Martin Joubert is a French baker living in Normandy who has a deep passion for the writer Gustave Flaubert and his masterpiece novel 'Madame Bovary', which takes place in the same town in which he lives. Soon he meets an English couple who have moved over to France to begin a new life, and of course their names are Charlie and Gemma Bovery. Joubert immediately senses oncoming disaster, especially when he notices problems in the couple's relationship. Gemma is an artist who, upon her arrival, is enlisted to help another English couple with some design work, and as fate would have it they introduce her to Patrick - who happens to be her former lover. Joubert watches as Gemma and Patrick begin an illicit affair and predicts that this is another story that's bound to end in tragedy, no matter what he does to try and stop it.
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An arch approach makes this bonkers thriller rather enjoyable, even if it never quite cracks the surface. The story comes from the Edgar Allan Poe story The System of Doctor Tarr and Professor Fether, written in 1845, so director Brad Anderson (The Call) has fashioned the movie as bit of riotous Victorian mental institution nuttiness. Cue the mad-eyed acting, gothic production design and ludicrously batty plot. But if you take it for what it is, it's pretty entertaining.
It takes place in December 1999, as the new century is about to dawn and young doctor Edward (Jim Sturgess) arrives at Stonehearst Lunatic Asylum in a freakishly isolated corner of England. Instantly smitten with the inmate Eliza (Kate Beckinsale), Edward struggles to concentrate on the tasks given to him by his sinister boss Silas (Ben Kingsley), while being constantly watched over by the glowering groundsman Mickey Finn (David Thewlis). Silas' revolutionary system of treatment involves indulging the patients in their specific delusions, which has created a deranged sense of community in the sprawling hospital. Then one night stumbling around in the darkness, Edward discovers a group of people locked in prison cells in the basement, and their leader Benjamin (Michael Caine) claims to be the true head doctor. Yes, the inmates have taken over the asylum!
This premise allows the cast to indulge in a variety of hilariously shifty performances, hamming up every scene with constant innuendo. There isn't anyone in this place who looks remotely sane. Sturgess is fine as the dull Edward, while Beckinsale keeps her character's madness just out of sight, so both of them pale in this colourful company. Kingsley and Caine camp it up marvellously, while Thewlis adds a strong sense of menace and Sophie Kennedy Clark almost steals the film as an amusingly sex-mad virginal nurse. It's also worth watching the background players, as each has a ball his or her brand of craziness.
Continue reading: Stonehearst Asylum Review
Stonehearst Asylum follows the plot of Edgar Allen Poe's short story The System of Doctor Tarr and Professor Fether. It is a story about Edward Newgate (Jim Sturgess) - a medical school graduate in the 19th Century who travels to the titular Asylum to gain 'clinical experience'. It is here that Newgate meets Silas Lamb (Ben Kingsley) and Eliza Graves (Kate Beckinsale), the latter of which he becomes instantly infatuated with. Almost at once, things start to creepy as Edward encounters some of the inmates and realises that perhaps his new colleges are not entirely concerned with following regulations. As the plot thickens and Edward finds himself spiralling further down the rabbit hole, the questions seem pile up. Why does one of the inmates claim to be the asylum's superintendent? Why are the doctors so gleeful when using such barbaric 'treatments'? And why does the man in charge seem so adamant that 'we're all mad'?
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Not so much a rom-com as an anti-romance comedy, this brightly amusing British film makes us laugh fairly consistently, although the story itself is pretty grim. It's also a problem that the plot and characters are contrived and inconsistent. Even so, there's enough jaggedly hilarious humour in here to make it worth a look, complete with a superior cast that knows how to make the very most of even the smallest role.
The film opens with the lavish wedding of Josh and Nat (Spall and Byrne), although their friends and family not-so-secretly wonder if the marriage will last. Over the coming months, Josh's best mate Danny (Merchant) tries to distract them with inappropriate jokes, but the tension between relatives Naomi and Hugh (Driver and Flemyng) only reminds them how much work marriages require. After nine months, they begin seeing a therapist (Colman) who encourages them to try to make it to their first anniversary. But Josh is thinking about rekindling romance with an ex (Faris), while Nat is falling for the charms of a sexy client (Baker).
Essentially a collection of comedy set-pieces, the plot lurches around in search of ways to lampoon relationships, often in the rudest way possible as people say the worst things at the wrong times. Along the way there are some hilarious sequences, such as a humiliating game of charades or a ridiculous attempt at a threesome. Each set-up is are seized upon by expert improvisors like Merchant and Key (as a pessimistic insurance salesman). And the funniest moments in the film belong to Colman, who makes the most of every scene-stealing opportunity, and Driver, who expertly delivers a constant stream of withering insults.
Continue reading: I Give It A Year Review
Has the cat been let out of the bag too early? Last week, with rumors swirling around whose going to get involved in the recently announced new trilogy of Star Wars films, actor Jason Flemyng – who can list Lock, Stock And Two Smoking Barrels among his credits – might have possibly, accidentally sort of let slip that Matthew Vaughn had been signed to direct the new film.
The Guardian reports that Vaughn was tipped to direct Episode 7 after Steven Spielberg, Brad Bird and JJ Abrams all publicly ruled themselves out of the reckoning. Vaughn knows his sci-fi, as he’s currently working on X-Men: Days Of Future Past as a producer. Vaughn and Flemyng have worked together on many occasions, including Lock, Stock itself, and Flemyng’s ease at talking about his pal evidently led him to say a little too much.
"Me and Matt have done nine films together, so I'm sure I'll get the call for Star Wars” said Flemyng absent-mindedly as he was asked about rumors surrounding Vaughn and the sci-fi franchise. Oops. He later looked somewhat sheepish in the video, like a man who’d realized he’d said too much. If he has leaked the news, Disney will be furious, with everything having been kept very hush hush since they bought the franchise from George Lucas for $4.05 billion last month.
Continue reading: Matthew Vaughn To Direct New Star Wars Film? Jason Flemyng Slips Up
George Lucas says his involvement in Star Wars: Episode VII will be limited and that he intends to leave it up to Disney's chosen director and producers to carry on his iconic sci-fi story. Speaking at the Governor's Awards on Saturday evening (December 1, 2012), Lucas explained what his duties as a "consultant" on the seventh movie will entail, reports Access Hollywood.
"[If the filmmakers ask],'Who's this guy?' I can tell them. I mean, they have a hundred encyclopedias and things, but I actually know a lot. I can say, 'This is this and this is that" So, basically he'll be sitting with his feet up then? He added, "Basically I'm not [involved] - I don't really have much to do." Disney are still on the hunt for a director to helm the first movie, though Lucas' good friend Steven Spielberg has gone on the record as saying it's not his "genre." George laughed off the idea on Saturday, calling Spielberg "probably the most brilliant director working in the business today," though adding, "I'm pretty sure he'd never want to do that! I don't think he'd want to."
Star Wars: Episode VII is set to hit theaters in 2015, with Matthew Vaughn looking the likely director. Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels star Jason Flemyng appeared to let the cat out of the bag at the premiere of Seven Psychopaths this weekend, saying, "Me and Matt have done nine films together, so I'm sure I'll get the call for Star Wars." When one journalist asked "Would he [Matthew] be interested?" Flemyng looked surprised, "What? Star Wars? I think that's.." before looking a little sheepish.
Continue reading: George Lucas On Star Wars: Episode VII: "I Don't Really Have Much To Do"
Even though Charles Dickens' oft-told story is livened up with a terrific cast and sharp script, it's difficult to see anything terribly new about this BBC-produced version. Especially since it comes less than a year after their previous lavish TV production. But there are plenty of elements in this film that make it worth seeing, as the soap-style plot twists and turns through comedy and romance to its action-thriller climax.
After growing up as an orphan with his blacksmith uncle (Flemyng) and high-strung aunt (Hawkins), Pip (Irvine) is given the chance to live as a London gentleman. He's sure that his anonymous benefactor is the barmy Miss Havisham (Bonham Carter), a broken-hearted hermit he worked for as a child. And since he's still in love with her adopted daughter Estella (Grainger), he decides to use his new position in society to court her. But things don't quite go as expected, and his life takes a surprising turn when scary prison escapee Magwitch (Fiennes) latches onto Pip and begins revealing some surprising connections between all of these people.
This faithful retelling of Dickens' novel is packed with coincidences and revelations, as well as the kind of gleefully thorny rivalries that would be expected on Dallas or Downton Abbey. Overloaded with blackly comical intrigue, it's a compulsively enjoyable film that entertains us on a variety of levels as the story develops. Although director Newell (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire) never tries anything too flashy. Which means that despite the high quality, the film is straightforward and perhaps unnecessary.
Continue reading: Great Expectations Review
Josh and Nat thought they had the most perfect relationship and made no hesitation in getting married despite their family and friends doubting their longevity. In their first year of being hitched, cracks begin to show and they don't feel as connected as they once were; while before they were very much emphatically in love, now they don't feel like they know each other at all. For one thing, they are polar opposites: Nat is a successful working woman, but Josh is struggling in his career as a novel writer. Before long, Josh's stunning ex-girlfriend Chloe floats into the picture flaunting her enviable figure, while at the same time a handsome new client, Guy, enters Nat's life tempting the newlyweds away from each other. As much as they try and convince themselves that they are happily married, they flounder against their friends' adulterous encouragements.
From the writer of 'Ali G Indahouse' and 'Bruno', Dan Mazer has taken up new project 'I Give It A Year' which he has also directed. It's a brilliantly funny British comedy with many nail bitingly awkward moments and one with a message to make us question true love and happiness. It is set for release on February 8th 2013.
Director: Dan Mazer
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Pip is a young orphan who has a chance meeting with a frightening stranger while visiting the graves of his parents; a meeting which was to be the catalyst a series of events that would shape his future. Not long after this experience, an unhinged, jilted spinster called Miss Havisham asks Uncle Pumblechook (the uncle of Pip's brother-in-law with whom he lives) to find a young boy to provide company for her adopted daughter Estella. When Pip is chosen, he becomes a regular visitor of Miss Havisham who manipulates him into falling for the pretty but cold-hearted Estella as he grows older. When he becomes a blacksmith's apprentice at his brother-in-law's shop, he is approached by a lawyer who informs him that he has been left a large sum of money by a mysterious benefactor and must journey to London to become a gentleman. Little does he know of the surprises that lay in store for him as he discovers that he has so many secrets to uncover.
This seminal coming-of-age story serves as one of the most influential pieces of English literature in history. Originally written by one of the greatest novelists of the 19th century Charles Dickens, 'Great Expectations' has been adapted to screen by director Mike Newell ('Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire', 'Four Weddings and a Funeral') and screenwriter David Nicholls ('One Day', 'Starter for 10'). It is due to hit UK cinemas from November 30th 2012.
Director: Mike Newell
Starring: Jeremy Irvine, Helena Bonham Carter, Ralph Fiennes, Holliday Grainger, Robbie Coltrane, Jason Flemyng, Sally Hawkins, Ewen Bremner, David Walliams, Jessie Cave, Ralph Ineson, Tamzin Outhwaite & Olly Alexander. .
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Bill, known to his friends as Wild Bill, has just been imprisoned for eight years for drug dealing. Now out on parole, he returns to his flat in a tower block in East London to find his two sons, Dean and Jimmy, living alone. Their mother abandoned them a while ago, so the respective fifteen and eleven year olds have been fending for themselves.
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