And Then There Were None
Late last year the online Daily Mail was “stunned” by a controversial new Agatha Christie about to screen on BBC, which contained “drug abuse, gruesome violence” and (oh no!) “the F-word.”
Naturally the clickbait tabloid found a Christie expert to point out what a betrayal this was to the Dame. “If they are going to have appalling things like this in it then it’s not Agatha Christie,” he sniffed. And naturally when it screened in Britain, it rated its socks off.
And deservedly so, as this three-part drama is a very smart and sharp adaptation of Christie’s famous novel, one of her darkest and most sinister. And it has a great cast including Miranda Richardson, Charles Dance, Sam Neill, Douglas Booth and Aidan Turner – all part of a group invited to an isolated island by a mysterious killer.
As for the “sexing up,” teen heart throb Booth snorts some coke and hunky Poldark star Turner appears shirtless. If that’s all too much, heavens knows how anyone ever coped with Christie gleefully knocking off all her characters one by one.
MA15+ available from from May 4.
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The Man Who Knew Infinity
Following The Imitation Game and The Theory of Everything, filmmakers seem to have been scuttling off to mathematics academies everywhere looking for big-brained odd men with inspirational back stories.
The one of Srinivasa Ramanujan Iyenga, born into poverty in India before gaining entry to Cambridge University, where he changed the face of modern mathematics, is a pretty astonishing one.
Ramanujan (Dev Patel) dazzled the learned profs in the often hostile and stuffy environment of Cambridge around the time of WW1 – bizarrely insisting that his theories were given to him by God. Director Matthew Brown doesn’t take any chances with the material – this is a very conventional biopic.
But it is also a thoroughly compelling one, the drama mainly played out in the relationship between Ramanujan and his mentor (Jeremy Irons). For once maths isn’t boring – that’s quite an achievement!!
PG from May 5.
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There’s a lot of amiably silly moments in Oliver Parker’s update of the popular Brit sitcom from the 1970s about a home guard squad of doddery old duffers. And competent mugging from Bill Nighy, Michael Gambon, Tom Courtney and Toby Jones.
But why update it at all? If there is an audience for such well-meaning but pointless laffs, wouldn’t the old boy be just as happy with the original eyeball-rolling bad jokes about “jam roly-poly”?
What next? Ropey remakes of Porridge? Carry On Up The Khyber? Hang on, we’ve just had that – Grimsby.
PG on now.
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot
In real life, journalists spend their days drearily fact checking and worrying how long they’ll have a job. But in Hollywood at least, their lives are much more exciting. And in Whiskey Tango Foxtrot (WTF, get it?) Kim Baker (Tina Fey) even manages to “find herself” Eat Pray Love-style in a war-torn and savagely foreign land.
We first meet her as a desk-bound drone pounding away teleprompter copy for Botox-faced TV presenters. Kim leaps at the chance of a three-month stint in Afghanistan, and it isn’t too long before she’s in dodging bullets during the day with a crusty colonel (Billy Bob Thornton) and sashaying off to long, hard nights of partying (with Margot Robbie). She ends up addicted to the adrenalin rush of it all, and stays three years…
Fey is a great comic actor, and anyone going along for laughs will get a few. But directors Glenn Ficarra and John Requa’s movie is way more drama than comedy, as befitting its subject matter – this is a war zone. And it is good to see journalists’ work portrayed as both important and fun.
What a pity the newspapers that employ them are all closing down. WTF indeed.
CTC from May 12.