My first experience with her on the big screen was when she played Narcissa Malfoy in ‘Harry Potter’. This was a part that could easily have fallen to the sidelines especially when opposed with an actress with the bonkers and borderline crazy appeal of Helena Bonham-Carter as Bellatrix Lestrange. But Helen made it her own. She was mummy Malfoy, sister to Bellatrix and husband of Lucius - a death eater in the making, but never fully unhinged and retained a certain maternal, motherly charm over her children.
I would argue that McCrory’s best part was playing Cherie Blair three times opposite Michael Sheen as Tony. She bore an uncanny resemblance to Mrs Blair and perfected her petulence, her awkwardness and her doddering damsel image in ‘The Deal’ (2003), ‘The Queen’ (2006) and ‘The Special Relationship’ (2009). She managed to steal the show even away from Sheen’s impeccable impression of Britain’s greatest Prime Minister and Helen Mirren’s poshly queenly Queen Elizabeth II. It was a stunning performance.
In the celebrity gossip columns of the world, McCrory will be known as the lucky wife of one of the sexiest men alive - Damian Lewis. Lewis is one of my favourite actors - so terrific in ‘Homeland’ (2011-) - which is quite fitting considering McCrory is one of Britain’s greatest actresses. They were a power couple for the 21st century and parents to two lovely children who I’m sure are heartbroken at their mother’s loss.
12A, 96 Mins
Dan Stevens is the moustached George Condamine who we’re expected to believe is mourning the loss of his beautiful blonde wife Elvira (an insufferable Leslie Mann). She comes back in the form of a pixieish spirit, but only George can see her and not his wife Ruth (a one-note Isla Fisher).
Stevens mugs his way through the whole thing with big, baggy eyes and skittish teeth. You can’t blame him for being bored, but then he does get to work with Leslie Mann. She’s terrible as Elvira - not at all pixieish like Kay Hammond in the original.
But that’s not the worst thing. Despite the unfunny jokes, the terrible one-liners and Leslie Mann being so f**king annoying, this new ‘Blithe Spirit’ manages to be just boring. Trust me, when Leslie Mann isn’t the worst thing about your movie, you know you’re screwed. Bloody hell!
‘Blithe Spirit’ is on Now TV now.
12A, 109 Mins
Blanchett looks bored and boring in the lead role as the titular Berndatte Fox. It’s her worst performance to date and I hated her squabble with Kristen Wiig who is usually so funny and likeable, but here is just annoying.
At one point, there is an avalanche of poo water that comes flooding into a room. A literal pile of s**t which is a good metaphor to describe the entire movie. A bag of s**t and then some.
‘Where’d You Go Bernadette’ is on multiple platforms now.
I’m not naturally an outdoors kind of person. As a film critic, I spend most of my time in dark rooms, in front of cinema screens, sitting on my couch or sipping cans of diet coke from my bedside table. If it wasn’t for my placement, that’s what I’d be doing day in, day out. Like I said, I’m not an outdoors person.
On Monday, I started my new placement at Rushcliffe Country Park. The sun was hot, the boys were in their tank tops and the girls in their short shorts. The role involves looking after and keeping up maintenance of the park and includes a variety of tasks including litter-picking, filling up bags of bird feed and raking. In layman’s terms, that’s raking, digging and cleaning s**t bags. A world away from working with the media team at Rushcliffe Borough Council!
The staff were friendly and supportive; quick to make sure I settled in ok and provided me with cups of coffee. Our first task was filling up bird feed bags – admittedly not the most glamorous task, but one that needs doing. More interesting was cleaning and refilling the bird feeders and hoisting them up onto a pole. Here my 6ft2 height was put to good use.
It’s great to see some familiar faces from when I used to volunteer here. There’s lots of volunteers here - average age of about 70, but lovely people and always willing to lend a hand. I hope to be helping them in the future. My next task was to empty and refill the bins with a new bin liner - a very glamorous job as you can imagine. Slightly more fun was litter-picking which involved us taking a nice, long walk around the park; picking up litter as we went along.
*The Pursuit of Love (BBC1) - *****
*Mare of Easttown (Sky Atlantic) - ***
After all, great TV is often like good literature - you don’t want to switch off the TV just like you won’t want to put down a good book. Nancy Mitford’s 1945 novel ‘The Pursuit of Love’ has been adapted twice for the small screen - first in 1980 by ITV and secondly in 2001 by the BBC.
This new adaptation is the shiny, glossy version, though, especially as it features two of the hottest stars working - Lily James and Emily Beecham. Beecham is Fanny Logan whose mother and father (the former named the Botler for her habit of serial monogamy) have left her to be brought up by her aunt Emily and uncle Davey (John Heffernan). Fanny also spends holidays with her other uncle Matthew (played with villainous relish by Dominic West) and her aunt Sadie (Dolly Wells) at Alconleigh.
Matthew and Sadie are rich, pompous and slightly abusive people - bound by rules and traditions of the aristocracy. Lily James is Linda, the second Radlett daughter and victim of Matthew’s abuse, who is best friends with Fanny. The novel and this opening episode basically charts the girls’ bizarre upbringing including their contrasting obsessions with hunting and preventing cruelty to animals. This is along with their secret society - the “Hons”.
The Radlett daughters receive little in the way of formal education and, as Linda grows older, her sex drive increases and a desire for romantic life and marriage…
First thing to say about this show is that the performances are terrific. I’ve been a bit unkind to Lily James in the past; saying she was too pretty to be believed as an archaeologist in ‘The Dig’ (2021) and too nice to be believed as Rebecca in Ben Wheatley’s Du Maurier adaptation from last year. She’s a delight here - she really captures Linda’s sexiness and youthful energy (such as in the multiple nude scenes), but also her fragility and vulnerability. I found it particularly moving when she was kicked by West’s Matthew while under the table.
I laughed, I cried and teared up at the final wedding scene. Lily and Emily are such treats to watch and Dominic West made me hate him rotten. I’ll surely be tuning in next week although the BBC have made the whole series available on iPlayer. This might be my new binge-watching obsession. It’s surely one of the best literary adaptations of the year.
This is a very Scandi-style mystery. It has a stoic female detective and a murder case - in this case a murdered teenage girl - that rips a hole in the community. Pundits have compared it to ‘Broadchurch’ and ‘The Killing’ (‘Forbrydelsen’), but I see more elements of ‘Twin Peaks’ (minus the surrealism) - especially in the teenage high school drama that’s going on at the heart of the drama involving Kate Winslet’s rebellious emo daughter.
I’ve always thought Kate Winlet is probably our best actress working. She’s certainly very good here - maybe too good. It’s a role that doesn’t do her much justice as it involves her having to switch between matted brown hair and bleach blonde hair depending on the mood. It’s also rather hackneyed and cheesy that they’ve given her a love interest in the form of Guy Pearce to complete her. Don’t the writers know that the best Bechdel test-beating heroines don’t need men or sex to define them?
I’m enjoying the mystery element involving the whodunnit of “who killed Erin McMenamin?”, but still have no idea who might have done it. She’s also got a father who rages when he finds out she’s dead - a distinct echo of Theis Birk-Larsen in ‘The Killing’. The scene where he is first told his daughter is dead was this week’s episode highlight and most moving scene.
‘Mare of Easttown’ is on Now TV now.
Mr. Cameron says he told friends he was set to earn up to £60 million in shares in Greensill where has been working since 2016. Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown has gone on record saying former Prime Ministers must never lobby government officials.
This scandal is merely the nail in the coffin for the telegenic Prime Minister who started off so promisingly with his modernisation of the Tory Party and legalizing same-sex marriage, but banked his career on the most stupid and irresponsible decision - to call an EU Referendum.
Greensill has shone light on the Tory party and their supposed opportunism. I’d like to remind people about the 2009 Expenses Scandal. That was mainly Labour MPs who presented themselves as every bit as corrupt and opportunistic. Opportunism is a two-sided coin and Cameron is the other side.
Keira quits sex scenes
I think Keira is complaining too much here. There’s nothing wrong with the male gaze just as there’s nothing wrong with the female gaze. We men and women have it wired into our brains to be attracted to sexy images like Channing Tatum with his shirt off and Megan Fox bending over a motorbike in tight shorts.
Therefore I think Keira should stop complaining and accept that attraction is gender neutral.
In an interview with his daughter-in-law Lara Trump on her podcast, he responded to talk of running again with the words “you do have hope, that I can tell you”.
Frankly Trump running again in 2024 would be the death knell for the Republican Party and Democracy. The man thinks groping women is ok and mocks disabled people and incites riots for f**k sake. Plus he contested the most democratic election in the world. Those are the marks of a true dictator clinging on to the last remnants of his failed and fickle presidency.
Priti’s plan for immigration
Now, the Left will call this crackdown on immigration as cruel and inhumane. But I respectfully disagree. The Tories have never been anti all immigration, just uncontrolled immigration and the problems it causes such as overcrowding and competition for jobs. My view is that people with legal rights to be here should be allowed to stay here and we have a moral obligation to protect those fleeing from war-torn countries. However, we cannot have situations where people are claiming asylum in the UK because their husbands beat them. And this new plan marks out the distinct differences between legal immigrants, genuine asylum seekers and illegal immigrants with no right to be here.
Imran Khan: A rape apologist?
When I first heard this statement, I thought “what a stupid thing to say”, but read into it and it’s not so stupid. Women do need to be careful of the way they dress - in certain parts of the world more than others. Not because most men are perverts, but because of a sick minority of individuals in every pub, club and bar waiting to assault and victimise a bright young woman.
We need to address sexual assault together and the only way we are going to do this is is if we are real with women and men about the dangers of dressing in a particular way.
I want to tell you a story. It’s about an actress I didn’t get at all. She was officially the worst Bond girl ever in ‘Quantum of Solace’ (2008) and just the brunette queen of bimbo in crap blockbusters like ‘Clash of the Titans’ (2010) and ‘Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time’ (2010).
That was all to change. Next came ‘Tamara Drewe’ (2010) - a whip-smart, slightly Bridget Jones-esque spin on Thomas Hardy’s ‘Far From The Madding Crowd’. Gemma donned tight denim shorts, but more importantly had wit and humour to boot. She proved herself to be a natural and surprising comedian as the titular Drewe - a philandering journalist with an eye for the hunky men.
‘The Disappearance of Alice Creed’ (2010) was a different story. This subjected Gemma to being tied up, beaten and experiencing sexual violence. And yet, by the end of it, she was kicking arse of all the men in the room. It was the most unlikely empowering girl power movie I’d seen in years.
Meet Roshan Chandy
Freelance film critic, journalist and writer based in Nottingham, UK. Specialises in cinema.
Roshan's Top 5 Films of the Week
2. Judas and the Black Messiah (on multiple platforms)
3. Sound of Metal (on Amazon Prime)
4. Wild Mountain Thyme (on multiple platforms)
5. The 40 Year Old Version (on Netflix)
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