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Review: Meryl Streep's 'Iron Lady' Is Margaret Thatcher as King Lear With a Wink

29 December 2011 11:08 AM, PST | The Wrap | See recent The Wrap news »

In interviews, star Meryl Streep and director Phyllida Lloyd (“Mamma Mia!”) have joked that “The Iron Lady,” their film about former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, is the girl version of “King Lear.” It’s not a bad comparison. Not that anyone will confuse “Iron Lady,” essentially a TV movie blessed with a brilliant and deeply felt performance by Streep, with “Lear.” The movie may lack the eloquence and depth of William Shakespeare’s drama about an aging king heading into madness, but it certainly conveys that the passing years spare no one, even »

- Leah Rozen

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Vaclav Havel: A Life in Brief Scenes

18 December 2011 1:48 PM, PST | Speakeasy/Wall Street Journal | See recent Speakeasy/Wall Street Journal news »

Getty Images A portrait of former Czech President Vaclav Havel, with a text that reads: “Havel To The Castle,” a popular slogan during the Velvet Revolution of 1989, lies among candles left by mourners at the base of a statue of St. Wenceslas to commemorate Havel’s death on December 18, 2011 in Prague, Czech Republic.

Václav Havel, the politician and playwright, died today. I met him several times over the last few years. My encounters were only brief scenes, but they offered »

- Gwen Orel

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Christopher Plummer, at Home on the Stage

15 December 2011 9:00 AM, PST | Speakeasy/Wall Street Journal | See recent Speakeasy/Wall Street Journal news »

Getty Christopher Plummer

Christopher Plummer turned 82 this week, after having enjoyed a year filled with some of the most interesting film roles he’s had in his career. But for him, the stage is as treasured a medium as the screen.

Though he is well-known for film roles such as Captain von Trapp in “The Sound of Music,” or Rudyard Kipling in “The Man Who Would Be King,” Plummer got his start in the theater. His very first acting gig »

- Barbara Chai

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My favourite film: Seven Samurai

14 December 2011 1:13 AM, PST | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

Laurence Topham continues our writers' favourite film series with Kurosawa's epic about 16th-century Japanese swords-for-hire

Does this review cut it? Write your own here or have your say in the comments section below

A group of samurai, along with a motley gang of armed villagers, await the arrival of 13 formidable bandits on horseback. With piercing rain beating down on them, Kambei, the leader of the samurai, solemnly says: "This is the final battle." With hellish cries, the mounted invaders charge through the black mud and into the village, where they are annihilated by a frenzy of makeshift spears and deadly arrows. Samurai swords cut into the horses, bodies drop into the mud – mud that lurched off the screen and into my socks.

Long before I was to experience the technical marvels of 3D, I was experiencing something much more cinematically powerful – the percussive power of Akira Kurosawa's editing. The subtitles didn't even register. »

- Laurence Topham

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Anna Massey remembered by David Hare

12 December 2011 4:00 AM, PST | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

She had warmth, wit and talent. But most of all, she embodied the quality of friendship, recalls the playwright

Anna Massey was for a long time acknowledged and admired as the owner of the best fictional voice on BBC radio, and if you were lucky enough to meet her in person, then you would recognise that the voice was the woman: funny, warm, intelligent and lucid, with a sharp edge which very quietly but firmly kept you in line.

She and I were friends for 40 years, and if she hadn't died so soon, we intended to be friends for a great deal longer. In fact, when I think of friendship, I think of Anna: regular phone calls, very good jokes and steadfast loyalty.

She appeared in my first play, Slag. It had made a fair splash at Hampstead in 1970 when I was just 23, but the following year the Royal Court »

- David Hare

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Anna Massey remembered by David Hare

10 December 2011 4:08 PM, PST | The Guardian - TV News | See recent The Guardian - TV News news »

She had warmth, wit and talent. But most of all, she embodied the quality of friendship, recalls the playwright

Anna Massey was for a long time acknowledged and admired as the owner of the best fictional voice on BBC radio, and if you were lucky enough to meet her in person, then you would recognise that the voice was the woman: funny, warm, intelligent and lucid, with a sharp edge which very quietly but firmly kept you in line.

She and I were friends for 40 years, and if she hadn't died so soon, we intended to be friends for a great deal longer. In fact, when I think of friendship, I think of Anna: regular phone calls, very good jokes and steadfast loyalty.

She appeared in my first play, Slag. It had made a fair splash at Hampstead in 1970 when I was just 23, but the following year the Royal Court »

- David Hare

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Christopher Plummer Recalls 'Awful,' 'Gooey' 'Sound of Music' Role (Video)

1 December 2011 4:44 PM, PST | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »

Asked about his most challenging role to date, Christopher Plummer gives a surprising answer. Photos: Gotham Awards 2011: The Red Carpet “I think the part in The Sound of Music was the toughest,” the actor said during The Hollywood Reporter’s exclusive actors roundtable interview. Joined by fellow award contenders George Clooney, Albert Brooks, Gary Oldman, Christoph Waltz and Nick Nolte, Plummer offered his thoughts, expertise and experience with the craft. The actor, now approaching 82 years of age, has played King Lear, American journalist Mike Wallace, Russian writer Leo Tolstoy and most recently, an elderly gay man who comes

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»

- Sophie Schillaci

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Ralph Fiennes on acting (and directing) Shakespeare in "Coriolanus"

1 December 2011 4:05 PM, PST | ifc.com | See recent IFC news »

Actor Ralph Fiennes has played some powerful men: lords, dukes, the Greek god of the underworld, even the most evil wizard ever. But in his new movie, an adaptation of William Shakespeare's "Coriolanus," Fiennes plays his most powerful role to date: film director. When I asked Fiennes how he liked sitting in the director's chair for the first time, he described it as something of a mixed bag. "It was scary and sometimes a headfuck. I knew it would be." he said. "But I also knew it was possible. You just need to have the time and the support system. But unquestionably it was a challenge, especially in bigger scenes. Those were very tough days."

The tough days produced a tough, intense film, one that doesn't look like your typical Shakespearean adaptation -- unless my memory's spotty and I'm just forgetting the other Shakespeare movies with brutal and surprisingly »

- Matt Singer

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Review: The Ralph Fiennes-Directed 'Coriolanus' Is As Well-Acted As It Is Challenging

1 December 2011 7:58 AM, PST | The Playlist | See recent The Playlist news »

From what little we know of Shakespeare's life, "Coriolanus" was one of his later tragedies; compared to his other works in the same vein, it's one of his more complex ones as well. It doesn't offer us a father betrayed like" King Lear," or a good man undone by his own wants like "Macbeth"; instead, it gives us a Roman general who, in his hunger for war, devours his life -- family, country, honor -- when the world will not let him be a warrior and, instead, insists he be a war hero. Thrust into politics, Coriolanus is a general, then a politician, and then despised by the people who called for his elevation, leading him to ally with his hated Vosican enemy Tullus Aufidus to attack his own homeland in a fit of rage. As Ralph Fiennes' big-screen directorial debut, "Coriolanus" is a remarkable effort. So remarkable, in fact, »

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[Now Streaming] Your ‘Shame,’ ‘The Lady’& ‘Coriolanus’ Alternatives

1 December 2011 5:45 AM, PST | The Film Stage | See recent The Film Stage news »

Each week within this column we strive to pair the latest in theatrical releases to worthwhile titles currently available on Netflix Instant Watch. This week we offer alternatives to Shame, The Lady & Coriolanus.

With the Christmas holiday soon to hit, a string of smaller flicks are set to open in limited release this Friday. A sex addict will battle his demons while facing off against a vengeance-seeking Shakespearean hero, and a world-changing real-life heroine. But if these releases won’t satisfy your thirst for history, Shakespeare, and drama, we’ve got you covered with some stellar selects that are Now Streaming.

Hunger’s Steve McQueen reteams with Michael Fassbender (Fish Tank) for this gritty drama that follows Brandon, a lonely New Yorker trapped in the throws of sex addiction. Carey Mulligan co-stars.

Lonely leads seek sex, love and solace in these steamy dramas:

Rabbit Hole (2010) Inspired by David Lindsay-Abaire’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play, »

- jpraup@gmail.com (thefilmstage.com)

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Q&A: Ralph Fiennes on His Bard Badass 'Coriolanus'

30 November 2011 1:00 PM, PST | NextMovie | See recent NextMovie news »

How does one follow up a stint as one of modern lit's all-time most powerful figures, the noseless wonder and embodiment of evil, Voldemort, in the insanely popular "Harry Potter" series?

For Ralph Fiennes, it's by playing one of classic lit's all-time most badass figures, taking the title role of the mercilessly tough military leader/ politician in "Coriolanus."

Fiennes not only stars in but directs this inspired adaptation, which, like Baz Luhrmann's 1996 spin on "Romeo + Juliet," unspools the timeless Bard yard in contemporary times. The first-time filmmaker and venerated thesp talks Shakespeare, "Potter" and Bond (sort of).

Did you plan to set "Coriolanus" in modern times from the onset of this project?

I started off with just an idea that I pitched to [screenwriter] John Logan who then refined it into this fantastic screenplay. We pooled ideas, but he actually put it down on the page and made my initial idea better. »

- Kevin Polowy

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Evening Standard theatre awards: pair win joint prize for Frankenstein roles

22 November 2011 7:56 AM, PST | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller alternated for each performance of a three-month run at the National Theatre

After alternating playing Victor Frankenstein and the Creature for each performance of a three-month run at the National Theatre, Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller have been rewarded jointly with the best actor prize at the UK's longest-running theatre awards.

The judges for the 2011 London Evening Standard awards said it would have been "invidious not to recognise both actors" for what were memorable performances in Frankenstein, the Danny Boyle-directed production.

One role involved two hours in makeup and getting naked on stage to play Frankenstein's creation; the other, that of the egomaniac scientist himself, did not.

Although the awards have been running since 1955, Cumberbatch and Miller are among the few to share the best actor award, jointly following in some illustrious footsteps – the first recipient was Richard Burton for Henry V, »

- Mark Brown

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Evening Standard theatre awards: pair win joint prize for Frankenstein roles

20 November 2011 5:06 PM, PST | The Guardian - TV News | See recent The Guardian - TV News news »

Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller alternated for each performance of a three-month run at the National Theatre

After alternating playing Victor Frankenstein and the Creature for each performance of a three-month run at the National Theatre, Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller have been rewarded jointly with the best actor prize at the UK's longest-running theatre awards.

The judges for the 2011 London Evening Standard awards said it would have been "invidious not to recognise both actors" for what were memorable performances in Frankenstein, the Danny Boyle-directed production.

One role involved two hours in makeup and getting naked on stage to play Frankenstein's creation; the other, that of the egomaniac scientist himself, did not.

Although the awards have been running since 1955, Cumberbatch and Miller are the first to share the best actor award, jointly following in some illustrious footsteps – the first recipient was Richard Burton for Henry V, followed by Paul Scofield, »

- Mark Brown

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Set Visit: Journey 2: The Mysterious Island - Part 1

17 November 2011 9:11 AM, PST | MovieWeb | See recent MovieWeb news »

It's early December 2010, and I'm riding in a van full of journalists through Hawaii's Waimea Falls Park, when we pass a bed of flowers... which are taller than most buildings in Los Angeles. That was the first thing I saw on the set of Journey 2: The Mysterious Island, the 3D sequel to 2008's Journey to the Center of the Earth. The flowers are quite a proper metaphor for the movie as a whole, since everything is bigger this time around, most notably the cast. Josh Hutcherson reprises his role as Sean Anderson, the only returning cast member from Journey to the Center of the Earth, but this time he is surrounded by the likes of Michael Caine, Vanessa Hudgens, Kristin Davis, Luis Guzm&#225n, and Dwayne Johnson, who dwarfs everyone on the set the way those fake flowers tower over the lush scenery.

If you haven't seen trailer for Journey 2: The Mysterious Island, »

- MovieWeb

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24 Hours of...War

13 November 2011 2:21 PM, PST | Shadowlocked | See recent Shadowlocked news »

The thing about war movies is, like actual wars, they’re sometimes very long...

Another holiday, another marathon, this one brought to you by the pain and suffering of untold millions! In honor of  Veterans / Armistice / Remembrance Day, here's twenty-four hours of war movies to “celebrate” (by which I mean “only remember it’s happening because the banks are closed.”). You could also look at this as “24 Hours of Being Bummed Out,” but there’s still a post-apocalyptic marathon on the way, so buck up, sport!

8:00 Am - Gone with the Wind - 238 min

I figure the best way to start these things is with an interminably long film everyone’s already seen; that way grogginess, stragglers’ arrivals and breakfast won’t actively interfere with the entertainment. The first time I can remember seeing Gone with the Wind was in fourth grade. Remember “movie day” when you were in school? »

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Kelli O’Hara on Playing Evil Regan in ‘King Lear’

9 November 2011 4:00 PM, PST | Speakeasy/Wall Street Journal | See recent Speakeasy/Wall Street Journal news »

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Joan Marcus Kelli O’Hara plays Regan alongside Sam Waterston as Lear in “King Lear

Taking on the role of Regan, the evil middle daughter in “King Lear,” requires an actress to tap into the most loathsome side of herself, one that would banish her father and approve gouging out a trusted adviser’s eyes.

For three-time Tony nominee Kelli O’Hara, who plays Regan in the Public Theater’s production »

- Julie Steinberg

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From the archive, 6 November 1983: One year on, Channel 4 begins to get with the programme

7 November 2011 4:49 AM, PST | The Guardian - TV News | See recent The Guardian - TV News news »

Originally published in the Observer on 6 November 1983: Julian Barnes defends the nascent television channel after 12 months of variable quality and heavy criticism

Television is always relentlessly self-celebrating and Channel 4 is not noted for lack of chutzpah. But even so, last week's noisy first-birthday festivities seemed a little cheeky. "I'm one, I'm one!" cries the squawling babe, to which grouchy punters might feel entitled to reply: "We'll be the best judge of that."

All week, a joyful logo has been invading our screens: a birthday cake of multicoloured candles that turns and swirls and finally bursts into a thousand flames. Those now overfamiliar with it may, however, have noticed a key difference between this anniversary gateau and the normal model: underneath the candles there isn't any cake.

Cynics might find this symbolic, and deduce that Jeremy Isaacs, chief executive of Channel 4, is sternly taking the "let them eat »

- Julian Barnes

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Sheen And Jacobi Collect Theatre Awards

31 October 2011 5:01 AM, PDT | WENN | See recent WENN news »

Michael Sheen and Sir Derek Jacobi were among the big winners at the Theatre Awards UK ceremony in London on Sunday.

The Frost/Nixon star shared the Best Director prize with Bill Mitchell for their 72-hour production of The Passion, which was acted out in Sheen's native Port Talbot, Wales over Easter weekend (22-24Apr11).

Jacobi scooped the Best Performance in a Play trophy for his turn in a production of William Shakespeare's King Lear.

The prizegiving, which took place at the Banqueting House in Whitehall, London, also recognised Royal Shakespeare Company founder Sir Peter Hall with the Award for Outstanding Contribution to British Theatre, while his director son Edward took home an award for his touring production of Richard III and The Comedy of Errors. »

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Leonardo da Vinci – in your living room

30 October 2011 5:05 PM, PDT | The Guardian - TV News | See recent The Guardian - TV News news »

A private viewing of the Renaissance genius's works will be broadcast and shown in cinemas. Is this the start of something beautiful?

The Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci dreamed of many inventions that uncannily anticipated the modern world, from alarm clocks to a flying machine. But even he might have been surprised and mystified by the latest technological innovation in modern culture: the private view live-cast.

On 8 November, when guests turn up to the preview of Leonardo da Vinci: Painter at the Court of Milan at the National Gallery, the event will be broadcast live not just on Sky HD, but also in cinemas all over Britain. Guests to the private view are warned they may be caught on camera – so wear the lounge suit without the egg stains! If you go to the local arts cinema instead, you can wear jeans, but what will you experience with your popcorn? »

- Jonathan Jones

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Famous Shakespeare Quotes Caught On Film

30 October 2011 1:27 PM, PDT | The Hollywood News | See recent The Hollywood News news »

Throughout the decades, many modern movies have taken their plotlines from Shakespeare’s famous plays:

The Godfather, modelled after King Lear. West Side Story, modelled after Romeo and Juliet Forbidden Planet, modelled after The Tempest. The Lion King, modelled after Hamlet.

But what about direct quotes taken from Shakespeare’s plays? Here are 5 of the most surprising movies that contain Shakespearean quotes:

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971)

- Willy Wonka, played by Gene Wilder, is notorious for spouting Shakespearean quotes throughout the movie. Here are just a few:

“Is it my soul that calls upon my name?” – Romeo and Juliet, Act II, Scene ii

“Birds sing, hey ding

A-ding, a-ding

Sweet lovers love the spring”— As You Like it, Act V, Scene iii

 

“Where is fancy bred? In the heart, or in the head?” – The Merchant of Venice, Act III, Scene ii

 

“So shines a good deed in a weary world. »

- Paul Heath

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