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Entertainment Editor (1950 KP) created a video about A Very English Scandal in TV

Nov 9, 2017  

Filming A Very English Scandal

Hugh Grant and Ben Whishaw Filming in Chittlehampton North Devon for the BBC series A Very English Scandal.

Upcoming TV Shows for 2018 - the likes of James Norton, Hugh Grant, Ben Whishaw, Zoe Wanamaker, Alison Steadman and John Cleese have been very busy of late, and are just some of the big stars coming in the brand new TV shows ready to entertain us next year…

There's a terrific offering of TV treats on their way early next year, and here’s What's On TV's rundown of those we should be really looking forward to.

All Together Now

All Together Now

9.0 (5 Ratings) Rate It

TV Show

All Together Now, hosted by Rob Beckett, is a singing contest with a twist. A range of talented...

game show music
Last Laugh in Vegas

Last Laugh in Vegas

6.2 (6 Ratings) Rate It

TV Show

Some of the most famous names from comedy, music and variety from the 60s, 70s and 80s are to be...

game show
Wedding Day Winners

Wedding Day Winners

8.0 (1 Ratings) Rate It

TV Show

Television legend Lorraine Kelly and award winning comedian Rob Beckett are set to preside over...

game show
Hard Sun

Hard Sun

7.2 (10 Ratings) Rate It

TV Show

Jim Sturgess (One Day, The Way Back) and Agyness Deyn (Sunset Song) play detectives Charlie Hicks...

Drama Crime Science fiction
Britannia - Season 1

Britannia - Season 1

6.6 (5 Ratings) Rate It

TV Season Watch

David Morrissey (The Walking Dead) and Kelly Reilly (True Detective) star in an epic and cinematic...

Drama fantasy
and 6 other items

Awix (2414 KP) rated Skyfall (2012) in Movies

Jun 22, 2018  
Skyfall (2012)
Skyfall (2012)
2012 | Action, Mystery
You almost get the sense at the moment that Eon (makers of the Bond films) quite enjoy the cachet and prestige (and huge box office) associated with these films but would really secretly rather be doing another kind of film. Hence the effort, throughout the Craig movies, to get away from the trusted and (when well executed) lucrative Bond formula and do something different.

Hence this, which is not as earnest or obviously Bourne-inspired as Quantum of Solace, but still departs from the playbook in a number of key ways. It's a very introspective Bond film, quite glum and dark (though Bardem tries his best to have some fun with his role) - there's no main Bond girl per se (unless you count Judi Dench), and the exotic location for the finale is eschewed in favour of the London underground and foggy Scotland. As a change of pace it is striking, but if every Bond film was like this I think people would soon get sick of it (as the reaction to SPECTRE perhaps proved). Still, much good stuff here, Naomie Harries, Ralph Fiennes and Ben Whishaw make good first impressions, and there's some well-staged action. Whatever the influence this film ends up having on the franchise, on its own terms this is a fine film.
The Personal History of David Copperfield (2019)
The Personal History of David Copperfield (2019)
2019 | Classics, Comedy, Drama
Based on the famous and beloved novel by Charles Dickens, Armando Iannucci (Veep, The Thick of It, The Death of Stalin) brings us this fresh new take on David Copperfield. And it’s like no other Dickens adaptation you’ve ever seen before.

Dev Patel stars as Copperfield, the star and narrator of the story which charts his personal rise from rags to riches during Victorian England. We begin though with Copperfield as an adult, recounting his life story to a small theatre audience as he steps into a painted backdrop behind him on stage, transporting him, and us, to the location of his birth. He enters the family home and continues to narrate from within the scene as his mother struggles with labour. It’s just one of a variety of wonderfully inventive storytelling devices that the movie employs throughout.

While the chaos of childbirth plays out, the first in a long line of star-studded supporting characters arrives, David’s eccentric Aunt Betsey (Tilda Swinton), and we immediately get a glimpse of the kind of humour Iannucci has brought to the story as she sets about upsetting Peggotty, the family housekeeper, and declares that the baby will definitely be a girl.

From there, the storyline is fast paced, weaving between locations as David grows up - from an overturned boat house in Yarmouth, to the chaos of London and the difficulties of working in a bottle factory, and on to the Kent countryside. Along the way we meet yet more big names, including Peter Capaldi, Ben Whishaw, Hugh Laurie, Paul Whitehouse and Benedict Wong. Not to mention countless other recognisable faces.

The Personal History of David Copperfield is a real mixing pot of beautiful visuals, quirky humour and larger than life characters. Realism has been ditched in order to deliver a whimsical tale that is accessible to all ages. Unfortunately though, it just didn’t work for me. Aside from the opening scenes, and the occasional moment later on, the humour didn’t land at all. In fact, I got more laughs from the incredible movie Parasite that I saw just the night before seeing this.

Dev Patel, always impressive and enjoyable in everything he does, is charming as David Copperfield and is definitely the standout. Benedict Wong and Hugh Laurie were both enjoyable, but I felt the others all suffered from a script that just wasn’t strong enough. A beautifully shot movie, bold and bright and vibrant, but instantly forgettable.
Paddington (2015)
Paddington (2015)
2015 | Comedy, Family
Thoughts on Paddington

Characters – Paddington is the Peruvian bear we have all gotten to know from our childhoods, he travels to London in search for an explorer that met his Uncle and Aunt, what he finds is a busy city that has no time for stranger until he meets the Brown family. Paddington is learning about a new world in London, which sees his curiosity getting him stuck in a pickle more often than not, with his love of marmalade being the cause of most of his troubles. Henry Brown is the father that has taken Paddington in reluctantly, he has been working in risk assessment which doesn’t make a bear in the house seem safe, Paddington will help unlock the wild side that Henry once had in his youth before becoming a father. Mary is the mother who wants to take Paddington in, her heart is what makes her the reason the family will let him in, always wanting to do the right thing. Millicent works at the natural history museum, she wants Paddington so she can stuff him and add him to the collection at the museum, always thinking about herself and her family’s legacy.
Performances – Hugh Bonneville as the strict father shown that he isn’t willing to take a change, he goes against everything going with Paddington, only to show just how different a man can be once hit with parenthood. Sally Hawkins brings the light to the film as the caring mother. Nicole Kidman looks like she is enjoying the villainous figure in the film, which does show terrifying moments for the family film. Ben Whishaw does make the voice of Paddington a pleasure to watch through the film, handling the comedy very well.
Story – The story brings the character of Paddington bear to modern day London, where he must learn to fit in while alluding an evil taxidermist. We did need to keep the story simple for the first part of the chapter here, bringing Paddington to a modern London is a fresh spin because the original story was a different time, different minds and now everybody is so busy in their lives they barely notice a bear at a train station. We do get to see how Paddington must adjust to life in London, getting himself into trouble both in and out the house, but shows that his good-natured side will keep the family together, while the villain does have a good motivation which does play into the history of the natural history museum and just how twisted the reality behind it actually is. We do also have a strong theme that shows us just how difficult deforestation will be on animal families around the world, with Paddington being a victim of this.
Adventure/Comedy – The adventure takes Paddington around the world to a new family, new country and new culture, seeing how he learns plays into the comedy of the film which will get laughs of the pickles he finds himself involved in.
Settings – The film is mostly set in London, it shows just how big the city is for people who have never been there before, the Natural History museum is used well to show moments of fear in the film too.
Special Effects – Paddington being placed into the world looks fantastic, he never looks out of place which shows just how well the effects team worked to make this look seamless.

Scene of the Movie – Using the facilities.
That Moment That Annoyed Me – That jungle music line, seems completely out of place in this movie.
Final Thoughts – This is a fun family film that does bring to life one of the most famous childhood characters, it is filled with heart and brings the modernisation vision to the story with ease.

Overall: Family Fun Film.
Mary Poppins Returns (2018)
Mary Poppins Returns (2018)
2018 | Family
Disney knocks it out of the park
It was 1964 when the world was introduced to a practically-perfect British nanny in Walt Disney’s Mary Poppins. Back then, Julie Andrews starred as the eponymous character alongside Dick van Dyke and David Tomlinson. It was an instant hit and became one of Disney’s most-loved feature films.

That is, by everyone apart from the author of Mary Poppins, PL Travers. So incensed by what she felt was Disney’s misunderstanding of her source material, she banned all future work with the studio.

So, 54 years later and with Travers’ estate finally agreeing to a sequel (I wonder how much Disney executives had to pay for that), we get a sequel that no-one was really asking for. Mary Poppins Returns brings the titular character back into the hearts of newcomers and fans alike, but is the film as practically-perfect in every way like its lead? Or is it a bit of a dud?

Now an adult with three children, bank teller Michael Banks (Ben Whishaw) learns that his house will be repossessed in five days unless he can pay back a loan. His only hope is to find a missing certificate that shows proof of valuable shares that his father left him years earlier. Just as all seems lost, Michael and his sister Jane (Emily Mortimer) receive the surprise of a lifetime when Mary Poppins (Emily Blunt), the beloved nanny from their childhood, arrives to save the day and take the Banks family on a magical, fun-filled adventure.

Emily Blunt as Mary Poppins? You’re right to be sceptical. After all, how can an American actress bring to life a character so quintessentially British? Remarkably, she does it, with a cracking British accent to match. Blunt is, as she is in all her films, picture-perfect and oozing charisma. In fact, the entire cast is fabulous with the likes of Colin Firth and Meryl Streep joining the party as a sneaky bank manager and Mary Poppins’ cousin respectively. We’ve also got Julie Walters popping up every now and then as Ellen the housekeeper.

The new Banks children are absolutely wonderful. Pixie Davies, Nathanael Saleh and Joel Dawson show a range of emotions that would make seasoned actors blush, but here they thrive and look like they were having a blast. And that’s a trait clearly shared by the entire cast. Lin-Manuel Miranda’s plucky lamp-lighter, Jack, is obviously having the time of his life and this makes the whimsical nature of Mary Poppins Returns even more apparent.

In its hey-day, Mary Poppins was a technical revolution. Mixing live-action with colourful animation made the screen burst alive with imagination. Of course, special effects have moved on in the 50+ years that Mary has been away from our screens, but you’ll be pleased to know that each sequence feels just as magical.

From under the sea adventures to topsy-turvy houses, the ‘action’ scenes are beautifully filmed by director Rob Marshall. One scene in particular, involving hundreds of lamp-lighters is absolutely astounding and exquisitely choreographed.

The finale is typical sickly-sweet Disney, but in a movie populated by cartoon penguins, Irish dogs and the meaning of childhood, why shouldn’t it be?
The setting of Depression-era London lives and breathes before your very eyes. The CGI and practical effects used to create the capital in 1935 is astonishing, and testament to the teams behind the film. That £130million budget was clearly very well spent.

Then there are the songs. We all know the masterpieces from the original, but will there be any here that children will still be singing along to when they grow older? That’s debatable, but there are three or four that have the potential to be future classics. Look out for Trip the Light Fantastic, which makes up part of the film’s best scenes.

The finale is typical sickly-sweet Disney, but in a movie populated by cartoon penguins, Irish dogs and the meaning of childhood, why shouldn’t it be? The world is filled with such atrocities, it’s nice to sit back, relax with the family and enjoy a film that allows you to escape into your own imagination.

Any downsides? Well, while the pacing is nearly spot on, there’s no denying that Mary Poppins Returns is a long film by family film standards. At 130 minutes, it feels like this sequel is perhaps more for fans of the original than the children that the older film was clearly made for.

But these are small gripes in a sequel that pleasantly surprises on each and every turn. While lacking in the typical Disney poignancy, the film’s message is read loud and clear. There’s no doubt that Mary Poppins Returns is yet another hit for the studio and you’re sure to leave the cinema with a huge smile on your face. Mary is back and she means business.
Cloud Atlas (2012)
Cloud Atlas (2012)
2012 | Drama, Sci-Fi
While I am not familiar with the novel, I was not excited to review the film adaptation of David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas. Though the Screenplay was written and directed by the Wachowskis (The Matrix) and Tom Tykwer (Run Lola Run) I did not know exactly what I was getting into. The trailer shows it as an epic sci-fi film crossing the time and lives of several stories and how everything and everyone is connected. Needless to say my curiosity was piqued. But I was nervous because I knew it would take a grand effort to keep this epic and ambitious project from falling flat. And well, I can honestly say that I am not quite sure if the combined effort succeeded.

Allow me to explain. About an hour into the film I had a young film reviewer to my left and I noticed he started to nod his head in approval at each new developing story throughout the film. To my right was a friend of mine, I would consider as an average film viewer, who at this same time I could tell was counting the minutes till the lights came up but felt trapped with nowhere to go but forward. And for me, I can see both sides of these reactions.

The plot is comprised of a multi-narrative of six stories, each with a complete beginning, middle and end. These stories are told from different timelines following a group of souls throughout the ages to show how everything is woven together and the connection between them; From the 1849 slave trader, to a young composer in 1936 Britain, to a 1973 journalist attempting to uncover corruption of the big business ruling class, to a 2012 literary publisher who’s life becomes a daring escape from a geriatric home, to a 2144 Neo-Soul synthetic learning to become human, to a post-apocalyptic tribesman trying to save his world and family… Lost yet? Believe me you will want to focus during the first hour of this film as we are introduced to the sudden shift of timelines. All of the main actors appear as varying characters of significance in every narrative, each with different accents and types of language. It is a bit of an unexpected bother to keep everything straight at first, however if you pay attention it is fairly easy to follow. This first hour is where I feel the film becomes a make or break for those actively thinking about what they are watching and the average movie viewer who is just there to be entertained and see the new Tom Hanks (Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close) or Halle Berry (Perfect Stanger) movie. For those who make it through that first hour still engaged, the film moves along at a steady pace and provides everything from romance to action that keeps you guessing and intrigued at what is next to come.

The Wachowskis and Tykwer do an outstanding job of visually fleshing out each timeline in its own visual style, especially the futuristic ones, which subtlety organize each narrative for the viewer. Additionally, there are so many talented actors in this film and it is somewhat fascinating to try and pick them out throughout the film. It is almost like a giant game of Where’s Waldo on screen as the makeup and special effects artists do a fantastic job of making the actors fit each character in every timeline. In fact, during the fourth or fifth timeline a lady in my row asked her partner if the man on screen was Forrest Gump, which was surprising because Hanks was the easiest character to pick out among them all.

Tom Hanks delivers one of his better performances in years. We watch his character’s soul transition from a sinister and vile doctor to a tribesman making the righteous choice while struggling with that inkling of evil that is the devil within us all. It was refreshing to see Hanks play parts that were not just an “everyman” that he has played in recent years.

Halle Berry’s performance is mostly average in her parts with the exception of 1973 journalist role where she is the main protagonist. Hugo Weaving channels a bit of his Agent Smith role from The Matrix as he plays a villain throughout the timelines. Hugh Grant (Love Actually) makes unexpected soild appearances throughout the timelines. With Jim Sturgess (One Day), James D’Arcy (Mansfield Park) and Ben Whishaw (who is the new Q in the upcoming James Bond film Skyfall) rounding out the cast with a young contrast to the already heavy acting handled by the bigger names of this film. Each of these young actors hold’s their own against their older more notable counterparts. Whishaw’s performance as the lead in the 1936 composer role is especially noteworthy.

The other stand out performance in the film comes from Jim Broadbent best known in the states as Professor Slughorn in the Harry Potter Films. His performance in the 1936 composer and 2012 literary publisher are excellent. The Publisher story was my favorite timeline throughout the film. Not only did it deliver some much needed comic relief to an emotionally engaging and heavy film, but it also made me care the most about the elderly characters trying to escape the clutches of the geriatric prison of a nursing home. Unfortunately, other than the aforementioned comic relief this timeline seemed the most unnecessary to the overarching story at hand.

When I left the film and talked it over with my friend I was indifferent to the film. It was not great, it was not bad either. As my friend described it, it was a movie that was trying too hard. We agreed that somewhere in the six storylines there may be a great film, but we were not sure if we watched it.

However as the days have passed I have found myself thinking about the stories constantly. More specifically about how the main protagonist played by a different actor in each narrative has the same birthmark of a shooting star that in some way symbolizes some universal soul encompassing a new shell of a body in each timeline. Like some kind of reincarnation of that soul is fighting the same revolution throughout the ages against the powerful class and illusion of natural order. Additionally how each of the central characters found themselves connected with the main characters in the stories that preceded them through some kind of medium; whether it was by an old journal, or love letters, or a written story, or film, or message of hope. These subtle insights of growth and change for this main soul leaping into a new life in each timeline has caused me to examine our world and how we as people can be truly connected to one another not only today, but throughout the ages. I want to view the film again and am inspired to read the novel in some sort of effort to better understand these concepts.

Nevertheless as a film that is almost three hours long it does its best to be an epic sci-fi film and give something for everyone. And while it succeeds in many aspects of feel, it also falls short in aspects that are probably best accomplished in a literary form. As I said above, somewhere in the six storylines there may be a great film, but I am not sure if I watched it. Or maybe I am not intelligent enough to comprehend it. Because of that I can only give it an average score. Though I believe if you ask me after a second viewing, I may be inclined to raise it.