11 items from 2017
Princess Diana was many things to many people, but at her core, she was a devoted and adoring mother to two boys, Prince William and Prince Harry. The brothers, who were just 15 and 12 years old when their mother tragically passed away in August 1997, have been opening up more and more about the impact her death has had on them as grown men and members of the royal family, most recently in a televised documentary called Diana, Our Mother: Her Life and Legacy. Also looking back on Diana's life in the film is her younger brother, Charles the 9th Earl Spencer, who reflected on their childhood growing up at the family estate at Althorp, the same place where Diana's body is now buried. Contrary to popular belief, Diana wasn't exactly a commoner when she met and married Prince Charles. Here are the royal titles she held throughout her life. Related9 Ways »
- Brittney Stephens
James Hunt Jun 28, 2017
Following a much-publicised departure from Ant-Man, Edgar Wright is back with a new film which he has both written and directed. Baby Driver stars Ansel Elgort alongside the likes of Jon Hamm, Kevin Spacey and Jamie Foxx. We had 15 minutes with Wright to talk about the film's long gestation and how he took it from Wood Green Dhss to the big screen...
So this one's been on the slate for a while. I hear you had the idea for it something like 20 years ago now?
Yeah, it's funny, when I've mentioned that kind of timeline - having the idea 22 years ago - it's true in a sense that I heard a song and visualised a car chase, which is John Spencer Blues Explosion's Bellbottoms, »
Edgar Wright’s return to American moviemaking is a more earnest and coherent foray than 2010’s Scott Pilgrim, and it’s a blast of pure positive energy after the relatively dour The World’s End. It opens with the eponymous Baby (Ansel Elgort) rocking in his car to The John Spencer Blues Explosion, and it never stops dancing.
Baby is a guy with a permanent Tony Manero swagger. He’s under the wing of gangster boss Doc (Kevin Spacey), who’s both a mentor and gaoler. But Baby has almost paid off his debt and he’s approaching the “one last job” cliché, after which he hopes to hit the road and leave his Atlanta life behind.
Then Baby meets a beautiful waitress, Debora (Lily James). They quickly fall in love. However, the freeway out of the crime world is not clear. Doc needs Baby for yet another last job, working alongside the hyper-macho Buddy (John Hamm) and his scheming girlfriend Darling (Eiza Gonzalez), and the batshit crazy Bats (Jamie Foxx).
Can Baby finish his getaway driver stint and find freedom and a future with Debora? Or is he on a road to oblivion?
Life is a playlist for Baby. A childhood accident left him with tinnitus, and now he drowns out the whining through the power of the iPod, wearing earbuds 23 hours a day and moving to the thrum of the music. (He even samples real-world conversations and mixes them into bad hip-hop.) Wright’s penchant for rhythmic editing has reached its natural zenith, and it’s exhilarating. The British auteur has compiled a soundtrack – and frankly a narrative brevity – of which Tarantino can only dream. And it’s not just the music but the sound design, which is astonishingly detailed and well-choreographed, whether it’s the percussive crack of gunfire, the sad ring of tinnitus, or the intimate singing of wine glasses.
The marketing may have overtones of classic car capers like Sam Peckinpah’s The Getaway or Walter Hill’s The Driver, but really Baby Driver is a mashup of the last few decades of modern action movies. It takes in the muscular physicality and mute cool of the ‘70s; the efficiency and the gaudy aesthetic of the ‘80s and ‘90s; and in its hero shaped by formative tragedy, even includes some of the comic book sensibility of the new century. It also feels like the greatest Grand Theft Auto movie never made. (If only Baby could learn from GTA that sometimes the best way to evade the cops is to stay still until the heat is off.)
Elgort is charming and tragic in a way that he totally wasn’t in The Fault in Our Stars, and he has a great chemistry with James, who pulls off blue collar Georgian with effortless aplomb. In supporting roles, Spacey brings gravitas and grades of grey to his deadpan mobster, while Foxx is genuinely funny and menacing.
But Hamm is the real psychotic of the troupe. Unlike Bats, Buddy comes in the guise of a friend, before finally actualising his rage and cruelty. It’s disappointing that the final showdown descends into a mindless macho wrestle, but the storytelling is movingly redeemed in the epilogue.
As ever, Wright is constantly imaginative in deploying his action beats and setpieces. For him, it’s not enough to give us a scuzzy warehouse gun deal, so he delivers it as if a group of bankers are being presented with a fine dining experience. Wright gleefully toys with our expectations throughout, whether it means building to the ultimate car chase, only to show us a foot race; giving us musical intros we think we know but we don’t; or inverting the mentor role by making the kid the carer.
A very welcome stem of morality runs through the movie. It is made abundantly – perhaps excessively – clear that Baby is a boy with a good heart, a million miles from the French Connection-type antihero. Yet, ever the optimist, Wright’s fable is as much a reflection of the countercultural mood of its time as any film from the Nixon era. He is right-on when he proposes that real heroism in the modern age is in decency, accountability and humility – an implicit indictment, perhaps, of today’s prevailing political bleakness.
What a rush this movie is, and what a work of authorship. Employing style in the service of soulfulness, Baby Driver is like Nicolas Winding Refn’s Drive shot through with the sensibility of a Hollywood musical. It’s absolutely an Edgar Wright joint and it’s an absolute joy, and if it isn’t on my end-of-year best-of list then I’ll eat my driving gloves.
Baby Driver is out in cinemas on 28th June 2017. »
- Rupert Harvey
Even for a director whose previous films have all made thorough use of pop music, Edgar Wright takes it much further in his new movie Baby Driver. From the opening seconds, the movie is suffused with songs, playing key roles in both the narrative and the extra-diagetical realm of the soundtrack. It’s stuffed to the gills with tunes, is the essential bullet point here (speaking of which, bullets—also a lot of those in the film), much of it used in inventive and memorable ways. So it shouldn’t be that surprising the movie’s official soundtrack is also enormous, clocking in at 30 tracks. Rolling Stone has the complete listing, and it looks pretty damn good.
- Alex McLevy
Image Source: Getty / Anwar Hussein Seven days after Princess Diana's tragic death in August 1997, she was honored with a public funeral that remains one of the most watched events in history. Millions of people crowded the streets of London to follow the route of Diana's coffin from Kensington Palace along Hyde Park to St. James's Palace, passing Buckingham Palace and observing her memory in a ceremony at Westminster Abbey. Later that day, Diana was taken to her final resting place at her childhood home, the Spencer estate in Althorp. Related50+ Photos That Show the Outpouring of Love at Princess Diana's Public Funeral Image Source: Getty / Barry King Though many attended her funeral, the Princess of Wales was buried privately; the only people present were a close friend, her mother and siblings, Prince Charles, William, Harry, and a clergyman. Diana wore a black dress by Catherine Walker and held »
- Brittney Stephens
Along with a laid-back lifestyle and charitable spirit, one of the things Princess Diana passed down to her son Prince William was a love for fine jewelry - especially beautiful Cartier watches. After her divorce from Prince Charles, Diana was frequently photographed wearing a gold Cartier Tank Francaise, a gift from her father, John Spencer. She bought William a similar timepiece from the famed French label, which she had engraved for one of his birthdays. After her death in August 1997, William chose to keep Diana's Cartier Tank as a memento - and in 2014, he gifted Kate Middleton with the Ballon Bleu de Cartier watch for their third wedding anniversary. Not only was the watch on its own a beautiful way to connect his beloved mother and new wife, but William also went a step further by embedding a sapphire stone into the stainless-steel style to match Kate's engagement ring - which also belonged to Diana. »
- Brittney Stephens
Still Eligible: No.
Hot Streak: While a number of actors have won this category twice, we haven’t seen a repeat victor since Ray Walston won for “Picket Fences” in 1995 and 1996. That streak will continue at least one more year, given last year’s winner is ineligible in 2017.
With “Game of Thrones” ineligible, this field is wide open. Only three of last year’s six nominees are eligible to earn another nomination in 2017 — Jonathan Banks (“Better Call Saul”), Michael Kelly (“House of Cards”), and Jon Voight (“Ray Donovan”) — meaning even if all three get back in, we’re going to see some new blood this year…
…starting with John Lithgow. The beloved Emmys presence (a five-time winner and 11-time nominee »
- Ben Travers
Baby Driver, sharing a core premise with that of neon-noir thriller Drive, tells the story of a music dependant getaway driver who falls in love, ultimately having to pull off one last heist. The film stars Ansel Elgort as the peculiarly named Baby, along with an all star cast including Jaime Foxx, John Hamm, and Jon Bernthal.
Wright recently spilled the beans at SXSW on just how the idea for his passion project came to be.
“I had the germ of this movie rattling around in my head for a long time,” said Wright, explaining that 22 years ago, »
- Samuel Brace
The West Wing will always go down as one of the best written drama series in the history of television. The Aaron Sorkin scripted show was and is still the best political drama the world has ever seen. But it was so much more than just a show about politics and the White House. The show touched on nearly every major issue in society but did it in a way that was real, authentic, and with a great impact. One of the show’s central characters is Leo McGarry who was played by John Spencer, a part he won an Emmy
The West Wing’s Leo McGarry Explains Addiction Better Than Anything on TV »
- Nat Berman
Hamilton isn't the only political figure Lin-Manuel Miranda can rap about. Recently, the Broadway star wrote a musical tribute to the classic NBC series The West Wing, TVLine reports.Created by Aaron Sorkin, the political drama was set in the West Wing of the White House and followed the staff of the fictional U.S. president Jed Bartlet (Martin Sheen). The cast also included Bradley Whitford, Rob Lowe, Richard Schiff, Allison Janney, and John Spencer. The show ran for seven seasons before ending in 2006.Read More… »
Simon Brew Kirsten Howard Jul 18, 2017
Whether you've already seen director Edgar Wright's latest and want to relive the fantastic opening scene, or you've not got around to catching it yet and just want to know what all the fuss is about, you may be interested in watching the first 6 minutes of Baby Driver, which have found their way online via Columbia Pictures.
Ansel Elgort stars as the young getaway driver who wants to get out of the crime business, Kevin Spacey is the boss who wants to pull him back in, and putting the pedal to the metal might be the only way for Baby - who runs on music instead of petrol - to make it »
11 items from 2017
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