Black Sails Casts From L to R, Jon Steinberg, Robert Levine, Toby Stephens, Hannah New, Luke Arnold, Jessica Parker Kennedy, Zach Mcgowan and Toby Schmitz - New York Comic Con 2014 - New York, United States - Saturday 11th October 2014
With its heart in the right place, this charming British football drama overcomes a script that frequently drifts into sentimentality and corny plotting. But the story is involving, and the cast is particularly good. So even though it has a tendency to drift into cuteness, a fresh sense of humour and sympathetic characters help build up a swell of honest emotion as it approaches the final whistle.
It's set in 1984 Manchester, where the legendary Manchester United manager Matt Busby (Brian Cox) is still haunted by the Munich plane crash in 1958 that took the lives of several of his dream-team players. In search of something to give meaning to his retirement years, he runs across a street-smart 10-year-old named Georgie (Jack Smith), who has his own issues. Georgie lives with his working-class single mum Erica (Natascha McElhone), who worries about his future and leaps at the chance of a scholarship to send him to a posh private school. Georgie isn't thrilled about studying for the entrance exam with snooty professor Farquar (Toby Stephens); he'd rather be out kicking a ball with his friends, and is secretly plotting to enter a youth competition with them. But they need an adult sponsor, so Matt and his friend Bob (Philip Jackson) agree to take them on. And the kids have no idea that they're being trained by a national icon.
Director David Scheinmann shoots the film with sundrenched charm, grounding the goofier moments by encouraging the cast to give deeply felt performances. At the centre, Cox and Jackson are an entertaining double act as old pals kickstarting their lives by taking on this young team overflowing with raw talent but no discipline. McElhone is essentially playing the standard movie mother who's too busy with the pressures of everyday life to notice much of anything that her tearaway son is doing, but she gives the role a sharp emotional centre. Stephens has more trouble in his rather wacky role, which drifts from callous nastiness to physical slapstick.
Continue reading: Believe Review
Award winning actor Chiwetel Ejiofor is being eyed for the role of villain in the upcoming James Bond film.
Chiwetel Ejiofor is being considered for a part in the upcoming James Bond movie as the villain. The 12 Years A Slave actor is not in official talks with the studios behind the 2015 film - Sony and MGM - but is being seriously considered, according to The Wrap.
Chiwetel Ejiofor with his BAFTA for Best Actor in February of this year.
The upcoming Bond film, which is slated to be released in 2015, will see Daniel Craig return in the title role. Ralph Fiennes has replaced Dame Judi Dench; M. Naomie Harris as Eve Moneypenny and Ben Whishaw as Q will also reprise their roles. Sam Mendes, who directed the last film, Skyfall, is also set to direct.
Continue reading: Chiwetel Ejiofor To Play James Bond Villain In 'Bond 24'?
British filmmaker Caradog James makes the most of a tiny budget with this chilling sci-fi thriller. Toying with big ideas about the repercussions of artificial intelligence, James keeps the focus on the human element, which makes it thoroughly engaging and darkly haunting. It may feel somewhat over-serious, but it also gets us thinking.
Set in the near future, the story centres on top scientist Vincent (Toby Stephens), who is hired by the Ministry of Defense to create a sentient machine that will help the West win the arms-race against China. Vincent has already perfected robotic repairs for wounded soldiers, and now begins working with sharp new assistant Ava (Arrow's Caity Lotz). But as Ava's snooping gets her in trouble, Vincent decides to combine her knowledge of programming with his technical expertise and create a thinking, feeling robot. And of course, Vincent's boss (Denis Lawson) immediately wants to put it to military use.
The film looks terrific, as writer-director James uses military imagery and a creepy underground bunker setting to build an overpowering sense of menace. So even if the script only barely cracks the surface, the characters all seem shifty and dangerous as we discover more about them. Especially the military meatheads who have had corrective brain implants and can communicate between themselves in a secret language.
Continue reading: The Machine Review
Hannah New, Toby Stephens and Jessica Parker Kennedy - STARZ and Time Warner Cable host a special one night only performance - inspired by the network's drama series 'Da Vinci's Demons' & 'Black Sails' at The McKittrick Hotel - New York, NY, United States - Thursday 10th October 2013
The late playwright Noël Coward's play, Private Lives, has made the jump to the prestigious London West End.
Described as a 'comedy of manners' - a play that satirises different echelons of the social ladder - Noël Coward's 1930 three-act play centres on Elyot (Toby Stephens) and Amanda (Anna Chancellor) who have been divorced for five years when they run into each other again whilst on honeymoon with their new spouses. The coincidental encounter reignites the divorcee's former passion irrespective of the marital issues they previously had, or the feelings of their current partners.
Director Jonathon Kent Likens Private Lives To An Exquisite Fabergé Egg.
The play had a successful run at Chichester's Festival theatre, lampooning the glamorous and reckless lives of the rich and will now, according to the theatre's website, "blaze across the West End stage this summer in an explosive production that proves Noël Coward still has the power to thrill, provoke and delight." Accomplished British lead actors Anna Chancellor (Four Weddings and a Funeral) and Toby Stephens (Die Another Day) are praised by The Telegraph for the "sense of unbuttoned intimacy and desire" between them in a "superb production [that] feels forever young, fresh and delightful."
Continue reading: Noël Coward's 'Private Lives' Hits The West End
Sadly, there has been such a glut of gun-packed London crime thrillers, that it simply isn't enough to make one that looks good and has a fierce energy: you need a solidly structured plot that goes somewhere unexpected. And that's where this film struggles. It's slick and atmospheric, with a terrific cast, but the story is so overcomplicated that it's almost impossible for us to maintain any interest in what happens.
At the centre is Detective Parker (Sewell), a shifty cop who's playing a very dangerous game as he tries to crush mobster Corso (Byrne) by undermining his cash-flow and threatening his son (Mascolo). Parker gets help from his rather reluctant partner Sands (Maynard), but rookie Riley (Gregory) is horrified to see the corruption he has wandered into. Then the efficient hitman Riley (Stephens) walks straight into the middle of everything, unaware of what's going on. He hides out with an old friend (Paraky) whose husband was also caught in the crossfire. And none of them realises that they're on a deadly collision course.
Isaac has a superb eye for catching London on-screen, using striking iconic locations and placing the action within the sweeping scale of the city. But his overuse of shoot-outs and car chases makes it feel deeply implausible. And his screenplay makes little concession to the audience, as dialog is peppered with references to earlier events we know nothing about. Clearly there are all kinds of interconnections between these people, but it's impossible to untangle them so that things make sense. Much more interesting is the way everyone gets caught up in the moral ambiguity of each decision they must make.
Continue reading: All Things to All Men Review