With Reagan’s biographers being all whiney about The Butler, and Naomi Watts apparently convinced that Princess Di’s been looking down on Watts as she plays her, thinking “Ooh, yes, lovely work there, Naomi,” we thought it was a good time to consider the nature of the biopic. Then we got a bit overwhelmed and decided to just harp on about a few that, for some reason or another, stood out to us.
Helen Mirren is officially the oldest woman in the world that you’re allowed to want to sleep with. Which is nice. She’s also indisputably one of the finest actors of her generation, which is nicer. But did you know that she’s descended from Russian nobility? No, you didn’t. Sounds like somebody needs an ice cold Cheat Sheet…
This month sees the release of Thatcher-fest The Iron Lady, much to the chagrin of David Cameron, and rather than being what we all want it to be – a cross between Robert Downey Jr. in Iron Man and Ted Hughes’ not-quite-as-good-as-Iron-Giant-but-still-pretty-good The Iron Woman – it is, in fact, another boring, by the numbers, Oscar hounding biopic, no different to any that have come before. Sigh, does the biopic genre show that the film industry is running out of ideas?
What is it that makes Colin Firth, Helen Mirren and Judi Dench so good at playing our monarchs of old? Is it maturity, is it talent or is it just that they all have a crown fetish? From the Sixteenth Century up to the present day, many actors have tried to play royalty, and few have succeeded. Those that have are celebrated here.
A foreigner working through the last ten years of British cinema could be forgiven for thinking that this is a nation composed entirely of council estates, sports fields and leftover shreds of the Second World War. After such a torrent of grittiness, Tamara Drewe feels like it’s going to be a real treat – which makes it even more of a shame when it fails to deliver on almost every level.
The Fido awards which are a kind of Oscars for dogs, will take place this weekend at the BFI Southbank in London. Canine characters, puppy protagonists and headlining hounds are becoming more and more frequent on our screens. It’s only fair therefore that their contribution to the world of cinema (which is cluttered with humans) is acknowledged and rewarded.