11 Mar 2016



There aren't many movie adaptations that live up to the book upon which they are based and I'm afraid this isn't an exception. Unable to fill me with the horror/apprehension I felt on reading Margaret Atwood's 1985 novel, I cannot even say it was well made. Poorly acted with stilted dialogue, it felt like the very worst kind of 'made for television' drama. TT

Production values indicate that not a lot was devoted in terms of budget and it shows. Therefore, a rather poor rendering of a very good book. The scary dominance of the religious right wing that pervades the book is utterly absent from the film which chops substantive plot elements and leaves no character to hang on to through what's left of the narrative. Read the book, don't watch this. NJT


So, in last months films we had watched Ex Machina and beloved had asked me to explain further the Turing Test for artificial intelligence that provided the basic premise for that film. As a result this one was to be watched. 

I'm not a huge fan of Benedict Cumberbatch but I have to say that I thought his performance was outstanding. The story of the cracking of the German enigma code in in World War II was very familiar to me, being a bit of a Churchill fan. Turing's life story was also familiar to me having known as a teenager, someone who worked at Bletchley Park, who shared with me her wartime service experiences. This film portrays the struggles of the young Turing, bullied for his differences at school and latterly living the life of a closeted gay man and the rather more tragic intransigence of a society that should have been deeply grateful to him and his Christopher. NJT

Another of those films I hadn't expected to be to my taste but which I thoroughly enjoyed despite being horrified, outraged and deeply saddened at the treatment ultimately meted out to Turing. An engrossing film, perhaps made even more thought provoking given we had only last month watched Ex-Machina. TT


Mr. Daniel Radcliffe, yes, he of the Harry Potter tedium, has certainly made some interesting career choices since his battle with Voldemort, in a determined effort to shrug off the HP image methinks. This is definitely the most bizarre, as Ig struggles to come to terms with the murder of his childhood sweetheart for which he is the chief suspect. The entire town believes he did it and his pariah status is confirmed in his own inability to recall the evening. The horns are not only the metaphorical imperative in the film, that everyone views him as the devil incarnate, but also become a physical manifestation that brings out the worst in everyone around him as he attempts to find out exactly who did kill her. 

Not for the faint hearted, language is a tad fruity and some of the violence although stylised is a bit gruesome, and there are some brief but full on sex scenes. Comedy beyond black perhaps but not a film that many will see as full of laughs. 

'Sometimes there is no'right' thing to do and then you just choose the sin you can live with.' NJT


Harry Potter this most certainly wasn't.

Bizarre, too bizarre for my taste. I may well have fared better if it wasn't for the 'blink for any length of time and you may well have miss them' sex scenes that were never the less full on OR, the stylised but verging on the gratuitous, violence - be warned, any one with a fear of snakes may well want to look away come the last five or so minutes of the film in what I felt was a truly disturbing scene.

Still, some interesting, if scary, social commentary. The waitress prepared to say/do anything in order to become famous being the thing I will take away with me. TT


Recommended to us by Niece #1 (26). Whilst I did enjoy Chappie to a certain degree it certainly wasn't with as much enthusiasm.

In some ways put in mind of the 1986 film Short Circuit but with more violence and none of the laughsThis is a film with all of the ingredients of a parable but sadly fell short of the mark. TT

Hmmm... not a terribly appealing film really. Has some interesting allusions to what is consciousness and the nature of artificial intelligence but the presence of Sigourney Weaver and Hugh Jackman does nothing to make it a convincing examination of the theme. Chappie's innocence is used and abused on all sides and he embodies the extremes attachment theory, of the nature nurture debate, but the narrative takes away any of the subtlety in these for the benefit of some not very good action sequences. NJT


Kelly said...

I've not seen any of these, but The Imitation Game looks good and I've requested my husband put it in our Netflix queue. I'm hoping he hasn't already seen it on cable or somewhere.

I read The Handmaid's Tale years ago, but can't remember all the specifics. Based on your reviews, I think I'll pass on the film version.

Melissa (Books and Things) said...

I'm still curious about Horns and need to see it. I've seen that adaptation of the Handmaiden's Tale and while I have no doubt that it is subpar to the book, the movie still freaked me out.

Natasha Hill said...

The Imitation Game is one of my favourite but then I do like Benedict, he's very good at bringing characters to life. I still need to see Horns, I've heard good things and Chappie too! This has reminded me I need to get on that. Great reviews! - Tasha

Shooting Stars Mag said...

Thanks for sharing. I loved The Imitation Game; thought it was really done and Benedict was great as Turing. I really loved Horns, but yeah, it's definitely not for everyone. I had read the book beforehand too though. hah

Brian Joseph said...

I love Atwood's book The Handmade's Tale. Though it has been a long time sine I have seen it, I remember really liking the film. However, as I mention, it has been awhile.

If I give it another watch I will keep your commentary in mind and see if my opinion changes,

Karen Alderman said...

I've heard Horns is really out there. I've almost watched it a few times but then chickened out lol

Karen @For What It's Worth

Suko said...

Thank you for these honest and intelligent reviews. The film I would like to see from this list is The Imitation Game.

Literary Feline said...

I really want to see THE IMITATION GAME. I haven't seen any of the movies you list, but that is the one I most want to see and then I'll like. I'm curious about CHAPPIE, but not completely sold on seeing it yet.

Nikki-ann said...

I loved The Imitation Game. I didn't used to be a big fan of Benedict Cumberbatch, but having seen some of his films in the last few months, he really is an outstanding actor.

Gina R said...

Hmm. I've not watched any of these actually but I have read HORNS. Unusual to say the least but definitely interesting... perhaps you should give the tree book edition a try!