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Review: Goodbye Christopher Robin

Director Simon Curtis has carved his niche in the film industry by specialising in historical dramas and biopics, starting with the lovely My Week with Marilyn and recently The Woman in Gold. This time he's turned his focus onto A.A. Milne, the writer best known as the creator of Winnie the Pooh, in Goodbye Christopher Robin.  The final product is a busy reflection on the grasping nature of celebrity and trauma, and despite some powerhouse performances, is hindered by a…

Review: Murder on the Orient Express (1974)

Trapped in the winter snows of 1934's Yugoslavia, the famed Orient Express becomes the setting for a brutal murder and cluster of suspicious characters. Eccentric French detective Hercule Poirot is at the centre, discerning the secret pasts of every traveller to unravel the criminal aboard the train. With that premise, Agatha Christie's 1934 novel was born to be a classic, and so it was. Murder on the Orient Express has been adapted for television, film and radio multiple times, with…

Review: Victoria & Abdul

Just as film and television has turned its eyes to Winston Churchill's legacy in the last year, it's also been reassessing the character of Queen Victoria. A queen given her title at a very young age, she went on to become the 'grandmother of an empire'. The after-effects of that empire would go on to define leaders like Churchill, and the damage left behind by British rule is still felt today. It gives those in charge of cinematic portrayals a…

Review: The Limehouse Golem

The dark streets of Victorian London are full of riches of an unconventional kind. In The Limehouse Golem, ambitious orphan Elizabeth Cree looks for redemption in the glowing orbs of the theatre, cross-dressing actor Dan Leno searches for adoration in the crowds that come to see him and a year later, Inspector Kildare searches for an answer to a gruesome spree of murders that spreads a web across the murky alleyways. A period drama that delights in mystery and horror,…

Review: Victoria – Season 1

There's being late to the party and then there's panic watching eight hours of a series to be prepared for the sophomore season starting tonight. So first, apologies for not taking Victoria seriously when everyone was saying how great it was. I have only myself and Poldark to blame, since the Cornish BBC drama aired around the same time and made me choose every Sunday. Oh, and I'll blame the production company Masterpiece too - they made both excellent television…

5 Reasons Why You Should Watch (or Rewatch) BBC’s 2016 War and Peace

Between January and February 2016, the BBC aired a new adaptation of Russian novelist Leo Tolstoy's epic tome, War & Peace. Split into six episodes of around an hour, it was scripted by period drama veteran Andrew Davies (of 1995 Pride and Prejudice miniseries fame) and picked up 25% of the TV audience share in its first hour. Television critics raved about it, but it received a more mixed reaction among Tolstoy experts and social media users. Much was made…

Review: Dunkirk

Director Christopher Nolan has become synonymous with mind-bending budget blockbusters, from his polarising sci-fi Inception to recent space epic Interstellar. This time he's focused on a subject more grounded with Dunkirk, a historical thriller set in the 1940 evacuation of British troops from the French coast. The final product is breathtaking in scale and unconventional in its storytelling approach. Dunkirk is divided into three intersecting stories - the beach, the sea and the air. Newcomer Fionn Whitehead leads the cast…

A Late Arrival’s Thoughts on Outlander Episode 1

As a television show that aired in 2014, I understand that I'm a very late arrival to the period drama Outlander. Yet despite being a British-American production filmed in Scotland, the show has only been aired on television channels in the US, Canada and Australia, whilst British audiences have only been able to watch with an Amazon Prime subscription. Part of this was due to the reluctance of British broadcasters to show the adult content of the show, and it's…

In Dubious Battle screencap

Edinburgh Film Festival Review: In Dubious Battle

After coming to prominence as part of Hollywood's 'Frat Pack' in the early noughties, James Franco has supplemented his work as an actor with a determined approach to becoming a prolific director. He's clearly putting the work in - after taking part in an Of Mice and Men production on Broadway in 2014, he's since directed no less than eight feature films, many of which are book adaptations. The work hasn't been consistent in quality, but his latest, In Dubious Battle, shows…

Maudie Screenshot

Edinburgh Film Festival Review: Maudie

'Looking through that window, you see the whole of life already formed' Making its quiet entrance onto the festival circuit, Maudie brings the remarkable life of one woman to international audiences. Some may be familiar with Maud Lewis' (nee Dowley) artwork, as one of Canada's best known folk artists who passed away in 1970. As a joint effort between Canadian screenwriter Sherry White and Irish director Aisling Walsh, this film brings Maud Lewis to vibrant life with quiet pride. The…