Spectacular, irreverent, eclectic: Joe Wright’s attractive prequel to the classic JM Barrie fantasy recalls the anachronistic delights of A Knight’s Tale, the dreamy landscape of Avatar, the swashbuckling of Pirates of the Caribbean and the old-fashioned adventure of Indiana Jones. The cast is suitably pantomimic, but the movie stands accused of forgetting the magic of the original author’s work.
Writer/director Guillermo del Toro’s flair for offbeat fantasy horror leads us to a Gothic ruin in this typically lavish horror romance. Tom Hiddleston plays the penniless peer who sweeps bookish Mia Wasikowska off her feet and delivers her to a truly spooky English house. But despite the brooding potential of the location, the movie never seems to break into the Blakian delight that we associate with Del Toro from movies such as Pan’s Labyrinth and Hellboy.
Alex Gibney’s Armstrong Lie lucked in on the breaking story of seven-times Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong’s fall from grace, and was able to turn a comeback special into an exposé of a driven and ruthless competitor. Stephen Frears’s dramatisation of the story stars Ben Foster as the cyclist, and though Frears never really gets under Armstrong’s skin, he broadens the story out nicely, introducing other players, such as doping doctor Michele Ferrari (Guillame Canet), and dogged journalist David Walsh (Chris O’Dowd), as central players in a great sporting scandal.
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