9 items from 2013
Next in line to inherit the throne of Royal films is Diana. The film takes audiences into the private realm of one of the world’s most iconic and inescapably public women – the Princess of Wales, Diana (two-time Oscar nominee Naomi Watts) — in the last two years of her meteoric life.
On the occasion of the 16th anniversary of her sudden death, acclaimed director Oliver Hirschbiegel (the Oscar-nominated Downfall) explores Diana’s final rite of passage: a secret love affair with Pakistani heart surgeon Hasnat Khan (Naveen Andrews, “Lost,” The English Patient), the human complications of which reveal the Princess’s climactic days in a compelling new light. Diana is in select theaters now.
As long as filmmakers have been bringing the lives of England’s Kings and Queens to the silver screen have moviegoers been going to the cinemas to be schooled in British Monarchy.
So Arise, Sirs and Ladies, »
- Movie Geeks
• Top 10 romantic movies
Peter Bradshaw on action movies
In some ways, it should be the quintessential cinema genre. After all, what does the director shout at the beginning of a take? Action – at times a euphemism for violence and machismo – evolved into a recognisable genre in the 80s. Gunplay and athleticism resurfaced in a sweatier and more explicitly violent form, with movies such as Sylvester Stallone's First Blood. The hardware was all-important, and the metallic sheen of the guns was something to be savoured alongside the musculature of the heroes. The genre spawned the action hero. These were not pretty-boys there to melt female hearts: they were there to get a roar of approval from the guys. »
Described by Philip French as "one of the greatest film-makers this country has produced", John Boorman's Oscar-nominated films include Deliverance, Excalibur and Hope and Glory. According to French, his 1967 film Point Blank marked "a landmark in the history of the crime movie".
Most film critics begin as enthusiasts, but faced with the drudgery of watching mostly poor films week after week come to resent and eventually hate their function, and their ire finds its way into their columns. Philip has never lost the love of movies and the thrill of that moment when the lights go down, so his reviews are generous and positive as well as penetrating.
His astonishing memory allowed him to put each new film into a historical perspective. »
London — Helen Mirren is a star of stage and screen – and now stage on-screen.
Mirren's award-winning performance as Queen Elizabeth II in "The Audience" will be beamed this week from London's Gielgud Theatre to hundreds of movie theaters around the world in a live broadcast.
It's the latest step in Mirren's glittering regal procession as the monarch. She won an Academy Award for playing Elizabeth in the 2006 movie "The Queen," and gained an Olivier stage trophy in April for her reprise in box-office hit "The Audience."
But the actress, who has made a career of not being typecast, had to be persuaded to wear the crown a second time.
"I really didn't want to play the role again," Mirren said in an interview before another evening donning tiara and pearls. "I was very resistant."
Mirren was won over by the quality of the creative team, which includes director Stephen Daldry, »
We’ve all worked in a job we shouldn’t have because, well, we needed the money. I remember once spending a series of desolate evenings stuffing envelopes for a PR company, not to satisfy an overwhelming stationery fetish, but because the rent had gone up. Right now you may well be at work surreptitiously reading this article before returning your attentions to a job which is feeding relentlessly on your very soul. I’ve been there, and I feel for you.
Actors are pretty much the same. Of course, the rewards may well be much greater than those for, say, a call centre advisor, but it’s still a job. The statistics for the acting profession make scary reading, with something like 92% of actors out of work at any given time. What is most telling is that it is the same 8% who tend to work continuously whilst the remaining 92% never get a chance. »
- Basil Creese Jr
John Boorman is the legendary British film director behind Point Blank, Deliverance, Zardoz, Excalibur, The Emerald Forest, Hope And Glory, The General, The Tailor Of Panama and many more.As he has been recently awarded a BFI fellowship - which is currently showing a selection of his films in a special John Boorman season - we asked him into the podcast studio for an in-depth interview, and here, ladies and gentlemen, is the fascinating result.P.S. Don't forget to check out our podcast photo gallery here and subscribe to the Empire Podcast via our iTunes page or this handy RSS feed. »
John Boorman Season | Fuaim Is Solas | Rendez-Vous With French Cinema | Birds Eye View Film Festival
John Boorman Season, London
Boorman is one of those directors whose films everyone knows but whose name often gets left behind somewhere. Deliverance, for example, has become a universal point of reference for hicksville paranoia; Excalibur raised the bar for amped-up swords and sorcery movies; Hope And Glory has seeped into our collective wartime memory; Point Blank, which is going on general release, is a textbook case of how to be stylish, violent and hard-boiled. In fact, Boorman seems to have added something to every genre you can think of since he started in the 1950s, making documentaries for the BBC. Why isn't he better appreciated? He is here, at least, with a BFI Fellowship and a retrospective that includes his daughter's touching film portrait Me And Me Dad.
BFI Southbank, SE1, Sat to 30 Apr
Fuaim Is Solas, »
- Steve Rose
Feature Kirsten Caspers Feb 13, 2013
Kirsten appeals to Merlin's creators, arguing that the BBC fantasy show deserves a film or television revival...
Contains spoilers for the Merlin series 5 finale.
Normally, I’m not a TV kind of person. I prefer books, and the longer the better! True storytelling is what I love, and in a time where narrative culture is more and more determined by the length of a Twitter message, the spinning of a grand old-fashioned tale has become a rare thing on television. Such a rare exception was the BBC series Merlin – until it was announced late in 2012 that the show wouldn’t be continued after the end of series five. When I read that in an interview, my first thought was that it seemed quite a daunting task, if not even an impossible one, to tie up all the loose threads that were glaringly left hanging about »
Nigel Terry plays the legendary King Arthur in director John Boorman's stylish, sensual and gory version of the sword'n'sorcery legend. Weighing in at well over two action-packed hours, it's a visual feast of mystical derring-do boasting early appearances from Liam Neeson (as Gawain) and Gabriel Byrne (as Uther Pendragon). From possession of the sword Excalibur by Uther to the death of his son, King Arthur, it's certainly not for the faint-hearted. »
9 items from 2013
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