It's the 1930s and a group of strangers from different walks of life board a crowded luxury train called the Orient Express in Istanbul, preparing for a long overnight journey to their destination. Among them is the world famous detective Hercule Poirot who certainly isn't expecting to be working in such circumstances, but when a passenger named Edward Ratchett is found havng been brutally murdered in his sleep on the second night, it's up to him to gather all available evidence and wheedle out all of the suspects. So who are they? He soon deduces that the potential killer could be one of eleven including Professor Gerhard Hardman, Edward Masterman the Butler, Count Andrenyi, Hector MacQueen the Assistant, Mary Debenham the Governess, Pilar Estravados the Missionary, Mrs. Hubbard the Widow, Marquez the Salesman, Hildegarde Schmidt the Maid, Doctor Arbuthnot or Princess Dragomiroff.
Continue: Murder On The Orient Express Trailer
In the late 80s, Richard Thorncroft (Julian Barratt) was the most famous police detective on television, but fast-forward to the present day and he's balding, ungroomed and trying to convince himself that he is exactly where he needs to be in life with desperate daily positive affirmations. Fate does have one more adventure in store for the actor, however. A suspected serial killer named Paul Melly (Russell Tovey) has escaped from a secure unit at Darkmoor Hospital and is now taunting Isle of Man police that more will die unless he can speak to Detective Mindhorn. The police are well aware that Mindhorn is just a TV character, but they try their luck and enlist the help of the actor who plays him nonetheless. Unfortunately, Thorncroft turns out to be much less efficient than his onscreen persona, as much as he'd like to believe otherwise.
Continue: Mindhorn Trailer
Kenneth Branagh will direct the Agatha Christie adaptation.
The ensemble cast of Kenneth Branagh’s Murder on the Orient Express is shaping up to be pretty special.
Johnny Depp is among the A-list cast for Murder on the Orient Express
The story of Romeo and Juliet is one of unconditional love that shows how far two people will go in order to be together for eternity. The two families the Montagues and the Capulets are at war with each other and both Romeo the son of Montague and Juliet the daughter of Capulet fall in love with each other which is strictly forbidden because of the family's ongoing feud.
Continue: Branagh Live: Romeo & Juliet Trailer
Kenneth Branagh , Lindsay Brunnock - The Olivier Awards held at the Royal Opera House - Outside Arrivals at Olivier Awards 2016 Royal Opera House London, Covent Garden 03 April 2016 - London, United Kingdom - Sunday 3rd April 2016
Kenneth Branagh - ****File Photo** MARK RYLANCE has been nominated for an Olivier Award, less than 24 hours after winning an Oscar for BRIDGE OF SPIES. The 56-year-old actor has been in the industry since the 1980s but it has been the last few years that have seen him receive huge critical acclaim. After taking home the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in Steven Spielberg's Cold War drama at the ceremony on Sunday night (28Feb16), Mark has been recognised for his role in Farinelli And The King at the Duke of York's Theatre last September (15). He will have some tough competition if he's to take home a prestigious Olivier Award, however, as he is up against Kenneth Branagh for The Winter's Tale, Benedict Cumberbatch for Hamlet, Adrian Lester for Red Velvet and Kenneth Cranham for The Father. Leading the ladies' category is Nicole Kidman who, fresh off the back of taking home a WhatsOnStage theatre award earlier this month (Feb16), has been nominated for Best Actress for Photograph 51. Gemma Arterton is nominated in the same category for Nell Gwynn, while Janet McTeer, Denise Gough and Lia Williams are also up for the gong. Judi Dench received her 15th Olivier Award nomination, this time for Best Actress in a Supporting Role for The Winter's Tale, and is up against lesser known actresses Michele Dotrice, Melody Grove and Catherine Steadman in her category. In the Best Actor in a Supporting Role selection, Mark Gatiss will face off against Michael Pennington, Tom Sturridge and David Suchet. Meanwhile, Imelda Staunton also notched up another nod to add to her collection, receiving her 11th Olivier nomination for Best Actress in a Musical thanks to her role in Gypsy. Tracie Bennett, Natalie Dew, Laura Pitt-Pulford and Emma Thompson's sister Sophie are also up for that prize, while David Haig will compete against Ian Bartholomew, Killian Donnelly, Matt Henry and Jamie Parker for Best Actor in a Musical. Gypsy proved one of the most popular shows recognised in this year's nomi - London, United Kingdom - Wednesday 25th March 2015
Kenneth Branagh - ****File Photo** MARK RYLANCE has been nominated for an Olivier Award, less than 24 hours after winning an Oscar for BRIDGE OF SPIES. The 56-year-old actor has been in the industry since the 1980s but it has been the last few years that have seen him receive huge critical acclaim. After taking home the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in Steven Spielberg's Cold War drama at the ceremony on Sunday night (28Feb16), Mark has been recognised for his role in Farinelli And The King at the Duke of York's Theatre last September (15). He will have some tough competition if he's to take home a prestigious Olivier Award, however, as he is up against Kenneth Branagh for The Winter's Tale, Benedict Cumberbatch for Hamlet, Adrian Lester for Red Velvet and Kenneth Cranham for The Father. Leading the ladies' category is Nicole Kidman who, fresh off the back of taking home a WhatsOnStage theatre award earlier this month (Feb16), has been nominated for Best Actress for Photograph 51. Gemma Arterton is nominated in the same category for Nell Gwynn, while Janet McTeer, Denise Gough and Lia Williams are also up for the gong. Judi Dench received her 15th Olivier Award nomination, this time for Best Actress in a Supporting Role for The Winter's Tale, and is up against lesser known actresses Michele Dotrice, Melody Grove and Catherine Steadman in her category. In the Best Actor in a Supporting Role selection, Mark Gatiss will face off against Michael Pennington, Tom Sturridge and David Suchet. Meanwhile, Imelda Staunton also notched up another nod to add to her collection, receiving her 11th Olivier nomination for Best Actress in a Musical thanks to her role in Gypsy. Tracie Bennett, Natalie Dew, Laura Pitt-Pulford and Emma Thompson's sister Sophie are also up for that prize, while David Haig will compete against Ian Bartholomew, Killian Donnelly, Matt Henry and Jamie Parker for Best Actor in a Musical. Gypsy proved one of the most popular shows recognised in this year's nomi at El Capitan Theatre - Los Angeles, California, United States - Monday 2nd March 2015
Kenneth Branagh , Lindsay Brunnock - Kenneth Branagh arrives on a flight to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) with wife Lindsay Brunnock - Los Angeles, California, United States - Monday 18th January 2016
Kenneth Branagh - A variety of stars were snapped as they arrived at the BBC Films 25th Anniversary Reception which was held at BBC Broadcasting House in London, United Kingdom - Wednesday 25th March 2015
Let's hope Lily James' glass slipper isn't actually made of glass though...ouch!
Disney has revealed the first teaser trailer for the upcoming live action reimagining of the classic fairytale, Cinderella. Starring Lily James in the titular role, Cinderella is set for release in April 2015 and will also feature Cate Blanchett, Hayley Atwell, Helena Bonham Carter, Stellan Skarsgard, and Richard Madden.
A New Teaser Trailer Heralds Disney's Upcoming Reimagining Of The Classic Tale Of 'Cinderella.'
Disney's 1950 animated take on the tale is probably the most well-known version of the story, which has its roots in 17th century folklore, and the studios is set to reimagine the legend for a modern audience with actors instead of animation.
Everyone is familiar with the classic fairy tale of Cinderella. Cinderella lives a mundane life doing whatever her evil step-mothers tell her to do, and all she dreams of is going to the ball and one day a fairy Godmother makes this wish come true and she lives happily ever after.
In 2015, Cinderella will have a new reimagining via Disney who have previously made a cartoon film, telling the story. This version is going to be live action and will star Lily James (Downton Abbey, Wrath Of The Titans) as Cinderella, Richard Madden (Game Of Thrones, A promise) as Prince Charming, Cate Blanchett (The Lord Of The Rings franchise, Hanna) as Lady Tremaine and Helena Bonham Carter (Les Misérables, Fight Club) as The Fairy Godmother. Given the war-driven fantasy works some of these actors have been in (namely Blanchett in Lord Of The Rings and Madden in Game Of Thrones), can we expect an element of this in this new Cinderella film? Probably not, but it should still be a fun film at the very least for both children new to the story, and people who'll remember seeing the previous version.
The film is directed by Sir Kenneth Branagh who you may know best for playing Gilderoy Lockhart in Harry Potter and The Chamber Of Secrets, but he has also had great success directing films. A recent example being 2011's Thor.
The Swedish author announces his illness via a newspaper article.
Henning Mankell has announced that he has cancer via an article in today's Göteborgs-Posten, a Swedish newspaper. The Swedish author, who is famous for his Inspector Kurt Wallander detective novels, described how he'd learned of his cancer two weeks ago on a visit to his orthopaedic surgeon in Stockholm.
Henning Mankell hat Krebs. In GP will er künftig darüber schreiben. Aus der Perspektive des Lebens, nicht des Todes. pic.twitter.com/WFfJq6srXq— Dagmar Lieder (@DagmarLieder) January 29, 2014
Continue reading: 'Wallander' Author Henning Mankell Reveals Advanced Stage Cancer
There's nothing very original in this spy thriller, but director Branagh gives the film a weighty sense of importance that at least makes it feel important. He can't make up for the flimsy plot or cliched characters, but he can coax shaded performances from the cast to grab our interest. And while the action is never as coherent as a Bourne movie, it at least has a sense of gravitas about it.
For yet another reboot of the Tom Clancy franchise, we go back earlier to follow Jack Ryan (Pine) as he is inspired by the 9/11 attacks to leave his financial studies and join the Marines. Shot down over Afghanistan, he undergoes a gruelling recovery and is recruited by CIA operative Harper (Costner) to work undercover on Wall Street, monitoring terrorist fund movements. A decade later his girlfriend Catherine (Knightley) has no idea what his real job is, so when she surprises him on a business trip to Moscow she ends up in the middle of an operation to investigate shady Russian businessman Cherevin (Branagh), who's behind some sort of imminent global attack.
The film's brisk pace focusses on Jack's motivations all the way through, so we understand his earnest desire to serve his country. Although we can't quite figure out how he developed all these he-man skills working behind a desk in a bank. Not only is he adept at firearms and hand-to-hand combat, but he can ride a motorcycle like a stuntman! Fortunately, Pine's everyman persona makes him easy to identify with and bodes well for future franchise instalments. Opposite him, Costner is marvellously lean and cool, Branagh has terrific lip-less menace and Knightley does her best in the standard underdeveloped female role.
Continue reading: Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit Review
Jack Ryan is a young office worker at CIA headquarters whose life turns upside down when his cosy desk job turns into a major physical operation. He's been able to hide his dangerous career from his new wife Cathy for a couple of years, but now that someone is trying to kill him, things get a little trickier. He is enlisted to help thwart a major Russian terrorist plot that threatens the lives of millions of people in all the major cities of the world, but when he makes it to Moscow, he finds a very angry wife waiting for him. However, as things turn out, she has a crafty head on her herself and agrees to get involved with the operation as a diversion, but when her life is suddenly at risk, Jack has to decide where his priorities lie.
Based on the Tom Clancy book series which kicked off with 1984's 'The Hunt for Red October', Kenneth Branagh ('Thor', 'As You Like It', 'The Magic Flute') directs action thriller 'Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit' - the fifth film in the movie series produced by Mace Neufeld ('The Aviator', 'Beverly Hills Cop III', 'Asylum'). David Koepp ('War of the Worlds', 'Angels & Demons', 'Jurassic Park') and Adam Cozad are screenwriters and it will be released in the UK on December 26th 2013.
The film goes back to the beginning to explore the origins of the fictional CIA operative created by Tom Clancy
Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit is the fifth Jack Ryan film to be released since Tom Clancy's fictional CIA badass first made the leap to the big screen in Hunt For Red October 23 years ago. The film was directed by Sir Kenneth Branagh and stars Chris Pine and Keira Knightley, with Branagh and Kevin Costner also appearing in the picture.
Chis Pine (R) and Kevin Costner (L) keep things confidential in the new film
The film differs from past 'Ryan' outings, going back to the very beginnings of Ryan's career when he was a young CIA analyst trying to juggle his high octane profession and his marriage to Cathy (Knightley), who he met three years ago and who is completely oblivious to what he does for a living. Things take a turn for the unexpected with Ryan when he finds himself as the target in an assassin attempt, at which point he discovers a devious plot involving Russian terrorists to launch a major attack across the globe, invariably damaging various major cities in the world in a bid to destroy the US economy.
Check out the trailer for the taut thriller below.
The trailer for Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit has been released; the first film in the series to bear simply the name of the character that has sewn all previous released together. The film takes on another level of pertinence as celebrated author Tom Clancy – the creator of the Ryan adventures – passed away on October 1st, three days ago.
Chris Pine as Jack Ryan in Shadow Recruit
In Playing Jack Ryan, Star Trek’s Chris Pine follows in the footsteps of Alec Baldwin (The Hunt for Red October) Harrison Ford (Patriot Games/Clear and Present Danger) and Ben Affleck (The Sum of All Fears). Billed as a sort of origins story, Pine has to adopt the high-profile actors that have played the role before him, but effectively see them off in his own, unique performance as the freshly minted CIA analyst.
Jack Ryan is a young CIA analyst who joined Intelligence hoping for a comfortable office job that he could easily cover up so that his wife Cathy, who he met three years ago, won't find out what he does for a living. However, things don't exactly go according to plan and he finds himself being targeted by an assassin while uncovering a frightening plot involving Russian terrorists launching a major terrorist strike at the main cities of the world in a bid to destroy the US economy. He is charged to go to Moscow to stop the conspiracy from going ahead but then finds he has other problems to deal with when his wife follows him and discovers the extent of his deception.
The star accidentally harms one of his colleagues.
Oh Kenneth Branagh, you get so deep into your roles, you’ve forgotten what’s real and what’s acting! The 52-year-old actor managed to injure one of the cast of Macbeth in a choreographed fight scene, by hitting him with a real sword. Notice we said hitting and not stabbing, lawyers.
Kenneth Branagh filming in Manhattan
“There is enormous concentration,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme on the perilous nature of the battle scenes. “It is impossible to say that it is without danger. Metal clashes, sparks literally fly.” In a statement, the Manchester International Festival (MIF) said: "An actor was hurt during one of the fight scenes in a performance of Macbeth on Wednesday night. MIF has qualified medics on site during each performance and the actor was assessed and told he was fine to continue on with the evening's performance. The actor was taken to hospital afterwards as a precaution."
Continue reading: Kenneth Branagh Takes It Too Far, Injuring Fellow Macbeth Cast Member
Kenneth Branagh's run as Macbeth is now entirely sold out - though there are other ways to watch.
Sir Kenneth Branagh cemented his reputation as one of Britain's finest actors with a debut performance as Macbeth, at a 281-capacity deconsecrated church in Manchester for the city's international festival. The mud-bath stage ran the entire length of the church and played host to a battle scene in heavy rain to open the production, reports BBC News.
Branagh is noted for his Shakespearean acting, though hasn't appeared in one of the playwrights plays for 11 years. The Guardian's Michael Billington said: "The highest compliment I can pay him is that at times he evoked golden memories of Olivier in the role."
Ahead of the performance, spectators were warned not to wear their "best, light coloured, dry-clean only," clothes and the seating area - close the action - left them open to mud spatters from the earthy, natural staging. Billington added: "We seem to be in the thick of the rain-soaked, mud-spattered opening battles," adding, "This is an exciting production that shows why Branagh is such a fine Shakespearean actor.He can do the soaring vocal cries but he is also sensitive to the minutiae of language."
Continue reading: Sir Kenneth Branagh Brings Manchester To A Standstill With 'Macbeth'
Lily James has seemingly come from nowhere to land one of the biggest roles in Hollywood.
The Downton Abbey actress Lily James has landed the role of Cinderella in Disney's live-action retelling of the classic Brothers Grimm fairy-tale, reports Variety. Kenneth Branagh will direct the project, based on a script by Chris Weitz. Oscar-winner Cate Blanchett co-stars as the evil stepmother.
James is a name that's hardly been mentioned throughout the casting process, with Disney originally offering the role to Harry Potter star Emma Watson. On that occasion - Variety's Marc Graser (who broke news of Lily James' casting) - reported how negotiations had broken down, with Watson instead choosing to focus on Guillermo del Toro's planned Beauty and the Beast movie, over at Warner Bros. The film is still in development at the studio, though there's no production start date or release date yet.
Lily James began her career in several notable theatre roles, including alongside Dominic West in a production of Othello at the Crucible in Sheffield. She went onto star in Vernon God Little at the Young Vic Theatre. She landed a movie roles in Noel Clarke's 2012 film Fast Girls about a group of young female athletes competing in the World Championships before appearing in Wrath of the Titans, alongside Rosamund Pike, Sam Worthington and Liam Neeson. Her television credits include Secret Diary of a Call Girl and season three of Downton Abbey.
Alex Kingston and Kenneth Branagh will star together in new production of Shakespeare's classic
The actress Alex Kingston has been cast as Lady Macbeth, to star alongside Sir Kenneth Branagh in a new production of the Shakespearian tragedy. The new production of the play will be co-directed with the Emmy and Tony award-winning director Ron Ashford. Kingston, aged 50 is perhaps best known for her roles as Dr Elizabeth Corday in ER and River Song in Doctor Who.
Speaking to the Daily Mail, she revealed “I’m excited - and a bit terrified, as well - about being given the challenge and being pushed… It’s going to be a workout, that’s for sure. Emotional things are already starting to percolate.” She also explained how she came to be working with Branagh; they met in Los Angeles for tea and discussed the not-so-happy Macbeth couple. Kingston and Branagh saw eye to eye when it came to approaching the characters and their development throughout the play. “it’s more interesting if you don’t consider them sort of quintessentially evil at the beginning of the play, because then, ultimately, you’re only playing one note,” said Alex. “There are references in the play that their castle is very pleasant; it’s not some sort of terrifying, glowering place that has an evil presence.”
Co-director Ron Ashford explained that he wanted an actress of Alex’s “stature” to carry off the complexities of Lady Macbeth’s character and highlight her vulnerabilities.
Continue reading: Alex Kingston Lands Lady Macbeth Role Alongside Kenneth Branagh
Emma Watson has passed on Disney's big-budget Cinderella.
Last month, Variety's Marc Graser reported that former Harry Potter actress Watson was in early talks to join the project, which stars Cate Blanchett and boasts a crew including 'Devil Wears Prada's Aline Brosh on script duty and Twilight's Chris Weitz on rewrites. The movie is planned to begin shooting in London this fall, though the entire project has been dealt a serious blow with news that Watson - the studio's first choice for Cinderella - has passed.
It's probably a wise decision by Watson, who is slowly but surely moving away from family movies in a bid to be considered a serious actress. This year, she'll be seen in Darren Aronofsky's historical-epic Noah, with Russell Crowe, and plays a teenage thief in Sofia Coppola's 'The Bling Ring.' She also stars in Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen's This Is The End.
Continue reading: Slipper Didn't Fit: Emma Watson Passes On Disney's 'Cinderella'
The updated production will be held at the newly opened Traf Transformed theatre at Trafalgar Studio in Whitehall, beginning in February next year (13), running from February 9 until April 27. The latest version has been re-written by Lloyd and is set in a dystopian separatist Scotland, which has been ravaged by war. Although little else has been revealed about the plot of the latest adaption, is is believed that the story will largely follow Shakespeare's original plot, with the setting and a few other details being changed for the new adaption.
After the show's run, McAvoy will be heading back to Hollywood to film the sequel for last years X Men: First Class, where he will reclaim his role as Professor Charles Xavier in X-Men: Days of Future Past. Don't worry if you want to see Macbeth after McAvoy calls it quits though, as the newly knighted Sir Kenneth Branagh will be teaming up with director Rob Ashford to bring their own interpretation of the Bard's most famous story at the Manchester International Festival in July.
Yesterday (Nov 9), Kenneth Branagh was officially made Sir Kenneth Branagh, with the actor declaring the day to be the pinnacle of "one hell of a year."
The actor, who first bowed before the Queen after a performance in Hamlet when he was a 19-year-old drama student, took to one knee in front of Her Majesty once again as he has given his knighthood after it was announced during the Queen's birthday honours list in June this year reports The Daily Mail. The actor/director/writer was officially recognised by the Queen for his outstanding services to drama over a career that was spanned more that three decades.
Throughout his distinguished careers, the Belfast-born thespian has been nominated for five Academy Awards and won three BAFTAs, however he has said that the knighthood knocks all these recognitions out of the water. Known best for his Shakespearean roles, especially Hamlet and Henry V, Branagh also received recognition for his roles on TV as the Swedish detective Wallander, as well as receiving plaudits for his roles behind the camera, for Frankenstein and most recently Thor.
Actor/writer/director and all round renaissance-man Kenneth Branagh received his knighthood today at Buckingham Palace by Queen Elizabeth II, having been told of his accolade following the announcement of Queen's birthday honours in June this year.
Sir Kenneth, who is perhaps best known for his Shakespearean roles both in front and behind the camera, also played a part in this year's Olympic opening ceremony, donning the trademark stove-pipe hat as he played Britain's most famous industrialist Sir Isambard Kingdom Brunel at the start of Danny Boyle's breathtaking spectacle.
Branagh was not the only person honoured in the Birthday list from the entertainment industry, with X Factor judge and Diamond Jubilee organiser Gary Barlow recognised with an OBE for his services to the entertainment industry and to charity. Comedy writer Armando Iannucci, known for his work on sitcoms such as The Thick Of It and I'm Alan Partridge, was also given an OBE in the honours.
At age 23, Colin (Redmayne) is struggling to break into the movie business, camping out at the production offices of Laurence Olivier (Branagh), who is just about to start filming the 1957 comedy The Prince and the Showgirl with Marilyn Monroe (Williams). While Marilyn's diva behaviour and strict acting coach (Wanamaker) enrage Laurence, he can't deny that when she gets it right, she's magic. Meanwhile, Colin is assigned to help Marilyn make it through the shoot. And of course he can't help falling for her.
Continue reading: My Week With Marilyn Review
Colin Clark is an aspiring film maker and his first job upon leaving university is the role of assistant on a new film, called The Prince and The Showgirl. It stars a young Laurence Olivier and Marilyn Monroe, the blonde bombshell who shocks with her implications that she sleeps in the nude.
Continue: My Week With Marilyn Trailer
Kenneth Branagh, Alan Rickman, Celia Imrie, Derek Jacobi, Emma Thompson, Imelda Staunton, Judi Dench and Robbie Coltrane - Kenneth Branagh, Dame Judi Dench, Alan Rickman, Celia Imrie, Imelda Staunton, Richard E Grant, Robbie Coltrane, Patrick Doyle and daughters, Emma Thompson, Scott Davies, Sir Derek Jacobi, Jannis Kelly, Anatolij Fokanov, Adrian Lester, Mike Newell, Dan Hill Sunday 28th October 2007 at Royal Albert Hall London, England
Welcome back, Potter.
The beloved Harry Potter returns to screens, a scant year after his most debut, with the film version of book two in the unfathomably popular Harry Potter series, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Unfortunately, while the Potter-obsessed will likely find few faults with the film, this sequel captures much less of the original's magic. (And while I've not read the books, I understand the same can be said for the second novel as well.)
Secrets finds Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) back at home with his Muggle family on summer vacation, locked in his room (though no longer under the stairs). Before long, Harry is set to return to Hogwarts -- despite the insistence from his uncle that he is no longer allowed to study magic. But a daring prison break, courtesy of the Weasley family -- including Harry's best bud Ron (Rupert Grint), gets Harry back to school, despite the meddling of a Yoda-like "house elf" named Dobby (very obvious CG). The masochistic Dobby tries to convince Harry that his life is in danger if he returns to Hogwarts -- though in reality his life appears more in danger due to Dobby's "helpful" meddling.
Harry of course does return to Hogwarts, where all his familiar experiences await him. Hermione (Emma Watson) is still the class brain. Hagrid (Robbie Coltrane) is still the school clown. Snape (Alan Rickman) is still Snape. The new additions to the cast include a new Dark Arts professor, Gilderoy Lockhart (Kenneth Branagh), a narcissistic wizard with questionable ability, as well as the father of Harry's platinum blonde archrival Malfoy, Lucius (Jason Isaacs).
While the cast is still in fine form (the exception being a shockingly haggard Richard Harris as headmaster Dumbledore; Harris died a few weeks before the film's release), it's the story that is decidedly lacking in this episode. The titular Chamber of Secrets is a legendary room inside Hogwarts fabled to hold a menacing creature. It can only be opened, we're told, by an heir to the Slytherin family. When a mysterious message appears on the Hogwarts walls in blood, Harry begins hearing hissing voices, and students begin to turn up paralyzed. It appears the Chamber of Secrets has been opened -- and suspicions fall on Draco Malfoy (Tom Felton) as the heir. Or is it Harry?
What follows is another nearly-three hours of exposition as Harry, Ron, and Hermione attempt to crack this riddle, Nancy Drew-style, while the body count at Hogwarts keeps rising. Mercilessly padded, the movie drags us through ages of all-too-familiar territory: a Quidditch match ends predictably; spells go awry; the trio works on a potion together; one-note characters appear only to say their line and soon exit the story. Finally, invariably first-on-the-scene Harry coincidentally discovers a blank diary -- it's amazing how much coincidence drives the plot -- that leads him on a circuitous path to discover the Chamber, just in time for a final showdown with what looks astonishingly like a miniature-golf hazard.
Jeez, I'm bored just writing about it. So much of Secrets is so unnecessary that my audience was way ahead of the circuitous yet ultimately very simplistic story. Kids spent the three hours running up and down the aisles -- only their parents had the fortitude to stay with the plot. That said, this installment is much funnier than the original, and it has a bit more of a grown-up sentiment to it. Still, it's going to take more than an ominous voice in the walls and a flying car to keep even the most patient adults interested in a three-hour movie.
Chamber of Secrets is enjoyable for many of its stretches, and it's unfortunate that director Chris Columbus (giving up the reins for episode 3) didn't take more chances with the source material, excising the many irrelevant parts and adding in a bit of his own vision. As such, we have a movie that plays out in fits and starts of fun alternating with boredom. Sad to say, the kids will probably want to leave midway through this one and ask you to replay the original on DVD when you get home. Poor Harry, when we see you again (in two years' time), I hope you'll have regained a bit of your magic.
As with Potter #1, the film comes to DVD in an exhaustive and impressive two-disc package, headlined by one of the most aggressive 6.1 channel audio tracks I've ever had the privilege to hear on DVD. This film thankfully makes it much easier to find the deleted/extended scenes, all of which are well worth checking out and add a bit of depth and flavor to an otherwise so-so movie. There are also tons of games for the kids and a few interviews for the adults, including one with J.K. Rowling.
Try putting right down the middle of the course.
The story's been around for 400 years. Othello (Lawrence Fishburne) is a Moorish general in the Italian army, and he is the victim of constant prejudice. Desdemona (Irene Jacob) is his Italian lover, and when the pair secretly marry, Othello finds himself the victim of a fiendish plot by his servant Iago (Kenneth Branagh). Iago's motives are also magnified by the presence of young Cassio (Nathaniel Parker), who serves as Othello's right-hand man despite Iago's longer term of service.
Continue reading: Othello Review
In his second big-screen outing, adolescent wizard Harry Potter is blessed with enough cinematic magic to overcome several of the very same problems that left last year's "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" feeling a little protracted and rambling.
Sure "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets" spends twice as much screen time on atmosphere and adventure scenes than on plot and character. But this time around every episode seems relevant, which is a vast improvement over last year's film, bloated as it was with Quidditch matches and monster moments that didn't advance the plot one iota.
Returning director Chris Columbus retains the enchanted ambiance as Harry heads to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry for his second year of instruction in the black arts. But nothing is ever easy for our young hero, as unseen forces seem to be conspiring against him -- not the least of which is some kind of elusive beast that's loose in Hogwarts' halls, turning students to stone.
Continue reading: Harry Potter & The Chamber Of Secrets Review
For a long time I've had a theory that the musical genre couldn't survive the cynicism of modern audiences except as a ironic in-joke, like the "South Park" movie or as a post-modern homage, like Woody Allen's "Everyone Says I Love You."
I couldn't have been more wrong -- and leave it to Kenneth Branagh, a writer-director-actor who has made his name revitalizing old (old, old!) school entertainment -- to prove it by bringing back the kind of weightless musical delight that carried Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers to stardom.
For his new adaptation of Shakespeare's "Love's Labour's Lost," Branagh has re-imagined the buoyant romantic comedy as a classy, corny, 1930s movie musical, complete with uplifting dance numbers and a catalog of favorite big band ditties sung with great enthusiasm (if not great skill) by a quality cast of cheerful actors clearly having the time of their lives.
Continue reading: Love's Labour's Lost Review
An extraordinary true tale of perseverance set against the deplorable backdrop of government-sanctioned racism in 1931 Australia, "Rabbit-Proof Fence" is a stirring film about three kidnapped Aboriginal girls who run away from an indoctrination camp and walk 1,500 miles across the Outback to return to their native village.
The story takes place at a time when it was Aussie government policy to remove "half-caste" children (fathered by white men) from their Aborigine families and re-educate them to be adopted by white families, and director Philip Noyce makes no bones about showing the dismay induced by the enforcement of these laws. In one of the film's first scenes, 14-year-old Molly (Everlyn Sampi), her 8-year-old sister Daisy (Tianna Sansbury) and their 10-year-old cousin Gracie (Laura Monaghan) are ripped from their mothers' arms at a remote trading post near a tribal community called Jigalong, leaving the women sobbing and wailing in the dust kicked up by government cars.
Dragged to the a compound on the other side of the continent where dark-skinned children have the Bible beaten into them and their native languages and customs beaten out by missionaries and nuns, the girls suffer at the hands of the policy that "in spite of himself, the native must be helped."
Continue reading: Rabbit-Proof Fence Review
Fans of 'Lord of the Rings' and 'Harry Potter' have often debated what a fight between Gandalf and Dumbledore would look like, but it turns out it isn't as interesting as you might think.
Legendary thespian and film star, Sir Ian McKellen, came under fire from the late Richard Harris several years ago when he landed the role of the wise but mischievous Gandalf in 'The Lord of the Rings' trilogy. McKellen claims that Harris was furious for not being cast in Peter Jackson's fantasy epic, and this was exacerbated by McKellen being chosen over him.
Harris reportedly exploded at the rumour that McKellen would then take the role of Dumbledore as well in 2002 when Harris' health steadily began to fail. The actor explained: "Before Richard Harris died, there was an enquiry: would I be interested in playing in Harry Potter? And I said, 'Yes, certainly'. But I've not heard anything since."
Date of birth
10th December, 1960
The latest adaptation of Agatha Christie's 83-year-old classic whodunit, this lavish, star-studded film is old-style...
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 the 1930s and a group of strangers from different walks of life board a...
In one of the biggest military disasters in British history, 400,000 soldiers found themselves stranded...
In the late 80s, Richard Thorncroft (Julian Barratt) was the most famous police detective on...
The story of Romeo and Juliet is one of unconditional love that shows how far...
Cinderella is an uncommonly kind young woman, overcome with the loss of her dear father....
Following her mother's death, Cinderella was faced with a lonely existence while her beloved father...
Everyone is familiar with the classic fairy tale of Cinderella. Cinderella lives a mundane life...
There's nothing very original in this spy thriller, but director Branagh gives the film a...
Jack Ryan is a young office worker at CIA headquarters whose life turns upside down...