The Northman

Alexander Skarsgård

Aryans assemble! Hollywood’s most Nordic get together for The Northman, Robert Eggers’ latest exploration of arcane mindsets, and the sort of film that’s probably on a loop at White Supremacist HQ. The men are tall, blond, hairy and sculpted, the women are fierce, brave and yield only to their liege-lord husband. There is dirt, there are runic inscriptions, there is lore and there are any number of other tokens of authenticity. It’s the hipster version of The Vikings, the one that starred Kirk Douglas and Tony Curtis, made in the days when no one particularly minded a pair of New York Jews playing characters out of the Nordic sagas (though there were sniggerings … Read more

Happy Feet

Mumble the penguin leaps for joy in Happy Feet

A CGI animation featuring penguins which comes along in the wake of March of the Penguins, so it’s probably pushing at an open door. And unlike a lot of animated films about animals, this one sets its stall out really quickly. Emperor penguins, it seems, all have a special song that they use in courtship. Except for one, the hero of our fable, called Mumble (voiced by Elijah Wood), who has “happy feet” instead – he’s got the sort of dance moves you might expect from Sammy Davis Jr. His mum thinks it’s cute, his dad thinks it’s suspect whereas the stern community Elder, Noah (voice: Hugo Weaving), takes the view that it’s Mumble’s … Read more

The Others

Nicole Kidman shocked in The Others

Oddly, quite a few people hated this atmospheric ghost story when it came out. It’s a tale with a twist, set just after the end of the Second World War and it’s directed by the Spaniard Alejandro Amenábar. He was a cult name back then, thanks to Tesis and Abre Los Ojos and perhaps he was a bit too out there for some tastes. Nicole Kidman plays the woman waiting for her missing husband to return from the war, a too-dutiful mother who keeps their kids locked away from the light (they’re allergic to it, she says) in a weird dark house kept functioning by a trio of servants. They, we have seen, turned up … Read more

The Paperboy

Nicole Kidman's Charlotte Bless is very pleased to see John Cusack's Hillary Van Wetter in The Paperboy

You want Southern Fried? The Paperboy has it for you by the boneless bucketful. Gourmets, look away now. Thanks to the success of Precious (Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire etc), a peculiarly successful misery memoir, for his follow-up its director Lee Daniels is able to call on a cast starry enough to open several films – Zac Efron, Nicole Kidman, Matthew McConaughey, John Cusack. A cast he then submerges in a 1960s Deep South swamp of gators and racial segregation, the spirit of Blanche Dubois invoked by Kidman’s performance as a slut of a certain age who relies on the comfort of whoever happens to be available. What little plot there … Read more