Review: The Beguiled

A prizewinner at Cannes Film Festival, The Beguiled made an impact last spring as an early prestige film with the potential to make it to awards season. Those of us aware of the Academy's very short memory knew this was a pipe dream but months down the line, is Sofia Coppola's latest directorial feature still worth a watch? Set in the American Civil War, it begins with a wounded Union soldier (Colin Farrell) stranded in Confederate country. He's taken in…

This Week in Period Dramas – Sunday News Roundup 18th February 2018

The next couple of years have some exciting new additions in the world of period dramas, judging from this week's news. This last year has been really amazing for movies, something I'm reminded of as I've been working through the major Oscar hopefuls (check out the reviews here). Luckily, it seems that there's plenty more movie magic coming our way. Anyway, grab a cup of tea and lets go through the headlines... First trailer for novel adaptation of The Guernsey Literary…

Review: Phantom Thread

Paul Thomas Anderson, marked out as the next legendary American director,  has a roster of impossibly brilliant films to his name, from There Will Be Blood to The Master. He's experimented with genre and infused films that should be heavy tomes with a strange and dark humour. Sometimes it feels like watching his films is watching them fifty years in the future, where they'll be viewed again as classics. This sounds effusive, and it is, but it's hardly unwarranted. Phantom…

Review: Journey’s End

First announced as part of the centenary of the First World War, this film adaptation of beloved 1928 play Journey's End by R.C. Sherriff brings a story of the trenches to a wider audience. Directed by Saul Dibb (The Duchess) and featuring a starry British cast that includes Paul Bettany and Sam Claflin, it takes the restrictions of the source material and finds new opportunity, without losing the emotional ties at the centre. The story follows a group of officers…

This Week in Period Dramas – Sunday News Roundup 4th February 2018

With awards season in full swing, news that doesn't involve a little gold statuette has been pretty thin on the ground in the last couple of weeks. As ever with awards though, period dramas have been well represented at the Oscars, from Rachel Morrison's historical nomination for Best Cinematography on Mudbound, to Phantom Thread's recognition for Costume Design and The Shape of Water's 13 nods. We'll be reviewing a few of those films over the next few weeks, starting with…

Review: Darkest Hour

The obsession with Winston Churchill on screen continues into this year with Joe Wright's Darkest Hour. This time, the film is Oscar nominated, with Gary Oldman's performance as the wartime prime minister singled out as the one to take Best Actor. Despite all these plaudits, the film feels unnecessary - a ponderous exercise and a caricature of a man whose portrayals peaked with John Lithgow in The Crown. Directed by Joe Wright, this film should be a period drama staple.…

Review: The Alienist – Episode 1

In a dark and brooding kind of month, what better than a dark and brooding kind of drama? Enter The Alienist, an adaptation of Caleb Carr's best-selling novel set in 1896 New York City. Directed by Jakob Verbruggen (Black Mirror) and produced by Cary Fukanaga (True Detective, 2011's Jane Eyre), the drama has the weight of top television creators behind it. Episode one made a compelling start to the four-part series. It followed Dr Laszlo Kriezler (Daniel Bruhl), an 'alienist'…

This Week in Period Dramas – Sunday News Roundup 21st January 2018

Awards season and Sundance film festival are both in full swing, leaving entertainment news fairly focused on big interviews and event coverage. For me, it's frustrating to have to wait to see these award-winning films talked about without a close UK release, particularly Guillermo Del Toro's The Shape of Water, which I've been looking forward to forever. Still, for now we can make do with potentially great television - Britannia and The Alienist are on the to-do list. I also…

Review: Hostiles

Hostiles begins as many past Westerns have - with an attack. Conducted with brutal detachment, we witness a native tribe murder a white family in 1892 America and burn down a settlement before leaving it to dust. A lone woman is left without the life she had previously, cut from roots and overwhelmed by the prospect of building anything from the nothing she has left. What we're less prepared for is a reflection on the limitations of that portrayal. We're…

This Week in Period Dramas – Sunday News Roundup 14th January 2018

The January blues are upon us but there's still plenty on the small screen to entertain. This week we're awaiting the release of two intriguing historical dramas and have received news of two big casting announcements. Are you ready? Let's begin... Two experimental historical dramas meet their due date As the Christmas trees go back to the garage, the time for cosy costume dramas of bonnets and cravats is over. In its place we've got two bombastic television shows to…