Heath Ledger, clawing back some dignity after the career low of The Sin Eater, looks great in the title role of Ned Kelly, a patchy but passable biopic of the Australian folk hero. Based on a novel by Robert Drewe, the story flits episodically through Ned's short life (he was hanged aged 25), beginning as whipping boy to the corrupt constabulary, graduating from horse rustler to celebrity outlaw, and climaxing in a famous showdown at Glenrowan railway station. The director, Gregor Jordan, and his photographer, Oliver Stapleton, take pains over the film's look, saluting the romantically craggy landscape through which Ned and his gang are pursued, and picking out the sepia-soaked duns and greys as carefully as Walter Hill did in his 1980 biopic of the James gang, The Long Riders.
Jordan's direction feels stilted after the spiky black comedy of his Buffalo Soldiers - and the cross-class romance between the outlaw and an English-born gentlewoman (Naomi Watts) is so much blague. But it's a handsome-looking piece. Too bad Ledger's accent sounds like no Irishman who ever lived.
Its advance reputation ensured an unusually full attendance at the press show of Gigli - there was actually someone in front of me rubbing his hands together as the lights went down. I wonder if he got what he came for. It's a close-run thing who's worse out of Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez, playing rival operatives in a mafia kidnapping caper; my vote went to Affleck, whose macho goon emanates an almost toxic level of smugness - the walk, the talk, even the hair is smug. Lopez isn't much better as a New Age yoga-practising lesbian, though she at least gets the two most abject moments in the script, the first a discourse on woman's most precious jewel ("my pussy"), the second what Affleck can do with it. And yes, we all hooted and jeered on cue, but I fancy that the real let-down of Gigli was not how terrible it was - just how boring.
The enigma of Adolf Hitler continues to enthrall, and Blind Spot: Hitler's Secretary offers a vital insider's portrait of the private man. After 50-odd years of silence, 81-year-old Traudl Junge agreed to talk on camera about her experience as the Fuhrer's secretary between 1942 and 1945. While never a member of the Nazi party, Frau Junge admits to a lifetime of remorse over serving a man whom she now recognises as "an absolute criminal"; yet as a 22-year-old newly arrived in Berlin she was as susceptible to Hitler's allure, and trusted his grandiose vision of an all-powerful Fatherland. …