Movies

Britwatch: Apparently Benedict Cumberbatch Movies Will Take Over 2013

In case you didn’t think Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch had enough films coming out next year, what with his appearance as the villain in Star Trek: Into the Darkness, his turn as Smaug the dragon in Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit trilogy, and his key role in total Oscar bait-y ensemble drama August: Osage County, you’ll be happy to know he’s already signed up for a bunch more projects. Because apparently, he doesn't bother with boring things like sleeping. (Eek, and even in this list I managed to leave one out already, because you’ll also be seeing Cumberbatch all dolled up in period garb next year for Steve McQueen’s Twelve Years a Slave.)

Movie theaters of America: Prepare to receive all of my money, thanks very much.

Watch: Sir Anthony Hopkins and Dame Helen Mirren in the Trailer for Hitchcock

Who knew British director Sir Alfred Hitchcock would be such a big deal in 2012? BBC Two drama The Girl which chronicles the making of his classic film The Birds (and Hitchcock’s obsession with actress Tippi Hedren) is already set to premiere later this month on HBO, and now a feature film version of his struggle to get horror masterpiece Psycho filmed is due in theaters this November.

Hitchcock stars Oscar winner Sir Anthony Hopkins as the famous director, alongside the equally formidable Dame Helen Mirren as Hitchcock’s wife Alma Reville. Avengers star Scarlett Johansson plays the infamous Janet Leigh, destined to be knifed to death in the shower of the Bates Motel (a.k.a that scene from Psycho everyone knows even if they’ve never seen Psycho). Click through to watch the trailer for Hitchcock, and tell us how you think Hopkins stacks up against The Girl’s Toby Jones.

Wuthering Heights Has A New Trailer, Maybe The Film Will Actually Get Released This Time?

Considering that this movie made my list of films for Anglophiles to get excited about last winter and we’re still waiting for a theatrical release ten months later, I’d pretty much given up hope on this latest adaptation of Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights ever seeing the light of day in American theaters. The film screened at both the Venice and Sundance Film Festivals and then….apparently fell off the face of the earth. Except not really, as Wuthering Heights now has a brand new trailer and a new “limited” release date of October 5, 2012. Allrighty, then.

The film stars Skins’ Kaya Scodelario as Cathy and newcomer James Howson as Heathcliff, who is notably the first black actor to take on the famous role. Adapted by Oscar-winning director Andrea Arnold, this version attracted a fair bit of controversy last year due to its interracial casting and some rumored changes to key scenes.

This new trailer is actually completely different – and generally better, if you ask me – than the version released back in 2011 – so here’s hoping that means that the folks behind this film have regrouped, rethought their marketing strategy and are actually going to let us see this time. Click through to take a look for yourself, and let us know what you think in the comments – is this interesting to you? Or has cinema in general gone to the tortured romance well too many times in remaking this story?

There and Back Again: Round Up the Latest on Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit

The other title of this post was basically, guys, I’ve seen twelve minutes of The Hobbit now, so please indulge my need to flail a little bit about this movie and hopefully it will also be relevant to some of your interests?

Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit is one of the most highly anticipated movie franchises of the next few years. The first installment, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, will premiere on December 14, 2012 (coincidence that it’s my birthday? I think not!) with the second installment, The Hobbit: There and Back Again, slated to hit theaters a year later, and the recently announced third film coming…well, sometime after that. I also wouldn’t count on that There and Back Again part of the second film’s title sticking for much longer now that we’re dealing with a trilogy either. (Sigh – I liked it!)

 

Based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s beloved fantasy novel of the same name, the film stars Sherlock’s Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins alongside the great Sir Ian McKellen as Gandalf the Grey, Robin Hood’s Richard Armitage as Thorin Oakenshield, Being Human’s Aidan Turner as Kili the dwarf, and Sherlock himself, Benedict Cumberbatch, as the voice of Smaug the dragon. Many cast members from Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy are also returning including Andy Serkis, Cate Blanchett, Hugo Weaving, Orlando Bloom, Christopher Lee and Elijah Wood.

While The Hobbit now-trilogy isn’t strictly British entertainment, I figure with its British author, largely British cast, and the tremendous amount of crossover going on between this film and British shows we all love, it mostly counts. (Also, as you will be able to discern for yourselves momentarily, I’m kind of a big fan.) So, what’s the latest on all things Middle-Earth? What can we blame the fact that Sherlock Series 3 filming got pushed back on? And what’s up with this whole trilogy thing? Click through for a roundup on all things Hobbit-related and let’s talk about it after.

Watch the First Trailer for Upcoming James Bond Movie, Skyfall

When you think of Great Britain, a few iconic images, people and places tend to come to mind instantly – and James Bond is probably one of them. Even people who don’t like spy movies tend to enjoy Bond films – the cars, guns and gadgets are kind of hard to resist. Plus, I have to respect any franchise that’s capable of reinventing itself so many times over so many years (it’s the Whovian in me, I suppose). Skyfall will be the twenty-third installment in the Bond franchise, with star Daniel Craig returning for a third go as the famous spy.

Honestly, I’m really more of a Sean Connery-as-Bond kind of girl, if I had to pick just one, but it must be said that Craig really is a fabulous Bond too. Skyfall also has an all-star supporting cast, including Dame Judi Dench, Ralph Fiennes, Javier Bardem, Helen McCrory, Naomie Harris, Albert Finney and Ben Whishaw. Click through for a look at the film’s first teaser trailer, which will probably get you pretty excited for this even if you thought previous effort Quantum of Solace was a hot mess.

Take a Look at David Tennant’s New Movie “The Decoy Bride”

Former Doctor Who star David Tennant has a new movie coming out! Well, after a somewhat complicated and strange process, he does. But still! The Tenth Doctor in a movie! Who wouldn’t be excited about this? (Personally, I’m still tremendously fond of Tennant, even if he isn’t “my” Doctor.)

The film is called The Decoy Bride and stars Tennant alongside Boardwalk Empire’s Kelly Macdonald. It’s a romantic comedy in which Tennant’s character, a writer, is about to marry a famous movie star (played by Alice Eve) in some small Scottish village. So, to throw off the paparazzi they hire a local girl to serve as a “decoy bride.” And, naturally, romantic hijinks ensue.

Click through for a look at the trailer and an explanation of how you can see the film for yourselves, should you be so inclined.

Telly Visions Goes to the Movies: Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

It seems strangely fitting that Cold War spy thriller Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy opened in the States – or at least expanded beyond two cities - the same weekend people started screening Mission Impossible 4 for the first time. Not because the two films are in any way alike, but because of the strong contrast they present to one another. (Full disclosure: I’ve not seen MI 4 yet, but I’m guessing that it’s not probably not moving the needle too far from its three predecessors in terms of tone.)

Tinker Tailor sits firmly on the side of the classic espionage thriller, the kind which does not rely on impressive stunts, nifty gadets or breathtaking explosions to carry the story. Popular mainstream spy films, like the MI franchise and others of its ilk (Looking at you Bond, Bourne) often appear far more interested in the trappings of spycraft than the people who perform it, or the often boring particulars of how they do their jobs. (I imagine it’s a lot more talking than car chases for those folks, most days.) Conversely, Tinker Tailor, as a film, feels a bit like watching a stage play – a good two thirds of it is comprised of various combinations of men sitting in variety of dimly lit rooms and talking, but it’s just as riveting as if things were exploding throughout. It does require you to really pay attention to the many twists, turns, and seemingly throwaway moments that turn out to be anything but.

The film is based on John le Carre’s 1974 novel of the same name, which was also turned into a very popular six-hour BBC miniseries starring Alec Guinness. (Personal aside: I’ve just gotten a coyp of this and can’t want to watch it.) The film’s premise is deceptively simple: it’s the height of the Cold War and there’s a Soviet mole/double agent operating at the highest levels of British intelligence. Gary Oldman plays master spy George Smiley, whose job is it to sort through the Who’s Who of British character actors that comprise the rest of the cast and determine which of them is passing secrets to the Russians.

So what can you expect if you see it? This is not a movie for everyone, first of all. It’s very intricate and a little bit on the slow side, and it actively requires that you, as a viewer, pay (a lot of) attention, because if you don’t you’ll definitely miss something. There’s a great deal of talking - there has to be, if they’re going to condense a 400+ page novel into a two hour movie – and less in the way of action than a typical MI-style spy film. But it’s a densely plotted mystery with many layers that peel back like an onion, and an extremely well done character piece. I loved it, but there will certainly be those that call it boring rather than intriguing. (I also think those people are wrong, but I can see why the argument is being made.)

If you’re curious about the specifics, click through for my take on the film’s highlights and occasionally problematic areas. If you’ve seen this – what did you think? Leave your thoughts in the comments.

In Case You Missed It: The Hobbit Trailer!

It’s likely that most of you saw this particular bit of awesomeness yesterday, but for those who somehow haven’t – the trailer for the first installment of Peter Jackson’s long-awaited adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit was released this week, and features a star-studded cast full of great British performers.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey opens December 14, 2012, and stars Sherlock’s Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins, alongside several members of the original Lord of the Rings trilogy cast including Sir Ian McKellen, Hugo Weaving, Cate Blanchett, Christopher Lee, Ian Holm, and Elijah Wood. They’ll be joined by a ton of new faces – most of them British – such as Stephen Fry, MI-5/Robin Hood’s Richard Armitage, Being Human’s Aidan Turner, Jekyll's James Nesbitt, Sylvester McCoy, Sherlock's Benedict Cumberbatch (eventually), Luke Evans, and more.

Click through to watch the trailer for yourself - it's really quite glorious, especially if you're a fan, and I've loved Tolkien since I was a kid. The Hobbit trailer is running in theaters before The Adventures of Tintin, so if you’re heading to the cinema this holiday weekend, you can see it on the big screen.

Ten Movies For Anglophiles to Get Excited About This Winter

You can always count on the end of the year to provide you with two things: Top Ten lists of all varieties (and don’t worry, we’ll probably do one of those in the next couple weeks too) and a plethora of great movies at the box office, as studios scramble to beat the deadline for Academy Awards consideration with any film they think might have a shot at a nomination.

This year, for those of us who are Anglophiles, there are a many fantastic looking films heading our way – whether you’re looking for spy thrillers, family dramas, literary adaptations, or historical biopics. Click through for some of the most interesting looking movies headed our way through the end of the year (and into early 2012). Are you planning to get a little British at the box office in the next few weeks? Is there something missing in this list that’s a must-see? Let us know in the comments.

Meryl Streep is "The Iron Lady"

Is anyone else looking forward to upcoming Margaret Thatcher biopic The Iron Lady with the always amazing Meryl Streep in the title role? I'm actually not sure how accurately I think this film is going to portray the Thatcher era, but I still cannot wait to see it, even if it does have one of the weirdest promotional posters I've ever seen (Why is Westminster growing out of her head?).

Apparently I'm not the only person not quite sure how to feel about this film, as it's already sparking many mixed reactions and some controversy, even when it's a month away from release. The Guardian's Xan Brooks calls Streep's performance "astonishing and all but flawless," but labels the film itself "silly and suspect." The Daily Mail also has many complimentary things to say, one of which being that all those naysayers who were worried about the film "villifying" Baronness Thatcher can calm down. On the flip side, one-time Conservative party chairman and trade and industry secretary Norman Tebbit wrote a fairly blistering dismissal of the film in the Telegraph, claiming that this film version "is not the Margaret Thatcher [he] knew." Other Thatcher allies are similarly upset. I suppose this is what happens when we make biographical films about subjects who are both this recent and this polarizing. I'm willing to see for myself though, if only because I would probably watch Streep read the phone book with no complaints.

The full trailer came out on Monday - take a look below. The Iron Lady will open December 30 in New York and Los Angeles - I presume to make sure Streep is eligible for this year's Academy Awards, as she's probably a shoo-in for an Oscar nomination. The rest of us Yanks will have to wait unti the film's wide release on January 13.

 

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