The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard

Ryan Reynolds, Salma Hayek and Samuel L Jackson

There’s an extended version and a moviehouse version of The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard. I watched the longer one, which seemed padded by about 15 minutes, which is exactly the amount of time that the extended version has been extended by. So if you’re after a more concentrated hit of action comedy – or don’t have long left to live… If you really don’t have long left to live, and feel the need for knockabout fun, you don’t need to waste time by watching the first film in order to enjoy this second one. That was a poacher-versus-gamekeeper tale – a hitman (Samuel L Jackson in “motherfucker” mode), an over-cautious bodyguard (Ryan Reynolds in … Read more

The Serpent’s Kiss

Ewan McGregor in The Serpent's Kiss

    A treatise on order and chaos, propriety and lust, hidden inside the convoluted, if a bit TV-ish, story of Meneer Chrome (Ewan McGregor), an 18th-century Dutch (or is he?) landscape gardener. Chrome has been employed to refashion and tame the herbaceous borders of bumptious self-made Thomas Smithers (Pete Postlethwaite) and in the process bankrupt him and seize his bride (Greta Scacchi), if the plans of dastardly fop James Fitzmaurice (Richard E. Grant) bear fruit. This lace-cuffed fol-de-rol of a Sunday afternoon movie is the directorial debut of Oscar-winning cameraman Philippe Rousselot and it doesn’t suffer from bad looks. It also has its odd sly, dry moment – though there are only so … Read more

Wah-Wah

Emily Watson and Gabriel Byrne in Wah-Wah

    Richard E Grant’s autobiographical book With Nails (a reference to his film debut in Withnail and I) having been something of a hit, it was probably only a matter of time before he tried his hand at directing. He’s once again in loosely autobiographical territory in this drama set in Swaziland during the late 1960s Indian summer of British colonialism. Grant dissects his cuckoo class through a “personal is political” story – the breakdown of the marriage of his own parents (played by Gabriel Byrne, Miranda Richardson) and the arrival of a new mum (Emily Watson), an American with a clearer, brasher view of matters, a woman who says what she … Read more