This fast-paced and irreverent teen screwball update of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night provides a hilarious platform for the talents of Amanda Bynes (What a Girl Wants). When the girls’ football team at her school is cancelled, soccer-mad Viola (Bynes) takes the place of her twin brother Sebastian at his new prep school in order to join the boys’ team. But a hasty male makeover can’t disguise the fact that she soon finds herself attracted to her new room-mate, Duke (Channing Tatum). To complicate matters further, the girl that Duke has a crush on becomes interested in “Sebastian”. It may not be caustically witty, intellectual or worthy, butShe’s the Man is a decent enough romp that has plenty of fun with the genders. Most of all, Bynes is a gem to watch in a teen comedy that is actually good, clean entertainment.
Superstar Tom Cruise and director Brian De Palma join forces for this thrilling extravaganza of jaw-dropping special effects and amazing stunts. Based on the cult 1960s TV series about a covert strike force designing situations villains believe to be real, it’s best to forget the complicated plot – something about Cruise clearing his name and proving to the CIA he’s not a treacherous mole – and simply enjoy the epic rollercoaster ride that De Palma brings to life with his customary brilliance. The burglary of a guarded vault and the Channel Tunnel helicopter pursuit alone put other high-action thrillers in intensive care.
Arthur Miller’s emotionally raw play about suspected witchcraft in 17th-century Massachusetts – the author and screenwriter’s veiled attack on the McCarthy-inspired communist witch-hunts of the 1950s – is here brilliantly brought to the screen by director Nicholas Hytner (The Madness of King George). Daniel Day-Lewis is characteristically intense as the married man caught in the middle, but the real fireworks come from Winona Ryder, as the wicked young girl whose manipulative behaviour is the story’s catalyst, and Paul Scofield, who is a commanding presence as the trial’s judge. Hytner maintains a believable period flavour throughout and successfully evokes the stifling atmosphere of fear and suspicion in Salem – the film’s final third, as reputations are ruined and scapegoats are sought, is absolutely electrifying.
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