Solid acting and adept filmmaking help make up for the fact that this film asks us to spend a couple of hours in the presence of a group of truly despicable characters. They're played by some of the brightest (and most beautiful) rising stars in the movies at the moment, but each one of these young men is vile to the core. So the fact that these are supposed to be Britain's brightest and best hope for the future makes the film pretty terrifying.
It's set at Oxford University, where the elite Riot Club (including Douglas Booth, Sam Reid, Freddie Fox, Matthew Beard, Ben Schnetzer and Olly Alexander) are on the lookout for wealthy white students to complete their 10-man membership. They find suitable candidates in new arrivals: the sneering Alistair (Sam Claflin) and conflicted Miles (Max Irons), whose one drawback is that he's seeing a common girl (Holliday Grainger). After the rigorous initiation process, Alistair and Miles are welcomed to the hedonistic gang at a lavish dinner in the private room of a country pub. But things turn nasty as they drunkenly hurl abuse at the pub manager (Gordon Brown), his daughter (Jessica Brown Findlay) and a high-class hooker (Natalie Dormer) they hire for the night.
Based on the play Posh by screenwriter Laura Wade, the film is centred around this increasingly chaotic dinner party. Although nothing that happens is particularly surprising, because these young men are such relentlessly bigoted, misogynist snobs that it's impossible to believe they belong anywhere other than prison. They certainly don't deserve their self-appointed status as the top students at Oxford, who are getting debauchery out of their systems before taking the lead in British politics and business. But then, that's precisely Wade's point, and she makes it loudly. Thankfully, director Lone Scherfig balances things by offering glimpses into these young men's dark souls while skilfully capturing the old-world subculture and a strong sense of irony.
Continue reading: The Riot Club Review
The Riot Club is an elite group of ten Oxford University students; the very best who are almost definitely going to go on to have successful futures. It's hundreds of years old and is notorious for their ritual drunken debauchery, lawlessness and often violent behaviour during their exclusive dinner parties each term. Their current president persuades a pub landlord and his daughter to let the club hire out the venue for the night, as long as he keeps things under control. However, it soon becomes clear that none of these young men are up for a quiet night when one of them hires a prostitute to 'entertain' them. She manages to make a quick escape when she realises what she's let herself in for though, and most of the club decide to take their frustrations out on the landlord and his daughter. Tragically, things get out of hand when one of the men seriously injures the landlord, causing the rest of them to panic. But with reputations at stake, who's going to blamed for it?
Continue: The Riot Club Trailer
The fact that this magical romance has been retitled A New York Winter's Tale in the UK tells you what the filmmakers think of the audience: we can't be trusted to get anything on our own. Writer-director Akiva Goldsman lays everything on so thickly that there's nothing left for us to discover here. And he botches the tone by constantly shifting between whimsical fantasy and brutal violence. Sure, the manipulative filmmaking does create some emotional moments, but inadvertent giggles are more likely.
It's mainly set in 1916, where young orphan Peter (Farrell) is running from his relentlessly nasty former boss Pearly (Crowe), a gangster angry that Peter isn't as vicious as he is. Then Peter finds a mystical white horse that miraculously rescues him and leads him to the dying socialite Beverly (Brown Findlay). As they fall deeply in love, Peter believes he can create a miracle to save Beverly from the end stages of consumption. And Pearly is determined to stop him. But nearly a century later, Peter is still wandering around Manhattan in a daze, trying to figure out who he is and why he's still there. He gets assistance from a journalist (Connelly), who helps him make sense of his true destiny.
Yes, this is essentially a modern-day fairy tale packed with supernatural touches. But Goldsman never quite figures out what the centre of the story is, losing the strands of both the epic romance and the intensely violent vengeance thriller. Meanwhile, he condescends to the audience at every turn, deploying overwrought camera whooshing, frilly costumes, dense sets and swirly effects while a violin-intensive musical score tells us whether each a scene should be wondrous or scary. At the centre of this, Farrell somehow manages to hold his character together engagingly, even convincing us that Peter is around 25 years old (Farrell's actually 38).
Continue reading: Winter's Tale Review
'Winter's Tale' has failed to impress critics who have marked the film as overly sentimental, confusing and lacking in convincing characters. The grand romantic gestures the film centres around have entirely failed to woo critics even over the Valentine's Day weekend.
Winter's Tale, also known as A New York Winter's Tale, has failed to warm the hearts of critics following its Valentine's Day release.
Colin Farrell stars in Winter's Tale as Peter Lake.
The film has a stellar cast including: Colin Farrell (Phone Booth); Russell Crowe (Les Misérables); Jessica Brown Findlay (Downton Abbey); Jennifer Connelly (Beautiful Mind); Will Smith (Men in Black); and a large host of other famous names.
Continue reading: 'Winter's Tale' Receives Icy Critical Reception
Farrell plays a burglar in this extraordinary fantasy tale.
Winter's Tale is certainly not a movie that claims to be based on a true story but it certainly does profess to be a tale of true love. With a stellar cast, the marvels of New York City, a love story for all ages and a sprinkling of magic, the stage is set for this new Akiva Goldsman movie to be one of next year's cinematic highlights.
'Winter's Tale': This Romantic Fantasy Tale Will Be Released Just After Valentines Day 2014.
Colin Farrell plays Peter Lake, a burglar who lives and robs in early 20th century New York City. He is wanted by his former gangster boss, Pearly Soames (Russell Crowe), to repay a debt. Peter breaks into a mansion one day only to find a beautiful girl sat at her piano who is strangely not startled by his arrival.
Peter Lake is a wanted burglar in a desperate struggle to escape an old gangster boss of his, Pearly Soames, in the cruel world that is 1916. One day, he breaks into a dazzling mansion that he thinks is empty, but then discovers the owner's beautiful daughter Beverly Penn at her piano who appears unafraid of him. Struck by her beauty, he embarks on a whirlwind romance with her that is marred when Peter discovers that she is dying of consumption. That's not the only thing Peter has to contend with as Soames repeatedly tries to kill him, but to no avail as Athansor, a white horse and guardian angel, is always there to save him. During one of those rescue feats, Peter finds himself in modern day Manhattan without a clue who he is and with no signs of aging. Determined to use this to his advantage, he sets out to save the one person he still remembers.
This heart-breaking fantasy romance is based on the novel of the same name by Mark Helprin and has been adapted to screen by Oscar winning director and writer Akiva Goldsman ('Batman Forever', 'I Am Legend', 'The Da Vinci Code'). Not to be confused with the Shakespearian play of a similar name, 'Winter's Tale' is a tremendous story of reincarnation and eternal love and will released in UK cinemas on February 21st 2014.
Paul Giamatti who starred in such films as The Illusionist, Rock of Ages and The Hangover Part II will feature in British drama Downton Abbey. He will play Lady Cora's (Elizabeth McGovern) visiting American brother, Harold.
Paul Giamatti who has starred in such films as Sideways,The Illusionist, Rock of Ages and The Hangover Part II will feature in British drama Downton Abbey. He will play Lady Cora's (Elizabeth McGovern) visiting American brother, Harold.
Last series ended with yet more tragedy with Matthew (Dan Stevens) following in the wake of Lady Sybil (Jessica Brown Findlay) and 'going to a better place' i.e. the bright light at the end of the acting tunnel: Hollywood! Both died after having a child and both have left distraught spouses. Will Branson and Lady Mary overcome their differences and possibly get together? It's only a possibility but it does seem to be the sort of dog-legged plotline writer Julian Fellowes appreciates.
Pail Giamatti is merely one of many American actors who will take up a part on ITV's hit show. We've already witnessed Shirley Maclaine appear as Cora's mother who according to Carnival Films' managing director Graham Naeme will return this season. This is one of the reasons the cast and crew are so excited about Giamatti's involvement in the drama, according to Naeme "We can't wait to see him work alongside Shirley Maclaine, who are both sure to upset the Grantham's apple cart in this year's Christmas Day episode".
Downton Abbey's Jessica Brown Findlay says she regrets agreeing to a topless scene in 2011 movie Albatross.
Downton Abbey's Jessica Brown Findlay appears to be suffering from a bout of topless scene regret. The 23-year-old actress, who plays Lady Sybil in the ITV drama, went topless for a scene in her first movie 'Albatross' in 2011, though now regrets the decision and wishes she'd have said no.
"To be honest, 'Albatross' was naivety and not knowing that I could say no," Findlay told the Radio Times, "I had no idea what was going to happen and thought I was going to be shot from behind." The scene was far more revealing than Findlay had assumed and her character pulled up her top to prove her age when buying cigarettes at a newsagent. "Hollywood is not for me. I love acting, but I also love London," she reflected.
Findlay announced that she is to leave Downton Abbey earlier this year, in search of a new challenge. "Being afraid and going into the unknown excites me and what scared me more was to keep going and then one day discover it was all I could do and wish I had pushed myself more. I'd prefer to fail and fall flat on my face," she said. One thing's for sure; nude scenes probably aren't on her to-do list.
Continue reading: Topless Scene Regret For Downton Abbey's Jessica Brown Findlay
Downton Abbey’s Brendan Coyle has told Radio Times that the stars of the show know exactly when it’s going to end. So, if you were hoping that Downton Abbey would somehow evolve into a soap opera, with no shelf life, then we’re afraid you must be prepared to be disappointed. “I can pretty much say all of [the cast] know when Downton is going to end,” revealed Coyle, whose character Mr. Bates is currently serving time for allegedly murdering his wife. “This is a show with a finite life,” he stressed. “If we bring this into the 50s, it’s Emmerdale. Though I really like Emmerdale…”
What you can look forward to – even if it’s not endless episodes of Downton Abbey from now until kingdom come, is more drama and more ambiguity. “If you think it’s ambiguous now, it gets more ambiguous,” Coyle explains, teasingly. “Bates has been in the Boer War… he would have killed a lot of people. Does that mean he can kill his wife? What does it do to you?” Bates’ innocence, or otherwise, is currently one of the central debates of the show.
Last weekend, social networking sites were ablaze with misery as one of Downton Abbey’s best-loved characters, Lady Sybil (played by Jessica Brown Findlay), died shortly after childbirth. With Downton Abbey Season 3 in full swing in the UK, Julian Fellowes’ period drama has become a favourite both at home in the UK and across the pond in the United States. But just when, exactly, will its lifespan come to an end?