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[January 04, 2014]
Unblinkered vision ; Our weekly round-up of the latest in entertainment, games and gadgets... [Herald, The (Plymouth, England)]
(Herald, The (Plymouth, England) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) NEW ON DVD: What Maisie Knew (Cert 15, 99 mins, Curzon Film World, Drama/Romance, also available to buy DVD Pounds 15.99/Bluray Pounds 19.99) Starring: Onata Aprile, Julianne Moore, Steve Coogan, Alexander Skarsgard, Joanna Vanderham, Sadie Rae, Jesse Stone Spadaccini.
SIX-year-old Maisie Elizabeth (Onata Aprile) is raised by her self-obsessed parents, fading rock chick Susanna (Julianne Moore) and art dealer Beale (Steve Coogan), whose interests and sexual appetites eventually take them in opposite directions. They separate and Maisie ricochets back and forth between Susanna and Beale and their respective new partners, Lincoln (Alexander Skarsgard) and Margo (Joanna Vanderham). While the adults bicker and squabble, determined to seek custody of the girl, little Maisie watches relationships disintegrate through unblinkered eyes and she gains a deeper insight into the emotional damage that Susanna and Beale have inflicted upon her and the people around them.
Adapted from the Henry James novel of the same name, re-set from late Victorian England to present-day New York, What Maisie Knew documents a bitter custody battle through the eyes of a quietly observant child caught between warring parents. Directors Scott McGehee and David Siegel, who explored fractious family dynamics in their earlier films The Deep End and Bee Season, elicit knockout performances from the ensemble cast including relative newcomer Aprile, who is a mesmerising screen presence, devoid of the winsome artifice that handicaps some child actors.
She is in almost every frame and the film unfolds predominantly from her perspective, glimpsing heated conversations from Maisie's eye level where venomous words cut to the bone. While Moore and Coogan spare their selfish characters few blushes, Skarsgard and Vanderham are more appealing as the bartender and nanny, who provide the girl with an emotional life-raft.
PICK OF 2013: Arctic Monkeys - AM This fifth album opens with singles Do I Wanna Know? and R U Mine? and thanks to Alex Turner's rhyming couplets and Yorkshire-via-Los Angeles twang, Matt Helders's drumming and Jamie Cook's riffing, AM couldn't be by anybody else. From the sinister, late-night Why'd You Only Call Me When You're High? to some Lennonesque influence, AM is an astounding achievement.
APP OF THE WEEK: Disney Animated Pounds 6.99 from iTunes Just awarded iPad app of the year, Disney Animated gives fans an inside look at the magical art and technology of the Walt Disney Animation Studios. From the latest release Frozen, to 1937's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, the app features digital story chapters with interactive images, animated flip-book clips, Disney 3D models to animate and loads more.
GAME OF THE WEEK: PICK OF 2013: The Legend of Zelda - The Wind Waker HD Platform: Wii U Genre: Action/Adventure Price: Pounds 44.99 It was a decade since the original Wind Waker blew on to Gamecube and promptly whipped up quite a storm by delivering the best game that 2003 would see. Fast-forward to 2013, and console technology has come on in leaps and bounds, but this Zelda classic still more than holds its own. Remastered and presented in 1080p HD graphics, gamers can experience this awesome cellshaded fantasy adventure on their TVs or entirely on the Wii U GamePad controller. New game features, such as the Swift Sail that lets you gather the wind and speed across the waves or the Tingle Bottle feature that brings connectivity with others over Miiverse further enhance one of Zelda's finest outings. Aside from these minor tinkerings, the game remains largely untouched from the original, and it's testament to Nintendo's craftsmanship that the current generation of consoles and triple-A titles needed to view The Wind Waker as a serious competitor for gamers' hard-earned cash.
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