Deliberately appealing to older audiences, this undemanding comedy-drama comes with a hint of social relevance in its true story about an outcast who takes on the system in a leafy corner of London. While the script is too thin to make much of the premise, the film at least benefits from the likeable presence of Diane Keaton and Brendan Gleeson in the lead roles, plus a lively supporting cast.
Keaton plays Emily, an American widow living in the posh village on the edge of Hampstead Heath. Her late husband left her with a lot of debt, which her grown son Philip (James Norton) is helping her sort through. And her neighbour Fiona (Lesley Manville) is trying to set her up with an accountant (Jason Watkins) who has romantic inclinations. But Emily is much more intrigued by the homeless Irishman Donald (Gleeson) living in the lushly overgrown grounds of an abandoned hospital. And when she realises that developers want to build a glassy block of expensive flats there, she kicks into action with the help of a quirky young friend (Hugh Skinner).
Director Joel Hopkins keeps everything picturesque and twinkly as the story gently tips into a courtroom drama with an accompanying romance. Despite its basis in fact, there's little about this film that's remotely believable, not that it will matter to the core audience in search of some warm escapism. They'll enjoy the squeaky clean story and the stylised version of an England furnished with impeccably matching antiques and huge bouquets of flowers. And the cast makes it watchable. Keaton does her usual kooky thing, smart but clumsy, with perfect timing in her interaction with everyone around her. There may not be much chemistry with Gleeson, but he gives the tetchy Donald plenty of scruffy charm.
Continue reading: Hampstead Review
They say you should never meet your heroes, but Michael Fassbender is glad he met Brendan Gleeson.
Getting to meet your heroes as an actor must be one hell of a job perk, though not as much as getting to work with said hero on a movie project. For Michael Fassbender, he was a little starstruck when he met fellow Irish star Brendan Gleeson on the set of 'Trespass Against Us'.
Michael Fassbender and Brendan Gleeson star in 'Trespass Against Us'
Of course, Michael Fassbender is more internationally well-known than Brendan Gleeson, and that fact wasn't lost on the latter who was just as eager to work with the younger star. Little did he know that Michael had been following him for over twenty years.
It's been one year since Emily's husband Charles passed away, but she has very mixed feelings towards his memory. There are good things in her life too; a loving grown-up son named Philip and a lovely home in Hampstead Heath, but her life is far more complicated than that. After one date with a fiddle-player named James Smythe, she struggles to shake him off. She'd love to find love again but she's desperate not to settle for anyone. One day though, she espies a bearded old man washing in the ponds across from her house. Curiosity gets the better of her and she follows him home to a quaint but run-down old shack in the middle of the woods. Charmed by his wit and his amusingly grumpy temperament, she decides to help him save his home when he is given an eviction notice by land owners who wish to build on his property. His unshakeable pride works against his cause, but Emily refuses to give up saving the man she's falling deeply in love with.
Continue: Hampstead Trailer
Chad Cutler is an Irish traveller who entered a life of crime at a young age, following in the footsteps of his father before him, Colby. Now that his own son Tyson is growing up, he wants to show him the ropes. Teaching him to drive a car through the fields is one thing, though, and he's starting to realise that introducing him into a world of police chases and robberies is very much another. Chad is becoming disillusioned with the lifestyle with which his family is accustomed, and wants to find a new path for both himself and his child. While his mother Kelly is supportive of his feelings, she and everyone else knows that Colby won't hear anything about it. He needs to find a way to sever ties with his father, without unleashing hell on his own family.
Continue: Trespass Against Us Trailer
Ben Affleck launched his directing career 10 years ago with his film of Dennis Lehane's novel Gone Baby Gone, and he now returns to the author to adapt this Prohibition-era gangster drama. It's a big, beefy story with colourful characters and a snaky, expansive plot. And it's beautifully assembled by a skilled cast and crew. Even so, the film never quite generates quite enough energy to engage properly with the audience.
In 1927 Boston, Joe (Affleck) is a war veteran who has turned to crime to survive. But problems arise when he launches a torrid affair with the moll (Sienna Miller) of the Irish mob boss (Robert Glenister). With his life in danger, he turns to the rival Italian mafioso (Remo Girone) for a job, and is sent to Tampa to run their rum-smuggling operation. Working with his pal Dion (Chris Messina), Joe makes a success of a string of speak-easy bars and finds love with a the sister (Zoe Saldana) of a Cuban gangster. Then as he plans to open a huge casino, his gentlemanly agreement with the local police chief (Chris Cooper) is threatened. And it doesn't help that the boss in Boston begins to meddle.
Everything is assembled with a sumptuous sense of style, from the cool cars to the epic suits and hats. The film looks gorgeous, shot with muted colours that echo the subdued emotions of people who never quite say what they think. Of course, this creates a big problem, because it leaves Affleck's Joe looking like a blank slate, intriguing to watch but impossible to sympathise with. Nothing feels properly developed, with romances that seem to exist for no real reason and business relationships that appear to be based on some sort of unexplained subterfuge. The most riveting element of the story is Joe's clash with the KKK, a powerfully bull-headed group that refuses to play by the usual mob rules.
Continue reading: Live By Night Review
'Trespass Against Us' is released on January 20th in the US, and on March 3rd in Britain.
Michael Fassbender took the time to speak about his lead role in the upcoming film Trespass Against Us.
The film, which also stars Brendan Gleeson, Rory Kinnear and Sean Harris, made its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival back in September. It is released in the United States on January 20th and in Britain on March 3rd.
Speaking at the BFI Film Festival recently, the 39 year old actor described the nature of the story, about a father who’s trying to break away from a crime family and do what’s best for his son, but keeps getting dragged back in.
Continue reading: Michael Fassbender Hopes 'Trespass Against Us' Will Provoke Discussion
Joe Coughlin was born and raised in a good family, his father was the police captain and they were a respected family in the neighbourhood. Joe was the dark horse and fell in with the wrong crowd from an influential age. It was 1920's and Joe and the rest of the Coughlin family lived in the thriving city of Boston. Joe constantly seemed to be pulling in a different direction to that of his father and mixed with some of the town's most feared bosses responsible for any number of crimes from running alcohol to robbery.
Caught in the middle of a war between mob bosses, Joe ends up ripping off the wrong guy in more than one way as he also steals his woman. Everything appears to be going for Joe and his small gang but their next heist is a chance too far and sees Joe being put in prison for robbery. Once again, Joe finds himself falling in with another powerful boss who offers him protection in prison - but at a cost.
With his eventual release, Joe moves to Florida to begin over seeing a rum smuggling operation but as Joe finds love he begins to realise that there's more to life than working on someone else's terms but perhaps he's too deeply connected to ever be able to give up the life he's made for himself.
Expectations are a problem with this year's Secret Cinema event. After the jaw-dropping, goosebump-inducing surprises of both 2014's Back to the Future and 2015's Star Wars, this immersive take on Danny Boyle's classic zombie movie feels rather undercooked. But there's a lot of fun to be had (if not many scares) spending several hours trying to survive in a world overrun by the undead.
The set-up is very clever: you are given an appointment at an NSH hospital in a secret London location, and told to wear scrubs or protective clothing. On arrival you're handed a surgical mask and ordered here and there for interviews, physical examinations and eventually an oral vaccination that seems to make everything go blurry and then pitch black. When you "wake up" all hell has broken loose, and you are sent running through a series of blood-drenched corridors and stairwells, encountering characters and settings from the film as zombies lunge from every corner. In the safe zone, food and drink is for sale, and you get a chance to relax a bit, play a game, have a dance. Finally, you're led into an inventively themed cinema to watch the 2002 film as on-screen elements are performed around you.
Through all of this, medical and military officials harshly shout instructions at you, while TV screens show news reports of chaos on the streets. Combined with the dimly lit post-apocalyptic setting, the atmosphere is enjoyably claustrophobic, only broken by the nagging sense that money is draining out of your wallet at an alarming rate. Not only is the ticket £67 (or £134 for a "premium experience"), but there are things to buy at every point, from the scrubs or coveralls to pricey cocktails served in small bottles or coffee mugs and a relatively slim selection of restaurant-priced food options.
Continue reading: Secret Cinema Presents: 28 Days Later Review
With a huge budget and a relatively small story, this is an intriguingly offbeat blockbuster that might struggle to find an audience. Basically, it's aimed at fans of more thoughtful, personal stories of tenacity and survival, but it's shot with a massive special effects budget that sometimes seems to swamp the drama. Still, it's involving and moving. And it's also fascinatingly based on the true events that inspired Moby Dick.
The story is framed in 1850 as novelist Herman Melville (Ben Whishaw) visits an ageing sailor named Tom (Brendan Gleeson) to quiz him about a momentous event in his past that he has never spoken of. Flash back to 1820 Nantucket, and Tom (Tom Holland) is a rookie crew member on the whaling ship Essex, working under the posh, privileged Captain George (Benjamin Walker) and his able but low-class first mate Owen (Chris Hemsworth). As these these two leaders clash against each other, the ship sails off for what will be a very long journey. Eventually they head into the Pacific in search of a mythical pod of whales. But when they find it, they run afoul of a gigantic white whale that takes their arrival personally, sinking their ship and pursuing the survivors in their lifeboats.
All of this is staged as an epic battle between humanity and nature, with layers of interest in the way these men strain to survive against unimaginable odds. It's a riveting story, beautifully shot and rendered with immersive effects. And the cast members create complex characters who are profoundly changed by their experience. Not only is there mammoth action, but there's plenty of barbed interaction and even some strongly emotional moments that bring the themes home to a modern audience. Sometimes this aspect feels a bit corny, as clearly whalers at the time wouldn't feel remorse about killing one of these majestic creatures. But we would.
Continue reading: In The Heart Of The Sea Review
In The Heart Of The Sea is the true seaman's tale based on the last outing of the Whaling Ship Essex. After setting sale from the port on Nantuckett the 20 man crew expect their journey to be much like the others they've been on, very long and tough but on an old but very trusty ship.
After leaving the port, almost immediately the men are hit by a powerful storm which damages the boat. knowing they must make money and make the trip profitable before returning home, the men continue with their mission. After months of good fishing, the men doc at various ports for supplies. Almost a year into their trip and the Essex is struck by a gigantic whale which causes irreparable damage to the ship's hull.
Stuck with no other choice the surviving men must board one of the incredibly small whaling boats that they have on board. The remaining crew members find themselves stuck in a life-threatening situation, 1000 miles from land, incredibly tight rations and stuck at sea for an unknown amount of time, the crew must find a way to endure - both mentally and physically.
Continue: In The Heart Of The Sea Trailer
Date of birth
29th March, 1955
Deliberately appealing to older audiences, this undemanding comedy-drama comes with a hint of social relevance...
Since being adopted into the Brown family, Paddington bear is now a big part of...
It's been one year since Emily's husband Charles passed away, but she has very mixed...
With an extra dose of attitude and energy, this Irish comedy-drama hits us like a...
Chad Cutler is an Irish traveller who entered a life of crime at a young...
Ben Affleck launched his directing career 10 years ago with his film of Dennis Lehane's...
Hopes were high that this film might finally crack the curse of movies based on...
Callum Lynch is a criminal facing the death sentence but is given a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity...
Joe Coughlin was born and raised in a good family, his father was the police...
Assassin's Creed sees Michael Fassbender cast as the protagonist Callum Lynch, in this action adventure...
Expectations are a problem with this year's Secret Cinema event. After the jaw-dropping, goosebump-inducing surprises...
With a huge budget and a relatively small story, this is an intriguingly offbeat blockbuster...
In The Heart Of The Sea is the true seaman's tale based on the last...