A film that should have gotten more attention at the recent Oscars and a family fairytale top this week’s new entertainment options.
“Cyrano” Grade 3 ½ stars: Director Joe Wright (“Anna Karenina”) has opted for a different tactic in his version of the 2018 stage musical adapted by his wife Erica Schmidt. His casting of Peter Dinklage in the title role shifts the focus from the face to Cyrano’s height.
This works equally as well because the facial feature was never intended to be taken at face value. What is at the heart of Rostand’s tale is the tale of the heart. All the adaptations have been the examination of what can happen when a person’s self-doubts can grow to a size that overpowers the needs of the heart.
Wright has crafted a beautiful interpretation of the story with Dinklage turning in a performance that should have earned him an Oscar nominaton as the tortured romantic hero Cyrano de Bergerac. He allows his beliefs that his social position as a guard combined with his physical appearance block him from revealing his true feelings for Roxanne (Haley Bennett).
“Cyrano” has many positives but it all keeps coming back to Dinklage as the emotional anchor. Few can portray with such crystal clarity the pain a person can feel to their very soul as well as he can. This latest adaptation of Rostand’s work finds its emotional beauty and angst through Dinklage.
“The King’s Daughter” Grade 3 stars: The film, based on Vonda N. McIntyre’s novel The Moon and the Sun, looks at a strained relationship between the Sun King, Louis XIV (Pierce Brosnan), and his illegitimate daughter Marie-Josèphe (Kaya Scodelario). The pair are reunited for a grand event scheduled to be held in the breathtaking palace of Versailles.
This should have been a happy reunion but the King has a dark plan for the ceremony that includes the capture and murder of a mermaid (Fan Bingbing). He also is ready to use his daughter as a pawn in his political moves.
“The King’s Daughter” could have worked simply as a love story. Having William Hurt’s character discuss topics as heady as how important the soul is to who we are and the importance of all life are a major bonus.
The most amazing piece of this production is the setting. Much of the movie was shot on the actual grounds of Versailles and that gives the production both a great feel of authenticity and grandeur. No Hollywood set will ever come close to the stunning look of the French palace.
Also new on DVD and Blu-ray as of April 19
“V/H/S/94”: After the discovery of a mysterious VHS tape, a brutish police swat team launches a high-intensity raid on a remote warehouse, only to discover a sinister cult compound.
“A Life Among Whales”: Examination of how Dr. Roger Payne, a renowned whale biologist and activist, spearheaded global public awareness of the plight of whales.
“Only Yesterday”: Woman wonders if she’s been true to the dreams of her childhood self.
“Heavy Metal”: The 1981 animated film featuring a soundtrack that includes Black Sabbath, Blue Oyster Cult, Cheap Trick, Devo, Grand Funk Railroad, Sammy Hagar, Journey and Nazareth is being re-released.
“Jackass Forever”: The gang gets back together for more wild stunts in the fourth film in the series.
“The Desperate Hour”: Mother must race against time to save her daughter. Naomi Watts stars.
“Girl on a Chain Gang”: The 1966 exploitation film is being re-released in a special edition.
Available on digital platforms
“Blacklight”: Liam Neeson plays a troubled off-the-books agent for the Federal Bureau of Investigation who finds himself in the middle of a deadly conspiracy. It will be released on DVD and Blu-ray on May 3.
“Sexual Drive”: The film looks at the seemingly unconnected lives of three people around Japan and their appetites, both culinary and carnal.
“9 Bullets”: Former burlesque dancer turned author (Lena Headey) discovers a second chance at life and redemption when she risks everything to rescue her young neighbor.