All the King’s men couldn’t save this mess… The King’s Man has its funny moments but is tainted by ridiculous accents and dated values
The King’s Man Cert: 15, 2hrs 11mins
The Matrix Resurrections Cert: 15, 2hrs 28mins
The Tragedy Of Macbeth Cert: 15, 1hr 45mins
Titane Cert: 18, 1hr 48mins
Without the ever-reliable class of Ralph Fiennes, The King’s Man, one suspects, would be a right old mess. Even with it, this prequel to the two modern-day Kingsman films is still very much two hours of distinct highs and lows.
Yes, there are moments that are funny and others that are even quite moving, but it’s also a film of ponderous pace, ridiculous accents and dated values that have nothing to do with its period setting.
That said, for those with a houseful of teenagers to entertain between Boxing Day and Twelfth Night, it will just about do.
Without the ever-reliable class of Ralph Fiennes (above), The King’s Man, one suspects, would be a right old mess
Fiennes is playing the Duke of Oxford, pacifist (despite being a close friend of General Kitchener), widower and single-gentleman father heavily reliant on the paid help of the family nanny (Gemma Arterton) and his valet Shola (Djimon Hounsou).
He also, it goes without saying, buys his immaculate suits from Kingsman, the Savile Row tailor that, as the Boer War makes way for the Great War, has yet to become a front for the private secret service organisation we all know.
But as the First World War approaches, a solemn promise made to his dying wife to keep their by-now teenage son away from battle is being sorely tested.
Young Conrad (Harris Dickinson) wants to do his bit, and others want him to too; and all the while a shadowy organisation – home to several of the ridiculous accents and numbering Rasputin (Rhys Ifans) and a despotic Scottish nationalist (yes, really) among its dangerous members – is intent on making war inevitable.
Can they possibly be stopped?
The Duke of Oxford (Fiennes), pacifist, widower and single-gentleman father is heavily reliant on the paid help of the family nanny (Gemma Arterton, above)
Fiennes and Dickinson are pretty good, as is the nearly unrecognisable and eventually wildly over-indulged Ifans.
But Arterton and Hounsou are almost insultingly underused in a film where the screenplay lacks polish and director and co-writer Matthew Vaughn appears to miss the professional expertise of regular writing partner Jane Goldman.
There hasn’t been a Matrix film for 18 years, but now there is and, sadly, The Matrix Resurrections turns out to be a disappointment.
Where Spider-Man: No Way Home – another film extending an iconic franchise – recently hit big moment after big moment, The Matrix Resurrections hits hardly any.
All the required elements are there, of course: the green digital characters cascading down the screen, the red and blue pills, the glitching black cat, the white rabbit – and Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss, both now in their 50s but looking good, are back too as Neo and Trinity.
All the required elements are there, of course: the green digital characters cascading down the screen, the red and blue pills – and Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss (above)
But somehow, something has gone missing, and I’m not just talking about Laurence Fishburne, now seen only in flashback.
Seems there’s a new Morpheus in digital town.
For a franchise that has always been about worlds within worlds, ‘realities’ within ‘realities’, the pick-up is almost too clever, too arch for its own good.
Neo is back in Thomas Anderson mode and now living as the acclaimed designer of a video-game trilogy and quietly obsessed with the attractive mother (Moss) who frequents the same coffee shop.
What ensues is slow, uninvolving and, while also lacking in both peril and tension, teeters unhelpfully on the edges of lazy pastiche.
It’s only six years since Justin Kurzel brought us his version of Macbeth, with Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard as Shakespeare’s murderously ambitious couple.
Fracnes McDormand (above) plays Lady Macbeth in what is a notably and commendably colour-blind production
Now, it’s Joel Coen’s turn, with his wife, Frances McDormand, as Lady M and Denzel Washington taking on the title role in what is a notably and commendably colour-blind production.
Shot in beautiful black and white that instantly brings Ingmar Bergman’s Seventh Seal to mind, it looks like a stage production from the 1960s or 1970s, with both production design and wardrobe rising to the stylised occasion.
Most of the performances are pretty good, too, but it’s difficult to bring new life to such familiar words on screen, and Coen has taken some liberties with the Bard’s plotting that may upset purists.
Titane (it’s French for titanium) won the Palme d’Or at this year’s Cannes Film Festival and deals with the unhappy consequences of a wayward young woman with a titanium plate in her skull having sex… with a car.
Proclaimed a masterpiece by some, I see Titane more as one of those films that I see so you don’t have to. You’re welcome
Proclaimed a masterpiece by some, I see it more as one of those films that I see so you don’t have to. You’re welcome.