All posts by Ewan Gleadow

Arts and news journalist at regionals, nationals and online websites including NewcastleWorld, Cult Following, Clapper, The Geek Show and Daily Star. Podcast guest on Pop Screen and Death by Adaptation.

He Dreams of Giants Review

Tenacity in the face of modern distribution. Disturbing commitment to a project trying to abandon him time and time again. Only Terry Gilliam could have such back in making a movie. A feature that took him nigh on two decades to make. The result? A fine feature. One that will leave little, if any, lasting impression. A noble sacrifice to have Don Quixote adapted and there for future generations to use should they hope to avoid reading. Noble. He Dreams of Giants is a follow-up to Lost in La Mancha, a documentary about how Gilliam failed to make an adaptation of Don Quixote the last time around. What this means is that the ratio of documentaries about Gilliam’s failure to make a film adapting the writings of Miguel de Cervantes outweighs the number of adaptations Gilliam has made of Cervantes’ work.

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Batman Forever Review

Springing to mind immediately are the immortal words of Tommy Lee Jones, uttered in disgust to cast member Jim Carrey. “I will not sanction your buffoonery”. If Jones does not have to sanction it, then why must audiences? Comical stuff. But that is Batman Forever, a feature that cannot take itself seriously because director Joel Schumacher dared to touch close to the Adam West influences. Icarus he is not. Flying too close to that line means there is a rift between what Schumacher wants to try out as a comical feature and what newcomer to the Caped Crusader series Val Kilmer wants to do with a performance that, if handled right, could offer much depth.

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Death on the Nile Review

Truthfully, the adaptions of Agatha Christie’s work should be a gold mine for directors looking to get a foot on the ladder. They should not be a bright ensemble taking control of good prose but an example of how and why simple tropes still appeal to an audience. Kenneth Branagh’s starring role and work behind the camera as director of this latest Death on the Nile adaptation will continue on his trend of fascinatingly acceptable features. He can neither leap to greatness nor sink to degeneracy and in that mediocrity comes a seething resentment for a man doing just fine. A second turn for the man as Hercule Poirot beckons not how to solve this latest case, but why it needs presenting in this manner.

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Edward Chisholm – A Waiter in Paris Review

Death of the social life, ruinous financial warfare and a genuine drive to be something are all topics contained in writer Edward Chisholm, who recounts his experiences as a runner, waiter and restaurant hand in A Waiter in Paris. It is the dying, noble profession that so many have tried to document and bring to life through various pieces of media, failing to do so because a blemish is missing or a character is out of place. To take it from the source is the best-case scenario, a scattering of scenes that add detail to a scattershot life in a Parisian restaurant. The ins and outs of the filthy business put in the limelight with an effective gaze on what it really means to be a waiter. What a nightmare.

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Chopper Review

Before Bronson came Chopper. Notorious criminals and the fame they garner for themselves as being beyond the level of usually hardened cell fodder is a fascinating avenue that has grown commercial through true crime and true fascination. No wonder the life of Bronson was turned into a Tom Hardy-led biopic. No wonder the life of Chopper was turned into a self-titled biopic helmed by director Andrew Dominik and starring Eric Bana as the caricature presentation of a tough, Australian criminal. Is there any difference between the tough-as-nails brutality found here and the more sophisticated mobsters of the Martin Scorsese-fuelled 1990s? Not too much. What separates them is the style of crime and the class in doing it.

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Traveling Wilburys – Traveling Wilburys Volume 1 Review

Powers founded on the supergroups of the now are pale comparisons to what the late 1980s had in store for audiences. McBusted are a strong contender, surely, but not close to the might and influence Traveling Wilburys had in their two short years together. Artists who have crafted some of the all-time greats, not just once, but consistently so. Traveling Wilburys that is, not McBusted. Generations of influence, and decades of musical experience, all siphoned off into a ten-track album that spawned from a light joke of a single turning into something far, far more powerful than could ever have been expected. Handle With Care indeed. It didn’t get much better for this supergroup than Traveling Wilburys, Vol 1.

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Cold Souls Review

Who better to portray someone with a soul the size of a chickpea than Paul Giamatti? A man whose obsession with anger, spite and conformity to his own reality has steered some of his finest performances. Cold Souls feels like a continuation of the narcissism of Miles from Sideways. He wasn’t as soulless, but certainly just as driven and running on empty. There are parts of American Splendor chipping away at the isolation and glum colour tones used throughout this Sophie Barthes piece. What an undersung piece it is too, with its commentary on Anton Chekov bleeding through into a piece that looks to rip into Giamatti’s neurosis and talent as he adapts his best character of all, himself.

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Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness Review

In an interview with Polygon, director Sam Raimi said he hopes audiences can “use their imagination” when they step into his first Marvel outing, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. That is unheard of for the series of near-30 features so far. Another plunge into the usual formula time and time again, relying more and more on the simple tactics that have conned people into wanting the same thing over and over. More power to those who can trick audiences into trickling cash into an unchanging, unmoving product for the emotionally deficient. Unfortunately, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness soon boils down to pop-culture jabs, cameo-stuffed filler roles for the friends of Raimi (a wasted Bruce Campbell role is offered up) and the inevitable crossover of product fighting products looking to destroy some vague entity. Welcome to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  

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Crime Review

If the drab affair of Creation Stories taught audiences and author Irvine Welsh one thing, it is that dab hands in novels are not the same for scriptwriting. That Ewen Bremner-led piece was as sordid as Welsh’s work gets, but not put together correctly. It lacked the pace of the written prose and the subsequent adaptations that come from it. Apparently, Britbox did not hear of the car crash scriptwriting attempt Welsh was involved in and brought him on to adapt a piece of his later bibliography, Crime. A straight-shooting and soulful sequel to Filth, a book and film that relied on the wackier imagery, the wilder content found within and the distance it placed between regular police work and its protagonist.

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Bob Dylan fans divided by Subterranean Homesick Blues Remake

Bob Dylan fans were left disappointed after a promised “remake” of the classic track Subterranean Homesick Blues.

The iconic original shows Dylan holding placards in a London alleyway, timing the drop of the card with the lyrics throughout.

Commenters eagerly awaited the launch of the remake, which premiered on YouTube today on the official Bob Dylan YouTube account.

But fans who were hoping for the Mr. Tambourine Man singer to look back on his own work were sorely disappointed by an updated video that removed the classic placard protest.

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