While this is billed as a film about The Smiths' singer-songwriter Morrissey, it's actually an unauthorised biopic about his early years. Which means that it doesn't include a single word or note of Morrissey's music. But while it may not tell us much about the British pop icon, the film is still a very well-made exploration of a young artist trying to discover his voice. The actors are excellent, as is the re-creation of Manchester from the mid-1970s to the early 80s.
It opens in 1976, as Steve Morrissey (Jack Lowden) is struggling against boredom to hold down a job. The thought of living the same dull life as everyone else terrifies him, and he rebels against the pressure from his patient mother (Simone Kirby) and sarcastic sister (Vivienne Bell). Instead, he hangs out with his lively artist friend Linder (Jessica Brown Findlay), going to various concerts and galleries while jotting lyrics in his notebook. Eventually he forms a band with guitarist Billy (Adam Lawrence), but Billy is quickly snapped up by a much bigger group. So Steve goes out looking for another boring job. And it takes awhile for him to meet Johnny Marr (Laurie Kynaston), with whom he will eventually form The Smiths.
There may be a rather obvious hole in this film where Morrissey's music should be, but there's plenty to enjoy along the way. Steve only sings once in the film (a New York Dolls cover), but Lowden plays him with a sparky sense of humour and a wry, somewhat mopey attitude that's surprisingly endearing. Lowden also plays the various relationships beautifully, creating terrific chemistry with Findlay, who lights up the screen with her sparky charisma. Kirby has some strong scenes of her own, as does Peter McDonald as Steve's largely absent father.
Continue reading: England Is Mine Review
Britain's epic 1940 evacuation of Dunkirk has been dramatised on film before, but no one has taken an approach like Christopher Nolan. Not that this is a surprise, since Nolan has made a career of fiercely inventive filmmaking. But this might be his masterpiece: a relatively simple story told with creative verve, relentlessly growing intensity, emotional resonance and the weight of history.
He recounts the events on three timelines. Over the course of a week, young soldier Tommy (rising star Fionn Whitehead) finds himself on the beach at Dunkirk amid 400,000 soldiers hemmed in from behind by the Germans and looking for some way to get across the Channel to England. But every ship he finds is sunk in front of him, or under him, as German pilots drop bombs from the sky. Meanwhile over the course of one day, English yachtsman Dawson (Mark Rylance) and his sons (Tom Glynn-Carney and Barry Keoghan) head off to do what they can as part of an armada of small civilian boats. And in the sky above over the course of an hour, spitfire pilot Farrier (Tom Hardy) engages the Luftwaffe in a series of aerial battles.
Nolan skilfully edits these three time-strands together into a narrative that continually loops back on itself, showing events from different angles. It sometimes feels a bit repetitive, but that's the point, and the result is increasingly resonant as it recounts the events from three internal perspectives. In the focal roles, Whitehead, Rylance and Hardy offer distinct angles on heroism and survival. These are powerfully engaging performances that reveal men merely doing what they can in seemingly impossible situations.
Continue reading: Dunkirk Review
It's 1940 and World War II is in full swing. Allied soldiers from Britain, Belgium, Canada and France at stationed at Dunkirk ready to pull France from the grip of the Germans. However, they soon discover that they are completely surrounded by enemy forces who have them so trapped that they no longer have use for tanks. Confined in the open space of the Dunkirk beaches with nowhere left to hide and definitely nowhere to run, the soldiers face almost certain death as the air strikes begin. Their only hope is to sail across the English Channel to safety, but with enemy planes showing no mercy their survival will be miraculous. But these are allied forces aren't about to surrender, no matter what happens. Their courage and determination is about to save more than 300,000 men.
Continue: Dunkirk - Trailer and Featurette
It's 1977 and a young Mancunian man named Steven Patrick Morrissey (Jack Lowden) is on the look-out for the perfect musicians to begin his own band; a band that will set itself apart from the popular culture. With his contempt for the local music scene as it was and his reputation for arrogance, he was never particularly popular despite his intelligence. When he meets a young artist named Linder Sterling (Jessica Brown Findlay), she tells him how it is and urges him to be more open-minded in the invention of his new musical vehicle so that he may reach stardom. But he's apprehensive.
While he hates his tax office job, he still doesn't know what kind of a legacy he wants to leave. But then he meets Billy Duffy (Adam Lawrence), with whom he has a lot in common and ultimately leads him to 14-year-old Johnny Marr (Laurie Kynaston) who would become his guitarist and co-songwriter in the formation of indie rock band The Smiths.
'England Is Mine' is a forthcoming account of Morrissey's youth and the beginnings of his musical career. It explores that famously divisive personality of his - his strong opinions on his working class life, his disdain for popular music and his fiery political standpoints - in technicolour, with the help of Jack Lowden who is the star of 'Tommy's Honour', 'A United Kingdom' and the yet to be released World War II epic 'Dunkirk'.
Continue: England Is Mine Trailer
In one of the biggest military disasters in British history, 400,000 soldiers found themselves stranded on the beaches of Dunkirk in France in 1940 in the midst of World War II. Their journey was about releasing the allied France from the grip of the Germans, but when they find themselves surrounded by enemy forces, with nowhere left to hide their options become limited. Determined not to surrender to the Nazis, an incredible emergency evacuation begins as bomb after bomb is dropped on the fleeing men. The Royal Air Force and British Navy vessels rush to the aid of their trapped troops, as well as boats from brave civilians, and together they manage to save over 300,000 men from the terrifying attack in Operation Dynamo.
Continue: Dunkirk Trailer
Tommy Morris is an expert golfer who learned the sport from his father; the greens-keeper at The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews and a club maker by occupation. Despite Tommy's skill, he is still dismissed by club members for his own social standing. Not content with career prospects as a caddy, however, Tommy invites townsfolk to watch him play on his own green and soon becomes a local legend. His father is less pleased about this. A man who prides himself on knowing his place in the hierarchy, he is embarrassed by Tommy's insistence at defying unwritten social rules which comes to a head when he falls in love with a woman a class below him.
Continue: Tommy's Honour Trailer
After several high-profile grown-up movies (from Atonement to Anna Karenina), director Joe Wright aims this Peter Pan origin story squarely at children. So while it's far too manic and broad for adults, this adventure will be the most exciting movie any 8-year-old has seen in years. It's colourful and fantastical, and it thankfully doesn't indulge in reworking the beloved J.M. Barrie stories. Instead, it imagines an action-packed prequel universe.
As German bombs fall on London during the Blitz, young Peter (Levi Miller) is up to all kinds of mischief in the grim orphanage overseen by Mother Barnabas (Kathy Burke), who sells bad boys to airborne pirates. Sure enough, one night Peter is taken, sailing into the sky to Neverland, where he is sent to work in the mines for the swaggering, heartless Captain Blackbeard (Hugh Jackman). In the mines Peter is befriended by the adventurer Hook (Garrett Hedlund), and when Peter discovers that he can fly they make their escape. Blackbeard chases them out into the woods, where they take refuge with Princess Tiger Lily (Rooney Mara) and her tribe, which is convinced that Peter is the child of a prophecy that will lead the fairy kingdom to freedom. But just when Peter learns who his parents really were, Blackbeard catches up with them.
This is an old-school kids' movie, packed with larger-than-life characters and outrageously imaginative action sequences that make the most of the 3D cinematography. Yes, there's so much digital trickery going on that the movie is essentially a cartoon, but it's so vividly explosive that it's a lot of fun to watch. And many of the big set-pieces are genuinely thrilling. There's also quite a lot of fun to be had in the way the story twists the familiar characters around. Obviously, Hook couldn't have always been a bad guy; here he's one of the heroes, and he still has both hands, which hints that further prequel adventures may be on the cards.
Continue reading: Pan Review
Peter was but a small boy when he was left at an orphanage by his mother, with no belongings other than a small metal pan around his neck. For some years, he grew up with no knowledge of why he his mother left him, but things become clear when he discovers the mystical world of Neverland. 'Pan' takes us back to the very beginning of Peter Pan's story, from his unlikely friendship with James Hook to when Blackbeard was his arch nemesis, fighting in a land above the clouds, where ships sail the air and giant crocodiles lurk beneath the mermaids' lagoon. Soon Peter learns that he was prophecised to return to the land and defeat Blackbeard, with his ability to fly and his unwavering bravery being his only tools. This is a boy who never wants to grow up, but he's about to realise that sometimes maturity and responsibility falls on you without choice.
Continue: Pan - International Trailer
Peter was sent to an orphanage as a young boy with nothing but a small metal pan pendant left to him by his mother, who predicted great things for her son. Indeed, he goes on to experience the most exciting childhood anyone could dream to have, flying around on airborne ships from the mystical world of Neverland. And while it may be an enjoyable time, there are still great dangers that lie before him; the most feared pirate in all the land, Blackbeard, is out to bring the land under his tyrannous rule and Peter finds himself a target. Meanwhile, he meets James Hook, a fellow traveller who becomes his friend and protector, and it isn't long before he then bumps into a vibrant tribe led by the formidable Tiger Lily, who reveals to him that his arrival marks the end of the pirates' terror. But Peter is just a boy, and however brave he might be, does he really stand a chance against these merciless villains?
Continue: Pan Trailer
Gary Hook (Jack O'Connell) is a British soldier, nervous about his placement in Belfast during the political riots of 1971. With little to no experience being barely out of school, the only thing he can trust is his own instincts, while being uncomfortable and suspicious of both the locals and his fellow soldiers. Unfortunately for him, his fear of the volatile situation is only about to get worse as he finds himself abandoned on unfamiliar streets when his own regiment takes flight. Now all alone surrounded by savage and angry Northern Irish residents, he has to find a way to survive the rest of the night before joining his team once again.
Continue: 71 - Clip
Date of birth
2nd June, 1990
While this is billed as a film about The Smiths' singer-songwriter Morrissey, it's actually an...
Britain's epic 1940 evacuation of Dunkirk has been dramatised on film before, but no one...
It's 1940 and World War II is in full swing. Allied soldiers from Britain, Belgium,...
It's 1977 and a young Mancunian man named Steven Patrick Morrissey (Jack Lowden) is on...
In one of the biggest military disasters in British history, 400,000 soldiers found themselves stranded...
Tommy Morris is an expert golfer who learned the sport from his father; the greens-keeper...
Professor Deborah Lipstadt spent her life documenting and writing about the atrocities that happened in...
Once upon a time, a handsome, intelligent man fell in love with an equally clever...
After several high-profile grown-up movies (from Atonement to Anna Karenina), director Joe Wright aims this...
Gary Hook (Jack O'Connell) is a British soldier, nervous about his placement in Belfast during...