asks whether her sex life with Pascal has been out of the ordinary, she contemptuously replies, “It’s not ordinary. It’s amazing.”

This is mad love, always rich turf for the movies. We see Moll taking dangerous risks on Pascal’s account, and we worry about her, but we also sense her exhilaration. The premise is a little like Nicholas Ray’s great film noir In a Lonely Place (1950), where we watch Humphrey Bogart begin a romance with Gloria Grahame while he’s under suspicion for murder—except that Beast shows us the dynamic from the female perspective. Pearce adds a sinister undercurrent: Moll, after all, must herself be considered one of the suspects.

I wish Beast fulfilled all its early promise, but it stumbles toward the end, and its caricature of domestic asphyxiation seems a little canned—did Moll’s mother (ably played by Geraldine James) have to be quite such a brittle harridan? The movie is memorable, though, because of the two lead performances. The Irish-born Buckley has seen success in longform TV shows like Taboo and BBC’s War and Peace, while Flynn is a musician and actor, perhaps best known as the youthful version of Albert Einstein in Genius. They’re mesmerizing. When movie stars are cast as misfits, it can produce unconvincing results (see Michelle Pfeiffer in Frankie and Johnny). No such problem here. Buckley and Flynn are both arresting—and it’ll be surprising if their careers don’t take off—but they don’t come across like stars. They look as though they’d stepped out of the pages of an old folk tale hatched from an insular island culture like Jersey’s: two phantom spirits, not entirely to be trusted.

Source: SEATTLE TIMES The Primal Attraction of ‘Beast’ | Seattle Weekly