Goodbye Downton Abbey, hello Greshamsbury Park.
Julian Fellowes' latest period drama 'Doctor Thorne' hits ITV this month, with the second episode having aired on Sunday night (March 13th 2016). There are plenty of new faces and a few familiar ones, and it's already been very warmly received by critics. Could it really be the new 'Downton Abbey'?
'Doctor Thorne' stars Rebecca Front, Tom Hollander, Ian McShane and Stefanie Martini [L-R]
Now that 'Downton Abbey' is over and done with after a glorious run of six series and more than fifty awards including three Golden Globes, Julian Fellowes has moved on to his next project; though he's sticking to what he knows. 'Doctor Thorne' is another period drama about families, secrets, money and affairs, but this time it's an adaptation from the 1858 novel by Anthony Trollope. The book was from his Chronicles of Barsetshire series and follows a poor young woman named Mary Thorne, who's been brought up by her uncle with no knowledge of who her parents are, and her romantic endeavours with a local lad named Frank Gresham.
Writer-director Christopher McQuarrie brings a dark and gritty tone to this larger-than-life franchise. Along with a constant stream of barbed humour, the film has an enjoyably knotted mystery plot and action set-pieces that feel like they're grounded in the real world. It's a terrific shift into earthy believability for a series of movies that has previously indulged in gleefully incoherent narratives and exaggerated explosive chaos.
Right from the start, our hero Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) is an outsider. As he searches for a shady assassin (Sean Harris) and his mythical organisation The Syndicate, Ethan's Impossible Mission Force is being dissolved by the US government. CIA Director Hunley (Alec Baldwin) absorbs the IMF team, but tech genius Benji (Simon Pegg) secretly helps Ethan, enlisting Luther (Ving Rhames) and William (Jeremy Renner) as well. Soon, all three are gallivanting from Vienna to Morocco and back to London, as Ethan works with double or perhaps triple agent Ilsa (Rebecca Ferguson) to prove that The Syndicate exists and stop its nefarious plan.
The film plays out like an edgy James Bond adventure, as Ethan works with a possibly dangerous woman in exotic locations in pursuit of some very shadowy baddies. McQuarrie's script is unusually lucid for this genre, piecing together the various elements expertly, building a genuine sense of tension without ever letting things tip over into overblown silliness. The chase sequences are remarkably rough and unpredictable, avoiding digital trickery to create moments that are jaw-droppingly authentic. As usual, we can tell that Cruise does his own stunts; the opening hanging-from-an-airplane scene is awesome, and a helmet-free motorbike chase looks even more perilous. With the IMF disbanded, it's never quite clear how Ethan funds his one-man operation, but he has a terrific supply of cool gadgets stashed all over Europe.
Continue reading: Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation Review
Tom Hollander - A host of stars were photographed as they arrived for the House Of Fraser British Academy Television Awards 2015 which were held at the Theatre Royal in London, United Kingdom - Sunday 10th May 2015
Solid acting and adept filmmaking help make up for the fact that this film asks us to spend a couple of hours in the presence of a group of truly despicable characters. They're played by some of the brightest (and most beautiful) rising stars in the movies at the moment, but each one of these young men is vile to the core. So the fact that these are supposed to be Britain's brightest and best hope for the future makes the film pretty terrifying.
It's set at Oxford University, where the elite Riot Club (including Douglas Booth, Sam Reid, Freddie Fox, Matthew Beard, Ben Schnetzer and Olly Alexander) are on the lookout for wealthy white students to complete their 10-man membership. They find suitable candidates in new arrivals: the sneering Alistair (Sam Claflin) and conflicted Miles (Max Irons), whose one drawback is that he's seeing a common girl (Holliday Grainger). After the rigorous initiation process, Alistair and Miles are welcomed to the hedonistic gang at a lavish dinner in the private room of a country pub. But things turn nasty as they drunkenly hurl abuse at the pub manager (Gordon Brown), his daughter (Jessica Brown Findlay) and a high-class hooker (Natalie Dormer) they hire for the night.
Based on the play Posh by screenwriter Laura Wade, the film is centred around this increasingly chaotic dinner party. Although nothing that happens is particularly surprising, because these young men are such relentlessly bigoted, misogynist snobs that it's impossible to believe they belong anywhere other than prison. They certainly don't deserve their self-appointed status as the top students at Oxford, who are getting debauchery out of their systems before taking the lead in British politics and business. But then, that's precisely Wade's point, and she makes it loudly. Thankfully, director Lone Scherfig balances things by offering glimpses into these young men's dark souls while skilfully capturing the old-world subculture and a strong sense of irony.
Continue reading: The Riot Club Review
Tom Hollander and Olivia Colman are back on 'Rev'.
The well overdue third series of 'Rev' premiered on BBC2 on Monday evening (March 24, 2014) welcoming back Adam Smallbone - played by Tom Hollander - to our screens.
The Cast of 'Rev' Season 3
The show - which revolves around a Church of England priest who becomes the vicar of an inner-city London church - has gathered a cult fan-base since debuting in 2010 and is often considered the finest comedy that the BBC currently has on its books.
Continue reading: Is 'Rev' The Most Underrated BBC Comedy Of All Time?
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?
Continue: The Invisible Woman - Clips
'The Invisible Woman', starring and directed by Ralph Fiennes, has received positive reviews from critics ahead of its release in the UK. Critics have some comment on the historical inaccuracies, however mostly the film has been highly praised for Fiennes' directing and its portraying of character many feel they know through his prolific literary works.
Ralph Fiennes (The English Patient) and Felicity Jones (Cemetery Junction) star in The Invisible Woman, a period drama based on the personal life of Charles Dickens. Fiennes directs the largely British cast which includes his former English Patient co-star Kristen Scott Thomas, Tom Hollander (Valkyrie), Joanna Scanlan (The Thick of It) and Michelle Fairley (Game of Thrones).
Ralph Fiennes at the UK premiere of The Invisible Woman.
Continue reading: Ralph Fiennes' 'The Invisible Woman' Garners Positive Reviews
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.
Continue: The Invisible Woman Trailer
Nearly 20 years after Interview With the Vampire, Neil Jordan returns to the genre to breath some new life into a mythology that has grown stale, predictable and rather mopey (see Twilight). With a lively script by Buffini, Jordan creates a lushly stylish dramatic thriller that continually takes us aback with off-beat storytelling and complex characters who don't always do what we expect them to.
The story centres on mother-daughter immortals Clara and Eleanor (Arterton and Ronan), who are on the run when they arrive in a fading British seaside town. The resourceful Clara seduces the nervous Noel (Mays) so they can stay in his dilapidated Byzantium guesthouse. To earn some cash, the always resourceful Clara turns the empty rooms into a brothel. Meanwhile, Eleanor befriends the fragile young Frank (Jones) and reveals the fact that she and her mother are actually more than 200 years old and need human blood to survive. Through all of this, they're being chased by two elder vampires, the ruthless Ruthven (Miller) and the more sympathetic Darvell (Riley), both of whom share a tangled romantic past with Clara.
Unusually intelligent, the film holds our interest with an astonishing series of twists and turns plus an array of colourful characters that play on stereotypes. Holding it all together is a fairly simple plot that reveals itself in bits and pieces until the full picture comes into focus. From this point, we pretty much know what has to happen in the big finale, but watching events unfold is satisfying and sometimes both thrilling and moving.
Continue reading: Byzantium Review
Tim Lake is 21-years-old and not exactly what you call an expert in the art of getting girlfriends. However, all that's about to change when his father lets him in on an incredible secret the day after a shambolic New Year party; all the men in their family can travel back in time and change things that have happened in their lives. Given that he is so clumsy around beautiful women, Tim uses this to his advantage, giving himself a second chance on first impressions. He manages to woo a beautiful girl named Mary with his advances, having honed them to perfection, but little does he realise just how dangerous his actions are. When he accidentally slips up during one time warp incident, he discovers that Mary has never met him before and that several months of romance have completely vanished. He must try and win her back once again, but accept that he cannot avoid the problems life and love inevitably bring - no matter how many times he tries.
Continue: About Time Trailer
Date of birth
25th August, 1967
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