When a French filmmaker travels to Belgium to film a German story in English, it's hardly surprising that the resulting movie feels somewhat awkward. Fortunately, the filmmaker in question is the detail-oriented Patrice Leconte (The Widow of Saint-Pierre), and he's working with a fine British cast that makes the most of even the stiffest dialogue. It may all feel rather superficial, but the plot is packed with surprising twists and some real emotion.
It's set in 1912 Germany, where young engineer Friedrich (Game of Thrones' Richard Madden) quickly impresses his sardonic boss Karl (Alan Rickman) at the steelworks, and is promoted to be his personal assistant. When Karl is bedridden with a heart problem, Friedrich moves from his squalid garret into Karl's elegant manor house, taking on extra responsibilities as a tutor for Karl's son. He also catches the eye of Karl's much younger wife Lotte (Rebecca Hall). Their attraction is clearly mutual, but both are naturally afraid to say anything about it. And when they finally do, it's just as Friedrich is about to head off to Mexico for a two-year assignment. So they vow to wait to act on their forbidden love until he gets back. Then the Great War breaks out, and their reunion is delayed, seemingly indefinitely.
Intriguingly, there's a sense that Karl invited Friedrich into his home as a replacement both at the factory and as Lotte's husband. This emerges mainly in subtext through Rickman's clever performance, which bristles with wit and emotional energy, effortlessly stealing the focus from the central romance. Madden is suitably likeable as Friedrich, although it's difficult to understand why he is so besotted with Lotte when he already has a devoted girlfriend (Shannon Tarbet) whose only flaw seems to be that she's a bit clingy. Meanwhile, Hall gives a terrific turn as a young woman whose stiff upper lift obscures a near-bursting passion, which she channels into haunting piano playing that echoes through the house, tormenting both Karl and Friedrich.
Continue reading: A Promise Review
The 39th Toronto Film Festival has unveiled its line-up, and it's looking like a star-studded affair.
David Cronenberg's new film Maps to the Stars which stunned critics at Cannes and features Julianne Moore and Robert Pattinson will screen alongside another Cannes favourite, crime drama Foxcatcher which sees Despicable Me actor Steve Carell take on his most serious role to date.
Robert Pattinson and Julianne Moore at the Maps to the Stars Cannes premiere
Also set to appear is Denzel Washington's new film The Equalizer, based on the classic 80's television show of the same name. Rising star Chloe Grace Moretz stars alongside Washington, who plays a solitary vigilante who dedicates his life to helping the victims of crimes. A sequel has already been planned despite the fact the film isn't released until the end of September.
Continue reading: Toronto Film Festival Unveils Line-Up
The late comedian's funeral took place yesterday.
Rik Mayall was laid to rest in a rose-festooned wicker coffin in a beautiful English churchyard yesterday (19 June). The late comedian collapsed and died aged 56 after his morning run on Monday 9 June, owing to what was later found to be a heart attack.
Adrian Edmondson [L] Was A Pallbearer At His Friend Rik Mayall's [R] Funeral.
The comedian and former star of The Young Ones passed away at his home in Barnes, South West London, but was buried St George's Church in the village of Dittisham, Devon. The sun was shining and guests were seen smiling as they exchanged fond memories of the profanity-loving comic.
Continue reading: Farewell Rik Mayall: Comic Laid To Rest By Family And Friends In Devon
This is an strangely slushy movie from Lee Daniels, whose last two films (Precious and The Paperboy) bristled with unexpected life. By contrast, this star-packed drama uses a true story to trace the Civil Rights struggle from the 1950s to the present day. But it's been so fictionalised that it feels kind of like a variation on Forrest Gump.
Cecil Gaines (Whitaker) grew up on a Georgia cotton plantation, where the cruel master's kindly mother (Redgrave) taught him to be a house servant. Years later, he marries Gloria (Winfrey) and moves to Washington DC, where he gets a job in the White House as a butler to presidents from Eisenhower (Williams) to Reagan (Rickman). His job description is simple: "You hear nothing, you see nothing, you only serve." And yet as the nation grapples with its racist culture, he has a quiet influence on each leader who moves through the house.
Whitaker narrates the film in drawling flashbacks, while the story flickers between Cecil and his eldest son Louis (Oyelowo), an activist who is involved in every key moment in the Civil Rights movement. And their younger son (Kelley) is sent to Vietnam. So it's like a condensed version of late 20th century American history, made notable by the lively cast of cameo players including Marsden (as JFK), Schreiber (LBJ), Ellis (MLK) and Cusack (Nixon), plus Fonda as a lively Nancy Reagan.
Continue reading: The Butler Review
Rowling's charity enjoyed a lucrative night
They may have wrapped up the eighth and final film in the Harry Potter franchise a while back, but Emma Watson and Jk Rowling were back in the magical world they created, alongside fellow Potter stars, Alan Rickman and Warwick Davies, for a charity event that raised over £1 million.
J.K Rowling takes in the crowd at the Deathly Hallows Part II Premiere
The charity, Lumos, aims to dissolve a culture of systematic institutionalized child care in Europe, reunite families, and provide loving and caring environments for children to grow up in.
Check out the trailer for the punk film below
The highly anticipated movie surrounding New York’s infamous CBGB club is getting closer, and we’ve got some fantastic film stills to whet your punk-rock appetite. Rupert Grint stars alongside his Harry Potter nemsis Alan Rickman who portrayed Professor Snape, the man who terrorized his best friend Harry for years at Hogwarts.
Alan Rickman as Hilly Kristal in CBGB
The ginger actor plays Dead Boys' guitarist Cheetah Chrome Elsewhere, Taylor Hawkins is Iggy Pop, Malin Åkerman is Debbie Harry, Sting's daughter Mickey Sumner is Patti Smith and Twilight actress Ashley Greeneis Kristal's daughter Lisa.
In 1973, New York nightclub CBGB opened as a venue for Country, BlueGrass and Blues acts led by music entrepreneur Hilly Kristal. However, it soon became clear that that wasn't the way the music scene was going in the city and he soon began to book new rock and punk bands - excluding all cover and tribute bands - to play regular shows there which helped raise the profile of several musical pioneers including Talking Heads, Blondie, The Ramones and the Patti Smith Group. It wasn't the easiest ride for Kristal, however, who suffered many money troubles due to his vision and ambition for the bands that he showcased, as well as much scrutiny over the general poor health and safety of the venue. Nonetheless (and despite its closure in 2006), it will always been known as the kick off point for so many 70s and 80s bands.
Randall Miller ('Nobel Son', 'Bottle Shock', 'Houseguest') directs this music drama alongside his frequent writing partner Jody Savin as it follows the highs and lows of Hilly Kristal's life and ambition to give innovative local bands a chance at success. The movie will premiere at the CBGB Festival over its October 10th-13th weekend; not far off the anniversary of its 2006 official closure.
'Lee Daniels' The Butler' has remained at the top of the US Box Office for the second consecutive week. 'We're the Millers' has also retained its position at no.2 for the third week.
Lee Daniels' The Butler has retained its position at No.1 in the US Weekend Box Office for the second week. The movie is an historical epic which follows the true story of Cecil Gaines (Forest Whitaker), a black butler who served at the White House through the offices of eight presidents. Whitaker is supported by a cast of award winning actors including Oprah Winfrey, Alan Rickman, Josh Cusack and Robin Williams.
Forest Whitaker and Oprah Winfrey at the L.A. premiere of Lee Daniels' The Butler.
This weekend Lee Daniels' The Butler may not have been, financially, as successful as last weekend. It made over $17 million this week as opposed to the $25 million it earned in its opening weekend. Meanwhile We're the Millers, starring Jennifer Aniston and Jason Sudeikis, made $13 million down from $17 million last weekend. The comedy made a similar amount to The Butler in its opening weekend ($26 million) yet has continued, by comparison, to be more financially profitable.
Continue reading: 'The Butler' & 'We're The Millers' Retain Top US Box Office Positions
The part fact-based story of the live-in manservant of the White House will be released next week and already it has critics singing it's praise
The Butler movie could very well be the first real contender for next year's Academy Awards when it is released next Friday (16 August) as critics have already singled the film out as a wonderfully acted, well told story worthy of award recognition. Covering the course of thirty years and eight presidents, some of the most important moments in the history of the 20th century are retold from the unique point of view from within the presidential chambers.
Forest Whitaker stars as the fictional butler Cecil Gains in the film
Starring Forest Whitaker, The Butler covers the extensive career of Cecil Gains, a devoted butler for the White House who was born on a southern cotton farm and rose from humble origins as a kitchen worker to eventually become the top butler to eight different presidents over the course of more than 30 years; including John F Kennedy, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan and Dwight Eisenhower. Despite serving a series of conflicting presidents, Cecil never forgot his duties and always presents himself as the upmost professional, no matter what is happening in the world.
Check out our extended clips and pictures below
Hollywood and the film industry seem more confident in taking on the issue of slavery in a cinematic context. Last year saw Django Unchained and Lincoln prove popular, and this year will see more films of that ilk, including Lee Daniels' The Butler, which enjoyed its premiere last night (Monday, Aug 5) in New York.
Whitaker is The Butler
The film follows Cecil Gaines (Forest Whitaker) – an African-American White House butler who, due to his close proximity, was privy to many of the political events that helped shaped contemporary America. The film is based on the real-life account of Eugene Allen.
Continue reading: Lee Daniel's 'The Butler' Is A Clear Oscar Contender [Stills + Clips]
Cecil Gaines is a modest and dedicated butler at the White House who manages to make for himself a respectable career despite his underprivileged upbringing and cotton farm roots. Starting out as a regular kitchen worker, Cecil soon proves himself to be extremely proficient and works his way up to be the head butler for eight different US presidents. Some of them prove to be discriminatory, treating Cecil with little respect and holding massively differing views to him, but he always remains polite and does everything within his power to care for his employers while keeping any top secret information that he might hear firmly to himself. Meanwhile, he struggles at home with his son; a Black Panther with aggressive views on racial equality who is less than grateful to have a father working for the people that he believes are causing racial oppression.
This story of loyalty and unconditional dedication is based on the true story of Eugene Allen; a butler who similarly lived through years of racial inequality before finally seeing, in his retirement, the election of the first black President, Barack Obama. His story was documented in the article 'A Butler Well Served by This Election' written by Wil Haygood. 'The Butler' has been directed by Lee Daniels ('The Paperboy', 'Precious', 'Shadowboxer') and co-written by Danny Strong ('Game Change', 'Recount') and will be released in the US on August 16th 2013.
'The Butler' boasts a superb supporting cast including Robin Williams, John Cusack, Alan Rickman and Cuba Gooding Jr.
The first trailer for 'Precious' director Lee Daniels' new movie The Butler starring Forest Whitaker has rolled out online. It has always been assumed that Harvey Weinstein believes the film is one of his better chances of tasting Oscars success this season and the trailer certainly appears to confirm that. It stars Whitaker as Eugene Allen, the man who served eight presidents as the White House's head butler. It's over-the-top, patriotic and, well, Oscar bait.
In the mould as The King's Speech and The Iron Lady, the historical biopic is set for release on October 18th - just in time to be wafted under the nose of the Academy. As well as Whitaker returning to a leading role, 'The Butler' boasts one of the more spectacular casts of the year, including Robin Williams (Dwight Eisenhower), John Cusack (Richard Nixon), James Marsden (JFK), Liev Schreiber (Lydon B. Johnson), Alan Rickman (Reagan), Cuba Gooding Jr (Carter Wilson). David Oyelowo (Loius Gaines) and Oprah Winfrey (Gloria Gaines) are among the supporting cast though this one appears to be set up for Whitaker.
Watch 'The Butler' Trailer!
Speaking to Indiewire last year, Daniels hinted that his movie might be a little too focused on awards, "I'm trying to keep it [The Butler] PG13 which is not easy for me. It's very un-Precious and un-Paperboy... I can't go into my bag of tricks on this one [...] I felt like I directed the film in handcuffs and a muzzle," he said.
Continue reading: Forest Whitaker As 'The Butler' Could Be A Recipe For Success [Trailer]
Cecil Gains is a devoted White House butler who grew up on a simple cotton farm where he and other black workers were not treated with any respect by their white counterparts. From a simple kitchen worker, he rises to be top butler to eight different presidents over the course of more than 30 years. Sworn to secrecy over the goings on at the White House, he serves the likes of Dwight Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan and Lyndon B. Johnson with all the care that he has in spite of their differing policies and the suppression of his race across the country. He rejects his freedom fighter son's distaste at Cecil's job and never once wavers in his respect for his government. He merely stands back, silver platter in hand and watches the progression of racial equality until the day the country's first black president is finally inaugurated.
This is a story about loyalty and commitment based on the article by Wil Haygood, 'A Butler Well Served by This Election', about Eugene Allen; a real butler who showed his devotion to his job over the course of three decades while he and his fellow black civilians went from being the underdogs to top dog as he lives to see the election of President Barack Obama. It has been directed by Lee Daniels ('The Paperboy', 'Precious', 'Shadowboxer') and co-written by Danny Strong ('Game Change', 'Recount'), and has an incredible all-star ensemble cast. 'The Butler' is set to his theatres in the US on August 16th 2013.
Lee Daniels is clearly vying for Oscars glory with 'The Butler.'
The first trailer for 'Precious' director Lee Daniels' new movie The Butler starring Forest Whitaker has rolled out online and Harvey Weinstein's ambitions of taking this film all the way to the Oscars couldn't be more apparent. Whitaker stars as Eugene Allen, the man who served eight presidents as the White House's head butler.
The movie is clearly Oscar bait. Firstly, it's a typical Weinstein movie in the same mould as The King's Speech and The Iron Lady and secondly it's set for release on October 18th - just in time to be wafted under the nose of the Academy. Oh, and there's a pretty strong cast with plenty of Oscar winners and several up-and-coming stars. Robin Williams (Dwight Eisenhower), John Cusack (Richard Nixon), James Marsden (JFK), Liev Schreiber (Lydon B. Johnson), Alan Rickman (Reagan), Cuba Gooding Jr (Carter Wilson), David Oyelowo (Loius Gaines) and Oprah Winfrey (Gloria Gaines) are among the supporting cast though this one appears to be set up for Whitaker.
All the cast shown in no wave portrayal
The first pictures of the potentially dodgy looking CBGB movie have been revealed, showing the film's stars filming in the specially built CBGBs nightclub set up. Obviously the most notable star here is Malin Akerman who is shown as Blondie's Debbie Harry for the first time - she's seen here in the below photo with Taylor Hawkins, who plays proto-punk pioneer and general gadabout Iggy Pop.
Malin Ackerman and Taylor Hawkins
Hawkins of course is a member of a band in real life - the Foo Fighters. The Ramones are another band set to appear in the film, with Joel David Moore, Steven Schub and Julian Acosta set to portray Joey, DeeDee and Johnny Ramone respectively. Twilight star Ashley Greene is also onboard to play Lisa Kristal, daughter of the CBGB owner Hilly Kristal. You can see what she's looking like in the gallery link at the bottom of the article.
Continue reading: First CGBG Movie Shots Revealed [Pictures]
What with Jake Schreier's upcoming movie 'Robot & Frank' scheduled for release in the UK on March 8th 2013 and talks of 'Star Wars: Episode VII' being in the making, we've put together a list of what we think are the best robots that we've ever seen on screen. This is with the exception of cyborgs, human-looking robots, cybernetic organisms and bots from TV programs because, let's face it, we'd be here forever.
Robot ('Robot & Frank')
Continue reading: 10 Of Our Favourite Movie Robots
Little has caused more contention in the contactmusic office than our recent discussion about the Christmas films list! Obviously, everyone has their own favourite, and to them that will always be the top of the list. One thing that became all too clear to us was that - with the exception of Elf & Bad Santa - there really hasn't been too many full blown Christmas films so we'd like to make a plea to Bill Murray and the other Hollywood greats - PLEASE make a new (top quality) Christmas film to join these festive favourites!
I can't say we particularly advocate parents encouraging their offspring to watch films above their age certificate, but it appears we all grew up in houses that didn't really mind what we watched - and let's face it, some of the best Christmas films might have a few boobs or rowdy drunken behaviour... As children of the 80's and 90's, we're fully aware that there's original to some of these remakes, but as is always the way, these are the films we grew up with and as such, they are our favourites.
Enough explanation, in no particular order here are the films we recommend you watch over the holidays!
Continue reading: Top Twenty Classic Holiday Season Christmas Films
Remade from a 1966 romp starring Michael Caine and Shirley MacLaine, this con artist action-comedy is enjoyably silly but never much more than that. Part of the problem is a lack of chemistry between stars Colin Firth and Cameron Diaz, and the film focuses on goofy slapstick instead of a coherent plot. So we may chuckle along the way, but it's hard to be interested in anything that happens.
Firth is at the centre as Harry, a London art expert who has a score to settle with his arrogant billionaire boss Lionel (Rickman). So he sets up an elaborate scam involving a fake Monet painted by his talented pal Wingate (Courtenay). But they need the help of a sassy Texan, PJ (Diaz), to make it work, and she doesn't play along as Harry imagines she will. Soon she's flirting shamelessly with Lionel while Harry sneaks around in the background setting up the con and struggling to pay for her extravagant stay in the Savoy. Meanwhile, Lionel is trying to make a deal with a group of hard-bargaining Japanese businessmen.
While the Coen brothers' script bursts with absurd wit, Hoffman directs the film as a mindless farce, missing every chance for black comedy. From the animated Pink Panther-style titles, the tone is light and frothy, the characters are paper thin and the plot's convolutions never seem to amount to anything. Most of the big set-pieces are irrelevant asides, such as a half-hearted scene involving the lion that's featured far too prominently on the movie poster. Or a long sequence in which Firth cavorts around the Savoy without his trousers. It certainly doesn't help that Firth and Diaz never generate even a spark of attraction between them.
Continue reading: Gambit Review
As big movies like Skyfall and Argo open in the USA and UK respectively, it's the smaller titles that are getting the most attention. The British independent drama My Brother the Devil won awards at Sundance and festivals in Berlin, London, Los Angeles and San Francisco, and has garnered four-star reviews across the board from UK critics this weekend. Now the public gets a chance to see it.
In London, the stars turned out this week for the premiere of Gambit, a remake of the 1966 heist comedy. The film's stars Colin Firth, Cameron Diaz, Alan Rickman and Tom Courtenay were on hand both for the red carpet premiere and a meet-the-filmmakers event at London's Apple Store.
Meanwhile, Helen Mirren has been doing Q&As in London for her new film Hitchcock, in which she plays Alma Reville, wife of Alfred Hitchcock (Anthony Hopkins). The movie traces the making of Psycho with Janet Leigh (Scarlett Johansson), Vera Miles (Jessica Biel) and Anthony Perkins (James D'Arcy). A new trailer makes it look like a lot of fun. And a probable awards contender too.
Eccentric British/American comedy 'Gambit' premiered in London last night at the Empire in Leicester square. It stars Cameron Diaz, Colin Firth and Alan Rickman, and was directed by Michael Hoffman, with a script written by the Coen Brothers. With a line-up like that you can't really go wrong!
The remake of the 1966 film of the same name follows an art curator (Firth) who is sick of his boss (Rickman) and decides to take sweet revenge, in a variety of hilarious ways, aided by cowgirl PJ Puznowski (Diaz). Despite being written by Americans and directed by another American, it's a very British comedy.
On the red carpet Firth, Diaz and Hoffman spoke to ITN and the Daily Mail, and spoke about the trials and tribulations of working on the film. Cameron and Firth spoke to ITN about the nudity in the film, that has already been widely talked about. Cameron said "nothing's gratuitous, it's all for a purpose." Which was followed by a self-defacing quip from Firth who said: "My legs are there for gratuitous comedy, and they've been shamelessly exploited." Firth only really loses his trousers in the film, but Alan Rickman's character Lord Lionel Shabandar spends some of it in his birthday suit. The making of the film wasn't all levels of nudity, Cameron also got to try her hand at real life cow-girling, in an interview with the Daily Mail she said "I got to do a little lassoing, a little roping on the cattle." Adding, "It was a lot of fun."
Continue reading: Gambit Premier: Cameron Diaz And Colin Firth Talk Nudity And New Skills.
Kenneth Branagh, Alan Rickman, Celia Imrie, Derek Jacobi, Emma Thompson, Imelda Staunton, Judi Dench and Robbie Coltrane - Kenneth Branagh, Dame Judi Dench, Alan Rickman, Celia Imrie, Imelda Staunton, Richard E Grant, Robbie Coltrane, Patrick Doyle and daughters, Emma Thompson, Scott Davies, Sir Derek Jacobi, Jannis Kelly, Anatolij Fokanov, Adrian Lester, Mike Newell, Dan Hill Sunday 28th October 2007 at Royal Albert Hall London, England
Date of birth
21st February, 1946
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