Entries tagged with “British movies”.


The history of England was blessed with several famous queens – starting with head-losers Anne Boleyn and Mary Stuart, continuing the two Elisabeth’s and of course Queen Victoria, the record holder of longevity until recently, the queen who gave her name to a whole era of maximal glory and expansion of the British Empire. The big dames of English cinema were accordingly blessed with the respective fabulous roles that they love to bring to the big screens and are regarded as peaks of their careers. For Dame , Victoria and Abdul directed by  provides (for the second time actually) the opportunity to create a memorable portrait of Victoria. Her success in completing this task is the best part and the best that can be said and written about this production. Unfortunately, this is not the only thing that can be said and written about this film.

 

sursa http://www.imdb.com/title/tt5816682/

sursa http://www.imdb.com/title/tt5816682/

 

It’s very difficult to disconnect the historical episode of the relationship between the old widow who was also the queen of the largest empire on earth at her time (and maybe at all times) and the Muslim servant from India who raised to become her secretary, counselor, spiritual advisor, friend, surrogate son and maybe more than all these, and the political situation today, 120 years later, when the divided Britain faced with the realities of globalization and immigration tries to put again sea and borders between her and Europe. The authors of the film invested quite a lot in describing the atmosphere of the imperial households and its corridors of power and gossip with the adequate costumes and decoration but they are talking all the time to the contemporary spectator while telling a story based on real history or facts as they happened … or almost, as they cautionary and wisely warn us in the opening.

 

(video source https://KinoCheck.de)

 

We are thus left with an impossible friendship and even love story, impossible because of a mountain of reasons: class differences, race prejudices, age gap, cultural and historical precipices. The only thing that can save such a film from falling in complete melodrama or faked rhetoric is the human dimension. In Victoria and Abdul this dimension is only partially delivered by the splendid acting performance of . Unfortunately, the rest of the cast cannot come even close to her class. is fit physically but lacks the nuances that can explain some of the contradictions of his personality. We never know or really understand what is his real class background, whether the deepness of his knowledge in the Quran and oriental culture is genuine, or if he intentionally misled his beloved queen in the details of the history and realities of the inter-faith conflicts on the Indian continent. The rest of the cast is condemned to represent a gallery of half-ridiculous, half-perverse characters representing the British aristocracy class full of prejudice and bad faith. If only the caricature would have been pushed a little further we could have had more comical fun, but could not really abandon the ambition of passing some important message about today’s politics. In my opinion he failed, and the principal great merit of this film is telling a half-baked potential love story while allowing to add another great role to her illustrious filmography.

 

The Sense of an Ending‘ is quite a demanding film. Its target audience is the mature + age, those who have in their minds and souls enough memories that have had the time to be forgotten or intentionally buried. It also demands some patience, as its characters, as many, probably most people in life, do not reveal themselves immediately and are neither exuberant, not very empathetic. It takes time to discover the human motivations of many of us, it takes cinematographic time to discover characters like the one of Tony Webster, the quasi-retired owner of a small shop of vintage cameras in London, who once aspired to become a poet. But then, in cinema as in life, you may be highly rewarded.

 

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4827986/

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4827986/

 

The story, inspired by the Man Booker Prize-winning novel by , puts on screen a slow build-up of the young days of the main hero, who suddenly receives a small heritage from the mother of his ex-girlfriend, probably the great unfulfilled love of his university years. The almost forgotten affair with a girl named Veronica from presumably a higher class family is discovered by viewers and re-discovered by Tony, as his memories come back, some of them extracted with difficulty, exposed because of the need to share and despite the will to leave some of them forgotten. Actions in the past have had unknown consequences on the lives of other. Veronica was some kind of a mystery for the young man, maybe because of the class differences, maybe because men never fully understand women, or maybe because some dark family secrets that are never fully revealed and do not become more evident even after 40 or more years. The ambiguity of the details is part of the reason I liked the story, as in life out of books and screens not everything can and will be explained. However, the pieces of the puzzle come together and build for the hero and for the viewers an alternate, even if partial, version of the past. The final moral of the story is that changing the past can change the present or even the future. We are not only what we wish to be, we are also what our memories determine to make of us.

 

(video source StudiocanalUK)

 

The British style of living and being, its discretion and understatements fit so well this story. Director is only at his second big screens film. I hear that his debut in India with ‘The Lunchbox‘ was kind of a sensation. He succeeds to lead with skill his wonderful team of actors, plays well the card of ambiguity, and seems to understand to details the soul and dilemmas of the characters. Attention however, it’s also a personal story, so what we see on screen is always what the hero, Tony Webster sees, what we know is what he can and in some cases chooses to remember. is a wonderful actor and succeeds with talent and discretion in the lead role, even avoiding from us to become to engaged with him until he deserves it. I can be only sorry that spends so little time on screen in this film, she is an artist I love and respect. Keeping the mystery around her character is however what was required by the script and needed here. The only more severe fault that I could find is that the younger actors playing the decades back flashback episodes do not resemble in physiognomies or characters their older selves. I could not recognize at all ones in the others. This gap left apart, ‘The Sense of an Ending‘ provided me with one of the most sensible and thoughts-provoking cinema experiences lately.

The combination of high-tech thrillers a la James Bond and the so English humor of Rowan Atkinson worked fine for me in the original ‘Johnny English’ and work even better in the ‘Johnny English Reborn’ sequel released eight years later, which I got to see only now. If I am to look for the perfect comedy entertainment I would go for something like this because it succeeds to be funny and anti political-correct, while keeping some logic and sending references to the original movies it is inspired from, without taking itself too much seriously at any moment.

 

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1634122/

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1634122/

 

If I am to decide what are the reasons JE works for me better than other similar comedy-parody movies I would of course first of all mention Rowan Atkinson. He is himself, meaning Mr. Bean whatever the role he plays – a combination of Britishness and irreverence, a walking gaffer and catastrophes generator, and yet – a warm human being. The greatest comical character one can identify with since Stan Laurel.

 

(video source Clevver Movies)

 

The second reason are the scripts of the Johnny English films. They actually have logic. Of course, it’s Brit logic, it’s movies logic, but if you really put the script of the two Johnny English movies near the stories of most of the James Bond films, not only you will find them similar, but English may won many of the credibility contests.

This second and I hope not last installment of Johnny English has also the great advantage to bring back to screen one of my mostly beloved actresses, Gillian Anderson of X-Files fame. Did I say that was my preferred TV-series of all times. I did and now you know it all too. I hope that director Oliver Parker (or somebody else) will go on with the JE series, and that Gillian will become Atkinson/English’s Q for a long time.

 

‘Flawless’ meets two actors who for me are at the opposite poles – Michael Caine who cannot do wrong and Demi Moore who cannot do right. The action tales place in the early 60s and Moore is a female executive in the diamond industry which must have been a very rare thing at that time. Caine is a janitor close to retirement in the building in downtown London which hosts the corporation Moore works for. The two make the most improbable pair of burglars one can imagine. A robbery which may not even be a robbery.

 

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0780516/

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0780516/

 

The detective story is much less than flawless. What gives value to the film is the human motivation of the two heroes. Did I say that they make improbable partners? Yet each of the two has a good motivation for doing what they do, and the film can be read as a feminist story in a world of male-dominated corporations, and as a love story of a very different kind.

 

(movie source High Fliers Film)

 

So what about the acting? Unfortunately here lies the big minus of the film in my opinion. This may be one of the best films of Demi Moore – I do not know, as I never liked her acting. She seems to me stiff and … unfeminine in this film. Worst than this, she seems to succeed to draw down Michael Caine as well and make of his role in this film one of the less convincing I have seen him in. Far from flawless.

‘It didn’t matter what color your hair was, or whether you were a Protestant or a Catholic, it just mattered that you were a punk.’ This was and probably still is the motto in life of Terri Hooley, the man who inspired the film Good Vibrations directed by Lisa Barros D’Sa and Glenn Leyburn, whose screening was occasioned by the British film festival.

 

source www.facebook.com

source www.facebook.com

 

We are introduced in the atmosphere of the 70s by a number of newsreels of the period. While the flower power, pop, hippie movements were winning over much of the world with their message of peace and non-violence and with their music times were tough for Northern Ireland where the religious conflict entered in a violent phase which was going to leave more then 3000 people dead on all sides. Terri Hooley comes from a political involved family, his father was an idealistic Communist, and Terri loses an eye as a kid in a hate act. His great passion is however music, and with music he tries to bridge the gaps between communities, to bring together people around good and beauty, to what should be normality in a world of conflict and violence. And then the opportunity shows up, as he discovers the young people trying to escape the constraints of the society but also of the conventional culture and express themselves and their feelings in in the visceral and straight roughness of punk music. Hooley will help the emerging Northern-Irish punk bends record and distribute their music, and transform Belfast in one of the punk capitals of the world. Suddenly the city known in the news only for conflict and violence becomes a point of cultural interest, a stage for new and innovative music which crosses communities, religions, and haircuts.

 

(video source Premiere Scene)

 

Good Vibration is a simple and direct film about the power of music, about the capacity of doing good in evil times, about the beauty and necessity of escapism. Actor Richard Dorner draws a passionate portrait of a man who lives for music, who believes that music can bridge and heals. It is not an idealized portrait, as family life falls victim to Hooley’s passion, and this aspect is not neglected. It’s not a perfect film, some of the supporting characters could have been developed for example, but overall it’s, well, a film that passes good vibrations. And there is a lot of music of course, I have never been a fan of punk, but I may become one.

According to the news a few months ago Terri Hooley was attacked and abused in his neighborhood in Belfast. Even if 30 years after the troubles the situation in Norther Ireland is much better than it was, healing and reconciliation may have their chance, sequels of the past still show up and the balance is still fragile. The Good Vibrations shop of Terri Hooley opened and closed a few times. Life has ups and downs, but good sometimes prevails.