There's a terrific script at the heart of this World War II thriller, with a blast of complex romance alongside some dark Hitchcockian twists. But filmmaker Robert Zemeckis (Forrest Gump) was probably the wrong man for the directing job, as he overproduces every scene to within an inch of its life. Everything is so big and slick that the story begins to be swamped by the too-perfect costumes and scenery. Which makes it difficult for the audience to engage in what should really be a scrappy, dangerous little drama.
It all kicks off in 1942 Casablanca, where Canadian pilot Max (Brad Pitt) meets French resistance agent Marianne (Cotillard), and together they pose as a couple to infiltrate a party and assassinate a high-ranking Nazi. They also fall in love, and afterwards decide to move to London together and start a family. But a year later, as they are raising their young daughter in leafy Hampstead, Max is told by British officials (Jared Harris and Simon McBurney) that Marianne may have secretly been a German spy all along. And there's now a countdown, as a trap as been laid to prove her guilt unless Max can find evidence to the contrary.
What follows is a tense series of events that are drenched in suspicion and intrigue as Max scrambles around to find the truth while trying not to let Marianne know what he's up to. It's a clever set-up that's very nicely played by Pitt and Cotillard, both of whom bring contrasting layers of emotion and subterfuge to their roles, plus plenty of swooning romantic energy. Most intriguing is that both are able to remain likeable as things progress. So whatever the outcome, it won't change how we feel about them. The adept actors in the side roles are excellent, although they're little more than more scenery around the central couple.
Continue reading: Allied Review
Miss Shepherd is a highly educated elderly woman living off barely anything in a small dilapidated van. She asks for nothing from her community, other than to be allowed her peace and to have a place to park her van. Constantly being moved by authorities, she finds herself taking up residence on Alan Bennett's road, much to the displeasure of his house proud neighbours. Despite her prickly disposition and shameless boldness, Bennett - a man of more timid and awkward nature - takes an immediate shine to Miss Shepherd, offering her his driveway to park her vehicle on a temporary basis. Soon, though, just a few weeks turns into fifteen long years as this impoverished musical scholar and this lowly gentleman of humble background become unlikely yet inseparable friends - a friendship rocked by Miss Shepherd's eventual ill health which soon strikes a sadness in the heart of the whole town.
Continue: Lady In The Van - Alternative Trailer
A fully-clothed sex scene in the JMW Turner biopic was the most complained-about film in Britain in 2014, according to the BBFC's annual report.
Mr. Turner has been surrounded by some confusing news stories ever since its release (like, why wasn’t it nominated for any of the major prizes at the BAFTAs and Oscars?) but none quite as inexplicable as this one. The British Board of Film Classification named the Mike Leigh-directed biopic as the most complained-about movie of 2014, because of a scene in which lead actor Timothy Spall “vigorously” clenches his buttocks, according to the Guardian.
The BBFC, which awards age certification for movies released in Britain, said that the scene featuring the artist JMW Turner and his housekeeper, played by Marion Bailey, in which Spall’s “clothed buttocks are seen clenching vigorously, before the scene cuts to a close-up of his face and his thrusting head and shoulders”, caused 19 people to complain about its sexual nature in a film deemed to be of 12A suitability.
Timothy Spall in Mr. Turner, bizarrely the most complained-about film in 2014
Continue reading: 'Mr. Turner' Draws More Complaints Than Any Other Movie Of 2014
It's no surprise that Mike Leigh would take a distinctly original approach to the celebrity biopic, and this film about 19th century painter J.M.W. Turner is refreshingly unstructured and abrasive. By avoiding the usual formula, Leigh also reinvents the period drama as something almost startlingly realistic, packing the screen with sardonic humour and honest emotions that are extremely complex. And since it's about a painter, the film looks absolutely gorgeous, as Leigh and his ace cinematographer Dick Pope recreate the look of Turner's paintings on-screen.
The film is set in the 1820s, when Turner (Timothy Spall) is a celebrity on the art scene, courting controversy with his visceral landscapes. People either love or hate his work, but his financial success means he can do whatever he wants. Living with his father (Paul Jesson) and loyal housekeeper Hannah (Dorothy Atkinson), Turner openly challenges his critics. But his private life is just as tempestuous. He ignores the two daughters he fathered with Mrs Danby (Ruth Sheen) and has a second incognito life with the widow Sophie Booth (Marion Bailey), calling himself "Mr Mallard". Meanwhile, he continues to push boundaries in his work, challenging the status quo to such an extent that he becomes a joke in social circles.
Spall won the Best Actor award at Cannes for his astonishing performance as the fiercely independent Turner, a man who went to extreme ends to maintain his anarchic lifestyle and produce his distinctive paintings. In one key scene, he straps himself to a ship's mast during a storm so he can better capture the extreme weather in his work. Yes, Turner was a hurricane of a man, brushing off anyone who disparaged his art, including Queen Victoria. And it's no surprise that so few people liked him: Spall plays him believably as monosyllabic grump who growls more than he speaks.
Continue reading: Mr. Turner Review
Director Mike Leigh has made a new biopic about one of Britains finest landscape artists, J.M.W. Turner. 'Mr Turner' will see key events of Turner's life like the death of his father which had a profound effect on him; as well as the relationships he built such as the one with his housekeeper who loves him, but he underappreciates. The film will tell the story of Turner's legacy which saw him help pioneer landscape painting with his works, helping the style rival history painting.
As well as being skilled at landscape painting, Turner was also known for being well versed in watercolour landscape painting. He was considered an anarchistic character in his life, due acts such as strapping himself to a ship, in order to paint a storm.
The film is directed by Mike Leigh (Happy-Go-Lucky, Another Year, Vera Drake), who's expressed that he wanted to make a film that captures Turner's personality, which Leigh describes as complex and compulsive. 'Mr Turner' is set to be released in the UK on the 31st of October 2014.
Seven songs to take you to victory, or seven songs to dry your eyes to.
Idris Elba has unveiled his new indie imprint 7Wallace Music.
It's that time of year again. 'Today we celebrate our Independence Day!'
We could watch this guy all day.
There's a terrific script at the heart of this World War II thriller, with a...
Miss Shepherd is a highly educated elderly woman living off barely anything in a small...
It's no surprise that Mike Leigh would take a distinctly original approach to the celebrity...
Director Mike Leigh has made a new biopic about one of Britains finest landscape artists,...