Utterly charming, this silly prequel rewrites the origin story of the minions and sends them on a series of adventures that are gently anarchic and refreshingly low-key for an animated blockbuster. The film has an unusually gentle tone, with some real visual artistry to it rather than the cookie-cutter story structure and imagery in most summer movies. And while it's not riotously funny, children will be mesmerised and adults will be smiling.
It opens at the dawn of time, as minions evolve into yellow pill-shaped sidekicks who serve their evil masters throughout history. When they find themselves without a leader, they try to build a society in an arctic cave, but something just isn't right. So Kevin, Stuart and Bob (voiced in Esperanto-style gibberish by director Pierre Coffin) head off to 1968 New York to find a villain to work for. There they hear about ruthless baddie Scarlet Overkill (Sandra Bullock), so they head to Villain-Con in Orlando to meet her. She's impressed by their loyalty and takes them to London to work with her inventor husband Herb (Jon Hamm) on a nefarious plan to steal the British crown from the Queen (Jennifer Saunders). But nothing goes quite as planned.
Since it's set in the 1960s, the filmmakers give the film a groovy vibe, with sun-drenched animation and hilariously colourful details in every scene. Adults are more likely to catch references to things like the Monkees, Hair or Bewitched, but kids will enjoy the general silliness, including lots of chances to sing along with the minions as they babble through classic tunes. Thankfully, directors Coffin and Kyle Balda resist temptation to use the standard animation formula, opting instead for a meandering pace, a less pushy moral message and action scenes that emerge from the plot, settings and characters. And the starry voice cast refreshingly disappears into the characters.
Continue reading: Minions Review
Since the dawn of time, the Minions have been desperately looking for a master. From dinosaurs, to cave men, to Dracula, to Napoleon, the Minions have sought out the biggest and best of masters from around the world. The trouble is, their optimism and perseverance - while commendable - is nothing compared to their utter ineptitude. The Minions have a terrible problem with either killing their boss, or letting their bosses die in some way. But with the 1960s in full swing and the Minions currently unemployed, they travel to a villain convention to find a new master, and uncover a conspiracy to steal the crown from the Queen of England.
Continue: Minions Trailer
Fans have been calling for Steve Coogan's legendary comic character 'Alan Partridge' to come out of retirement and present 'Top Gear' as Jeremy Clarkson's replacement.
The ongoing saga over Jeremy Clarkson’s suspension from ‘Top Gear’ has taken a turn for the amusing, after an online petition emerged calling for the appointment of the comedy character Alan Partridge as a replacement for the under-fire presenter.
It’s been one week since the BBC announced that Clarkson had been suspended from the successful motoring show following a ‘fracas’ with one of its producers. The internal investigation, headed by the director of BBC Scotland Ken McQuarrie, began on Monday (March 16th).
Could Steve Coogan's 'Alan Partrdige' character be the new 'Top Gear' host?
It's a wonder why the prehistoric tribe of Minions have managed to survive so long with limited access to their staple diet of bananas and very little in the way of intelligence. But they make it their life's work to follow and serve the most despicable of villains in return for their care - though, as time goes on, it seems there are fewer and fewer baddies left in the world, ever decreasing down to the Minion's own ineptitudes. From dinosaurs to vampires, Minions have always been loyal to the evil they serve, but after each tragic and accidental death, they are forced to move on. Stuck in a tight spot with no master to serve, they find themselves bored and depressed; that is until head Minions Kevin, Stuart and Bob decide it's time to set out on an adventure. Through blizzards and mountains, never-ending fields and deadly oceans they travel until they reach New York in 1968. They hitchhike to Orlando's annual Villain-Con and it's there they find their new mistress, Scarlet Overkill, and their only hope of saving Minion-kind.
Continue: Minions - International Trailer
If there's one place were Owen Wilson feels at home, it's the 'Night At The Museum' set.
It's probably true when it comes to most family comedies that being involved is less stressful than a more serious drama, but Owen Wilson feels that doesn't ring more true than on the set of 'Night Of The Museum: Secret Of The Tomb'.
There may be a lot of chaos what with wild animals and cavemen running loose in London, but 'Night At The Museum' is a set that star Owen Wilson, who plays miniature cowboy Jedediah in the franchise, feels right at home on - mainly because of the stellar cast he has surrounding him. 'Working with Ben Stiller... we've worked together on a lot of things and for me it's just very familiar and very comfortable', he explains. 'And then Steve Coogan and Ben Stiller, that's who my scenes are usually always with... those guys just made me laugh.'
Now in its third instalment, it's clearer than ever that this franchise is based on one joke that has been stretched far beyond the breaking point. And not too cleverly at that. Fortunately, this movie retains much of the deranged idiocy that made the second part rather enjoyable. So it's watchable even if there aren't many new ideas, and even if filmmaker Shawn Levy is far too happy to settle for unnecessary digital effects work where a bit of character comedy would have been much more engaging.
Back on the job as a night watchman in New York, Larry (Ben Stiller) is now orchestrating the museum exhibits when they come to life to provide spectacular shows for visitors who think this is all a special effect. Even his boss (Ricky Gervais) isn't sure what's really going on. But when a glitch in the magical Ancient Egyptian powers causes chaos, Larry learns that he needs to travel to London so he can reunite Ahkmenrah (Rami Malek) with his father (Ben Kingsley), who's on display at the British Museum. Larry's teen son Nick (Skyler Gisondo) comes along, as do his revived pals Teddy Roosevelt (Robin Williams), tiny soldiers Octavius and Jedediah (Steve Coogan and Owen Wilson) and others. But in London, while sneaking around local night guard Tilly (Rebel Wilson), Larry's team awakens a statue of the knight Lancelot (Dan Stevens), who dives into their quest with rather a bit too much gusto.
Until Lancelot turns up, everything about the film feels oddly tired, from the starry cameos to effects work that strains to be clever. Then Stevens injects a badly needed jolt of blue-eyed charisma and warped comical timing that makes the rest of the movie rather good fun. Rebel Wilson's side-plot is also rather amusing, with some wonderfully ridiculous touches. And even the cameos get better, notably a scene on a West End stage that's genuinely inspired silliness. Coogan and Wilson offer some raucous banter to accompany everything that happens, and Stiller kind of hangs on for dear life. But the filmmakers don't really care about these characters; they're just trying to create something visually impressive that's also goofy fun.
Continue reading: Night At The Museum: Secret Of The Tomb Review
The cast of 'Night At The Museum: Secret Of The Tomb' all posed happily together at the New York premiere of the film, which is set to hit movie theaters on December 19th 2014.
Ricky Gervais, who plays Dr. McPhee in 'Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb', arrived at the New York premiere with partner Jane Fallon, fooling around with the photographers, cracking jokes and taking selfies.
A drama set around a cultural movement in 1970s Britain, this film captures the period beautifully, but its story is so underdeveloped that it leaves the fresh young cast without proper characters or relationships to play. The depiction of teens in need of their own sense of belonging is strong, but without a story to connect with, the film leaves its audience struggling to maintain interest.
It's 1974 in Lancashire, and teenager John (Elliot James Langridge) is an outcast at school in search of some friends. Then the lively Matt (Josh Whitehouse) introduces him to Northern Soul, underground American R&B that's circulated on bootleg records. So he drops out of school, disappointing his favourite teacher (Steve Coogan) and his parents (Christian McKay and Lisa Stansfield). As he digs deeper into the movement, John makes some new friends (including Antonia Thomas and Jack Gordon) and takes on the star DJ Ray (James Lance) by scrounging for never-heard recordings. But along with learning a new way to dance, John is also introduced to the drug scene, which basically scuppers his and Matt's plan to save cash for a trip to America. And it's Ray who understands that John's only hope of success as a DJ is to ditch Matt.
The best part of this film is this friendship between John and Matt, which was sparked by a shared interest in soul music and then was strained by the scene itself. Writer-director Elaine Constantine vividly captures this world, including the teen sense of hopefulness and independence. But she seems far more interested in depicting the period and the music than in keeping a focus on the characters and their friendships. People drift in and out of the story, relationships refuse to develop into anything meaningful, subplots come and go at random, the romance is barely hinted at and the drug-addiction strand starts to get preachy.
Continue reading: Northern Soul Review
Elaine Constantine's 'Northern Soul' promises to tell the real story of the legendary dance scene.
Northern Soul, Elaine Constantine's new British film about the dance culture that swept across the north of England in the 1970s, will be released on October 17. It features an intriguing and talented cast including newcomer Elliot James Langdridge, musician Lisa Stansfield and veteran Ricky Tomlinson, as well as cameos from Steve Coogan and John Thompson.
Elliot James Langdridge [L] and Ricky Tomlinson [R] in 'Northern Soul'
Constantine, a documentary filmmaker and photographer has a deep attachment with the scene, having got into it as a schoolgirl in Bury, Lancashire.
John (Elliot James Langridge) doesn't fit in. He is victimised by his teacher (Steve Coogan), his mother (Lisa Stansfield) is ashamed of him, and he is often bullied. He fights back in whatever small way he can, but there is nothing he can fully channel his energy into. That is, until he discovers northern soul. Not only can he express his heart and soul on the dance floor, but he steadily begins to gain more and more confidence from day to day. He and a friend decide to start up their own northern soul dance club in order to raise funds to travel to America. As events steadily escalate out of control, the one thing that remains constant in the boy's lives is the soul music.
Continue: Northern Soul Trailer
The third and final instalment of 'Night At The Museum' will be out in time for Christmas, and sees old characters return and new ones join.
Another treat is in store for movie fans this Christmas as the family favourite Night At The Museum returns for a third and final instalment. Entitled Secret of the Tomb, it follows on from 2009's Battle of the Smithsonian.
Night At The Museum: Secret of the Tomb will be released on December 19th
When the mystical powers of the Tablet of Ahkmenrah that animates that museum’s exhibits at night begin to die out, Larry Daley (Ben Stiller) realises he must travel the globe and meet up with new characters and old favourites in order to restore the artefact’s powers before it disappears forever. Cue a journey to London!
Following on from the discovery that New York Natural History Museum's exhibits come to life after dark, security guard Larry Daley (Ben Stiller) is faced with a new problem. After confronting the curator, Dr. McPhee (Ricky Gervais), about the exhibits steadily losing consciousness, Daley and friends must travel to England to try to restore power to The Tablet of Ahkmenrah - the ancient artefact that grants life to the museum. In an adventure which spans the globe, Daley and company must meet up with new characters in an attempt to restore the magic before the figures lives end permanently.
The two star are back in another foody adventure, with impressions, banter and more foolhardy action
2010's The Trip was a surprise success when it was released to a limited audience and an immense amount of critical praise. It's success was such a surprise because, to put it bluntly, not a lot really happens in The Trip other than some arguments, a few Michael Caine impressions and the occasional bit of womanising from Coogan. Oh yes, and lots of food.
Stunning scenery and middle aged men mocking younger men takes up most of The Trip to Italy
That formula proved so successful that the two have been shipped out on a food adventure once again, this time tasting what Italy has to offer. Michael Winterbottom is back in the driving seat for The Trip to Italy, taking stars Rob Brydon and Steve Coogan across a culinary map of Italy for the sake of a food journalism (kind of).
Continue reading: Steve Coogan & Rob Brydon Bring Their 'Trip To Italy' To Sundance
Philomena is released in the US today (22nd November). The film is based on the true story of Philomena Lee who attempts to find the child she was forced to give up for adoption fifty years before.
Judi Dench and Steve Coogan star in Philomena.
The biopic, based on a true story and adapted from Martin Sixsmith's book The Lost Child Of Philomena Lee, follows one woman's attempt to find the child she was forced to give away. Lee fell pregnant in Ireland in 1952 and was taken to a convent as a 'fallen woman'. She was forced to give up her son for adoption. The film shows Lee's journey to the US in order to find her child. She was aided by journalist Sixsmith, whose account the film is based on.
Continue reading: Review Round-Up: 'Philomena' Receives High Praise From Critics
Judi Dench and Steve Coogan's performances in 'Philomena' have been heaped with praise.
Philomena has been released in UK cinemas and is proving to be one of the British film events of the year as critics flock to praise Steve Coogan and Judi Dench's performances in this touching, funny, Stephen Frears-directed drama about a woman on a quest to find her long lost son. Read our 'Philomena' review.
'Philomena' Has Been Festooned With Praise, With The BIFAs The Crowning Moment.
Coogan and Dench are up for best actor and actress categories for their roles at this year's Moet British Independent Film Awards, according to BBC News. The actors will go up against Jim Broadbent and Lindsay Duncan for their roles in Le Week-end.
Continue reading: 'Philomena' Actors Shortlisted For British Independent Film Awards
Based on a true story, this warm drama uses sharp humour to keep from tipping over into sloppy sentiment. It's still hugely emotional, but in a shamelessly entertaining way. And it gives Judi Dench and Steve Coogan characters they can really sink their teeth into as the twists and turns of the real events unfold.
In 2002, cynical London journalist Martin Sixsmith (Coogan) has just been sacked from his job as a government spin doctor, so his editor suggests he try a human interest story to get back to work. He hates the idea until he meets Philomena (Dench), a retired Irishwoman who was raised by nuns in a workhouse, where she was forced to give her baby son up for adoption some 50 years ago. She'd like to know what happened to him, so Martin accompanies her back to Ireland and then on to America, where the babies were sold. But their search doesn't go as expected, and what they discover is startlingly moving.
As he did with The Queen, director Frears gives the film a gentle, light tone that helps balance the intensely serious subject matter. He also encourages his cast to deliver understated performances, which is especially effective for the usually broad Coogan. And of course Dench is simply wonderful as a feisty straight-talker who isn't thrown by anything she encounters. Gurgling under everything is an astute look at religious heritage: Martin is a lapsed Catholic who can't understand why Philomena still has a devout faith, because of what the church has done to her. And as the story continues, he begins to understand the strength this gives her.
Continue reading: Philomena Review
Coogan felt strongly about the subject matter.
Best known for his seminal comedy creation, Alan Partridge, Steve Coogan’s dramatic work sometimes slips under the radar.But with Philomena, the British actor’s emotional attachment, combined with the technique and skill from both he and Judi Dench, his new film is a touchingly funny drama.
Steve Coogan, Sophie Kennedy Clark and Dame Judy Dench at the premiere for Philomena
“I was very emotionally involved in it. I read the article in the newspaper, and I responded to that because it made me angry, and it made me cry. It didn’t make me laugh much, I have to say, but I brought that to it a bit later on,” said Coogan of the project.
Gravity, starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney, premiered at the Venice Film festival last night (Wednesday 28th August).
Gravity opened the 70th Venice Film Festival yesterday (28th August). The film's two actors, George Clooney and Sandra Bullock, were there on the red carpet to see their efforts at the prestigious festival.
Sandra Bullock and George Clooney at the Venice Film Festival photocall for Gravity.
Sandra Bullock plays a medical engineer sent into space with astronaut veteran George Clooney. With little experience in space, the engineer, Dr. Ryan Stone (Bullock), is reliant on Matt Kowalsky (Clooney). From the trailer and IMDB description, Bullock is reliant on Clooney when they are caught in debris and forced to survive in space. Amazingly the drama unfolds with just two actors supported by the occasional NASA voice.
Even though this drama is based on a 115-year-old novel, it feels powerfully timely today in the way it recounts events surrounding a particularly grim divorce. As we see the story through the eyes of a young girl caught between her self-involved parents, we are emotionally drawn right to the heart of the matter. Of course, it takes skilled filmmakers and a far-above-average cast to make this work.
Maisie (Aprile) is the 6-year-old daughter of fading rocker Susanna (Moore) and art dealer Beale (Coogan), whose marriage isn't dissolving quietly. As fiery arguments echo around their New York apartment, Maisie can't quite understand their anger but feels her hope fading. Sure enough, they separate, and when she goes to visit Daddy she's unnerved to discover her nanny Margo (Vanderham) is now living with him. Then Mommy marries nice-guy barman Lincoln (Skarsgard), who becomes Maisie's most reliable friend as her parents use her as a weapon in their bitter custody battle.
Directors McGeehee and Siegel (Bee Season) cleverly maintain Maisie's point of view all the way through the film, so we only see and hear things as she would. Much of what happens is never explained to her, but we get it and we understand that she probably does too. This includes the shocking irresponsibility displayed by both Susanna and Beale, who continually dump Maisie on each other as a kind of assault. And because they're preoccupied with their work, it's up to Margo and Lincoln to pick up the slack.
Continue reading: What Maisie Knew Review
Date of birth
14th October, 1965
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