Brenda Blethyn

Brenda Blethyn

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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
Brenda Blethyn
Brenda Blethyn

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
Brenda Blethyn

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

Brenda Blethyn
Brenda Blethyn
Brenda Blethyn

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
Brenda Blethyn

Brenda Blethyn - 64th Berlin International Film Festival (Berlinale) - 'Two Men In Town' photocall - Berlin, Germany - Friday 7th February 2014

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


Weak
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


Good
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


Weak
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


Very 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.

A River Runs Through It Review


Very 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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Anne Frank Review


OK
So what happened after Anne Frank got busted and stopped writing her diary? The TV movie Anne Frank tells us not only of her days in the annex but also what happened afterwards -- namely, being shipped off to Auschwitz. Based not on her famed diary but on Melissa Muller's biography of Anne, the film also covers the time before the Franks sequestered themselves in the hiding, when Anne was just a preteen worried about boys.

Hannah Taylor-Gordon is an interesting find for the role of Anne, her few credits belying her ability before the camera. The story itself is, at three hours, far too long to carry our attention -- most notably because the scenes in the annex are overly repetitious and can't carry the hour and a half they are asked to do. Although Ben Kingsley is quite good in these scenes, starring as Anne's father, he can't cut through the plodding repetition. After only 10 minutes, we get it -- it was really claustrophobic up there.

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Pumpkin Review


Bad
We're all different. But when someone's handicap makes their uniqueness especially noticeable, what is the acceptable reaction? Most of us would simply acknowledge the differences and move on. The makers of Pumpkin however find plenty of dark humor in the subject matter. Some of their jokes work, but most fail miserably and in the end, Pumpkin is far more offensive than it is funny.

The ignorant Carolyn (Christina Ricci) leads the perfect life of a college senior -- she's an officer in her sorority and dates Kent (Sam Ball), the tennis team stud. Everything is going well until it's decided that her sorority will mentor the handicapped adults of the Challenged Games (think Special Olympics). Carolyn is against the charity selection, but the sorority president (Marisa Coughlan) believes helping these special athletes train will give the sorority enough points to win Sorority of the Year.

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Beyond The Sea Review


Good

This Bobby Darin biopic reportedly spent about 20 years going through various drafts by many different screenwriters -- including James Toback and Paul Schrader -- before Kevin Spacey grabbed it and made it all his own.

Borrowing more than just a little from Bob Fosse's "All That Jazz," the co-writer, director and star sets his film in a kind of flashback/dream structure in which Darin (Spacey) talks with himself as a little kid. This non-reality also allows for the 45 year-old actor to play Darin, who died at age 37, throughout his career.

Spacey's Darin thinks very highly of himself; when he snatches up teen heartthrob Sandra Dee (Kate Bosworth) as his wife, it feels more like trophy gathering than romance. Yet Spacey's own gigantic hubris fits the part perfectly, and when Darin grouses about not winning the Oscar for "Captain Newman, M.D.," you can feel Spacey going through the same thing. When Spacey sings in Darin's voice, it's an act of supreme ego; he's as sure of his Darin impersonation as he is of his own greatness, and it works.

Continue reading: Beyond The Sea Review

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Brenda Blethyn Movies

London River Movie Review

London River Movie Review

Quiet and contained, this film feels like a TV movie due to its somewhat gentle...

Dead Man Running Movie Review

Dead Man Running Movie Review

Yet another retread of the Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, this London crime caper...

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Dead Man Running Trailer

Dead Man Running Trailer

Watch the trailer for Dead Man Running Mr Thigo is a man you don't want...

Atonement Movie Review

Atonement Movie Review

Halfway into his masterful 2005 adaptation of Jane Austen's Pride & Prejudice, Joe Wright's camera...

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Atonement, Alternative Trailer Trailer

Atonement, Alternative Trailer Trailer

Atonement Trailer 7th September 2007 Adapted from Ian McEwan's best selling novel, 'Atonement'...

On a Clear Day Movie Review

On a Clear Day Movie Review

Over here in America, it seems we just cannot get enough of the gentle shenanigans...

Lovely & Amazing Movie Review

Lovely & Amazing Movie Review

Lovely & Amazing, Nicole Holofcener's follow-up to her feature debut Walking And Talking, doesn't quite...

Beyond The Sea Movie Review

Beyond The Sea Movie Review

Three major Hollywood studios have released musical biopics within a six-month time frame. If nothing...

Saving Grace Movie Review

Saving Grace Movie Review

There is comic potential in Saving Grace, but its two interesting main characters and their...

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