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The Lesson review: A beautiful film with a tantalising score and crystal clear cinematography


(15) 103mins


THE incurable disease of writing has been the subject of many eerie films.

Those long, insomnia-ridden nights, alone in front of a typewriter — or notepad — have encapsulated the madness in The Shining, Dead Poets Society and The Hours, to name a few.


The Lesson is a combination of excellent cinematography and casting[/caption]

And now, the agony of writer’s block has been brought to the big screen again, this time with a crazed and weary literary hero, JM Sinclair (Richard E Grant) who has been working on his much-awaited novel for five years.

The story is set up quickly as a game of cat and mouse, with Sinclair declaring in an interview: “Good writers borrow, great writers steal”.

And his latest catch appears to be superfan, Liam (Daryl McCormack) who arrives at the opulent middle-of-nowhere house to tutor Bertie (Stephen McMillan), the son of JM and his artist wife, Helene (Julie Delpy).

Liam is an aspiring writer himself and watches JM like a hawk, mimicking his working hours and trying to write at the same pace, throughout the night with a whiskey in hand.

With the pressure of having to prepare solemn and broken Bertie — who is dealing with the tragedy of his older brother’s suicide — for a top university place, Liam finds himself near exhaustion and feeling the cold from the crisp, dry Helene and competitive JM.

However, he has an ace card up his sleeve — a photographic memory.

While it may seem like a blessing, it soon tips him into a nightmarish chapter of his life.

Divided into a prologue, three parts and an epilogue, this tale would not be much without the stellar cast.

The seemingly psychotic JM is delivered deliciously by Grant, who uses his comedic ability and wide eyes to bounce from madness to melancholy.

And stepping straight from his Bafta nomination for Good Luck To You, Leo Grande opposite Emma Thompson, McCormack is, once again, utterly hypnotic.

With a character that could be plucked from Shakespeare, his performance as the tutor with a secret keeps you very curious indeed.

Add in a tantalising score by Isobel Waller-Bridge and crystal clear cinematography from Anna Patarakina, and this beautiful British film makes you want to open a bottle of red wine and a mature cheddar.

And it will keep you intrigued to the final page.




REMEMBER those war games in the school playground where the kids would shout “Bang, bang you’re dead!” at each other?

Now imagine that on a big screen, being performed by way-past-their-best action heroes.


The Expend4bles is a star-studded cringefest[/caption]

Mix in a nonsensical script spoken in lazy slurs and a couple of female “fighters” who look like they’ve done 12 rounds with a glam squad, and you have this hot mess of a film.

Unbelievably, the fourth in the franchise, with the tagline “They’ll die when they’re dead” (what?), we once again see Christmas (Jason Statham) join forces with Barney (Sylvester Stallone), Gunner (Dolph Lundgren), and Toll (Randy Couture) to fight a bunch of baddies using machine guns, throat slashing and decapitation.

This time they’re joined by newbies, Easy Day (a criminally underused 50 Cent), Gina (Megan Fox) and Lash (Levy Tran).

Directed by Scott Waugh, this movie could read as a dummies’ guide on how not to make an action movie.

Dull, predictable and completely lacking any good one-liners or likeable characters, the only thing you’re rooting for is the end.


(15) 104mins


ACTOR Paul Dano and director Craig Gillespie have a lot of currency – which Dumb Money only adds to.

Little Miss Sunshine star Dano plays small-time stock market investor Keith Gill, who became a social media sensation two years ago when he talked up the value of US high street store GameStop.


Dumb Money is worth investing your time in[/caption]

Gabe Plotkin (Seth Rogen) is “short-selling” GameStop – his company bets that the price of the stock will go down.

Cue a David v Goliath battle, with Gill’s “dumb money” (Wall Street slang for stock market dabblers) pitted against billionaires.

That might not sound too thrilling, but once Gill’s impoverished followers see their GameStop shares rocketing in price, you find yourself pretty invested.

Gillespie, who directed the brilliant I, Tonya, makes the most of his acting assets, which also include Pete Davidson and Shailene Woodley.

On the downside the terminology is rarely explained and there isn’t the moral ambiguity of his ice-skating biopic.

But Dumb Money is worth investing your time in.

September 22, 2023 at 02:53AM

from The Sun

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