Classic Film Re-watch - Shakespeare in Love (1998)

There was a backlash at the time that Shakespeare In Love won the Academy Award for Best Picture. It was deemed too light and inconsequential to have won. It was up against Steven Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan, and there was a lot of Hollywood support for that boy’s own adventure and less support for the award campaigning that went on this year. Especially by Miramax. Knowing what we do now of Harvey Weinstein and Gwyneth Paltrow, you cannot feel that most movie watching is now tainted. My personal opinion is that the opening 30 minutes of Saving Private Ryan is one of the best war movies I have ever seen. The rest, however, is a bit rote. But this is not about Saving Private Ryan, this is about John Madden’s Shakespeare In Love.

I picked this film to show to my family for our weekly classic movie re-watch, because it is a movie that is a lot of fun, romantic and very difficult to get right. I have seen many a film try and fail, but this movie is really great. It is so well written by Tom Stoppard and Marc Norman, and he performances are well done. Twenty years later, this film holds up. I think even more so due to the fact that we do not have many movies like this made any more. This is not a film that is championed for a re-watch when the cinema chains are marketing Valentine’s Day or Classic Movies on the big screen, and I think they have overlooked a gem. Give it a go and play on.

Iron Man 3 - the final chapter?

The third Iron Man movie is much much better than the second one, but not as good as the first.  The script is better and the plot makes sense for a comic book movie.  The quips are there, the drama is there, the action/CGI sequences are there, but after the genuine surprises and humour of The Avengers, this third outing of fan favourite seems a bit tired.  I think it is just superhero fatigue.  If this set of movies were a standalone group of films rather than part of 10 movie franchise, it would come across better than it does.  It is just too heavy on the formula and relies on the charisma of Robert Downey Jr and the rest of the cast to lift it out of the by numbers plot.  Special mention of Ben Kingsley, who is just brilliant. The humour is there, but not in the burst out laughing way, more in the wry appreciation of a well delivered line. It feels a bit rushed at the end, as the wrap up after the major confrontation is a montage, glimpsing at decisions and impacts on the characters that would be major plot points in any other movie.  At least Gwyneth Paltrow has more to do in this outing.  Don't get me wrong, the movie is fun, but not 'I can't wait to see that again' fun.  You certainly get the sense that Tony Stark's story is at an end.  It will be interesting to see what happens in The Avengers 2.  Good luck Joss Whedon.