Much akin to his relationship of Wimbledon and tennis, this critic’s understanding and knowledge of the horse racing world begins and ends with the Grand National. As such, to my shame, I had never heard of trailblazing Australian jockey Michelle Payne prior to an experience Ride Like a Girl, the new biopic to tell her story. I confess to knowing less still about the sexism still at rage in contemporary equestrian circles. To this end, the film, which has this week made its home cinema debut, proves as educationally notable – if not quite analytical – as it is visually attractive.
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No end of spinning has proven a particularly convincing argument that Disney hasn’t lost faith in Artemis Fowl. Indeed, was the writing not on the wall when those high up announced its shift to a digital only release? And this following trailers so dispiriting that fans of the beloved Eoin Colfer book series from which the film originated screeched blasphemy. The result is predictably bland fantasy inaction. What should have been ‘Die Hard with fairies’ hits the ground heavily as National Treasure with tweens.
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Handsome, clever and rich that she is, you’re not really meant to like Emma. Jane Austen did, naturally; but her vain, spoilt heroine was always supposed to vex readers. To this end, no film nor televisual take on the novel has ever truly hit the nail on its heroine’s handsome head. Gwyneth Paltrow proved far too endearing in Douglas McGrath’s 1996 adaptation, whilst even Kate Beckinsale’s humbling just missed being worthy of it. Enter Anya Taylor-Joy and a splendidly smug showcase for the ages. Directed with verve by Autumn de Wilde – the titular full stop is intentional and referential solely to the film’s ‘period’ setting – Taylor-Joy’s Emma meddles in affairs of the heart as though to do so is her right by birth. What marvellous casting. Such fun.
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