Benedict Cumberbatch's codebreaking drama The Imitation Game has been chosen to open the BFI London Film Festival in October (14). The Sherlock star portrays British computer expert Alan Turing, who cracked the German Enigma codes during World War II. Keira Knightley also stars as fellow codebreaker Joan Clarke.
British actor Matt Smith has landed a major new role in the Terminator reboot. The former Doctor Who star will play a man with a strong connection to Jason Clarke's lead character John Connor and his story arc is expected to grow over the trilogy, according to Deadline.com.
Smith will join Game Of Thrones actress Emilia Clarke as Sarah Connor, Jai Courtney as Kyle Reese, and Arnold Schwarzenegger, who will reprise his Cyborg role, in Terminator: Genesis, which will be directed by Thor: The Dark World filmmaker Alan Taylor.
The movie is due to hit theatres in July, 2015.
Liam Neeson has landed a new role as a travel spokesman after signing up to help promote his native Northern Ireland as a holiday hotspot. The Taken star has lent his voice to the Northern Ireland Tourist Board's new advertising campaign, which also features appearances by Pulp Fiction's Bronagh Gallagher and Hothouse Flowers singer Liam O Maonlai.
Neeson admits he was "delighted" to take part in the commercials to "promote the treasures of my homeland".
He adds, "I've always maintained that Northern Ireland is the world's best kept secret, both in the character of its people and its scenery."
Alan Clarke, chief executive of the NITB, says, "Securing Liam Neeson to do the voiceover for our latest TV campaign is a huge coup and a significant vote of confidence in our tourism industry.
"This marks the first step of a brand new direction for NITB, which will focus on the friendliness of our people and their ability to make a place memorable."
For the bulk of every Rocky and Bullwinkle episode, moose and squirrel would engage in high concept escapades that satirized geopolitics, contemporary cinema, and the very fabrics of the human condition. With all of that to work with, there's no excuse for why the pair and their Soviet nemeses haven't gotten a decent movie adaptation. But the ingenious Mr. Peabody and his faithful boy Sherman are another story, intercut between Rocky and Bullwinkle segments to teach kids brief history lessons and toss in a nearly lethal dose of puns. Their stories and relationship were much simpler, which means that bringing their shtick to the big screen would entail a lot more invention — always risky when you're dealing with precious material.
For the most part, Mr. Peabody & Sherman handles the regeneration of its heroes aptly, allowing for emotionally substance in their unique father-son relationship and all the difficulties inherent therein. The story is no subtle metaphor for the difficulties surrounding gay adoption, with society decreeing that a dog, no matter how hyper-intelligent, cannot be a suitable father. The central plot has Peabody hosting a party for a disapproving child services agent and the parents of a young girl with whom 7-year-old Sherman had a schoolyard spat, all in order to prove himself a suitable dad. Of course, the WABAC comes into play when the tots take it for a spin, forcing Peabody to rush to their rescue.
Getting down to personals, we also see the left brain-heavy Peabody struggle with being father Sherman deserves. The bulk of the emotional marks are hit as we learn just how much Peabody cares for Sherman, and just how hard it has been to accept that his only family is growing up and changing.
But more successful than the new is the film's handling of the old — the material that Peabody and Sherman purists will adore. They travel back in time via the WABAC Machine to Ancient Egypt, the Renaissance, and the Trojan War, and 18th Century France, explaining the cultural backdrop and historical significance of the settings and characters they happen upon, all with that irreverent (but no longer racist) flare that the old cartoons enjoyed. And oh... the puns.
Mr. Peabody & Sherman is a f**king treasure trove of some of the most amazingly bad puns in recent cinema. This effort alone will leave you in awe.
The film does unravel in its final act, bringing the science-fiction of time travel a little too close to the forefront and dropping the ball on a good deal of its emotional groundwork. What seemed to be substantial building blocks do not pay off in the way we might, as scholars of animated family cinema, have anticipated, leaving the movie with an unfinished feeling.
But all in all, it's a bright, compassionate, reasonably educational, and occasionally funny if not altogether worthy tribute to an old favorite. And since we don't have our own WABAC machine to return to a time of regularly scheduled Peabody and Sherman cartoons, this will do okay for now.
If nothing else, it's worth your time for the puns.
Follow @Michael Arbeiter
| Follow @Hollywood_com
A Good Day To Die Hard star Jai Courtney has joined another all-action movie franchise after landing the coveted role of Kyle Reese in the Terminator remake. The actor will join Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jason Clarke and Emilia Clarke in Terminator: Genesis, according to multiple reports.
The Clarkes have signed on to portray Sarah and John Connor in the movie, which will be directed by Alan Taylor.
Schwarzenegger will return as the Terminator.
Courtney reportedly landed the role of Reese after a fiercely contested audition process with The Host star Boyd Holbrook.
Michael Biehn played Reese in 1984's The Terminator. The role has also been played onscreen by Anton Yelchin.
Tribeca Film via Everett Collection
For a film that involves a love triangle, mental illness, a Bohemian colony of free-spirits, an impending war and several important historical figures, the most exciting elements of Summer in February are the stunning shots of the English country and Cornish seaside. The rest of the film never quite lives up to the crashing waves and sun-dappled meadows that are used to bookend the scenes, as the entertaining opening never manages to coalesce into a story that lives up the the cinematography, let alone the lives of the people that inspired it.
Set in an Edwardian artist’s colony in Cornwall, Summer in February tells the story of A.J. Munnings (Dominic Cooper), who went on to become one of the most famous painters of his day and head of the Royal Academy of Art, his best friend, estate agent and part-time soldier Gilbert Evans (Dan Stevens), and the woman whom they both loved, aspiring artist Florence Carter-Wood (Emily Browning). Her marriage to Munnings was an extremely unhappy one, and she attempted suicide on their honeymoon, before killing herself in 1914. According to his journals, Gilbert and Florence were madly in love, although her marriage and his service in the army kept them apart.
When the film begins, Munnings is the center of attention in the Lamorna Artist's Colony, dramatically reciting poetry at parties and charming his way out of his bar tab while everyone around him proclaims him to be a genius. When he’s not drinking or painting, he’s riding horses with Gilbert, who has the relatively thankless task of keeping this group of Bohemians in line. Their idyllic existence is disrupted by the arrival of Florence, who has run away from her overbearing father and the fiancé he had picked out for her in order to become a painter.
Stevens and Browning both start the film solidly, with enough chemistry between them to make their infatuation interesting. He manages to give Gilbert enough dependable charm to win over both Florence and the audience, and she presents Florence as someone with enough spunk and self-possession to go after what she wants. Browning’s scenes with Munnings are equally entertaining in the first third of the film, as she can clearly see straight through all of his bravado and he is intrigued by her and how difficult she is to impress. Unfortunately, while the basis of the love triangle is well-established and entertaining, it takes a sudden turn into nothing with a surprise proposal from Munnings.
Neither the film nor Browning ever make it clear why Florence accepts his proposal, especially when they have both taken great pains to establish that she doesn’t care much for him. But once she does, the films stalls, and both Stevens and Browning spend the rest of the film doing little more than staring moodily and longingly at the people around them. The real-life Florence was plagued by depression and mental instability, but neither the film nor Browning’s performance ever manage to do more than give the subtlest hint at that darkness. On a few occasions, Browning does manage to portray a genuine anguish, but rather than producing any sympathy from the audience, it simply conjures up images of a different film, one that focused more on Florence, and the difficulties of being a woman with a mental illness at a time when both were ignored or misunderstood.
Stevens is fine, and Gilbert starts out with the same kind of good-guy appeal the won the heart of Mary Crawley and Downton Abbey fans the world over. However, once the film stalls, so does his performance, and he quickly drops everything that made the character attractive or interesting in favor of longing looks and long stretches of inactivity. He does portray a convincing amount of adoration for Florence, although that's about the only real emotion that Gilbert expresses for the vast majority of the film, and even during his love scene, he never manages to give him any amount of passion.
Cooper does his best with what he’s given, and tries his hardest to imbue the film with some substance and drama. His Munnings is by turns charming, brash, and brooding, the kind of person who has been told all of their life that they are special, and believes it. He even manages to give the character some depth, and even though he and Browning have very little chemistry, he manages to convey a genuine affection for her. It’s a shame that Munnings becomes such a deeply unlikable character, because Cooper is the only thing giving Summer in February a jolt of life – even if it comes via bursts of thinly-explained hostility. It's hard to watch just how hard he's working to connect with his co-stars and add some excitement to a lifeless script and not wish that he had a better film to show off his talents in.
Unfortunately, by the time Florence and Gilbert are finally spurred into activity, the film has dragged on for so long that you’re no longer invested in the characters, their pain, or their love story, even if you want to be. Which is the real disappointment of Summer in February; underneath the stalled plot and the relatively one-note acting, there are glimmers of a fascinating and compelling story that’s never allowed to come to the forefront.
Roddy Doyle, the Booker Prize-winning author behind The Commitments and Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha, is teaming up with another Irish icon to pen his memoir. Doyle will partner with Roy Keane for the former Manchester United and Ireland soccer star's second biography.
Publisher Alan Samson at Orion believes the book, The Second Half, will have the makings of a great read.
He says, "I believe it will become a benchmark for sports autobiography. The combination of an outstanding player - and leader - like Roy with a writer of Roddy's extraordinary gifts should result in one of the books of the year."
Since retiring as a player, Keane has managed Sunderland and Ipswich, and he is currently the assistant manager to the Ireland national team.
Keane's first book, Keane: The Autobiography, was released in 2002. The sportsman says, "I am very happy to be working with Roddy Doyle on this book, and look forward to the experience."
Game Of Thrones star Emilia Clarke has won the coveted role of Sarah Connor in director Alan Taylor's The Terminator movie. Taylor worked with Clarke on Game of Thrones and she has been a frontrunner for the role made famous on the big screen by Linda Hamilton for months.
Brie Larson and Margot Robbie were also reportedly considered for the role.
Arnold Schwarzenegger will return in his most iconic movie role.
Richie Buxo / Splash News
A great many actors have stepped up to play the ever-changing face of John Connor, but the upcoming Terminator reboot, Terminator: Genesis, may have just found its newest savior. According to Deadline, Jason Clarke is in talks to play John Connor, the fabled leader of the human resistance who is destined to save humanity from a sentient artificial intelligence.
If Clarke is chosen for the role, he would join the ranks of Edward Furlong, Nick Stahl, Christian Bale, and Thomas Dekker, who have previously portrayed the character in the franchise’s various incarnations across film and television. The Terminator reboot has also been searching for a new Sarah Connor, John's no-nonsense mother, who was originally played with fire and gusto by Linda Hamilton. Actresses Emilia Clarke and Brie Larson have both been short-listed for the role, and since both are significantly younger than Clarke, there’s bound to be a significant amount of time travel throughout the movie, something the series has dabbled in extensively throughout its history. Arnold Schwarzenegger is also slated to reprise his role as the Terminator, but the film would be better served casting an actor that isn't so far past his sell-by date. Schwarzenegger isn't nearly as physically imposing as he was in 1984, and the series could use a break from its old patterns.
The last film in the series, Terminator: Salvation, marked the second dud in a row for the franchise that has been plagued with recycled ideas and creative misdirection since its third film. The series has had trouble stopping itself from dipping into the well of worn ideas and repeating itself. Hopefully, director Alan Taylor (Thor: The Dark World) can breathe some much needed imagination into a series that hasn’t done much (besides the short-lived Sarah Connor Chronicles TV series) to justify its existence beyond its first two excellent entries. A good first step would be casting someone else as the Terminator instead of Schwarzenegger, but Arnold's return seems like an inevitability at this point. Maybe Hollywood can manage to produce a good Terminator film before our Roombas start their campaign for human extinction.
Lions Gate via Everett Collection
When we last left our heroes, they had conquered all opponents in the 74th Annual Hunger Games, returned home to their newly refurbished living quarters in District 12, and fallen haplessly to the cannibalism of PTSD. And now we're back! Hitching our wagons once again to laconic Katniss Everdeen and her sweet-natured, just-for-the-camera boyfriend Peeta Mellark as they gear up for a second go at the Capitol's killing fields.
But hold your horses — there's a good hour and a half before we step back into the arena. However, the time spent with Katniss and Peeta before the announcement that they'll be competing again for the ceremonial Quarter Quell does not drag. In fact, it's got some of the film franchise's most interesting commentary about celebrity, reality television, and the media so far, well outweighing the merit of The Hunger Games' satire on the subject matter by having Katniss struggle with her responsibilities as Panem's idol. Does she abide by the command of status quo, delighting in the public's applause for her and keeping them complacently saturated with her smiles and curtsies? Or does Katniss hold three fingers high in opposition to the machine into which she has been thrown? It's a quarrel that the real Jennifer Lawrence would handle with a castigation of the media and a joke about sandwiches, or something... but her stakes are, admittedly, much lower. Harvey Weinstein isn't threatening to kill her secret boyfriend.
Through this chapter, Katniss also grapples with a more personal warfare: her devotion to Gale (despite her inability to commit to the idea of love) and her family, her complicated, moralistic affection for Peeta, her remorse over losing Rue, and her agonizing desire to flee the eye of the public and the Capitol. Oftentimes, Katniss' depression and guilty conscience transcends the bounds of sappy. Her soap opera scenes with a soot-covered Gale really push the limits, saved if only by the undeniable grace and charisma of star Lawrence at every step along the way of this film. So it's sappy, but never too sappy.
In fact, Catching Fire is a masterpiece of pushing limits as far as they'll extend before the point of diminishing returns. Director Francis Lawrence maintains an ambiance that lends to emotional investment but never imposes too much realism as to drip into territories of grit. All of Catching Fire lives in a dreamlike state, a stark contrast to Hunger Games' guttural, grimacing quality that robbed it of the life force Suzanne Collins pumped into her first novel.
Once we get to the thunderdome, our engines are effectively revved for the "fun part." Katniss, Peeta, and their array of allies and enemies traverse a nightmare course that seems perfectly suited for a videogame spin-off. At this point, we've spent just enough time with the secondary characters to grow a bit fond of them — deliberately obnoxious Finnick, jarringly provocative Johanna, offbeat geeks Beedee and Wiress — but not quite enough to dissolve the mystery surrounding any of them or their true intentions (which become more and more enigmatic as the film progresses). We only need adhere to Katniss and Peeta once tossed in the pit of doom that is the 75th Hunger Games arena, but finding real characters in the other tributes makes for a far more fun round of extreme manhunt.
But Catching Fire doesn't vie for anything particularly grand. It entertains and engages, having fun with and anchoring weight to its characters and circumstances, but stays within the expected confines of what a Hunger Games movie can be. It's a good one, but without shooting for succinctly interesting or surprising work with Katniss and her relationships or taking a stab at anything but the obvious in terms of sending up the militant tyrannical autocracy, it never even closes in on the possibility of being a great one.
Follow @Michael Arbeiter
| Follow @Hollywood_com