Ben Whishaw (October 14th 1980)
Ben Whishaw is a British actor who appeared in Bond movie 'Skyfall' and voiced the title character in 'Paddington'.
Film career: Ben Whishaw's performance career began in theatre, appearing in Big Spirit's 'If This is a Man' and 'Hamlet'. Among his first film and television ventures were 2004's 'Layer Cake' opposite Daniel Craig and 2005 comedy series 'Nathan Barley'. Whishaw was nominated for a British Academy Film Award for Rising Star for his role in 2006 thriller 'Perfume: The Story of a Murderer', which also starred Alan Rickman. 2007 saw him portray a version of Bob Dylan in 'I'm Not There' which also starred Christian Bale. In 2008, he appeared in five episodes of 'Criminal Justice' and starred in BBC drama 'The Hours' with Dominic West. He also played the title role in the TV adaptation of 'Richard II' in 2012. In 2010, he played Ariel in an adaptation of Shakespeare's 'The Tempest' alongside Helen Mirren. 2012 saw him in Bond film 'Skyfall' as Q, as well as 'Cloud Atlas' in which he played multiple characters alongside Halle Berry and Tom Hanks. The following year he appeared in Terry Gilliam sci-fi 'The Zero Theorem' with Christoph Waltz, and the year after that he voiced the main character in 'Paddington'. His other theatre roles include 'Cock', 'Mercury Fur' and 'Peter and Alice', the latter of which also starred Judi Dench.
Personal life: Ben Whishaw grew up in Clifton, Bedfordshire with his parents Linda, a cosmetics worker, and Jose, an IT consultant. He went to Henlow Middle School, Samuel Whitbread Community College and the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. He was also part of the Bancroft Players Youth Theatre. In 2012, he had a civil union with composer Mark Bradshaw.
Alan Clay is a middle aged American businessman who's life has recently derailed. With nothing left to lose, Clay travels to Saudi Arabia in a bid to secure a potentially huge IT contract - a 3d meeting system to be installed in a huge new complex that's currently being built. Accompanied by his friendly Chicago (the band) loving driver, Yousef, Alan is taken to the site of his client's new city and what he finds isn't what was expected - a barren land to be specific.
Working under increasing pressure, Alan suffers an anxiety attack and collapses. When he awakes, he finds he's in bed and a nurse is by his side. As their friendship deepens, and cultural differences are obvious, something connects the pair. Perhaps a trip to a distant land is the exact thing Alan needs to add some perspective to his life.
A Hologram For The King is directed by Tom Tykwer and based on the 2012 book by Dave Eggers.
Director Tom Hooper deploys the same style he used in The King's Speech for this much darker story about the first man to undergo gender-reassignment surgery. It's an odd mix of rather too-pretty visuals with an edgy series of events that perhaps demands a lot more raw honesty. But the story is fascinating, and the cast is excellent, delivering astute, introspective performances that reveal the much earthier narrative under the lovely surface.
It opens in 1926 Copenhagen, where husband and wife painters Einar and Gerda Wegener (Eddie Redmayne and Alicia Vikander) are hoping to start a family as they develop their careers. One day, Gerda talks Einar into putting on a dress to pose for one of her paintings, and the experience triggers long-suppressed yearnings from his childhood. Gerda and their friend Ulla (Amber Heard) encourage him to attend a party in drag, and Lili Elbe is born, Einar's female alter ego who immediately attracts the attention of a lovelorn man (Ben Whishaw). After they move to Paris, they find another friend in Gerda's agent Hans (Matthias Schoenaerts), who was Einar's childhood pal. But while the French doctors think Einar is simply crazy, Gerda sticks by him as he decides to undergo a radical experimental surgery offered by a doctor (Sebastian Koch) in Germany.
Hooper's usual directorial flourishes include off-centre compositions, painterly sets and emotive close-ups, which bring out the internal struggles of the characters in beautiful ways. But this also has a tendency to simplify a story that is seriously complex. By emphasising the social conflicts and relational melodrama, the entire movie begins to feel rather thin, never quite grappling with the more provocative or disturbing aspects of the issues at hand. There are hints of what might have given the film an edgier kick, such as a moment of Hitchcockian obsession or the shifting of power between the male and female characters.
Continue reading: The Danish Girl Review
With a huge budget and a relatively small story, this is an intriguingly offbeat blockbuster that might struggle to find an audience. Basically, it's aimed at fans of more thoughtful, personal stories of tenacity and survival, but it's shot with a massive special effects budget that sometimes seems to swamp the drama. Still, it's involving and moving. And it's also fascinatingly based on the true events that inspired Moby Dick.
The story is framed in 1850 as novelist Herman Melville (Ben Whishaw) visits an ageing sailor named Tom (Brendan Gleeson) to quiz him about a momentous event in his past that he has never spoken of. Flash back to 1820 Nantucket, and Tom (Tom Holland) is a rookie crew member on the whaling ship Essex, working under the posh, privileged Captain George (Benjamin Walker) and his able but low-class first mate Owen (Chris Hemsworth). As these these two leaders clash against each other, the ship sails off for what will be a very long journey. Eventually they head into the Pacific in search of a mythical pod of whales. But when they find it, they run afoul of a gigantic white whale that takes their arrival personally, sinking their ship and pursuing the survivors in their lifeboats.
All of this is staged as an epic battle between humanity and nature, with layers of interest in the way these men strain to survive against unimaginable odds. It's a riveting story, beautifully shot and rendered with immersive effects. And the cast members create complex characters who are profoundly changed by their experience. Not only is there mammoth action, but there's plenty of barbed interaction and even some strongly emotional moments that bring the themes home to a modern audience. Sometimes this aspect feels a bit corny, as clearly whalers at the time wouldn't feel remorse about killing one of these majestic creatures. But we would.
Continue reading: In The Heart Of The Sea Review
In The Heart Of The Sea is the true seaman's tale based on the last outing of the Whaling Ship Essex. After setting sale from the port on Nantuckett the 20 man crew expect their journey to be much like the others they've been on, very long and tough but on an old but very trusty ship.
After leaving the port, almost immediately the men are hit by a powerful storm which damages the boat. knowing they must make money and make the trip profitable before returning home, the men continue with their mission. After months of good fishing, the men doc at various ports for supplies. Almost a year into their trip and the Essex is struck by a gigantic whale which causes irreparable damage to the ship's hull.
Stuck with no other choice the surviving men must board one of the incredibly small whaling boats that they have on board. The remaining crew members find themselves stuck in a life-threatening situation, 1000 miles from land, incredibly tight rations and stuck at sea for an unknown amount of time, the crew must find a way to endure - both mentally and physically.
Continue: In The Heart Of The Sea Trailer
For his latest adventure, James Bond mixes the personal drama of Skyfall with the vintage globe-hopping action of the previous 23 movies. The result is an epic thriller packed with exhilarating set-pieces and dark surprises. Again directed by Sam Mendes, the film has a meaty tone from the astounding pre-titles sequence in Mexico City to the climax in North African. And it takes its time to build the suspense, mystery and drama in ways few blockbusters bother to do.
After the calamitous events at Skyfall, Bond (Daniel Craig) has gone rogue, following a videotaped message from his late boss (Judi Dench) to track a villain to Mexico, then continuing to Rome, where he woos the grieving widow (Monica Bellucci). Pursued by relentless goon Mr Hinx (Dave Bautista), he travels onward to Austria, he confronts an old nemesis (Jesper Christiansen), whose daughter Madeleine (Lea Seydoux) joins Bond to travel to Morocco to face the shady top boss Oberhauser (Christoph Waltz) in his secret lair. Meanwhile in London, the new M (Ralph Fiennes) is fighting to to keep MI6 in operation as new boss C (Andrew Scott) works to restructure British security as part of a global conglomerate.
Mendes stages this on a massive scale, with huge action sequences that are never rushed or choppy, beautifully shot by ace cinematographer Hoyte van Hoytema. And it's all underpinned by darker personal drama between the characters, so every sequence features thoughtful conversation, witty banter, more clues to the larger mystery and then thrilling action. And as 007 hops from location to location filling in the bigger picture, the film feels like all of the classic Bond movies rolled into one.
Continue reading: James Bond - Spectre Review
Throwing a solid Hollywood cast into a surreal arthouse satire, acclaimed Greek filmmaker Yorgos Lanthimos (Dogtooth) makes his English-language debut with a bang. This is a blackly comical parable about how it feels to be single in a society that only values couples. With its two-part structure it almost seems like two movies mashed together, exploring the topic in ways that are smart and revelatory, and utterly deranged. And the strikingly gifted actors bring it to life beautifully.
It's set in a remote hotel on the Irish coastline, where the recently divorced David (Colin Farrell) has gone to find a mate. Single people here have 45 days to find their perfect partner, or else they're transformed surgically into an animal of their choosing. David has opted to become a lobster, but is determined to find a wife. He watches as one guy (Ben Whishaw) fakes nosebleeds to appear more like a young woman (Jessica Barden). So David pretends to be something he isn't, but is caught by the hotel's imperious manager (Olivia Colman). He escapes into the woods, where he joins a desperate band of loners led by a fierce warrior (Lea Seydoux). There he falls for a woman (Rachel Weisz) who is short-sighted like he is, but romance is forbidden among the loners.
The filmmakers are inventively exploring some very real issues in society, which makes the story ring eerily true, no matter how relentlessly odd it gets. The script's action sequences sometimes feel a bit contrived, but they add to the characters' nagging sense of desperation as they're stuck in a world that simply won't accept them as they are. And it helps that the actors dive in without hesitation. Farrell has gained weight to play the middle-aged David, who had a happy life before being plunged into this nightmare. He's very easy to identify with, both in his awkward interaction and as he boils over in rage. Weisz adds a lusty, razor-sharp intelligence to her role. And Colman quietly steals the movie with her deadpan performance as the godlike hotel manager.
Sometimes this extreme satire feels rather on-the-nose, but it's also a powerfully provocative exploration of the way society forces people to comply, marginalising anyone who refuses to join the status quo. And Lanthimos is gifted at using comedy and emotion to deepen the characters and themes, digging beneath the surface while telling a story that's simply impossible to predict. So in the end, we're almost taken aback at the way all of this has wormed its way under our skin, revealing things about ourselves we thought we had suppressed. Especially the way we value or dismiss people around us based on factors that are utterly irrelevant.
Continue reading: The Lobster Review
Based on real events a century ago that still resonate loudly today, this movie takes a cleverly fictionalised angle to explore the suffrage movement, a story that astonishingly has never been put on film before. Screenwriter Abi Morgan's script brings intelligence and honesty to the characters, avoiding cliches to make the political statements as fresh and important today as they were back then. And it's anchored by another solid performance from Carey Mulligan.
She plays Maud, a young woman in 1912 London who has grown up working in a grim laundry, which is where she met her husband Sonny (Ben Whishaw). Then her best friend Violet (Anne-Marie Duff) introduces her to the women's voting rights movement led by Emmeline Pankhurst (Meryl Streep). And Maud is intrigued, joining with her local chemist's wife Edith (Helena Bonham Carter) for protests and getting involved in civil disobedience. This puts her on the list of offenders followed by a tenacious policeman (Brendan Gleeson), and Sonny finds it very difficult to cope with the embarrassment. So Maud has to make a very tough decision about whether to carry on the fight.
Making the film's main characters working-class heroines was a clever way to draw in modern-day audiences. In real life, the suffragettes were middle-class women who didn't particularly want any of the working class (men or women) to have the vote. But of course, once the movement started, it didn't end there, ultimately extending right through society. And the film cleverly mixes these fictional characters alongside real historical figures to bring the events vividly to life. Mulligan provides the emotional gut punch as an intelligent but uneducated woman who has been abused all her life and is finally standing up for herself. Her scenes with each of the supporting cast have real power, including less sympathetic characters like Whishaw's loving but fearful husband.
Continue reading: Suffragette Review
James Bond has never played by the rules, but this time he may have gone too far when he responds to a mysterious message by travelling to Mexico on an unauthorised mission to meet Lucia Sciarra, the widow of one of the world's most notorious criminal masterminds. She has information regarding a corrupt underground organisation known as SPECTRE, but he's still managed to seriously anger his boss M. Thus, Bond decides to continue his mission undercover, setting out to find a woman named Madeleine Swann who may be able to help him infiltrate the society, bring it down and save the world. Completion of the mission could also secure MI5's continued work, as the new boss of the Centre for National Security Max Denbigh becomes increasingly sceptical of its necessity. However, little does Bond know that he's also about to uncover some secrets about the SPECTRE head that he may rather have kept hidden.
Continue: Spectre Trailer
David is a single man having just left a 12 year relationship. As per the rules of living in The City, set in a dystopian future, he is forced to check into The Hotel. The sprawling facility is a place where all singletons must find love within 45 days, or else be turned into a creature of their choice and banished into The Woods, as being alone is highly frowned upon. David's only companion is his loyal dog, who happens to be his unlucky-in-love brother who ran out of time when he was a resident at The Hotel. David's chosen animal is a lobster, but he has no intention of living life as a crustacean and makes his escape into The Woods to join up with The Loners. Soon he meets a short-sighted woman who happens to be extremely adept at catching rabbits. As chance would have it, David finds himself falling for her, but this kind of romance is against the law in The City.
Continue: The Lobster Trailer
Einar Wegener is a Danish artist, apparently happily married to wife of the same occupation Gerda. One day, Gerda persuades her husband to assist her as a female model while she paints, dressing up in a dress and stockings. An unexpected wave of clarity washes over Einar, who readily agrees to continue posing for Gerda. Dubbing the female persona Lili, Gerda takes her out for fun - but when it seems Lili is falling for her childhood friend Hans Axgil, she is heartbroken. She eventually understands that her husband is actually a woman in the wrong body, and stands by her woman as she undertakes groundbreaking gender reassignment surgery; a series of operations that could threaten her very life, let alone her marriage.
Continue: The Danish Girl Trailer
Date of birth
14th October, 1980
Alan Clay is a middle aged American businessman who's life has recently derailed. With nothing...
Director Tom Hooper deploys the same style he used in The King's Speech for this...
With a huge budget and a relatively small story, this is an intriguingly offbeat blockbuster...
In The Heart Of The Sea is the true seaman's tale based on the last...
For his latest adventure, James Bond mixes the personal drama of Skyfall with the vintage...
Throwing a solid Hollywood cast into a surreal arthouse satire, acclaimed Greek filmmaker Yorgos Lanthimos...
Based on real events a century ago that still resonate loudly today, this movie takes...
James Bond has never played by the rules, but this time he may have gone...
Einar Wegener is a Danish artist, apparently happily married to wife of the same occupation...
Throughout the late 19th Century and early 20th Century, a secret war took place on...
Picking up after the climactic battle at his childhood home of Skyfall Lodge and the...
It's difficult not to go into a movie like this with a sense of dread,...