Essentially a sequel to the 1997 hit Mrs Brown, this film returns Judi Dench to play Queen Victoria in another relationship that shook up the royal household. It's such a perfect role for Dench that it's impossible to imagine anyone else playing her, and this film traces Victoria's final 15 years with plenty of lively humour and some pointed drama. The story is a bit thin, and some elements are difficult to believe, but it's thoroughly engaging.
The story opens in 1887, as Abdul (Ali Fazal) is selected to travel from India to London with Mohammed (Adeel Akhtar) to present Queen Victoria (Dench) with special honour. In London, Abdul and Mohammed are called "the Hindus" even though they're Muslims, and told to stay out of sight with the servants. But Abdul catches the Queen's eye, and she brings him into her household as a personal tutor in Urdu and Islam. Her staff (headed by Tim Pigott-Smith) doesn't like this at all, and conspires with both the heir to the throne (Eddie Izzard) and the prime minister (Michael Gambon) to undermine Abdul's influence. But Victoria isn't having any of it, demanding that they respect him.
This is a story that was hidden for more than a century, because after Victoria's death all references to Abdul were erased from the official history. It was only the discovery of Abdul's journals that revealed the truth, and screenwriter Lee Hall (Billy Elliot) has clearly taken some artistic licence as he crafted the facts into an entertaining narrative that's packed with hilarious touches. Meanwhile, Stephen Frears (The Queen) directs in jaunty Downton Abbey style, never quite taking anything seriously.
Continue reading: Victoria & Abdul Review
The first Paddington movie in 2014 is already such a beloved classic that it's hard to believe that this sequel actually tops it. Writer-director Paul King and his cast are back with their whimsical approach, combining silly comedy with surreally deranged touches that bring these people to life in ways that are both hilarious and deeply endearing. And this time, the plot feels more developed and the humour even funnier.
We catch up with Paddington (voiced by Ben Whishaw) as he's now a fixture in his Notting Hill neighbourhood. With his Aunt Lucy's 100th birthday approaching, he wants to give her the hand-made pop-up book of London landmarks he discovers in Gruber's (Jim Broadbent) second-hand shop and starts working odd jobs to save up to buy it. What he doesn't know is that a neighbour, washed-up actor Phoenix (Hugh Grant), knows that the book is a map to a hidden treasure. When Phoenix steals it and frames him, Paddington's adoptive family (Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins, Madeleine Harris, Samuel Joslin and Julie Walters) launch a plan to clear his name.
Continue reading: Paddington 2 Review
Queen Victoria was one of the United Kingdom's most loved monarchs. She ruled over her country with dignity and grace though she wasn't a lady to be toyed with. After the death of her beloved husband, Albert, the queen found herself mourning her loss for the rest of her life - famously she wore black for her remaining years. She took solace in her children and continued to be a fine ruler of the country.
After the loss of Albert, few people penetrated the queen's frosty persona, most famously she developed a great friendship with a Scottish servant called John Brown and they remained good friends - some even say lovers - until his death. Once again alone, the queen was only to develop one other significant friendship outside of her close circle.
As the queen was celebrating her Golden Jubilee, she found herself surrounded by kings and queens from around the world but the one person that she genuinely struck up a friendship with was a Muslim waiter called Abul. Though it was entirely frowned upon for the royals to associate with lowly servants, Victoria was never one to follow those rules.
Continue: Victoria And Abdul Trailer
For those who knew him, Gary Unwin (better known as Eggsy to his friends), was never a likely candidate for a spy. After stealing a car and being a bit of a hooligan (who's always up for a laugh) eventually Eggsy landed himself in trouble with the police. What the outside world didn't know about Eggsy was his father was an incredibly brave probationary secret agent and Eggsy displays many of his father's strengths. Kingsman Harry Hart sees Eggsy's potential and trains him up as a Kingsman spy. Only Eggsy and one other trainee, Roxy, succeed in proving that they have what it takes to become a Kingsman. Together, with the help of Harry and their quartermaster, Merlin, they defeat psychopathic billionaire Richmond Valentine. Their mission is a success but in the process Harry is shot in the head.
Though Eggsy loses his mentor, life continues for the young spy and he becomes the Kingsman that Hart always knew him to be. As worldwide threats become known, the Kingsman are once again placed as the brink of extermination. Their headquarters and training grounds are blown up and Eggsy and Merlin must once again find a way to save the world.
Their hunt takes them to America and it's revealed that The Kingsman aren't the only highly secret organisation looking to protect the world; the two Brit's are introduced to Champagne, Jack Daniels and Tequila - three agents working for the Statesman, the US equivalent to Kingsman. With the help of their new American counterparts, Eggsy, Merlin and some other familiar faces might just stand a chance of saving the world all over again.
Filmmaker Gurinder Chada (Bend It Like Beckham) draws on her own family history to explore the events surrounding the 1947 independence and partition of India. The real history is far more complex and violent than any film could adequately capture, so Chadha relies on two parallel plots that touch on varied experiences. In the end, the film is lively and enjoyable, with a strong sense of humour and some romantic surges that help the story resonate.
As Britain plans to leave India after three centuries of colonial rule, Lord Mountbatten (Hugh Bonneville) arrives in Delhi as the last viceroy, accompanied by his wife Edwina (Gillian Anderson), who takes particular interest in the process, and their daughter Pamela (Lily Travers). Unlike previous rulers, they take a real interest in the local culture, so they know how difficult it will be to avoid bloodshed between clashing Hindu, Muslim and Sikh communities. Meanwhile in their house, Hindu guard Jeet (Manish Dayal) is in love with Muslim maid Aalia (Huma Qureshi), wondering if they can to have a life together in a divided nation.
The romantic storyline is a nice counterbalance to the larger political machinations and violent cultural struggles. The way it highlights the issues is rather heavy-handed, but Dayal and Qureshi are charming enough to hold the audience's attention, and where they go isn't as obvious as it seems. Alongside them, Bonneville and Anderson sparkle with wit, stirring some comic relief into even the most intense negotiations. They also nicely play their characters as people of compassion and empathy, a nice contrast to the callous self-interested British diplomats who don't care who gets hurt in the fallout. Somewhere in between are well-meaning roles for acting icons Michael Gambon (as the chief of staff) and Simon Callow (as the man responsible for drawing the line between India and Pakistan).
Continue reading: Viceroy's House Review
The beloved 1970s British sit-com gets the big screen treatment, although there's been very little attempt to do anything clever with it aside from A-list casting. There are some terrific gags in Hamish McColl's script, but director Oliver Parker (Johnny English Reborn) fails to find the comical potential in the material. So the film feels clumsy and muted, which is certainly not going to attract a new generation of fans to the premise.
It's 1944 in the small village of Walmington on the southern English coast, where the men who were unfit to serve in the regular army have volunteered for the Home Guard when they're not working their normal jobs. The platoon's captain is bank manager Mainwaring (Toby Jones), who leads a ragtag group of retirees (Tom Courtenay, Michael Gambon and Bill Paterson) and younger army rejects (Daniel Mays and Blake Harrison) through a series of exercises along the seaside cliffs. They've been tipped off that there's a Nazi spy in the area, but they're all so smitten by the curvy visiting journalist Rose (Catherine Zeta-Jones) that they fail to notice that she's up to something nefarious.
The material is ripe for political-edged comedy, which the script touches on in between the relentless double entendre. And the cast is definitely up for it, delivering solid performances that bring out character details while playing up the goofy interaction between them. But Parker leaves them looking adrift on-screen, never cranking up either a sense of pace or a spark of life. Each set-piece falls utterly flat, starting with the movie's opening scene in which the gang is chased around afield by a supposedly angry bull. And everything that follows feels half-hearted, which means that the Carry On-style innuendo, physical slapstick and nutty action all fall flat.
Continue reading: Dad's Army Review
Sir Michael Gambon - Sir Michael Gambon arrives at the BBC studios to promote the new film of 'Dad's Army' which premiered yesterday in London. at BBC Portland Place - London, United Kingdom - Wednesday 27th January 2016
The upcoming re-boot is set to hit theatres in February 2016.
If you weren't getting giddy with excitement for the big screen adaptation of 'Dad's Army' next year, you certainly will be now. The new trailer has arrived and we challenge you to keep the smile off your face. Euphemisms, slapstick humour and ridiculous costumes galore, this upcoming movie truly is the best of British comedy.
Based on Jimmy Perry's enormously popular war comedy series of the same name which ran from 1968 to 1977 and starred Arthur Lowe, Ian Lavender and Arnold Ridley among others, the movie features re-imaginings of all your favourite characters, plus a few new personalities. The likes of bumbling Captain Mainwaring (Toby Jones), mild-mannered Private Godfrey (Michael Gambon) and simple-minded Private Pike (Blake Harrison) will be joined by a stunning and charming journalist named Rose Winters (Catherine Zeta-Jones), and the poshest officer the military has to offer Colonel Theakes (Mark Gatiss).
Everybody's favourite British regiment is back in the new version of Dad's Army. Director Oliver Parker has recruited the much loved classic British TV Show with the help of some of the UK's best known actors. Like the TV show, the movie is set in 1944 and World War II is almost at its peak. The Home Guard is patrolling the streets of Walmington-on-Sea and their spirits are rather dampened by the thought of the imminent invasion. Their only light relief comes from a visit from a beautiful journalist going by the name of Rose Winters. Rose soon has all the men on their best behaviour and all the ladies of the town attempting to up their game. However it's soon 'back to work' for the men when they find out there's a spy living amidst the residents in their small seaside town.
Continue: Dad's Army Trailer
And they're back! The hilarious band of men that put their lives on the line for their country return in an all new adventure on the big screen. World War II is at its very peak during the 1940s and the Home Guard at Walmington-on-Sea are about to have an unusually eventful episode. Hours of patrolling the army base at Dover - trying to keep spirits up on the eve of the soldiers' impending journey to France to take on the Germans - are over for now, because UK intelligence have just uncovered a mysterious secret signal over the radio - apparently someone has been sending messages from Walmington to Berlin, and now nobody can be trusted. The Home Guard aid the mission to uncover the spy - though nobody dares put too much faith in this bumbling lot.
Continue: Dad's Army Trailer
Michael Gambon is to play Churchill.
The acclaimed British actor Michael Gambon is to play British Prime Minister Winston Churchill in a new film commissioned by ITV. The series goes into production in the UK next month and forms part of the "Masterpiece" series.
Though most celebrated for his theatre work, Gambon is probably best known for playing Dumbledore in the Harry Potter movies. In the new movie titled Churchill's Secret, he will be joined by Lindsay Duncan, who plays his wife Clementine.
Continue reading: Michael Gambon To Play Winston Churchill In 'Churchill's Secret'