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Jim Broadbent Loves His Flawed Character In The Sense Of An Ending


Jim Broadbent

To play the lead role in the film adaptation of Booker Prize-winning novel The Sense of an Ending, Jim Broadbent says that going back to Julian Barnes' writing was the key. "Just how someone speaks reveals so much about them," Broadbent says of his character, Tony. "Hearing that voice is the most useful thing you can get."

Jim Broadbent in The Sense Of An EndingJim Broadbent in The Sense Of An Ending

Broadbent says that the role resonated in his own past, especially his school days. "I wasn't quite one of those smart, intellectual sixth-formers," he laughs, "but those schoolboy relationships are fairly consistent over the generations, and I certainly recognise him from my own. I also recognise the arrogance and awkwardness of youth. So the arc of his life from school until now, I knew exactly where he was coming from."

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The Sense Of An Ending Review

Very Good

Julian Barnes' Booker Prize-winning novel is adapted into a remarkably intelligent, gently involving film anchored by a terrific performance from Jim Broadbent. With an unusually realistic depiction of London life, this an introspective story about finding closure, and it's nice that the filmmakers avoid ramping up the narrative to push a big emotional climax. Instead, it's in the small moments that the film rings true.

Broadbent plays Tony, a pensioner who runs a small camera shop as a hobby. His primary distraction is his single daughter Susie (Michelle Dockery), who is in the final stages of pregnancy. So Tony and his ex-wife Margaret (Harriet Walter) are providing whatever support they can. Then out of the blue he is notified of an inheritance from someone in his distant past. This sends him down memory lane, as he remembers his life as a university student (then Billy Howle), falling in love with Veronica (Freya Mavor) and feeling crushed when she fell for his best friend Adrian (Joe Alwyn) instead. So Tony tracks down Veronica (now Charlotte Rampling) in the present day to try to sort out their loose ends.

This is a complex story about how tricky it is to make sense of a messy past. The film refuses to simplify things in any way, leaving the audience to see themselves in the characters and situations as it flickers back and forth between the two timelines, dropping hints and details until the final piece falls into the puzzle. And the message is that you can't get closure until you accept even the more difficult elements of your story.

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Jim Broadbent Says The Sense Of An Ending Is About Complexity, Not Age


Jim Broadbent

At 67 Jim Broadbent is also one of the few actors who plays his age on-screen. In the British drama The Sense of an Ending, he plays a retired man looking back at his life, pondering his regrets through the eyes of his ex-wife and an old flame (played by Harriet Walter and Charlotte Rampling, respectively).

Charlotte Rampling and Jim Broadbent in The Sense Of An Ending

Broadbent says that the character was easy to identify with. "He's actually not really grown up," he says. "A lot of us older people like to think we're mature and grown-up and know what we're about. But we're still anxious and vulnerable and as arrogant and flawed as when we were at 20. We just get better at disguising it, at editing our life and behaving, supposedly, properly. I'm constantly astonished that I'm 67 years old and approaching 70. I think I'm just starting to think maybe somewhere down the line I'll get the hang of things. You never feel you've gotten there, that you've achieved any sort of wisdom."

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Jim Broadbent Reveals Details About His 'Game Of Thrones' Season 7 Character


Jim Broadbent

Veteran British actor Jim Broadbent has teased a few details about the “significant” character he will portray in the upcoming seventh season of ‘Game of Thrones’ – and it turns out that a great deal of the fan speculation was correct!

Despite the HBO hit show’s producers wishing to keep almost everything about season seven under wraps ahead of its arrival later this year, Broadbent spilled a few crucial details for ‘GoT’ fans in a new interview with entertainment site Screencrush.

Jim BroadbentJim Broadbent talked about his 'Game of Thrones' character

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The Sense Of An Ending Trailer


Tony Webster is a retired man in his sixties whose past comes back to haunt him when he receives a strange letter in the post. It takes him back to his university days when he met the love of his life Veronica Ford. Though they have been estranged since then, she bequeaths him a diary in her will. Their separation was one of bitterness and heartbreak; his best friend Adrian Finn ended up stealing Veronica's heart, and Tony reacted by sending them a very angry letter in response to their partnership. Not long after, Adrian died in mysterious circumstances and with all the horror of those years brought up once again, Tony is forced to confront his guilt and innoncence in the whole saga - as well as other people's suspicions.

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Bridget Jones's Baby Review

Excellent

As it's been 12 years since the last Bridget Jones movie, expectations aren't too high for this sequel. So it's a very nice surprise that this film stands on its own as a charming and often very funny romantic comedy while rounding off the trilogy in style. The cast is terrific, and the script bristles with snappy dialogue and witty characters that lead the audience down an unpredictable route to a complicated happy ending.

On her 43rd birthday, Bridget (Renee Zellweger) is finally content with her single life. Although her romantic past continues to torment her, especially when she runs into former flame Mark Darcy (Colin Firth) at a funeral. With a corporate shake-up underway at the TV news programme she produces, presenter Miranda (Sara Solemani) suggests that Bridget needs some sex to liven up her life, whisking her off to a music festival. There she has a cute, hot encounter with the dishy Jack (Patrick Dempsey). And a week later, she rekindles her romance with Mark when she learns that his marriage has ended. So when she discovers that she's pregnant, Bridget hasn't a clue which man is the father.

This premise offers plenty of scope for both thematic meaning and awkward plot turns, and the screenplay merrily dives right into all of it, mixing some silly slapstick with darker emotions as director Sharon Maguire maintains a breezy-comical tone. This kind of balance is difficult to get right, but the film feels effortlessly engaging.

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Jim Broadbent Joins Cast Of 'Game Of Thrones' For Season 7


Jim Broadbent HBO

Veteran British actor Jim Broadbent has joined the cast of ‘Game of Thrones’ for its seventh series, in what is described as a “significant” role.

The 67 year old actor, renowned for dozens of award-winning roles in movies, on television and the stage, is to play a major part in the seventh and penultimate series of HBO’s ever-popular fantasy drama when it returns in the summer of 2017, according to Entertainment Weekly.

Jim BroadbentJim Broadbent is to play a "significant" role in 'Game of Thrones' series 7

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Bridget Jones's Baby Trailer


Bridget has always known how to get herself into a muddle - catastrophic muddles at that - even though she's been separated from her last love, Mark, for five years it appears their journey together hasn't come to an end as yet. 

After taking advice from one of her colleagues, Bridget decides that it's time to get back on the dating scene and after deciding that the likes of Tinder aren't for her, Bridget finds herself being set up with Jack Qwant who she sees in the news room studio. 

The pair get on remarkably well and soon find themselves spending the night together. A little fun is just what Bridget needed. When she finds herself at the christening of one of her friends little girls, her and Mark are forced to be amicable towards one another but the pair fall into old habits and Bridget and he also spend the night together. 

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Eddie The Eagle Review

Excellent

Based on the true story of an unapologetic underdog who never won anything, this British comedy is a shameless crowd-pleaser. Eddie Edwards won the hearts of fans worldwide by coming in dead last at the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary, and the cast and crew follow his journey with buckets of humour and emotion, plus some seriously exhilarating ski jumping. And like its central character, the film is awkward, good-hearted and impossible not to love.

Eddie (Taron Egerton) grew up obsessed with becoming an Olympian even though he has no talent for sport. He manages to become a regional downhill skiing champion, but is so annoying that the head of the British Olympics Team (Tim McInnerny) changes the rules to disqualify him. So at 22 he instead decides to become Britain's only ski jumper. He moves to Germany to train on his own, meeting the jaded ex-jumper Bronson (Hugh Jackman) and persistently convincing him to offer some coaching tips. And as the Olympics officials keep raising the bar for membership on the team, Eddie improves just enough to qualify. His father (Keith Allen) thinks he should give up, but his mother (Jo Hartley) quietly offers support. And it's Eddie's sheer tenacity that gets him to Calgary.

Director Dexter Fletcher (Wild Bill) tells this story as a high-energy comedy centred on a dorky young man who simply won't take no for an answer. Egerton plays Eddie with perhaps too many physical tics, but exudes so much goofy charm that it's easy to see how he won over the people around him, and the global audience watching the Olympics. His interaction with everyone he meets on this journey is barbed and hilarious, and his joy at each small achievement is infections. Egerton also generates terrific chemistry with Jackman in one of his most enjoyable roles yet. It's hugely entertaining to watch this grouchy loser be begrudgingly coaxed out of his shell by Eddie's boundless enthusiasm.

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Bridget Jones's Baby Trailer


After battling the dating scene and finally finding love with Mark Darcy, Bridget Jones is ready to take her relationship to the next stage - well, sort of. After years of thinking that Mark was all she wanted, she realises that their relationship isn't as close as it once was and decides to call it a day.

Back where she started, Bridget decides that the men in her life are just distractions, now it's time to get fully involved in her work and climb to the position she's always wanted. As things start to fall into place for Bridget, soon her love life begins to pick up speed too.

A fleeting meeting with Mr Darcy leads to the pair reuniting - temporarily at least - whilst Bridget is also being wooed by a smooth American called Jack, a man who doesn't have Darcy's prim and proper ways but is just as charming. Playing the field doesn't work out quite as easily as Bridget hoped as she falls pregnant. Now all she must do is find out which partner she wants to be with and more importantly, who the father is.

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The Lady In The Van Review

Excellent

Maggie Smith couldn't be more perfect for the title role in this film if it were written for her. But the most astounding thing about this story is that it's true, an event from playwright-screenwriter Alan Bennett's own life. The film cleverly plays with the idea of a writer telling his own story. And it also gives Smith an unforgettable role in a movie that's both entertaining and sharply pointed.

It happened in 1970 Camden, as neighbours worried about a homeless woman parking her van in front of their houses. She turns out to be Mary Shepard (Smith), and resident Alan Bennett (Alex Jennings) offers to let her park her van in his driveway for a few months. She stayed there for 15 years, during which Alan refuses to pry into Mary's personal life and she turns a blind eye to the steady flow of young gentleman callers at his door. Even so, over the years Alan learns some details about Mary's past as a musician, ambulance driver and nun, and that she became homeless because she was on the run from the police.

Bennett takes a cheeky approach to the script, writing two versions of himself: one who lives his life and one who writes about it. The interaction between the two is cleverly played by Jennings and directed with offhanded hilarity by Hytner, who shot the movie in the actual street and house where the events took place. Jennings also adds some emotional interest in Alan's relationship with his mother (Gwen Taylor), who ironically has to move into a nursing home. Opposite him, Smith is as magnetic as ever, reeling off each pithy one-liner with impeccable timing. The role may not seem like much of a stretch, but she delivers it with a prickly mix of attitude and humour, plus a strong undercurrent of pathos.

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Jim Broadbent Proves Genius Casting For 'Get Santa'


Jim Broadbent Warwick Davis

Dopey Christmas movies are such a staple this time of year that it's actually rather shocking when one comes along that isn't stupid. Even if some critics struggle with the holiday-crime movie mashup, 'Get Santa' has been receiving glowing reviews for its witty script and sharp characters, played with energy and knowing humour by a strong cast. 

Jim Broadbent and Warick Davis in 'Get Santa'
Jim Broadbent and Warwick Davis appear together in 'Get Santa'

Much of the credit has to go to writer-director Christopher Smith, not the most obvious choice to make a heart-warming family movie. His previous films are the London Underground horror 'Creep', the team-building weekend slasher movie 'Severance', the plague-era gross-out 'Black Death' and the seafaring gorefest 'Triangle'. But all of Smith's films have a sharp undercurrent of black comedy to them, and he proves adept at concentrating on this in the context of a U-certificate action comedy (even Paddington earned a PG).

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Paddington - International Trailer


In the jungles of Peru, a young bear learns about and becomes obsessed with Great Britain and sets off on an adventure to visit the county. After an arduous journey, he finally arrives in London's Paddington Station, but realises quite soon that he is both lost and lonely. That is, until the Brown family discover him and adopt him, naming him Paddington, after the place they found him. Paddington (Ben Whishaw) is a great addition to the household, as his antics entertain the children. But said antics often end in destruction within the household, leaving the Brown family in a difficult position. Things become even more difficult when Millicent (Nicole Kidman) sets about trying to capture and stuff Paddington, in order to add him to her exhibition. 

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Get Santa Trailer


'Twas nights before Christmas and all through the house, not a creature was stirring. until a loud crash was heard in the garage. Nine year-old Tom (Kit Connor) heads out into the darkness and snow to investigate, and to his surprise, he discovers non-other than Santa Claus (Jinn Broadbent), having crashed his sleigh and lost his reindeer. After attempting to recover them, Santa is arrested and sent to prison. Tom confronts his dad, Steve (Rafe Spall), and encourages him to help recover the reindeer, sleigh and then rescue Santa before 24th December, otherwise Christmas will be ruined. Hilarity ensues as the father/son team work against the clock in a desperate attempt to save Christmas for everyone. 

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What Should You See Tonight, Machete Kills? The Fifth Estate? It's Le-Weekend!


Benedict Cumberbatch Lady GaGa Saoirse Ronan Jim Broadbent

It’s Friday folks – your mundane, work-a-day week has come to an end, and now you’ve got a chance to spend the money you’ve earned on some form of entertainment, be it alcohol, video games, illegal activities or the movies. It’s the latter we’re focusing on: what film should you see tonight?

Machete KillsDanny Trejo in Machete Kills

You could go and see Machete Kills. Danny Trejo’s film started out as a joke trailer in Quentin Tarantino’s Grindhouse films, and eventually found itself as a fully-fledged feature film. It was okay; people got it, they understood that it was a joke and was intentionally kitsch. What nobody asked for was a sequel featuring Mel Gibson and Lady GaGa, but that’s what we’ve got, and it’s rubbish.

Continue reading: What Should You See Tonight, Machete Kills? The Fifth Estate? It's Le-Weekend!

"Le Week-End" Is Warm, Honest And Clever And That's Just The Critics Talking


Jim Broadbent Lindsay Duncan Jeff Goldblum

Le week-end is sweet, it’s quirky and it has its token dose of snark – the perfect combination to warm those chilly autumn nights. To top it all off, this Jim Broadbent and Lindsay Duncan starrer is set in Paris, adding another dose of romance to the whole affair. The affair in question is a weekend getaway for an ageing couple, which leads them to reevaluate their relationship and their lives overall.

Watch the trailer below.

Continue reading: "Le Week-End" Is Warm, Honest And Clever And That's Just The Critics Talking

Living For 'Le Week-End' - Jim Broadbent And Lindsay Duncan Star [Trailer]


Jim Broadbent Lindsay Duncan Jeff Goldblum

We’ve seen screen-legends combine to bring us the other side of a ‘coming of age’ story before - The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel did it to some degree of success – and now we have Le Week-End, which see Jim Broadbent and Lindsay Duncan’s characters head to the city of love to see if theirs can be reignited.

Jim Broadbent and Lindsay DuncanJim Broadbent and Lindsay Duncan in le Week-end

The Guardian, on the strength of the film’s Toronto 2013 screening, certainly liked it, giving it four stars. “All three lead characters are brimful of insight, with Broadbent brilliant as a man berated by his wife, scorned by his employers, exploited by his son, and offered scant compensation from anyone,” says their review.

Continue reading: Living For 'Le Week-End' - Jim Broadbent And Lindsay Duncan Star [Trailer]

Le Week-End Trailer


Meg and Nick are a seemingly devoted couple who venture to the romantic city of Paris on their thirtieth wedding anniversary in the hope of rekindling old feelings from their honeymoon. They may claim to love each other, but things are far from perfect in their relationship as their routine lifestyles have caused a dramatic rift between them without them even noticing. Their weekend is tainted by frequent arguments, though always warmed by frequent displays of affection and childish exploits. However, when they bump into old American friend who invites them for dinner at his Parisian apartment, they start to feel depressed that their lives are several shades less colourful than his with his gorgeous pregnant wife, success in the city and an impressive book deal. Will this long-devoted couple find peace within themselves to be content with one another? Or will Paris cause them to finally drift apart?

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Closed Circuit Trailer


Martin and Claudia are two lawyers who were formerly in a relationship. They are roped into a case together on the defense team of an alleged terrorist, following a tragic bombing in a London market one morning in November. It may be a difficult job to being with, but things don't get any easier when they covertly discover that their client was actually assigned as an undercover spy for MI5 and was supposed to lead them to the bombers before the attack. They soon begin to realise that their every move is being closely watched, and with threats on their life by some powerful people following their investigations and risky suggestions in court, they must escape the controlling force that is the government before they are eradicated - though it could be too late.

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Cloud Atlas Flops On Opening Weekend At Box Office


Lilly Wachowski Tom Hanks Halle Berry Jim Broadbent Hugh Grant Hugo Weaving

Cloud Atlas has flopped into third place in the US Box Office after a dreary weekend saw the film, which many thought would do well commercially, take in less than Hotel Transylvania and chart topper Argo in US markets.

The film, an adaptation of the David Mitchell novel of the same name, was brought to the screen by Matrix masterminds Andy and Lana Wachowski and Run Lola Run director Tom Tykwer, with many foreseeing the time-jumping epic to make a huge impact at the box office. Instead the film only brought in a meagre $9.4 million over its opening weekend, a long way from the predicted $100 million it had budgeted for.

The film, which stars Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Jim Broadbent, Hugh Grant and Hugo Weaving among others, follows the inter-twining lives of a host of different people throughout time, following the implications of actions made in past lives and how the soul lives on through time. It has so far split opinion right down the middle, with some marvelling and the ground breaking spectacle and story telling of the film, whilst other have smeared it for being overly ambitious.

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Cloud Atlas: Halle Berry's Clouds Are Solid Gold, Let Alone The Silver Lining


Halle Berry Tom Hanks Susan Sarandon Jim Broadbent

Cloud Atlas, the new film adapted from David Mitchell's novel of the same name, stars Halle Berry, Tom Hanks, Susan Sarandon and Jim Broadbent, among a plethora of other great stars. 

USA today says that film had a budget of $100m which reflects the complexity of its production, and the reason behind its star-saturation. The plot of the movie (and book) is a tapestry of six stories, following one soul as it moves from one body to the next, to the next, spanning around 500 years, from 1849 to the 24th century. The premise assumes reincarnation to be true, and really focuses on the unity of the human race. UPI states the official plotline as "the actions and consequences of our lives impact one another throughout the past, present, and future as one soul is shaped from a murderer into a savior and a single act of kindness ripples out for centuries to inspire a revolution."

Speaking about her role, Berry said "You have to say yes to something like this, [I want audiences to] walk away having a dialogue about it. And really realizing the ramifications of all of our actions and all of the choices that we make, and that they do reverberate for generations and generations. Acts of kindness and also acts of cruelty. It really matters." Halle has also revealed that she believes in reincarnation. "I think it's huge and something I believe in; the idea of reincarnation," she said, reported by CNN. "[Next time] I hope [to be] an animal. I'm a little tired of the human being thing; I'd love to come back as an animal next time around."

Continue reading: Cloud Atlas: Halle Berry's Clouds Are Solid Gold, Let Alone The Silver Lining

Arthur Christmas Review


Very Good

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.

Arthur Christmas 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.

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The Iron Lady Trailer


When Margaret Thatcher started out in politics she always aspired to do something great, though just how far she'd take her career was beyond imagination. Having first made her mark in local politics in 1959, Margaret was named MP for the first time.

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Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2 Trailer


Harry Potter and his friends, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger, continue their search for Voldemort's Horcruxes - dark magical objects that help the user gain immortality. Having found and destroyed one Horcrux - a locket belonging to Hogwarts founder Salazar Slytherin - the three friends travel from Ron's older brother Bill Weasley's house by the sea to the wizarding bank, Gringotts and then to Hogwarts to look for the final remaining Horcruxes.

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Another Year Trailer


Meet Tom and Gerri, a happily married couple who're closer to the end of their life to the start. Another Year is a touching and true-to-life story that explores the meaning of friendships and relationships through all stages of life.

Another Year was written and directed by British film maker Mike Leigh and sees him collaborate with Lesley Manville for the eighth time, his seventh with Jim Broadbent and fifth with Ruth Sheen.

Another Year is released in the UK through Momentum Pictures on November 5th 2010
Directed by: Mike Leigh

Starring: Jim Broadbent, Lesley Manville, Ruth Sheen, Peter Wight, Oliver Maltman, David Bradley, Martin Savage, Michele Austin, Philip Davis, Imelda Staunton, Stuart McQuarrie, Eileen Davies, Mary Jo Randle and Ben Roberts

Perrier's Bounty Review


Good
Lively and rude, this comical crime thriller keeps us engaged with its likeable characters even when the plot begins to feel pointless. In the end, there's not much to the film, but it's enjoyable while it lasts.

Michael (Murphy) is a slacker who has four hours to pay back his loan shark Perrier (Gleeson) before a bounty is put out on him. On this fateful day, he teams up with his dying father Jim (Broadbent) and his neighbour Brenda (Whittaker), who accidentally gets involved in his mess. As they run around Dublin trying to stay one step ahead of the goons, as well as a couple of zealous traffic wardens, this trio is forced to examine their lives and relationships, often in the face of imminent injury.

Continue reading: Perrier's Bounty Review

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - Trailer & Featurette


Watch the trailer for Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Continue: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - Trailer & Featurette

Hot Fuzz Review


Excellent
For those who appreciated some gore alongside laughter in a movie, and were sick of seeing the slashers of the 1980s being constantly regurgitated for box office dollars, 2004's Shaun of the Dead was a refreshing cinematic experience. It wasn't perfect -- logic would randomly suspend itself and re-start again at the whim of plot, but the characters were fun to watch and listen to so it was difficult to hold these minor foibles against the film.

The filmmakers have returned, and corrected many of their mistakes. Hot Fuzz is not only hilariously funny, but every intelligent detail makes sense this time around, and the action is that much more engaging for what takes place because of it.

Continue reading: Hot Fuzz Review

Brazil Review


Essential
Sam Lowry (Jonathan Pryce) is a civil servant Dilbert at the Ministry of Information. He's a low level office grunt typing his way through a lifetime of meaningless papers in a retro-future totalitarian state. His one escape from his dreary life is his dreams. Bursting with vivid colors, Sam's visions see him with armored wings rising into the bright sky above the cold city. There, in the firmament, Sam battles with Darkness to free a blonde beauty (Kim Greist) imprisoned in a floating cage.

Unfortunately, there are no happy endings for dreamers in this alternate world. Sam always awakens to his mind-numbing existence, only plugging away in a system that rewards only blandness, appeasing his socialite mother (addicted to face lifts) whose only wish is to see her meek son move his way up a corporate ladder to nowhere.

Continue reading: Brazil Review

Robots Review


Extraordinary
The 1995 release of Pixar's Toy Story forever altered the world of animated cinema. In an instant, decades of Disney-dominated traditional cartoons vanished in a pixilated puff of fairy dust and a new era of almost entirely computer-generated animation began. The ensuing wave of digital films has met with such astonishing box-office success that even such forgettable romps as Chris Wedge's Ice Age have managed to top the earnings charts in their opening weeks.

But things are changing in the animation scene. The freshness of CG has worn away, and audiences are no longer wowed by flashy technology alone. Disney/Pixar's The Incredibles has raised the bar on both animation excellence and story-telling savvy to a level that will be hard to top in coming years. If such early hits as Toy Story or Antz premiered today, it's unlikely they would wow the crowds nearly as much as they did on their initial releases. It's a tough time to be an animated film.

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Little Voice Review


Excellent
Surprisingly powerful despite its cute premise, Horrocks shines as a timid young woman (known as Little Voice) who has the uncanny ability to unerringly reproduce the voice of dozens of great female vocalists (eg. Garland, Bassey, even Marilyn Monroe). Smarmy promoter Caine puts her onstage, where her neurosis only worsens, but not before a few sparkling hours before the crowds.

Continue reading: Little Voice Review

Moulin Rouge Review


Extraordinary
When a red curtain opens and an orchestra conductor emerges to "direct" the unmistakable 20th Century Fox theme music, we know we're in for something different. Really different. Good different.

Filled with virtuoso special effects and spectacular song-and-dance sequences, Baz Luhrmann's long-awaited Moulin Rouge makes every minute of our collectively held breath worthwhile. In fact, during its opening hour, this critic found it hard to look away even for a second to jot down a note, for fear of missing even a nuanced sparkle in the eye of some French whore.

Continue reading: Moulin Rouge Review

Iris Review


Excellent
In the refined and sobering drama Iris, we witness a loving but unconventional relationship between a strangely elegant couple -- English critic John Bayley and his Alzheimer's-stricken, novelist wife Iris Murdoch. Writer-director Richard Eyre, who wrote the script with Charles Wood based on Bayley's memoirs Iris: A Memoir and Elegy for Iris, delivers an amazingly touching portrait of resilient and everlasting passion between two eccentric creative forces who have contributed to the literary world immensely. Iris is an enchanting and finely-acted personal drama that manages to absorb the pleasures and pain of an undying spirit of togetherness. Expressionistic and resoundingly involving, Eyre's thought-provoking film is perceptively engaging.

Eyre does a terrific job in showing us the deterioration of a brilliant-minded woman in Iris Murdoch. It is always frustrating to witness anybody's decline in health, but it must be particularly awful for a talented author with an impeccable series of written work to her name. The film shows us the two phases of Iris's life -- as a free-spirited young woman in 1950's Oxford, England and as an aged, sickly soul trying to survive her last days in the 1990s while her husband tends to her needs. Titanic heroine Kate Winslet plays the youngish and energetic Iris while Oscar-winning actress Judi Dench portrays her ailing years.

Continue reading: Iris Review

Around The World In 80 Days (2004) Review


Terrible
The 50-year-old Jackie Chan has lost a step or two. This remake of the award winning 1956 classic Around the World in 80 Days is clearly just a vehicle to further his career; unfortunately it mainly showcases his age. His fight scenes are laughably choreographed and his acting comes across as forced.

Chan's problems are indicative of many others faced by this overblown $110 million mess. Even as production was finishing, a distributor had not been found. Not surprisingly, Disney eventually picked up the film. Yet, what is surprising is Disney's decision not to distribute a challenging film like Fahrenheit 9/11, but instead to release this one, a flavorless and disgraceful remake.

Continue reading: Around The World In 80 Days (2004) Review

Around The World In 80 Days Review


OK

Jules Verne might have a hard time recognizing his source material in the Jackie Chan action-comedy adaptation of "Around the World in 80 Days," but for non-purists, it's easy to forgive the many liberties taken in this funny, fleet-footed summer-matinee romp.

Although the ostensible main character is still screwball Victorian inventor Phileas Fogg (lanky Steve Coogan) -- who wagers against the stuffed shirts of the English scientific establishment that he can circumnavigate the globe in the titular time period -- this version of the story more literally revolves around Passepartout (Chan), Fogg's valet who has his own reasons for traipsing across continents.

Passepartout has stolen a jade Buddha from a Bank of London vault in order to return it to its rightful place: his native village in China. Fogg is his ticket to safe passage -- or so he thinks.

Continue reading: Around The World In 80 Days Review

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