Audiences looking for a French historical costume drama should look elsewhere, but those who enjoy British period comedies will love it. With a pointed dash of history and politics, this is a silly movie about social status, and it's so well written and played that only cynics won't have a lot of fun with it. Thankfully, the talent both in front of and behind the camera keep the focus on the lively characters, which makes it engaging on a deeper level than expected.
The fictional story is set around real events in 1682 France, as King Louis XIV (Alan Rickman) was planning to move his court from Paris to Versailles, a vast palace still under construction. The final project there is the expansive garden, which landscaper Andre (Matthias Schoenaerts) has to complete on deadline and under budget. And everyone is shocked when he hires the little-known Sabine (Kate Winslet) to build an outdoor ballroom and fountain. But he has been smitten with her skill and passion for gardening, and there's also a gently gurgling romantic spark between them as well. The problem is that his high-society wife (Helen McCrory) notices this and sets out to sabotage Sabine's work.
There's not much here that's historically accurate, from the frankly outrageous costumes to the English filming locations and dialogue that buzzes with specifically British humour. But it's so breezy and snappy that all we can do is sit back and enjoy it for what it is. Those who do so may even find some underlying resonance in the discussions of order and chaos in landscape design, as well as the way honesty is like a blast of fresh air in a world constrained by status. Indeed, the film's most memorable scene is a gorgeously written and played chance encounter between Sabine and the King in which they initially don't know who the other is.
Continue reading: A Little Chaos Review
Damian Lewis And Helen Mccrory Ban Their Two Children From Using Computers During The Week So They Learn To Think For Themselves.
The former Homeland star and his actress wife have two sons, Manon, nine and Gulliver, eight, and they are determined their children should practice writing with pen and paper, so they impose a computer ban during the week and only allow 10 minutes of screen time at weekends.
MCCrory tells Britain's Stella magazine, "There's a whole generation of children growing up who don't seem able to express themselves... They are not actually experiencing the putting the ink in the pen, putting the pen to paper, thinking about what they are going to say, looking up the words they want to say it with. Damian and I often sit down with Manon and Gully and a dictionary and a thesaurus and encourage them to write. When they say they want to look something up on a computer, we say no.
"We want them to have the space to think, you see. We also worry terribly that they are growing up in a society that is about instant gratification. If something's wrong - their appearance in a photograph, say - a child can now edit it to their liking or just press delete. But life's not like that, is it? I don't want my children to be perfect beings in a perfect world."
It may not be very clever, and the plot may be full of holes, but this sequel's clammy atmosphere is so unnerving that it manages to keep us squirming in our seats. Credit has to go to director Tom Harper for making this work, because Jon Croker's script is strung together on the thinnest logic imaginable. Instead, it's the inner lives of the characters combined with the almost ridiculously freaky setting that work to keep the audience in a state of perpetual freak-out. As long as we don't try to make sense of it.
It's set 40 years after the first film, as bombs are falling in 1941 London and schoolteacher Eve (Phoebe Fox) evacuates eight students north away from the threat. Travelling with headmistress Jean (Helen McCrory), they meet charming airman Harry (Jeremy Irvine) on the train. He's headed to a new post near Eel Marsh House, where the children will be living. At the train station, they meet Dr. Rhodes (Adrian Rawlins), who escorts them to the insanely isolated, falling-down wreck of a clearly haunted mansion, cut off from the mainland at high tide. But Eve and Jean get on with making it feel like home, while Harry looks in on them from time to time. Then one of the boys, Edward (Oaklee Pendergast), who hasn't spoken a word since a bomb killed his family, sees a malicious ghost (Leanne Best).
From here things get startlingly nasty. This is definitely not a thriller for pre-teens, like the first film. These children are in genuine peril, and begin to die in pretty ghastly ways, like a slasher movie with victims who are only 10 years old. Much of the worst violence remains off-screen, so Jean amusingly refuses to admit that there's any real problem until things really cut loose. Clever acting touches add to the drama, as Irvine and Fox provide a whiff of doomed romance, McCrory maintains her stiff upper lip just a bit longer than she should, and the kids get to create seriously creepy moments of their own.
Continue reading: The Woman In Black: Angel Of Death Review
BBC Films' 'Bill' is the first cinematic outing for the cast of the hit UK TV series, 'Horrible Histories'.
William Shakespeare has had a fairly difficult transition to the silver screen. Sure, his plays have been made into great film adaptations, but whenever the character is portrayed in movies, things seem to go a bit wrong. Thankfully, this new look at the life of the Great Bard is being made by the comedy troupe behind the BBC's television series 'Horrible Histories' and 'Yonderland'.
Mathew Baynton and Martha Howe-Douglas in 'Bill'
The comedy group have often been hailed as a modern Monty Python, yet more child-friendly. And now, after two celebrated television series, the cast have been unleashed in their first feature film from BBC Films. Filming in iconic UK locations around Yorkshire, the cast and crew shot in York Minster, Skipton Castle, Bolton Castle, Selby Abbey, as well as Shakespeare's Globe Theatre in London.
A young and ambitious playwright in the time of Queen Elizabeth the 1st makes the travel to London to showcase his wares. The young bard's name? Bill. Young Bill has a play in mind that will one day become the talk of London and, considering how the Queen's personal playwright is far from up to scratch, may even be performed before the Queen herself. But when a group of revolutionaries decide to use the play as the staging point for their plot to kill the Queen, Bill must fight to not only put on a performance to launch his career, but save the audience from assassination. It's all in a day's work for William Shakespeare, however.
Continue: Bill Trailer
The gritty drama kicks off on BBC 2 in September
BBC 2 are pulling out all the stops for their upcoming drama, Peaky Blinders, which tells the story of illegal trade in guns, protection and betting in post World War I Birmingham and the titular gang’s attempt to control them.
Peaky Blinders hits TVs this September
The show represents Cillian Murphy’s first major TV role after carving out a solid reputation in film acting. Director Otto Bathurst says his show is “like Blade Runner set in Birmingham in 1919.” We don’t know whether to laugh, cry or rock back and forth with excitement, as that’s quite the statement to make.
Tommy Shelby is the ruthless and dangerous leader of Birmingham's Peaky Blinders gang; a group of criminals known for sewing razorblades into their caps. It's set on the brink of the 1920s following the war, amidst all the problems that post-war life brought - from communist revolutionaries to the start of an ever-growing economic problem. The Shelby family get through the economic crisis their own way; theft, illegal gambling and violence, but just how much is the British government going to put up with? With this kind of lawlessness going on around the streets of Birmingham, the chance of better future for the country looks slim. When Chief Inspector Campbell arrives in the city from Belfast, Tommy begins to wonder if he's finally met his match, though what he's most unprepared for are the dilemmas that the beautiful Grace Burgess will bring.
Continue: Peaky Blinders - Clips
A riveting performance by Helen McCrory holds our attention even if this dramatic thriller suffers from efficient but bland direction and a script that fails to dig very far beneath the surface. The role is a gift for any actress: a strong, intelligent and sexy middle-aged woman. And she's so good that she makes it worth seeing even when the plot becomes rather corny and implausible.
McCrory plays top British aerospace expert Frankie, who is relentlessly pursued by one of her students, the much-younger Algerian Kahil (Oudghiri). Her father (Cranham), a fellow aircraft expert, warns her against falling into a torrid romance, but she can't resist. And soon her colleagues are whispering behind her back that she may be compromising her work on military drone technology by sleeping with a Muslim. This of course puts her back up, but it also sparks some nagging doubts, so she begins to look into Kahil's story. And some irregularities make her wonder if he might be using her for information.
The way the film plays on our own prejudices and fears is very clever, using a hot current issue like military drones. And the plot races along so quickly that we barely have time to register that it's not actually holding water. Small problems (like the fact that a top military contractor wouldn't password-protect her laptop) multiply as the story progresses from a relatively superficial romance into more sinister suspicion and then an all-out political thriller. But since everything is based around suspicions and subterfuge, it begins to look a bit silly.
Continue reading: Flying Blind Review
Damian Lewis worries about spending so much time away from his young children because of his commitment to 'Homeland'.
Damian Lewis ''wrestles'' with balancing his career and family life.
The British actor spends five months a year in North Carolina, America, shooting 'Homeland' and admits it is a wrench spending such lengthy periods away from the London home he shares with wife Helen McCrory and their children Manon, six, and Gulliver, five.
He said: ''I was talking to Gully about something completely different and suddenly, without even looking at me, he said, 'D'you know Dad? When you're away, sometimes I look out of my bedroom window at night and I call your name and I cry.'
Continue reading: Damian Lewis' Life Balance Struggle
While Damian Lewis may have won awards for his work on 'Homeland', his kids are more impressed by their mother Helen McCrory's career because she was in the 'Harry Potter' films.
Damian Lewis' children are unimpressed by his role in 'Homeland'.
Although the British actor has won an Emmy award for his portrayal of former prisoner of war Nicholas Brody, his daughter Manon, six and son Gulliver, five, think their mother Helen McCrory is cooler because she starred as Narcissa Malfoy in the 'Harry Potter' movies.
Damian said: ''Helen was in 'Harry Potter' and they've been to the 'Harry Potter' set.''
Continue reading: Damian Lewis' Kids Not Impressed By Career
Date of birth
17th August, 1968
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