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W1A review – the Way Ahead is behind, and it’s brilliant, hurrah, joyous

The returning mockumentary send-up of the BBC is very funny at times, if a bit smug. Perhaps it should sharpen its daggers and look at Auntie’s pay gap …

‘It’s Monday morning and a new week at the BBC’s new Broadcasting House headquarters somewhere in central London, as head of values Ian Fletcher arrives in order to begin it.” So says narrator David Tennant, in a new series of the BBC’s self-parody W1A (BBC2), in order to begin it.

It is not just Fletcher (Hugh Bonneville) arriving, but also director of strategic governance Simon Harwood (Jason Watkins) and dim intern Will (Hugh Skinner), all on their foldy bicycles – a trident of mediocrity, a three-pronged, six-wheeled attack on the week ahead. By 9am, Ian, as someone whose job it is to steer the corporation confidently towards whatever it is that is going to happen next, is chairing a
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

London Stage Star and Olivier Henry V Leading Lady Asherson Dead at Age 99

'Henry V' Movie Actress Renée Asherson dead at 99: Laurence Olivier leading lady in acclaimed 1944 film (image: Renée Asherson and Laurence Olivier in 'Henry V') Renée Asherson, a British stage actress featured in London productions of A Streetcar Named Desire and Three Sisters, but best known internationally as Laurence Olivier's leading lady in the 1944 film version of Henry V, died on October 30, 2014. Asherson was 99 years old. The exact cause of death hasn't been specified. She was born Dorothy Renée Ascherson (she would drop the "c" some time after becoming an actress) on May 19, 1915, in Kensington, London, to Jewish parents: businessman Charles Ascherson and his second wife, Dorothy Wiseman -- both of whom narrowly escaped spending their honeymoon aboard the Titanic. (Ascherson cancelled the voyage after suffering an attack of appendicitis.) According to Michael Coveney's The Guardian obit for the actress, Renée Asherson was "scantly
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

Renée Asherson obituary

Versatile actor who combined grace with gravity in her many roles over 65 years

Renée Asherson, a vivacious and stylish actor, who has died aged 99, enjoyed a career on stage and screen spanning 65 years. She will be remembered as the French princess in Laurence Oliviers wartime propaganda film version of Henry V, pertly trimming her garden roses while rehearsing the English words for delicate body parts.

She had made her screen debut earlier the same year, playing a small role in Carol Reeds The Way Ahead (1944), Peter Ustinovs script (from Eric Amblers story) showing how an army officer (David Niven) organised a bunch of disparate conscripts into a plausible fighting unit. She followed that with another war-time adventure, this time with more love interest, Anthony Asquiths The Way to the Stars (1945), scripted by Terence Rattigan, in which she played John Millss girlfriend, with Michael Redgrave and Rosamund John as a more straightforwardly middle-class pair.
See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

Doctor Who: the film careers of William Hartnell & Jon Pertwee

Feature Alex Westthorp 28 Mar 2014 - 07:00

In a new series, Alex talks us through the film roles of the actors who've played the Doctor. First up, William Hartnell and Jon Pertwee...

We know them best as the twelve very different incarnations of the Doctor. But all the actors who've been the star of Doctor Who, being such good all-rounders in the first place, have also had film careers. Admittedly, some CVs are more impressive than others, but this retrospective attempts to pick out some of the many worthwhile films which have starred, featured or seen a fleeting cameo by the actors who would become (or had been) the Doctor.

William Hartnell was, above all else, a film star. He is by far the most prolific film actor of the main twelve to play the Time Lord. With over 70 films to his name, summarising Hartnell's film career is difficult at best.
See full article at Den of Geek »

The Forgotten: Don't Let the Bastards Grind You Down

  • MUBI
Even back when Britain was an industrial nation, films about industry were relatively rare: audiences who worked on assembly lines presumably wanted to look at something more glamorous on their night at the pictures. In Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (1960), Albert Finney snarled, "Don't let the bastards grind you down," a neat encapsulation of the working man's political philosophy, whereas I'm Alright Jack (1959) took a dismayed view of the hostile stand-off between Capital and Labor. That Boulting Brothers satire may have adopted a "plague on both your houses" stance, but in fact its sympathy was with management.

The Agitator (1945) is the product of a gentler age: it tries to be sympathetic to everybody, but again there's a hidden conservative bias. Still, as the product of a generation who had just won the war and were looking forward, some of them, to a bright socialist future of free education and health care,
See full article at MUBI »

Observer film critic steps down

His first column appeared in April 1963 and he would become the doyen of UK film critics. Having announced he will soon file his last column, he talks about meeting Chaplin, and Hollywood's greatest canine actors

Philip French's international reputation as a film critic is unrivalled. As recently as February, after a career with the Observer that began in 1963, an American film journal rated him as Britain's "greatest living movie analyst". But at the end of August he is to file his last column as this newspaper's film critic. After an illustrious half century, French, who was honoured with an OBE in January, has decided to step down following his 80th birthday the same month.

In his first column for the Observer, he bemoaned the lack of British films offering a believable picture of criminathe underworld. He noted "the tired vignettes of sub-Runyon characters" in The Small World of Sammy Lee starring Anthony Newley.
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Rise of the Guardians – first look review

Peter Ramsey's festive animation is fun and frantic but, somewhere amid the boisterous bouncing off chimney pots and skittering across rooftops, logic and substance are lost

To celebrate the arrival of Rise of the Guardians, a 3D holiday spectacular from director Peter Ramsey, the Rome film festival erects a splendid Christmas tree outside the main auditorium. The tree points to a warm blue autumn sky and is festooned with so many lights and baubles that it becomes more bauble than branch. You find yourself wondering whether there's a tree there at all, whether there's any actual substance behind the gaudy decoration. As with the tree, so with the film.

Credit where it's due: Rise of the Guardians provides a welcome distraction at an event that has otherwise been rather too in thrall to broad continental comedy and over-familiar social-realist tropes. It's fun and frantic, a kind of festive riff on The Three Musketeers,
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Patience (After Sebald) – review

Grant Gee's likably loquacious documentary elegantly re-traces Wg Sebald's steps through the Suffolk countryside

In the summer of 1992, the author Wg Sebald, "irradiated by melancholy", set off on a physical and philosophical wander through the Suffolk countryside – a route that he later re-traced in his landmark book The Rings of Saturn. Grant Gee's likably loquacious, digressive documentary re-traces that re-tracing, complete with handy page references ("pg 41: Lowestoft") and erudite talking heads (Andrew Motion, Adam Phillips, Tacita Dean) to guide us through the psycho-geography.

The way ahead touches on everything from the nature of walking to the tenor of depression; from silkworms to bombing raids. In keeping with the spirit of Sebald's writing, Gee's film is teasing, elegant and perhaps inevitably unresolved: an invitation as opposed to a destination. The answers, presumably, are out there somewhere; lying low in the flat, monochrome landscape, or hunched at a table at a Lowestoft pub.
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Theo Angelopoulos: a career in clips

Greek director Theo Angelopoulos has died in a road accident aged 76. Here we look back at his body of work, which included The Travelling Players, Ulysses Gaze and Landscape in the Mist

The Travelling Players (1975)

Theo Angelopoulos's breakthrough film is a political allegory in disguise; a leftist analysis of democracy, fascism and national identity, shrewdly gussied up as the tale of a theatre tour through the Greek provinces and shot under the noses of the country's military junta. Rigorous, spartan, and yet brimming over with pungent mythic allusions, The Travelling Players established its creator as one of the most distinctive European directors of his generation.

Landscape in the Mist (1988)

The director hit the road again with this stark, soulful tale of two runaways in search of their missing father. The way ahead leads through misty towns and snowy wilderness, while the early social-realist air tilts, by degrees, towards surrealism.
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Here’s How A New Star Trek TV Show Could Work

One thing that still causes me considerable pain is that prior to Jj Abrams‘ reboot, Star Trek had become a joke, and anyone who dared proclaim their admiration of the show was treated like a pariah and forced to sit miserably at home in their mock uniform-pj’s boldly going nowhere in particular, horribly alone. Oh, it’s cool now, because the new movie was so bad-ass, and Abrams’ name above the door made the grand old franchise accessible to a much larger general audience, at the same time as almost wiping out everything that came before it in the franchise by establishing a new history, but not so long ago it was all very different.

What has compelled me to write this article is the firm belief that there is still the potential for a Star Wars Trek TV show to work, and heal the considerable damage done by
See full article at Obsessed with Film »

Hollywood’s David Freeman to conduct Screenwriting Workshop at Ficci Frames 2011

A Screenwriting Workshop, “The Six Layers of a Great Film and Great Character” will be conducted by Hollywood’s renowned screenwriter David Freeman at the upcoming Ficci Frames 2011. Ficci Frames 2011, the annual convention of the media and entertainment industry, will be held through March 23-25, 2011in Mumbai.

A session on marketing Indian films abroad, “Gateways to the European Market” will be conducted by Juliane Schulze, Senior Partner, Peacefulfish , Germany. The session which will also include consultation, will involve detailed presentation on European film financing covering the core European markets (treaties, EU funding, national & regional funding, specialized funds and cash rebates.)

To register, visit http://www.ficci-frames.com/registration.htm.

Some other things of interest: (As stated in Ficci Frames Press Release, subject to change)

Making Cinema with Global Appeal: A Session with the Stalwarts

What goes into creating movies which appeal to a worldwide audience and can captivate countries together?
See full article at DearCinema.com »

Film review: Tetro

Francis Ford Coppola has made yet another film about father-son tensions – but this one is a self-indulgent mess

Francis Ford Coppola's latest film, which he has both written and directed, is not badly acted – not at all. But it is laboured, massively implausible, excruciatingly self-important and really quite staggeringly boring in the way only a deeply personal film from a deeply important film-maker can be. It's an Oedipal-lite fantasy, brooding on the nature of art, fatherhood and creation. Its message could be: those who resent the stultifying influence of a celebrated father-figure can exercise the Freudian prerogative of parricide, but they may then have to shoulder the terrible, fatal burden of patriarchy themselves.

In its opening act, Tetro has the feel of something by Tennessee Williams, and in fact it looks like the live TV transmission of a stage play. Bennie is a teenager, working on a cruise ship,
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

3-Deathly Hallows

3-Deathly Hallows
Slowly evolving from fad to Standard Blockbuster Procedure (the jury's still out on whether it'll slip back into "just a phase territory, but post-Avatar, that won't be for a while), 3D is going to Hogwarts. Yes, both chunks of Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows will be converted to the format.According to the Heat Vision Blog, early 3D conversion tests for the Clash Of The Titans remake have been such a roaring success that Warners executives have decided that the format is clearly The Way Ahead. Or, at the very least, The Way To Squeeze More Cash Out Of The Punters give audiences the unique experience of seeing Harry and co in 3D.Warners was apparently closed-mouthed when asked to confirm, so until the official announcement this is technically a rumour. But that shoe is expected to drop before the week - and knowing the speed at which these
See full article at EmpireOnline »

Best films of the noughties No 3: Mulholland Drive | Xan Brooks

Is David Lynch's 2001 spellbinder an exposé of Hollywood mores? Or is it a wild white rabbit chase into the mind of Lynch himself? Who knows, and what does it matter when the result is this entrancing

Mulholland Drive, like its namesake, twists and turns along the fringes of Hollywood, past misty vistas and discreet, gated secrets. The way ahead is slippery and treacherous, and halfway up even the most surefooted traveller risks losing their way. When the film was released back in 2001, director David Lynch helpfully provided a list of directions ("Notice appearance of the red lampshade. Where is Aunt Ruth?", etc). But were these road signs or red herrings? There are times when we wonder if even Lynch knows precisely where he is leading us.

I interviewed the director at the tail-end of 1999 when he told me about this TV pilot he'd been working on; how the network
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Best films of the noughties No 3: Mulholland Drive | Xan Brooks

Is David Lynch's 2001 spellbinder an exposé of Hollywood mores? Or is it a wild white rabbit chase into the mind of Lynch himself? Who knows, and what does it matter when the result is this entrancing

Mulholland Drive, like its namesake, twists and turns along the fringes of Hollywood, past misty vistas and discreet, gated secrets. The way ahead is slippery and treacherous, and halfway up even the most surefooted traveller risks losing their way. When the film was released back in 2001, director David Lynch helpfully provided a list of directions ("Notice appearance of the red lampshade. Where is Aunt Ruth?", etc). But were these road signs or red herrings? There are times when we wonder if even Lynch knows precisely where he is leading us.

I interviewed the director at the tail-end of 1999 when he told me about this TV pilot he'd been working on; how the network
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Stone's 'WTC' film preview set for Cannes

PARIS -- Oliver Stone's World Trade Center will have a 20-minute preview screening in the Cannes Classics section of the Festival de Cannes, organizers announced Wednesday. The teaser, a world premiere, will unspool after the showing of a new print of Stone's Platoon. The director and principal members of the cast are expected on the Croisette for the screening. The Cannes Classics section, which screens restored copies of classic films as well as documentaries about cinema, will pay tribute this year to the late Carol Reed. Put together by Granada International in conjunction with the British Film Institute, the tribute will screen four of the Oscar-winning director's classic movies: The Fallen Idol, Odd Man Out, The Way Ahead and A Kid for Two Farthings.

Stone's 'WTC' film preview set for Cannes

Stone's 'WTC' film preview set for Cannes
PARIS -- Oliver Stone's World Trade Center will have a 20-minute preview screening in the Cannes Classics section of the Festival de Cannes, organizers announced Wednesday. The teaser, a world premiere, will unspool after the showing of a new print of Stone's Platoon. The director and principal members of the cast are expected on the Croisette for the screening. The Cannes Classics section, which screens restored copies of classic films as well as documentaries about cinema, will pay tribute this year to the late Carol Reed. Put together by Granada International in conjunction with the British Film Institute, the tribute will screen four of the Oscar-winning director's classic movies: The Fallen Idol, Odd Man Out, The Way Ahead and A Kid for Two Farthings.

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