The star had to juggle both directing and acting in the period drama.
It's been a long time since Alan Rickman made his directorial debut back in 1997, and so returning to the role (alongside acting in a major role as well) in 'A Little Chaos' presented a lot of challenges, surprises and, indeed, pleasures for the star.
Alan Rickman plays King Louis XIV in his latest directorial feature
He was at the helm of 1997 drama 'The Winter Guest' but hasn't approached the director's chair since. It's safe to say that coming back into it on a film of this scale, such is the visually stunning 'A Little Chaos', while also portraying the formidable King Louis XIV was a lot of hard work. Though Rickman admits that his two jobs had their similarities.
Audiences looking for a French historical costume drama should look elsewhere, but those who enjoy British period comedies will love it. With a pointed dash of history and politics, this is a silly movie about social status, and it's so well written and played that only cynics won't have a lot of fun with it. Thankfully, the talent both in front of and behind the camera keep the focus on the lively characters, which makes it engaging on a deeper level than expected.
The fictional story is set around real events in 1682 France, as King Louis XIV (Alan Rickman) was planning to move his court from Paris to Versailles, a vast palace still under construction. The final project there is the expansive garden, which landscaper Andre (Matthias Schoenaerts) has to complete on deadline and under budget. And everyone is shocked when he hires the little-known Sabine (Kate Winslet) to build an outdoor ballroom and fountain. But he has been smitten with her skill and passion for gardening, and there's also a gently gurgling romantic spark between them as well. The problem is that his high-society wife (Helen McCrory) notices this and sets out to sabotage Sabine's work.
There's not much here that's historically accurate, from the frankly outrageous costumes to the English filming locations and dialogue that buzzes with specifically British humour. But it's so breezy and snappy that all we can do is sit back and enjoy it for what it is. Those who do so may even find some underlying resonance in the discussions of order and chaos in landscape design, as well as the way honesty is like a blast of fresh air in a world constrained by status. Indeed, the film's most memorable scene is a gorgeously written and played chance encounter between Sabine and the King in which they initially don't know who the other is.
Continue reading: A Little Chaos Review
'Fortitude' is on the way back.
Sky Atlantic and U.S cable channel Pivot has renewed its Arctic mystery-drama Fortitude for a second season following strong reviews and ratings. Written by Low Winter Sun's Simon Donald, the first season boasted a glittering cast including Stanley Tucci, Michael Gambon and Sofie Grabol.
Stanley Tucci [L] and Sofie Grabol [R] starred in the first season of Fortitude
The first season told the story of a small-town in the Arctic circle rocked by a violent murder. Tucci played Detective Chief Inspector Morton from London's Metropolitan Police, who flies flown to the peaceful close-knit community to investigate.
Continue reading: Sky Atlantic Renews 'Fortitude' For Second Season
Jason Statham may be playing essentially the same character he always plays, but this noir-style thriller has a somewhat groovier tone thanks to the Las Vegas setting and a scruffy William Goldman script. It's also directed with wit and energy by Simon West, who keeps everything moving very briskly. Although not fast enough for us to miss the fact that it's all rather thin and pointless.
As always, Statham is a former black-ops agent whose jaded, frazzled exterior obscures his fighting-fit action moves. His name this time is Nick Wild, and he works as a bodyguard for wealthy clients like Cyrus (Michael Angarano), who needs protection as he visits Vegas casinos with vast sums of money. He also has a lot to learn from Nick about gambling and wants to learn some of those action moves too. Meanwhile, Nick's ex-girlfriend Holly (Dominik Garcia-Lorido) asks him to help her get revenge against the swaggering gangster Donny (Milo Vengimiglia), who kidnapped and viciously terrorised her. Nick knows that getting even with Donny will put him on a collision course with mob kingpin Baby (Stanley Tucci), but he can't resist a challenge.
Nick is one of those characters who can't resist much. He's addicted to high-stakes blackjack, life-threatening confrontations and his own seedy poverty. So clearly the goal of the screenplay is to find some sort of uneasy redemption. Statham has played this role before in his sleep, so he looks almost bored here, which makes him vaguely intriguing. His gimmick this time is an ability to turn everyday objects into lethal weapons, including a seriously nasty moment with a pair of hedge clippers. It also helps that the film is packed with colourful scene-stealers who add plenty of badly needed spark, including a ripped Ventimiglia and the reliably wonderful Tucci, plus lively cameos from the likes of Sofia Vergara and Anne Heche.
Continue reading: Wild Card Review
'Fortitude' starts tonight - and it looks like you're in for a treat.
Fortitude, Sky Atlantic's big-budget crime drama set in the Arctic Circle, begins tonight after a heavy marketing campaign playing on its key stars, Sofie Grabol, Michael Gambon, Christopher Eccleston and Stanley Tucci. It's a rich and hugely talented line-up - but will Fortitude push the envelope or retire into the clichés seen so often in murder-investigation-in-frosty-setting.
Sofie Grabol leads the cast in Sky Altantic's Fortitude
Of course Grabol is best known as Sarah Lund from The Killing - the pioneering Nordic drama that has inspired countless terrible imitations since. She plays Governor Odegard, who's busy opening an ice hotel carved out of the side of a glacier in Svalbard. However, when the crimeless community is rocked by a grisly murder, detective DCI Morton (Tucci) is flown in to restore calm and solve the mystery.
Continue reading: 'Fortitude' Starts Tonight - But Is It Just 'The Killing' MK 2?
Nick Wild (Jason Statham) is working as a Las Vegas bodyguard for hire, mainly due to his lethal professional skills, but also because of a slight gambling problem he has. Unfortunately for Wild, he allows business to get mixed up with his personal life, as he chooses to help a friend of his that gets savagely beaten by a Vegas thug. After extracting a bloody revenge on the thug, Wild finds his simple little existence challenged by an entire crime family that seem hell-bent on sending him to a shallow grave in the desert. Wild knows that one way or another, he's not gonna be in Vegas by the morning.
Continue: Wild Card Trailer
In the palace of Versailles, a tremendous garden is maintained. One day, the builder and head gardener sees an ordinary woman arriving at the palace, and, throwing aside ideas of conformity, chooses to rearrange some of the garden into something that pleases her. He takes her on with the hopes of updating and adding some life to the traditional gardens, and steadily begins to fall for her. As she finds difficulty integrating into the high society that he is from, he ensures her that, in fact, she is envied by the upper classes for her newness. But when that envy turns into something more, the gardener will have to fight tooth and nail to maintain the garden, their love, and their lives.
Continue: A Little Chaos Trailer
But is 'Mockingjay Part 1' just a set up for the best yet to come?
'The Hunger Games' continues to go from strength to strength, garnering solid reviews and big box office takings. The latest instalment, 'Mockingjay Part 1', debuted at number one on both the American and British box office charts, and looks likely to hold the top spot until 'The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies' opens next month.
Jennifer Lawrence makes another stunning performance in 'Mockingjay Part 1'
Critics have given the film a 66% positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes, down from 84% for the 2012 original film and 89% for 'Catching Fire'. This is probably due to the fact that third novel 'Mockingjay' has been split into two movies, which leaves 'Part 1' sometimes feeling like a set-up to something much more exciting still to come.
This four-part franchise, based on the Suzanne Collins novels, turns very dark with this strikingly bold third film, which once again makes the most of perspective to recount a parable about normal people rising up against oppression. This may be a sci-fi apocalypse, but the story is packed with present-day resonance and messy characters who are sometimes unnervingly easy to identify with. So while things get very grim in this chapter, it's still a hugely engaging film, packed with real-life humour and emotion. And it makes Mockingjay Part 2 unmissable.
The story picks up not long after the chaos of the Quarter Quell, when Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) realised that she had been a pawn for a planned revolution that cast her as the iconic Mockingjay. Now in hiding, the rebels need her to assume the role publicly, but she has other concerns. So she makes a deal with rebel President Coin (Julianne Moore) and her sidekick Plutarch (Philip Seymour Hoffman) that she'll help them if they guarantee safety for the captured Peeta (Josh Hutcherson), who has apparently been brainwashed so he can be used for propaganda purposes by the Capitol's President Snow (Donald Sutherland). Working with her old hunting buddy Gale (Liam Hemsworth), Katniss takes on the Mockingjay role, locking horns with Snow as the rebellion grows in strength.
Once again, director Francis Lawrence vividly tells the story from Katniss' imperfect point of view. This is a teen consumed with anger and confusion, and she can't figure out why she's so inspiring to everyone who looks at her. But she's beginning to understand her impact and how she can use it to help the people she loves. This makes her heroism remarkably human, rather than the usual noble movie self-sacrifice. And Jennifer Lawrence brings so much depth to Katniss that the character transcends even the most jarring plot points. Her internal journey also makes this much more than yet another dystopian teen adventure.
Continue reading: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 Review
Felicity Blunt and Stanley Tucci - Shots from the red carpet ahead of the world premiere of the latest film in the Hunger Games series the 'Hunger Games : Mockingjay Part 1' The premiere was held at the Odeon cinema in Leicester Square, London, United Kingdom - Monday 10th November 2014
With the incredible ramifications of the end of the yearly ritualistic sacrificial televised Hunger Games, the world is thrown into disarray when the supposed saviour of the underprivileged working class travels to District 13 to help with the revolution she inadvertently started. Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) is the last hope and symbol of resistance against the capitol that seeks to keep her and her people as poverty-stricken slaves, and after surviving the aforementioned Hunger Games twice, Katniss must learn that 'it is the things we love most that destroy us.' Now, with an army at her back, Katniss must change the course of history and bring freedom to the masses through a global armed revolution.