Vera Brittain is an extraordinarily talented young woman who battles the odds to land herself a scholarship at Oxford University despite the attitudes of all the people around her frowning upon her desire to enter into a career in literature. Her life becomes even more promising when she falls for her brother's best friend Roland Leighton. However, the war is becoming ever closer and he is forced to abandon his own prestigious studies in favour of the frontline. Filled with grief over Roland's life-threatening circumstances, she decides to make the decision of a lifetime and leave her dreams behind. Instead, she decides to volunteer as a nurse for the sea of wounded troops that are yet to pour back into the country. Even as all that she holds dear are quickly annihilated by the vicious First World War, her determination keeps her focused on making the best of such horrors.
Continue: Testament of Youth Trailer
Excitement builds as the trailer for the Stephen Hawking biopic is released.
Excitement for the forthcoming British biopic, The Theory of Everything, based on the life of cosmologist and theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking has been propelled forward twice this week: firstly with a still of the two main characters, Hawking and his wife Jane, and now with a full trailer.
The first still released from the Stephen Hawking forthcoming biopic, The Theory of Everything
Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones assume the roles of the two main characters and will take audiences on a journey through the early stages of Hawking’s studies and the difficulties the couple face when he is diagnosed with motor neurone disease at the age of 21.
Coming from a privileged upbringing, cosmologist and theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking naturally had a first-rate education - though no-one could expect the kind of genius and revolutionary theories that he would eventually come up with. While wowing his university professors with his baffling discoveries, he was fighting a personal battle with his rapidly deteriorating health. Whilst still studying, he began to lose the ability to walk as well as the ability to speak before being diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease and given a two-year expect survival rate. As to be expected from one of the world's most accomplished scientists, he defied the odds and embarked on a long and fulfilling life that lasts to this day - with just a little help from the love of his youth Jane Wilde, who encouraged him to carry on speaking with the help of his trademark speech generating device.
Continue: The Theory Of Everything Trailer
What can we expect from this exploration into the life of brilliant physicist, Stephen Hawking?
The first still from the forthcoming British biopic, The Theory of Everything, based on the life of brilliant physicist Stephen Hawking, has been released ahead of the film’s trailer premiere due out tomorrow (6 August). Showing its two stars, Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones, the still captures a tender moment between Hawking and his first wife, Jane.
The first still has been released of the Stephen Hawking biopic, The Theory of Everything
Due to make its debut as Focus Features’ frontrunner at the Toronto International Film Festival in September this year, The Theory of Everything charts the life of a young Hawking as he begins his epic journey of discoveries within the world of physics. The film follows Hawking as a young man who enters into a relationship with Cambridge student Jane Wilde shortly before his heart-breaking motor neuron disease diagnosis at 21.
Continue reading: Picture Released For Stephen Hawking Biopic: The Theory Of Everything
The plot feels like a Jane Austen novel infused with a hot-potato political issue, but this is actually a true story. It's been somewhat fictionalised, but the central facts are accurate, and while the production is perhaps a bit too polished for its own good, the solid acting and filmmaking make the story involving and provocative. And its themes feel just as relevant today.
In 1769 London, a young half-black girl named Dido Belle is taken by her soldier father (Matthew Goode) to live with his uncle, the Lord Chief Justice Mansfield (Tom Wilkinson). With his wife (Emily Watson) and sister (Penelope Winton), he is already caring for another niece, and the two girls grow up as inseparable friends. Hidden from society, Dido (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) inherits a small fortune from her father. And while Elizabeth (Sarah Gadon) is penniless, her white skin makes her a more suitable spouse. Then family friend Lady Ashford (Miranda Richardson) foists her son James (Tom Felten) on Elizabeth. To their horror, his brother Oliver (James Norton) falls for Dido. But she's more interested in an impoverished law student (Sam Reid).
Along with these rather standard period-movie romantic shenanigans, there's a major subplot about Lord Mansfield's imminent ruling in the first court case to take on the slave trade, which could destabilise the entire British Empire. And this is where the film jolts into something significant: the UK's top judge had an adopted mixed-race daughter who probably influenced the first landmark decision against slavery. Meanwhile, director Amma Asante also vividly portrays the gritty realities of this young black woman's precarious position in society.
Continue reading: Belle Review
While there's a strong story in here about the power of literature and the fragility of life, this movie takes a far too wistful approach, so it feels like a cheesy bedtime yarn rather than a look at horrors of Nazi Germany. As a result, it's difficult to feel the full force of either the wrenchingly emotional events or the provocative themes.
Set in 1938, the story opens as irreverent 12-year-old Leisel (Nelisse) is taken away from her mother, who is accused of being a communist. She's then adopted by the childless couple Hans and Rosa (Rush and Watson). But while the cheerful artist Hans makes her feel at home, Rosa is relentlessly harsh. Leisel also reluctantly befriends neighbour boy Rolf (Liersch) and embarks on a series of adventures, including stealing books from Nazi book-burning rallies. But the mayor's wife (Auer) doesn't mind Leisel stealing books from her library. And when Hans and Rosa take in a Jewish refugee boy (Schnetzer), he encourages Leisel to start writing her own stories.
Oddly, director Percival softens every dark element in Petroni's screenplay. The Nazis are like school playground bullies, while the Allied bombings leave buildings in rubble but dead bodies bizarrely intact and peaceful. Even the setting looks like a fairy tale, with magical snowdrifts and fanciful spires. And the strangest touch of all is the cheery voiceover narration by Death (Allam), which turns the most horrific atrocities into a kind of wry eventuality. Watching brutal murder presented as a sort of poetic justice is deeply disturbing.
Continue reading: The Book Thief Review
Dido Elizabeth Belle is the mixed race daughter of Royal Navy officer Captain John Lindsay resulting from his affair with an African woman. Desperate for his only child to receive a comfortable upbringing, he takes her back to England and begs his uncle, Lord Mansfield, to take her in and care for her as their own. As much as she is treated well and enjoys the company of her cousin Lady Elizabeth Murray, she finds herself an outcast with no specified social status and disallowed from dining with her family on social occasions all because of her colour. While she is shunned by almost everybody, one man takes an interest in her; John Davinier, the apprentice of Lord Mansfield. However, both her great-uncle and John's parents are averse to the idea of their marriage - though their shocking love story forces Mansfield to re-think his own feelings about race and family.
Continue: Belle Trailer
Finally, in just a few short months, the expert work of Markus Zusak will be seen on screen for the first time.
For those who have read and loved Markus Zusak’s The Book Thief, the film trailer below has been a long time coming. Anyone who hasn’t gotten around to reading the book yet, deserves a stern look of disappointment, but also, here’s the brief summary to get you up to speed. The film takes place in Germany during the final years before WWII. Young Liesel Meminger is separated from her family, who are suspected of communist leanings, and she gets sent to live with Rosa and Hans Hubermann instead. The couple take her in as their own.
Watch the brand new trailer for The Book Thief below.
Liesel Meminger is a 9-year-old girl who is forced to be separated from her family for her own safety. She goes to live with another German couple, Rosa and Hans Hubermann, who treat her as if she were their own. However, settling in to a new home is less than easy and she struggles desperately from disturbed sleep. In a bid to comfort her, Hans decides to stay by her bedside every night until she falls asleep. He discovers that she is in possession of a book, 'The Gravediggers Handbook', which it turns out was stolen and Liesel is unable to read it. Hans decides to help her further by teaching her to read, an ability that is enhanced further by the arrival of a Jewish runaway named Max, who the Hubermann's agree to hide from the vigilant Nazi officers.
'The Book Thief' is based on the 2006 World War II novel of the same name by Markus Zusak and has been adapted to screen by writer Michael Petroni ('The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader', 'The Rite') and Primetime Emmy winning director Brian Percival ('The Ruby in the Smoke', 'The Old Curiosity Shop', 'A Boy Called Dad'). It is set for release in the UK on January 31st 2014.
Neil LaBute adapts his bracingly astute play into a series of scenes that make us question how men and women ever come together to make a relationship work. The central idea is that we hurt each other even when we don't mean to, and through a series of face-offs between a man and his ex-girlfriends, the film leaves us wondering what we might have done to our own partners along the way.
At the centre is a writer (Brody) in his 30s, who wants to clear away his relational baggage before he gets married. He flies first to Seattle to meet his school girlfriend Sam (Morrison). She's now married with kids, and he wants to talk about their break-up. "You ended it," she corrects him. And he finds his memories equally unreliable as he visits Tyler (Maestro) in Chicago, Lindsay (Watson) in Boston, Reggie (Kazan) back in Seattle again and Bobbi (Bell) in Los Angeles. While zig-zagging across America he begins to realise that he was always the problem.
As the scenes unfold, Brody's unnamed character reveals himself as weak, shallow and self-absorbed, but also relentlessly charming. it's a brave, transparent performance that takes on resonance as he begins to understand that he's flawed and, even worse, ordinary. Opposite him, the women are all variations on a fantasy: the good girl, the sex pot, the experienced older woman, the flirty little sister of his best friend, the brainy hottie. They're superbly well-played by these actresses; Watson's piercing honesty is the stand-out, while Kazan's role is the most haunting.
Continue reading: Some Girl(s) Review
David Tennant won high praise for Broadchurch, but what about The Politician's Wife?
David Tennant stars in The Politician's Husband, the BBC's belated follow-up to Paula Milne's 1995 drama The Politician's Wife. The Scottish actors plays a senior cabinet minister and political rising star while Emily Watson - who won a BAFTA for Appropriate Adult - plays his wife and fellow politician Freya Gardner.
In a slick opening episode, Tennant's Aiden Hoynes resigns from the government seemingly in protest at the PM's immigration policy, though really because he is challenging for the leadership himself. The whole thing backfires in a big way, mainly because his pal over at the work and pensions department Bruce Babbish hangs him out to dry. All the while, his wife's career goes through the roof, despite the fact she's always put the stoppers on any ascendancy to support her husband. The Guardian's critic Sam Wollaston praised the opening episode, writing, "There is heaps to enjoy in The Politician's Husband. Well, him and her, Tennant and Watson; they're both great, and great together, convincing as a couple. I like - no, not like, approve of - the fact that their son Noah has Asperger's. That also makes them more convincing, more real - even before the massive (question mark-shaped?) cracks begin to appear in their relationship."
The Daily Mail offered cautious praise, writing, "Watson, in her first appearance since her acclaimed role in Appropriate Adult was, predictably, excellent.As was Peter Allam (who, ironically, played Peter Mannion MP in the superlative political satire The Thick Of It) giving a veritable master-class in languorous menace," though suggesting that it was "somewhat distracting. to see David Tennant so soon after his eight week run in Broadchurch." Tennant - the new golden boy of television - was excellent on the ITV crime-drama series, which was likened to The Killing and The Bridge during its thrilling run.
Tolstoy's iconic novel may have been filmed several times, but you've never seen a version like this. Clever writer Tom Stoppard and visually whizzy director Joe Wright combine talents with this ambitious film, which sets all of the action in a theatre that expands and shifts into a variety of settings.
Yes, it's rather strange, but it's also drop-dead gorgeous.
Knightley reteams with Pride & Prejudice and Atonement director Wright to deliver another solid performance as Anna, an aristocrat in 1870s St Petersburg who is married to the achingly nice establishment gent Alexei (Law) but falls under the spell of the bland but sexy young heartbreaker Vronsky (Taylor-Johnson). And when she gets pregnant, she has to make a very difficult decision. The central theme is that these people are characters in a play dictated to them by their restrictive Russian society, so they have little choice but head toward tragedy.
Fortunately, there's a parallel plot about a wealthy farmer (Gleeson) who rejects so-called civilised society to stay in touch with the earth. He pursues the smart, young Kitty (Vikander), also entranced with Vronsky but beginning to become disgusted with so-called civilised culture. The film includes a rather huge number of characters, including Anna's womanising brother (Macfadyen) and his longsuffering wife (a particularly excellent Macdonald). And Wright and Stoppard effortlessly let everyone swirl around each other in a huge pool of emotion.
Although this pool often feels frozen over, as the feelings are pretty icy. So it's good to have open-hearted performances by Macdonald and Gleeson to hold our interest. Knightley is excellent, although we never understand why Anna does anything she does (which is the whole point). But perhaps the most impressive thing about this film is its astoundingly beautiful design: the sets, costumes, photography and music are sumptuous and lush, never fussy but always adding to the intensity of each scene. Look for it to deservedly hoover up Oscar nominations across the board.
Anna Karenina is the young wife of senior statesman Alexei Karenin. Theirs was more of a marriage of convenience rather than love and soon Anna's eyes begin to wander elsewhere as her desire for romance becomes ever more intense. She meets Count Vronsky, a handsome cavalry officer with whom she enters into a passionate adulterous affair. When people find out about their involvement, Anna's honour is crushed in the eyes of the Russian noble men and women and she is forced to make a choice; to leave her loveless marriage and family and lose all honour and dignity, or end her affair with her possessive lover and be potentially forgiven.
Continue: Anna Karenina Trailer
In early 1900s Devon, teenager Albert (Irvine) lives on a farm with his impulsive-drunk father Ted (Mullan) and his tough-minded mum Rose (Watson).
When Ted overpays for the wrong horse to work the fields, Albert adopts the horse, names him Joey and teaches him the ropes. But when war breaks out in Europe, Ted sells Joey to a cavalry captain (Hiddleston). At war, Joey changes hands between British and German officers, a young soldier (Kross) and a French farmer (Arestrup). Meanwhile, Albert joins the army, heading into the trenches to search for Joey.
Continue reading: War Horse Review
As a child, Michael and his father Charles have had a tense relationship. Charles would lash out at Michael for breaking the rules; once even attempting to hit him with a baseball bat when he intervened in a fight between Charles and his wife Lisa. Another time, Charles was made to walk home in the rain after claiming to have lost his glasses.
Continue: Fireflies In The Garden Trailer
In rural England during the First World War, a horse named Joey befriends a young boy called Albert. One day Joey is sold to the cavalry and sent to the trenches in France, seeing firsthand the horrors of the Great War, yet touching the hearts of everyone he meets, including a French farmer, a German soldier and the British army. Although too young to enlist, 16 year old Albert joins the army and heads to France to find his friend.
Continue: War Horse Trailer
Chris Noonan's Miss Potter continues a rather long line of films that attempt to diagnose the creative process of a writer and the critical world that surrounds the writer's inherent social (emotional) ineptitude. There are moments where Miss Potter seems to be on the right track in feeling out the emotional trajectory of its main character, but it often chooses the route of greater cuteness over the challenges of trying to study the life of a writer.
Beatrix Potter (Renée Zellweger) came from a well-off family and was well past her marriage date when three brothers agreed to publish her book, expecting nothing more than a minor profit. In case the name doesn't ring a bell, Miss Potter was the brains behind the beloved Peter Rabbit and several other indelible creatures of delightful fantasy. When the elder statesmen of the publishing firm deem the project unworthy of their time, they send their young brother (Ewan McGregor), to handle the book and its flighty author. As you may guess, the two fall head-over-heels, much to the chagrin of Beatrix's parents (Bill Patterson and Barbara Flynn) and to the glee of his sister (Emily Watson, the film's most evident charm factory).
Noonan, best known for the now classic Babe, treats his subject with the same well-dressed adorability that Potter gave her creatures, most notably Peter. A more easygoing version of Marc Forster's Finding Neverland, Miss Potter spends more time striving to deal with the relationship status of its heroine than delving into the quixotic charm of her writing process. The better parts of the film are the flourishes of animated hallucinogenics that Noonan puts in as a reminder of where these creations came from: Beatrix's parlor of emotional eccentricities.
The problem is that, when push comes to shove, we've seen Potter's story before, and Miss Potter is severely lacking in trying to differentiate its source material from any other classically-tinted story of love and writing. Acting-wise, there couldn't be a sweeter bunch of actors to add to the candy-coated shell the film inhabits. But the film invariably goes for impenetrable cuteness, even when a rather obvious tragedy occurs. In fact, all the drama that arises seems to be treated with fumbling, patronizing dullness to give more ample weight to what is a rather wanting character study.
Rereading the Peter Rabbit books, you have to marvel at the simplicity and class that the books had in telling a story with a solid moral. What Miss Potter doesn't have is the creative veil that Potter herself gave these wonderful stories. The film could have been so detailed and surreal, yet it relies on whimsy like the animated whirl of Beatrix's parents stepping into a cartoon pumpkin led by four monstrous rabbits. It is missing that childlike love for nature and animals that Beatrix must have had, and in turn, forgets what it's like to have an imagination.
Not Harry's mom.
A wonderfully ambitious, old-school ensemble piece, very much in the can-do spirit of the community to which it pays homage, "Cradle Will Rock" is a politically-undertoned dramedy about theater, censorship, ambition, apprehension, oppression, Orson Welles and the Great Depression.
Written and directed by Tim Robbins -- never one to shy away from cause-fueled entertainment -- this passionate labor of love celebrates and fictionalizes a legendary moment in American theater, when the government shut down the performance of a musical produced by the Works Progress Administration -- and the actors, at the risk of losing their jobs during the bleakest economic season in U.S. history, staged it anyway in a show of inspiring solidarity.
The play was entitled "The Cradle Will Rock" and its story of a greedy industrialist taken down by the organized working man made a lot of federal bureaucrats see red -- as in communism.
Continue reading: Cradle Will Rock Review
The worst theatrically released sci-fi flick since "Battlefield Earth," "Equilibrium" is so blatantly derivative as to be insulting, so absurdly hackneyed it's hard to believe it's sincere, so full of scenery-chomping it's a wonder the actors don't weigh 300 lbs. by the closing credits -- and as a result it's such a laugh riot that it may well be the funniest movie of 2002.
The plot -- brazenly pillaged from "Fahrenheit 451," "1984" and "Brave New World" -- concerns a high-ranking government "Cleric" named John Preston (chisel-featured Christian Bale), a ruthless and deadly law enforcer in a "Metropolis"-styled dystopian future where emotions (and by extension, music, art, poetry, etc.) have been outlawed.
The populace takes twice-daily doses of a stupefacient called Prozium, but when passionless Preston misses a couple injections, has a confusing day of emerging feelings, then finds himself staring into the big brown eyes of a cute little puppy he's supposed to kill during a raid on a "sense offender" hideout (insert shots of famous paintings being torched with a flame-thrower here), he...just...can't...do it.
Continue reading: Equilibrium Review
Date of birth
14th January, 1967
With visually stunning imagery and a solid A-list cast, this film just about transcends its...
When two different climbing parties set out on the expedition of their lives, they knew...
Some people get a once in a lifetime chance to make history. Some people, unfortunately...
Although it takes a breezy, sometimes silly approach to a fragment of a true story,...
Princess Margaret and Princess Elizabeth are distinctly unworldly despite their prestigious education as young women,...
A classic British memoir gets the full costume drama treatment with this beautifully crafted World...
An unusual point of view prevents this from ever turning into the standard biopic, but...
Pepper Flynt Busbee (Jakob Salvati) is a 7-year-old boy who stands much shorter than any...
Vera Brittain is an extraordinarily talented young woman who battles the odds to land herself...
Coming from a privileged upbringing, cosmologist and theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking naturally had a first-rate...
The plot feels like a Jane Austen novel infused with a hot-potato political issue, but...
While there's a strong story in here about the power of literature and the fragility...
Dido Elizabeth Belle is the mixed race daughter of Royal Navy officer Captain John Lindsay...