Posts Tagged ‘The Invisible Woman’

RICHARD’S “CANADA AM” REVIEWS FOR JAN. 17, 2014 W/ beverly thomson.

Screen Shot 2014-01-17 at 9.58.36 AMCanada AM’s film critic Richard Crouse shares his reviews for ‘Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit,’ ‘The Nut Job,’ and ‘The Invisible Woman.’

Watch the whole thing HERE!


THE INVISIBLE WOMAN: 2 STARS. “could use a little more TMZ and a little less BBC.”

Ralph-Fiennes-The-Invisible-WomanAn elegant period piece about Charles Dickens and his mistress, starring and directed by Ralph Fiennes, comes with great expectations, most of which, unfortunately are not met.

When “The Invisible Woman” begins Charles Dickens (Fiennes) is the Justin Bieber of his day. He’s fabulously famous and wealthy thanks to his best selling books and stage appearances.

Married with children, his life becomes a tale of two women when a seventeen-year-old actress named Nelly Ternan (Felicity Jones) is cast in one of his plays. Infatuated with the young woman the “David Copperfield” author begins a long-running, but secret affair with her that lasted until his death.

Younger viewers might wonder why Lord Voldemort is traipsing around London in a top hat and spats but the range of his performance will strike older viewers, familiar with Fiennes’s brooding work. His physical resemblance to the writer is remarkable, but it is the arc of the character, from charismatic celebrity to love sick puppy to Victorian rascal that really impresses.

Ditto the work of Joanna Scanlan as the long-suffering Catherine Dickens. She’s the mother of Dickens’s children, and a good and loyal person who becomes one of the invisible women in the author’s life as he falls deeper in love with Nelly. She hands in a wonderfully sympathetic performance rich with pathos and sadness.

Too bad these two stand-out performances are wrapped around a terribly dull film. With none of the crackle of Fiennes’s last directorial work “Coriolanus,” it’s a wealth of period details and sure handed direction but it plays like a tedious episode of “Masterpiece Theatre” broadcast by the BBC, which in this case would stand for Boring British Channel.

The story of a life-changing love affair is presented almost completely without passion and bookended by a sidebar of Nellie as an adult, still pining for her lost lover. Or, as it is presented in the film, staring off into the distance. As a viewer you hope the Ghost of Dickens Past will appear to snap out of her endless funk.

Ultimately “The Invisible Woman” could have used a little more TMZ and a little less BBC.


Fantastic-Four01At the beginning of The Rise of the Silver Surfer the Fantastic Four—Mr. Fantastic, The Invisible Woman, The Thing and The Human Torch—are tabloid celebrities. They have endorsement deals, always travel in first class and their every move is followed by the press. They’re just like Paris Hilton, except that she’s in jail and they aren’t. Oh, and rather than commit crimes, they solve them, and by the end of this movie will have saved the entire world.

On the eve of the marriage between Mr. Fantastic (Ioan Gruffudd) and The Invisible Woman (Jessica Alba) strange atmospheric disturbances begin to plague the earth. Seas freeze and giant craters start to pop up everywhere. Despite the trouble the superheroes decide to go ahead with the wedding as planned. Just before the “I do’s” a shiny silver man on a shiny silver surfboard whizzes by, disrupting everything, and very nearly mussing Jessica Alba’s really fake looking blonde hair.

Some scientific mumbo jumbo later it is revealed that every time the Silver Surfer buzzes a planet, it dies eight days later. Call him Mr. Global Warming.

No one likes a deadline, but the Fan 4 jump into action, with the help of the army and their former nemesis Victor Von Doom (Nip and Tuck’s Julian McMahon) who has returned from the dead and may have some crucial information to help save the world. With time counting down the Silver Surfer will, to paraphrase Brian Wilson, have fun, fun, fun until the Fan 4 take his surfboard away.

The Rise of the Silver Surfer is a vast improvement on the first movie in this franchise, 2005’s Fantastic Four, which made a lot of money (hence the sequel) but offered little in the way of good story-telling or even interesting special effects. Neither film is as smart as any of the X-Men movies, as stylish as Spider-Man 1 or 2, or even as action-packed as Batman Begins, but they do manage to capture some of the goofy fun of the comic books. Corny jokes pepper the script, and instead of taking their usual powers seriously, the superheroes seem to have fun with them. The Invisible Girl uses her magical cloaking abilities to make a zit disappear on her wedding day and Mr. Fantastic, more colloquially know as Rubber Man really struts—or should that be stretches—his stuff on the dance floor.

Teenagers and fans of the comic books should enjoy the action sequences, the bad guy, Dr. Doom, a villain so over-the-top dramatic he makes the Phantom of the Opera look like he’s auditioning for a high school glee club, the straightforward story—there’s no background info, dark sides or any of the other stuff that often make movies based on comic books a bit of a slog—and The Silver Surfer who is just flat out cool.

Too bad the acting isn’t better—we’re looking at you Alba and Grufudd—and the dialogue a little sharper. The Fantastic Four are hugely popular comic book characters, unfortunately when translated to the screen they’re not quite fantastic, just adequate.