Well, I’ve been quite busy at work, but I’ve still made time to catch some new-to-DVD movies. First, I highly recommend getting a copy of the British-made Going Postal, a small screen adaptation of Terry Pratchett’s novel of the same name. Featuring Richard Coyle as con-man-turned-postmaster Moist Von Lipwig, Claire Foy as the keen-with-a-crossbow golem advocate Adora Belle Dearheart, and David Suchet (clearly having a high old time) as the piratical Reacher Gilt, the story of the battle between the Ankh-Morpork Post Office and the Clacks (a sort of semaphone tower system–an Internet before there were computers) is brought to vivid life. Ian Bonar who plays Stanley, the obsessive Head of Stamps, is a real find. Watch for his wonderful, in-character reactions as the other actors talk.
The producers have created a great, 19th-century-ish, Steampunk setting and a sharp, witty, gripping script. The movie itself is about two hours long and there is a second disc with lots of wonderful interviews with the cast and crew. Easy to obtain over Amazon.com and a good buy for the money. Although I’m a Pratchett fan, I preferred the movie to the book. I felt that the movie’s plotting was tighter and the characters were better delineated.
Next up is a Shakespearean adaptation I’ve been looking forward to ever since I saw the trailers for it–Ralph Fiennes’ version of Coriolanus. Coriolanus is considered one of Shakespeare’s lesser plays and is usually not performed very often. Briefly, Coriolanus is a Roman general whose victories on the battlefield (and his ambitious mother, Volumnia, played by Vanessa Redgrave) propel him into politics with disastrous results. Banished from Rome, Coriolanus joins with the enemy general, Tullus Aufidius (Gerard Butler) and leads an army against his own people. The movie adaptation keeps Shakespeare’s original language, but uses a modern, urban warfare setting. I would never have figured this play to have contemporary relevance, but the modern parallels, particularly the contempt the political and military elites have for the common people, are very striking.
I’m usually not a fan of audio commentaries, but I highly recommend listening to Fiennes’ directorial remarks as he talks about the choices he made in staging and shooting the film as he did. I thought his commentary was as compelling and as interesting as the movie itself.