Brenda Blethyn

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Shooting Stars Book Launch

Brenda Blethyn - Shooting Stars Book Launch at the London Film Museum, Covent Garden at London Film Museum - London, United Kingdom - Tuesday 19th May 2015

'Shooting Stars' book launch party

Brenda Blethyn - 'Shooting Stars' book launch party at the London Film Museum - London, United Kingdom - Tuesday 19th May 2015

Brenda Blethyn
Brenda Blethyn
Brenda Blethyn

RHS Chelsea Flower Show

Brenda Blethyn - RHS Chelsea Flower Show Press and VIP Viewing Day at the Royal Hospital, Chelsea, london at Royal Hospital, Chelsea - London, United Kingdom - Monday 18th May 2015

Brenda Blethyn
Brenda Blethyn

RHS Cheslea Flower Show

Brenda Blethyn - RHS Chelsea Flower Show - Press and VIP view. - London, United Kingdom - Monday 18th May 2015

Brenda Blethyn
Brenda Blethyn

Specsavers Crime Thriller Awards 2014 - Arrivals

Brenda Blethyn - Specsavers Crime Thriller Awards 2014 at the Grosvenor Hotel London - Arrivals at Grosvenor Hotel - London, United Kingdom - Friday 24th October 2014

Brenda Blethyn
Brenda Blethyn
Brenda Blethyn
Brenda Blethyn

London River Review


Excellent
Quiet and contained, this film feels like a TV movie due to its somewhat gentle look at a serious issue. But there's real strength in its performances. And it has something significant to say as well, without ever preaching.

Elisabeth (Blethyn) is a widow living in Guernsey, and when she hears about the 7 July 2005 bombings, she immediately phones her daughter in London to make sure she's OK. When she can't reach her, she heads to the city, quickly realising how little she knows about her life there. Meanwhile in France, Ousmane (Kouyate) also decides to head to London to find his son, whom he hasn't seen since he was 6. Soon, these two people realise they're on the same trail, and that their children knew each other.

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Dead Man Running Review


Grim
Yet another retread of the Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, this London crime caper at least creates its setting well and has some colourful characters. But we've seen it all before.

Nick (Hassan) is an ex-criminal trying go straight so he can care for his wheelchair-bound mum (Blethyn). But New York gangster Thigo (Jackson), in the grip of the economic crisis, is calling in his loans. Now Nick has 24 hours to come up with ú100,000, or Thigo's goon (Davis) will kill both Nick and his mother. Nick's pal Bing (Dyer) offers to help, and they embark on an odyssey of underground fight clubs, fixed track-betting and drug deals in increasing desperation to round up the cash.

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Dead Man Running Trailer


Watch the trailer for Dead Man Running

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Atonement Review


OK
Halfway into his masterful 2005 adaptation of Jane Austen's Pride & Prejudice, Joe Wright's camera enters the tight hallways and expansive rooms of a late-18th-century estate with several suites dedicated to smoking, gossiping and dancing. Fluidly drifting through encounters and gestures, the camera picks up the lilting remnants of conversations both benign and interesting. It's a miraculous and graceful scene that palpably exudes the feeling of being caught in a nest of gadflies.

The same shot can be found in Wright's adaptation of Ian McEwan's monumental Atonement, though the setting is now 1930s France. Three soldiers from London come upon a beach filled with soldiers waiting to return to their respective homelands. The camera glides past sergeants executing diseased horses, a choir of damaged infantry men and dozens of wounded battalions. Smoke bellows from scrap fires and a looming ferris wheel turns in the distance as the three English soldiers make their way into a bar.

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Piccadilly Jim Review


Grim
A rather hysterical oddity that can't decide what era it's set in or what mood to play, Piccadilly Jim just chucks it all at the screen and hopes that some wit will come through and generate some laughs. Fortunately for the audience, some of it does - unfortunately for the film, not nearly enough.

Based on P.G. Wodehouse's novel, the film concerns the exploits of one Jim Crocker (Sam Rockwell), a young wastrel whose social-climbing American mother (Allison Janney, sharp as a tack) has forced him and his father (Tom Wilkinson), a failed British actor, to live in London and try and impress the swells there. She does this just to tick off her competitive sister, Nesta (Brenda Blethyn), a fact not wasted on the men of the family. Spoiling his mother's plans is Jim's penchant to booze it up all over town, getting into fistfights and leaving flappers scattered about the house and in his bed. Jim decides to ostensibly reform his wayward ways when he meets Nesta's step-niece Anne (Frances O'Connor), who won't have anything to do with him unless he pretends to be someone else - Jim once wrote a gossip column under the name "Piccadilly Jim", and once someone else writing the column (he hasn't worked on it for years) gave a negative review to a collection of Anne's poems. Jim thusly does the only sensible thing a fellow could do: He pretends to be a teetotaler Christian named Algernon Bayliss. Somehow, along the way, a German spy and some scientific secrets come into play, but one would be well-served to not wonder how.

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On a Clear Day Review


Good
Over here in America, it seems we just cannot get enough of the gentle shenanigans of average, everyday Brits. If they are slightly older and perhaps finding themselves financially strapped and driven to eyebrow-raising lengths by the hard times, well, so much the better. Into this proud lineage comes On a Clear Day a charming, if slight, bit of fluff from across the pond that has nothing whatsoever to do with the similarly-titled Barbra Streisand musical from the '70s.Peter Mullan plays Frank, a quiet, middle-aged Scot who is left floundering when he is laid off from his shipbuilding job. He embarks on a mission, seemingly on a lark, to swim the English Channel in an effort to give himself purpose and shed personal demons that have plagued him for years. Admittedly, this is quite thin, plotwise, but if we learned anything but a new dance routine from The Full Monty, it's that working-class British fellows made redundant can be remarkably entertaining in keeping themselves occupied.Though he staunchly refuses to tell his family anything about his intentions, Frank has a small clique of friends - former coworkers, mostly - serving as his motley training crew, headed by a put-upon Chinese fish-and-chips vendor (Benedict Wong) and given hyper energy by the cheerfully hapless Danny (Billy Boyd). They are caught up in Frank's determination to change his life, and predictably inspired to do something new with their own, and it is remarkably sweet and uplifting in a straightforward and non-saccharine way, a rarity these days.First-time feature director Gaby Dellal has crafted a dutifully small and endearing bit of fluff, only faltering briefly with some easily-forgiven flaws. She does fall victim to a hallmark of young directors - the need to be unnecessarily flashy - with her shooting of action via its reflection in a small domed mirror or her slow pans of an ordinary boat. Also, the film is not adept at offering fleshed-out logic. Why this unassuming Scottish man takes on a personal mission to swim the Channel, or what he hopes it will accomplish - and what it does ultimately accomplish - is left unaddressed and open to interpretation. But if you accept the pull of those crazy urges we get from time to time - the desire to do something stupid, and hard, and to revel in a feeling of true accomplishment - then that is probably sufficient in the way of movie logic.What gives the film layers and makes it so watchable is the extremely capable acting. Mullan (My Name is Joe, Young Adam) is an immensely likeable actor, and his Frank is an amiable and capable fellow, but he can also be profoundly frustrating. Being taciturn is one thing, but he often seems to outright ignore his wife (the adorably floopy Brenda Blethyn). And he is deeply scarred by the death of his son nearly 25 years ago, but he's so distant from his surviving son that it borders on rude. This persistent haze that surrounds poor Frank, and mires him into such melancholic inaction, is what prevents On a Clear Day from being a straight-up comedy. All of the characters are witty and quirky (though not aggressively so) and have their moments of amusing antics, but they are also each battling a very real sadness, and the film does well in striking a balance between the two.There is little about On a Clear Day that is especially profound or innovative, to be sure. The most effusive praise it will likely garner is that it is genuinely cute and sweet without becoming twee or simplistic. That said, there is certainly a place - and a market - for films like these. I certainly know what I'll be telling my Auntie to see the next time she tells me they don't make "nice movies" anymore.Nope, can't see forever.

The Sleeping Dictionary Review


Weak
You say colonial epic, I say Alba. No, not Alda, as in Alan Alda. Alba. As in Jessica Alba. In a period piece! The title actually refers to Alba's character: She's a Sarawak (look it up) native, assigned to teach the British imperialist who comes to rule her village how to speak the native tongue. She does this through sleeping with him. You know, figuratively. Faster than you can say "forbidden love," this all turns nasty for all parties. I can't say much for the wandering storyline (which is all too reminiscent of everything from Original Sin to Wide Sargasso Sea), but the cinematography is stellar for a direct-to-DVD movie, and Alba has a really naked back.

Pooh's Heffalump Movie Review


OK
Points for a descriptive title: This is where Pooh and friends discover the Heffalump, a purple elephant heretofore thought to be mythical in the Hundred Acre Wood.

About an hour long, Heffalump didn't grab my two-year old, who thought the elephant was cute but then wandered away for programming on another TV where more actually happens.

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Lovely & Amazing Review


Extraordinary
Lovely & Amazing, Nicole Holofcener's follow-up to her feature debut Walking And Talking, doesn't quite rank with suburban classics like Ordinary People and American Beauty -- it never takes itself quite seriously enough for that; but it has the right makings for a memorable movie experience. Simple, sweet, and direct, this sensational portrait of engaging characters ranks as one of the year's best movies to date.

The film observes the daily rituals of four hapless but elastic women as they struggle with various demands of their eventful lives. While most movies would become lost in the complicated world of these spontaneous situations, Lovely & Amazing simply observes as the characters deal with thought-provoking issues involving relationships, health, age, romance, and work.

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A River Runs Through It Review


Good
Of the six movies Robert Redford has directed to date, A River Runs Through It is his second best, following behind the searing, unforgettable Ordinary People. A specialist in bringing books to life as movies, Redford has a knack for finding what matters in the text and making sure it ends up on screen.

That's vital here because Norman Maclean, on whose novella-length memoir the film is based, was a writer of exceptional grace and economy. This is a simple story that must be told the way he wrote it, and Redford delivers, even using excerpts as the narration he reads. Smart move, Bob.

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Brenda Blethyn

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