British actor Jude Law has won a round of rave reviews from theatre critics for his portrayal of William Shakespeare's tragic king Henry V. The Sherlock Holmes star plays the title role in a revival of the Bard's classic work which opened at London's Noel Coward theatre on Tuesday night (03Dec13).
Law, who has previously starred in Hamlet both in the West End and on Broadway, has won over critics with his latest stage outing, landing a five-star review from Charles Spencer of Britain's Daily Telegraph newspaper, who called the actor's turn a "terrific star performance".
He adds, "Jude Law, relatively short of stature and with a receding hairline, initially looks an unlikely hero, but this is one of the richest and most detailed performances of Henry V that I have ever seen... You leave the theatre in no doubt that you have witnessed a production of rare distinction and dramatic depth."
Quentin Letts of the Daily Mail, writes, "(Henry V) is a 'big ask', as rugby coaches say, and Jude Law answers it. He is fit enough physically to wear period battledress without looking silly. He glowers beautifully, even if he resembles a slimmed down Phil Collins...
Henry V is not the Bard's greatest play... Yet under Mr (Michael) Grandage's assured direction and with Mr Law's magnetism, this show has a puissance of its own."
Michael Billington of The Guardian concludes, "Law's complex portrait of Shakespeare's contradictory king... is far and away the most fascinating aspect of an efficient, well-managed production... Law, sturdily built and with receding hairline, looks more mature than many Henries. That helps to explain the purposeful gravity he brings to the opening scenes."
He also call hails the actor's performance as "richly layered" and insists it "shows Jude Law maturing with age and getting under the skin of a character."
Sherlock fans, the moment you've been waiting for has finally arrived: the third season of the massively popular show will premiere on January 19 as part of PBS' Masterpiece series, meaning that it will air back-to-back with the network's other successful import Downton Abbey. No UK premiere date has been set yet, although British fans will still be able to find out how Sherlock cheated death before their American counterparts, as the BBC has retained "first-window" rights to air the program. Fans have been waiting impatiently for new episodes for almost two years now, as the production schedule was complicated by the rising popularity of stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman. However, Masterpiece's executive producer Rebecca Easton told Entertainment Weekly that although it has been a long wait, "This is about as quickly as we could have possibly got them on the air once they were made."
Viewers will be able to find out just how Sherlock faked his own death in the first episode, "The Empty Hearse." It will be based on the Arthur Conan Doyle short story "The Adventure of the Empty House," and will be written by Mark Gatiss, which fans should take as an encouraging sign. Gatiss is the writer behind two of the series' best installments: Season 1's "The Great Game" and 2's "The Hound of the Baskervilles." He's promised that his take might skew away from the source material some, particularly in the way that Watson reacts to his partner's return. It's going to be difficult to come up with an answer that satisfies both the story and the fans, but Gatiss has proved himself to be adept at handling twists and grounding the show's more outrageous moments in a sense of reality. Plus, his determination to have Watson react in a more realistic way should be able to set up a compelling conflict between the two characters for the rest of the season.
The second episode will be penned by Stephen Thompson, who previously tacked "The Blind Banker" and "The Reichenbach Fall," the cliffhanger ending to Season 2. "The Sign of Three" will also introduce Mary Morstan, who marries Watson in Conan Doyle's original short stories. Although the writers were previously unsure about where to go with Mary and Watson's relationship, it seems as if (spoiler alert!) the two will indeed get married on the show as well. The role of Mary Morstan will be played by Amanda Abbington, who is Freeman's real-life partner, which hopefully guarantees that they will have enough chemistry to satisfy fans who are unsure about the fictional couple. It will be interesting to see what Thompson draws from the original story, "The Sign of Four," as it details the very beginning of Mary and Watson's relationship.
Season 3 will come to a conclusion with "His Last Vow," which will take its inspiration from both the short story and collection entitled "His Last Bow." It will mark a bit of a departure for the series, as the story is more about espionage than a murder mystery. Stephen Moffat will be behind the finale, which means that the fan reaction is likely to be divisive. Moffat has gained an unfavorable reputation amongst some Sherlock and Doctor Who fans, and although he did a brilliant job with Sherlock's very first episode, "A Study in Pink," he is also behind "A Scandal in Belgravia," which is by far the series' weakest hour and a half. Based on his time writing finales for Doctor Who, there's a very good chance that the audience will be disappointed in "His Last Vow," although we're hoping he will be able to pull off something great.
Sherlock and Watson will also have to face a new villain this series, after Jim Moriarty died in last season's finale. Danish actor Lars Mikkelsen will take his place as Charles Agustus Magnussen. Based on his name, the character appears to be based on Charles Agustus Milverton, the master blackmailer who Sherlock dislikes more than any other villain he faces in the stories. It will be difficult for the series to top the psychopath they created with Moriarty, though, and it should be exciting for viewers to watch Sherlock and Watson take down a new bad guy.
The third season of Sherlock will premiere on January 19 at 10 PM. But if that's still too long to wait for a Cumberbatch or Freeman fix, you can catch them both in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, which opens on December 13.
Danish actor Lars Mikkelsen has landed a villainous new role in the upcoming third season of hit TV series Sherlock. The star of cult Danish drama The Killing will portray the title character in the TV adaptation of Arthur Conan Doyle's crime novel The Adventure of Charles Augustus Milverton, about a blackmailer who cons wealthy nobles.
Benedict Cumberbatch plays the modern version of Doyle's literary supersleuth, Sherlock Holmes, on the popular BBC show, opposite Martin Freeman.
The Sherlock star is an ambassador for The Prince's Trust and he headed to the London branch of waxwork museum Madame Tussauds last week (ends17Jun12) to front the organisation's event.
It featured short films inspired by issues and events affecting young people and Cumberbatch is hopeful the scheme will help boost teenagers' confidence.
He says, "Making films requires passion, determination and team work and these qualities are evident in the films we've seen.
"Many of the young people supported by The Prince's Trust face major challenges in their lives and I hope that the achievement of creating a powerful film has motivated them and made them realise their potential."
Let's face it the world of Hollywood pirating — with its peglegs eyepatches shoulder parrots and bounty of other swashbuckling tropes — is pretty silly. Even a high seas adventure like Pirates of the Caribbean has the ridiculous Jack Sparrow to help it hobble along. Pushing the comedy can only work in pirate movie's favor and Aardman Animation's Pirates! A Band of Misfits goes all out seizing the absurdity with a flare only British sensibilities could conjure. The film is a treasure trove of design and technical wizardry but for those less interested in the intricacies of stop motion animation Pirates!'s simple story packs plenty of low-key laughs that viewers all ages can pick up.
The Pirate Captain (Hugh Grant) is at wit's end. While he's enjoyed his time leading a ragtag group of wannabe pirates including Albino Pirate (Anton Yelchin) Pirate with Gout (Brendan Gleeson) Surprisingly Curvaceous Pirate (Ashley Jensen) and his number two Pirate with a Scarf (Martin Freeman) a lifestyle of eating ham and barely making ends meet is losing its luster. When Pirate Captain shows up to the annual Pirate of the Year submission day he's once again outdone by Black Bellamy (Jeremy Piven) who rides in on a whale full of gold. Driven by competition Pirate Captain reassembles his crew hits the open waters and begins a new wave of pillaging. It's all for naught until the pirates cross paths with Charles Darwin (David Tennant) who identifies Pirate Captain's "parrot" as an extinct dodo bird. Suddenly the pirates have a new (and lucrative) calling: science.
There's an unexpected intelligence to Pirates!. The movie based on a children's book of the same name centers on Pirate Captain's mid-life crisis delves into the world of 18th century science and pegs Queen Victoria (Imelda Staunton) as the mastermind bad guy behind the elimination of the pirate occupation. That gives the accompanying adults plenty to chew (and laugh) on but director Peter Lord doesn't stray away from an ol' fashioned slapstick routine. There's a marvelous stray bathtub sequence halfway through the film a wild ride through Charles Darwin's old tudor house that's a true spectacle. But even a simple gag involving baking soda and vinegar exploding sud bubbles is expertly crafted and executed by Lord.
The stop motion technique never feels limited in Pirates! even with a great deal of walking and talking scenes. Gideon Defoe's script is elevated by the vocal performances; Grant is perfectly cast as the faux-burly Pirate Captain while Martin Freeman's perfected "timid skeptic" routine from The Office and Sherlock is once again on full display. The Aardman team continues to have a knack for gesturing their puppets uniquely natural and human. Even with all the enormous pirate ships detailed cityscapes and dazzling action Pirates! is at its best when it focuses on the sillier calmer moments.
The tangibility of Pirates! A Band of Misfits comes through in its physical stop-motion animation techniques but also its genuine heart. There's a rare reality to the storytelling even at its most fantastical. While the film doesn't hit the same emotional chords as some of Pixar or Dreamworks' best you would need an X-marked map to find a Hollywood cartoon as sweet and heartfelt. So don't walk the plank on this one — board with kids in tow immediately.
There are distinct echoes of Alan Alda’s The Four Seasons and Lawrence Kasdan’s The Big Chill here as the film focuses on four couples who have been friends since their college days. Periodically they get together and ask themselves the title question as they re-examine their relationships. There’s Janet Jackson as Patricia the college lecturer whose best-selling book is based on her friends’ relationships. Patricia and her husband Gavin (Malik Yoba) are trying to hold their marriage together after the loss of their young son in a tragic car accident. The cocky Mike (Richard T. Jones) flaunts an adulterous relationship in front of his insecure overweight wife Shelia (Jill Scott) who is completely oblivious to the deception. Terry (Perry himself) is a successful pediatrician trying to convince his wife Diane (Sharon Leal)--a successful attorney in her own right--to have more kids. Marcus (Michael Jai White) a former pro football player merely tries to get through the day without a tongue-lashing from his acerbic wife Angela (Tasha Smith) a woman not known for keeping her opinions to herself regardless of how appropriate the circumstances. All of them find themselves confronting career demands family demands infidelity incompatibility and mistrust--all while drinking far too much wine. Needless to say before their get-together is over a number of secrets will be divulged and each couple will find their relationships shaken to their respective cores. Forgoing the housedress of his cinematic alter-ego “Madea ” Perry proves an affable screen personality quite relaxed within the ensemble. Jones doesn’t go out of his way to make Mike in any way likable which makes his one of the more memorable and clearly defined characters in the entire cast. Although Smith gets all the sassy lines White easily steals their scenes together with a surprisingly appealing comic turn. Hunky Lamman Rucker plays a dreamboat sheriff who finds himself drawn into this ever-shifting circle of friends. The women have a tougher go of it with Jackson giving a tremulous performance that makes her character almost disappear into the background. Yoba is also low-key although more affectingly so as her onscreen spouse. Leal does what she can with the stock role of a career woman who takes her home life for granted but she fares better than Scott whose crying scenes--and there are more than one--ground the story to a halt. All told however the ensemble cast has an easy and relaxed chemistry together which keeps the film--as soapy as uneven as it often is--afloat throughout. Tyler Perry doesn’t open up his stage play to any major degree preferring to leave the emphasis on characters and dialogue--both of which incidentally he has created. Perry tends to approach these intricate topics with broad (but not irrelevant) strokes but he’s not about to tamper with a successful formula. Like most of Perry’s previous films (Diary of a Mad Black Woman Madea*s Family Reunion et. al.) Why Did I Get Married? runs on a bit and overstates its case but its heart’s in the right place.
With stories like this who even needs the “Inspired by true events” shield? Primeval tells of the world’s most prolific killer Gustave. You see Gustave is a crocodile and he remains at large to this day. His thirst for human blood goes unpublicized until he chows down on a white woman at which point an American newsman Tim Manfrey (Dominic Purcell) his cameraman Steven (Orlando Jones) and TV personality Aviva (Brooke Langton) head down to Burundi Africa where they hope to document the capture of Gustave. They’re joined by a wildlife preservationist of sorts (Gideon Emery)—a rare breed in a post-Steve Irwin world—who doesn’t want to harm Gustave. The deep jungles of Africa become a veritable obstacle course when the locals embroiled in a long-standing civil war and unwilling to have some damn Yankees televising their homeland stand in the crew’s way not to mention Gustave proving an evasive 20-foot-long um little bugger! The names might not ring a bell but you’ve seen these three stooges before--all on TV in fact. Purcell is currently enjoying about half the 15 minutes of fame of Wentworth Miller on Fox’s slipping Prison Break. Purcell plays Tim with steel and virility as he hides his Aussie accent for the most part but he’s still got a ways to go to reach Clive Owen’s caliber of acting--and more importantly Owen’s caliber of roles. Langton of The Net (the TV show adapted from the Sandra Bullock movie of the same name) and Melrose Place fame shows off the beauty that will afford endless opportunities to prove herself as a “real” actress—which is ironically similar to her character’s plight—but will never get there with roles in movies like Primeval. And Jones still best known for and plagued by his 7-Up commercials is in true negligible-sidekick mode here--worthy of a snicker approximately once out of every dozen times he tries overzealously to get one. Jaws may come to mind based on the water creature-stalking-man plot but well it’s tough to even mention those two in the same sentence. Director Michael Katleman a TV fixture himself at least doesn’t even aim high enough to reach that level. No from the get-go he’s shooting more for an Anacondas feel—and yes that’s the horrific sequel to the so-terrible-it’s-fun J.Lo “original.” Katleman almost reaches Anacondas-ian highs but not quite. Among other notable problems the director cannot for one moment strike the right balance between the aforementioned level of guilty pleasure-dom and genuine horror. Instead he catches us off guard with what are supposed to be the thrills—and also with the comedy. Finally once Gustave is revealed which should essentially be the moviegoers’ reward the croc looks more a prop sitting in a theme-park lot. And the script from John D. Brancato and Michael Ferris (Terminator 3 co-writers)—well let’s just hope with the story being uber-derivative and cheesy enough as it is Orlando Jones ad-libbed all of his unlaughable comedy!