On Camera #19: Mommy / Cinderella / Mockingjay Part One / Broadchurch / Pixels

on Sunday, March 22, 2015
Words: Jordan Andrew & Saam Das

In Cinemas: 'Mommy' (2014) + 'Cinderella' (2015)

Polymath French-Canadian Xavier Dolan has just turned 26 - in that time, he's written, directed, and acted in several acclaimed feature films, and voiced roles in the French language versions of everything from the likes of 'Finding Nemo' to 'Life Of Pi'. His latest film 'Mommy' (★★★½) matches his usual stylistic standards and hearty emotions, exploring the difficult relationship between a widowed mother (Anne Dorval) and her troubled teenage son, Steve (Antoine-Olivier Pilon).

The duo find assistance by way of their introverted neighbour (Suzanne Clement, magnificent in Dolan's 2012 'Laurence Anyways'), who is as mysterious as Steve is obnoxious. One scene in particular marks Dolan's talent, as he makes a Celine Dion song seem not only resonant but legitimately cool. Unfortunately, the rest of 'Mommy' often feels messy and overly raw, although the visual and musical aesthetic prove frequently fascinating.

The last Cinderella film I remember was in 1997, starring Brandy and the late Whitney Houston. Eight years on and we are being treated to another remake of the classic tale - Cinderella is forced to be a slave to her evil stepmother and stepsisters but one night Cinderella sneaks off to a grand ball, thanks to the help of her magical Fairy Godmother. Cinderella meets her Prince Charming but has to rush out by midnight, inadvertently leaving a glass slipper...

This 'Cinderella' (★★½) is generally a lot darker but there is a recent trend of Disney films going in that direction, for example 'Snow White And The Huntsman' with Kristen Stewart. This is still a fun Cinderella, keeping the whole family gripped right up until the end - Cate Blanchett is the star, playing the stepmother to perfection especially when she comes out this famous line, "You shall not go to the ball". I prefer the more appealing and multi-cultural Brandy version of Cinderella, however 'Cinderella' is one of those films that can continuously have remakes and still grab an audience's attention.

At Home: 'The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1' + 'Broadchurch'

As we said back in November in On Camera #11, it's difficult to escape the knowledge that 'Mockingjay Part 1' is only effectively half a movie. Picking up almost straight off from 'Catching Fire', the latest installment in the series changes the Games-based formula - instead focussing on a propaganda war between the Capitol and the resistance. Unfortunately, the emotional element is overplayed, with Jennifer Lawrence's Katniss seemingly in tears every five minutes.

Writer Chris Chibnall's 2013 'Broadchurch' was a vividly shot, brilliantly paced, and intricate murder mystery. Also out this week on DVD comes the highly anticipated second series of the ITV detective drama, with David Tennant and Olivia Colman both returning. (As they also will be for the announced third series.) The second series explores the trial for the murder of Danny Latimer and the pressure it puts on the local community, as well as developing the Sandbrook case mentioned in the previous series. A slightly frustrating follow up, albeit one whose braver direction successfully exploits the considerable skills of Tennant and Colman.

TV & Movie News

The 2-for-1 Orange Wednesday cinema tickets may have ended in the UK but replacement offers are now starting to pop up - Meerkat Movies and EE Film Club.

What if video game characters came to life? And then started attacking us all. Well, 'Pixels' explores just that, and pits the likes of Adam Sandler and Peter Dinklage against them:

'Interstellar' co-writer discusses how his brother (director Christopher Nolan) rewrote his original ending to the 2014 sci-fi film.

John Ajvide Lindqvist's novel 'Let The Right One In' has had Swedish and US film adaptations, made it onto the stage, and is now set for a US TV remake.

Writer-director Noah Baumbach's latest film While We're Young' has LCD Soundsystem's James Murphy leading up its soundtrack. Hear a track ('We Used To Dance') below:

Read previous On Camera columns here. Drop us a line at film(at)fadedglamour.co.uk if you have something you think might be worth featuring in a future column.

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