While this biopic has the standard sumptuous production values of a British period drama, it's also a lot more complex than expected. For his directing debut, Andy Serkis recounts the life of a man who is so genuinely inspirational that he never needs to crank up the sentimentality. Characters burst with personality, and the events unfold with some unexpected complications that make the movie strikingly edgy. It also, of course, looks gorgeous.
This is the story of Robin Cavendish (Andrew Garfield), who travels to Kenya in 1958 with his pregnant wife Diana (Claire Foy) on tea-plantation business and is stricken with polio, paralysed from the neck down and needing a ventilator to breathe. They move back to England, where Robin gets increasingly annoyed by his life in hospital. So he convinces Diana to take him home, against the doctors' advice, and gets his inventor pal Teddy (Hugh Bonneville) to design a chair with a built-in respirator so he can get out and about. This is a revolution for him, and he becomes an advocate in helping severely disabled people like him find independence from hospital care so they can life their lives.
Continue reading: Breathe Review
Robin Cavendish seems to have everything. He is handsome, educated, extraordinarily intelligent and has a loyal wife named Diana and a baby son named Jonathan. But disaster strikes during a trip to Kenya in 1958 and he is struck down with polio, rendering him unable to move any of his limbs or even breathe by himself. At just 28, he believes his life to be over as he is flown back to England only to lie in another hospital bed on a respirator. But it is his wife who encourages him to keep on living.
She removes him from hospital and returns him to the comfort of his own home, while his Oxford graduate friend Teddy Hall begins work on a special wheelchair with a mobile respirator which would allow Robin to travel. His long-term survival exceeds all doctors' expectations, and far from his life being over, he becomes a staunch activist for disabled people and helps in the development of numerous devices that would go on to improve the quality of life of responauts (as such people as him are dubbed) a thousand-fold.
'Breathe' is a romantic biopic based on the life of the real Robin Cavendish - a man who did extraordinary things with a diagnosis that would have killed most people within a few years - and his fiercely faithful wife Diana who nursed and encouraged him. It has been directed by accomplished actor Andy Serkis (star of 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens', 'Rise of the Planet of the Apes' and 'Lord of the Rings') in his directorial debut, and written by the Academy Award nominated William Nicholson ('Gladiator', 'Les Miserables'). Serkis has lately been directing his second film, 'Jungle Book', which is due out in 2018.
Continue: Breathe Trailer
The director of Hotel Rwanda, Terry George, turns to another humanitarian horror: the systematic murder of 1.5 million Armenians, Greeks and Assyrians by the Turkish government between 1915 and 1923. Turkey has long denied that this took place, so the filmmakers take a rather soft approach to the story, setting out a romantic plotline with the genocide as a backdrop. So the resulting drama is somewhat uneven, but the events are so powerful that the film can't be ignored.
It opens in 1915 as the Ottoman Empire is collapsing. Mikael (Oscar Isaac) is a young Armenian studying medicine in Constantinople with a promised fiancee Maral (Angela Sarafyan) back home. Even so, he falls for Ana (Charlotte Le Bon), who shares his rural Armenian background. But she has a boyfriend, Chris (Christian Bale), who is investigating rumours of war as the Germans arrive to help the Turkish government round up its ethnic minorities. Mikael is soon arrested, but escapes from the work camp to return to his parents (Shohreh Aghdashloo and Kevork Malikyan) and Maral. Meanwhile, Chris and Ana are trying to report the story of what's really happening, and Mikael joins them to help a group of orphan refugees.
Yes, this is a sweeping epic in which there's a lot going on, and it's filmed on a lavish scale. The characters' lives continually intersect throughout the story, and the intensity of the wartime atrocities is seriously powerful. On the other hand, this makes the four-sided romance feel like a melodramatic distraction. The actors are solid, but the earnest tone undermines any real emotional edge. Isaac is sincere and decent, Le Bon is strong and wilful, Bale is solid and cynical, and Sarafyan is lost in the shuffle. Aghdashloo, as always, provides wrenching support.
Continue reading: The Promise Review
Tom Hollander at a special performance of Letters Live hosted by Porter Magazine in celebration of their Incredible Women of 2016 edition held at The V&A - London, United Kingdom - Tuesday 29th November 2016
Tom Hollander attending the 2016 London Evening Standard Theatre Awards held at the Old Vic Theatre - London, United Kingdom - Sunday 13th November 2016
Goodbye Downton Abbey, hello Greshamsbury Park.
Julian Fellowes' latest period drama 'Doctor Thorne' hits ITV this month, with the second episode having aired on Sunday night (March 13th 2016). There are plenty of new faces and a few familiar ones, and it's already been very warmly received by critics. Could it really be the new 'Downton Abbey'?
'Doctor Thorne' stars Rebecca Front, Tom Hollander, Ian McShane and Stefanie Martini [L-R]
Now that 'Downton Abbey' is over and done with after a glorious run of six series and more than fifty awards including three Golden Globes, Julian Fellowes has moved on to his next project; though he's sticking to what he knows. 'Doctor Thorne' is another period drama about families, secrets, money and affairs, but this time it's an adaptation from the 1858 novel by Anthony Trollope. The book was from his Chronicles of Barsetshire series and follows a poor young woman named Mary Thorne, who's been brought up by her uncle with no knowledge of who her parents are, and her romantic endeavours with a local lad named Frank Gresham.
Writer-director Christopher McQuarrie brings a dark and gritty tone to this larger-than-life franchise. Along with a constant stream of barbed humour, the film has an enjoyably knotted mystery plot and action set-pieces that feel like they're grounded in the real world. It's a terrific shift into earthy believability for a series of movies that has previously indulged in gleefully incoherent narratives and exaggerated explosive chaos.
Right from the start, our hero Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) is an outsider. As he searches for a shady assassin (Sean Harris) and his mythical organisation The Syndicate, Ethan's Impossible Mission Force is being dissolved by the US government. CIA Director Hunley (Alec Baldwin) absorbs the IMF team, but tech genius Benji (Simon Pegg) secretly helps Ethan, enlisting Luther (Ving Rhames) and William (Jeremy Renner) as well. Soon, all three are gallivanting from Vienna to Morocco and back to London, as Ethan works with double or perhaps triple agent Ilsa (Rebecca Ferguson) to prove that The Syndicate exists and stop its nefarious plan.
The film plays out like an edgy James Bond adventure, as Ethan works with a possibly dangerous woman in exotic locations in pursuit of some very shadowy baddies. McQuarrie's script is unusually lucid for this genre, piecing together the various elements expertly, building a genuine sense of tension without ever letting things tip over into overblown silliness. The chase sequences are remarkably rough and unpredictable, avoiding digital trickery to create moments that are jaw-droppingly authentic. As usual, we can tell that Cruise does his own stunts; the opening hanging-from-an-airplane scene is awesome, and a helmet-free motorbike chase looks even more perilous. With the IMF disbanded, it's never quite clear how Ethan funds his one-man operation, but he has a terrific supply of cool gadgets stashed all over Europe.
Continue reading: Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation Review
Solid acting and adept filmmaking help make up for the fact that this film asks us to spend a couple of hours in the presence of a group of truly despicable characters. They're played by some of the brightest (and most beautiful) rising stars in the movies at the moment, but each one of these young men is vile to the core. So the fact that these are supposed to be Britain's brightest and best hope for the future makes the film pretty terrifying.
It's set at Oxford University, where the elite Riot Club (including Douglas Booth, Sam Reid, Freddie Fox, Matthew Beard, Ben Schnetzer and Olly Alexander) are on the lookout for wealthy white students to complete their 10-man membership. They find suitable candidates in new arrivals: the sneering Alistair (Sam Claflin) and conflicted Miles (Max Irons), whose one drawback is that he's seeing a common girl (Holliday Grainger). After the rigorous initiation process, Alistair and Miles are welcomed to the hedonistic gang at a lavish dinner in the private room of a country pub. But things turn nasty as they drunkenly hurl abuse at the pub manager (Gordon Brown), his daughter (Jessica Brown Findlay) and a high-class hooker (Natalie Dormer) they hire for the night.
Based on the play Posh by screenwriter Laura Wade, the film is centred around this increasingly chaotic dinner party. Although nothing that happens is particularly surprising, because these young men are such relentlessly bigoted, misogynist snobs that it's impossible to believe they belong anywhere other than prison. They certainly don't deserve their self-appointed status as the top students at Oxford, who are getting debauchery out of their systems before taking the lead in British politics and business. But then, that's precisely Wade's point, and she makes it loudly. Thankfully, director Lone Scherfig balances things by offering glimpses into these young men's dark souls while skilfully capturing the old-world subculture and a strong sense of irony.
Continue reading: The Riot Club Review
Tom Hollander and Olivia Colman are back on 'Rev'.
The well overdue third series of 'Rev' premiered on BBC2 on Monday evening (March 24, 2014) welcoming back Adam Smallbone - played by Tom Hollander - to our screens.
The Cast of 'Rev' Season 3
The show - which revolves around a Church of England priest who becomes the vicar of an inner-city London church - has gathered a cult fan-base since debuting in 2010 and is often considered the finest comedy that the BBC currently has on its books.
Continue reading: Is 'Rev' The Most Underrated BBC Comedy Of All Time?
A fascinating true story becomes a deeply repressed movie in the hands of writer Morgan (The Iron Lady) and actor-director Fiennes. It looks and feels murky and dull, and because it's trying to keep everything under the surface never quite reveals anything about the characters or situations. What's left is the intriguing story itself, some strong acting and a lush attention to period detail.
It starts in the 1850s, as Charles Dickens (Fiennes) revels in his celebrity status, adored by fans as he produces the play The Frozen Deep with his rogue buddy Wilkie Collins (Hollander). Then Charles develops a crush on 18-year-old actress Nellie (Jones), who is encouraged by her mother (Scott Thomas) to pursue the affair. But as they fall in love, there's a problem: divorce is unthinkable in Victorian society, so Charles separates from his angry wife (Scanlan) and keeps his relationship with Nellie hidden. And 30 years later, Nellie is still haunted by the experience, even though she now has a family with her loving husband George (Burke).
Fiennes makes the odd decision not to age Nellie at all: Jones looks the same in 1850 as she does in 1880, so the scenes set three decades later don't quite make sense. And there's also the problem that the affair between Charles and Nellie feels like it lasted about two years, when in reality it was 13. These things leave us perplexed about pretty much everything on-screen, unable to engage with the characters or their emotions. It doesn't help that the relationship is clearly doomed from the start, so Fiennes and Jones can never generate any real chemistry or emotion. In fact, they seem barely able to stand each other. Much better are the feisty supporting turns from Hollander, Scanlan and especially Scott Thomas.
Continue reading: The Invisible Woman Review
At the height of his career, Charles Dickens finds himself embroiled in one of the biggest personal struggles of his life. While working on a stage play, he meets a beautiful young actress named Nelly Ternan who is in deep admiration of all his works. Fascinated by her personality and smitten by her beauty, he takes the time to make regular visits to her home in London - a secret that he is desperate to keep from his wife of 20 years Catherine Thomson. Though having a profound respect for Dickens, Nelly's mother makes it plain that she does not want their relationship to develop into something that could mar her reputation. However, Dickens is happy to suffer the shame of an unusual separation if it means he can be with his new lover forever, but just how damaging could it be to his career?
Continue: The Invisible Woman - Clips
'The Invisible Woman', starring and directed by Ralph Fiennes, has received positive reviews from critics ahead of its release in the UK. Critics have some comment on the historical inaccuracies, however mostly the film has been highly praised for Fiennes' directing and its portraying of character many feel they know through his prolific literary works.
Ralph Fiennes (The English Patient) and Felicity Jones (Cemetery Junction) star in The Invisible Woman, a period drama based on the personal life of Charles Dickens. Fiennes directs the largely British cast which includes his former English Patient co-star Kristen Scott Thomas, Tom Hollander (Valkyrie), Joanna Scanlan (The Thick of It) and Michelle Fairley (Game of Thrones).
Ralph Fiennes at the UK premiere of The Invisible Woman.
Continue reading: Ralph Fiennes' 'The Invisible Woman' Garners Positive Reviews
Date of birth
25th August, 1967
While this biopic has the standard sumptuous production values of a British period drama, it's...
Robin Cavendish seems to have everything. He is handsome, educated, extraordinarily intelligent and has a...
The director of Hotel Rwanda, Terry George, turns to another humanitarian horror: the systematic murder...
Michael is a promisingstudent living in Armenia during the Ottoman Turkish Empire, who agrees to...
Writer-director Christopher McQuarrie brings a dark and gritty tone to this larger-than-life franchise. Along with...
Solid acting and adept filmmaking help make up for the fact that this film asks...
A fascinating true story becomes a deeply repressed movie in the hands of writer Morgan...
At the height of his career, Charles Dickens finds himself embroiled in one of the...
Charles Dickens may be famous for having written some of history's greatest stories, but his...