With the more dumbed-down title Fast & Furious 8 outside of North America, this overcrowded franchise continues in its trajectory to provide mindlessly outrageous thrills involving muscly guys, tough girls and loud cars. This episode is marginally more grounded than the high-flying previous instalment, but it's still utterly preposterous. It's also a huge amount of fun, thanks to the snappy cast and far larger than life driving stunts.
We catch up with Dom and Letty (Vin Diesel and Michelle Rodriguez) living in Havana and challenging the locals to some vroom-vroom racing antics. But their happy life is interrupted by the arrival of Cipher (Charlize Theron), a mysterious woman who has something on Dom and lures him to the dark side. To stop Cipher's nefarious plan, Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) is brought back into action by Mr Nobody (Kurt Russell) and his rookie colleague Eric (Scott Eastwood), who also draft in Letty and the team (Tyrese Gibson, Chris 'Ludacris' Bridges and Nathalie Emmanuel) before heading off to Berlin. Things don't go so well there, so they bring in hothead nemesis Deckard (Jason Statham) and chase Dom and Cipher to New York and Arctic Russia for even more outrageous vehicular mayhem.
New to the franchise, director F. Gary Gray (Straight Outta Compton) gives the film a gritty edge that sits surprisingly well with a stream of wry comedy running right through every scene. He also kicks off the action from the opening shot, then barely pauses for breath for a odd moment of plot exposition or emotion along the way. This is full-on action entertainment, riotously over-the-top and hilariously enjoyable, even if it's dumb as a post. And the action sequences are jaw-droppingly enormous.
Continue reading: The Fate Of The Furious Review
Just what does Dominic Toretto think he's doing? It seems the original team has disbanded, with Brian and Mia having retired from the fast life (literally) and the world of crime, and it seemed like Dom and Letty had a normal life ahead of them following their marriage. But that's just not the way life goes for Dom, whose love of danger seems to far outweigh his love for his friends and family. Just when you thought that their lives couldn't get anymore complicated, a mysterious woman walks in and threatens to dismantle everything, encouraging Dom to betray those he holds dear for one more adventure. Hobbs, meanwhile, isn't about to let Dom get away with it this time, and he and his team cross terrains of every kind from Cuba to the Arctic in a bid to take him down once and for all.
Dramas exploring the nature of death and the true meaning of life are always in danger of tipping over into extreme sentimentality, and this one very quickly gets bogged down in buckets of syrup. It's a slickly made movie with a first-rate cast, but occasional glimpses of gritty honesty aren't quite enough to counteract sudsy philosophising that sounds profound but is actually rather shallow.
It's set in New York, where advertising company owner Howard (Will Smith) is still lost in grief six months after the death of his 6-year-old daughter. And his business partners are worried that the company is falling apart as a result. In desperation, best pal Whit (Edward Norton), protege Claire (Kate Winslet) and rising-star Simon (Michael Pena) hire a private detective (Ann Dowd) to determine Howard's mental fitness to run the company. They also hire three actors to confront him as Love (Keira Knightley), Time (Jacob Latimore) and Death (Helen Mirren), abstract concepts he's obsessed with. But they don't know that Howard is also considering attending a grief counselling meeting run by Madeleine (Naomie Harris).
Directed with a magical sheen by David Frankel (Hope Springs) and written to within an inch of its life by Allan Loeb (The Switch), there's nothing about this film that doesn't feel contrived and controlled. In addition to their scenes with Howard, each of the three actors has an impact on the colleague who needs their specific gifts. And there are a number of revelations and twists that feel annoyingly hokey. Even so, the cast is strong enough to add moments of lightness that lift the movie briefly out of the sludge. Mirren, Knightley and Latimore have a sparky edge as the story's catalysts. While Norton, Winslet and Pena bring some raw, honest emotion to their own personal dramas.
Continue reading: Collateral Beauty Review
If you thought things had cooled down for the 'Fast and Furious' team in the last film, you were wrong. They compromised their amnesty over their past crimes with events in 'Furious 7', and now most fo the group has disbanded, Brian and Mia have retired from their street-racing-cum-crime careers and Dom (Vin Diesel) and Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) are intending to follow a normal life following their honeymoon. Unfortunately, Dom's love of danger draws him to a mysterious stranger who enlists him into another crime-fuelled adventure which takes him everywhere from Cuba to New York to the Arctic. He ends up betraying his closest friends, people who have become more like family, as he embarks on a journey that will bring him challenges that he's never experience before.
Continue: Fast 8: The Fate of the Furious Trailer
Love, time and death connect every single human being on earth, we long for love, wish we had more time and we fear death. Howard Inlet was once one of New York's most sought after advertising exec's but after suffering a great personal loss, his life has been left in ruins.
Now all his friends can do is look on and see a man who once loved life now living each day wishing the end would come. To help deal with his grief, Howard writes letters to 'time', 'love' and 'death' in the hope that he'll eventually understand why he has lost so much. With a little help from his friends, Howard finds himself actually receiving answers to some of the questions he asks in his letters and hopefully finds a way to live beyond just existing.
Collateral Beauty is directed by David Frankel with a screenplay written by Allan Loeb.
A grand dame of the silver screen, the Shakespearean trained actress Helen Mirren is best known as the star of prestigious films like Gosford Park, The Madness of King George, Woman in Gold and of course her Oscar-winning turn as The Queen.
Even the comedies she does have an element of class, like Trumbo and Calendar Girls. No wonder everyone was surprised to learn that she has been cast in the next Fast and Furious movie.
But it's not that surprising, really. Mirren also has a history in the thriller genre. She became a star playing Detective Jane Tennison in five series of Prime Suspect, and has also seen action in political thrillers like State of Play, The Debt and most recently Eye in the Sky, plus Excalibur and two RED movies. Retired and Extremely Dangerous, indeed.
Continue reading: Helen Mirren Is Ready To Go Furiously Fast
The 'Eye In The Sky' actress confirmed the news this week.
Helen Mirren is the latest actress to join the cast of 'Fast 8' in an as yet undisclosed role. She confirmed the news in a new interview, adding that she hopes she'll be allowed to do some of the driving but so far there are no further details about her involvement.
Helen Mirren to star in 'Fast 8'
The 70-year-old actress will join Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson and Charlize Theron in the eighth movie of the 'Fast & Furious' franchise, directed by 'Straight Outta Compton' director F. Gary Gray. The new movie will also bring on board 'Fury' star Scott Eastwood and Kristofer Hivju from 'Game Of Thrones'.
Continue reading: Helen Mirren Fulfils Her Ambition Of Joining 'Fast 8'
Mirren, who played Maria Altmann in the 2015 film 'Woman in Gold', gave evidence based on her research for the role to a US senatorial sub-committee this week.
Helen Mirren has given testimony to the US Senate before a sub-committee about the slow pace of the process of recovering stolen Jewish art taken by the Nazis during the Holocaust.
The 70 year old actress was in Washington on Tuesday (June 7th) to give evidence before a sub-committee working on a prospective piece of legislation to speed up the process, called the Holocaust Expropriated Art Recovery (HEAR) Act.
Mirren’s evidence was based on the research she did for a recent role in the 2015 film Woman in Gold, in which she played a Jewish woman, Maria Altmann, who fought the Austrian government to reclaim her family’s art, which was looted by the Nazis in the years before World War II.
The 70-year-old Oscar winner says women like Kim have redefined what it is to be beautiful.
Kim Kardashian has found an unlikely champion in Dame Helen Mirren, who has praised the reality star for helping to redefine what it is to be beautiful. The 70-year-old says she loves the new generation of women who are ‘shameless and proud’ and have claimed back their own bodies.
Dame Helen Mirren has praised Kim Kardashian.
Speaking to The Telegraph, Mirren said: ‘When I was growing up, it was thought to be unbelievably sluttish to even have a bra strap showing. Everything was about women conforming. I love shameless women. Shameless and proud!’
Continue reading: Helen Mirren Loves Modern, 'Shameless' Women Like Kim Kardashian
Some of these stars would suit a real crown.
Today (April 21st 2016) is the 90th birthday of Queen Elizabeth II; one of England's most remarkable queens. She's been celebrated in numerous ways over the years, not least with several depictions of her in film both as a young princess and as a monarch.
Happy birthday Queen Elizabeth II
So what better way to celebrate the 'celebrity' of this extraordinary woman than by reflecting back on some of the best queens we've ever seen on screen? Some are fictitious and some are her ancestors, but all have been portrayed by absolute dramatic royalty.
Continue reading: Our Favourite Screen Queens! In Celebration Of Elizabeth II's Birthday
Stewart’s new look could easily see him mistaken for Dame Helen Mirren.
Sir Patrick Stewart caused us to do a double take yesterday, when he transformed into a glamorous woman to promote his new US show ‘Blunt Talk’. The 75-year-old actor appeared in full drag at an event in Hollywood on Monday evening (April 18th), causing many fans to liken him to British actress Dame Helen Mirren.
Almost forensic in its approach, this smart thriller explores a drone strike from a variety of perspectives that bring the moral dilemmas sharply into focus. This includes textured performances from seriously gifted actors who add layers of political, military, legal and emotional meaning to each moment along the way. So the film is continuously gripping, putting the audience right in the middle of the action.
The target is in a suburb of Nairobi, where three of the world's most wanted Somali jihadists are gathering to prepare two young suicide bombers for a mission. British Colonel Powell (Helen Mirren) is overseeing the operation from London, with her American drone pilots (Aaron Paul and Phoebe Fox) working in Las Vegas. The hitch is that two of the targets are UK citizens, and one is American, which means that they also need to have government officials in on the discussion. So Lt General Benson (Alan Rickman) is watching with British government ministers (including Jeremy Northam and Monica Dolan). Meanwhile in Kenya, a local operative (Barkhad Abdi) is on the scene. But just as everyone agrees to fire the missile, a young girl (Aisha Takow) wanders into the danger zone.
What follows is a remarkably tense escalation of decision-making, as everyone passes the buck up the chain to avoid making the call themselves. Guy Hibbert's script orchestrates this skilfully, keeping the atmosphere taut while stirring generous doses of black comedy into the interaction between soldiers and politicians. This includes amusing scenes in which Britain's foreign secretary (Iain Glen) is dragged into the conversation while suffering food poisoning in Singapore. Yes, the film has a terrific sense of instant global connections, as its characters work together at a huge distance from each other and from the target of their operation.
Continue reading: Eye In The Sky Review
She plays an army colonel in this new spy thriller.
Helen Mirren is among the many actresses of this day and age who are trying to push for more dynamic roles for women, and one of the ways she believes they can do that is by chasing parts initially written for men. It's worked for her and Sandra Bullock, so why not?
Helen Mirren stars in Eye In The Sky
Until gender equality is truly accepted in Hollywood, powerful 'strong' roles will be given to men and the more demure roles to women. Helen Mirren is working to change that by starring in the military thriller 'Eye in the Sky' in which she plays an army intelligence colonel conducting a drone operation in Kenya from a base in London.
Continue reading: 'Eye In The Sky' Star Helen Mirren Urges Women To Pursue Male Roles
The drone warfare thriller is the final movie to feature the late actor, who died in January from pancreatic cancer.
Helen Mirren paid tribute to her late colleague and co-star Alan Rickman at the red carpet premiere of new thriller Eye In the Sky last night, saying the movie represents an “incredibly sad” goodbye.
At the European premiere outside the Curzon Mayfair on Monday night (April 11th), where she dazzled onlookers with a black lace ensemble, she spoke to reporters about what it was like to realise that the war thriller would be Rickman’s final work, after his death in January from pancreatic cancer at the age of 69.
Helen Mirren at the 'Eye In the Sky' premiere in London
Mirren, who has two stepchildren as a result of her husband Taylor Hackford's previous relationship, has spoken about her decision not to have her own family.
She’s had a dazzling career as one of the most prestigious names in the British film industry, and as one of the country’s most famous movie exports following her role in The Queen, but Dame Helen Mirren has now spoken about an experience she never had: motherhood.
The 70 year old stage and film actress spoke to the Sunday Times Culture magazine and said that, although she adores other people’s children, she’s never wanted her own. However, that didn’t stop her from fleetingly mourning the sense of “loss” about not becoming a mother after she watched the 1989 Steve Martin movie Parenthood, she admitted.
Dame Helen Mirren spoke about her decision not have children
Continue reading: Helen Mirren On Never Experiencing Parenthood
Dame Helen Mirren has received an award for Best Actress at the London Evening Standard Theatre Awards for her portrayal as Queen Elizabeth II, this is the second time the British actress has been honoured for playing the head of the Royal family.
Dame Helen Mirren has received another award for portraying the Queen of England.
The 68 year-old received the award for Best Actress at the London Evening Standard Theatre Awards on Sunday (Nov 17th) for her role in the West End production of 'The Audience.'
Mirren first won an award for playing Queen Elizabeth II in 2007, she received an Oscar for her role in the film 'The Queen'.
Continue reading: Dame Helen Mirren Wins Yet Another Award For Playing The Queen
It was a fitting way to cap off five decades of quality productions.
The National Theatre in London celebrated five decades of quality productions yesterday with the aid of some of the brightest and most experienced stars of UK theatre. Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Helen Mirren, Derek Jacobi, Michael Gambon, Simon Russell Beale and plenty of others gave their best performances to represent the distinguished institution.
Last year, the National celebrated the London Olympics with a fire garden of lit candles.
The guest list was also sufficiently star-studded, with attendees like playwrights Tom Stoppard, Peter Shaffer and David Hare alongside directors Richard Eyre and Peter Hall and actresses Prunella Scales and Juliet Stevenson. The guest of honor was Joan Plowright, the widow of the late first director of the National’s first director and distinguished actor in his own right Lawrence Olivier.
That A-list cast of "retired, extremely dangerous" spies is back, coasting through another amiable but uninspired action-comedy. It may be occasionally funny, but the script is so lazy that it never does anything with the characters or situations. So there's never even a hint of suspense.
In the years since the events of 2010's RED, Frank (Willis) has been trying to live quietly with Sarah (Parker). But trouble seeks them out when their pal Marvin (Malkovich) is the target of a car bomb, and Frank discovers that MI6 and the CIA have sent assassins to kill him: his ruthless former colleague Victoria (Mirren) and the fiendishly unstoppable Han (Lee), respectively. So Frank, Sarah and Marvin head to Paris to solve the mess, crossing paths with Frank's ex, the seductive Katya (Zeta-Jones). Sarah isn't happy about this, but tags along to London, where they locate a nutty scientist (Hopkins) who has the key to all the chaos: namely that they need to get to Moscow to stop a rogue nuke.
As in the first film, the plot bounces along merrily without bothering with either logic or subtext. This is just a silly story about goofy old killers, and the film's main joke is seeing Mirren in camouflage firing a machine-gun. At least the cast shows that they're still feisty, taking on each other with gusto as they try to steal every scene. Malkovich's surreal humour, Mirren's snappy punchlines, Zeta-Jones' purring sexuality and Hopkins' scatter-brained genius are pretty funny, while Willis and Parker get the most thankless roles as a couple still working out their relationship.
Continue reading: RED 2 Review
Red 2, released in US cinemas today (Friday 19th July), has failed to impress the critics.
Red 2 is released in US cinemas today (Friday 19th July). Critics have not received the Red sequel favourably, describing it as "passable" and simply "adequate".
Bruce Willis at the premiere of Red 2, L.A.
According to USA Today, before you head off to the cinema, it is worthwhile seeing the first film. Red 2 appears to be a difficult film to follow without having prior knowledge of the characters.
Continue reading: Red 2's US Release: Critics Are Unimpressed By "Tired" Sequel
Crime comedy Red 2's nearly out: is the Red sequel worth a trip to the movies?
After Red 2 enjoyed its star-studded premiere it's time to get down to the nitty-gritty of whether 2010's Red was deserving of a sequel or not. The Hollywood Reporter's Justin Lowe mulls over the highs and lows of the sharp new instalment of the crime comedy. With regards to the first film - where former black ops agent is forced back into action after his life is threatened by an assassin - THR doubts that Red 2 has "a whole lot new to offer" over the original premise.
Bruce Willis Back As Ex-Black Ops Guy Who Wants To Settle Into His Retirement In Peace.
Red 2 sees Frank Moses (Willis) trying to lead a normal life with his partner Sarah (Mary-Louise Parker) but is called out of retirement again by his paranoid chum Marvin (John Malkovich) who proposes a new mission - to find a nuclear device that's also being hunted out by the government, some terrorists and even some assassins.
Continue reading: Red 2 Reviews: Is The Comedy Sequel Worth Watching? [Trailer]
Pixar revisits the characters from 2001's Monsters, Inc. for a frat-house prequel. Which is kind of an odd setting for a kids' movie. The comedy is more focussed on action sequences than characters this time, so it's not nearly as satisfying. But it's still a lot of fun, thanks to a constant barrage of sharp verbal and visual gags.
When he was just a child, Mike (Crystal) dreamed about becoming a scarer, capturing the screams of human children to provide power to Monstropolis. So he's thrilled when he enters Monsters University, and takes his studies very seriously. By contrast, his roommate Randy (Buscemi) is more interested in partying, while classmate Sulley (Goodman) is lazily coasting on the legacy of his famed scarer dad. Then Mike and Sulley end up on the wrong side of Dean Hardscrabble (Mirren), who gives them one chance to stay in school: they have to win the Scare Games. But the only frat-house that needs them is made up of unscary misfits: nice-guy Dan (Murray), two-headed dimwit Terry/Terri (Hayes/Foley), naive five-eyed Squishy (Sohn) and furry philosopher Art (Day).
We never really doubt where this is going, but the filmmakers have a lot of fun along the way, and the story does take some surprising twists. Essentially, it's the same premise as Glee, with nerdy outcasts banding together to draw on their personal talents and show the cool kids that they're not losers. The script never really develops any of the side characters beyond one key personality trait, but the relationship between Mike and Sulley has a real kick of emotional resonance, superbly well-voiced by Crystal and Goodman. And the bromance between these two is even more enjoyable than all the colourful mayhem and snappy joking around.
Continue reading: Monsters University Review
The legendary actor opens up on the role
Al Pacino stars alongside Helen Mirren as Phil Spector – the infamous American record producer and songwriter – in David Mamet’s controversial new drama for HBO. The TV movie surrounds the shooting of Lana Clarkson, in which Mirren plays the defence lawyer enamoured and convinced by her client’s tribulations.
Pacino signing autographs for his loving fans
“The luxury in today’s world is that you have all this footage on the characters you play,” says Pacino as he explains he method of preparing for the role to The Telegraph. “I would sit for hours just looking at Phil talking about things, mainly during and after the first trial.” For Pacino, though, simply mimicking what he saw on screen wasn’t good enough.
'Monsters University' has remained at No.1 in the weekend box office. Responses to the two new releases: 'The Heat' and 'White House Down' have differed greatly. 'Superman: Man of Steel' remains stoically in the top 5.
Monsters University spent its second week at No.1 in the US Weekend Box Office grossing $46.2 million. The sequel of Monsters Inc. follows the early, not so jovial, relationship of Sulley and Mike as they attend college. Monsters University includes some big names from the acting community including Billy Crystal, John Goodman, Steve Buscemi and Dame Helen Mirren.
Billy Crystal with ‘Mike Wazowski’, the character he voices in Monsters Inc. and Monsters University.
Disney Pixar’s animation has fended off competition from Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy’s cop comedy The Heat. The comedy has received favourable reviews and the weekend box office reflects this, grossing since its release on Friday $40 million.
Continue reading: 'Monsters University' Fends Off 'The Heat': Still No.1 In US Box Office
'Monsters University' has made $82.4 million in its opening weekend, outdoing 'World War Z' and 'Superman: Man of Steel'.
Monsters University, the prequel to Monsters Inc., has done extremely well during its first weekend of release. The Disney Pixar animation has made $82.4 million, placing it ahead of World War Z and Superman: Man of Steel in the box office charts.
The animation has outdone its predecessor, Monsters Inc. which, released in 2001, made $65.5 million during its opening weekend. In Monsters Inc. we saw the monster's world powered by the terror of children scared by Mike and Sulley during their night-time adventures into the human world. The two best friends overcome adversity to ensure a predictable happy ending in true Disney style.
Monsters University follows the relationship between Mike (the green Cyclops) and Sulley (the fluffy blue one) as they attend university. As it turns out the pair were not always as close as they were in Monsters Inc.
Continue reading: Monsters University Earns $82.4 Million On Its Opening Weekend
Don't mess with Mirren - she'll tell you how it is
If there’s one thing you don’t do, it’s make a load of noise while Helen Mirren is doing her best to portray The Queen. That’s what troupe of performers outside London’s Gielgud theatre did, and they had to deal with Mirren herself.
Fully clad in regal attire – pearl necklace, tiara and all the trimmings – Mirren stormed out of the theatre to give those pesky dancers and drummers a piece of her mind. “She was a real pro, she saved the day,’ said Mr Scotchbrook, a 43-year-old communications consultant from Buckinghamshire tolfd The Daily Mail. “The noise was really irritating, but she didn’t get ruffled on stage. In the interval I went out and tried to ask the drummers to move on, to no effect. I don’t think they realised they could be heard inside the theatre.” Mark Williams, head of marketing at festival organiser Orange Nation, said: “We are terribly upset if we caused her any distress. If she’d like to attend the festival she’d be more than welcome.”
One of the parade organisers said: ‘She stomped out and shrieked, “Quiet! I’m trying to do a play in here! People have paid a lot of money for tickets”. In the play - written by Peter Morgan - Mirren returns to her Oscar-winning performance as the Queen. The Audience depicts the Queen in conversation with the many prime ministers who have served throughout her reign.
Luke Treadaway was the big winner at the biggest night on the British theatre calendar.
Luke Treadaway, the British actor often dubbed a 'rising star' in the industry, won best actor at a glitzy Olivier Awards ceremony in London on Sunday (April 28, 2013). The National Theatre's adaptation of Mark Haddon's 2003 murder mystery The Curious Incident of the Dog In The Night-Time won seven awards in total, with Treadaway fending off stiff competition from Mark Rylance, James McAvoy and Rupert Everett to win best actor for his role as maths genius and Aspergers sufferer Christopher Boone, who sets out to solve the mystery of who killed his neighbour's dog.
Curious Case Winnerds Nicola Walker [L] and Best Actor Luke Treadaway [R]
"This is for everyone who worked on the show. I can't believe it.This is absolutely amazing," said Treadaway after accepting the award from Sex and the City star Kim Cattrall. His co-star Nicola Walker was named best supporting actress for her role as Christopher's guilt ridden mother, saying, "My agent told me to breathe if I won, and my husband told me not to swear...Every single day of rehearsals and every single performance was a prize, so this is completely overwhelming."
Continue reading: Luke Treadaway Upsets The Odds To Win Best Actor Olivier Award [Photos]
Monsters University is sure to be a summer hit for Pixar.
Mike and Sulley enter the Oozma Kappa house
The new worldwide trailer for Disney/Pixar's Monsters University introduces Helen Mirren's character Dean Hardscrabble whilst also featuring Steve Buscemi, John Krasinski, Alfred Molini and, of course, Billy Crystal and John Goodman as Mike and Sulley. The latest clip focuses on the duo as they study to become "scarers. The movie opens in the U.S. on June 21, 2013 and a few weeks later on July 12 in the UK.
The trailer opens with students extolling the virtues of Monsters University, "Imagine a university where I can unique...and learn what I love," says one wide-eyed student. It's quickly established that the institution's main job is to teach young monsters how to become scary. "I'm gonna scare circles around you this year," Mike tells his roommate Sulley, "You're not even in the same league as me," comes the confident reply, "You don't have to study scaring, you just do it!"
No one should be questioning why Helen Mirren has dyed her hair pink, but simply basking in its rouge glory. Mirren should stay pink forever. Despite the 'why' of the pink hair not being needed, her reply, when some children asked her, was as unexpected as the hue itself.
In a Telegraph video of the iconic actress, she said. "I just thought it would be fun. You know honestly, I was watching America's Next Top Model... and you know the British girl who won? Well, she had pink hair and I just thought 'Oooh that's looks really pretty!' So, I'm copying her basically." Who knew Helen Mirren watched ANTM?
Mirren was at the BAFTAS having been nominated for Best Supporting Actress for her role in Hitchcock, a movie about Alfred Hitchcock during the period in which he filmed his seminal thriller, Psycho. In other exciting Mirren news, the BBC reports that she'll be lending her voice to a Pixar movie. Having played three Queens during her career, she's returning as another matriarch acting the voice of the head of the university that Mike and Sulley attend in the Monsters Inc. prequel movie, Monsters University which is set for release in July 2013.
What could have been an intriguing look at how Alfred Hitchcock created one of his most iconic masterpieces is instead turned into a gently entertaining romp. We may enjoy watching the twists and turns as this troubled project takes shape, but the script simply never breaks the surface or gives its stars any real depth to play with. So in the end, the most engaging thing about the film ends up being the portrayal of Hitchcock's marriage.
The story starts with the 1959 premiere of North by Northwest, a hit that critics dismissed as more of the same from a master resting on his laurels. So Hitchcock (Hopkins) decides to give them something unexpected, and takes his first foray into horror based on the little-known novel Psycho, a fictionalised story about a real serial killer. Working closely with his wife Alma (Mirren) on every aspect of the film, he is in constant conflict with the studio chief (Portnow) and the chief censor (Smith), who both believe the material is too strong. Meanwhile, Alma is tired of him flirting with his leading ladies (Johansson and Biel), so she takes a side job with a writer (Huston) who wants to be more than friends.
Oddly, neither director Gervasi (Anvil) nor writer McLaughlin (Black Swan) seems interested in getting beneath the surface of their central character, so Hitchcock is little more than the jovial caricature we saw in his TV anthology series. Hiding under layers of prosthetic face and body fat, Hopkins is good but never seems to break a sweat in the role. Which leaves Mirren to steal the film as Alma, mainly by departing from reality to create a more intriguing movie character instead. And Collette adds some spice as Hitchcock's assistant. But as the cast of Psycho, Johansson (as Janet Leigh), Biel (Vera Miles) and D'Arcy (Anthony Perkins) are only given small details to define them, which leaves them lurking uninterestingly around the edges.
Continue reading: Hitchcock Review
Dame Helen Mirren and Paul Rudd shared a passionate embrace last night left the audience, host and other guest laughing but stunned with their antics as they discussed on-screen kisses on the episode of The Graham Norton Show that aired last night (Feb 1).
Recalling his time spent kissing Jack Nicholson (it was part of a movie), the Oscar-winning actress asked Rudd to recreate the scene from 2010's How Do You Know (in which Nicholson stared as Rudd's father) using her as the kiss recipient. Needless to say Rudd gladly obliged, but how often does an opertunity like that come up? Both looked pretty pleased with themselves too after the kiss (naturally), with Mirren gladly wiping her lipstick from Rudd's mouth post-lip lock, leaving a flu-ridden co-guest Leslie Mann clearly taken aback (and probably a little envious too) whilst the audience and host howled with laughter.
The Graham Norton show is well known for it's out of the blue antics, as is Mirren when she appears on talk shows. During her last talk show appearance on Jonathan Ross' show, the actress admitted to taking LSD in her youth, although made sure to reiterate it was her first and last time of doing so.
Continue reading: Dame Helen Mirren And Paul Rudd Share A Kiss On The Graham Norton Show
As the Sundance Film Festival continues in Utah, buzz is emerging about the new Nicole Kidman movie Stoker, in which she plays the widowed mother of teen Mia Wasikowska as they deal with the arrival of the unexpectedly sexy Uncle Charlie (Matthew Goode). From the director of Old Boy, a new trailer depicts the film as a stylish, warped and very black comedy. It comes to cinemas on March 1st.
Here in Britain, two leading awards contenders open this week. Steven Spielberg's Lincoln stars Daniel Day-Lewis, the front-runner in the Best Actor race. This would be his unprecedented third win in the category. And Kathryn Bigelow's Zero Dark Thirty stars Jessica Chastain, who is currently the favourite for Best Actress, although Jennifer Lawrence in Silver Linings Playbook is giving her some serious competition.
But no one should write off iconic French actress Emmanuelle Riva's astonishing turn in Amour. She won the London Critics' Circle Film Award for Best Actress on Sunday. The London critics also gave Amour their Film of the Year title, and it's up for Best Picture at the Oscars as well.
Praised for its wit and style, RED proved to be an unexpected success, and while not every critic was impressed, a worldwide gross of $186,100,000 certainly pleased the studio. RED 2 brings back the team of retired CIA operatives as they use their old-school style to take on a new set of enemies all across Europe. Filming started in Montreal in September.
Continue reading: RED 2 Trailer Hits Us With Willis / Zeta-Jones Kiss (TRAILER)
Following the perilous events of the first movie, former CIA agent Frank Moses tries yet again to retire quietly with his young partner Sarah. However, he is soon chased down by his paranoid buddy Marvin Boggs who isn't taking to retirement as well as Frank is and is determined to set out on a new mission; to find a nuclear device that is being hunted by a group government officials, terrorists and brutal assassins. Meanwhile, the aging MI6 agent Victoria is mildly curious to learn that she has been contracted to hunt and kill Frank despite the pair being friends. 'Red 2' is set to be full of more death-defying adventures, dry humour and nigh on impossible missions as the Retired, Extremely Dangerous crew get together once more.
'Red 2' is the follow up from the 2010 movie directed by Robert Schwentke ('The Time Traveller's Wife') and based on the graphic novel mini-series created by Warren Ellis and Cully Hamner on DC Comics' Homage. This time we have an all new director, Oscar winner Dean Parisot ('Galaxy Quest', 'Fun with Dick and Jane'), and two returns from screenwriters Jon Hoeber and Erich Hoeber ('Battleship', 'Whiteout'). It's an action comedy due for release in the UK on August 2nd 2013.
Director: Dean Parisot
Continue: Red 2 Trailer
This year's Golden Globes ceremony takes place tonight (Jan 13), and its categories - much like the categories in most of this years awards - look wide open.
At the Golden Globes in particular, it looks as though this year could see the bulk of the prizes going to British recipients, with the ladies in particular providing hope that a few gongs will be getting sent across the Atlantic. Dames Helen Mirren, Maggie Smith and Judi Dench are all vying for awards, with Dame Smith up for two acting gongs - for The Quartet and Downton Abbey. Meanwhile Aussie-Brit Naomi Watts, Emily Blunt and Rachel Weisz are up for awards, whilst Daniel Day-Lewis is looking like the man to beat in the Best Actor category.
Still, Day-Lewis could be beat, meaning he will have to wait til his next film to take his tally of awards up a notch (he always gets nominated at the very least). Joaquin Phoenix and Denzel Washington are probably his biggest threats, but really the award is pretty much Lewis' already. If he doesn't win though, there's a pretty good chance that Damien Lewis could bring the gold home for the UK, being nominated in the television category for Best Actor for his role on Homeland.
Continue reading: A Year Of Surprises? Golden Globes Have No Clear Winner
Dame Helen Mirren has been honoured with a long overdue star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for her achievements as an Oscar winning actress.
'The Queen' star was thrilled by the accolade which became the 2,488th star on the Hollywood Boulevard. 'I really can't believe it', she said. 'I'm going to finally lie next to Colin Firth - something I've been wanting to do for a very long time.' She refers to the British actor, known for his charm, who received a Star in 2011 following an Academy Award win for his portrayal of King George in 2010's 'The Kings Speech'. Mirren continued: 'I think it's very good for the British monarchy that, here, on Hollywood Boulevard, the King and the Queen are going to actually sleep together, for the rest of history.' She also revealed that she planned to return to the plaque in disguise and noted that she was proud to be 'henceforth walked on upon, have fries dropped upon, maybe even be peed upon, by future generations of tourists, Angelinos and their dogs'.
The actress has had a prolific career but 'The Queen' is her best known work, winning her an Academy Award, a BAFTA, a Golden Globe and a Screen Actors Guild award. She won two other Screen Actors Guild awards for her film work plus a further one and two Golden Globes for her TV work, not to mention four Emmys.
Regardless of being dead for over thirty years, Alfred Hitchcock is still one of Hollywood's biggest names and with a host of biopics set to be released about the late director's life on both the silver and the small screen, then it is more than likely that his fame will only increase in the coming months.
Helen Mirren, who stars as Hitchcock's wife Alma Reville in the upcoming biopic Hitchcock, has spoken of her brief encounter with the Hollywood legend, and it sounds as though the meeting could have gone a little better.
One of the stars of the new movie, which follows the making of Hitchcock's most controversial film Psycho, Mirren detailed her experience in a recent interview with The Huffington Post. According to the Oscar-winner, who detailed her experience of auditioning for Hitchcock's film Frenzy in the early 1970s in the interview, revealed, "I don't think he would have auditioned me; I think he either thought you looked right or you didn't."
Continue reading: Helen Mirren Reveals Her Forgettable Meeting With Alfred Hitchcock
It was always going to be a tough order to pull off an homage to the great Alfred Hitchcock, but Sacha Gervasi has largely gained kudos from the reviewers for having a going at it, though his biopic Hitchcock has by no means found unanimous approval from the grizzled hacks of the critical world.
Director Gervasi certainly can’t be faulted for the cast he assembled for the film; Sir Anthony Hopkins plays Hitchcock himself, with other characters played by the likes of Scarlett Johansson, Dame Helen Mirren, Jessica Biel and Toni Collette. Certainly the reviewers found the cast to be their usual excellent selves. “Hopkins catches the essence of Hitchcock as artist and con man. And Mirren is stellar as his wife and secret weapon. The pleasure of their company adds sparkle to this unexpectedly poignant look at a career and a marriage” wrote Rolling Stone. The Chicago Sun Times was a little more guarded but wrote “Anthony Hopkins, superb actor although he is, would not seem to be an obvious choice to play Hitchcock, but I accepted him. His makeup job is transformative.”
However, as to the film itself – which is far more of an interpretation than a factual account of the film director’s life – it found a mixed response, with Variety frustrated by its deviation: “Hitchcock offers almost zero insight into the peculiar workings of creative genius, or into the rich, taboo-shattering legacy of the film whose making it documents” it wrote. That said, if we’re to believe the New York Observer it’s “one of the best movies of 2012”, suggesting that the jury still remains somewhat out on this one.
Alfred Hitchcock was in his sixties and struggling to come up with a fresh idea for a new movie; that was until the notoriously terrifying story of 'Psycho' by Robert Bloch came along in 1959. Arguably one of his best ideas for a movie to date, the Oscar nominated Hitchcock set to work pulling it together despite the extreme scepticism of his wife Alma Reville and Paramount Pictures who disapproved of the degree of horror the movie maker was planning to utilise. In fact, he was so confident that he was willing to pour in thousands of dollars for the film to be made when he was refused his usual budget from the studio; an action that Alma found irresponsible and rather worrying.
'Hitchcock' is drama biopic strongly focused on Alfred's often strained though very loving relationship with his wife and has been based on the book 'Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho' by Stephen Rebello. Directed by Sacha Gervasi ('Anvil: The Story of Anvil' documentary) and written by BAFTA nominee John J. McLaughlin ('Man of the House', 'Black Swan'), this is story of how 'Psycho', one of the greatest films of all time, was made including its inspiration from real-life Winconsin murderer and grave robber Ed Gein. It is set for release on February 8th 2013 in the UK.
Starring: Scarlett Johansson, Anthony Hopkins, James D'Arcy, Jessica Biel, Michael Stuhlbarg, Ralph Macchio, Toni Collette, Judith Hoag, Danny Huston, Michael Wincott, Kurtwood Smith, Richard Portnow, John Rothman, Tara Summers, Helen Mirren.
Continue: Hitchcock Trailer
HBO’s The Girl tells the tale of Alfred Hitchcock’s relationship with the screen star Tippi Hedren - played by Sienna Miller. The story itself seems to be the real winner here; the TV movie explores the theory that Hitchcock (played by Toby Jones) “behaved like a psychotic lout” towards Tippi Hedren during the two films that they made together (The Birds and Marnie).
When Hedren spurns Hitchcock’s sexual advances, he uses his directorial power to torture her. When filming The Birds, he insists that she films take after take of the scenes in which she is attacked by birds. He does his best to break her spirit but ultimately, she remains strong and ultimately retains the upper hand.
New York Daily News have praised the feature, saying that Miller and Jones’ performances “keep the story alive and moving,” though Jones’ Hitchcock has but one dimension: “an arrogant egomaniac who was unpleasant to everyone around him.” Imelda Staunton is landed with the role of his unenviable wife, portrayed here as an “enabler” of his torrid behavior. The power of this disturbing story, according to chron.com is so fierce that you will be left feeling like you need to take a shower afterwards. According to their report though, Toby Jones’ performance is caricatured and lacking in authenticity.
For over 12 years Prospera and her daughter Miranda have been exiled by Prospera's brother to a baron island where they live a life of solitude accompanied only by spirits and one non-spiritual occupant; Caliban, the son of a witch who died just before the arrival of the two human souls.
Continue: The Tempest Trailer
The Guardians of Ga'Hoole are sworn to protect the innocent from trouble and vanquish evil. Soren is a young owl who's grown up listening to his father tell the stories of The Gaurdians. His dream is to one day join his heroes and be a part of that noble life he's learnt so much about.
Valentin (McAvoy) is a young Tolstoyan in 1910 assigned by the movement's leader Chertkov (Giamatti) to keep an eye on Leo Tolstoy (Plummer) and his sceptical wife Sofya (Mirren). But what Valentin finds is a lively, loving marriage that's strong enough to include opposing views. This isn't good enough for Chertkov, who moves to get Leo to change his will to leave everything to the movement. Which of course enrages Sofya. Meanwhile, Valentin is experiencing his first flush of love with a Tolstoyan commune resident (Condon).
Continue reading: The Last Station Review
Since their last adventure, things have changed rather significantly for Team Ben Gates (a null set Nicolas Cage). Our hero is continuing his treasure-hunting ways, but he's broken up with gal pal Abigail Chase (Diane Kruger). Papa Gates (a lost Jon Voight) has been helping sonny boy over his rough relationship patch, while tech wiz sidekick Riley Poole (a far too-wisecracking Justin Bartha) has published a book and is deep in debt to the IRS. When a mysterious figure named Mitch Wilkinson (Ed Harris) shows up, carrying a page out of John Wilkes Booth's diary implicating Gates' forefather in the assassination of Lincoln, the ancestors vow to clear his name. Turns out the long dead relative could have been trying to hide the location of the lost City of Gold -- Cibola -- from conspiring Confederate rebels. It's up to Gates to find the truth, and the vast wealth at the end of said quest.
Continue reading: National Treasure: Book Of Secrets Review
Following on from Hilton's claim last year that she is the latest in a long and iconic line of blond women, Dame Helen Mirren has supported the view, stating that Hilton is the modern day Princess Diana.
According to Dame Helen Mirren, Parris Hilton is the modern-day equivalent of Princess Diana. The Oscar-winning actress, who recently portrayed Queen Elizabeth 2nd in 'The Queen', insists that both Hilton and Diana have gained their popularity by making a name for themselves as more than just a 'dumb blond'.
Mirren explains: "I don't applaud Paris Hilton... but I think she's pretty cool. She's developed, like Princess Diana, that deliberate foolishness, which is disarming." You'd be wrong to think that Mirren is the only person to hold this view, as Hilton herself sees herself as the most recent member of an elite group of "iconic blondes" from history and popular culture.
Continue reading: Helen Mirren: Paris Hilton Is The New Princess Diana
It begins with the landslide election of Prime Minister Tony Blair (a shockingly good Michael Sheen) and moves to the car accident that led to Di's death. Frears then meditates on the decisions and the struggle between modernism and tradition that Queen Elizabeth (Helen Mirren) and her family must consider in the wake of not just a familial, but worldwide, day of mourning. For those who don't remember, after the death, there was major pressure for the family to mourn in public, to show their grief and prove that even though Di wasn't part of the family anymore, they were still in a state of solemnity.
Continue reading: The Queen Review
As a rite of passage, American children join the scouts. Older British women, as a similar rite of passage, join the National Federation of Women's Institutes, shortened to the W.I. by its faithful members. The group holds true the notions of enlightenment, fun, and friendship, though lately they've been in a rut. Guest speakers to the group have brought the latest news on cauliflower. Not quite headline-worthy material.
Continue reading: Calendar Girls Review
Raising Helen is all about Hudson, who stars in the title role, when it should focus on other topics -- the ties of family, coping with tragedy, and starting your life from scratch. The movie harps on how Helen's glamorous life is turned upside down when she is bequeathed her sister's three kids. The story should be on how hard it is for the kids, rather than Helen's bemoaning how fat her ass has gotten.
Continue reading: Raising Helen Review
Sarah Polley, an exquisite actress, stars as a young journalist-wannabe named Beatrice (in pigtails, natch) who flies to Iceland to locate her boyfriend, who has gone missing along with his entire TV crew. Her plan crashes, she undergoes surgery to get fixed up, then continues on to Iceland where she discovers the fate of her guy: He was killed by a monster (played by Robert John Burke) who lives like a hermit in an abandoned building.
Continue reading: No Such Thing Review
One simple thing a filmmaker can do to make a picture better is to clearly establish time and place. You'd think that such a thing would be a given, but it's surprising how many filmmakers disregard this simple concept.
For the new film "The Clearing," writer Justin Haythe and writer/director Pieter Jan Brugge (a producer on "Bulworth," The Insider" and other films, making his directorial debut) probably intended to play with time, to bend it and stretch it to serve their purposes. But in the end, they only serve to alienate us by deliberately confusing us.
The film begins like a standard-issue kidnapping story, similar to 2000's "Proof of Life" and a dozen others. The filmmakers cut back and forth between the kidnap victim and his fretting wife, trying to build an equal amount of suspense within each storyline.
Continue reading: THE CLEARING Review
On a cutting room floor somewhere lie 15 to 20 minutes of footage that might have made the metaphorical monster movie "No Such Thing" a trenchant, ironic cultural satire instead of a frustrating misfire.
It's a caustic, deadpan, beauty-and-the-beast comedy that takes wide swipes at Western civilization's social ills and the "if it bleeds, it leads" mentality of media-induced modern cynicism -- and does it well up to a point. But just as the story hits its stride, writer-director Hal Hartley ("Flirt," "Henry Fool") fast-forwards through what should be the film's heart.
Innocently intellectual Sarah Polley ("Go," "eXistenZ") stars as Beatrice, a guileless gopher for a cold-hearted TV news producer (a whimsically savage Helen Mirren) who begs and pleads for her big chance to become a reporter by following up on the disappearance of a network news crew in Iceland that included her cameraman fiancé.
Continue reading: No Such Thing Review
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