'Pride' has 100% on Rotten Tomatoes and is set for further accolades.
After taking Cannes by storm and picking up a few awards in the process, the true comedy-drama Pride has already joined the ranks of beloved British crowd-pleasers, even though it's only opening in UK cinemas this weekend. In addition to the accolades it has already won, the film has a rare 100 percent positive rating from Rotten Tomatoes critics.
Pride joins a long history of British feel-good hits like Billy Elliot, The Full Monty, Brassed Off, Calendar Girls, Bend it Like Beckham and Kinky Boots. Plus of course the rousing movies that stormed the Oscars and walked off with Best Picture in the process: Chariots of Fire, Shakespeare in Love, Slumdog Millionaire and The King's Speech.
More: read our full review of 'Pride'
Continue reading: Pride Reviews
During the UK miners strike between 1984 and 1985, working families are in desperate need of support. They're feeling victimised and abandoned by society as threats over their livelihood remain imminent. But they're not the only ones feeling ostracised in their own country and that's how the Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners campaign was born. Homophobia is rife in the UK, with the National Union of Mineworkers even refusing help from the LGSM campaigners for fear of how people may see them. Instead, they take their support to a small town in Wales where the majority of workers there are miners. In an extraordinary show of acceptance in an unlikely era, the town allows their new supporters to raise funds for their village. The townspeople may be humorously ignorant about life as a homosexual, but they're judging no longer.
Continue: Pride Trailer
Maleficent is a cruel sorceress who will stop at nothing to destroy those who have stolen her wings and ruined her world. As a child, she lived happily in the forest kingdom with a powerful force inside her that she was mostly unaware of. However, it wasn't long before it spun out of control at the arrival of the human kingdom's brutal army, who were intent on taking over. She fought bravely as the guardian of her land, but her valour soon turned to viciousness when she is callously deceived. A new person now filled with a dark desire for vengeance, she takes it upon herself to curse the daughter of her betrayer's successor, forcing her to die when she reaches her sixteenth birthday. Can Princess Aurora persuade Maleficent to turn her curse around, or is the wicked fairy truly a lost cause?
Adapted from the 1959 animated Disney movie 'Sleeping Beauty', 'Maleficent' is the untold story of the film's embittered villain. It marks the directorial debut of double Oscar winning visual effects designer Robert Stromberg with a screenplay by Linda Woolverton ('Beauty and the Beast', 'The Lion King'), Paul Dini ('Superman' animated TV series) and John Lee Hancock ('The Blind Side', 'Snow White and the Huntsman'). It is due to hit the UK on May 30th 2014.
Maleficent is a merciless sorceress who dubs herself the 'Mistress of All Evil'. But she hasn't always had a heart of stone. As a beautiful young girl she was happy and contented with her life in the forested kingdom, but deep down she held within her a powerful strength; a strength that would surface when she became the guardian of the entire land as a brutal army take siege. However, through all her great feats of bravery, she is faced with a callous deception that transforms her completely. In a fit of rage she places a curse on baby Princess Aurora; the daughter of the usurping King's successor; that would see her prick her finger on a spindle and die on her sixteenth birthday. However, on meeting a much older Aurora, Maleficent starts to wonder if she could actually help to bring happiness back to the land, and to Maleficent herself.
Continue: Maleficent - Teaser Trailer
'Accused' writer Jimmy McGovern had tipped Sean Bean for a BAFTA following his performance in the drama, which aired last year.
Sienna Miller, Imelda Staunton, Peter Capaldi and Sarah Lancashire are among the nominees for the 2013 television BAFTAs. London based actress Miller - a star on both sides of the Atlantic - gets the nod for her role as Tipi Hedren in the BBC's Alfred Hitchcock drama The Girl, which scooped four nominations in total. Staunton received a best supporting actress nomination, also for The Girl, while Lancashire was rewarded for her performance in the romantic-drama Last Tango in Halifax.
Peter Capaldi is up for best actor for BBC Two's recently-axed 1950's drama The Hour, though also for his role as the foul-mouthed spin-doctor Malcolm Tucker in political comedy The Thick Of It. The latter nomination - for best male performance in a comedy programme - will see Capaldi pitted against Steve Coogan's return as Alan Partridge in Welcome To The Place Of My Life, as well as Inbetweeners star Greg Davies.
Elsewhere in the acting categories, Sheridan Smith received her first BAFTA nomination for her portrayal as Mrs Biggs, in the true story of the wife of the Great Train Robber, Ronnie Biggs, and Rebecca Hall was nominated for Parade's End. Sean Bean is nominated for his performance as transvestite Tracie in Accused, the BBC drama series which follows people accused of crimes as they await the verdict. Bean's performance was clearly one of the stand-out turns of the year and he won best actor for the role at the Royal Television Society Awards in March.
Continue reading: Sienna Miller, Sean Bean (and Alan Partridge) Amongst BAFTA Nominees
Staunton played Mrs Lovett, the dark character opposite Sweeney Todd himself, who helps him in the murder of a variety of Londoners and turning them into pies to sell to the general Victorian public. Michael Ball played Sweeney Todd and was nominated for the same award. However, it was perhaps "all her comic talent as Mrs Lovett to try to alleviate the tale's grisliness" that pushed Staunton one step ahead of Ball in the competition, reports the BBC.
The Chichester Festival Theatre's production of the musical, directed by Jonathan Kent, also received the most nominations in the awards, but alas lost out winning 'Best Musical' to The Go-Between which was based on the novel by L.P. Hartley. Sadly, Staunton wasn't available to pick the prize up herself, but loyal co-star Ball did the honours, quipping that he "had the best time playing Ernie to her Eric". Staunton said she was "totally indebted to the wonderful Jonathan Kent for his superb direction".
Continue reading: Imelda Staunton Beats Michael Ball To UK Theatre Award
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.
Imelda Staunton, one of the stars of the Harry Potter films, is going to go head-to-head with a co-star from her recent impressive performance on the stage in Sweeney Todd at the UK Theatre Awards UK. Staunton will be battling it out with counterpart Michael Ball to win one of the top categories, Best Performance in a Musical category; they compete against Wesh star Daniel Evans, who was nominated for his performance in the play Company
The film is almost too crowded with witty visual and verbal gags to catch on a single viewing. Although it's also too corny to be a real classic.
The Pirate Captain (voiced by Grant) never gets any respect, especially with the Pirate of the Year competition gearing up. But his first mate (Freeman) and rag-tag crew (Tovey, Gleeson and Jenson) are fearlessly loyal. While accumulating plunder to win the award, they accidentally hijack a scientific ship and then travel with Charles Darwin (Tennant) to win a science prize in London. But this means that the crew needs to get dangerously close to venomous pirate-hater Queen Victoria (Staunton).
Continue reading: The Pirates! In An Adventure With Scientists! Review
This lively holiday romp has a steady stream of sharp verbal and visual gags that hold our interest. Even when the plot stalls in the middle, it's difficult to stop chuckling at the filmmakers' deranged sense of humour.
At the North Pole, Santa (Broadbent) is a bit complacent after 70 years on the job, letting his heir-apparent son Steve (Laurie) convert Christmas Eve into a high-tech black-ops style mission executed with military precision. To Steve, missing one child is an insignificant statistic. But Steve's younger brother Arthur (McAvoy) disagrees, and teams up with his feisty Grandsanta (Nighy) to make sure the last gift is delivered the old fashioned way.
Yes, the film is a riot of clashes between tradition and progress, the wisdom of the years and youthful vigour. Fortunately, the serious themes are subverted, hilariously playing with our expectations and never turning into a nostalgic paean to the olden days. That said, this British production does feel eerily co-opted by Hollywood, from the use of the American "Santa Claus" (no one ever calls him "Father Christmas", which might have made sense of the film's odd title) to the somewhat feeble attempts to ramp up the action and suspense. Not to mention a massive wave of sentimentality at the end.
But even this is undermined by Baynham (Borat) and director Smith's script, which maintains a dry British sense of humour and gives the strong vocal cast plenty of snappy material to play with. While most of the characters are a bit unmemorable, Nighy gets the best lines: Grandsanta as an old coot full of surprises, including some terrific rude jokes and an amusingly animated hound-style old reindeer sidekick. Staunton also has some terrific dialog as the underestimated Mrs Santa.
Visually the film is brightly colourful, amusingly designed with small sight gags and continual Christmas imagery. While the characters look a little plasticky, the settings are gorgeously rendered, and the flying sleigh sequences almost make it worth seeing in 3D. The problem is that the film feels stretched out by random antics and underdeveloped plot-threads along the way that add nothing to the overall story. So we get tired of the bumbling chaos, mainly because we know exactly where it's got to end up.
In 1921 England, Florence (Hall) makes a fortune debunking fake psychics who claim to talk to the ghosts of Brits who died from war and flu over the previous decade. Her latest challenge is to solve a mystery at a private school in Cumbria, working with teacher Robert (West) and matron Maud (Staunton).
Rumour has it that the ghost of a schoolboy haunts the house, so Florence sets out to find out what's really going on. But she has her scepticism shaken to the core by some genuinely bizarre events.
Continue reading: The Awakening Review
The Pirate Captain, although relentlessly optimistic, has never won the Pirate of the Year Award. Perhaps it has something to do with his crew - many of them are pirates but some aren't (and one is a fish dressed in a pirate hat). Or maybe it's because he doesn't have much of a success rate when it comes to stealing treasure.
After the traumatic events of the First World War, many devastated people are turning to the supernatural, in particular, the ghosts of loved ones. Unfortunately, many of the grief stricken are being conned by swindlers looking to make quick money. Florence Cathcart is a woman who exposes these frauds for what they really are. Her book on the subject is a bestseller, making her well known all over the country.
Continue: The Awakening Trailer
Arthur Christmas is the clumsy youngest son of the famous Santa Claus. Together with his family, including his father, his cool older brother Steve, Santa's father Grandsanta and Santa's wife, Mrs. Santa, they run a top secret, highly state of the art operation beneath the North Pole, which helps Santa deliver every single Christmas present in one night around the globe and which cannot be seen by anyone else. It is a lengthy process, which sees Santa's team of elves - including a 'Gift Wrapping Battalion' who carry scissors and tape guns - training in the isolated Arctic during the summer by performing drills and practising their wrapping skills on unsuspecting polar bears. There is also a 'mission control' in which Santa and his team can see exactly how many days there are until Christmas and how many presents have been wrapped.
Continue: Arthur Christmas Trailer
The Pirate Captain has never won the Pirate of the Year award but this year he hopes to do so. He sets out with his crew - some are pirates, some are not, some are just fish he dressed up in a pirate hat - to beat his rivals Black Bellamy and Cutlass Liz. Along the way, he travels to places as diverse as Blood Island and Victorian London and joins forces with a young Charles Darwin. The Captain and his crew must also avoid Queen Elizabeth - who is determined to wipe out pirates from the seas.
It's gotten to the point where the quality of the films don't really matter: Now I feel like I'm committed to the whole Harry Potter series. I've reviewed the first five now, so by golly, I'm going to stick it out and finish the lot... even though I still can't bring myself to read any of the books. As always, consider yourself warned that I don't know the intricate backstory developed over thousands of pages in J.K. Rowling's writing. And really, I'm happy to keep it that way.
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix continues in the tradition of following another year at the Hogwarts School of Wizardry, where Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) has faced nothing but grueling struggle after grueling struggle. His most recent year (Goblet of Fire) saw a friend get killed by his nemesis, the evil Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes), who's gaining more power every day and giving Harry severe nightmares. With few exceptions, his friends have largely abandoned him, and the new term comes with even more headaches in the form of Dolores Umbridge (the perfect Imelda Staunton), sent from the Ministry of Magic to teach the defense from the dark arts class and eventually taking over the school as an iron-fisted, fun-crushing bureaucrat.
After much pottering about (ha ha!), the film finally finds its groove as Umbridge goes too far, refusing to teach magic in the classroom, instead preferring to rely on theoretical knowledge so the students can pass their year-end standardized tests. With Voldemort approaching (this guy is always just around the corner), Harry becomes more nervous that he will be unable to defend himself, finally recruiting a handful of students to his cause to teach them what he knows about magical combat. Together they prepare for the day when they know they'll have to use those skills. (In case you haven't seen any of the first four movies, rest assured it isn't far off: This end-of-movie showdown between Harry and the forces of evil has almost become a cliché that pans out every single time.)
Continue reading: Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix Review
The list in this category is long, and the quality broad, ranging from To Sir, with Love (Sidney Poitier straightens up hooligans) to Sunset Park (Rhea Perlman coaches hoops!). Instead of sliding into pitfalls of predictability, writer Richard LaGravenese (The Fisher King, Beloved), who also directs, relies on straight, unforced dialogue delivered by a fine cast. Like many similar films, this one happens to be based on truth.
Continue reading: Freedom Writers Review
And apparently, this oddity merited being the subject of a feature film from National Lampoon, the former cultural touchstone that has now become the bottom feeder of American lowbrow humor.
Continue reading: Blackball Review
Amongst both edible entrees and feathered friends, the chicken is the idiot God...
Continue reading: Chicken Run Review
Date of birth
9th January, 1956
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