Andrea Riseborough and Phyll Opoku-Gyimah on the red carpet at the 71st British Academy Film Awards (BAFTAs) 2018 held at the Royal Albert Hall in London. The big winners this year were 'Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri' and 'The Shape of Water' - London, United Kingdom - Sunday 18th February 2018
Andrea Riseborough on the red carpet at the 71st British Academy Film Awards (BAFTAs) 2018 held at the Royal Albert Hall in London. The big winners this year were 'Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri' and 'The Shape of Water' - London, United Kingdom - Sunday 18th February 2018
A dramatisation of the real-life clash between tennis icons Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs, this film is much more than a skilful re-enactment. It's a witty and insightful exploration of the kind of person who chases sporting success and global fame, even when the odds are stacked against them. And it's sharply well-played by Emma Stone and Steve Carell, who bring out the humour and pathos in their characters and the rivalry between them.
In the early 1970s, Billie Jean (Stone) has finally had enough of being treated as a second-class member of the tennis world, since women win just an eighth of what male players get. But the head of the tennis association (Bill Pullman) refuses to budge, so Billie Jean and her publicist (Sarah Silverman) start their own rival ladies' league. Meanwhile, former champion Bobby (Carell) is noisily shouting down this women's movement, claiming he could beat any female player. And while Billie Jean tries to ignore him, she knows that there's only one way to shut him up for good.
Screenwriter Simon Beaufoy (Slumdog Millionaire) packs a lot into two hours, digging beneath the story to explore both of these players in their private lives. Billie Jean is questioning her marriage to Larry (Austin Stowell) as she falls for her hairdresser (Andrea Riseborough). And Bobby's gambling obsession is jeopardising his marriage to Priscilla (Elisabeth Shue). The entire cast is terrific at bringing these people to life with scene-stealing quirks that keep the audience smiling. And both Stone and Carell skilfully reveal the resonant internal journeys King and Riggs are taking even as the situation becomes a full-on media circus.
Continue reading: Battle Of The Sexes Review
Fans of the film In the Loop and the TV series Veep will definitely not want to miss this raucously hilarious political satire from the same creator, Armando Iannucci. This time he has gone back in history to 1953, giving his snappy dialogue to the Russians jostling for control after the Soviet leader's sudden demise. The setting makes it a lot darker than Iannucci's previous work, but it's packed with unforgettable one-liners, visual gags and pointed observations on politics today.
In the wake of Stalin's death, his successors aren't sure whether they should continue with his campaign of terror against Russian citizens. Dopey deputy Malenkov (Jeffrey Tambor) wants to maintain the status quo, while more progressive Krushchev (Steve Buscemi) is looking for change. Their main rival is Beria (Simon Russell Beale), a thug who likes young girls. Then the enthusiastic General Zhukov (Jason Isaacs) charges in, deciding that they need to push Beria out and go in another direction. Meanwhile, Stalin's spoiled children (Rupert Friend and Andrea Riseborough) are determined that they should have a say in any new government, but everyone else knows that their days are numbered.
Continue reading: The Death Of Stalin Review
It's 1953 and our story takes place in Russia - then known as the Soviet Union - a nation terrorised by their communist leader Joseph Stalin (Adrian McLoughlin). But this is not a story about the inhumane acts of oppression and cruelty in his regime that resulted in the death of millions, it's about the events that occurred both immediately prior and following his shocking death from an apparent stroke at the age of 74.
Of course, this movie is as loosely based on the real events as it possibly could be - but it's certainly how we'd want to imagine events transpiring. There becomes an intense power struggle between several members of the Council of Ministers including Nikita Khrushchev (Steve Buscemi) - who would later go on to be the First Secretary of the Communist Party - Georgy Malenkov (Jeffrey Tambor), Lavrentiy Beria (Simon Russell Beale), Vyacheslav Molotov (Michael Palin), Lazar Kaganovich (Dermot Crowley), Anastas Mikoyan (Paul Whitehouse) and Nicolai Bulganin (Paul Chahidi).
Meanwhile, Marshal Georgy Zhukov (Jason Isaacs) is throwing a spanner in the works - not being the best of friends with Malenkov - and of course Joseph Stalin's renegade son Vasily (Rupert Friend) needs to be kept a close eye on. But nothing compares the chaos that they face from the public when they find out that their 'great' leader is dead.
Continue: The Death Of Stalin Trailer
The Silent Storm which is set in the idyllic moorlands of the Scottish Islands, post WWII, holds a dark secret that is tearing the community apart. The exceedingly strict minister of the community is called Balor and he'll got to extreme lengths to see his way of life, a traditional way of life, preserved. However due to his relentless actions, the relationship with his withdrawn wife, Aislin, is suffering. They have a troubled relationship together and they are reaching breaking point because Aislin feels more at one with nature and a free spirt than an individual in the community.
In the chaos of the violent argument that erupts between them a 17 year old male delinquent arrives to live with them as a last ditched attempt at rehabilitation. Aislin is drawn to his nature and the fact that he too is an outsider brings comfort to her. As their relationship deepens, the minister finds himself becoming more and more jealous until the situation erupts into a fight. If Aislin needed a saviour, perhaps Fionn's arrival will be the release she needs.
The film directed by Corinna McFarlane deals with the theme romance and offers a form of escapism for the character of Aislin to live her life beyond the remote Scottish Island.
Mexican filmmaker Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu continues to reject traditional narrative structures with this whizzy, ambitious exploration of celebrity, art and commerce. And the clever casting of Michael Keaton adds another layer of meaning to the whole film, which is shot as one long wildly entertaining single take and pointedly subtitled "The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance". Blackly hilarious and darkly emotional, this is an exploration of how show business can push a person to the brink of madness. And maybe knock them over the edge.
Keaton stars as Riggan, once a top movie star known for his three Birdman blockbusters. But he hasn't done anything notable since, and is now trying to reboot his career by directing, adapting and starring in a Broadway play based on a Raymond Chandler story. The problem is that no one will let him escape from the iconic superhero character he's best known for, least of all Birdman himself, who mentally haunts and taunts Riggan at every turn. Meanwhile in the theatre, Riggan locks horns with costar Mike (Edward Nortan), a controlling show-off brought in at the request of lead actress Lesley (Naomi Watts). As opening night approaches, Riggan and his producer-friend Jake (Zach Galifianakis) are also struggling with the demands of high-maintenance costar Laura (Andrea Riseborough), plus distractions from Riggan's daughter-assistant (Emma Stone) and ex-wife (Amy Ryan).
Inarritu and ace cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki tell this story as if it's one continuous snaky shot with the camera following Riggan through the maze-like backstage corridors, into the theatre and out into nearby Times Square streets. The virtuoso filmmaking is simply breathtaking, and it works perfectly because all of the characters are packed with pungent details and fully developed inner lives. The actors find all kinds of quirks that are both hilarious and darkly thoughtful, creating jagged interaction as they cross paths with each other, sparring riotously for attention. Every scene bristles with startling revelations and barbed jabs at the Hollywood system.
Continue reading: Birdman Review
20 years ago, Riggan Thomas (Michael Keaton) played the iconic Birdman - a comic book hero for the big screen. Having watched his career dissolve in the intervening years, Riggan has adapted a Raymond Carver's What We Talk About When We Talk About Love and intends to direct and star in it as part of his big come back. In an attempt to show the world that he still matters, he ends up struggling most of all to prove his worth to both himself and his family. As troubles begin to emerge in the run up to the opening night, Thomas becomes haunted by his early fame, manifesting as a Birdman alter ego.
Continue: Birdman - International Trailer
Riggan Thompson used to be a major movie star having played a much-loved onscreen superhero, Birdman, in his more prolific years. However, he's starting to believe he was just a one trick pony as he struggles desperately to get his Broadway debut underway having just written his first play. Things just don't seem to be going right for Riggin, however, when everything surrounding the production begins to fall apart and he has to cast a younger and cockier actor for the main role - a man he utterly abhors and feels he simply cannot work with. Not only that, but his personal life is also taking a massive blow and he must find a way to reconnect with his family so that, maybe, he can re-discover himself along the way.
Continue: Birdman - Trailer
With elements lifted from virtually every sci-fi classic in film history, this post-apocalyptic adventure feels eerily familiar but features just enough plot twists and emotional resonance to make it enjoyable. Director Kozinski (Tron Legacy) also makes sure it looks amazing, with cool-looking sets and gadgets and an entertaining use of destroyed New York and Washington landmarks.
It also gives Cruise a slightly more internalised character than he usually plays in big blockbusters. He's Jack, a repairman 60 years after aliens blasted the moon to bits, causing earthquakes and tidal waves. Now it's 2077 and the remnant of humanity is being evacuated to Saturn's moon Titan, while mop-up teams help protect giant resource-gathering machines from alien scavengers. Jack works Sector 49 with his partner Victoria (Riseborough), but has vivid, impossible dreams of a life on pre-war Earth with a mysterious woman (Kurylenko). When she suddenly turns up in an ancient spacepod, and Jack discovers a scrappy group of human survivors led by Beech (Freeman), he begins to wonder what's really happening here.
And so do we, since we have begun doubting the entire set-up from Jack's opening narration. Mission commander Sally (Leo) looks very shifty indeed, and there's something vaguely fishy about all of the sleek glass, steel and plastic technology. As Jack's gleaming white leather outfit becomes increasingly murky, so does his simplistic view of his own life. And Cruise holds the film together nicely with an introspective turn as a man who's just enigmatic enough to engage our interest. Riseborough and Kurylenko, meanwhile, get much juicier roles, providing strongly emotional layers to the story. And Freeman and Leo add a bit of class.
Continue reading: Oblivion Review
After the tiny drama Shifty, British filmmaker Creevy turns to both Hong Kong and Hollywood for inspiration, creating an unusually glossy, explosive London cop thriller. But for all the sleek filmmaking and energetic action, the film struggles to make us care about characters who are dark and troubled. Their complexity is interesting, but not hugely engaging.
Adding to the visual sheen, the action is set among the gleaming glass and steel skyscrapers of Canary Wharf in East London, where detective Max (McAvoy) is still struggling to accept his inability to stop a heist three years earlier. The mastermind Jacob (Strong) managed to escape then, but he's back in town now, so Max is chomping at the bit to grab him. Max's lieutenant (Morrissey) tells him to back off, but he secretly works with his partner Sarah (Riseborough) to join the hunt. Meanwhile, Jacob teams up with an old pal (Mullan) to find out why one of the gang members (Harris) is on a murderous rampage. Which puts Jacob on a collision course with Max.
With so much full-on gunplay in a city where cops aren't actually armed, the film feels like it's set in some sort of parallel reality London. And Creevy augments this fantasy tone by indulging in shootouts that are sudden and brutal - like John Woo crossed with Michael Mann. The plot is full of clever twists, as motivations are revealed and a political conspiracy becomes apparent. It's all a bit convoluted and implausible, and the details are annoyingly murky, but within this premise the cast are able to find some emotional resonance.
Continue reading: Welcome To The Punch Review
With the 21st century world revolving around the it, people are becoming gradually more and more dependent on the internet, and it isn't without consequences. Derek and Cindy's marriage is on the rocks as he struggles to curb his online gambling habits and she enters into an extramarital affair with a stranger on a social networking site. Unfortunately, their secrets are forcibly uncovered when they realise that money is going missing from their accounts, due to an alarming case of identity fraud. Elsewhere, a teenaged social outcast is delighted when a girl online becomes seemingly interested in him leading him to send her some intimate pictures on her request. However, when the pictures show up around school, he is devastated to learn that he has been the victim of a cruel joke at the hands of a cyber-bully who created a fake account. Meanwhile, an ambitious journalist is curious to learn about young teenagers being intimate via webcam with strangers and sets out to get the scoop on the shocking practise despite ruining lives on the way.
Continue: Disconnect Trailer
Date of birth
20th November, 1981
A dramatisation of the real-life clash between tennis icons Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs,...
Fans of the film In the Loop and the TV series Veep will definitely not...
It's 1953 and our story takes place in Russia - then known as the Soviet...
In the late 80s, Richard Thorncroft (Julian Barratt) was the most famous police detective on...
For a short time, Edward and Susan had a happy marriage, they lived in a...
The Silent Storm which is set in the idyllic moorlands of the Scottish Islands, post...
Mexican filmmaker Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu continues to reject traditional narrative structures with this whizzy, ambitious...
The cast and crew of 'Birdman' discuss the visionary filming techniques behind the movie in...
Riggan Thomas (Michael Keeton) is faced with a serious problem. In an attempt to make...