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Hugh Bonneville Sees Viceroy's House As Relevant Today

Hugh Bonneville

After notable appearances in Notting Hill (1999) and Iris (2001), Hugh Bonneville found global stardom as the Earl of Grantham in Downton Abbey. And he remains in period mode for the new film Viceroy's House, which dramatises the independence and partition of India in 1947.

Viceroy's HouseHugh Bonneville stars in 'Viceroy's House'

Of course, while he was filming the role, he couldn't have predicted how relevant the movie would be. "Any project you undertake, you have no idea how it's going to land," Bonneville says, "and then when it does land, what the ripple effect is. But it seems more pertinent than ever that this is a film about strife, division, neighbour turning on neighbour, lack of understanding of different communities within the same country. And those are the key notes that unfortunately chime within so many countries at the moment, not least the huge one across the pond."

Continue reading: Hugh Bonneville Sees Viceroy's House As Relevant Today

Viceroy's House Trailer

'Viceroy's House' follows the life of the last Viceroy of India who was the figurehead of relinquishing British rule on the Indian subcontinent in 1947. Lord Mountbatten and his wife Lady Edwina Mountbatten were charged with overseeing India's newfound independence, wanting the nation to stay united as one. However, India was already divided by religion, with Muslim leader Muhammed Ali Jinnah wishing to establish a separate country in the form of Pakistan. The Partition of India was not a desirable option for the British rule, but as the civil unrest grew amongst the people and people began to divide themselves anyway, it became the only option for minimal damage to all nations.

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Has Dame Maggie Smith Signed On For A 'Downton Abbey' Film?

Maggie Smith Julian Fellowes Michelle Dockery Laura Carmichael Hugh Bonneville

Dame Maggie Smith has reportedly signed on to take part in the heavily rumoured ‘Downton Abbey’ film. While a movie version of the series has not yet been confirmed, Smith’s fellow cast member Michael Fox has said that the veteran actress will be taking part in a big screen adaptation.

Downton AbbeyIs ‘Downton Abbey’ the movie, really happening?

Speaking to MailOnline Fox, who played Andy Parker, said that Smith’s involvement was crucial to the film. “She elevates it to something else, because she is such a legend and a national treasure,” he said.

Continue reading: Has Dame Maggie Smith Signed On For A 'Downton Abbey' Film?

What's Next For The Stars Of 'Downton Abbey'?

Hugh Bonneville Michelle Dockery Lily James

It's been just over two months since 'Downton Abbey' ended for UK viewers, while the US still has the sixth and final series to complete. So what have all the main cast members been up to and where are we going to see them next? Some are sticking to the UK, but others are broadening their horizons.

Michelle Dockery and Maggie SmithBut what's Maggie Smith up to?

Many of the 'Downton Abbey' stars were already well-established in their own right, but for others the show has been a stepping stone to bigger things. Hugh Bonneville is of the former category, and he's looking pretty busy this year what with the new 'Hollow Crown' series coming up in which he stars as the Duke of Gloucester. He's also finished filming the UK/Indian drama 'Viceroy's House' with Michael Gambon and Gillian Anderson.

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'Downton Abbey's' Final Season Ends, But Not Everyone Got Their Happy Ever After

Hugh Bonneville Michelle Dockery Maggie Smith Laura Carmichael Elizabeth McGovern Jim Carter Rob James-Collier

Yes there’s still a Christmas special to come, but after six series on ITV, ‘Downton Abbey’ ended its run last night, with a surprise wedding and a suicide attempt. But while Lady Mary Crawley got what she wanted (as usual), her younger sister Edith was denied her own happy ending, leaving some viewers furious.

Downton AbbeyAfter six seasons ‘Downton Abbey’ has ended on ITV.

During the episode unlucky in love Edith had her chances of happiness stolen, when sister Mary ruined her relationship by revealing details of her secret love child to fiancé the Marquess of Hexham, Bertie Pelham. But while Edith faced a lifetime of loneliness, all was okay for Mary, as she wed Henry Talbot.

Continue reading: 'Downton Abbey's' Final Season Ends, But Not Everyone Got Their Happy Ever After

Could A 'Downton Abbey' Movie Be On The Way?

Hugh Bonneville

Are the Crawley’s about to transfer to the big screen? Well it could happen, one day, as in a interview with Britain's Daily Mirror actress Raquel Cassidy revealed that a 'Downton Abbey' movie is “definitely a possibility”.

Downton AbbeyCan you imagine the Dowager Countess on the big screen?

"There have been talks and there is definitely a possibility of a Downton film,” the actress who plays housemaid Phyllis Baxter told the newspaper. “There is real hope. It’s been mentioned more than once and there’s a lot of commercial and artistic interest. Stranger things have happened, so watch this space,” Cassidy added.

Continue reading: Could A 'Downton Abbey' Movie Be On The Way?

George Clooney's 'Downton Abbey' Appearance Teased In New Clip

George Clooney Hugh Bonneville

It’s the moment fans of Downton Abbey and well, George Clooney have been waiting for! Yes Hollywood’s favourite silver fox will be making a trip to Britain’s most famous luxury home later this month a part of special charity short. But fans desperate for an early glimpse of gorgeous George have been given an early treat, with a brief teaser clip released by ITV.

Continue reading: George Clooney's 'Downton Abbey' Appearance Teased In New Clip

Paddington - International Trailer

In the jungles of Peru, a young bear learns about and becomes obsessed with Great Britain and sets off on an adventure to visit the county. After an arduous journey, he finally arrives in London's Paddington Station, but realises quite soon that he is both lost and lonely. That is, until the Brown family discover him and adopt him, naming him Paddington, after the place they found him. Paddington (Ben Whishaw) is a great addition to the household, as his antics entertain the children. But said antics often end in destruction within the household, leaving the Brown family in a difficult position. Things become even more difficult when Millicent (Nicole Kidman) sets about trying to capture and stuff Paddington, in order to add him to her exhibition. 

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Culture Secretary Embraces US Takeover Of UK Production Companies

Hugh Bonneville

The culture secretary Sajid Javid has described US takeover of UK production companies as "no bad thing" and a "massive vote of confidence" for the creative economy. The producers behind Downton Abbey, Masterchef and The Voice have all been gobbled up by stateside firms though Javid described the trend as "a great British success story."

Downton AbbeyThe producer behind Downton Abbey was snaffled up

The culture secretary also used his first major speech on broadcasting to say the BBC "can and must" make more efficiency savings as well as taking issue with Channel 4's chief executive David Abraham who used his recent MacTaggart Lecture to warn against the takeover of the British TV industry by US media and tech firms.

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Downton Abbey Promo Shot Blasted By The Historical Accuracy Police Online

Hugh Bonneville Laura Carmichael

We’re preeetty sure they didn’t have plastic bottles back in the 1920s, but a recent Downton Abbey promo shot would beg to differ. With Downton’s third season premiere coming up in September in the UK and January in the US a new promotional photo was released on instagram, featuring, among other things a plastic bottle in the background.

Downton Abbey
Michelle Dockery and Allen Leech, featuring no plastic bottles.

This left some fans amused and many more questioning the historical accuracy of the Crawleys’ drawing room. While the humble plastic bottle first came into commercial use in 1047 (still a few decades after the events of Downton’s fifth season), it didn’t come into wider use until the 1960s.

Continue reading: Downton Abbey Promo Shot Blasted By The Historical Accuracy Police Online

Video - George Clooney Arrives At 'The Monuments Men' Premiere With His Parents - Part 1

George Clooney arrives at the world premiere of 'The Monuments Men', in which he directs and stars, at the Ziegfeld Theatre in New York. He is accompanied on the red carpet by his parents Nick Clooney and Nina Bruce Clooney.

Continue: Video - George Clooney Arrives At 'The Monuments Men' Premiere With His Parents - Part 1

Downton's Back, Alright! Downton Abbey Returns To US Screens

Julian Fellowes Lily James Hugh Bonneville

Downton Abbey will return to PBS for a fourth season this Sunday, 5 January, and anticipation for the quintessentially English period drama couldn't be higher in the United States. The early 20th century-set story of British aristocracy couldn't be further from the days spent by the modern Americans who will sit down in their droves to check out the new season, but can the escapist piece move America once again?

Downton Abbey
The big bad boys of Downton will be back

The Americanisation of the show, it's preoccupation with popular culture intertwined with the prevalent and glaring theme of British social history, is what has made it such a success on both sides of the Atlantic, and this American distinction will only increase in season four. In particular, one of the integral story lines of the season involves the Earl of Downton's niece and her courting of an African-American man, one that obviously hold higher implications not just because he is American.

Continue reading: Downton's Back, Alright! Downton Abbey Returns To US Screens

'Downton Abbey' Recap: Season Four, Episode Six

Julian Fellowes Hugh Bonneville Laura Carmichael Lily James Michelle Dockery

Downton Abbey is moving through the years with gusto, and already we're seeing some of the effects of time play havoc with the lives of some of the landed gentry trying to keep up with the break neck pace of the Roarin' Twenties. In the latest episode there were taboos of yesteryear broken at every turn. We look back at episode six of the current (fourth) season and try and keep up with the changing face of the 20th century along with the cast. The rest of this article contains spoilers.

Downton Abbey
I say sir!

One thing that did become clear early on in the episode was that, with the season hitting the half way mark, plot devices were being shoved in here there and everywhere to gear up the season for its final episode, which will air around Christmas time. The first little glimpse of the season closer came when the Earl of Grantham (Hugh Bonneville) received a letter from Uncle Harold in America, stating that he had gotten himself into “a proper fix” over oil leases. The letter will make Paul Giamatti's entrance into the series at Christmas just that little less surprising now, but chances are you've already heard about his special guest spot by now anyway.

Continue reading: 'Downton Abbey' Recap: Season Four, Episode Six

'Downton Abbey' Consoles Emmy Loss With 10.5m Tune-In To New Series

Michelle Dockery Hugh Bonneville Maggie Smith Penelope Wilton

Downton Abbey has finally returned to television for a fourth season meaning Sunday nights are once again sorted for fans of the meaty period drama. The ITV1 show failed to scoop any awards, apart from 'Outstanding Music Composition,' at last night's Emmy Awards but this didn't prevent record viewing ratings - 10.5m viewers - tuning back into the trials, tribulations, romances, deaths and dramas of the fictional estate.

Michelle Dockery
Michelle Dockery Excels In Her Portrayal Of A Widow.

The new season's first episode picks up in 1922, six months after the last left off; Lady Mary (Michelle Dockery) is still very much in mourning for her husband, Matthew Crawley (Dan Stevens) who was killed in a car crash. Britain's post-war boom has receded to government cuts and widespread unemployment. Though the inhabitants of Downton Abbey may be less affected by the harsh reality of the economy compared to the public, the first episode serves to only highlight the class differences between the servants and their masters at the time.

Continue reading: 'Downton Abbey' Consoles Emmy Loss With 10.5m Tune-In To New Series

The Monuments Men Trailer

It's the 1940s and with World War II at its most fierce, Hitler's Nazi army is threatening whole worlds of culture and history. He wants entire generations to be wiped from time but America isn't going to let it happen. The government set up a Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives program, enlisting seven men - from art historians to museum curators - to march headfirst in the conflict and rescue important art masterpieces and artefacts from the thieving hands of the Nazis. Having only been given basic training and with very little time to waste, the brave men thrust themselves in the face of danger to protect mankind's history no matter what the consequences. With enemies everywhere and a terrain covered in landmines, the journey will not be a straightforward one.

Continue: The Monuments Men Trailer

Downton Abbey's Surprise Success Means Huge Ratings Boost For PBS

Hugh Bonneville

In 2013, cable is dominating traditional broadcast giants and unexpected cult hits like Downton Abbey are where it’s at. By “it” we of course mean huge rating boosts. While ratings at the major networks plateau (and that’s considered a good thing,) PBS’s numbers have gone up 5% in prime time – and that’s just overall, with Sundays (aka Downton night) seeing a staggering 26% boost, no doubt due to PBS’s biggest hit in decades.

Julianne Fellowes, National Television Awards
Creator Julian Fellowes has teased a tension-filled season full of high profile departures.

"We are living in a golden era of drama in television," Paula Kerger, president and CEO of PBS commented for USA Today. "There is some very rich content and we have found that Sunday night on public television has become a great night for drama." Some criticisms have arisen from American Downton fans over the show’s airdates stateside. The fourth season won’t even begin airing in the US, until it is well and truly over across the Pond, which means that audiences are not only getting frustrated, but also run the risk of spoilers.

Continue reading: Downton Abbey's Surprise Success Means Huge Ratings Boost For PBS

Paul Giamatti Continues American Invasion Of Downton Abbey With Season Four Appearance

Paul Giamatti Maggie Smith Hugh Bonneville Jamie Foxx Chris Cooper Shirley Maclaine

Paul Giamatti will become the next American actor to appear in the hugely successful British period drama Downton Abbey, with the American Splendour actor set to appear as a maverick American playboy during the upcoming fourth season of the show.

Giamatti will appear in the Christmas special airing this December, which will follow on directly from the upcoming fourth season of the hit costume drama. He will play Harold, the life-loving brother of Elizabeth McGovern's Cora, and the son of Shirley Maclaine's Martha. MacLaine will also be reprising her role for the Christmas special.

See more images of Paul as Rhino in the upcoming Amazing Spider-Man 2

Continue reading: Paul Giamatti Continues American Invasion Of Downton Abbey With Season Four Appearance

Downton Abbey Will Return To PBS In January 2014

Hugh Bonneville Maggie Smith Julian Fellowes

After the surprise ending of series three, many were left wondering whether or not the hugely successful period drama Downton Abbey would be come back at all, but there's good news to all you Downton fans out there because a fourth series is imminent, and it will be back on PBS on 5 January 2014.

Downton executive producer Rebecca Eaton revealed the good news today in an official statement, revealing the airing date of the new series and adding that it will run for eight weeks. She also added the most of the show's original cast will be back too, including Shirley MacLaine, Hugh Bonneville, Elizabeth McGovern, Maggie Smith, Michelle Dockery, Jim Carter, Joanne Froggatt and Brendan Coyle, adding that there will be a number of new actors joining the established cast too.

Downton Abbey
Hugh Bonneville, Sophie McShera, Phyllis Logan, Julian Fellowes, Lily James and co. of the established Downton order

Continue reading: Downton Abbey Will Return To PBS In January 2014

Gary Carr Joining The Downton Abbey Cast As The Show's First Black Character

Gary Carr Hugh Bonneville Maggie Smith Michelle Dockery Jim Carter

Downton Abbey is going to get a whole lot more complicated and interesting, with the addition of a host of cast members, including Gary Carr. Carr will play the period drama’s first black character, the charismatic jazz singer Jack Ross. The rest of the new cast-members’ names were also an exciting announcement, since the list includes stars like Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, Tom Cullen, Julian Ovenden, Nigel Harman, Joanna David and Dame Harriet Walter, all joining the show for its fourth season.

Carnival Films’ Managing Director, Gareth Neame, said the following about the character of Jack Ross: “We are delighted to introduce another fantastic, dynamic character to Downton Abbey. His addition will bring interesting twists to the drama which we can’t wait for viewers to see in Series Four”.

We’re sure the viewers are excited as well, but we’ll all have to wait a while longer for the series to return with its next eight episodes later this year, as well as the highly anticipated Christmas special, of course. The new cast members will be joining Downton veterans Shirley McLaine Hugh Bonneville, Maggie Smith, Michelle Dockery and Jim Carter. It’ll probably enhance the show’s dynamic, of course, but we can’t help asking… how are we supposed to memorise every tidbit of intrigue between so many characters?

Continue reading: Gary Carr Joining The Downton Abbey Cast As The Show's First Black Character

Downton Abbey Actor Hugh Bonneville Would Welcome A Part In Eastenders

Hugh Bonneville

There’s a strange kind of dichotomy in soap land; Downton Abbey is considered a highbrow, period drama, aired on ITV – not everyone’s idea of premium television, while Eastenders remains the jewell in the crown of The BBC – Britain’s most respected sitcom.

And there’s a further caveat; most of the people who love a bit of East-end drama, are lapping up Downton Abbey. They take the rough with the smooth; the gritty with the glitzy; the real and the ridiculous. Hugh Bonneville – lauded for his role in Downton – used to star in Eastenders, and wouldn’t write them off if they offered him a return to the square. “I might go back. I am a jobbing actor and I will take whatever comes along, thank you very much. I would never say never,” he told The Mirror in an interview. “The actors who work in soaps are the hardest working actors. The amount of material they have to learn is so much. It’s phenomenal."

Hugh BonnevilleHugh and his Downton Abbey buddies

Continue reading: Downton Abbey Actor Hugh Bonneville Would Welcome A Part In Eastenders

Downton Abbey Returning For Another Season Of Drama In Dinner Jackets

Hugh Bonneville

Downton Abbey is about to return to PBS’s Masterpiece Classic, in what is shaping up to be a defining season opener for the show.

The last season left many more than a little disappointed with the increasingly ridiculous and at times soapy plotlines and, in order for American audiences to stay enamored with the period drama, this third season has to offer something new and exciting. And, from the reviews so far (due to PBS’s scheduling strategy, Downton airs in the US about half a season behind the UK), it looks like this season certainly won’t disappoint.

There’s no question that part of the appeal of this show comes from the costumes, the settings, the stuffy manners… the fact that everybody has to be impeccably dressed for dinner, etc. But there’s more to Downtown this season. The war is over. And yet nothing is settled, because the characters still have to face issues like class struggle, gender politics, uncertain investments, in short, things that all or most of us are facing today, almost a century after the events of Downton are set. Add to that some really phenomenal acting and all of those beautiful costumes, and it’s no wonder that the unlikely period drama has managed to capture the imaginations of about six million viewers since it began airing in the US.

Downton Abbey's Cast Enjoys Golden Globe Nominations

Michelle Dockery Hugh Bonneville Maggie Smith

It's not all that rare to find a British television show nominated at the Golden Globes, both The Tudors and Cranford enjoyed their days in the sun in 2008 and 2009, but Americans really do love a British period drama, so this year sees Downton Abbey receiving three nominations, for Best Drama, Best Actress (Michelle Dockery) and Best Supporting Actress (Dame Maggie Smith), which really is an extraordinary achievement. 

Some of the cast members joined the BBC to speak about their delight regarding the nomination. Joanne Froggat, better known as Anna Bates 'nee Smith', expressed her gratitude to the Globes, saying that "to have that kind of recognition from our American peers is wonderful... it's exciting!" 

"We've now joined  high table," said Hugh Bonneville, who plays Lord Grantham, the head of Downton Abbey, "and we're now being considered alongside these great other dramas that have excited the nation and we're thrilled that us from over seas have managed to fit in." Adding, "It's wonderful because when we're filming in Highclere castle... on a freezing February day in the mud, it's nice to know that sometimes it's worth it."

Continue reading: Downton Abbey's Cast Enjoys Golden Globe Nominations

Farce, Or Fair Enough? Olivia Colman To Battle Herself At British Comedy Awards

Olivia Colman Hugh Bonneville Rebecca Front Paddy Considine Steve Coogan Alan Carr David Mitchell Graham Norton Jack Whitehall Lee Mack Sarah Millican

Olivia Colman has been nominated twice in the same category for the upcoming British Comedy Awards. The 39-year-old, perhaps best known for playing Sophie on Peep Show, is up for Best Actress for two BBC shows, Rev and Twenty Twelve.

The decision has left some comedy fans bemused, though the general consensus is that Colman has put in two excellent performances and therefore has every right to be nominated twice. She played Hugh Bonneville's character's long-suffering assistant Sally Owen in the London Olympics comedy and plays Tom Hollander's wife Alex Smallbone on religious comedy Rev. Though having two chances to win the award, Colman still faces stiff competition to land the gong, with Twenty Twelve co-star Jessica Hynes also nominated. The Thick Of It's Rebecca Front, who plays the MP Nicola Murray, is also up for Best Actress. Colman - now considered one of the UK's top actresses - has already had a superb year, winning a slew of awards for playing an abused charity shop worker in Paddy Considine's gritty drama Tyrannosaur

Elsewhere at the comedy awards, The Thick Of It is one of five shows to receive three nominations, along with The Graham Norton Show, Rev, Cardinal Burns and Harry Hill's TV Burp. Steve Coogan picked up a couple of nominations for Alan Partridge: Welcome To Places In My Life. This year's King or Queen of Comedy will be contested by Alan Carr, David Mitchell, Graham Norton, Jack Whitehall, Lee Mack and Sarah Millican. The award winners will be announced live on Channel 4 on Wednesday 12 December.

Continue reading: Farce, Or Fair Enough? Olivia Colman To Battle Herself At British Comedy Awards

Downton Abbey Series 3 Finale Pulls In Record Viewing Figures

Maggie Smith Hugh Bonneville

ITV's flagship period Drama, Dowton Abbey, aired it's season finale last night, and was viewed by a massive 10.7m people, making it easily the highest rated drama of the year, reports The Daily Mail.

Sunday night at 9pm has become a no fly zone for anything other than 'watching Downton' in the U.K. It has captured Britain's hearts, and in doing so, has become one of the most popular dramas of all time. Last night saw the last episode of season 3, which was watched by a mammoth 10.7m people, but it's not single episode figures that excite the channels, rather a consistent viewing average, and Downton can boast that for sure; actors like Dame Maggie Smith and Hugh Bonneville help to pull in a very respectable 9.7 million viewers throughout the series. Compare that to the BBC's Call The Midwife and Sherlock, and Downton outperforms them by 2m and 2.7m respectively.

While the show's success knows no bounds, one key aspect is starting to get noticed: the homogenous level of white Caucasian characters. Many historical purists might point to inaccuracies of including a multicultural cast, but it's something that creator Julian Fellowes has considered. Talking in an interview with The Daily Telegraph, he said "Oh I think that's rather a good idea. You have to work it in in a way that is historically believable, but I am sure we could do that. The show certainly ought to have an Indian character from that period."

Continue reading: Downton Abbey Series 3 Finale Pulls In Record Viewing Figures

Julian Fellowes To Pen ‘Downton Abbey’ Prequel?

Julian Fellowes Elizabeth McGovern Hugh Bonneville Maggie Smith Michelle Dockery

Julian Fellowes wishes to write a prequel on the main characters in his hit ITV1 show ‘Downton Abbey’ after the last series is aired.

The Oscar winning screenwriter, who also wrote the recent ‘Titanic’ mini-series, ‘The Tourist’ and ‘Gosford Park’, wants to recreate the story of when characters Robert and Cora Crawley, the Earl and Countess of Grantham, met and the ‘trouble courtship’ that ensued on to screen. ‘She was in love with him before they married, as we know, and he married her entirely for her money’, Fellowes said at the BAFTA Screenwriters’ Lecture Series. ‘I sort of feel there's something quite nice in there because he's a decent cove, and so he feels rather guilty about this which has affected their marriage beyond that.’

Fellowes was also adamant that the show be aired after ‘Downton Abbey’ had finished. ‘I don't think you can continue a narrative in more than one area at once’, he said. ‘I never really liked those Coronation Street Christmas specials where they all go to Haiti, and you don't have to watch it. Somehow it doesn't feel very organic.’ The show is currently on series three and stars Elizabeth McGovern, Hugh Bonneville, Maggie Smith and Michelle Dockery.

Third Star Review

Very Good
A fascinating, realistic exploration of male friendship, this beautifully shot and finely acted drama will struggle to find an audience simply because its subject matter is ultimately so dark.

James (Cumberbatch) has just turned 29 and he's dying of cancer. As a birthday wish, he gets his best mates Miles, Davy and Bill (Feild, Burke and Robertson) to take him on a hike across Pembrokeshire to his favourite beach. Along the way, good-natured banter gives way to sometimes too-honest conversations as they have a series of small adventures on the vertiginous cliffs. The question is whether their friendship can survive all of the things that are finally about to be said.

Continue reading: Third Star Review

Burke & Hare Review

You can see what Landis was trying to do here: recapture the funny-scary tone of one of his biggest hits, 1981's An American Werewolf in London. But the mix of comedy and grisliness in this comical take on a true story is off the mark.

In 1828 Edinburgh, friends William Burke (Pegg) and William Hare (Serkis) realise they can make good money supplying cadavers to world-class surgeon Dr Knox (Wilkinson). But when they can't find a dead body, they kill someone instead. Hare's wife (Hynes) finds out and wants in on it, but Burke can't tell his aspiring actress girlfriend (Fisher) how he makes his living. Meanwhile, Knox is battling a rival surgeon (Curry) for the King's seal. And the local militia captain (Corbett) is closing in.

Continue reading: Burke & Hare Review

Glorious 39 Review

Telling a story from a rarely examined period of British history, this pre-war drama is a bundle of suspense, mystery and personal emotion that's beautifully filmed and sharply played by a first-rate cast.

Anne (Garai) is the adopted eldest daughter of powerful politician Alexander Keyes (Nighy) and his wife (Agutter), who went on to have two of their own children (Redmayne and Temple). It's the glorious summer of 1939, when Britain felt like it had averted conflict with Hitler, so when Anne stumbles on hints of a government conspiracy, she turns to a fellow actor (Bonneville) and her boyfriend (Cox) for help. But the mystery only deepens, compounded by a sinister Home Office official (Northam) and the distracting presence of her Aunt Elizabeth (Christie).

Continue reading: Glorious 39 Review

Tsunami: The Aftermath Review

As its title suggests, HBO Films' Tsunami: The Aftermath begins not with a crashing wave of water but rather with something far more chilling. A boatload of vacationing scuba divers returns to their Phuket resort after a morning outing on December 26, 2004 and notice all sorts of debris, and then bodies, in the water. At the dock they see that the entire landscape is destroyed, the hotel is in ruins, and everyone, including their families and friends, is gone. As they run through the wreckage screaming, you'll feel chills.

Among the group is Susie Carter (Sophie Okonedo), who quickly reunites with her husband Ian (Chiwetel Ejiofor) but is devastated to learn their four-year-old daughter slipped out of her father's arms and has disappeared. Meanwhile, Kim Peabody (Gina McKee) has lost her husband but finds her teenage son horribly injured.

Continue reading: Tsunami: The Aftermath Review

Notting Hill Review

Julia Roberts is Julia Roberts - almost - in Notting Hill, a well-crafted romantic comedy from the geniuses behind Four Weddings and a Funeral.

The deceptively simple plot begins when uber-famous film star Anna Scott (Roberts) winds up in William's (Grant) book shop on Notting Hill, something of a British cross between a pre-Disney Times Square and a Moroccan street market. After William accidentally dumps orange juice down Anna's front, an on-again, off-again, on-again, off-again, on-again love affair blossoms.

Continue reading: Notting Hill Review

Iris Review

In the refined and sobering drama Iris, we witness a loving but unconventional relationship between a strangely elegant couple -- English critic John Bayley and his Alzheimer's-stricken, novelist wife Iris Murdoch. Writer-director Richard Eyre, who wrote the script with Charles Wood based on Bayley's memoirs Iris: A Memoir and Elegy for Iris, delivers an amazingly touching portrait of resilient and everlasting passion between two eccentric creative forces who have contributed to the literary world immensely. Iris is an enchanting and finely-acted personal drama that manages to absorb the pleasures and pain of an undying spirit of togetherness. Expressionistic and resoundingly involving, Eyre's thought-provoking film is perceptively engaging.

Eyre does a terrific job in showing us the deterioration of a brilliant-minded woman in Iris Murdoch. It is always frustrating to witness anybody's decline in health, but it must be particularly awful for a talented author with an impeccable series of written work to her name. The film shows us the two phases of Iris's life -- as a free-spirited young woman in 1950's Oxford, England and as an aged, sickly soul trying to survive her last days in the 1990s while her husband tends to her needs. Titanic heroine Kate Winslet plays the youngish and energetic Iris while Oscar-winning actress Judi Dench portrays her ailing years.

Continue reading: Iris Review

Blow Dry Review

Hmmm, what's this movie with Josh Hartnett and Rachael Leigh Cook on the cover? Must be some nutty teen comedy, right?

Well, with one cancer diagnosis and one death in the first 15 minutes, Blow Dry is hardly the feel-good romance you'd expect. Strikingly similar to The Big Tease, Blow Dry tells the story of a haircutting competition that descends on a small town in Britain. Celebrities (well, celebrity stylists) from around England arrive to compete, and the local boys get into the act as well. But while the drama unfolds with models and shears, another drama takes place among the locals -- largely involving various romances and a singular cancer victim.

Continue reading: Blow Dry Review

Underclassman Review


Here we have a definite candidate for the year's worst picture, and it comes just a few weeks after director Marcos Siega's other failure, "Pretty Persuasion."

This time Siega shares the blame with star Nick Cannon, whose impressive breakout performance made 2002's "Drumline" such a surprise hit. Now Cannon co-produces and co-writes the "story" for "Underclassman," a kind of fifth-rate "Beverly Hills Cop" knock-off.

Cannon plays Tre Stokes, a smart aleck young black cop going undercover at a ritzy white high school to rout out a murderer. Of course, Tre's behavior gets him kicked off the force and so he must finish the job alone.

Continue reading: Underclassman Review

Blow Dry Review


"Blow Dry" is a leaden British dramedy about an estranged family of hairdressers reconciling when a big coiffeur competition comes to their small town. Like "The Big Tease" -- a similarly themed English mockumentary that came out last year, delaying the release of this one -- its laughs come mostly from tired flamboyancy stereotypes.

Hairdressers with over-styled, out-of-date dos and David Copperfield-like showmanship bite each other's backs to win what is apparently a prestigious award for clever and speedy hair cutting. Meanwhile a sad-sack local barber (Alan Rickman) enters the competition with his son (Josh Hartnett, "The Virgin Suicides") to face down his former salon partner (Bill Nighy), now the nation's star hairdresser and the dirty-tricking front-runner in the contest.

Besides suffering from the same problems "The Big Tease" had -- basically that it's a cliché-riddled underdog sports movie with a dye job and a limp wrist -- "Blow Dry" is also saddled with a maudlin, comedy-antidote subplot about Rickman's estranged lesbian ex-wife (Natasha Richardson), who is bravely dying of cancer 10 years after leaving him for his hair model (a criminally under-used Rachel Griffiths). Brought together again by the competition, everybody gets busy forgiving.

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Hugh Bonneville

Date of birth

10th November, 1963








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