Simon Beaufoy

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Everest Review


With visually stunning imagery and a solid A-list cast, this film just about transcends its oddly uninvolving story. Based on true events, the scenes are harrowing and emotive, but spreading the story among an ensemble obscured by mountaineering gear and snowstorms makes it difficult to engage with anyone. And the plot-strands that do find emotional resonance feel like they've been manipulated.

In the early 1990s, companies began selling Everest expeditions to wealthy clients, and by the spring of 1996 there were 20 teams of climbers jostling for position on the slopes of the world's highest peak. Kiwi guide Rob (Jason Clarke) opts for a cautious approach with his team, which includes impatient Texan Beck (Josh Brolin), journalist Jon (Michael Kelly) and the nervous Doug (John Hawkes), who only just failed to reach the summit on his previous attempt. Rob's base camp manager Helen (Emily Watson) keeps everything running smoothly and, since the mountain is so overcrowded, Rob coordinates the climb with a rival guide (Jake Gyllenhaal) and his team. On the day of the final ascent, the skies are clear, but delays along the way and an approaching storm threaten the climbers.

Since the is a true story, it's clear from the start that some of these people won't make it home. And Icelandic director Baltasar Kormakur lays on the emotion thickly, with an overly pushy-majestic score by Dario Marianelli and several sentimental phone calls home. Rob's wife is played by Keira Knightley, and you can almost hear the ominous chord when she reveals that she's pregnant. A bit subtler is Beck's interaction with his wife, played with insinuating bitterness by the always terrific Robin Wright. Meanwhile, Clarke's sensitive leader and Brolin's bullheaded alpha male contrast nicely with Gyllenhaal's cool dude, while Sam Worthington is almost lost in the shuffle as a friend who's climbing a neighbouring peak.

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The Hunger Games: Catching Fire Review


After 2012's The Hunger Games caught us off-guard with its subtle themes, this sequel more than lives up to the hype, dramatically expanding the scale of the action while letting the actors deepen their characters. It's a full-on action epic that cleverly retains author Suzanne Collins' narrative trick of telling the story through a flawed perspective. And it provides the needed push to give the whole saga real momentum.

We join our heroes not long after the last film ended: Katniss and Peeta (Lawrence and Hutcherson) are in trouble for challenging the authority of President Snow (Sutherland) and sowing the seeds of rebellion in the districts. Now they have to travel around the nation with their team - drunken mentor Haymitch (Harrelson), preening manager Effie (Banks), quietly subversive designer Cinna (Kravitz) - soothing ruffled feathers. But of course they only make things worse. So new Gamesmaker Plutarch (Hoffman) plots a way to force them back into the games with all of the past victors, so they can be wiped out for good. And Katniss is so busy worrying about protecting Peeta that she fails to remember who the true enemy is.

Screenwriters Beaufoy and deBruyn (aka Oscar-winner Michael Arndt) inventively maintain Katniss' narrow, inaccurate point-of-view right through the film, which keeps the audience wrong-footed all the way to the end. It's an exhilarating trick that makes the tour of the districts painfully dull and the return to the games utterly horrifying. It also gives Lawrence the chance to flex her own Oscar-winning chops, further tormenting us with her inability to choose between two good men: Peeta and Gale (Hemsworth), her pal back home. She certainly doesn't trust newcomers like the mouthy Johanna (Malone) or the too-hunky Finnick (Claflin).

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Salmon Fishing In The Yemen Review

The heavy hand of a screenwriter (or perhaps novelist) intrudes on an otherwise jaunty, engaging little story, fruitlessly trying to stir up suspense when none was needed. And filmmaker Hallstrom indulges in rather too much sappy sentiment.

Fred (McGregor) is a UK government fishing expert assigned to help a wildly wealthy sheikh (Waked) create a fly-fishing site in the Yemen. Working with the sheikh's financial advisor Harriet (Blunt), Fred struggles to overcome his doubts about the scheme. But he's won over by the fact that the sheikh is both passionate about fishing and has enough cash to achieve the seemingly impossible. As Fred begins to fall for Harriet, he'll need to make a decision about his estranged wife (Stirling), while Harriet's special-services boyfriend (Mison) has gone missing in action.

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'Salmon Fishing In The Yemen' European Premiere Held At The Odeon Kensington - Arrivals

Simon Beaufoy Tuesday 10th April 2012 'Salmon Fishing in the Yemen' European premiere held at the Odeon Kensington - Arrivals

'Salmon Fishing In The Yemen' European Premiere Held At The Odeon Kensington - Arrivals.

Simon Beaufoy Tuesday 10th April 2012 'Salmon Fishing in the Yemen' European Premiere held at the Odeon Kensington - Arrivals.

Simon Beaufoy

Los Angeles Premiere Of 'Salmon Fishing In The Yemen' - Arrivals

Simon Beaufoy Monday 5th March 2012 Los Angeles Premiere of 'Salmon Fishing In The Yemen' - Arrivals

127 Hours Review

Danny Boyle brings his considerable filmmaking energy to bear on this claustrophobic true story, and the result is a bracing thriller that puts us right into the mind of a man trapped in an unthinkable situation.

In April 2003, adventure sportsman Aron Ralston (Franco) heads into Utah's Blue John Canyon for a day of hiking. He meets two girls (Mara and Tamblyn) along the way, and stops to show them a cool underwater lake. Then he heads on his own into a narrow slit in the earth where a bolder falls and pins his right arm against the wall. Unable to move, he spends the next five days pondering for the first time his own humanity and mortality. And after trying everything imaginable, he only has one option left.

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61st Annual Writers Guild Awards New York Ceremony Held At The Hudson Theatre, Millennium Broadway Hotel.

Simon Beaufoy Thursday 7th May 2009 at The Hudson Theatre 61st Annual Writers Guild Awards New York Ceremony held at the Hudson Theatre, Millennium Broadway Hotel.

Slumdog Millionaire Review

Slumdog Millionaire, which is based on the novel Q&A by Indian diplomat/novelist Vikas Swarup, could very well be the closest thing genre-hopping director Danny Boyle ever makes to a crowd-pleaser. It won the coveted Audience Award at this year's Toronto Film Festival and comes pre-packaged with glowing reviews from both Roger Ebert and Variety's Todd McCarthy. Written by the English screenwriter Simon Beaufoy, who many may know as the scribe behind The Full Monty, Boyle has blended this romantic fable with his own, frenetic style and some nods towards a Bollywood aesthetic in order to create the Scottish filmmaker's most accessible work to date.

On the other hand, few of Boyle's images are as instantly tasteless yet characteristic as a young Indian boy jumping into a swamp of feces in order to secure an autograph from Bollywood icon Amitabh Bachchan. The boy running around covered in excrement, some of which is his own, is young Jamal (Ayush Mahesh Khedekar). Moments after that presentation, Jamal and his older brother Salim (Azharuddin Mohammed Ismail) become orphaned when their mother is murdered for being a Muslim. The two boys take up with another young orphan Latika (Rubina Ali) and join up under Maman, the Fagin of this revisionist Oliver Twist. Salim saves Jamal from being blinded by Maman and the duo make off in the night, leaving Latika to fend for herself.

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Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day Review

Some film types die out because audiences no longer support them. Others disappear because no one has the talent or skill to successfully resurrect them. The witty, wacky screwball comedies of the '30s and '40s were really nothing more than cultural clashes, the weird and eccentric meshing with the calm and conservative for some humor based class/gender warfare. The new film Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day harkens back to those days of ditzy heiresses, silly playboys, and suave leading men. And for the most part, it succeeds.

For Miss Pettigrew (Frances McDormand), London before the war is a cruel and heartless place. Fired from her most recent governess job, she's homeless and penniless. Without a single prospect in sight, her life looks fairly bleak indeed. An overheard referral at an employment agency has her rushing off to the apartment of American actress Delysia Lafosse (Amy Adams). When Miss Pettigrew inadvertently helps the bubble headed girl balance the three men in her life -- nightclub owner Nick (Mark Strong), novice producer Phil (Tom Payne), and sensitive pianist Michael (Lee Pace) -- she's hired as a social secretary. Desperate for a part in a West End musical, Delysia will stop at nothing to get her way. During her adventures, Miss Pettigrew meets noted designer Edythe Dubarry (Shirley Henderson). A shared secret between the two will have our heroine trying to patch things up with the fashion maven's boyfriend (Ciaran Hinds) before the day is over.

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This Is Not A Love Song Review

Color me surprised. This little low-budget video production out of the UK has a meaningless title (taken from a PiL song) and questionable pedigree, and it looks like an experiment shot by a few lads on a long weekend. Shock then that it's actually a quite gripping, heartbreaking, and very watchable movie.

The story follows Heaton (Kenneth Glenaan) as he steals a car to pick up his pal Spike (Michael Colgan) after his release from prison. As they leave and head back to town, the car runs out of gas, so they hike to a farm to borrow some. Things go badly here, culminating in a shotgun blast that takes the life of an innocent. Heaton and Spike decide to run for it, hoping to make it back across the hills of Yorkshire to lose themselves in the big city. What they aren't counting on is a vigilante mob that comes after them, led by a quiet and ruthless hunter (David Bradley), who slowly tightens the noose on them as the boys haplessly meander across the countryside in a panic.

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The Full Monty Review

Though it's hardly Best Picture-worthy, this lighthearted tale of five working class Brits who try to make ends meet through an impromptu strip show is certainly entertaining in a Farrelly brothers way. Ironically, there's barely even a partial Monty to be seen in the film, which may also strain the English dialect-translation skills of even the most sophisticated viewers.

Among Giants Review

I'm not going to try and pretend I know what director Sam Miller was going for with this movie, a perversely asinine look at an off-the-books hiring of Pete Postlethwaite and crew to paint the power line towers in a rural section of England. Featuring scenes like Postlethwaite and Rachel Griffiths running around naked under the dripping water inside a silo are only one of the things that make Among Giants not only a silly attempt at filmmaking but also an utter bore.

Blow Dry Review

Hmmm, what's this movie with Josh Hartnett and Rachael Leigh Cook on the cover? Must be some nutty teen comedy, right?

Well, with one cancer diagnosis and one death in the first 15 minutes, Blow Dry is hardly the feel-good romance you'd expect. Strikingly similar to The Big Tease, Blow Dry tells the story of a haircutting competition that descends on a small town in Britain. Celebrities (well, celebrity stylists) from around England arrive to compete, and the local boys get into the act as well. But while the drama unfolds with models and shears, another drama takes place among the locals -- largely involving various romances and a singular cancer victim.

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