Back in 2015 it seemed like everyone was reading Paula Hawkins The Girl on the Train and now everyone seems to be going on about the film version directed by Tate Taylor. But can the big screen adaptation be anywhere near as successful as the book?
Rachel is a lonely divorced alcholic who rides the same train everyday which passes by the house of her her ex hsuband Tom (Justin Theroux) and his new wife Anna (Rebecca Ferguson) house. She also watches another couple Scott and Megan who live on the same street (played by Luke Evans and Hayley Bennett) and daydreams about their seemingly idylic life. However when Megan goes missing Rachel becomes obsessed with finding out the truth about her disapearance, especially as she fears she may have seen Megan during a drunken blackout.
The Girl on the Train is a solid adapatation, with a great performance by Emily Blunt as the messed up Rachel. Blunt emotes sympathy for the main character while also showing us the flawed and desperate person she has become. While Blunt wasn’t who I imagined playing Rachel when the film was first announced she plays a convincing drunk who looks suitably dishevilled for most of the movie. The other central female roles are also well played by Bennett and Furguson and they are certainly more interesting roles then the ones Evans and Theroux have to play (which makes a nice change for the female to get the better roles in a film).
As I’ve read the book before this did limit my enjoyment of the mystery at the heart of the film but I was still engaged in the story. Much like the book I found the main character interesting, especially as she is such an unreliable narrator therefore you are always questioning what you are seeing and being told by her. However as the revalations gets revealed the film gets less engaging and it almost feels as though Taylor felt he had to rush through the last act to it’s so-so conclusion.
Rating 3/5 – a solid movie that isn’t quite as good as it’s leading actresses
Is there anything Meryl Streep can’t do? She can act, she can sing and has won several awards. In her most recent role she is set a new challenge- to play someone who is completely devoid of talent.
Florence Foster Jenkins (Streep), a New York Socialite in 1944 New York, loves music and her passion for operatic singing is indulged by her friends and her younger hsuband St Clair Bayfield (Hugh Grant). However while Florence believes a great deal in her singing ability she is in fact-as her new pianist Cosme McNoon (Simon Helberg) quickly realises – completly tone deaf.
There’s probably another film that could be made about Florence Foster Jenkins, one that would show her less sympathetically. A more critical, less gentle film that questioned if Florence knew more about her critics than the film suggets. It may also portray Florence as someone who uses her wealth to do whatever she wants no matter her actual musical worth. But it’s doubtful that film would be anywhere near as entertaining as director Stephen Frears’ Florence Foster Jenkins.
It is a bit redundant to say Streep puts in an excellent performance as Florence, after all it is Meryl Streep. Yet again she pulls off a fabulous performance working against her instincts as a good singer to play someone who has no idea how terrible a singer she really is. The scene where we hear her sing for the first time is one of the funniest scenes of the year so far. It’s not just how off tune she is either, it’s the reactions of everyone around her, particularly from Cosme (Helberg gives some great reaction shots throughout the entire movie).
Underneath the comedy there is a saddness and tragedy in Florence’s path, it is this that gives the film an added poignancy and makes Florence more than just a deluded figure of fun. While Streep is the key ingrediant in the movie her co-stars are also vital in making the film work. Grant gives one of his best performance in years, convincing as a loving husband paying off the critics in order to protect his wife while also having a mistress (Rebecca Furgeson-also great). Helberh is also very funny as the pianist who can’t believe what he has to work with.
Nowadays the likes of Florence Foster Jenkins wouldn’t be able to hide from the critics and we’d be laughing her off the stage like an audience for the X Factor. However there’s something to admire about someone who loves to sing that much. As the real Florence once said “People may say I can’t sing, but no one can ever say I didn’t sing.”
Rating 4/5 – top note performances by all in this often funny, sometimes touching look at the world’s worst opera singer
Your mission if you choose to accept it, is to watch the fifth in the Mission: Impossible franchise. But will it leaves me wishing the IMF was killed off?
The Impossible Missions Force is disbanded by the CIA just as Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) becomes convinced of the existence of the Syndicate an anti IMF intent on causing death and terror. With the help of Benji (Simon Pegg), Brandt (Jeremy Renner) and Luther (Ving Rhames) Ethan tries to bring the Syndicate down. But with duplicitous Syndicate member Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Furguson) around will Ethan be able to save the day?
I’ve enjoyed the Mission Impossible series. It’s often ridiculous but fun and say what you like about Tom Cruise but he has pulled out some great stunts in the franchise. Rogue Nation is no different. Whether it’s hanging off the side of an aircraft or having to hold his breath for 3 minutes underwater Tom is up for it. This time around we also get a female love interest/femme fatale who can match Cruise’s in the athletic states with Furguson also doing a lot of her own impressive stunts. It’s also good that Ilsa is one of the better female characters of the series.
Yes the film is over the top, and overly complicated, and I’m not all the plot makes sense but the film knows what it’s audience wants. High octane thrills and plenty of action. It’s nice to see familiar faces Renner and Rhames back and I’m glad that Pegg’s Benji is back with an even bigger part this time. He provides a lot of the comic relief but everyone has their moments. Ethan’s fight at a Vienna opera house is both exciting and funny.
I found the Syndicate leader Sean Harris is bit underwhelming and seems to rely a lot on luck to get his plans to work. But minor quibbles aside Rogue Nation shows that there’s still life in the Mission: Impossible franchise yet. And judging by the early box office it seems we’ll be set for a sixth film soon.
Rating 4/5 – thrilling action and spectacles proves the mission is not over yet for this franchise