A MIDWINTER'S TALE
1995, Warner Bros., 99 min, UK, Dir: Kenneth Branagh

Director Kenneth Branagh takes a more unorthodox approach to Shakespeare than usual in this very funny tale (which Branagh also scripted) about an out-of-work actor who decides to stage 'Hamlet' in an isolated English town with a cast and crew comprised entirely of volunteers. Amusing parallels between the actors' personal lives and their stage personas emerge in this engaging meditation on art and romance.


MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING (1993)
1993, MGM Repertory, 111 min, UK, USA, Dir: Kenneth Branagh

The second of Kenneth Branagh's Shakespeare adaptations is also the most delightfully entertaining, as the director assembles an eclectic and wonderful cast (including Michael Keaton, Denzel Washington, Emma Thompson and Branagh himself) for a spirited sensual romp. Set and shot in a gorgeous villa in Tuscany, the film is a feast for the eyes, and the attention to detail in Shakespeare's language makes it heaven for the ears as well.


STILL CRAZY
1998, Sony Repertory, 97 min, UK, Dir: Brian Gibson

A classic "film that got away" - adored by the cognoscenti. Writers/producers Dick Clement & Ian La Frenais reinvigorate the familiar scenario of “aging rockers struggling with past glories and demons to make a comeback” - turning it into a glorious, hilarious paean to rock ’n’ roll camaraderie and ’70s excess tempered with sweet poignancy. Think SPINAL TAP meets MY FAVORITE YEAR through THE FULL MONTY as British hard-rock has-beens Strange Fruit - including Stephen Rea, Bruce Robinson and a magnificent Bill Nighy - etch realistic portraits of a middle-age rocker revival. Billy Connolly plays the Greek chorus as the band’s fatalistic, wise-cracking roadie. Spot-on songs by Foreigner’s Mick Jones and Squeeze’s Chris Difford.


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