Posts Tagged ‘Daniel Radcliffe’

Romancing The Page

The Lost City

Directors: Adam and Aaron Nee

Cast: Sandra Bullock, Channing Tatum, Brad Pitt, Daniel Radcliffe, Oscar Nunez, Da’Vine Joy Randolph, Bowen Yang, Hector Anibal, Thomas Forbes-Johnson

Running Time: 1 hour and 52 minutes

Film Premiere: South by South West Film Festival – Austin, Texas, USA SXSWFF – March 2022

Film Rating: 7 out of 10

Directing duo and brothers Adam and Aaron Nee bring the fun filled adventure comedy The Lost City starring Sandra Bullock as best selling romance novelist Loretta Sage and Channing Tatum as her handsome buff cover model Dash as they have to contend with an evil media mogul wonderfully played with a sort of British panache by Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe.

The Lost City had its world premiere at the South by South West Film Festival in Austin, Texas, USA in March 2022 and clearly the brothers drew massive inspiration from the highly successful 1984 adventure film Romancing the Stone starring Michael Douglas, Kathleen Turner and Danny Devito.

The onscreen chemistry between Oscar winner Sandra Bullock (The Blind Side) and Magic Mike star Channing Tatum is undeniable and clearly both actors had loads of fun making this popcorn adventure film. Audiences should look out for a brief appearance by Oscar winner Brad Pitt (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood) who plays the action man Jack Trainer who when initially rescuing Loretta Sage says to him:

“Why are you so Handsome?”

Trainer replies casually after taking out six swarthy looking Dominicans, “My Father was a Weatherman!”

Other notable performances is Da’Vine Joy Randolph (The United States vs. Billie Holiday) as Loretta’s exasperated publisher and book agent Beth Hatten who takes it upon herself to track down her No. 1 wayward romance adventure novelist Loretta Sage after mysteriously being kidnapped by the crazy Abigail Fairfax played by Daniel Radcliffe (Victor Frankenstein, Kill Your Darlings, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows) who clearly relished the chance of playing the villain in The Lost City.

It was comforting to see a near full auditorium when watching The Lost City and if audiences love an entertaining action adventure comedy then this film is for them.

Directors Adam and Aaron Nee kept the tone of the film extremely light making it a pure escapist adventure film helped by the sheer entertainment value of seeing the Miss Congeniality star Sandra Bullock act opposite two much younger leading men: the hilarious Channing Tatum and the super talented Daniel Radcliffe.

Take the kids, go and watch The Lost City, it’s a well-rounded adventure film shot in the Dominican Republic. The Lost City gets a film rating of 7 out of 10 and is recommended viewing.

Digital Illusions

Now You See Me 2

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Director: Jon M. Chu

Cast: Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Lizzy Caplan, Mark Ruffalo, Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, Daniel Radcliffe, Dave Franco, Sanaa Lathan

Following the success of the 2013 magical film Now You See Me, there was definitely a call to make a sequel and reunite the illusive four horsemen.

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In the sequel, Now You See Me 2, G. I. Joe: Retaliation director Jon M. Chu misses the mark in providing a magical follow up to the original film, despite reuniting the same cast including Jesse Eisenberg as Daniel Atlas, Woody Harrelson as Merritt McKinney who also has a rather irritating identical twin brother in this film, Mark Ruffalo as Dylan Rhodes and Dave Franco as Jack Wilder.

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New to the cast is master illusionist Lula played by Lizzy Caplan famous from the raunchy Masters of Sex TV series and the superfluous Daniel Radcliffe as a reclusive tech billionaire Walter Mabry who recruits the magicians to steal back a ubiquitous yet highly guarded computer chip which can hack into anything at an international exchange in the glamorous resort casinos of Macau.

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As the action moves swiftly from New York to Macau and then onto London, the magical tricks and digital illusions even involving numerous card tricks in which the microchip seemingly passes from one horseman to another, Now You See Me 2 appears to be lacking in the essential element of revelation. Something the first film did so brilliantly. For as the optical illusions, card tricks and magic increases, there is less time to provide valuable explanations to the bewildered if slightly amused audience.

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Veteran actors Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman reprise their roles as Arthur Tressler and Thaddeus Bradley respectively whose unholy alliance leads the Four Horseman to play the ultimate trick on the chief villain, a poorly played part by Daniel Radcliffe, who unfortunately appeared to be out of place in this sequel. Perhaps Radcliffe should stick to stronger script material with meatier roles in mind like he did in Victor Frankenstein and Kill Your Darlings.

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Oscar nominee Mark Ruffalo (Spotlight, Foxcatcher) is plausibly believable as the elusive FBI agent Rhodes despite occasionally giving the impression that he should not have signed on for this sequel. Harrelson is in top form playing twins and the only sparks are provided by Eisenberg and Caplan who seem to be the most energetic and enthusiastic magicians.

Whilst Now You See Me 2 falls short of being as brilliant as the first film, it certainly is a fun film to watch even if the plot is slightly convoluted especially in between the globetrotting disappearing acts that the main actors seem to do quite effortlessly. Now You See Me 2 is an enjoyable film, but nothing as magical or dazzling as the original. Lets hope the third film in this magical trilogy is more impressive.

The Lazarus Conversion

Victor Frankenstein

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Director: Paul McGuigan

Cast: James McAvoy, Daniel Radcliffe, Freddie Fox, Charles Dance, Jessica Brown Findlay, Andrew Scott, Bronson Webb, Callum Turner, Daniel Mays

Lovers of the Victorian Gothic should watch the brilliant combination of James McAvoy (Last King of Scotland, Atonement) and Daniel Radcliffe (Kill Your Darlings) as the budding medical duo, Frankenstein and his faithful assistant Igor in Scottish director Paul McGuigan’s period thriller Victor Frankenstein.

The action starts off in the outskirts of 19th century Victorian London at Barnaby’s Circus where Dr Frankenstein first glimpses the nameless hunchback as a circus clown, cruelly treated and vilified, until a moment in the performance when the beautiful trapeze artist Lorelei falls off her swing above a crowd of shocked spectators.  Naturally Frankenstein and the hunchback rush to her rescue.

The delusional Frankenstein assists Igor in escaping the circus and brings him back to his cavernous laboratory where he is hell bent on recreating life from stolen animal parts curtesy of the London Zoo. Frankenstein names the hunchback Igor and after a very muscular scene in which he drains the fluid from Igor back and urges him to wear a brace to straighten his posture. Igor is initially taken in by the passionate Frankenstein although he soon realizes that his new found friend is slightly obsessed, delusional and not to mention reckless.

After a failed experiment at the Chiswick Hospital in which Frankenstein attempts to revive an ape like creature much to everyone’s horror, the potential of what they are trying to achieve is recognized by the wealthy and aristocratic Finnegan played with relish by Freddie Fox (The Riot Club).

Despite being admonished by his father Dr Frankenstein, a brief cameo by Charles Dance, for his reckless medical experiments as well as being chased by a determined God-fearing detective Inspector Turpin played by Andrew Scott (Spectre), Victor Frankenstein proceeds with his determined quest to recreate human life using the Lazarus conversion, an electrical method of reviving a reconstructed being and bringing it to life. This would be the hideous and dreaded monster.

Igor in the meantime is flirting with the gorgeous Lorelei played by Downton Abbey’s Jessica Brown Findlay, and in a very theatrical scene takes her to a lavish Victorian ball, yet he is drawn back to rescuing Frankenstein from his obsessive and dangerous behaviour.

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The film’s climax moves to a Castle in the dramatic Scottish Highlands, where the final preparations for the revival of Frankenstein’s monster is to take place with much assistance from the creepy Finnegan and huge amounts of electricity.

Victor Frankenstein is not a superb film, but a fun filled revival of the Victorian Gothic genre in the same vein as The Wolfman starring Benicio del Toro and Emily Blunt although not quite as scary.

The costumes designed by Jany Temime who also did Spectre are brilliantly done as well as the inventive production design by Eve Stewart, recreating 19th century London in a similar fashion to Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes.

The combination of Radcliffe and McAvoy as mad doctors is a stroke of genius and their onscreen adventures make Victor Frankenstein an enjoyable Victorian action thriller. This is recommended viewing for those that like a bit of dark horror, an intriguing tale told from Igor’s perspective which adds sympathy to the overall image of Frankenstein as more than just a deranged doctor with a God complex.

 

The Libertine Circle

Kill Your Darlings

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Director: John Krokidas
Cast: Daniel Radcliffe, Dane DeHaan, Jack Huston, Michael C. Hall, Ben Foster, Elizabeth Olsen, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Kyra Sedgwick

The Beat generations’ pivotal year at Columbia University in 1944 is the engrossing starting point for this literary murder story, Kill Your Darlings, featuring a superb performance by Dane DeHaan as the disturbed anarchist Lucien Carr who has been under the influence of David Kamerer played by Michael C. Hall of Dexter fame. Enter the freshman and aspiring poet Allen Ginsberg sensitively played by Daniel Radcliffe who has fled a disturbed domestic environment to attend Columbia University and study English Literature.

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Soon Ginsberg falls under the spell bounding attention of Carr and the two strike up an intensely homoerotic friendship and Carr introduces Ginsberg to William S. Buroughs wonderfully underplayed by an unrecognizable Ben Foster and Jack Kerouac, played by Jack Huston nephew of Hollywood stars Angelica and Danny Huston and grandson of legendary director John Huston.
Ginsberg, Burroughs and Kerouac fueled by countless drugs, experimental sexuality and non-conformist attitudes attempt to liberate themselves from the pantheon of Victorian and pre-Modernist literature and invent a new type of distinctly American literary movement heavily influenced by the banned work of Henry Miller, The Tropic of Cancer along with D. H. Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover both of which was secured under lock and key in the stately Columbia Library.

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As the Second World War raged on across the Atlantic and many of their American countrymen were liberating a ruined Europe from the last throws of Fascism, The Beat Generation was germinating in the hallowed halls of Columbia University and the dive bars of jazzy Harlem. Naturally its every young man first response to rebel against society upon entering University and these four certainly do so in more ways than one, under the envious gaze of David Kamerer whose latent sexuality and jealousy threatens to destroy their unique vision that of a Libertine Circle inspired by the poetry of W. B. Yeats. Kill Your Darlings is heavy viewing and for those not familiar with the writers or works of the Beat Generation which blossomed in the 1950’s and was at the forefront to American counter-culture leading up to the youth revolt characterizing the 1960’s, should really avoid this film.

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Kill Your Darlings refers to the breaking of all standard literary conventions like metre, narrative and plot development, something the Modernists like Yeats, Virginia Woolf and T. S. Eliot started doing. Central to this literary world, where creativity is fueled by drugs in Williams S. Burroughs’s case (see The Naked Lunch), or sexuality in Ginsberg’s case or recklessness in the life of Jack Kerouac whose seminal work On The Road become the literary bible for the Beat Generation is the unusual story of Carr and his ambivalent and highly influential relationship with Ginsberg. This controversial and ultimately doomed relationship would eventually be the inspiration of Ginsberg’s famous poem Howl published in 1957  as he discovers his latent homosexuality along with his distinctive voice as one of America’s most influential poets.

De Haan and Radcliffe are brave, ferocious and sexy  in Kill Your Darlings and while the murder plot tends to be slightly laboured it is their relationship with each other and also with their parents which becomes the focal point of a fascinating study of rebellion, artistic integrity in the face of conventional criticism and more significantly sacrifice. Highly recommended viewing but definitely not aimed at a broad appeal.

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