Category:Movies

'Downton Abbey's" Dan Stevens to Star in Live Action 'Beauty and the Beast'

Have you been missing Dan Stevens being all dreamy and perfect on Downton Abbey? Okay, maybe you haven't been missing him THAT much, given that he's kept himself pretty busy with a variety of film roles The Guest, A Walk Among the Tombstones, Night at the Museum) and even a bit of stage work (The Heiress) since leaving HIghclere Castle behind. But, that's okay, because he's just landed the dream role we have all known he was perfect for since way back when Downton first began - an actual Disney prince!

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Stevens has officially been cast to play the Beast in Disney's upcoming live adaptation of the Oscar-nominated animated classic Beauty and the Beast. He will star opposite Brit Emma Watson, who was cast as Belle several weeks ago. (Rumor has it that another up and coming British thespian - Luke Evans - is in talks to take on the role of the nefarious Gaston, but that hasn't been confirmed quite yet. 

Category:Drama

Maggie Smith Might Be Done with ‘Downton Abbey’ After Season 6

Oh, dear. Downton Abbey fans, brace yourselves, it looks like big changes could be headed our way – star Maggie Smith has indicated that the next season of the world’s most popular costume drama will be her last with the show.

In an interview with the Sunday Telegraph promoting her upcoming film The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Smith commented a bit on the next season of Downton Abbey, and her words definitely seem to imply that she doesn’t plan to have much of a future with the show beyond next season. 

Category:Drama

'Broadchurch' Series 2: Meet the New Characters

Think back to August 2013. Besides the fact that the weather was likely much warmer than it is right now, you may recall that was also when the very first episode of Broadchurch aired on BBC America. An eleven-year-old boy’s body was found on the beach and his death was ruled a homicide. And our minds (for the next eight weeks at least) were occupied with the question, “Who killed Danny Latimer?”

In the course of the investigation DI Alec Hardy (David Tennant) and DS Ellie Miller (Olivia Colman) pursued leads involving friends and neighbors of the Latimer family. Even Danny’s dad, Mark (Andrew Buchan) was considered a suspect at one point.

In the end, however, Ellie Miller’s own husband, Joe (Matthew Gravelle), confessed to and was arrested for the child’s murder. This bombshell shattered both of the families involved and shook all Broadchurch citizens, not to mention the viewing audience, to their core.

In case you weren’t aware, the US premiere of the next installment of Broadchurch is nigh. It’s Wednesday, March 4th at 10 pm on BBC America to be exact.

I’ve not watched any of the new episodes in advance but I as I understand it, old cases will be revisited rather than jumping into a whole new murder investigation. I also gather from the UK ratings that the series two started strong, dropped sharply in the middle and rebounded for the finale. Having read that series creator Chris Chibnall envisioned the story as a trilogy; it’s understandable that the narrative could have gotten bogged down in the middle. Hopefully an exciting conclusion is on the horizon, especially considering that series three has recently been commissioned.

Despite my stringent desire to avoid spoilers, I thought it might be helpful to introduce you to some of the new faces you’ll be getting to know in the weeks to come. 

Category:Drama

'Downton Abbey' Recap: Series 5, Episode 9

Previously, on Downton Abbey:  Rose and Atticus get married amid drama that includes: Rose’s awful mother’s existence, her awful mother’s attempt to frame her future son-in-law for an affair he wasn’t having, her awful mother telling her future in-laws that she’s divorcing and bringing scandal upon them in an attempt to stop the wedding. In short: Lady Flintshire is THE WORST.  Edith spends a lot of time mooning over Marigold and doing a terrible job of pretending that’s not her kid. Robert figures it out and is surprisingly not a jerk about it. Tom has decided to go to America, and Tony Gillingham has decided to marry Mabel Lane Fox. Mary is depressed over both these developments. The London cops literally have no other crimes to solve (poorly) other than Green’s murder and have arrested Anna, because this show hates the Bateses (and its viewers, possibly). Need more details or just want to squee about it? See last week’s recap.)

It’s season finale time! Hasn’t this season gone by in a blink? What will happen? Read on and let’s find out. 

Category:Drama

Watch: The Extended PBS Trailer for ‘Wolf Hall’

We’re a little over a month away from the US premiere of the highly anticipated Tudor-era series Wolf Hall and PBS has released a new, extended trailer with a ton of heretofore unseen footage from the period drama.

Based on the Booker Prize-winning novels by Hilary Mantel, Wolf Hall tells the story of Thomas Cromwell, a blacksmith’s son who rose to greatness in the court of Henry VIII, ultimately becoming one of the most powerful and influential men in England. Cromwell, among many other things, was one of the primary architects behind the Protestant Reformation in England and helped engineer the dissolution of King Henry’s marriage to Katherine of Aragon so that he might wed his mistress Anne Boleyn.

Tony and Olivier Award-winning actor Mark Rylance plays Cromwell, Homeland’s Damian Lewis plays Henry VIII and Claire Foy plays Anne Boleyn. They’re joined by a rather fantastic array of British talent, including Jonathan Pryce, Jessica Raine, Mark Gatiss, Joanne Whatley and more. 

Category:Movies

British Actors Excel at Playing Real People: They’ve Got the Oscars to Prove It

British actors aren’t strangers to Academy Award acclaim. Last weekend Eddie Redmayne, star of The Theory of Everything in which he gave a radiant performance as world-renowned physicist Stephen Hawking, joined the company of almost thirty of his fellow countrymen and women in winning a Best Leading Actor or Actress statuette since the honors were first bestowed 87 years ago.

Vivien Leigh won twice for her portrayal of some very famous fictional characters; in 1940 for Gone with the Wind and in 1952 for A Streetcar Named Desire. Laurence Olivier was recognized in 1949 for his interpretation of one of the most famous of Shakespeare’s characters, Hamlet.

Today, however, I want to focus on those actors, like Mr. Redmayne who have taken on the daunting challenge of playing a person who actually existed and were rewarded with a little bald golden man for their trouble. The biopic trend has been on the increase since the 1980’s but that’s not to say that people weren’t bringing history to life long before that time. 

Category:Drama

ITV Confirms ‘Broadchurch’ Will Return for a Third Season

Good news for fans of dark, interesting and occasionally creepy detective shows! British network ITV has officially confirmed that Broadchurch has been renewed for a third season.

The announcement that the detective drama would return for another go-round came as the credits rolled on its Season 2 finale. Stars David Tennant and Olivia Colman are both set to return as Alec Hardy and Ellie Miller. Other cast details and filming details will be announced at a later date apparently, but word around the internet is that Season 3 is currently slated to air in early 2016 in the UK, much as it did this year. 

Category:Theater

Benedict Cumberbatch’s ‘Hamlet’ to Screen in Cinemas Worldwide in October

As per usual, Benedict Cumberbatch has been everywhere lately – filming a new Sherlock special, getting cast in a Marvel movie, earning a Best Actor nomination for his turn as Alan Turing. His schedule doesn’t look to be slowing down any in 2015, and one of the most highly anticipated items on his docket is his impending West End turn in Shakespeare’s Hamlet this summer.

The production – which is somewhat highly anticipated by Cumberbatch’s legion of fans worldwide, it seems safe to say – is already the fastest-selling ticket in London theater history. In fact, the entire three-month run, scheduled for August to October of this year, sold out completely in the better part of 24 hours after tickets went onsale to the general public last summer. However, all is not lost if you’re still keen to see the production – a limited number of £10 ($17) tickets will be made available for each performance on the day of the show.

However, for those who don’t fancy a jaunt to London this Fall – or don’t want to risk not snagging a ticket once they get there – don’t fret. You’ll still have the chance to see Cumberbatch take on the Bard’s greatest role for yourself, thanks to the lovely folks at National Theatre Live.

Category:Drama

'Downton Abbey' Recap: Series 5, Episode 8

Previously, on Downton Abbey:  Cora and Rosamund track Edith to London, where she’s fled with Marigold and convince her not only to return to Downton with the child, but that lying about the Drewes ability to take care of the child is enough cover for her to just adopt her. Sure, okay. Isobel gets engaged to Lord Merton, but his hellspawn sons ruin the dinner party the Crawleys throw in their honor. Daisy mopes about the state of progressivism in the world. Rose and Atticus are so adorable they are basically made of kittens and puppies and also they get engaged. Isis is diagnosed with cancer because this show hates me so much. There’s more stuff, but just see last week’s recap.)

It’s the penultimate episode of the season and there is a lot going on. Let’s dish. 

Category:Drama

‘Black Mirror’ Reflects a Dark Future: Why You Should Watch It Anyway

If you haven’t yet experienced the newest British sensation from Netflix, Black Mirror, I’m here to make a proper introduction. That and perhaps to forewarn those of you who have heard this techno-thriller series is the new Twilight Zone. Yes, both shows are anthologies of unrelated stories and characters. Both use science fiction as the apparatus for delivering messages about societal issues.

However, for fans of that groundbreaking fantasy horror series of the early 1960’s, please know there are no aliens, dream states, time travel or creepy children in Black Mirror. Instead creator Charlie Brooker speculates about what the dangerous combination of new technologies and the less wholesome side of human nature can spawn. This was post-watershed TV in the UK, not prime-time, family-friendly network fare. Many of the episodes have sexual elements, adult language and violent themes.

That being said, I was fascinated and slightly freaked out by the dystopian scenarios portrayed in these disturbing tales of admonition. Could we be that close to developing technologies that can fully activate the some of the most harmful human instincts we possess? The answer seems to be a resounding yes.

If the description thus far intrigues you, I have prepared a quick guide to all six Black Mirror episodes which can currently be found streaming on Netflix. Since the sequence you watch them in doesn’t really matter, I have ordered them from the episode that I found least compelling to the one that really blew me away. 

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