Category:Movies

Need a Pick Me Up? Try These Inspiring British Feel-Good, Underdog Films

For all their famous cynicism, the British are extremely adept at making feel-good movies. You know, the ones where a longshot protagonist is inspired to go up against the Establishment, the more acclaimed competitor or his or her own physical or societal limitations? Think Billy Elliot or The Full Monty and you know exactly the kind of story I’m talking about.

Two such films are coming out in limited release the weekend of October 10th. One Chance starring James Corden dramatizes the real life struggles and triumphs of unlikely Britain’s Got Talent winner and opera singer, Paul Potts. The film has a superb supporting cast which includes Julie Walters, Colm Meaney and Mackenzie Crook.

The other film coming out (pardon the pun) is Pride, the true story of a group of gay activists who set out to support a Welsh community at the height of the Thatcher years mining strikes. Boasting a stellar cast headed up by Bill Nighy, Paddy Considine, Imelda Staunton and Dominic West, this film is destined to join the canon of fun, yet inspiring, British underdog films.

However if you’re like me and don’t live in New York, Los Angeles or Chicago where limited release films are often shown, or getting to your regional art house theater is a logistical nightmare, we sometimes just have to be patient and wait for these little gems to make it to DVD or streaming services. I reckon many of us are in that boat so I’ve compiled a small collection of humorous, heart-warming films you may not have heard of that can be watched on-line as we speak. My hope is that this list might hold you over for a little while, at least.

Category:Drama

Period Crime Drama ‘Peaky Blinders’ Comes to Netflix

It would seem that Netflix is becoming quite the home for British television in America these days – after the online streaming service brought contemporary crime dramas The Fall and Happy Valley across the pond, the site has now moved on to more a bit of period crime fare.

Netflix has locked down exclusive rights as the US distributor for the popular British drama Peaky Blinders, a six-part factually-inspired series that follows the story of the Shelby family in Birmingham in 1919. These were the leaders of the violent Peaky Blinders gang, whose members were notorious for sewing razor blades into their hats – which also happens to be where their nickname comes from. 

Created by Steven Knight, the drama stars Cillian Murphy, Sam Neill, Helen McCrory and Annabelle Wallis. Watch a trailer for the first season’s Netflix debut below

Category:Drama

Get Your First Look at Benedict Cumberbatch in ‘Hollow Crown’ Sequel ‘War of the Roses’

The Wars of the Roses, the highly anticipated follow up to Shakespeare mini-series The Hollow Crown started filming in late September and, happily, the kick off to official production has resulted in some more exciting casting announcements as the massive cast of Yorks and Lancasters gets fleshed out more fully.

Plus, we got our first official look at Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch in his lead role as hunchbacked King Richard III. Huzzah, indeed. 

Category:Online

Take Our 'The Paradise' Personality Quiz!

The Paradise Season 2 is officially underway and subsequently, we’ve all been transported back into all the Victoria-era relationship drama we can handle.

The lavish department store-based series is definitely upping its game in Season 2, adding in new faces, more complicated relationships, and a fairly involved plot to return The Paradise to its original owner.

To celebrate the return of the show that’s proven to be one of the most popular topics on the blog over the past year – seriously, this post is still going, and it’s been more than a year, and new episodes are actually on-air now – we put together a new character quiz that’s mean to determine where you’d belong in the The Paradise.

Are you more of a Denise or a Katherine?  Or maybe a Moray or a Jonas? 

Category:Drama

Get Ready: 'Inspector Lewis' Returns!

Who remembers this scene back in the summer of 2013?

DS James Hathaway (Laurence Fox) and DI Robbie Lewis (Kevin Whately) with pints in hand and a picturesque view of the water ahead reveal their plans for the future; Lewis is retiring and Hathaway is leaving the police force. That was supposed to be it, ces’t fini. Inspector Lewis was drawing to a close so its actors could move on to other projects – Fox and his bride Billie Piper were going to try their luck in Hollywood and Whately was on the record saying he was getting too old to play a police inspector anymore.

Fast forward a little more than a year - Lewis and Hathaway are reunited and trying their best to keep Oxford’s streets safe, mostly from their own eccentric and educated residents. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining since Lewis is one of my very favorite detective dramas. It was just the speed of the about face that’s left me a bit confused.

That being said, let’s get on to the details of the new series of Inspector Lewis which will be premiering on Sunday, October 5th at 9 pm ET. It features three new murder mysteries entitled “Entry Wounds”, “The Lions of Nemea” and “Beyond Good and Evil".

Watch a trailer for the new season below:

Category:Drama

Recapping 'The Paradise': Series 2, Episode 1

Last season, on The Paradise: Country girl Denise arrives in an unnamed, purportedly cosmopolitan town that somehow only seems to have one street where stores are located. She starts working in a posh department store called The Paradise and falls in love with its charismatic, exceptionally close-talking owner John Moray, who is of course, involved with the posh and snotty Katherine, for reasons that are never made clear except that she has a lot of money and keeps harassing him about getting married.

There a several other colorful secondary characters, including Moray’s enthusiastic BFF Dudley, Miss Audrey who runs ladies’ wear, and Denise’s roommates: ditzy Pauline and jealous Clara. Anyway, Denise proves herself an exceptional and creative businesswoman, Moray is into that, they fall in love. Unfortunately, Moray is engaged to Katherine by the time he realizes his feelings, which leads to him leaving his betrothed at the altar, even though her father has bought out all the leases to the town’s one street of shops, including The Paradise, and can now take the store away from him. Dun dun dun…

What will happen in Season 2? Time to find out. 

Category:Drama

‘Morse’ Prequel ‘Endeavour’ Officially Renewed for a Third Season

Fans of Inspector Morse prequel series Endeavour, you can all rest easy - ITV has officially renewed the detective drama for a third series!

The detective series will return with four new episodes, and will pick up following the shocking events at the end of Series 2, which concluded with Morse in police custody, framed for a crime he didn’t commit, while his partner DCI Thursday seemed close to death after being shot in the chest.

The third series will once again by written by Lewis creator and Morse scribe Russell Lewis, and will apparently be set in 1967. 

Category:Drama

Revisiting ‘The Paradise’: Series 1, Episode 8

Welcome to the next installment in our recap series that takes us back through the first season of The Paradise before Series 2 begins this Fall!

Previously, on The Paradise: Katherine heads The Paradise to go wedding shopping, dragging along a bunch of her friends so she can help make the store some more money using her social influence. She causes a run on a gastly shade of fabric by tricking the intellectually challenged townsfolk into thinking a person like Katherine would ever get married in “midnight ink”. Meanwhile, across the road in our Singular Shopping Area, Denise brokers a short-lived agreement between the five other shop keeper’s to sell their wares as package deals. Katherine dislikes Moray’s obsession with his dead wife, but runs afoul of creepy Jonas when she attempts to remove the giant Mrs. Moray portrait from his office and the two are now mortal enemies. Denise and Moray take a walk and have a long heart to heart together, though unbeknownst to them, they’re spotted by Lord Glendening.

We’ve finally made it to the Series 1 finale! (Just in time to start Series 2 this weekend but whatever, that’s next week.) What does the Nameless City’s One Shopping Area have in store for us this week? Onward, and let’s find out.

Category:Drama

Benedict Cumberbatch: The Next Season of ‘Sherlock’ Will Be ‘Phenomenal’

What’s next for Sherlock? Fans the world over have been asking this question virtually since the credits rolled on Series 3 finale His Last Vow. Thankfully, the crime drama is set to return for a one-off special next year and a three-episode fourth season at some as yet to be determined time in 2016, but since production on the special isn’t getting under way until January of 2015, we know very little so far about what to expect when the story of the Baker Street boys resumes.

The series’ cast does seem to know a bit more than we do, but they’re keeping pretty mum at present, although star Benedict Cumberbatch did share a few observations during one of his (many) interviews in the midst of film festival press for his upcoming turn as British codebreaker Alan Turing in The Imitation Game

Category:Theater

Preview Emma Thompson as Mrs, Lovett in Lincoln Center’s ‘Sweeney Todd’

This week, Live From Lincoln Center presents a special broadcast that Anglophiles everywhere are going to want to see. Back in March, the New York Philharmonic put on a special all-star production of Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler’s acclaimed musical Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, which ran for only four days at Avery Hall.  

This extremely limited run musical featured Academy Award-winning actress Emma Thompson in one of the lead roles and, thankfully, it’s being presented on PBS stations nationwide this month as part of the PBS Fall Arts Festival, to the great relief of all of us who couldn’t get to New York in that (tiny) window. Whew.

(And, yes, before you ask, she sings.)

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