Tag Archives: Emily Browning

Whimsical Pop Fantasy

God Help the Girl

by Hope Madden

A unique take on the movie musical, Stuart Murdock’s God Help the Girl pulls you into the wistful world of Eve (Emily Browning), a damaged young girl whose talent may be her own salvation.

The Belle and Sebastian frontman wrote and directed the quirky drama with the kind of thoughtful flair he brings to his own music. Eve, a singer/songwriter with her own singular artistic vision, struggles to find her place and express her voice in the world. She falls in with fellow musician and delicate soul James (Olly Alexander).

It’s a coming of age tale layered with mental illness, artistic integrity, nonconformity, and a nostalgia for Sixties pop.

Murdock makes some interesting choices early in the film, experimenting with form while charming with this fantasy of hip youngsters in impossibly smashing outfits living their rock and roll dreams. He wisely edges their fanciful days with an uglier, forever threatening reality, giving the tale a melancholy aftertaste that fits the music.

Unfortunately, he doesn’t see his more interesting experiments through. He throws a lot of appealing ideas at the screen – Eve narrating her escape from the institution in a mischievous song, for instance – but drops them as quickly as he brings them up. Rather than a fantastical musical, it becomes a straight drama about starting a band, which loses the charm and forces you to notice the film’s weakness in scripting and acting.

Browning poses well; her acting, though, is not so strong. Alexander, on the other hand, brings something unique but recognizable to the role of the quietly smitten bandmate. And while their delightful adventures can be enjoyable to watch, the film eventually collapses under the weight of its own whimsy.

Murdock and company haven’t built a strong enough foundation for all the froth, leaving you with a film that tries to be provocative and meaningful but winds up settling for adorable.





Volcano Dead Ahead!




by George Wolf


Two doomed lovers kept apart by the strict class system of their era, fighting to be together as disaster looms. Plus there’s a scene with handcuffs and a haunting love theme at the end.

This remake of Titanic is called Pompeii, with a CGI Mt. Vesuvius showing tremendous range in the role of the iceberg.

The smoldering Milo (Kit Harington) is a gladiator/slave who catches the eye of Cassia (Emily Browning) , the daughter of a wealthy Pompeii businessman. Trouble is, she is unwillingly betrothed to the menacing Corvus, a visiting senator from Rome (Keifer Sutherland, unapologetically hammy).

As Milo and the other gladiators begin combat in the crowded arena, Vesuvius uncorks in very angry fashion, leaving an entire city scrambling for a seat on one of the boats to safety..seriously.

There’s just no way to watch this film without thinking of Titanic, except in the moments when a Sutherland is standing before a crowd to “open the games” and then you’re thinking of The Hunger Games and wouldn’t you rather be watching that?

Pompeii offers very little substance. Harington (staying in his Games of Thrones comfort zone) and Browning (Sucker Punch, Sleeping Beauty) fail to generate any chemistry or emotion, while the screenplay relies on empty cliches such as, “Welcome to your new home, savages!”

Director Paul W.S. Anderson (Resident Evil series, Event Horizon) is a bit lost in the quieter scenes, as if he’s just impatient, and hankerin’ to get back to the action. The abundance of shirtless hunks, along with Anderson’s knack for keeping M’lady cleavage in the frame whenever possible rank as weak attempts to keep attention from waning.

He’s much more at home creating a spectacle, and once the volcano erupts and madness ensues, Anderson does manage a few scenes that are visually impressive. So there’s that.

Still, Pompeii continues to ignore the most pressing issue.

Wasn’t there enough room on that piece of shipwreck for both Jack and Rose?