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Hyde Park on Hudson Review


OK

The breezy, entertaining tone of this historical comedy-drama kind of undermines the fact that it centres on one of the most pivotal moments in US-British history. Director Michell (Notting Hill) knows how to keep an audience engaged, and yet he indulges in both tawdry innuendo and silly cliches, never giving the real-life events a proper sense of perspective. Even so, some terrific performances make it enjoyable.

The events in question take place in 1939, when President Franklin D. Roosevelt (Murray) invites Britain's King George VI and Queen Elizabeth (West and Colman) to visit Hyde Park, the upstate New York residence he shares with his mother (Wilson), while his wife Eleanor (Williams) lives down the road with her "she-male" friends. Roosevelt knows that George is here to ask for help against the growing threat of Hitler's Germany, and as a result of their talks a "special relationship" develops between America and Britain. Meanwhile, the womanising Roosevelt is not-so-quietly having an affair with his distant cousin and confidant Daisy (Linney).

Essentially there are two films here fighting for our attention. Much of the story is seen through Daisy's eyes, complete with an annoyingly mousy voiceover that never tells us anything we can't see on screen. Linney underplays the character to the point where we barely notice that she's in the room, and the depiction of Daisy's romance with FDR is often squirm-inducing. By contrast, the other aspect of the plot is fascinating, with West and especially Colman shining in their roles as witty, nervous Brits trying to make the most of the first ever visit of a British monarch to America. Their steely resolve is brilliantly undermined by their brittle nerves and endless curiosity. 

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Featuring: Peter Serafinowicz, Eleanor Bron Where: London, United Kingdom

Peter Serafinowicz, Eleanor Bron and Southbank - Actor, writer and director Peter Serafinowicz on stage with actress Eleanor Bron at the BFI Southbank to introduce his choice of film in the Screen Epiphanies series produced in partnership with American Express Monday 26th November 2012 Featuring: Peter Serafinowicz, Eleanor Bron Where: London, United Kingdom

Hyde Park On Hudson Trailer


'Hyde Park On Hudson' is the story of the 32nd President of the United States Franklin Delano Roosevelt and his growing love affair with his soon to be mistress Daisy. In the summer of 1949, Roosevelt decides to invite the reigning monarchs of England King George VI and Queen Elizabeth over to America for their first ever trans-Atlantic trip - incidentally, the first trip to America any English monarch has ever made. The President's friends, colleagues and family rally together to create a fun and interesting weekend for the Royals despite their unfamiliarity with proper royal protocol such as knowing the proper way to address the King and Queen. Nonetheless, the royals remain polite and do their best to cover up their nervousness and lack of experience of American culture as war with Germany is imminent and they may need someone to turn to.

This partially biographical and downright comical drama has been told in the shoes of Daisy and takes place only months before World War II broke out. 'Hyde Park on Hudson' has been directed by Roger Michell ('Notting Hill', 'Changing Lanes', 'Morning Glory') and written by Richard Nelson ('Ethan Frome') and is set to hit cinemas from February 1st 2013.

Starring:Bill Murray, Laura Linney, Olivia Colman, Elizabeth Marvel, Elizabeth Wilson, Eleanor Bron, Olivia Williams, Blake Ritson, Jonathan Brewer, Martin McDougall & Tim Beckmann.

StreetDance Review


Good
Directors Max Giwa and Dania Pasquini boldly apply 3D filmmaking to the dance genre with this energetic British drama. The requirements of the formula are too strong to resist, but the film is thoroughly watchable thanks to its skilled cast.

Carly (Burley) is horrified when her boyfriend Jay (Roach) announces that not only is he leaving their successful street dance crew, but he also wants to break up with her. Suddenly she's in charge of the team, and she makes a deal with a ballet teacher (Rampling) to use a dance studio in exchange for adding five of the students to her team. One of them, Tomas (Winsor), takes a special interest in Carly, but the ballet dancers struggle to add street-cred to their moves. And the big competition is in just five weeks.

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Women in Love Review


Weak
Ken Russell's Women in Love is alternately heralded and dismissed by viewers. I stand somewhere in the middle: It's a definite mess, though the titular women out-act the men they're ostensibly in love with. Russell's at his pervy best here (and Glenda Jackson was the first actress to win an Oscar in a movie featuring a nude scene; in this case her own plus a notorious all-male, all-nude, fireside wrestling sequence), and his interpretation of D.H. Lawrence's book is on the liberal side. But ultimately the film is so confusing and meandering that its perversity is shuffled under the rug of its own pretensions. Still, it's memorable for both its era-specific shock value and for Jackson's alternately sweet and vicious performance.

Two for the Road Review


OK
This bittersweet Audrey Hepburn flick can hardly be described as a classic, but it's a fun road trip nonetheless. The film tells the story of a couple (Hepburn and Albert Finney), together 12 years and facing a relationship crisis. They figure out what went wrong be reminiscing about a decade of trips together -- including the one on which they met and a hilarious one that includes an abrasive family of three. It's not high comedy, nor is it a brilliant drama, but both genres get their due. Watch for the car fire scene, especially.

The House of Mirth Review


OK
Draw near and bear witness to Gillian Anderson, a very successful television actress (The X Files) who is still trying to find her legs on the big screen. Like many before her, she will try a tactic that has made stars out of otherwise B-list actors: By taking the leading role in an art house flick.

Welcome then to The House of Mirth, a period piece which bears little happiness for those within. Or, ultimately, for those in the audience.

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The Heart of Me Review


Grim
The British love their melodramas. The makers of this one seem to have lost sight of when having too much of it becomes boring and burdensome. Based on a 1953 novel called The Echoing Grove by Rosamond Lehmann, the style of sentimentality brought to intense levels of angst amid constricting mores seems aimed at audiences of that era. As a new release, Lucinda Coxon's screenplay is likely to foster ennui well before it reaches its climax (no pun intended).

The plot is thin, if not threadbare, presenting the too-oft-seen love triangle. Perhaps the notion of a pair of sisters in love (in their particular ways) with one's husband seemed like an original idea, but it comes off as derivative and tedious. Paul Bettany, who played Chaucer in A Knight's Tale and John Nash's imaginary roommate in A Beautiful Mind, takes on the colorless banker-husband-lover Rickie, the object of the sisters' desires. Stuffy though he may be, we understand why he's prone to stray from his wife, Madeleine (Olivia Williams), a caustic and chilly socialite who criticizes her younger sister with haughty superiority. She seems to think that there's something wrong with Dinah (Helena Bonham Carter) for remaining unmarried and free-spirited when, as we see it, Dinah is the more attractive and sensual of the two.

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Bedazzled (1967) Review


OK
I didn't see the original Bedazzled until after the remake, and while it's no masterwork, it's a far better picture. Dudley Moore is well-suited as the dolt who gives up his soul for seven wishes, all in a vain attempt to win the heart of a rather sour woman (Eleanor Bron), but it's Peter Cook (best known to Gen-X as the lisping priest from The Princess Bride) as the devil who is truly memorable. Cute and amusing, but extremely dated.

Wimbledon Review


Good
Unless you play the sport, tennis ranks right up there with golf as one of the most boring sports to watch on television. And with a few minor exceptions, the same can be said about these sports' big screen counterparts. Anticipating that Wimbledon would serve up little more than a predictable romantic comedy, I hoped the film's setting would provide a few more aces than foot faults to compensate. Much to my surprise, Wimbledon exceeds meager expectations.

As the world's 119th ranked player, a tired Peter Colt (Paul Bettany) has long been the doormat for the younger, flashier players on the professional tennis circuit. But when Peter gets an unexpected wild-card invite to play at Wimbledon, few give him any chance of making it out of the first round - including himself and his brother who wagers against him with a local bookie.

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Wimbledon Review


Weak

More moderately charming than a romantic comedy should be with stars as charismatic and irresistible as Kirsten Dunst and Paul Bettany -- but charming nonetheless -- "Wimbledon" is a cute mutt of cross-breeding between sports movie formula and chick-flick producers.

A product of the team behind "Four Weddings and a Funeral," "Notting Hill" and "Love Actually," it's a rousing athletic-underdog story about low-ranked, self-stymied pro tennis player Peter Colt (Bettany, from "A Knight's Tale," "A Beautiful Mind" and "Master and Commander") who finds his groove by falling in love with Lizzie Bradbury (Dunst), the rising-star queen troublemaker of women's tennis.

Full of confidence and flirtatious sass, very soon after their meet-cute (he's accidentally given the key to her hotel suite and walks in on her showering) she says to him, "Where do you come down on the fooling-around-before-a-match issue?" But she barely gives him time to answer, in the process giving a miraculous boost to his game at the world's most important tennis tournament -- and turning hers to mush.

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The House Of Mirth Review


OK

Director Terrence Davies took a chance casting "The X-Files'" Gillian Anderson as the devastated heroine in his adaptation of "The House of Mirth," Edith Wharton's corset opera of turn-of-the-Century social politics.

But in her first 20 seconds on screen -- speaking in deliciously eloquent dialogue and looking stunning in plumed hats with veils, fur collared dresses, brooches and a parasol -- she erases any and all memory of Agent Scully, the TV alter-ego you probably thought would haunt the actress for the rest of her career.

A drawing room drama about the whispered politics and wily business of marriage in New York high society, the film is about a beautiful young socialite whose life becomes hampered with scandal, in part because she can't reconcile her heart with the fact that she must marry well to maintain her station.

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