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Now showing at Alban Arena Civic Centre,St Albans,Hertfordshire AL1 3LD 01727 844488

  • A Thousand Times Good Night
  • Grace Of Monaco

A Thousand Times Good Night 3 stars

movie title

War photographer Rebecca has travelled the globe, capturing haunting images of suffering, devastation and courage behind enemy lines. During an assignment in Kabul, she attempts to take a haunting image of a female suicide bomber but Rebecca ventures too close to her subject and is badly injured in the blast. Rushed home to recuperate, Rebecca is met by her husband Marcus and daughter Steph, who give Rebecca an ultimatum: her photography or them.

  • GenreDrama, Indie, Romance, War
  • CastMaria Doyle Kennedy, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Juliette Binoche, Lauryn Canny.
  • DirectorErik Poppe.
  • WriterErik Poppe, Harald Rosenlow-Eeg.
  • CountryNor/Ire/Sw
  • Duration117 mins
  • Official site
  • Release02/05/2014 (selected cinemas)

Oscar winner Juliette Binoche (The English Patient) headlines Erik Poppe's contemplative drama about the deep emotional wounds inflicted by conflict. War photographer Rebecca (Binoche) has travelled the globe, capturing haunting images of suffering, devastation and courage behind enemy lines. During an assignment in Kabul, she attempts to take a haunting image of a female suicide bomber but Rebecca ventures too close to her subject and is badly injured in the blast. Rushed home to recuperate, Rebecca is met by her husband Marcus (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) and daughter Steph (Lauryn Canny), who are terrified of losing her. So they give Rebecca an ultimatum: her photography or them. Naturally, Rebecca chooses her family but her thirst for adventure remains. When she is offered a seemingly safe assignment to document events in a Kenyan refugee camp, Rebecca cannot see the harm and she takes Steph with her, naively believing that nothing bad can happen with her daughter at her side.

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Thursday 24th July 2014

Grace Of Monaco 2 stars

movie title

The year is 1962 and it has been six years since Grace Kelly married Prince Rainier III and retired from acting. Rainier hopes to modernise an ailing Monaco but his plans are thwarted by French president Charles de Gaulle, who wants to reclaim the principality by force. Far from home, Grace must face an agonising decision between standing beside her husband or returning to her old life as a movie star.

  • GenreBiography, Drama, Historical/Period, Romance
  • CastNicole Kidman, Tim Roth, Parker Posey, Frank Langella, Paz Vega.
  • DirectorOlivier Dahan.
  • WriterArash Amel.
  • CountryFr/US/Bel/
  • Duration103 mins
  • Official site
  • Release06/06/2014

Olivier Dahan's fictionalised account of a turbulent year in the life of Hollywood actress Grace Kelly begins with newsreel footage of the Oscar-winning star's lavish wedding to Prince Rainier III. Grainy black and white images are complemented by effusive voiceover, which glowingly predicts the blonde starlet is "destined to live happily ever after with her charming prince."

Alas, the fairytale doesn't deliver a happy ever after for Grace Of Monaco, which must have required several blood transfusions following the barrage of razor-sharp critical barbs that greeted the film's premiere in Cannes.

Undeniably, Dahan's picture lacks substance and some of his directorial choices are misjudged such as photographing the porcelain features of Nicole Kidman in soft-focus close-up for every pivotal scene of emotional turmoil. His camera drifts woozily between her bloodshot eyes and puckered lips as she delivers Arash Amel's melodramatic script.

The year is 1962 and it has been six years since Grace (Kidman) married Prince Rainier III (Roth) and retired from acting to assume her role as glamorous figurehead of the European principality of Monaco. Hitchcock, who directed Grace in Rear Window, Dial M For Murder and To Catch A Thief, arrives in Monaco to persuade her to play the kleptomaniac heroine in Marnie. "It's going to be the role of a lifetime, Gracie!" the filmmaker predicts.

Closer to home, president Charles de Gaulle (Andre Penvern) intends to reclaim the principality and demands the citizens of Monaco pay their tax coffers into French pockets. "You agree to my terms or I will send Monaco back to the Dark Ages," de Gaulle threatens, stopping short of a throaty pantomime villain guffaw.

Thus Grace must choose between personal dreams and regal responsibilities, with guidance from ex-pat holy man, Father Francis (Frank Langella).

It's hard to muster sympathy for anyone in Grace Of Monaco - neither the self-serving bureaucrats nor the privileged social set, who savour the trappings of wealth, birth right and celebrity. Kidman attempts to capture Kelly's vocal patterns but she's poorly served by the script when it comes to layering her breathy delivery with emotion.

Roth is lacklustre and Langella lends gravitas to an endless supply of hoary sermons ("At some point, every fairytale must end!") For its myriad failings, including an infuriating inability to address Kelly's relationship with her children which is supposedly the catalyst for her inner conflict, the film has fleeting pleasures.

Gigi Lepage's costumes are gorgeous, allowing Kidman to change attire with dizzying frequency, and when juicy dialogue is scant, supporting cast merrily chew on scenery. It's a toss-up between Robert Lindsay's portrayal of Aristotle Onassis and Ashton-Griffiths's jowly take on Hitchcock who leaves the deepest teeth marks.

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Wednesday 23rd July 2014
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