DEAD AGAIN
1991, Paramount, 107 min, USA, Dir: Kenneth Branagh

“How many times can you die for love?” Historical supernaturalism meets neo-noir in Kenneth Branagh’s richly textured mystery about a private detective caught up in an unsolved murder haunting its way through time. Mike Church (Branagh) is investigating the disappearance of an unknown woman he gives the name “Grace.” Upon finding Grace (Emma Thompson), a terrified amnesiac with nightmares of a woman killed in the 1940s, Mike seeks the help of a hypnotist (Sir Derek Jacobi) to get to the bottom of Grace’s strange fears, but only finds himself further entrenched in a labyrinth of double identity and deadly consequence. With Robin Williams as Cozy Carlisle, the disgraced psychologist relegated to a butcher shop after one too many doctor-patient trysts. Shot on location at some of Los Angeles’ historic landmarks, including the Orpheum Theater, High Tower, and the Shakespeare Bridge.


A MIDWINTER'S TALE
1995, Warner Bros., 99 min, UK, Dir: Kenneth Branagh

Director Kenneth Branagh takes a more unorthodox approach to Shakespeare than usual in this very funny tale (which Branagh also scripted) about an out-of-work actor who decides to stage 'Hamlet' in an isolated English town with a cast and crew comprised entirely of volunteers. Amusing parallels between the actors' personal lives and their stage personas emerge in this engaging meditation on art and romance.


MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING (1993)
1993, MGM Repertory, 111 min, UK, USA, Dir: Kenneth Branagh

The second of Kenneth Branagh's Shakespeare adaptations is also the most delightfully entertaining, as the director assembles an eclectic and wonderful cast (including Michael Keaton, Denzel Washington, Emma Thompson and Branagh himself) for a spirited sensual romp. Set and shot in a gorgeous villa in Tuscany, the film is a feast for the eyes, and the attention to detail in Shakespeare's language makes it heaven for the ears as well.


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