News Column

best of the rest [Birmingham Mail (UK)]

November 8, 2013


PHILOMENA (12A) A MOTHER wondering what happened to the son taken away from her in an Irish convent tries to track down the child she never knew.

Based on a true story, Philomena's journey questions a lifetime of belief in the Catholic Church.

Dame Judi Dench is on imperious form as Philomena Lee.

Despite everything that has happened to her, Philomena still has an inner conviction that will carry you through the film's darker moments.

What makes Philomena really work is co-writer Steve Coogan's growing humility as former BBC correspondent Martin Sixsmith.

He gives the entire story a lightness of touch that ensures it turns the ordinary into the extraordinary.

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Deftly directed by Stephen Frears (The Queen), Philomena's is a journey well worth tagging along on.

THOR: THE DARK WORLD 3D (12A) Dame Judi THE beauty of this week's big release Gravity is that you can just sit back and enjoy the ride.

With Thor, you have Sir Anthony Hopkins' Odin labouring a heavy- handed prologue in order to explain what it's all about.

The Dark Elves of Svartalfheim led by Malekith (Christopher Eccleston) and Algrim (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje) aim to plunge the Earth and all of the Nine Realms into eternal darkness with a fluid called the Aether.

It then requires a constant flipping between fantasy worlds and reality to move the story along in fits and starts.

After excelling as James Hunt in Ron Howard's Rush, Chris Hemsworth is a little bit dull here, failing to strike up much of a spark with astrophysicist Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) and having to rely on his duplicitous adoptive brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston) for help.

Directed by Alan Taylor, the film builds up into a destructive set piece amid one of London's most famous landmarks.

LOVE TOMORROW (PG) THE popularity of TV's Strictly Come Dancing illustrates the public's love of watching people on the dance floor.

Hollywood has responded with recent series like Step Up and in Britain we've had our own StreetDance movies.

Admirably attempting to give a voice to theatre's most silent artists, Love Tomorrow reveals what happens when two dancers are cast in leading acting roles. Despite their gifts for dancing, the two leads here never look quite as comfortable delivering their lines.

Former ballet star Cindy Jourdain plays the demure Eva, an ex- ballerina whose career has been cut short by injury.

Cuban dancer Oriel (Arionel Vargas) is also at a crossroads in his life.

He has a big audition ahead, but little time left on his visa.

After meeting by chance on a Camden Town escalator, Oriel takes the lead in trying to forge a relationship.

Writer-director Christopher Payne lets parts of this film play out as interpretive dance.

Eva's father is played by former Brookside star Hearbreaking: Dench John McArdle (Billy Corkhill as was), he doesn't get much dialogue and it seems an odd piece of casting.

Despite the impressive dance sequences Love Tomorrow is lead- footed when it comes to drama and ultimately falls flat on its face.

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