A CURE FOR WELLNESS

Director: Gore Verbinski (2017) BBFC cert: 18

 

Gore Verbinski administered shock treatment to Johnny Depp’s career by directing the first three Pirates of the Caribbean films, and the magnificent mess, The Lone Ranger.

The appropriately named director now turns his hand to horror, with equally mixed results.

It’s beautifully designed on a grand scale, and stunningly photographed.

Brit actor Jason Isaacs is wonderfully measured as the governor of an exclusive Swiss sanitarium. Forever pale and interesting, Dane DeHaan is suitably cast as a young US executive sent to Switzerland to rescue his CEO from hydrotherapy.

In the vein of the venerable Hammer House of Horror, the story draws heavily on the European folktales which inspired Dracula and Frankenstein.

Distended on a diet of eels and red herrings, the constipated storytelling puts a strain on the audience. It needs a good dose of leeches. Movement in the bowels of the castle allows for a necessary and explosive purge of plot, providing great relief all round.

@ChrisHunneysett

The Amazing Spider-Man 2

Director: Marc Webb (2014)

A swinging good time is guaranteed in this superhero sequel which comes fully charged with a shocking finale.

During the many amped–up action sequences, the swooping, dipping camera captures the dynamic thrills of the original comic artwork.

They crackle with humour which Brit actor Andrew Garfield supplies through his upbeat charm and gift for physical comedy.

He reminds us how much exuberant giddy fun can be had as a web-spinning, crime–fighting superhero.

Especially when he’s up against an enjoyably preposterous super-villain called Electro (Jamie Foxx).

Garfield has less fun as alter ego Peter Parker and spends a lot time out of costume mooning over his sassy girlfriend Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone).

However the real-life couple share a hugely likeable and engaging on–screen chemistry.

Parker’s dramatic declarations of love bode ill for the future of their relationship, especially as Gwen surprises him by applying to study at Oxford University here in Blighty.

Spider–Man’s friendly neighbourhood persona mask hides Parker’s emotional pain caused by being abandoned by his parent as a boy.

While he’s making a discovery that leads to the truth about their death, a lonely electrical engineer Max Dillon (Foxx) develops an obsession with Spider-Man.

Meanwhile the new head of Oscorp Harry Osborn (a pale and interesting Dane DeHaan) is suffering from a genetic disease and believes Spider–Man’s blood will save him from an early death.

An ignorance of health and safety regulations and a giant vat of electric eels leads to  a workplace accident – transforming Dillon into the glowing blue-skinned Electro.

After an electrifying confrontation in Times Square, Electro is locked up and blames Spider–Man. Osborn frees him and together they join forces to track down Spidey.

Brit guitarist Johnny Marr contributes to the high voltage soundtrack – appropriately he was once in band called Electronic.