A fictionalised story from the life of Wolfgang Mozart, this lavishly produced period drama is enjoyable for its witty performances and sexy intrigue. It's never as sharp as the screenwriters clearly intended it to be, and its tone veers wildly in operatic fashion from cute comedy to lusty romance to very dark violence. But the actors are terrific, and the film catches a clever sense of both the history and the music.
It opens in 1786, as Prague's opera patron Baron Saloka (James Purefoy) begrudgingly agrees to provide the funds to bring Mozart (Aneurin Barnard) to town to conduct the final performance of The Marriage of Figaro. A rampant womaniser who doesn't want competition from the composer, Saloka currently has his eyes on virginal soprano Zuzanna (Morfydd Clark), who has just joined the cast. And he watches in a jealous rage as the married Mozart flirts shamelessly with her, egged on by his friend, the star diva Josefa (Samantha Barks). In response, Saloka arranges a marriage with Zuzanna's parents (Adrian Edmondson and Dervla Kerwin), who are so taken with the baron's wealth and social standing that they ignore the persistent rumours about his violent abuse of every woman he knows.
There's nothing remotely subtle about this film. Saloka's servants visibly quake in his presence, while every woman in town bats her eyelashes at the hot, charismatic Mozart. The dialogue shifts clunkily from witty banter to gloomy foreboding as the plot turns increasingly creepy and menacing. And Saloka's manipulative nastiness can't help but bring to mind Salieri in Milos Forman's 1984 masterpiece Amadeus. This film of course pales in comparison, although it's silly enough to keep us entertained. This is largely due to Barnard's fizzy, energetic performance, which is nicely balanced by the lively charms of both Barks and Clark, whose scenes with Barnard overflow with lusty glee. By contrast, Purefoy is a snarling villain who hates everyone and everything.
Continue reading: Interlude In Prague Review
Yuri is an artist living in Ukrainian Cossack family in the early 1930s. All seems well in the land; the people are free, well-fed - and Yuri himself has fallen in love with the beautiful Natalka whom he has known since he was a child. However, their lives are about to change forever with the new communist regime of Soviet Union leader Joseph Stalin. Millions of people in agricultural areas of the USSR are left to starve to death as their harvest is confiscated by a ruthless government. It's a famine known as Holodomor which lasted between 1932 and 1933, and even when farmers try to move to more affluent areas, their travel is impeded by more official regulations. Together the people of Ukraine must band together to take back their country and their crops, and bring this cruel starvation episode to an end.
Continue: Bitter Harvest Trailer
Samantha Barks and Richard Fleeshman - Shots from the red carpet as a variety of celebrities arrived at the British Academy Children's Awards held by BAFTA at the Roundhouse theatre in London, United Kingdom - Sunday 23rd November 2014
Can't stand the prospect of watching another vampire movie in the same vein as 'Twilight'? Do you yearn for the days when vampires were the stuff of nightmares and not the subject of appalling teenage romantic fiction? Then 'Dracula Untold' may be the tonic you need!
It's fair to say anyone past the age of 14 is fed up with vampires or at least of the overly sympathetic versions we are bombarded with in Twilight. We all miss the good old days when vampires were naughty, vicious and decadent creatures as opposed to floppy haired 'vegetarian' romantics. So if you're longing for the days of Lestat, searching for the sharp wit of Spike or simply want to see Gary Oldman's shadow mischievously revealing his inner thoughts, then the upcoming film Dracula Untold may be for you.
Lee Evans stars in Dracula Untold as Vlad Tepes.
Dracula Untold follows the character Bram Stoker's Dracula is based on, Vlad III, and attempts to create a link between the medieval Romanian ruler and the fictional monster we've come to know and love. In the film we are set to see Vlad strike up a bargain with an unusual fanged creature (yes, it's most definitely a vampire) that lives high on a deserted mountain in order to protect his family and people from the machinations of Sultan Mehmed II. Complete with billowing red cape, the trailer suggests Dracula Untold may be an historical epic crossed with a graphic novel à la 300.
Vlad III Tepes is the Prince of Wallachia and a warrior with a fearsome reputation. Thought of by many as a hero with the ability to defeat armies of men, and by others as a powerful and often cruel adversary, Vlad is facing a huge challenge. Sultan Mehmed II is preparing for battle and he needs a thousand young boys to join his army, and thus Vlad's son is being dragged into the conflict. Determined to protect his family, he sets out to find a way to protect his people single-handedly, so that no children must face the dangers of war. It's then he comes across a dark beast with the power to transform him, and he becomes Dracula; an immortal, blood-drinking demon with the ability to morph into a bat and defend whole cities of civilians. Unfortunately, few are welcoming of his new form and it seems that even those he is striving to protect will turn against him.
Continue: Dracula Untold Trailer
Les Miserables stars Russell Crowe and Samantha Bars are rumored to be dating
It looks as though Aussie actor Russell Crowe is dating his Les Miserables co-star Samantha Barks. Crowe, 48 and Barks, 22, have been openly Tweeting each other and Crowe’s a big fan of letting his 820,000 Twitter followers about the exercise regime that he often shares with the young actress. According to New Idea magazine, though, this isn’t simply a convenient fitness pairing friendship but is developing into something a little more serious.
One recent Tweet from Crowe read “Work out with @samanthaBarks 4km walk, 30 mins elliptical, 4 min prone hold, shoulder routine, leta, bench, turkish stand” and an onlooker at the Governors’ Ball, after the Oscars, revealed to the magazine that the pair were looking very cosy indeed. “She was continually touching his sleeve, giggling and sitting in awe of his every word, and he was lapping up every moment,” said the source. Russell separated from his wife Danielle Spencer last year; they had been married since 2003 after starting an on-again-off-again relationship back in 1989. They have two children together, Charles and Tennyson.
Crowe has also been using his Twitter page to defend allegations that he and fellow Aussie Natalie Imbruglia are dating. “I am not having an affair with nor am I dating Natalie Imbruglia. She has been a friend for years. No flirting, no whispers, total BULLSHIT,” read the 28 Feb tweet.
Continue reading: Just Fitness Pals? Or Is Russell Crowe Dating Samantha Barks?
This year biggest musical event (after the series finale of Glee, of course), the film adaptation of Les Miserables, will continue its already impressive run during the Academy Awards ceremony next month when the stars of the film take to the stage to perform songs from the hit musical.
The film's stars Anne Hathaway and Hugh Jackman, who both have Oscar nominations for their roles in the film, will be making their second appearance at the annual awards ceremony together, having hosted the event together in 2009. Both stars won Golden Globes last Sunday for their performances in the movie, which has a total of eight nominations for the Oscars.
Hathaway and Jackman are expected to be joined by fellow stars Eddie Redmayne, who plays Marius, and Samantha Barks, who plays Eponine, however it has not yet been made clear what songs the ensemble will perform on the night.
Continue reading: Les Miserables Cast To Perform Live At The Oscars
Starting at full-emotion and never wavering for a moment, this huge movie adaptation of the long-running stage musical wears us out with its relentlessly epic approach. OK, so neither the musical nor Victor Hugo's source novel could be accused of being understated, but director Hooper (The King's Speech) never even tries to find a moment of quiet feeling here. The result is thrillingly moving, making the most of the soaring anthems that fill the show. But it's also pretty overwhelming.
The story starts in 1815 as convict Jean Valjean (Jackman) finishes 19 years in prison for stealing a loaf of bread. His parole officer Javert (Crowe) vows to keep an eye on him, but Valjean slips away and, after a redemptive encounter with a priest, eventually reinvents himself as an upstanding businessman. He tries to help fallen woman Fantine (Hathaway), rescuing her daughter Cosette (Allen, then Seyfried) from her greedy foster parents (Baron Cohen and Bonham Carter). Years later, Valjean and Cosette move to Paris, where a young revolutionary (Redmayne) falls for Cosette just as the 1832 student uprisings break out. And Javert is still determined to recapture Valjean.
Hooper maintains the play's operatic style, in which the dialog is sung-through in between the big numbers. And we're talking about massively emotional power ballads here, performed to wrenching effect. Hathaway's one-take rendition of I Dreamed a Dream is the kind of breathtaking scene that wins Oscars. Jackman's voice wavers and cracks beautifully as he holds the story together. Marks delivers a belting version of the soulful On My Own. Redmayne nearly steals the show with his soaring tenor voice and wonderful acting chops. Baron Cohen and Bonham Carter provide some raucously overwrought comical relief. And Crowe gets away with Javert's big musical moments because he has the acting power to back up his oddly thin voice.
Continue reading: Les Miserables Review
The all-star cast for 'Les Miserables' arrive on the red carpet at the New York premiere. Among them were Anne Hathaway, Russell Crowe, Hugh Jackman with his actress wife Deborra-lee Furness, Amanda Seyfried, Eddie Redmayne, Aaron Tveit, Sacha Baron Cohen, George Blagden, Samantha Barks and newcomers Isabelle Allen and Daniel Huttlestone.
Jean Valjean was imprisoned in France's Toulin prison for over a decade after stealing a loaf of bread and making several escape attempts. After being paroled, Jean (known as Prisoner 24601) finds himself re-offending and therefore on the run from the uncompromising police inspector Javert who is thoroughly determined to get him back behind bars no matter what. Changing his identity, Jean finds himself at the heart of a revolution known as the June Rebellion in 1832 Paris. Jean eventually becomes a town mayor, while still evading capture, and meets the impoverished Fantine who struggles to care for her illegitimate daughter Cosette. Jean agrees become the child's guardian and brings her up.
Continue: Les Miserables Trailer
A fictionalised story from the life of Wolfgang Mozart, this lavishly produced period drama is...
Yuri is an artist living in Ukrainian Cossack family in the early 1930s. All seems...
Vlad III Tepes is the Prince of Wallachia and a warrior with a fearsome reputation....
Starting at full-emotion and never wavering for a moment, this huge movie adaptation of the...