@lesley_nicol So fun to meet an actress whose work I'm such a fan of. Last week was so much fun for me. Good luck with everything!
This is one of those films that dances right up to the edge of soapy sentimentality, making us a little nervous about where it might go. But director Marc Webb (500 Days of Summer) holds his nerve, letting the emotions build without ever tipping over into melodrama. What emerges is a striking exploration of the tricky connections between parents and children and the importance of makeshift families. And it's so sharply played that it can't help but move us.
It's set in rural Florida, where the quietly intelligent Frank (Chris Evans) is hiding out from his academically minded mother Evelyn (Lindsay Duncan), trying to give his 6-year-old niece Mary (Mckenna Grace) the free-spirited childhood his late sister wanted for her. Their life includes sassy neighbour Roberta (Octavia Spencer) and a one-eyed cat named Fred. But Mary is a mathematical prodigy, and her teacher Bonnie (Jenny Slate) is worried that the public school can't keep up with her. This alerts Evelyn to Mary's gifts and, after taking no interest before, she sweeps in with a legal challenge to Frank's custody. Like her daughter and granddaughter, Evelyn is also a maths genius, and believes that Mary's abilities need to be exploited in a higher-class educational environment.
While the argument about what's better for this little girl is fairly simple, Tom Flynn's script never lapses into the usual trite courtroom drama. And while there are a lot of formulae scribbled on white boards, the focus is always on the people rather than the numbers. Thankfully, these characters also never turn into heroes or villains; each is just trying to do what they think is best. This means that the actors can invest unusual depth into the roles, adding surprisingly sharp edges while revealing their softer sides as well. Evans has rarely had a chance to flex like this as an actor, and he's terrific, creating some powerful chemistry with the, yes, gifted Grace.
Continue reading: Gifted Review
Mackenzie Phillips set out for the family vacation of a lifetime with three of his children, but little did he know that it would be a trip he would remember for years to come, and for all the wrong reasons. One day, during a fishing activity, he is forced to turn his gaze of his young daughter Missy for a brief moment, who subsequently disappears. The Wallowa County police discover her body in an isolated shack in the middle of the woods having been abducted and murdered. After that, Mack spirals into a depression letting his grief seep into every corner of his life and even causing him to lose his faith in God. It's then that he discovers a letter inviting him back to the shack signed by someone called Papa. He believes it's God calling him to find peace, and help him come to terms with Missy's death.
Continue: The Shack Trailer
Mary is a bright and happy little girl who lives with her uncle, Frank; he is her guardian and care giver since the death of her mother. Frank's sister made his promise that he'd always do right by her daughter and give her the most normal life possible - despite her loss.
Frank and Mary have a very close relationship and Frank home tutors the little blonde haired girl but as she gets older and her ability to learn more develops, Frank decides it's time for his niece to enrol at the local junior school. Despite Mary's pleas (and discussion to the point of 'Ad nauseum') to her uncle to let her stay home, Frank knows that she must start adjusting to a more normal way of life.
Howard School is a friendly local elementary and for the first time in her life, Mary is part of a classroom and soon her teacher discovers that Mary is an extremely clever girl - a child genius. The head teacher approaches her uncle Frank and tells him that she could potentially get Mary enrolled at a school for gifted children but thinking about his sisters last wishes, Frank decides she's best where she is.
Continue: Gifted Trailer
Gilly Hopkins is a little girl who's full of gumption and an attitude to boot. Her life - up until now - hasn't exactly been easy; she's been in and out of foster homes and doesn't let people into see the real Gilly. Having been given multiple warnings, Gilly can't find a place that she fits in and is sent to a new home with the warning that if she doesn't make this foster home work, she'll be put into a teen centre by social services. However much attitude Gilly has, she knows that a teen facility is the last place she should be.
Gilly is welcomed by an older lady named Mrs Trotter who lets her into her home. Though Mrs Trotter is friendly and has dealt with many kids in the past, Gilly takes an instant dislike to the woman and her other foster child, William, who is far younger than Gilly.
Though Gilly is cold and distant towards her new 'family', she soon learns to follow Mrs Trotter's rules and finds that her nightly meals with Trotter, William and their neighbour Mr. Randolph are periods of time she learns to enjoy.
Continue: The Great Gilly Hopkins Trailer
Even from a young age, Katherine Johnson's family and teachers knew she was made for great things. Even as a child, her mind was something special. She was gifted with an ability to work out complicated math sums far superior to anything a young child ought to be able to do.
There were a number of factors standing between Katherine and her education - most spanning from the fact that she was black and it was the 1920's. The country of Virginia where she and her family lived would not supply an education over a eighth grade to anyone of Afro-American ancestry and few family worked impossibly hard, splitting their time over two counties, to make sure their little girl could become the success they knew she would be. Their hard work paid off and Katherine became a math teacher before being poached by a new and exciting agency looking to recruit some of the most talented mathematicians of the time.
Katherine, along with two fellow mathematicians, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson, were introduced into a whole new use for maths. The ladies who worked in the department were human computers and they unravelled huge flight calculations and soon Katherine was once again headed up the ladder to work on a space mission - a mission to send a man to the moon and safely return back to earth.
Continue: Hidden Figures Trailer
The filmmakers behind Tangled and Wreck-it Ralph join forces for this entertaining animated action comedy, which has clearly been planned as a franchise-launcher. Energetic and funny, the movie is packed with wonderfully engaging characters and animated with clever visual inventiveness. But even though it's a lot of fun, it's difficult to escape the feeling that Disney is trying to sell us a whole new range of products.
The setting is a world populated only by animals, where predators and prey have learned to get along. The story centres on feisty rabbit Judy Hopps (voiced by Ginnifer Goodwin), who grew up under pressure to work in the family carrot-farming business. But she wants to be a cop, even though no bunny has ever made the force. Top of her class at police academy, she's assigned to the Zootropolis Police Department, where Chief Bogo (Idris Elba) makes her a meter maid. But she's too ambitious to write parking tickets all day, and teams up with con-artist fox Nick (Jason Bateman) to look into the strange case of a missing otter, which might be linked to a series of unexplained events in which predators suddenly became aggressive and dangerous.
The writers and directors have a great time with the premise, peppering scenes with knowing references mainly to other movies but also to resonant aspects of society, such as the genius casting of sloths as government workers. And there are also much bigger themes rattling around the edges, from how other peoples' expectations constrain us to how politicians use fear to control the public. There's also a cleverly pointed undercurrent about prejudice and diversity. And at the centre, Goodwin and Bateman give solid vocal performances as natural enemies who find a way to trust each other. Of the supporting cast, Elba is the standout as a buffalo who is all bluster.
Continue reading: Zootopia [aka Zootropolis] Review
A sharp improvement on the original, this second entry in The Divergent Series has a much stronger sense of its premise and characters, which makes it much more exciting to watch. Where Divergent felt gimmicky and a bit shallow, this chapter pushes the characters much deeper, giving the actors a chance to bring them more engagingly to life, which makes the odd set-up more involving as well.
It picks up immediately where the first film ended, with Tris (Shailene Woodley) escaping from post-apocalyptic, segmented-society Chicago with her boyfriend Four (Theo James), her brother Caleb (Ansel Elgort) and their shifty cohort Peter (Miles Teller). Hiding out in the Amity agricultural community, they know that Erudite leader Janine (Kate Winslet) has sent her goons (Jai Courtney and Mekhi Phifer) to find them. Actually, she needs a divergent to open an artefact from the pre-war days so she can rid Chicago of pesky divergents forever. When their location is discovered, Tris and pals head back into the city, teaming up with factionless leader Joanna (Naomi Watts) and getting help from the head of Candor (Daniel Dae Kim) before going to Erudite to face Janine.
The story has a strong push to it, driving these rebels ever closer to a confrontation with their nasty nemesis, and their journey is fraught with surprise wrinkles, vicious battles and some mind-bending imagery. In fact, there are so many dreams, flashbacks and computer simulations that it's not always clear if what's on screen is actually happening or not. But it all looks so cool that we hang on to discover where it'll go next, so the two hours passes briskly, and sometimes breathlessly. The film looks terrific, as director Robert Schwentke keeps the focus on the characters while creating some amazing effects around them, especially in the simulation sequences.
Continue reading: Insurgent Review
Host Neil Patrick Harris seems to be shouldering the blame for the worst Oscars viewing figures since 2009.
This year’s Academy Awards was the least watched in six years, according to preliminary viewing figures. USA Today reported that initial Nielsen estimates put the 87th Awards stats at 36.6 million viewers, the lowest since 2009.
Sunday’s ceremony, hosted by actor Neil Patrick Harris and dominated by Birdman, was a pretty steep 16% drop on last year’s awards when 12 Years a Slave won Best Picture. Ellen Degeneres hosted that one and, powered by a memorable selfie which was then re-tweeted around the world, it had 43.7 million viewers.
2015 Oscars host Neil Patrick Harris (R)
Continue reading: The Oscars Suffer From Worst Ratings In Six Years
When a young girl's mother dies in childbirth, she is sent to live with her grandparents. After her grandmother dies in a car accident, Elliot Anderson (Kevin Costner) takes on the responsibility of raising her by himself. When his granddaughter's African American grandmother Rowena (Octavia Spencer) arrives to tell him that they should share custody, Elliot is reluctant to the point of hostility. Despite his granddaughter having more family living in the South - including her drug-addicted father - Elliot furiously battles for sole custody, stating that his fight is not born of racial hatred, but due to the loss of both his wife and daughter making his granddaughter the only thing he has left in the world.
Continue: Black Or White Trailer
Following on from the events of 'Divergent', the mysterious government has discovered a magical maguffin which had the power to create the idyllic future they have always hoped to fulfil. The only catch, is that it requires a Divergent in order to activate it. As the government begins testing any and all Divergents they can find, Tris (Shailene Woodley) is already on the run, and meets up with an army of secret, hidden Divergents. When it is revealed that she may be the only one to truly activate the maguffin, the Divergents rise up as an Insurgency, and take the fight to the government that has oppressed them for too long.
Continue: The Divergent Series: Insurgent Trailer
Date of birth
25th May, 1970
@lesley_nicol So fun to meet an actress whose work I'm such a fan of. Last week was so much fun for me. Good luck with everything!
I miss this place. Everyday I was humbled by nature and inspired by young filmmakers who were… https://t.co/Kx1xp2ixlx
I'm late to the party. 3 movies up for #teenchoice awards. #veryblessed #hiddenfigures #gifted… https://t.co/zFn6cTPI4v
RT @CityYearLA: @octaviaspencer please take a #Stand4Service. Join millions to send a Thunderclap to Congress today. Join here https://t.co…
Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there. Please continue to inspire your kids to climb… https://t.co/vwWrVtNwaF
My cabin in the woods. #sundanceresort #sundanceLabs17 https://t.co/KuPIoc7Eq4
The sound and the fury. #sundanceLabs17 #sundanceresort https://t.co/ro3WBPH9RA
Splendor in the grass. #sundanceLabs17 https://t.co/scJTZUJSEc
Congrats @jes_chastain preposulo. I hate that I missed your big day, but know I couldn't be more… https://t.co/L9enMZOE0x
this brought me to tears but just like this young woman's story, remember to always TRY!!!!! https://t.co/YePTSFum3j
Every morning when I open my French doors, this little interloper steps onto my deck as if I'm… https://t.co/vuA0gZnJSP
Altruistic #goals. Be of service to someone else. #neighborGood #neighborhood https://t.co/jjxualpZkp
@jennyslate i tried that! now MOZART wants to move in!!!!
@joanhou hahaha THANKS!!!!!!
I have a rogue squirrel who looks like a ground hog he's so fat wreaking havoc on the sweet birds that come to visit. What do I do?
Praying for you #London. https://t.co/8szAhDyMAR
I am so stoked that #WonderWoman is having her moment. To all of the mothers out there who want… https://t.co/eiagXTYbBM
Female lead. Female director. Female empowerment. #wonderwoman #warriorwithin https://t.co/CmYy5gYzZ5
This little peanut gives me hope!!! https://t.co/jzz7LimdVm
All zen in the skin I'm in!!! Happy Memorial Day weekend in remembrance of the fallen men and… https://t.co/BKmVG0EEl1
This is one of those films that dances right up to the edge of soapy...
Mackenzie Phillips set out for the family vacation of a lifetime with three of his...
The 2003 comedy Bad Santa is a holiday classic that skilfully mixes gross-out humour with...
Gilly Hopkins is a little girl who's full of gumption and an attitude to boot....
Since we last met Willie T. Stokes, his life has had plenty of ups and...
Even from a young age, Katherine Johnson's family and teachers knew she was made for...
The filmmakers behind Tangled and Wreck-it Ralph join forces for this entertaining animated action comedy,...
After the more thrilling Insurgent, this saga reverts to the talky style of the original...
A sharp improvement on the original, this second entry in The Divergent Series has a...
When a young girl's mother dies in childbirth, she is sent to live with her...
Following on from the events of 'Divergent', the mysterious government has discovered a magical maguffin...