With an ingenious concept, this fairly simple film becomes one of the most gripping thrillers of the year even though it rarely leaves a wood-panelled conference room. Since the 1960s, British officials have met to role-play various scenarios about how a global nuclear war might play out, with their findings going into the eponymous War Book. Watching this group go through a fictional scenario is riveting, because it offers striking insight into our precarious political system.
The film takes place during three 30-minute meetings over three days in 2014, as eight relatively low-level officials and one hapless Member of Parliament (Nicholas Burns) gather in a London boardroom. Philippa (Sophie Okonedo) chairs the meeting in the role of the home secretary, as her assistant (Phoebe Fox) reads a chilling brief about a nuclear bomb that Pakistan detonates in Mumbai. Playing the Prime Minister, Gary (Ben Chaplin) takes over, holding emergency votes on diplomacy, humanitarian aid and whether the UK should be quarantined to keep radiation sickness out. And as the situation deteriorates, differences of opinion begin to emerge around the table, most notably about the repercussions of joining with Britain's allies to launch a retaliatory nuclear strike.
For a movie that consists almost entirely of people sitting in a room talking, this is remarkably visual, never looking like a claustrophobic stage play. Director Tom Harper sends the camera prowling around the room, occasionally glimpsing normal life continuing outside the window. And in between the meetings, the people also have their regular jobs to deal with. Meanwhile, their dialogue is packed with biting humour, power plays, rivalries and some startlingly vivid emotions. While some interaction hinges on short, sharp verbal gymnastics, other segments require much closer attention as the conversations wander through lengthy discussions and anecdotes. The only scene that feels out of place is a pre-meeting encounter between Chaplin and Phoebe Fox that touches on the connection between power and sex.
Continue reading: War Book Review
Nine people from different walks of life who all work for the government are enlisted to take part in a 'scenario' based on decision-making in the event of a nuclear assault. They are given the notice that a nuclear warhead has been detonated in Mumbai, with deaths entering hundreds of thousands, and asked to make a decision on what to do next. It doesn't take long for Gary the 'Prime Minister' to plan a course of action and have his cabinet members vote for it, and when some of the group question whether or not they should be rushing decisions that could affect the lives of millions, it becomes clear that this task is one that some people are happy to take on with a pinch of salt. However, two people in the group understand that this isn't really a fake scenerio at all; it's very, very real and they have to put their social differences aside in order to come to the best course of action.
Continue: War Book Trailer
The thing that makes this Disney live-action remake so wonderful is the same thing that might put off some audience members: it's a pure fairy tale. This time, the studio has resisted the snarky, post-modern spin that threatened to turn previous live-action remakes (Alice in Wonderland and Maleficent) into pointless Lord of the Rings-style action epics. Instead, this is a genuinely beautiful, surgingly romantic, exquisitely made fantasy.
With only a few minor tweaks, this is the classic story of Ella (Lily James), whose widowed father (Ben Chaplin) marries Lady Tremaine (Cate Blanchett). She arrives with her two spoiled daughters Drizella and Anastasia (Sophie McShera and Holliday Grainger), and when she is also widowed, Ella ends up running the household just to keep things from falling apart. But Lady Tremaine and her daughters taunt her with the nickname "Cinderella" and treat her like a slave, refusing to let her attend the ball thrown by the Crown Prince (Richard Madden). He had met Ella before, and is hoping to see her at the ball, but she only gets a chance to go when her fairy godmother (Helena Bonham Carter) turns up with some magic to make that happen. And after dancing with the Prince all night, her sudden disappearance sends him on a desperate quest involving a single glass slipper.
To spice things up, screenwriter Chris Weitz has included a conspiratorial sideplot in which the increasingly wicked stepmother plots with a royal advisor (Stellan Skarsgard) to thwart the Prince's wishes. But otherwise, the film hews closely to both Charles Perrault's 1697 folktale and Disney's 1950 animated classic. This includes lavish sets and costumes that continually take the breath away, giving the characters the same silhouettes as their cartoon counterparts. And within this extravagant design work, the actors are able to create surprisingly textured characters. James' Ella isn't a simple farm girl in need of a man. Madden's Prince is looking for real love. And Blanchett's riveting Lady Tremaine is eerily sympathetic even in her darkest moments.
Continue reading: Cinderella Review
Cinderella is an uncommonly kind young woman, overcome with the loss of her dear father. Her kindness extends to rescuing a stag from the woods, who's being hunted by the Prince and his men. Her resolute opinions strongly affect the Prince, who's life and sense of self begins to change following their frosty first meeting. But as determined and feisty as she may be, she still finds herself unable to stand up for herself back home, where she is forced into doing the cooking and cleaning by her wicked stepmother Lady Tremaine and her daughters. That is until she is invited to a ball at the Prince's palace. With the help of her mysterious Fairy Godmother, she transforms into a Princess for the day and, lo and behold, the Prince falls heavily in love with her and will do everything he can to find her after she disappears. But, alas, there are others determined to stand in the way of their happiness.
Continue: Cinderella - Extended Trailer
Pepper Flynt Busbee (Jakob Salvati) is a 7-year-old boy who stands much shorter than any of his classmates, to the worry of his mother (Emily Watson). He has few worries himself though, despite the occasional bully, forever playing adventure games with his beloved father (Michael Rapaport) and feeling like he can take on the world. Things take a turn for the worst, however, when his father is sent off to fight during the troubles of World War II. Distraught, Pepper is willing to do anything to get his father back, and when he is encouraged to use his focus to move an object during a magic show, he starts to see that he really can do anything. He's determined to use his ability to summon Mr. Busbee back home, but he has to be careful never to let a single trace of doubt cross his mind.
Continue: Little Boy Trailer
Following her mother's death, Cinderella was faced with a lonely existence while her beloved father took frequent long trips away from home on business. The reality was much, much worse, however, when he remarries the selfish Lady Tremaine who brings with her her two hideous daughters Anastasia and Drizella. She is thus forced to cook and clean tirelessly for her step-family, who ruthlessly take advantage of her chronic generosity and unwavering kindness. Soon, she meets a handsome stranger in the woods while out on an errand, and news of a royal ball quickly reaches the family household. Thrilled at the idea of meeting some new people, Cinderella jumps at the chance to attend, but she is forced back to work by Tremaine and the girls out of sheer spite - and jealousy. The only person who can get Cinderella to the ball on time is her magical Fairy Godmother.
Continue: Cinderella Trailer
Everyone is familiar with the classic fairy tale of Cinderella. Cinderella lives a mundane life doing whatever her evil step-mothers tell her to do, and all she dreams of is going to the ball and one day a fairy Godmother makes this wish come true and she lives happily ever after.
In 2015, Cinderella will have a new reimagining via Disney who have previously made a cartoon film, telling the story. This version is going to be live action and will star Lily James (Downton Abbey, Wrath Of The Titans) as Cinderella, Richard Madden (Game Of Thrones, A promise) as Prince Charming, Cate Blanchett (The Lord Of The Rings franchise, Hanna) as Lady Tremaine and Helena Bonham Carter (Les Misérables, Fight Club) as The Fairy Godmother. Given the war-driven fantasy works some of these actors have been in (namely Blanchett in Lord Of The Rings and Madden in Game Of Thrones), can we expect an element of this in this new Cinderella film? Probably not, but it should still be a fun film at the very least for both children new to the story, and people who'll remember seeing the previous version.
The film is directed by Sir Kenneth Branagh who you may know best for playing Gilderoy Lockhart in Harry Potter and The Chamber Of Secrets, but he has also had great success directing films. A recent example being 2011's Thor.
Michael Palin's return to dramatic television represents a considerable coup for the BBC.
Michael Palin will make his first television acting appearance in over two decades when he lines up alongside Ben Chaplin, Emilia Fox and Steve Oram in BBC Two's World War 1 drama The Wiper Times. The drama is based on the true story of a satirical newspaper produced by soldiers in the trenches.
Michael Palin Will Make His First Dramatic Television Role For 22 Years
The project appears in good hands, with Private Eye editor and Have I Got News For You captain Ian Hislop teaming up with his My Dad's The Prime Minister writing partner Nick Newman on the script. Clearly, Palin is the real coup here and it represents the Monty Python star's first television role since Alan Bleasdale's GBH in 1991, in which he played a school headmaster intimidated by a newly-elected city council leader, played by Robert Lindsay.
Richard (Efron) is a 17-year-old wannabe in 1937 New York, determined to get into the groundbreaking Mercury Theatre company run by 22-year-old genius Orson Welles (McKay). When he stumbles into a role in their landmark production of Julius Caesar, Richard can't believe his luck. He's working alongside such ascending stars as George Coulouris (Chaplin), John Houseman (Marsan), Muriel Brassler (Reilly), Jopseph Cotton (Tupper) and Norman Lloyd (Bill). And he feels even more fortunate when Orson's hard-to-get assistant Sonja (Danes) agrees to go out with him.
Continue reading: Me and Orson Welles Review
Dorian (Barnes) is an orphan who inherits a sprawling mansion when his tyrant grandfather dies. Young and eligible, he's quickly taken under the wing of Lord Henry (Firth), who introduces him to the licentious ways of late 19th century London. But the sex and drugs sabotage his relationship with an innocent young actress (Hurd-Wood), and Dorian pledges his soul to the devil in exchange for eternal youth. Now instead of aging, a portrait painted by his friend Basil (Chaplin) shows the scars of his depraved life.
Continue reading: Dorian Gray Review
It's the mid-point of WWII, and the household staff of a massive Scottish manor is taken aback by the arrival of an entire English battalion. They are there, on express permission of the owner, to guard the local lake and prevent German U-boats from advancing on UK positions. Among the servant family affected are head housekeeper Anne MacMarrow (Emily Watson), and her children Kristie and little Angus (Alex Etel). She's already suffered a wartime loss, and doesn't want her children harmed further. Into their life come two distinct beings. One is new handyman Lewis Mowbray (Ben Chaplin). The other is a baby "water horse" -- a mythic creature that takes an instant liking to Angus. While he tries to protect the beast, the forces of war threaten everyone -- and everything -- on the estate.
Continue reading: The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep Review
Date of birth
31st July, 1969
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