Profile for A. Hickman > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by A. Hickman
Top Reviewer Ranking: 1,726,554
Helpful Votes: 40

Learn more about Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
A. Hickman (Dubai, UAE)

Page: 1
A Waste of Shame: The Mystery of Shakespeare and His Sonnets  [DVD]
A Waste of Shame: The Mystery of Shakespeare and His Sonnets [DVD]
Dvd ~ Rupert Graves
Offered by watsonsinc
Price: 12.45

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Bard as Leopold Bloom, 8 Nov 2011
William Boyd has written some wonderful books and screenplays. I am a bit confused about his intention here. Is he trying to say that the Bard was so disturbed by the death of his son Hamnet that he transferred his affections to William Herbert? In a purely platonic way? Does he see something of the delicate Hamnet in Herbert's feminine good looks? Boyd is walking on eggshells here. He has to play around with the traditional chronology and compress events considerably to have both the young man and the dark lady of the sonnets arrive in Shakespeare's life on practically the same day. Of course, nobody knows for sure what happened, or even if the story told in the sonnets is autobiographical, so Boyd has a perfect right to postulate what he will. But I am disappointed with his treatment. He seems to have thought he was rewriting "Ulysses," with Shakespeare as Leopold Bloom. Here was an opportunity to speculate about the great loves of Shakespeare's life, and Boyd reduces one to a son-surrogate and the other to a working mom. And poor Anne Hathaway is a henpecking shrew. The daughters play no role in this drama. It's also interesting that Boyd exalts Shakespeare to the position of poet-in-residence with the King's Men, without explaining that he also took a hand in the troop's business and acted important roles in his own and others' plays, all the while he was becoming a wealthy landowner in Stratford. This might go a ways toward explaining why the playwright didn't return to live with his family until he was ready to retire. In the film, Boyd would have you believe that everybody he knew was trying to get their favorite cash cow to leave London and effectively retire from the stage.

I also liked a lot of things about "A Waste of Shame," not the least of which was Rupert Graves' dead-on impersonation of the Bard. I also liked seeing the criminally underused Nicholas Rowe as Richard Burbage and Zoe Wanamaker as the Duchesss of Pembroke. It was Wanamaker's father, Sam, who fought to rebuild the Globe Theatre on the south bank of the Thames, where it stands today, as evidenced by its inclusion in this production. The scenes with Ben Jonson and of Shakespeare at the book stalls were also inspired. But Tom Sturridge (as Herbert) looked like a clueless generation X-er in a bad wig, and Shakespeare's attraction to Lucy (the dark Lady) was underdeveloped--what did he see in her, apart from the fact that she was working, as he was, in London in order to support a family in France? I am rating this film as high as I am because William Boyd cannot help but write a literate script, and the acting in this production (with the possible exception of Sturridge) is first-rate. I also like Boyd's use of lines from the sonnets to introduce scenes. But I remain unconvinced by the scriptwriter's major premise, that, rather than take Herbert to bed, Shakespeare only wanted to be his father.

Bollywood Hero
Bollywood Hero
Dvd ~ Rubina Ali

4.0 out of 5 stars Fool on the hill, 13 May 2010
This review is from: Bollywood Hero (DVD)
A young Danish actor, Nick (Egbert Jan Weeber), comes to Mumbai to film a Bollywood musical. Once there he is involved in the accidental death of a street girl and discovers that his movie camera is capable of identifying (by way of a penumbra) people who are in need of help. The scenes of Nick on the set and Nick on the street make for an effective contrast--Bollywood vs. the slums of Mumbai. Facing a personal crisis of his own, Nick may be trying to help others in order to compensate for his father's failing memory. With the best of intentions, he only manages to misread the situations of people who are trapped in a rigid caste system. He ends up doing more harm than good. This is a short (80 minutes) film but a very affecting one. Jan Weeber is excellent in the role of Nick. When he shaves his head at the end and goes on a sort of crusade to help a group of children who are being exploited as slave labor, Nick is clearly, by Western standards, a Christ figure. But he is also a lost child himself, in a world that doesn't tolerate saints. The ending suggests an interesting twist, and like all good Bollywood films, this one ends on a (somewhat) musical note. "Bollywood Hero" makes for a strange journey, but a rewarding one.

The Fruit Machine [1987] [DVD]
The Fruit Machine [1987] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Emile Charles
Price: 8.64

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Now Fruitier Than Ever!, 7 Sep 2009
"The FruitMachine" (aka "Wonderland") is a surprisingly dippy, imaginative romp involving two gay teenaged boys who happen to witness a gangland murder and are forced to flee Liverpool for Brighton. The film takes many inventive turns, several of which involve Eddie's dream lover, a man-dolphin hybrid who actually appears at crucial moments in the film to save Eddie and his partner, Michael. There are many subplots and colorful supporting characters, and the ending, albeit sad, is inevitable. It's worth seeing, if only for the dance sequence at the Fruit Machine, a gay showbar in Liverpool, where Michael competes for thirty quid. His dance is both erotic and touchingly naive. Both boys, Emile Charles and Tony Forsyth, should have had big careers in film. Apart from one distracting editing lapse that blunts the finale, this is a superior film, in that it refuses to indulge in stereotyping and doesn't condescend to its lead characters.

The Lodger: Shakespeare on Silver Street
The Lodger: Shakespeare on Silver Street
by Charles Nicholl
Edition: Hardcover

28 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Avaunt ye, Baconites!, 10 Jan 2008
Charles Nicholl is on a roll. This is at least the fourth Nicholl book I've read (the others being "Borderlines," "The Reckoning," and "Somebody Else"), and each has been better than the last. Nothing could be more mundane, on its surface, than a book about one of the houses where Stratford property owner and family man William Shakespeare lodged when writing his plays in early Jacobean London. Surprisingly, however, the story of how he tendered his services in bringing about a "handfasting" (or betrothal) of his head-tire-making landlord's daughter and his apprentice, and the subsequent story of the couple's suing (some eight years later) of that landlord for failing to pay a promised dowry, makes for compulsive reading. Along the way, we learn something about the seamier side of Shakespeare's neighborhood, as well as the surprising character of some of his neighbors and acquaintances. These latter include a fortune-telling "doctor," Simon Forman, who had the ear of England's distaff elite, and a brothel-keeping poetaster (and the bard's collaborator on "Pericles"), George Wilkins. How all these characters come together makes for a fascinating journey into research on one of literature's most enigmatic geniuses, William Shakespeare himself. The text is supplemented by "the chief documents relating to the Bellott-Mountjoy case," most notable of which is the playwright's own 1612 deposition, signed "Willm Shaks." Francis Bacon could never have made this stuff up.

Page: 1