Tag Archives: Derek Jacobi

Tolkien (Dome Karukoski, 2019)

Having already helmed Tom of Finland in 2017, Finnish director Dome Karukoski continues his penchant for biopics about creative people with Tolkien. With Nicholas Hoult in the title role, the film presents the trials and tribulations of J.R.R. Tolkien’s life up to putting his first draft of The Hobbit to paper. These include his orphaning at a young age, a strong bond with a group of classmates at school, a burgeoning romance with his future wife, Edith (Lily Collins), and his experiences in the First World War.

Tolkien is a handsomely mounted production with an endearing pair of performances at its centre, but it never overcomes the problem at the core of David Gleeson and Stephen Beresford’s screenplay: the reductivism concerning the artistic process. Considering that Tolkien himself was a man who resisted allegorical readings of his work, particularly when it came to the influence of war on his output, there’s a degree of irony to this biopic presenting the most literal-minded interpretation of how The Hobbit – and parts of The Lord of the Rings – came to be…

Full review for VODzilla.co

Murder on the Orient Express (Kenneth Branagh, 2017)

The latest screen adaptation of Agatha Christie’s iconic mystery Murder on the Orient Express mixes old-fashioned storytelling with a couple of effects-heavy embellishments more in line with modern blockbusters. It’s an approach befitting of director Kenneth Branagh’s recent career trajectory, which has included a lavish fairytale redo (Cinderella) and a Shakespeare-infused superhero movie (Thor).

Branagh also stars as Hercule Poirot, with an ostentatious moustache more in line with Christie’s description of the Belgian detective, though it always looks like it’s gradually spreading, possibly eating the lower half of Branagh’s face…

Full review for The Skinny