My Week With Marilyn: on his very first feature film a rookie third assistant director ends up spending a remarkable week with the world’s biggest star, Marilyn Monroe. There’s an interesting story parabola: it starts and finishes on an uplifting soft-comedy notes but has a major tone dip in the middle as it delves in to Marilyn’s off-screen life. For someone who doesn’t know much about her, it was a bit of an eye-opener – sheeeeeet, I didn’t even know she married Arthur Miller, let alone the rest. Branagh is a blast as a bombastic Laurence and Williams shines as Mrs Monroe; however the lead (Redmayne) is a bit flat and ‘Forrest Gumpy’ – and seems a strange choice given the other, high profile, names involved. The period setting is fantastic, every detail is there. Overall, this is a whimsical, dreamy, slightly hammy, rose-tinted and soft-focused TV biopic; but between Branagh, Williams and the time-setting it’s entertaining and interesting enough to hold your attention.
Thor: after putting the galaxy’s’ peace at risk Thor is cast out to Earth until he learns to tone down the arrogance, and ramp up the leadership. This is one of the most eclectic mixes of a film I can remember seeing; there’s oodles of tongue-in-cheek camp, so much so that everybody seems to think they’re in an amateur stage play; there’s about 30 characters all turning it up to eleven and vying for attention – not to mention robots, goblins, gods, scientists and feds. Most annoyingly, the SFX are insanely overused – reminiscent of the first wave of GCI laden 90s films. The action scenes are also poorly done – resulting in a series of blurry smashes and explosions until there’s a body is lying on the ground / frozen in ice. The bottom line is that the tone, style and elements of Thor are so erratic, that it ends up feeling like a film that exists just to be the next comic book film. Big, bright, loud and stupid, Michael Bay would be so proud
Valkyrie: There’s only one WWII movie faux pas that’s more insulting than Nazis “Telking Leik Zeis” amongst each other, and that’s Nazis that speak full-blown “Jolly good, tally ho” English – especially Adolf Hitler. Listen out for American and Irish accents in the mix too. What’s more infuriating is that they type, read and sing in German to make it more ‘authentic‘! Accents aside the dialogue’s pretty naff, and predictable – not unlike a 60s/70s WWII movie you’d see on TV through the day. There were also too many scenes with dozens of similar uniforms and names to keep on top of. A stumpy Tom Cruise doesn’t really set the world on fire, and Bill Knighty was the only real standout for me. There are some good moments when the tension builds up, but that’s about all this had going for it. Until I saw this I wouldn’t have thought that such a major, and potentially exciting, chapter of history could be so boring – especially when it’s marketed as ‘action packed’.