Keira Knightley and Aaron Taylor-Johnson star in Anna Karenina. Courtesy of Alliance Films
Leo Tolstoy’s first official novel (according to Tolstoy), Anna Karenina, is regarded as the greatest novel of all time (2007 “The Top Ten in Time”). In its thirteenth film adaptation, director Joe Wright gives the story a staged theatrical spin. However, all the glamorous theatrics cannot spark life into this endless melodrama.
Anna is an upper class socialite in 19th century Russia whose affair with an affluent Count defames her among society’s highest ranks and throws her life into disrepute.
Whether it was the director’s or the writer’s idea to have the movie’s scenes transition from stage to the cinematic world – It just doesn’t work. It acts purely to bring the audience out of the fantasy world they are attempting to draw us into.
The story itself is a drawn out soap opera that seldom features a thought provoking moment outside of the infidelity and flashy wardrobes and sets.
The cast makes due with what they are given. No performances stand out or are even worth mentioning. It all felt very… adequate.
This is the first Joe Wright film I did not enjoy. In fact, I downright detested it. Unlike past treasures of his, such as Pride and Prejudice and Atonement (both period pieces), this film fails on every count outside of costume design.
Bottom Line: Unless you are a diehard fan of the novel, stay miles away from this heap of pretentious babble.
Runtime: 130 minutes
W.E. is Madonna’s latest directorial effort. Courtesy of eOne Entertainment
A pop icon such as Madonna has the world as her oyster. There’s no denying that the singer turned actress has had a few moments in the sun as an actress in the cinema world but When it comes to her direction and writing, the sun simply refuses to shine – And with good reason.
In W.E., Madonna attempts to tell the story of King Edward VIII’s affair with American divorcée Wallis Simpson, while trying to connect it to a modern day affair between a trophy wife and a security guard.
To be as blunt as a rusty axe, Madonna should never step behind a camera. Her insistence on using every perceivable technique and camera angle served as a distraction and nothing else. Perhaps she should have bought a couple of gallons of crazy glue to add some sense of cohesion to the story she was painfully trying to tell. With the aid of Alek Keshishian, she managed to take what could have been a wonderful biopic of Edward VIII, and turned it into a convoluted mess.
She luckily had a decent cast to work with, all of whom managed acceptable performances within the confines of the uninspired script.
The picture quality is decent as is the audio. There are no special features to indulge in, so if you’re a fan looking for a little bit more (why??) don’t get your hopes up.
Bottom Line: Nothing to see here but a horrendous film.
Movie Grade F
Blu Ray Grade D-
Runtime: 119 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1