It's the 1930s and a group of strangers from different walks of life board a crowded luxury train called the Orient Express in Istanbul, preparing for a long overnight journey to their destination. Among them is the world famous detective Hercule Poirot who certainly isn't expecting to be working in such circumstances, but when a passenger named Edward Ratchett is found havng been brutally murdered in his sleep on the second night, it's up to him to gather all available evidence and wheedle out all of the suspects. So who are they? He soon deduces that the potential killer could be one of eleven including Professor Gerhard Hardman, Edward Masterman the Butler, Count Andrenyi, Hector MacQueen the Assistant, Mary Debenham the Governess, Pilar Estravados the Missionary, Mrs. Hubbard the Widow, Marquez the Salesman, Hildegarde Schmidt the Maid, Doctor Arbuthnot or Princess Dragomiroff.
Continue: Murder On The Orient Express Trailer
In the late 80s, Richard Thorncroft (Julian Barratt) was the most famous police detective on television, but fast-forward to the present day and he's balding, ungroomed and trying to convince himself that he is exactly where he needs to be in life with desperate daily positive affirmations. Fate does have one more adventure in store for the actor, however. A suspected serial killer named Paul Melly (Russell Tovey) has escaped from a secure unit at Darkmoor Hospital and is now taunting Isle of Man police that more will die unless he can speak to Detective Mindhorn. The police are well aware that Mindhorn is just a TV character, but they try their luck and enlist the help of the actor who plays him nonetheless. Unfortunately, Thorncroft turns out to be much less efficient than his onscreen persona, as much as he'd like to believe otherwise.
Continue: Mindhorn Trailer
Kenneth Branagh will direct the Agatha Christie adaptation.
The ensemble cast of Kenneth Branagh’s Murder on the Orient Express is shaping up to be pretty special.
Johnny Depp is among the A-list cast for Murder on the Orient Express
The story of Romeo and Juliet is one of unconditional love that shows how far two people will go in order to be together for eternity. The two families the Montagues and the Capulets are at war with each other and both Romeo the son of Montague and Juliet the daughter of Capulet fall in love with each other which is strictly forbidden because of the family's ongoing feud.
Continue: Branagh Live: Romeo & Juliet Trailer
Branagh will not only be directing the project, but will also be starring as the famous Belgian detective in Fox's new adaptation.
The 54 year old English actor, whose directing credits include Thor, Henry V and 2015’s box-office success Cinderella, is reported by Variety to have signed up for the Fox re-make that has been in the pipelines since 2013. Ridley Scott, fresh from his success with The Martian, is also attached to the project as a co-producer.
Sir Kenneth Branagh will be directing and starring in the new adaptation of Agatha Christie's classic novel
Here’s what reviewers have been saying about Chris Pine’s new action thriller.
As Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit prepares for release worldwide, the critics' reviews have been formed and filed and could determine whether many see the film or not this January. If you're a film fan who was looking forward to Kenneth Branagh's new realisation of the late Tom Clancy's CIA hero Jack Ryan, you may want to click away now because it's not too pretty.
Chris Pine Leads As Jack Ryan In The Franchise's New Incarnation.
After Alec Baldwin, Ben Affleck and Harrison Ford's incarnations of the young but heroic CIA agent, it's now Star Trek's Chris Pine's turn to take on the action role. Pine's Ryan starts out as a CIA office worker but is propelled into a daunting new world of special operations when he is enlisted to help thwart a major Russian terrorist plot.
After the sad news Of Tom Clancy's death, the poster for Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit movie adaptation is released.
Talented spy author Tom Clancy died earlier this week, but his legacy lives on via his many novels, his video games and his movies, which are still being made. The 66 year-old novelist died in a Baltimore hospital after a short illness.
Clancy Brought Thrilling Tales Of Espionage To Life.
With a personal fortune estimated at $47.8m (£33m), Clancy was one of the most productive, not to mention richest authors in the world. His most famous character Jack Ryan appeared in many of Clancy's novels and movies, including the famous The Hunt For Red October, starring Alec Baldwin and Sean Connery.
Oscar winner Cate Blanchett to take to film directing in a new project, 'The Dinner'.
Cate Blanchett might've put on a jaw-dropping performance in her most recent film Blue Jasmine, but she's about to display a new talent as a budding film director in the upcoming adaptation of The Dinner.
Perhaps working with such iconic directors as Woody Allen (Blue Jasmine), Peter Jackson (The Hobbit), George Clooney (The Monuments Men, due out 2014) and Kenneth Branagh - who she is currently filming the new adaptation of Cinderella with - has inspired her to branch out in her film career as she finally takes on the tricky role new in a new film based on the novel by Herman Koch.
It's a suspenseful thriller about two couples who are trying to make a drastic decision about their teenage sons who have been involved in a horrific situation that's now in the hands of the police. There is little action and one setting, but that will only make it harder to infuse each second with nail-biting tension and heart-stopping dread when it is put to film.
The French Oscar-winner replaces Natalie Portman, who was initially cast as Lady MacBeth, and will star alongside Michael Fassbender.
Marion Cotillard has been chosen to bring some Gallic glamour to one of Scotland's most malevolent (fictional) characters in the latest big screen adaption of William Shakespeare's MacBeth. The Oscar-winning actress is set to star along German/Irish actor Michael Fassbender, who will be taking on the titular role, under the direction of Snowtown's Justin Kurzel, The Hollywood Reporter first revealed.
Marion Cotillard will replace fellow Oscar-winner Natalie Portman in the latest adaption of 'The Scottish Play'
Distributed through StudioCanal and Film4, the latest rendition of the classic Shakespearean tragedy is being produced by The King's Speech backers Iain Canning and Emile Sherman, who run the production house See Saw. Which happens to be the same company that worked on the Fassbender-starring Shame. No further details of the film have been released just yet, so it is still unknown who Cotillard and Fassbender will be starring alongside when filming begins in January 2014.
The music world lost George Jones and Chris Kelly, while the two Lily's - James and Collins - landed the biggest movies roles of their careers. Oh, and Tyler the Creator made the most racist ad ever, apparently.
Why Baby Why: The country music world lost a true legend in the shape of George Jones last week. The musician was dubbed No Show George for his unpredictability throughout his touring career though he never failed to entertain and certainly had a tale to tell. The musical luminaries turned out en masse for his funeral too.
The Slipper Fits: Lily James landed the biggest role of her short career this week, filing the part of Cinderella in Kenneth Branagh's new big-budget movie for Disney. You may remember that Emma Watson turned down the role earlier this year - could that be a movie that comes back to haunt her?
Lily James has been chosen to take on the role of Cinderella in the upcoming live-action adaption of the fairy tale.
Lily James, who found fame as Lady Rose MacClare in Downton Abbey, has been chosen by Disney to play Cinderella in their upcoming live-action reboot of the fairy tale. The English beauty has beaten off competition from the likes of Saoirse Ronan, Bella Heathcote and Emma Watson for the sought after role, with filming set to begin on the project later this year.
Lily James should make a fitting Cinderella
Kenneth Branagh has already been signed on to direct the live action take, with Cate Blanchett playing the evil stepmother. Disney have been planning on bringing a live-action version of Cinderella to cinemas since 2010, following the success of Tim Burton's Alice In Wonderland, but have only now gotten round to filling in all the gaps in the project. Blanchett was confirmed to take on the evil stepmother role at the end of last year, but since then the producers have been in a mad dash to sign their lead actress, with many of the would-be Cinderellas, most notable Watson, declining the part due to other commitments.
Continue reading: Lily James Chosen To Play Cinderella In New Disney Flick
With Emma Watson out of the running for 'Fifty Shades of Grey,' we take a look at some of the other contenders to play Anastasia Steele.
Emma Watson is officially out of the running to play the submissive Anastasia Steele in Kelly Marcel's adaptation of the S&M novel 'Fifty Shades of Grey.' Watson - who, of course played Hermione Granger in Harry Potter - has long been considered one of the favourites to play the female lead in theUniversal and Focus Pictures movie, though she shot down the rumors in a couple of posts on her Twitter page this week. Watson, who recently turned down the opportunity to play Cinderella in Kenneth Branagh's upcoming Disney movie, started off by telling followers, "Who here actually thinks I would do 50 Shades of Grey as a movie? Like really. For real. In real life."
After encouraging her fans to respond, Watson presumably got few affirmative replies, or plenty of tweets warning her off the project, tweeting, "Good. Well that's that sorted then." The nature of her tweets suggest Watson has been approached by Universal about playing Anastasia and it's likely she would have been the studio's first choice. "I haven't read the book, I haven't a read a script, nothing," Watson told EW.com in July 2012, "There are so many movies you become attached to when I've literally never even received a phone call. It was the same way with 'The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo' - I never even saw a script!"
The Fifty Shades movie remains without a lead actor, actress or director, despite Universal's hopes of releasing the film in summer of 2014. Shooting is likely to go ahead within the next couple of months, though Watson ruling herself will have given producers a potential headache. Is she isn't playing Steele, then who is?
Continue reading: If Emma Watson Isn't Doing 'Fifty Shades Of Grey,' Then Who Is?
Legendary television actor Richard Briers, who played the enduring Tom in BBC comedy The Good Life, has died at the age of 79. The actor, who also starred in Ever Decreasing Circles, Monarch of the Glen and numerous successful stage productions, had been ill for a number of years with emphysema.
His agent, Christopher Farrar, said in a statement, "Richard was a wonderful man, a consummate professional and an absolute joy to work alongside. Following his recent discussion of his battle with emphysema, I know he was incredibly touched by the strength of support expressed by friends and the public, adding, "He has a unique and special place in the hearts of so many. He will be greatly missed. Our thoughts and deepest sympathy go to his family at this sad time."
Continue reading: The Good Life: Legendary TV Actor Richard Briers Dies Aged 79
Kenneth Branagh was honoured by the Queen at Buckingham Palace earlier this week, receiving his knighthood from the royal following his awarding of the title during her birthday honours list in June this year.
The actor, director and writer, who also had a starring role in Danny Boyle's opening ceremony for this years Olympics, taking on the role of famed Victorian industrialist Isambard Kingdom Brunel, received his honour from the Queen, saying after to the BBC that he felt "humble, elated and incredibly lucky" to be bestowed with such an honour.
Known best for his Shakespearean roles, most notably Henry V, as well as his role on television as the Swedish detective Wallander on the BBC of the same name, Branagh was recognised for his ongoing services to drama, which have spanned more than three decades already.
Continue reading: Kenneth Branagh Honoured By The Queen: Thats SIR Kenneth Now
Kenneth Branagh has received his knighthood from the Queen at Buckingham Palace for services to drama and the community of Northern Ireland. The Oscar-nominated actor, director and screenwriter, is best known for his Shakespearean works though most recently played Swedish detective Wallander in the BBC series of the same name.
Sir Kenneth joins the likes of Sir Michael Caine, Sir Patrick Stewart, Sir Ben Kingsley and Sir Laurence Olivier in becoming a thespian knight. Branagh - who recently starred in the Marilyn Monroe movie My Week With Marilyn - told Sky News that he felt "humble, elated and incredibly lucky," to have received the award, adding, "When I was a kid I dreamed of pulling on a shirt for the Northern Ireland football team. I could only imagine how proud you might feel. Today it feels like they just gave me the shirt and my heart's fit to burst." Branagh spent his early years in Northern Ireland though moved to Reading with his family at the age of nine.
In today's ceremony, two British servicemen were awarded the Military Cross for bravery. Corporal Carl Taylor from Birmingham ran 80 feet across open ground under Taliban fire to rescue three young Afghan children. Bombardier Mark Carpenter of the Royal Artillery was also honoured, as were four fire-fighters from Nottinghamshire who received the Queen's Gallantry Medal for acts of bravery.
Continue reading: Kenneth Branagh? That's Sir Kenneth Branagh To You!
Welcome back, Potter.
The beloved Harry Potter returns to screens, a scant year after his most debut, with the film version of book two in the unfathomably popular Harry Potter series, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Unfortunately, while the Potter-obsessed will likely find few faults with the film, this sequel captures much less of the original's magic. (And while I've not read the books, I understand the same can be said for the second novel as well.)
Secrets finds Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) back at home with his Muggle family on summer vacation, locked in his room (though no longer under the stairs). Before long, Harry is set to return to Hogwarts -- despite the insistence from his uncle that he is no longer allowed to study magic. But a daring prison break, courtesy of the Weasley family -- including Harry's best bud Ron (Rupert Grint), gets Harry back to school, despite the meddling of a Yoda-like "house elf" named Dobby (very obvious CG). The masochistic Dobby tries to convince Harry that his life is in danger if he returns to Hogwarts -- though in reality his life appears more in danger due to Dobby's "helpful" meddling.
Harry of course does return to Hogwarts, where all his familiar experiences await him. Hermione (Emma Watson) is still the class brain. Hagrid (Robbie Coltrane) is still the school clown. Snape (Alan Rickman) is still Snape. The new additions to the cast include a new Dark Arts professor, Gilderoy Lockhart (Kenneth Branagh), a narcissistic wizard with questionable ability, as well as the father of Harry's platinum blonde archrival Malfoy, Lucius (Jason Isaacs).
While the cast is still in fine form (the exception being a shockingly haggard Richard Harris as headmaster Dumbledore; Harris died a few weeks before the film's release), it's the story that is decidedly lacking in this episode. The titular Chamber of Secrets is a legendary room inside Hogwarts fabled to hold a menacing creature. It can only be opened, we're told, by an heir to the Slytherin family. When a mysterious message appears on the Hogwarts walls in blood, Harry begins hearing hissing voices, and students begin to turn up paralyzed. It appears the Chamber of Secrets has been opened -- and suspicions fall on Draco Malfoy (Tom Felton) as the heir. Or is it Harry?
What follows is another nearly-three hours of exposition as Harry, Ron, and Hermione attempt to crack this riddle, Nancy Drew-style, while the body count at Hogwarts keeps rising. Mercilessly padded, the movie drags us through ages of all-too-familiar territory: a Quidditch match ends predictably; spells go awry; the trio works on a potion together; one-note characters appear only to say their line and soon exit the story. Finally, invariably first-on-the-scene Harry coincidentally discovers a blank diary -- it's amazing how much coincidence drives the plot -- that leads him on a circuitous path to discover the Chamber, just in time for a final showdown with what looks astonishingly like a miniature-golf hazard.
Jeez, I'm bored just writing about it. So much of Secrets is so unnecessary that my audience was way ahead of the circuitous yet ultimately very simplistic story. Kids spent the three hours running up and down the aisles -- only their parents had the fortitude to stay with the plot. That said, this installment is much funnier than the original, and it has a bit more of a grown-up sentiment to it. Still, it's going to take more than an ominous voice in the walls and a flying car to keep even the most patient adults interested in a three-hour movie.
Chamber of Secrets is enjoyable for many of its stretches, and it's unfortunate that director Chris Columbus (giving up the reins for episode 3) didn't take more chances with the source material, excising the many irrelevant parts and adding in a bit of his own vision. As such, we have a movie that plays out in fits and starts of fun alternating with boredom. Sad to say, the kids will probably want to leave midway through this one and ask you to replay the original on DVD when you get home. Poor Harry, when we see you again (in two years' time), I hope you'll have regained a bit of your magic.
As with Potter #1, the film comes to DVD in an exhaustive and impressive two-disc package, headlined by one of the most aggressive 6.1 channel audio tracks I've ever had the privilege to hear on DVD. This film thankfully makes it much easier to find the deleted/extended scenes, all of which are well worth checking out and add a bit of depth and flavor to an otherwise so-so movie. There are also tons of games for the kids and a few interviews for the adults, including one with J.K. Rowling.
Try putting right down the middle of the course.
The story's been around for 400 years. Othello (Lawrence Fishburne) is a Moorish general in the Italian army, and he is the victim of constant prejudice. Desdemona (Irene Jacob) is his Italian lover, and when the pair secretly marry, Othello finds himself the victim of a fiendish plot by his servant Iago (Kenneth Branagh). Iago's motives are also magnified by the presence of young Cassio (Nathaniel Parker), who serves as Othello's right-hand man despite Iago's longer term of service.
Continue reading: Othello Review
In his second big-screen outing, adolescent wizard Harry Potter is blessed with enough cinematic magic to overcome several of the very same problems that left last year's "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" feeling a little protracted and rambling.
Sure "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets" spends twice as much screen time on atmosphere and adventure scenes than on plot and character. But this time around every episode seems relevant, which is a vast improvement over last year's film, bloated as it was with Quidditch matches and monster moments that didn't advance the plot one iota.
Returning director Chris Columbus retains the enchanted ambiance as Harry heads to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry for his second year of instruction in the black arts. But nothing is ever easy for our young hero, as unseen forces seem to be conspiring against him -- not the least of which is some kind of elusive beast that's loose in Hogwarts' halls, turning students to stone.
Continue reading: Harry Potter & The Chamber Of Secrets Review
For a long time I've had a theory that the musical genre couldn't survive the cynicism of modern audiences except as a ironic in-joke, like the "South Park" movie or as a post-modern homage, like Woody Allen's "Everyone Says I Love You."
I couldn't have been more wrong -- and leave it to Kenneth Branagh, a writer-director-actor who has made his name revitalizing old (old, old!) school entertainment -- to prove it by bringing back the kind of weightless musical delight that carried Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers to stardom.
For his new adaptation of Shakespeare's "Love's Labour's Lost," Branagh has re-imagined the buoyant romantic comedy as a classy, corny, 1930s movie musical, complete with uplifting dance numbers and a catalog of favorite big band ditties sung with great enthusiasm (if not great skill) by a quality cast of cheerful actors clearly having the time of their lives.
Continue reading: Love's Labour's Lost Review
An extraordinary true tale of perseverance set against the deplorable backdrop of government-sanctioned racism in 1931 Australia, "Rabbit-Proof Fence" is a stirring film about three kidnapped Aboriginal girls who run away from an indoctrination camp and walk 1,500 miles across the Outback to return to their native village.
The story takes place at a time when it was Aussie government policy to remove "half-caste" children (fathered by white men) from their Aborigine families and re-educate them to be adopted by white families, and director Philip Noyce makes no bones about showing the dismay induced by the enforcement of these laws. In one of the film's first scenes, 14-year-old Molly (Everlyn Sampi), her 8-year-old sister Daisy (Tianna Sansbury) and their 10-year-old cousin Gracie (Laura Monaghan) are ripped from their mothers' arms at a remote trading post near a tribal community called Jigalong, leaving the women sobbing and wailing in the dust kicked up by government cars.
Dragged to the a compound on the other side of the continent where dark-skinned children have the Bible beaten into them and their native languages and customs beaten out by missionaries and nuns, the girls suffer at the hands of the policy that "in spite of himself, the native must be helped."
Continue reading: Rabbit-Proof Fence Review
Fans of 'Lord of the Rings' and 'Harry Potter' have often debated what a fight between Gandalf and Dumbledore would look like, but it turns out it isn't as interesting as you might think.
Legendary thespian and film star, Sir Ian McKellen, came under fire from the late Richard Harris several years ago when he landed the role of the wise but mischievous Gandalf in 'The Lord of the Rings' trilogy. McKellen claims that Harris was furious for not being cast in Peter Jackson's fantasy epic, and this was exacerbated by McKellen being chosen over him.
Harris reportedly exploded at the rumour that McKellen would then take the role of Dumbledore as well in 2002 when Harris' health steadily began to fail. The actor explained: "Before Richard Harris died, there was an enquiry: would I be interested in playing in Harry Potter? And I said, 'Yes, certainly'. But I've not heard anything since."
Date of birth
10th December, 1960
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