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Non-Review Review: The Young Victoria

There are a few period dramas about classical nobility released every year. Most of them, such as The Dutchess are fairly bland and lifeless affairs – indeed, it’s hard to create an energy or dynamism around a world most of us have never known which is built upon self-restraint and self-control. The tendency is towards po-faced self-importance and excessive melodrama. While I would be hard pressed to describe The Young Victoria as “exciting” or “thrilling”, it is one of the better period pieces I have seen to focus on the British Royal Family, perhaps because – despite the impressive scope of its subject matter (Queen Victoria was, as the end titlecard informs us, the longest-serving monarch of Great Britain) – it remains tightly focused. It’s a story of courtship and romance, loyalty and dependency. It’s a genuinely and honestly romantic film.

Royalty and politics make strange bedfellows...

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Non-Review Review: Funny People

Funny People is the very definition of “self-indulgent”. It’s a series of comedians from both the big leagues – movie stars – and the smaller circles – the improv stand-up circuit – reflecting on how difficult life is for an entertainer. Be it the generalisation that showbiz types are all cynical and disconnected to the point of being anhedonic, or the observation that fame and success typically come with a high personal cost. Of course, coming from director Judd Atapow – who carved out his earlier career with comedies centred on everyman (okay, maybe “slacker”) types like Knocked-Up or The Forty-Year-Old Virgin – a film about the types of circles that he moved in was a risky venture, one which would definitely represent a move away from the “common man” appeal of his earlier films. And at least those films had the gift of brevity.

My girlfriend would like you all to know that apparently I wear shirts like this...

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Cruise Control – Thoughts on Tom Cruise

I am going to just come out and say this. I like Tom Cruise as an actor. I think he’s hugely talented and vastly underrated. I think he suffers from a subset of the Sean Penn Syndrome that affects Christian Bale – his wacky personal life tends to overshadow his on-screen roles, which is a damn shame, given the talent that’s been hinted at repeatedly throughout his career.

A pleasant cruise...

A pleasant cruise...

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