As You Like It, 2006

dir. Kenneth Branagh

 

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Branagh’s back! His interpretation of French pastoral into Medieval Japan is way cool. This is one of those movies where you find yourself asking, did they fly out there to make a film or go on holiday? The Forest of Arden comes to life amid Samurai warriors, dynastic architecture and neatly tied hair buns.

 

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Brian Blessed plays both Dukes of the royal arch-nemesis. He’s the best. I wish he could be in every Shakespeare movie. Alfred Molina (Dr. Octopus in Spiderman 2) makes for a wry Touchstone and probably achieves the most out-loud laughs. Kevin Kline (The Ice Storm, Wild Wild West, A Fish Called Wanda) is a wonderfully exuberant and flamboyant Jaques. But there can be no doubt about who the star of this show really is; Bryce Dallas Howard (The Village, Terminator Salvation, Spiderman 3) has always had an entrancing look about her but never before have I seen her quite so… red? Fiery. Ablaze! Her energy explodes out of the screen with such relentless enthusiasm that the coma-inducing droll of a senior classroom teacher seems to be of a different pen altogether than the shrill wits and whims of this young, sexy, adventurous Tomboy. What fun!

 

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