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Manchester reviewed
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Manchester film reviews

Coriolanus

Coriolanus directed by Ralph Fiennes

Screened at Cornerhouse, Manchester

Reviewed by Anne Ryan January 2012


Ralph Fiennes is a great stage actor and a generation of frightened children can now attest to his skills on screen as Harry Potter’s arch enemy. In Coriolanus we have a chance to judge his talents as a director. Olivier and Branagh both produced straight versions of Shakespeare’s heroic plays, Fiennes has chosen to tackle a more complicated leading role and a notoriously difficult play.

 

For those not familiar with the play Coriolanus is a Roman general at odds with his fellow citizens who is forced to ingratiate himself with the masses to secure power. The play is the story of the violent consequences of democracy and the relationship between the military and the people. Mirroring this public struggle is the dynamic between Coriolanus and his ambitious mother Volumnia.

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Manchester film reviews

J Edgar with Leonardo DiCaprio

J Edgar directed by Clint Eastwoord

Reviewed by Anne Ryan January 2012


For cinema goers, 2012 opened with Thatcher: the Movie, here we have another chance to see a major political figure of the 20th century and see a Hollywood star walk the fine line between impersonation and insight. And in J Edgar there is also star power behind the camera in the form of Clint Eastwood who has proved himself a skilled and interesting film-maker.

 

This can also be viewed as the second in a right-wing trilogy to welcome 2012 – 'The Iron Lady', 'J Edgar' and 'W.E.', where we are asked to forgive the protagonists because they got old and anyway Denis, Clyde or King Edward loved them!

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Manchester film reviews

Shame with Michael Fassbender and Carey Mulligan

Shame starring Michael Fassbender

Screened at Cornerhouse, Manchester

Reviewed by Anne Ryan January 2012


How do you make a film about sex that is not sexy? Some of us might wonder how you make a film starring Michael Fassbender that is not sexy. But following their collaboration on Hunger, the story of the IRA hunger-striker Bobby Sands, Fassbender and artist/director Steve McQueen, have produced another harrowing experience.

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Manchester film reviews

The Artist

The Artist

Screened at Cornerhouse, Manchester

Reviewed by Anne Ryan January


This film opened to such universal praise I was almost afraid to go and see it for myself. Tipped for Oscar success – it has moved strong reviewers to tears of joy – could it really be this good? The short answer is yes!

 

It is easy to think that a French made silent film in black and white could be a festival success, but The Artist has gained popular success as well as critical plaudits. And the reason is simple, The Artist reminds us of the magic of cinema.

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Manchester film reviews

Denis (Jim Broadbent) and Margaret Thatcher (Meryl Streep)

The Iron Lady at Cornerhouse

Reviewed by Simon Belt and Anne Ryan January

Simon Belt's view..

For those involved in politics in the 70's and 80's, and many others besides, Margaret Thatcher had some very distinctive personal characteristics and mannerisms, which Meryl Streep captures delightfully in The Iron Lady. Meryl's refined acting twinned with some highly effective make-up artists of the production team, allow us to repeatedly believe, for brief moments anyway, that we are actually watching the Maggie many of us grew to hate.

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Manchester film reviews

Also Ran: A Spider Project Production

Also Ran: A Spider Project Production

Screened at FACT, Directed by Paula Currie, Produced by Phil Thornton and Peter Naylor

Reviewed by Denis Joe December 2011

 

Also Ran is the latest production from the Spider Project in Liverpool and the Wirral, a grassroots organisation with a a consistency in producing quality work. Relying on people with no prior artistic experience, the Spider Project has shown itself to be amongst the most creative organisations of its kind in the region.

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Manchester film reviews

Rooney Mara and Daniel Craig

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

Screened at Cornerhouse, Manchester

Reviewed by Anne Ryan December 2011


Rooney Mara attempts to fill Noomi Rapace’s big black motorcycle boots
On approaching the screen adaptation of a favourite book, one is invariably filled with some trepidation. The power of the image is so great that it can overwhelm the pictures we have in our minds. For my generation Mr Darcy will always be Colin Firth, for our mothers and grandmothers he is Laurence Olivier – and for a pre-cinema generation, well they had to make their own pictures.

 

I loved the character of Lizbeth Salander in Stieg Larsson’s crime trilogy and felt that Noomi Rapace perfectly embodied this memorable heroine. Talk of a Hollywood remake filled me with foreboding, but as 55 milion copies of the original trilogy have sold the US version, it seemed inevitable - as we know American audiences do not like reading subtitles.

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Manchester film reviews

Zawe Ashton as the tragic Joyce Carol Vincent

Dreams of a Life

Screened at Cornerhouse, Manchester

Reviewed by Anne Ryan December 2011

 

In a week in which Hollywood spent millions publicising the multi-stellar film ‘New Year’s Eve’ this British production succeeds in showing the real message of the festive season – the importance of our common humanity.

 

Carol Morley’s drama documentary attempts to solve a mystery – how can a young, vibrant woman die alone, surrounded by Christmas presents and lie undiscovered for three years. At a time when people have hundreds of ‘friends’, it makes you wonder how connected we really are.

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Manchester film reviews

Rachel Weisz in The Deep Blue Sea

The Deep Blue Sea

Screened at Cornerhouse, Manchester

Reviewed by Anne Ryan November 2011

 

In this new film the two Terences form the perfect marriage - Terence Davies, the director who has shown his past growing up in war-time Liverpool and Terence Rattigan the playwright of thwarted middle-class passion. As with Noel Coward’s Brief Encounter, The Deep Blue Sea is a love story, but this time we see what happens when a woman follows her desires and throws away everything else in her life.

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Manchester film reviews

Wuthering Heights

Wuthering Heights

Screened at Cornerhouse, Manchester

Reviewed by Anne Ryan November 2011

 

I first read Wuthering Heights as an impressionable teenager – I read it through in one night, captivted by the sexy hero and the doomed affair, this was love and it was dangerous. In Andrea Arnold's raw new film we are transported back to that passionate reckless teenage love.

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