Danny has always wanted to be a football hooligan ever since he was a child. He managed to get expelled from school at a very young age and longs to be just like his imprisoned dad. He wants something more out of life, and how best to inspire him than to get involved in some pure, unadulterated violence with the rival football firm. He's not the only one in the mood for some serious chaos either; Dex is just finishing his sentence at Wormwood Scrubs prison and is eager to get his own back on his own nemesis Yeti. But when Dex and Danny meet, it becomes a quest to get the old firm together and re-live the fun, blood-soaked times they once enjoyed. However, things are looking a little dangerous with the coppers now on the prowl.
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A fascinating true story becomes a deeply repressed movie in the hands of writer Morgan (The Iron Lady) and actor-director Fiennes. It looks and feels murky and dull, and because it's trying to keep everything under the surface never quite reveals anything about the characters or situations. What's left is the intriguing story itself, some strong acting and a lush attention to period detail.
It starts in the 1850s, as Charles Dickens (Fiennes) revels in his celebrity status, adored by fans as he produces the play The Frozen Deep with his rogue buddy Wilkie Collins (Hollander). Then Charles develops a crush on 18-year-old actress Nellie (Jones), who is encouraged by her mother (Scott Thomas) to pursue the affair. But as they fall in love, there's a problem: divorce is unthinkable in Victorian society, so Charles separates from his angry wife (Scanlan) and keeps his relationship with Nellie hidden. And 30 years later, Nellie is still haunted by the experience, even though she now has a family with her loving husband George (Burke).
Fiennes makes the odd decision not to age Nellie at all: Jones looks the same in 1850 as she does in 1880, so the scenes set three decades later don't quite make sense. And there's also the problem that the affair between Charles and Nellie feels like it lasted about two years, when in reality it was 13. These things leave us perplexed about pretty much everything on-screen, unable to engage with the characters or their emotions. It doesn't help that the relationship is clearly doomed from the start, so Fiennes and Jones can never generate any real chemistry or emotion. In fact, they seem barely able to stand each other. Much better are the feisty supporting turns from Hollander, Scanlan and especially Scott Thomas.
Continue reading: The Invisible Woman Review
At the height of his career, Charles Dickens finds himself embroiled in one of the biggest personal struggles of his life. While working on a stage play, he meets a beautiful young actress named Nelly Ternan who is in deep admiration of all his works. Fascinated by her personality and smitten by her beauty, he takes the time to make regular visits to her home in London - a secret that he is desperate to keep from his wife of 20 years Catherine Thomson. Though having a profound respect for Dickens, Nelly's mother makes it plain that she does not want their relationship to develop into something that could mar her reputation. However, Dickens is happy to suffer the shame of an unusual separation if it means he can be with his new lover forever, but just how damaging could it be to his career?
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Santiago Cabrera, Tom Burke, Luke Pasqualino, Howard Charles and The Musketeers - The National Television Awards 2014 (NTA's) held at the O2 Arena - Arrivals - London, United Kingdom - Saturday 1st January 2000
Who are the stars of the new BBC One period drama 'The Musketeers'?
The world's favourite swashbuckling quartet are back in a stunning new adventure series adapted by BBC One from Alexandre Dumas' 'The Three Musketeers' and starring an exceptional ensemble cast.
Athos, Aramis, D'Artagnan and Porthos
The new show is named merely 'The Musketeers' and, although is based on the main framework of the 1844 novel, is in fact a series of newly created escapades, occasionally inspired by the events of the original story. Creator Adrian Hodges wanted to go for something a little different from the last few decades of popular movie adaptions, which include Richard Lester's 1973 version starring Michael York and Charlton Heston, the 1993 Disney film with Chris O'Donnell and Tim Curry, and who could forget the animated adventure 'Dogtanian and the Three Muskehounds'?
Charles Dickens may be famous for having written some of history's greatest stories, but his own life story is probably one of the most touching of all. During a major peak in his career, he finds himself madly in love with actress Nelly Ternan who deeply admires all his literary works. He takes regular trips to London to visit her despite already being married to Catherine Thomson for more than 20 years, and Nelly's mother Frances regularly voices her concerns about what the relationship could mean for her 18-year-old daughter's future. Despite all odds, Dickens is determined to spend the rest of his life with his new lover even if that means a scandalous separation from his wife. In a bid to lower the impact it might have on his career, he vows to keep his new relationship a secret from the public.
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Audiences expecting Drive 2 from this reteaming of Gosling and Winding Refn will be disappointed: this is a stylishly original movie that refuses to play by the rules. It's a very dark revenge thriller that unfolds like a surreal, blood-soaked dream as it spirals toward an ending that can't possibly be happy. And even though it's difficult to identify with anyone on-screen, the film is emotionally riveting.
Winding Refn sets the story in Bangkok, with Gosling starring as Julian, a passive guy who's working for his older drug-dealing brother Billy (Burke). But when Billy kills a teen prostitute in a drugged stupor, a nasty cycle of revenge begins. Detective Chang (Pansringarm) allows the victim's father (Wattanakul) to avenge her death, which comes at a price. So as Julian seeks his own vengeance, he understands that Chang is the real villain here. Then Julian's mother Crystal (Scott Thomas) turns up, refusing to listen to reason as she storms into the situation and makes everything much, much worse.
Using an Eastern sense of karma, Winding Refn throws Julian, Crystal and Chang into a torturous deathmatch. Events unfold with very little dialog, which emphasises the lurid colours and densely shadowed settings. Expertly shot and edited, the film is awash in ambiguity, making it feel like a David Lynch movie in which much of what we're watching is an absurd nightmare. And even as the morality gets increasingly murky, the film never preaches to us. It's challenging, provocative and extremely unsettling.
Continue reading: Only God Forgives Review
Julian is living in Bangkok while running an organised drugs ring under the guise of a Thai boxing club after going on the run for murder ten years ago. When he discovers that his mentally challenged brother Billy has been brutally killed, he and his foul-mouthed, tough-talking criminal mother Crystal swear vengeance. But when he discovers that Billy had raped and killed a sixteen year old girl and been murdered by her father with the approval of ruthless former cop Chang (aka the Angel of Vengeance), things seem a little more complicated. However, under increasing pressure from his mother, Julian sets out to settle the score with the Angel, but after losing during a one on one fight, he must find another way to avenge his brother.
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Julian has been wanted for murder for 10 years and is on the run living in Bangkok. He owns a Thai boxing club behind which he runs deeply organised drugs ring. He may be loaded, handsome, fearless and be able to get whatever he wants, but the one thing he does want he just can't seem to make happen: revenge. After his disturbed brother brutally kills a young prostitute, ruthless former cop Chang (aka the Angel of Vengeance) lets her father execute her killer before mercilessly cutting off his hands to restore order. Consumed by grief and yearning for reprisal, Julian - encouraged by his criminal mother Jenna - sets out to destroy the Angel of Vengeance, but after losing in a one-to-one fight, he realises he must find another way to avenge his brother's death.
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