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A Royal Night Out Review


Although it takes a breezy, sometimes silly approach to a fragment of a true story, this British period film has enough charm to keep audiences entertained, thanks to its lively cast and ambitious recreation of historical events. Director Julian Jarrold (Kinky Boots) may be largely fictionalising what happened to real people on VE Day 70 years ago, but he certainly knows how to have some fun at the same time. And the film has some intriguing things to say about how the world has changed since then.

Victory in Europe was declared on May 8th 1945, and the streets of London filled with disorderly celebrations. Watching all of this from within Buckingham Palace, the teen princesses Elizabeth and Margaret (Sarah Gadon and Bel Powley) are desperate to get out there and mingle with the crowd. Their parents, King George VI and Queen Elzabeth (Rupert Everett and Emily Watson), reluctantly agree to let them leave with two military escorts (Jack Laskey and Jack Gordon). But they soon lose their chaperones in the party atmosphere in The Ritz. The ditzy Margaret heads off into the night visiting a string of parties, while Elizabeth tries to track her down, assisted by a helpful stranger, airman Jack (Jack Reynor), an anti-royalist who has no idea who this young woman actually is.

First of all, it's intriguing to remember that in 1945 people in the streets wouldn't have recognised the princesses, especially since they had essentially been locked out of view for the previous seven years. This is inconceivable now, as is the idea of revellers filling the streets celebrating victory in a war, because no generation since has had a war end on a remotely positive note. These kinds of themes add subtext to what is otherwise a frothy romp punctuated by moments of silly slapstick. Jarrold recreates the evening beautifully on-screen, with a real sense of the club-lined streets of Mayfair, the drug dens of Soho, the flag-waving crowds going wild in Trafalgar Square, and the bombed-out city returning to life.

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A Royal Night Out Trailer

Princess Margaret and Princess Elizabeth are distinctly unworldly despite their prestigious education as young women, but when World War 2 comes to an end in 1945, even their parents King George and Queen Elizabeth can't deny them the chance to celebrate. And so it is that the girls are allowed to venture out into London, to join the men and women of the country in their parties - albeit going incognito and on the one condition that they are chaperoned by two soldiers. As it turns out, it's impossible to hide their identity for long and soon everyone knows that the future Queen of England and her sister are out fraternising with soldiers - and their royal parents are faced with worry when they are out much later than they should have been.

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Testament of Youth Review


A classic British memoir gets the full costume drama treatment with this beautifully crafted World War I drama, although it never quite transcends the "beloved book" tone, remaining so worthy that it only rarely springs to life. The acting is sharp, as is the filmmaking, so it's frustrating that there's so little in the film that resonates with present-day audiences. And as the story sinks into a murky gloom, it's difficult for audiences to stay engaged.

Based on Vera Brittain's iconic memoir, the story opens in 1914, as Vera (Alicia Vikander) begs her parents (Emily Watson and Dominic West) to let her sit entrance exams at Oxford, which simply isn't the done thing for a proper young woman. She also has to convince them to let her brother Edward (Taron Egerton) sign up for military service in response to the conflict breaking out in Europe. But Vera is shocked when her sweetheart Roland (Kit Harington) also decides to enlist along with two close friends (Colin Morgan and Jonathan Bailey). Suddenly the war seems far too close to home for her. So she's provoked to leave university and volunteer as a nurse, serving in both England and France while the war rages around her.

The film's opening section contains a beautiful spark of hopefulness as these young people face the possibilities ahead of them, revelling in their education and then deciding to do their duty for their country. The rising-star cast packs the characters with cheeky humour, high energy and, yes, suitably repressed Britishness. But of course the realities of WWI change everything. Vikander handles this mood-swing very nicely, conveying Vera's resilience as she is bombarded with intense emotions. Her chemistry with Harington is strong, packed with passion. And the surrounding cast is terrific, even if most of the roles are relatively slight. The stand-outs are Richardson as a prickly Oxford professor and Atwell as a feisty fellow nurse.

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The Theory of Everything Review


An unusual point of view prevents this from ever turning into the standard biopic, but it's Eddie Redmayne's staggeringly committed performance as Stephen Hawking that makes the film unmissable. Based on the book by Stephen's wife Jane Hawking, the film uses her perspective to recount the events with their relationship firmly at the centre, which adds a personal angle the audience can engage with. This diverts the attention from Hawking's scientific breakthroughs, but makes the film both energetic and emotionally riveting.

It opens in 1963 when Stephen (Redmayne) is a rising-star at Cambridge, already a genius who thinks far outside the box. But he also has a sharp sense of humour, which makes it easy to see what Jane (Felicity Jones) sees in this brainy black-hole-obsessed geek. Then just as their relationship begins to get serious, he is diagnosed with motor neurone disease and given two years to live. Instead of giving up, Jane marries him and has three kids as Stephen defies the doctor's prognosis. As his physical condition deteriorates, they get help from two people who become unexpectedly close: widowed choir director Jonathan (Charlie Cox) and medical assistant Elaine (Maxine Peake). And even as their marriage comes apart under the pressure, Jane and Stephen remain deeply connected to each other.

Anthony McCarten's script cleverly lets big ideas swirl around each scene without swamping the more human story. The central factor in Stephen and Jane's interaction centres on faith: his in science, hers in God. Stephen continues to seek a theory that will scientifically explain the nature of existence, while Jane catches him out when he takes a leap of faith himself. And the film lets all of this play out through their interaction with a variety of terrific side characters, including Stephen's tutor (David Thewlis), his colleagues (Harry Lloyd and Enzo Cilenti), his father (Simon McBurney) and Jane's mother (Emily Watson). Each performance is packed with telling nuance, while Jones gives the film a textured heart and soul.

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Picture - Emily Watson - BFI London... London United Kingdom, Tuesday 14th October 2014

Emily Watson - BFI London Film Festival Centrepiece Gala: Testament of Youth held at the Odeon Leicester Square - Arrivals at Odeon Leicester Square - London, United Kingdom - Tuesday 14th October 2014

Little Boy 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.

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Picture - Emily Watson - BFI London... London United Kingdom, Tuesday 14th October 2014

Emily Watson - BFI London Film Festival Gala Screening of 'Testament of Youth' - Arrivals - London, United Kingdom - Tuesday 14th October 2014

Emily Watson

Picture - Emily Watson - Photographs from... London United Kingdom, Tuesday 14th October 2014

Emily Watson - Photographs from the British Film Institute's London Film Festival Centrepiece Gala: Testament of Youth at Odeon Leicester Square in London, United Kingdom - Tuesday 14th October 2014

Emily Watson
Emily Watson

Emily Watson Set For London Bombings Drama 'A Song for Jenny'

Emily Watson Hayley Atwell

The British actress Emily Watson is to star in a BBC drama based on the London 7/7 bombings. Watson will play Julie Nicholson, whose daughter Jenny was killed at Edgware Road underground station. 

Emily WatsonEmily Watson will star as Julie Nicholson

A Song For Jenny is based on Nicholson's own account of the day and will be written by the playwright Frank McGuinness. Nicholson herself told the Radio Times that she was overjoyed with the re-telling of her tragic story. 

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Testament of Youth Trailer

Vera Brittain is an extraordinarily talented young woman who battles the odds to land herself a scholarship at Oxford University despite the attitudes of all the people around her frowning upon her desire to enter into a career in literature. Her life becomes even more promising when she falls for her brother's best friend Roland Leighton. However, the war is becoming ever closer and he is forced to abandon his own prestigious studies in favour of the frontline. Filled with grief over Roland's life-threatening circumstances, she decides to make the decision of a lifetime and leave her dreams behind. Instead, she decides to volunteer as a nurse for the sea of wounded troops that are yet to pour back into the country. Even as all that she holds dear are quickly annihilated by the vicious First World War, her determination keeps her focused on making the best of such horrors.

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See Eddie Reymane as Stephen Hawking in 'The Theory Of Everything' Trailer

Eddie Redmayne Felicity Jones James Marsh Emily Watson David Thewlis

Excitement for the forthcoming British biopic, The Theory of Everything, based on the life of cosmologist and theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking has been propelled forward twice this week: firstly with a still of the two main characters, Hawking and his wife Jane, and now with a full trailer.

The Theory of Everything
The first still released from the Stephen Hawking forthcoming biopic, The Theory of Everything

Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones assume the roles of the two main characters and will take audiences on a journey through the early stages of Hawking’s studies and the difficulties the couple face when he is diagnosed with motor neurone disease at the age of 21.

Continue reading: See Eddie Reymane as Stephen Hawking in 'The Theory Of Everything' Trailer

The Theory Of Everything Trailer

Coming from a privileged upbringing, cosmologist and theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking naturally had a first-rate education - though no-one could expect the kind of genius and revolutionary theories that he would eventually come up with. While wowing his university professors with his baffling discoveries, he was fighting a personal battle with his rapidly deteriorating health. Whilst still studying, he began to lose the ability to walk as well as the ability to speak before being diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease and given a two-year expect survival rate. As to be expected from one of the world's most accomplished scientists, he defied the odds and embarked on a long and fulfilling life that lasts to this day - with just a little help from the love of his youth Jane Wilde, who encouraged him to carry on speaking with the help of his trademark speech generating device.

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Picture Released For Stephen Hawking Biopic: The Theory Of Everything

Eddie Redmayne Felicity Jones James Marsh Emily Watson David Thewlis

The first still from the forthcoming British biopic, The Theory of Everything, based on the life of brilliant physicist Stephen Hawking, has been released ahead of the film’s trailer premiere due out tomorrow (6 August). Showing its two stars, Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones, the still captures a tender moment between Hawking and his first wife, Jane.

The Theory of Everything
The first still has been released of the Stephen Hawking biopic, The Theory of Everything

Due to make its debut as Focus Features’ frontrunner at the Toronto International Film Festival in September this year, The Theory of Everything charts the life of a young Hawking as he begins his epic journey of discoveries within the world of physics. The film follows Hawking as a young man who enters into a relationship with Cambridge student Jane Wilde shortly before his heart-breaking motor neuron disease diagnosis at 21.

Continue reading: Picture Released For Stephen Hawking Biopic: The Theory Of Everything