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Happy End Review

Excellent

Austrian auteur Michael Haneke isn't known for his light touch, but rather for hard-hitting, award-winning gems like Hidden, Amour and The White Ribbon. So this French film may be as close as he'll get to making a comedy. Indeed, it's a witty exploration of family and societal dysfunction that sometimes borders on farcical. But it's also a story about people grappling with suicidal and murderous urges. And the wry performances of its superb cast make it jarringly unforgettable.

It's set in Calais, where Anne (Isabelle Huppert) runs the family construction business and lives with her forgetful father Georges (Jean-Louis Trintingnant), her doctor brother Thomas (Mathieu Kassovitz and his shy wife Anais (Laura Verlinden). But Anne's slacker son Pierre (Franz Rogowski) is struggling in his role as company manager, especially in the wake of an accident on one of their building sites. And Thomas now needs to care for his 13-year-old daughter Eve (Fantine Harduin) from a previous marriage. Meanwhile, dark thoughts are swirling, as Eve is posting death-obsessed videos on social media, and George is planning a startling suicide attempt.

These are all complex, layered people who are so consumed by their own issues that they often fail to notice what's happening with the people around them. And this echoes the film's larger themes about the wealthy residents in this area who are trying to ignore the surging population of desperate immigrants amongst them. Haneke orchestrates all of this in his usual dryly involving way, but this time adds a playfulness amid the disturbing interaction. Huppert is particularly good at injecting a sardonic wit beneath Anne's glacial expressions. This is a woman who won't let anyone see how annoyed she is, weathering the bigger storm to proceed with both a company merger and her own engagement to her lawyer (Toby Jones).

Continue reading: Happy End Review

The Snowman Review

Excellent

With a cast and crew packed with A-list talent, this film seems like it should be a first-rate thriller. But a deeply compromised screenplay lets it down badly, leaving the actors floundering as people who make little logical sense. Meanwhile, the mystery develops in directions that aren't remotely interesting, leaving the entire movie feeling flat. At least it's beautifully photographed in stunning Norwegian scenery.

 

It opens in Oslo, as detective Harry (Michael Fassbender) struggles both with debilitating alcoholism and trying to be a father to his teen son with ex-girlfriend Rakel (Charlotte Gainsbourg), who is now married to plastic surgeon Mathias (Jonas Karlsson). When he's able to work, Harry is looking into missing women cases with his rookie partner Katrine (Rebecca Ferguson). And several of these disappearances seem to be connected in some way, linking back to a murder years ago in Bergen that was investigated by two local cops (Val Kilmer and Toby Jones) and was somehow connected to a leery property developer (J.K. Simmons) who is now trying to lure a winter sporting championship to Oslo.

Continue reading: The Snowman Review

The Snowman Trailer


Harry Hole is an experienced detective who comes across one of the strangest murder cases he's ever seen. A man calling himself the Snowman Killer is killing women, and he and his team need to work out his motive in order to catch him. The clues are in the extent of the mutilations and the appearance of one of the victims' pink scarf, but they'll need more than that to beat this crazed psychopath at his own game. As winter continues to breathe its icy breath, the hunt gets more and more challenging. But when they manage to connect the killings to an old cold case, they decide to lure him out using a new recruit as bait.

Continue: The Snowman Trailer

Atomic Blonde Review

OK

From the co-director of John Wick, this similarly styled action romp puts Charlize Theron front and centre as an unstoppable government operative. Set during the Cold War, it has buckets of visual panache, with eye-popping action choreography that makes it a guilty pleasure. If only that much attention had been given to the script, because both the characters and plot feel naggingly thin, never making the most of the people or places.

The film opens in 1989 London, as top MI6 spy Lorraine (Theron) recounts her recent mission to her British and American superiors (Toby Jones and John Goodman). Sent to Berlin just before the wall comes down, her main job is to discover what happened to a secret list of agents that was being held by a murdered colleague. In East Germany, she makes contact with David (James McAvoy), a fellow agent who has gone native, a little too deep undercover as a black market smuggler. While tracking down this elusive list, Lorraine meets a nervous Stasi officer (Eddie Marsan) desperate to defect to the west, and she faces off against a KGB boss (Roland Moller) with slash-and-burn tactics. And then there's the French spy Delphine (Sofia Boutella), with whom she enjoys rather more than a professional coupling.

James Macavoy in Atomic BlondeJames Macavoy in Atomic Blonde

Continue reading: Atomic Blonde Review

Atomic Blonde Trailer


Lorraine Broughton is an experienced MI6 agent who, in 1989, is assigned on a mission to Berlin during the Cold War, just ahead of the fall of the Berlin Wall. She teams up with station chief David Percival as they attempt to uncover the truth behind the murder of one of their own agents, James Gascoigne; it's a personal mission for Lorraine, who once had quite the romantic connection with the spy. Along the way, she and David discover that they have been infiltrated by more than one double agent. They must use their skills of disguise, combat and driving to find the document that will expose the espionage group that betrayed them, being careful not to put their trust in anyone - no matter how seductive they may be. 

Continue: Atomic Blonde Trailer

Anthropoid Review

Excellent

Outside the Czech Republic, few people know about Operation Anthropoid, a spy mission in 1943 Prague to assassinate a top Nazi official. Certainly the material is perfect for a big-screen thriller, and filmmaker Sean Ellis (Metro Manila) has filmed it with a documentary-style urgency that's edgy and exciting. He also has a sharp attention to detail, so the film is bracingly realistic, carrying a strong emotional kick in the final act.

In 1938, Western Europe's leaders handed Czechoslovakia over to Hitler when he promised not to start a war. But of course he invaded Poland the following year. So in 1941, the British military parachutes a team of Czech exiles back into their country to help the resistance. Two of these men, Jan and Josef (Jamie Dornan and Cillian Murphy), are on a secret mission to kill Reinhard Heydrich, the third in Nazi command after Hitler and Himmler. Known as the Butcher of Prague for his ruthless methods, it was Heydrich who devised the plan to exterminate the Jews. The resistance leader (Toby Jones) offers assistance for this mission, while two young women (Charlotte Le Bon and Anna Geislerova) pose as Jan and Josef's girlfriends. But with heavy security around Heydrich, carrying this off is not going to be easy.

Ellis impressively manages to tell this story without present-day hindsight, seeing all sides of the situation from the perspective of the people involved. In other words, it's not just a matter of killing a historical villain: everyone knows that the repercussions of such an act would be horrific as the Nazis exacted brutal revenge. But they also knew that, within this small window of time, they had a chance to deliver a serious blow to the enemy. Ellis structures this carefully, building up to the assassination in a way that develops almost unbearable levels of suspense. The complexity of each scene is remarkable, and the film's final act is a stunning explosion of desperate violence.

Continue reading: Anthropoid Review

Toby Jones - Celebrities at BBC Radio 2 - London, United Kingdom - Friday 17th June 2016

Toby Jones
Toby Jones
Toby Jones

Toby Jones - The British Academy Television Awards (BAFTAs) 2016 held at the Royal Festival Hall - Arrivals at Royal Festival Hall - London, United Kingdom - Sunday 8th May 2016

Toby Jones

Toby Jones - The House of Fraser British Academy Television Awards 2016 held at the Royal Festival Hall - Arrivals at Royal Festival Hall - London, United Kingdom - Sunday 8th May 2016

Toby Jones
Toby Jones

Dad's Army Was A Balancing Act For Toby Jones


Toby Jones

British actor Toby Jones has crafted a career that spans big franchises like Harry Potter, The Hunger Games and Captain America, plus serious arthouse hits and award-winning performances as Alfred Hitchcock (in 2012's The Girl) and Truman Capote (in 2007's Infamous). Now he's leading the charge in the film version of the iconic British TV sit-com Dad's Army, a World War II farce that ran on the BBC from 1968 to 1977.

Lots of familiar faces appear in the new Dad's Army movie

In the movie he plays Mainwaring, the bumbling leader of a team of Home Guard soldiers on England's south coast in 1944. "When they approached me to do it I said, 'This is a crazy idea!'" Jones says. "But the writers said, 'Will you at least read the script?' When I did and saw what comic potential it had, I thought maybe there is something I could bring to this. I thought it balanced honouring the old characters by putting them in a new situation. And when I saw who else was cast in it, I thought that's exactly the right kind of way to go. It's not comics, it's actors."

Continue reading: Dad's Army Was A Balancing Act For Toby Jones

Dad's Army Review

Weak

The beloved 1970s British sit-com gets the big screen treatment, although there's been very little attempt to do anything clever with it aside from A-list casting. There are some terrific gags in Hamish McColl's script, but director Oliver Parker (Johnny English Reborn) fails to find the comical potential in the material. So the film feels clumsy and muted, which is certainly not going to attract a new generation of fans to the premise.

It's 1944 in the small village of Walmington on the southern English coast, where the men who were unfit to serve in the regular army have volunteered for the Home Guard when they're not working their normal jobs. The platoon's captain is bank manager Mainwaring (Toby Jones), who leads a ragtag group of retirees (Tom Courtenay, Michael Gambon and Bill Paterson) and younger army rejects (Daniel Mays and Blake Harrison) through a series of exercises along the seaside cliffs. They've been tipped off that there's a Nazi spy in the area, but they're all so smitten by the curvy visiting journalist Rose (Catherine Zeta-Jones) that they fail to notice that she's up to something nefarious.

The material is ripe for political-edged comedy, which the script touches on in between the relentless double entendre. And the cast is definitely up for it, delivering solid performances that bring out character details while playing up the goofy interaction between them. But Parker leaves them looking adrift on-screen, never cranking up either a sense of pace or a spark of life. Each set-piece falls utterly flat, starting with the movie's opening scene in which the gang is chased around afield by a supposedly angry bull. And everything that follows feels half-hearted, which means that the Carry On-style innuendo, physical slapstick and nutty action all fall flat.

Continue reading: Dad's Army Review

Toby Jones - Toby Jones arrives at the BBC studios to promote his new film 'Dad's Army' at BBC Portland Place - London, United Kingdom - Wednesday 27th January 2016

Toby Jones
Toby Jones
Toby Jones
Toby Jones
Toby Jones
Toby Jones

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 Review

Extraordinary

Suzanne Collins' saga comes to a suitably epic conclusion in a climactic series of battles that are packed with emotional kicks to the gut. Director Francis Lawrence continues to show remarkable reverence for the source novels while relying on his A-list cast to bring layers of nuance to even the smallest roles. The result is a massively textured war movie that's packed with darkly personal moments and glimpses of wit and spark. It's also a satisfying conclusion to the franchise that avoids the usual Hollywood bombast.

As the rebels prepare to attack Panem's Capitol and President Snow (Donald Sutherland), the rebellion's figurehead Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) decides to take matters into her own hands. Rebel leaders Coin and Plutarch (Julianne Moore and Philip Seymour Hoffman) try to stay one step ahead of Katniss, using her as the Mockingjay to rally the troops. With Gale (Liam Hemsworth), a not-quite-unbrainwashed Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) and a small group of cohorts, Katniss works her way across the bombed-out city to Snow's mansion, intending to put an arrow through his heart. But the battle takes a shocking twist, and Katniss has to make a difficult decision about doing the right thing no matter what it costs her.

Right from the start, the filmmakers continue to echo Katniss' earliest act of heroism when she volunteered for the Hunger Games to protect her sister Prim (Willow Shields) and then vowed to keep Peeta safe in the violent arena. These are the things that drive her right to the very end of this saga, holding the audience in an emotional grip. This means that the political nastiness, violent warfare and publicity posturing all have a much deeper resonance for the audience, while for Katniss they are virtually irrelevant. Her mission remains untainted: she just wants to protect her loved ones and make the future safe. Which is why her speeches carry such rousing power.

Continue reading: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 Review

Alice Through The Looking Glass - Teaser Trailer


Alice once again returns to Wonderland and meets a lot of familiar faces. This time her biggest enemy is Time, quite literally. As the Blue Caterpillar reminds her, 'You've been gone too long, Alice there are matters that might benefit from your attention. Friends cannot be neglected.' Instead of falling down a rabbit hole, this time Alice gains entry to wonderland through a large mirror which takes her to a topsy-turvy universe which could only be associated with Wonderland. There appear to be a few differences between the book and the new film; whilst Lewis Carol's original version of the book was based six months after the original tale, the inclusion of Time might mean that Linda Woolverton's version make time travel much quicker in Wonderland. Again, Carol used many chess analogies in the book, at the moment its unknown how much this will play a part in the movie. The majority of the lead cast from Tim Burton's 2010 version of Alice in Wonderland including Johnny Depp as Mad Hatter, Helena Bonham Carter as the Red Queen and Anne Hathaway as the White Queen. Alice Through The Looking Glass was directed by James Bobbin who previously worked on the 2011 Muppets film and Muppets Most Wanted.

Toby Jones 70th Annual Golden Globe Awards held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel - Arrivals Featuring: Toby Jones Where: Los Angeles, California, United States When: 13 Jan 2013

Toby Jones and Beverly Hilton Hotel
Toby Jones

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Toby Jones Movies

Happy End  Movie Review

Happy End Movie Review

Austrian auteur Michael Haneke isn't known for his light touch, but rather for hard-hitting, award-winning...

The Snowman Movie Review

The Snowman Movie Review

With a cast and crew packed with A-list talent, this film seems like it should...

The Snowman Trailer

The Snowman Trailer

Harry Hole is an experienced detective who comes across one of the strangest murder cases...

Atomic Blonde Movie Review

Atomic Blonde Movie Review

From the co-director of John Wick, this similarly styled action romp puts Charlize Theron front...

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Atomic Blonde Trailer

Atomic Blonde Trailer

Lorraine Broughton is an experienced MI6 agent who, in 1989, is assigned on a mission...

Morgan Trailer

Morgan Trailer

Lee Weathers evaluates potential risks in businesses, businesses that blur the lines of what could...

Anthropoid Movie Review

Anthropoid Movie Review

Outside the Czech Republic, few people know about Operation Anthropoid, a spy mission in 1943...

Anthropoid Trailer

Anthropoid Trailer

Reinhard Heydrich was one of the fiercest anti-Semitic officers in the Nazi army. He authored...

Tale Of Tales Trailer

Tale Of Tales Trailer

Happily ever after wasn't always the way fairy tales turned out. Sometimes Princesses, Kings, Queens...

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Alice in Wonderland: Through the Looking Glass Trailer

Alice in Wonderland: Through the Looking Glass Trailer

As Alice is once again taken into the magical and mysterious world that she's somehow...

Dad's Army Movie Review

Dad's Army Movie Review

The beloved 1970s British sit-com gets the big screen treatment, although there's been very little...

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 Movie Review

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 Movie Review

Suzanne Collins' saga comes to a suitably epic conclusion in a climactic series of battles...

Alice Through The Looking Glass - Teaser Trailer

Alice Through The Looking Glass - Teaser Trailer

Alice once again returns to Wonderland and meets a lot of familiar faces. This time...

Dad's Army Trailer

Dad's Army Trailer

Everybody's favourite British regiment is back in the new version of Dad's Army. Director Oliver...

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