FROM Tim Burton’s adventures in Wonderland to the bleak Yorkshire moors, Alice is transformed into Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre. It’s still spies spying on spies in John Le Carre’s classic x-ray on MI6; Ford and Craig are saddle buddies against an alien invasion; Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre comes to the big screen and Harry’s back!
There have been many versions of Charlotte Bronte’s romantic drama, mainly on TV, but the new film of Jane Eyre (PG) is the most visually bleak so far.
There is a rawness to the landscape and the grim walls of Thornfield Hall that sends a chill across the film.
Mia Wasikowska was an insipid Alice thanks to Tim Burton but here the Australian actress shows far more depth of character in her restrained but convincing performance as the abused, introverted but stoical heroine.
Michael Fassbender is a rugged Rochester and there is the familiar delight of Judi Dench as Mrs Fairfax with strong support from Jamie Bell as the frustrated St John Rivers who proclaims love for Jane but is cruelly spurned.
This Jane is no pushover.
This screens only at the tea time show and is followed by the superb Tinker ,Tailor, Soldier, Spy (15) with Gary Oldman matching Alec Guinness as George Smiley, the retired MI6 operative brought back to smoke out a Soviet agent in the top level of British Intelligence.
Shades of Burgess, McLean and Philby, the Cambridge spies, and the suspicion that there was a fourth.
John Le Carre wrote and set his book in the 1970s and the film perfectly captures the smokey feel of the old boys’ club that masked the deadly game they were playing.
It is a slow burn film that reproduces the book’s complexities but it is immensely rewarding for fine performances from a stellar cast and the spine-tingling tension as the real spy is almost casually revealed.
The indefatigable The Smurfs-3D (U) are held over for daily matinees and, at the weekend, surprise, surprise, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 3D (12A) is back for an early matinee before the inevitable reduction to Blu-ray and the complete box sets in the shops for Christmas.
And, after next week, your projectionist at the Odeon will no longer be John Hill who is retiring after many years guiding celluloid through the projectors.
Now digital projection and computerised management systems are replacing the traditional projectionist nationwide. Thanks John for a job well done and happy retirement – now you can sit down and enjoy the film from the stalls!
Robert Burns Centre Film Theatre, Dumfries
I seem to have been plugging, Cowboys and Aliens (12A) for weeks now and here it is again at the Robert Burns Centre Film Theatre in Dumfries tonight, tomorrow and Tuesday.
Daniel Craig is the mystery gunslinger with a strange bracelet and memory loss and Harrison Ford is the grumpy rancher who rules the local town.
For the first half hour this is a traditional western but then there are lights in the sky and strange machines fly in and carry off the locals like birds of prey.
By blending the two genres, the film is twice the fun as the posse rides out to get the folks back with no idea of the scary monsters waiting for them.
It is a fun-filled popcorn movie with some really scary moments. Daniel and Harrison are just fine.
On Monday the enduringly popular Cinema Paradiso (PG) is being screened to celebrate the RBCFT Monday Film Club.
This Italian gem is a nostalgic tribute to cinema personified by a small cinema in a Sicilian town where the projectionist Alfredo introduces the young Salvatore to his life-long love affair with films and the local priest cuts out all the naughty bits.
On Wednesday, Page One: A Year Inside The New York Times (15) is a fly-on-the-wall documentary that reveals the working of one of the world’s great newspapers.
Interviews and close-ups of the paper’s staff at work show how newspapers are still relevant in today’s electronic media overkill.
A Separation (PG) on Thursday is from Iran and the film won the Golden Bear Award at the Berlin Film Festival this year.
It is a contemporary story of the break-up of a marriage, personal responsibilities and legal complexities.
Nader and Simin are a well-educated couple who apply for divorce – Simin wants to go abroad with their 10-year-old daughter but Nader wants to stay to care for his father who has Alzheimer’s.
The way their problems are solved or not, makes for a film that explores cause and effect in a totally absorbing and moving way.
I have no doubt that countless mums and dads somehow manage to juggle parenthood with full-time jobs but you may still enjoy watching the antics of Sarah Jessica Parker doing just that in the comedy I Don’t Know How She Does It (12a).
Based on the book by Allison Pearson, the location has moved across the Atlantic to Boston where financial high-flyer Kate and her unemployed husband Richard struggle to keep the balls in the air while smooth Pierce Brosnan is on hand for a bit on the side.
Maybe it is a bit glammed-up to be all that relevant but it is fun to see Kate spreading her nits around.
Jane Eyre (PG) is here too as is the off beat rom-com Friends With Benefits (15).
Next Thursday there is a one-off chance to join the crowds at the Globe Theatre in London for a brilliant performance of Shakespeare’s Merry Wives of Windsor (U) filmed in this superb recreation of the theatre as it would have appeared in the Bard’s time.
It is a riotous comedy with Sir John Falstaff getting his come-uppance at the hands of the merry wives.
This all assumes that the play was written by William Shakespeare and that Roland Emmerich is wrong in his forthcoming Anonymous which may put the cat amongst the pigeons of the literary world.