By Rich Cline
This new take on the Thomas Hardy classic vividly captures the story's modern themes through complex performances from a sharp cast. Hardy's story is twisty and surprising, a romance that certainly doesn't take the usual route to a happy ending. But even as it travels to some very dark places, we never give up hope that things will turn out right in the end. And the nuanced acting and filmmaking make it a fascinating, involving journey.
The story opens in the 1870s Dorset countryside, where Bathsheba Everdene (Carey Mulligan) has gone to stay with her aunt. She can't help but notice the hunky farmer Gabriel Oak (Matthias Shoenaerts) next door, and he notices her too, proposing marriage. But she wants to live an independent life, so she turns him down. Some time later in another place they meet by chance, after she has inherited a farm that he helps save from a fire. She hires him to manage the farm, but he now has a love rival in the form of wealthy older neighbour William Boldwood (Michael Sheen). Then swashbuckling young soldier Francis Troy (Tom Sturridge) turns up, catching Bathsheba's eye. With three suitors to choose from, she still refuses to let a man define her. But she also knows that she can't hold out forever.
Yes, these are essentially the three types of man: good, safe and sexy. So Bathsheba's decision won't be easy. Or at least it shouldn't be. The problem here is that Schoenaerts has such a stunning, beefy on screen presence that the choice is a no-brainer (frankly, he's even more beautiful than the women in the film). This actually makes us yell at the screen as we watch Bathsheba give in to the swaggering Sturridge's far more outrageous flirtation. And the soulful Sheen's presence inspires a wave of sympathy. In other words, we get sucked straight into the melodrama, which plays out with Hardy's usual collections of coincidences, as fate seems to conspire to push people one way or another.
Continue reading: Far From The Madding Crowd Review
The 'Wolf Hall' star is set to make his first theatre appearance since 2009 when 'American Buffalo' opens in London on Thursday.
With just a few days to go before he makes his first West End appearance in over half a decade, Damian Lewis has revealed that he’s suffering from nerves.
Lewis, the noted star of ‘Homeland’ and ‘Wolf Hall’, will tread the boards for the first time since 2009 when he stars in David Mamet’s play ‘American Buffalo’. He’ll star alongside movie veteran John Goodman and youngster Tom Sturridge, who play three men plotting a heist.
Continue reading: Damian Lewis Admits To Nerves Ahead Of New Play's Opening
The ‘Roseanne’ actor is headed across the pond to take on David Mamet’s 'American Buffalo'.
US actor John Goodman has just been announced as the latest addition to the cast of American Buffalo, beginning this April at London’s Wyndham’s theatre. It will mark the first time the actor has appeared on the London stage, with his previous theatre credits including Waiting for Godot and musical Big River: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, in the US.
Goodman will join already announced cast member, ‘Homeland’s’ Damian Lewis and up and coming British actor Tom Sturridge. Directing will be Daniel Evans, with the production featuring sets and costumes by Paul Wills and lighting by Mark Henderson.
Bathsheba Everdene (Carey Mulligan) is a beautiful young, yet poor woman. After saving the life of a young farmer, he falls utterly in love with her, yet she moves away after realising that she did not love him. When a fire destroys his farm, he goes in search of a new job - finding one as a farm hand, working for Everdene. But as she begins to earn the interest of a further two suitors, Everdene is caught up in a whirlwind of intrigue and controversy. Will Everdene discover true love? Or will she bring destruction to all those who fall under her spell?
Sienna Miller and Tom Sturridge - Shots of a host of stars as they took to the red carpet for the 60th London Evening Standard Theatre Awards 2014 which were held at the London Palladium in London, United Kingdom - Sunday 30th November 2014
By Rich Cline
Based on a notorious true story, this film takes a muted approach that matches the Victorian period and attitudes, which somewhat undermines the vivid emotions of the characters. It's a fascinating story about a woman caught in her society's harshly restrictive rules about women, and the script by Emma Thompson captures some strong observations, interaction and personal feelings, but the film is so dark and repressed that it ultimately feels a bit dull.
In the mid 19th century, Effie Gray (Dakota Fanning) has been courted by noted art critic John Ruskin (Greg Wise) since she was only 12 years old, and he has waited for her to come of age to marry her. But as she moves in with his suffocating parents (Julie Walters and David Suchet) in London, Effie soon realises that she's trapped in a hopeless situation. While he's loving, John simply refuses to touch her, which makes her doubt her own intellect and femininity. She's befriended by Lady Eastlake (Thompson), who knows a thing or two about cold marriages and helps her make a plan. Then Effie and John travel to Scotland with John's protege, the painter Everett Millais (Tom Sturridge), and Effie begins to understand that there might be other possibilities out there.
Since the film is made in Victorian style, it leaves all of the heaving passion far beneath the surface. It's obvious that Effie (and the audience) are craving a bit of lusty bodice-ripping, but any action remains behind closed doors, only hinted at in the clever dialogue. This makes the film realistic and intriguing, but difficult to get a grip on. And instead of the scandalous love triangle of historical record, the film plays out more as a drama about a young woman working out a complex escape from male-dominated society. Even so, it's a compelling journey, with some remarkable twists and turns along the way, and the complex characters add plenty of detail.
Continue reading: Effie Gray Review
The trailer is released for Emma Thompson's new film starring Dakota Fanning in the title role
The first trailer for Dakota Fanning’s new film, Effie Gray, has hit appliances with video playing abilities everywhere and showcases Emma Thompson’s fourth scripted venture in which she also co-stars. The film is a British biographical production directed by Richard Laxton and charts one of history’s oddest Victorian love triangles between art critic John Ruskin (Greg Wise), his once childhood friend and subsequent wife, Effie Gray (Dakota Fanning) and her eventual lover, painter John Everett Mallais (Tom Sturridge).
Dakota Fanning takes on the title role in Effie Gray
Ruskin was a hugely influential figure, particularly in the latter half of the 19th Century: scholarly; brilliant; but socially awkward. In 1848, he married flirtatious and beautiful Effie but their love story started badly when, on their wedding night, they failed to consummate their union.
Continue reading: Audiences Get A Glimpse Of Effie Gray
When young Effie Grey (Dakota Fanning) is married to John Ruskin (Greg Wise), a man ten years older than her, she feels no pleasure whatsoever. She is soon whisked away from her native Scotland and follows her husband as he travels to Venice in order to work on his book, 'The Stones of Venice'. People often notice that there is no love between the pair, and they drift apart during their time in Italy, with Effie spending her time walking the streets of Venice and spending more and more time with her husband's protégée John Everett Millais (Tom Sturridge). With the two steadily falling in love, the struggle between right and wrong rages within Effie, as she is forced to make the choice between what she is told, and what she wants.
Continue: Effie Gray Trailer
There are no British nominations for Best Play this year.
Matilda the Musical and Kinky Boots are up for 12 and 13 Tony Awards respectively for this year's awards ceremony on June 9, 2013. The Roald Dahl adaptation received shouts for cast members Bertie Carvel and Lauren Ward, as well as composer Tim Minchin. In previous years, the Royal Shakespeare Company production may have swept the board, though Broadway's take on the 2005 British movie Kinky Boots leads the nominations race.
Elsewhere, British actor Tom Sturridge got a nomination for best actor for his Broadway debut in Orphans, though he'll have to fend off competition from Tom Hanks should he want to take home the award. The Oscar-winning actor gained rave reviews for his performance in Nora Ephron's drama Lucky Guy, which has left Hanks looking to return to the stage in the coming years. Snubs included Alan Cumming for his performance in the revisionist Macbeth and Douglas Hodge for a revival in Cyrano de Bergerac last autumn. However, the biggest snub came in the category of best actress, with Fiona Shaw excluded for her solo show The Testament of Mary.
Matilda and Kinky Boots have no British competition in the category of best play, with no new English projects making it to Broadway this season. Next year could be a whole different story, with The Audience and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time mooted for New York transfers.
Continue reading: Matilda Or Kinky Boots? Who Will Win Out At The Tony Awards 2013?
Tom Hanks will have to beat Tom Sturridge should he want to win the Tony Award for Best Actor.
Tom Hanks has been nominated for a Tony Award for his role as late tabloid reporter Mike McAlary in Nora Ephron's Lucky Guy. The play, written by Ephron before she died last June, follows McAlary's life and career as he goes from ambitious reporter to Pulitzer Prize winning columnist. The play took six nominations in the announcement this week, including the big one - Best Play.
"She [Ephron] was nominated for a few other things throughout her career, but I think that because she was at heart perhaps the most quintessential of all New Yorkers," Hanks told the Wall Street Journal after the announcement "...to have this happen in the town that she viewed as her celestial home, that she would have probably been cowed into silence. Which would have been rare for Nora."
Hanks is one of the most decorated actors in the world, having won two Oscars for Best Actor for Philadelphia and Forrest Gump and Emmy Awards for his television series' Band of Brothers and The Pacific. Though the latter awards were for producing credits, Hanks still holds the statuettes and a Tony Award win would see him complete the 'grand slam' of awards. One man to have already achieved the same feat is Al Pacino, who won the Academy Award for Best Actor in 1992 for Scent of a Woman. He went on to win Tonys for Does A Tiger Wear A Necklace? and The Basic Training of Pavlo Hummel, later winning an Emmy for his role in the HBO movie You Don't Know Jack. Jeremy Irons, Liza Minnelli, Christopher Plummer, Vanessa Redgrave, Maggie Smith and Geoffrey Rush are others to have won an Oscar, Emmy and Tony award. Whoopi Goldberg has all three awards, PLUS a Grammy award.
Continue reading: Tony Awards: Can Tom Hanks Complete Grand Slam Of Major Awards?
Does 'Orphans' manage to get by without Shia LaBeouf?
The Broadway production of Lyle Kessler's 'Orphans' starring Alec Baldwin, opened at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre on Thursday evening (April 18, 2013), after a chaotic build-up that saw lead star Shia LaBeouf walk out of rehearsals. The play follows two orphaned brothers living in a decrepit North Philadelphia row house. The eldest (originally played by Shia, now by Ben Foster) supports his younger sibling (Tom Sturridge) by stealing before kidnapping a rich old man (Baldwin) who becomes the father figure the boys never had.
LaBeouf departed after a highly publicized disagreement with Alec Baldwin, with private emails making their way online. "I can tell you that, in all honesty, I don't think he's in a good position to be giving interpretations of what the theater is and what the theater isn't," Baldwin told Vulture.com afterwards. However, the Transformers actor showed up on the front row for the previews at the end of March and led a resounding standing ovation when it finished.
Continue reading: Does Broadway's 'Orphans' Work Without Shia LaBeouf? [Pictures]