This fascinating true story is strong enough to hold up against the formulaic Hollywood treatment, boosted by another riveting performance from Helen Mirren. She adds some badly needed prickly humour to the film, which continually resorts to unsophisticated sentimentality as it traces a remarkable series of real events. And it helps that the story has some intriguing things to say about both art and history.
It opens in 1998 Los Angeles, where Maria Altmann (Mirren) has discovered some documents in her late sister's belongings that refer to a beloved portrait of their Aunt Adele (Antje Traue in flashbacks). The problem is that the painting is Gustav Klimt's Woman in Gold, which is regarded as the "Mona Lisa of Austria" and held in pride of place in the national gallery. Since Austria has begun restoring art stolen from its citizens by the Nazis, Maria hires novice family-friend lawyer Randy Schoenberg (Ryan Reynolds), who quickly realises the futility of the case. But they travel to Vienna to begin the process, getting some help navigating the system from local journalist Hubertus (Daniel Bruhl). Sure enough, the Austrian government fights Maria at every step of the way.
The compelling argument in this film is that if Austria acknowledges that this national treasure was stolen, it implicates the government and the population in complicity with the Nazis. And that's something no one is willing to do. There's also of course the issue of greed, since Woman in Gold is worth $100 million. But Maria's simple question is why the painting's value or status matter when its true ownership is so clear. Director Simon Curtis and writer Alexi Kaye Campbell wisely dash through the series of hearings, court cases and appeals, while emphasising this undeniable fact of the case. Although this also simplifies most scenes into little more than "Nazis bad, Jews good". While the flashbacks to Maria's past are moving and informative, Randy's sideplots feel irrelevant and undercooked, featuring his pregnant wife (Katie Holmes) and sardonic boss (Charles Dance).
Continue reading: Woman In Gold Review
When the Nazis took over Vienna prior to the Second World War, they stole countless, priceless artefacts. One of these artefacts was the Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I, and an Austrian Holocaust survivor has the perfect claim to it. Maria Altmann (Helen Mirren) hires Randol Schoenberg (Ryan Reynolds), a lawyer of Austrian decent, to help her become once again acquainted with the famous painting of her aunt. The problem is, that the painting is held in a Vienna art gallery, and the Austrian government are adamant in keeping the national treasure. Altmann, on the other hand, is desperate to get back what is rightfully hers.
Continue: Woman In Gold - Trailer And Clips
Max Irons and Cara Delevingne - English actor Max Irons, English model Cara Delevingne and the chairman of Arcadia group Sir Philip Green attended the grand opening of the Topshop and Topman New York City Flagship Store in Manhattan, New York, United States - Wednesday 5th November 2014
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 a shrewdly observed satire with an excellent, energetic cast.
The Riot Club, a richly observed satire from Lone Scherfig, is one of several strong British movies to hit the big screen in September and its young cast - particularly Max Irons, Sam Claflin and Douglas Booth - ensure this has a serious sting in its tail.
The Riot Club's talented cast has come in for acclaim
The 'club' in question is a fictionalised version of the Bullingdon Club - the exclusive society at Oxford University known for having David Cameron, George Osborne and Boris Johnson amongst its alumni.
Continue reading: 'The Riot Club' Is Far More Than A Posh Knees Up
We're passionately excited to hear more information about the upcoming film adaption of 'Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.' In the meantime, we've picked out five actors we think would be great for the role of Newt Scamander.
So, the question on everybody’s lips is “who should play Newt Scamander in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them?” We’re seriously excited about the project and have pulled together a list of a few actors that we think would suit the role. Sorry Americans, like Harry Potter, this role has to be reserved for the Brits!
Would Jamie Campbell Bower make a good Newt Scamander?
Jamie Campbell Bower
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 'sword and shield' television hype continues to grow as The White Queen celebrates its release on DVD and Blu-Ray on the 19th August 2013.
The melodramatic television Drama based on the compelling, brutal and turbulent best-selling history novel The Cousins' War by Philippa Gregory portrays the perceptions of three passionate and equally ruthless women: Elizabeth Woodville, Margaret Beaufort and Anne Neville in their quest for power.
Set in the middle of the 15th Century, England is divided by war as The House of York and the House of Lancaster fiercely fight it out their dispute to who is the rightful king. After much dispute The House of York's young and handsome Edward is mischievously made King by Lord Warwick. All is well until Edward falls in love with Lancastrian Commoner Elizabeth Woodville, ruining Warwick's plan to control the throne. From here on it Elizabeth is put in a violent struggle where she must fight for her life and the crown to the throne. The story unravels and exposes a possible view one of the most interesting stories in British History.
The White Queen's first episode aired on the BBC yesterday evening (16th June). The series is the BBC's summer latest offering to drama fans and follows the stories of the powerful women involved in the War of the Roses.
The White Queen stars two relatively unknown actors, Rachel Ferguson and Max Irons, as Elizabeth Woodville and King Edward IV. They are supported by James Frain, Caroline Goodall, David Oakes, Rupert Graves, Amanda Hale and many, many, many more.
A decent historical drama is signposted by the presence of The Tudors' Frain, The Borgias' Oakes and Graves, who donned a wig in order to play George Villiers in a BBC adaptation of the life and loves of Charles II. It does take a certain type of actor to pull off the floppy haired-tights-codpiece- thigh high boots look. Fortunately this trio do. Max Irons does quite well too.
The programme is a dramatization of the life and times of Elizabeth Woodville, wife of Edward IV. From relatively humble beginnings we see the Lancastrian lass rise to the highest position a woman in medieval society could reach: Queen. Elizabeth was grandmother of Henry VIII, a monarch whose offspring has overshadowed historical drama. The series is based on Philippa Gregory's best-selling book of the same name.
Continue reading: Blood, Sex And Violence: The White Queen
In a relatively quiet week for movies Arthouse filmmaker Harmony Korine comes dangerously close to making a mainstream movie and Philip Seymour Hoffman, Catherine Keener, Christopher Walken ensemble for A Late Quartet
It's a relatively quiet week for the movies, with no major releases this week as everyone braces for the true launch of the summer blockbuster season with Tom Cruise sci-fi action Oblivion on 12th April, followed two weeks later by Robert Downey Jr's return for Iron Man 3. There won't be another quiet week until September, basically.
So in cinemas this week, the US and UK swap releases: American audiences will get their chance to see James McAvoy in Danny Boyle's sleek hypnosis thriller Trance, which is No 3 on the UK box office chart. While British cinemas will get a look at James Franco's scene-stealing wannabe rapper-gangster in Spring Breakers, which currently sits at No 9 on the US chart.
While out promoting last week's rather quietly released sci-fi adventure The Host, costars Max Irons and Jake Abel chatted about the on-set pranks between the co-stars, showing a considerable gift for improvised banter. They look a bit punchy after sitting in these seats answering questions for hours on end, but after lots of joking around, they eventually get to talking about the film.
While the premise of this sci-fi thriller feels like yet another of Stephenie Meyer's two-boys-one-girl fantasies, a superior writer-director and cast make this is a stronger film than Twilight. The plot may be rather contrived, but the actors bring out some sharp intelligence in the script to make it surprisingly involving.
It's set in a future time after aliens have snatched the bodies of 90 percent of humanity, eliminating hunger, crime and the environmental crisis. But secret pockets of rebels have avoided being possessed by these white mini-jellyfish beings, and are seeking ways to fight back. So when the alien being Wanderer is implanted in the resistance leader Melanie (Ronan), the head Seeker (Kruger) hopes to infiltrate her memories and find out where they're hiding. But Melanie is stronger than anyone thinks, managing to remain conscious alongside Wanderer, winning her to the rebel cause. She heads to the human's secret desert hideout, where Uncle Jeb (Hurt) renames her Wanda and accepts her into the fold. But some humans aren't so sure, and the Seeker is hot on her trail.
It's deep in this maze of rather too-sophisticated caves that the crinkled romance develops, as Melanie is reunited with her boyfriend Jared (Irons), but doesn't want him kissing her when Wanda is in control of her body. Then Wanda falls for Ian (Abel), and their kissing makes Melanie even more furious. Yes, like Twilight, this film seems to think that kissing is the ultimate expression of human connection, giving this film a quirky four-sided love triangle at its centre. Meanwhile, the more thriller-like plotline builds as the Seeker gets ever closer. All of this is played out very seriously, with almost no offhanded humour or humanity, but the emotions are intriguingly resonant.
Continue reading: The Host Review
Date of birth
17th October, 1985
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Solid acting and adept filmmaking help make up for the fact that this film asks...
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The 'sword and shield' television hype continues to grow as The White Queen celebrates its...
While the premise of this sci-fi thriller feels like yet another of Stephenie Meyer's two-boys-one-girl...
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