Morwenna Banks - News Poster


Wednesday’s best TV: The Brit awards; The Day When; Damned

  • The Guardian - TV News
Jack Whitehall presents the 38th edition of the pop ceremony, while Churchill’s struggle to commit Britain to war is examined. Plus: super-dark comedy from Jo Brand and Morwenna Banks

Does Jack Whitehall like music? Those who caught his recent Desert Island Discs appearance (the Corrs?) may have reason to doubt it, but he could yet prove a fine host of this, the 38th Brit awards. Better than James Corden, anyway. As major Us awards shows redouble their efforts to seem relevant in the era of #MeToo and #OscarsSoWhite, will the Brits follow suit? All eyes are on the evening’s performers, set to include Dua Lipa, Stormzy, Ed Sheeran and a backlash-battling Justin Timberlake. Ellen E Jones

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See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

Damned review – pitch black comedy finds the funny in social services

Jo Brand and Morwenna Banks’s sitcom is scathing and subtle as it makes unfunny subjects hilarious. Plus: playing bigamy for laughs in Bliss

Cuts notwithstanding, the team at Elm Heath social services still have their jobs. Damned (Channel 4), created by Jo Brand and Morwenna Banks, is usually described as a black comedy, although that implies that it has its heart in the wrong place. It doesn’t.

It is, however, dry to the point of aridity; if it wasn’t funny, you could still take it at face value as an accurate and terribly bleak portrayal of a dysfunctional office environment: petty politics, casual cruelty and a fair amount of grinding futility. Added to this is the thankless and difficult nature of the jobs they do at Elm Heath, although real work doesn’t often get in the way of proceedings.

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See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

Wednesday’s best TV: Bliss; Generation Gifted; Damned

  • The Guardian - TV News
Stephen Mangan stars as a travel writer juggling a double life, while exceptional, underprivileged schoolgirls struggle with the concept of success. Plus: Jo Brand and Morwenna Banks’s lauded social services comedy returns

Promising new series exploring social mobility by following six exceptional, underprivileged youngsters through the British education system. Tonight: the girls. What is immediately apparent is that the biggest problem is often one of expectation: the trio understand failure all too clearly, but struggle to imagine success. It is heartbreaking and enraging in places – try watching Ann Marie pondering university fees (“I’ll be paying that off for the rest of my life”) without feeling sad and furious. But it is full of charm and fragile optimism, too. Phil Harrison

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See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

Studio Ponoc’s Mary and the Witch’s Flower gets a UK trailer

Studio Ponoc has released a UK trailer for the upcoming animated feature Mary and the Witch’s Flower. Directed by former Studio Ghibli veteran Hiromasa Yonebayashi, the film is based upon British author Mary Stewart’s book The Little Broomstick and features a voice cast that includes Ruby Barnhill, Kate Winslet, Jim Broadbent, Ewen Bremner, Lynda Baron, Louis Ashbourne Serkis, and Morwenna Banks; take a look at the trailer here…

See Also: Hayao Miyazaki’s son Goro working on new CG anime feature at Studio Ghibli

While spending the summer with her great aunt, Mary follows a cat into the nearby woods to get away from a neighbourhood boy who likes to poke fun at her. Once there, she stumbles across some strange flowers that, unbeknownst to her, contain a magic juice that transforms her little broomstick into one that flies. The broomstick takes her to a secret location known
See full article at Flickeringmyth »

Review: Ronja, the Robber’s Daughter (2014)

Studio Ghibli’s first ever television series, Ronja, the Robber’s Daughter, dropped on Amazon Prime in January of this year. The studio is known worldwide for its beautifully animated stories of friendship, family and regard for the natural world, but pacing issues and mishandled digital rendering mean that Ronja fails to live up to the high expectations that come with the Ghibli name.

Directed by Gorō Miyazaki, the son of Ghibli founder Hayao Miyazaki, the 26-episode series is based on a book of the same name by Pippi Longstocking creator Astrid Lindgren. Ronja (Teresa Gallagher) is the daughter of Lovis (Morwenna Banks) and Mattis (Rufus Hound), chief of a robber clan occupying a fort deep in the Scandinavian forest. Venturing alone into the forest, Ronja meets Birk (Kelly Adams), son of a rival clan chief. As the two learn to navigate their dangerous forest home, they slowly develop a
See full article at The Cultural Post »

Ruby Barnhill, Kate Winslet to Lead English Language Cast of ‘Witch’s Flower’

The Bfg’s” Ruby Barnhill and Oscar-winner Kate Winslet are set to lead the English language voice cast of Studio Ponoc’s animated film “Mary and the Witch’s Flower.” The film is the first feature from the Japanese animation company, which was founded in 2015 by former Studio Ghibli producer Yoshiaki Nishimura.

Rising star, Barnhill saw her breakout role last year in Steven Spielberg’s “The Bfg,” opposite Mark Rylance. The actress will take the title role in “Mary and the Witch’s Flower,” which follows the adventure of a young girl who discovers a mysterious flower that can give her the power to become a witch for one night and a school of magic that is not quite what it seems. It is based on a 1971 children’s novel, “The Little Broomstick,” by British author Mary Stewart.

Winslet will play Madam Mumblechook, the head of the school. Winslet’s Oscar-winning “Iris” co-star Jim Broadbent will also
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Loaded interview: Samuel Anderson, Nick Helm, Jim Howick, Jonny Sweet

Louisa Mellor May 5, 2017

New Channel 4 comedy Loaded is a very funny look at male friendship, money and success, with a strong cast and real depth…

When I meet the cast of Channel 4’s Loaded, it’s at the tail-end of a stretch of interviews during which Samuel Anderson, Nick Helm, Jim Howick and Jonny Sweet have been asked approximately four times an hour what, if they each suddenly received £15m as their app-designing characters do in the show, they’d spend it on. Before I even sit down, Sweet starts to reel off “I’d get a kettle, fill it with gold…”

See related American Gods episode 1 review: The Bone Orchard American Gods cast interview: Ian McShane, Ricky Whittle, Emily Browning American Gods: Bryan Fuller interview

Loaded, written by Fresh Meat and MisfitsJon Brown isn’t a celebration of wealth. “This show is about how not to enjoy being a millionaire,
See full article at Den of Geek »

Ronja, the Robber's Daughter: Amazon Prime to Launch New Kids Series

Amazon has announce the animated Ronja, the Robber's Daughter TV show will premiere on January 27, 2017 in the Us and UK. The series is based on the children's novel by Astrid Lindgren, the author of Pippi Longstocking.Gillian Anderson narrates the English-language version of Ronja, the Robber's Daughter. The voice cast includes: Teresa Gallagher, Rufus Hand, Morwenna Banks, and Kelly Adams. Gorō Miyazaki directs.Read More…
See full article at TVSeriesFinale »

Trailer for Studio Ghibli's Amazon Anime Series Ronja, The Robber's Daughter

Amazon has released the first trailer for their anime series Ronja, The Robbers Daughter which is presented by the legendary anime studio Studio Ghibli. The fantastic looking series is based on the children's fantasy book written by Astrid Lindgren, who is also the author of Pippi Longstocking.

The series is narrated by The X-Files' Gillian Anderson, and it was directed by Gorō Miyazaki (Up on Poppy Hill, Tales from Earthsea). The story tells the tale of a thief's 10-year-old daughter named Ronja, described as a strong and spirited girl, who is beloved by everyone. "Driven by her thirst for adventure, she comes face-to-face with wondrous creatures who inhabit the forest and finds a most unlikely friend - the son of her father's rival."

Ronja, the Robber’s Daughter is an epic 26-part story of 10-year-old Ronja (Teresa Gallagher), born on a stormy night in a mountain fort, surrounded by
See full article at GeekTyrant »

First Trailer And Art for Amazon’s Animated Series Ronja, The Robber’S Daughter

Amazon Prime Video will launch an anime-style kids series Ronja, The Robber’S Daughter later this month in the United States and United Kingdom.

The series is narrated by Gillian Anderson (X-Files) and directed by Goro Miyazaki (Up On Poppy Hill). It’s based off a wildly-popular children’s fantasy book of the same name by Swedish author Astrid Lindgren (Pippi Longstocking). The book has sold more than 10 million copies since 1981 and translated into 41 languages.

Ronja, The Robber’S Daughter will be an epic 26-part story of a 10-year-old girl Ronja, born on a stormy night in a mountain fort, surrounded by her father, mother and a loving band of robbers. She grows to be a strong girl and discovers that the forest is both a beautiful and frightening place inhabited by strange creatures. She befriends Birk, the son of her father’s rival, and so begins the drama of her friendship and family loyalties.
See full article at LRM Online »

Tuesday’s best TV: National Treasure; Damned

  • The Guardian - TV News
The Robbie Coltrane accused-celebrity drama continues, and a beautifully bleak new comedy from Jo Brand and Morwenna Banks. Plus: The Dog Rescuers With Alan Davies

Blanch as you might at the idea of battles being described as iconic, this show – part history, part scavenger hunt – gets into some extremely interesting places in its investigation of Vimy Ridge. Things things get completely compelling on-site in Nord-Pas-de-Calais, as David O’Keefe and Wayne Abbott discover human stories in the region’s ordnance-littered “deep fighting system”. Their guide has some extremely solid advice for them: “Stay off the grenades.” John Robinson

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See full article at The Guardian - TV News »

Images: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Premiere

Cursed Child premiere: Red carpet opening for the West End’s most in-demand new theatre production.

The Harry Potter and the Cursed Child premiere took place on Saturday at the Palace Theatre in the heart of the West End.

On Saturday afternoon, the highly anticipated Harry Potter and the Cursed Child had its official gala opening in London’s West End at the Palace Theatre. Harry Potter creator and author J.K. Rowling attended the red carpet event, along with the other members of the creative team behind the new play and some other very familiar faces.

Due to phenomenal demand, producers last week announced that a further 250,000 tickets will be released for sale this week on Thursday 4 August 2016 at 11am BST, booking through to 10 December 2017. Tickets are priced from £15 and for every performance there will be 300 tickets at £20 or less per part.

Related: Meet the cast of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child…
See full article at The Hollywood News »

Lionsgate backs first British TV show

Company will co-produce and co-finance Channel 4 sitcom Damned.

Lionsgate International UK has made its first investment in a British TV show - jumping on board Damned, Channel 4’s social services sitcom.

The British arm of the Us-based producer and distributor is to co-produce and co-finance the series, written by and starring Jo Brand [pictured] through her indie What Larks Productions, and will sell the rights worldwide.

The deal marks Mad Men producer Lionsgate’s first investment in a UK-commissioned show and follows its move to acquire a 25% stake in Kindle Entertainment in December. The kids producer is responsible for shows including Cbbc’s Hank Zipzer.

Last month, Channel 4 ordered a 6 x 30-minute run of Damned, which began as a one-off as part of Sky Arts’ Playhouse Presents strand in 2014.

The show, created by Brand and Morwenna Banks, stars Brand and Alan Davies as social workers battling personal and professional battles as they fight to keep
See full article at ScreenDaily »

Miss You Already Blu-Ray Review

Catherine Hardwicke’s mixed bag of a dramedy, Miss You Already, about two friends dealing with a life-changing illness, eases its way onto Blu-ray this month. In the interests of full-disclosure, I will mention that I almost had to recuse myself from this review after watching the first half hour. My mother underwent treatment for breast cancer ten years ago and, while her case was different from the one presented on film for many reasons, it was occasionally difficult to separate my own emotions from the film’s emotions.

Miss You Already treats of the occasionally fraught friendship between Milly (Toni Collette) and Jess (Drew Barrymore), two close friends who have always been the most important person in each other’s lives. By far the wilder of the two, Milly is happily married to a rock-star husband Kit (Dominic Cooper), while Jess has settled down in a houseboat with her
See full article at We Got This Covered »

How to Assemble a Rough Cut Two Days After Shooting Wraps: Editor Phillip J. Bartell on Miss You Already

Catherine Hardwicke’s razor-sharp blend of comedy and tragedy, Miss You Already, arrives on Blu-ray, DVD, and a variety of VOD platforms March 1. The story of best friends (played by Drew Barrymore and Toni Collette) struggling to deal with the fact that one of them has terminal cancer, it’s a film that walks a tonal tightrope: silly, devastating, sexy, angering, and bittersweet, the movie’s diverse range of effects is a testament to Hardwicke, her actors, and an ambitious script by Morwenna Banks. Pulling all of the elements together is editor Phillip J. Bartell, whose superb work on 2014’s Dear White […]
See full article at Filmmaker Magazine »

[Review] Miss You Already

Miss You Already is the rare cancer movie that’s uninterested in holding the audience hostage. Rather, it uses the context of a cancer story to show the totality of two women in their most difficult moments. With a warm and crowd-pleasing, but unusually sharp, script from Morwenna Banks and intimate and bracing direction from Catherine Hardwicke, Miss You Already recontextualizes beats of the cancer movie sub-genre into a story about the bulletproof power of female friendship.

Through a flurry of shared memories, the connection of leading ladies, Milly (Toni Collette) and Jess (Drew Barrymore), is established. They are ostensibly types, with Jess playing the sensitive humanitarian, and Milly playing the wild child, but those characteristics don’t predetermine their actions. It’s here and throughout that Hardwicke demonstrates a quietly subversive voice. Collette’s Milly isn’t demonized for being outwardly sexual or shacking up with a rockstar. In
See full article at The Film Stage »

Why Catherine Hardwicke Started to Fight Back Against Hollywood Sexism

Why Catherine Hardwicke Started to Fight Back Against Hollywood Sexism
Catherine Hardwicke recently stormed the red carpet of her latest indie, “Miss You Already,” at New York’s Museum of Modern Art. With her male publicist carrying her golden purse, Hardwicke’s hands were free to point and gesture in animated bursts. Every time she’d step up to a new reporter, she’d be asked a similar question: “What’s it like to be a woman director in Hollywood in 2015?” Rather than shrug off a non-response, like many of her female colleagues have in the past (think Kathryn Bigelow or Sam Taylor-Johnson), Hardwicke launched into a series of passionate speeches about gender inequality.

Here are some of the points that Hardwicke would address: That, in 2015, it’s still damn hard to get hired as a female director in the industry; that only 16 percent of the 3,900 episodes on television last season were directed by women; that on the big screen,
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Miss You Already – The Review

By Cate Marquis

Miss You Already accomplishes a difficult feat: depicting a close friendship between two women without sinking into sentimentality and sappiness. It pulls this trick off mostly through the terrific performances of Toni Collette and Drew Barrymore, and thanks to a script by Morwenna Banks that is packed with humor as well as heart and firm, knowing direction by Catherine Hardwicke.

Collette and Barrymore create a completely believable friendship between gal pals Milly (Collette) and Jess (Barrymore), life-long best friends who have stayed close despite their different personalities and diverging lives in London. These friends tease and joke, which makes their relationship realistic and also makes them seem like people you would like to hang out with. Milly is the out-going one, a risk-taking Brit who is slightly older and definitely bolder. American Jess is more conventional and reserved than flamboyant Milly. Milly and her husband Kit (Dominic Cooper
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Miss You Already Review

When you enter a movie knowing that incessant sobbing is an inevitability, you hope the tears are worthwhile. It’s easy to make someone cry, but it’s much harder to make them feel each separate droplet. Miss You Already is such a movie that spells crushing depression in the logline alone, and needs to balance misery with tender love in order to successfully tackle its bleak, cancer-battling theme.

It’s not an easy pill to swallow, and such darkness can feel like a constant pummelling without some bright relief every now and then. We need some sort of human relief, like the lighter interludes that director Catherine Hardwicke permits in serviceable doses. There’s no answer provided for one of life’s biggest questions, but the film’s outlook represents a small step forward in understanding how humans cope – just be sure to bring a box of tissues.

Morwenna Banks
See full article at We Got This Covered »

How Catherine Hardwicke Shot 'Miss You Already' with Her iPhone 5 and Why She Might Say 'No' to Good Projects

How Catherine Hardwicke Shot 'Miss You Already' with Her iPhone 5 and Why She Might Say 'No' to Good Projects
Oscillating between big budget thrillers and down and dirty indies, Catherine Hardwicke's oeuvre is surprisingly diverse. On top of her directorial credits for films like "Lords of Dogtown," "Twilight" and "Thirteen," Hardwicke has also worked as a production designer on nearly 20 films, including "Vanilla Sky." Historically vocal about the gender biases in Hollywood, Hardwicke has built a reputation as a tough but big-hearted director who refuses to be defined or constrained by her gender. The filmmaker's newest is the part-buddy comedy, part-sentimental dramedy "Miss You Already," starring Toni Collette and Drew Barrymore as two best friends whose lives are thrown into a tailspin when their long-parallel paths are disrupted by a surprise pregnancy and a cancer diagnosis. Written by Morwenna Banks and also starring Dominic Cooper and Paddy Considine, the film is a surprisingly uncynical rumination on friendship and...
See full article at Indiewire »
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