British pop star Jessie J failed her driving test four times because she is dreadful at parking cars.
The Price Tag hitmaker bashfully admitted it took five attempts before she received her road licence.
Her parents were in the audience as she appeared on U.K chat show Loose Women on Thursday (06Nov14), and she shouted to her father, Stephen Cornish, during the interview for confirmation that she is now an accomplished driver despite her early failures. He responded, "She's a very good driver now."
Jessie J adds, "Five (times). I tried to pass in Essex (England). I blame it on the people that were doing the test. I did pass in the end... I've been driving for nearly 10 years now... I wasn't good at parking... My Dad, he took me on a driving lesson once and took me into a dead end... I remember that, he said, 'I've got to reverse now... Go on you do it'... I did love driving but I was never good at gauging time. That was my weak point, when to pull out and all that... (Now) I'm a good driver, I'm a good driver! I can park like a don now. I drive (with my head) really low down or really close (to the wheel)."
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.
Ladies and gentlemen, we're making our final descent towards naming a Best Picture of 2011.
With the Golden Globes behind us and Academy Award nominations hitting next week (with the show arriving at the tail end of February), the limbo week between them is reserved for the coveted BAFTAs, the UK equivalent of the Oscars. After picking up a few statues at the Globes, feel good favorite of the year The Artist leads the pack in the BAFTA nods with a whopping 12 nominations. Behind the silent comedy are the British spy drama Tinker Tailor Solider Spy with 11 noms and Hugo with 9. Can the BAFTAs give a much-needed boost to the latter two films? Only time will tell…The BAFTAs announce their winners February 12.
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Outstanding British Film
My Week With Marilyn
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
We Need To Talk About Kevin
Outstanding Debut by a Writer, Director or Producer
Attack The Block - Joe Cornish (Director/Writer)
Black Pond - Will Sharpe (Director/Writer), Tom Kingsley (Director), Sarah Brocklehurst (Producer)
Coriolanus - Ralph Fiennes (Director)
Submarine - Richard Ayoade (Director/Writer)
Tyrannosaur - Paddy Considine (Director), Diarmid Scrimshaw (Producer)
Film Not in the English Language
The Skin I Live In
George Harrison: Living In The Material World
The Adventures Of Tintin: The Secret Of The Unicorn
Michel Hazanavicius - The Artist
Nicolas Winding Refn - Drive
Martin Scorsese - Hugo
Tomas Alfredson - Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Lynne Ramsay - We Need To Talk About Kevin
Michel Hazanavicius - The Artist
Annie Mumolo, Kristen Wiig - Bridesmaids
John Michael McDonagh - The Guard
Abi Morgan - The Iron Lady
Woody Allen - Midnight In Paris
Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon, Jim Rash - The Descendants
Tate Taylor - The Help
George Clooney, Grant Heslov, Beau Willimon - The Ides Of March
Steven Zaillian, Aaron Sorkin - Moneyball
Bridget O'Connor, Peter Straughan - Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Brad Pitt - Moneyball
Gary Oldman - Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
George Clooney - The Descendants
Jean Dujardin - The Artist
Michael Fassbender - Shame
Berenice Bejo - The Artist
Meryl Streep - The Iron Lady
Michelle Williams - My Week with Marilyn
Tilda Swinton - We Need to Talk About Kevin
Viola Davis - The Help
Christopher Plummer - Beginners
Jim Broadbent - The Iron Lady
Jonah Hill - Moneyball
Kenneth Branagh - My Week with Marilyn
Philip Seymour Hoffman - The Ides of March
Carey Mulligan - Drive
Jessica Chastain - The Help
Judi Dench - My Week with Marilyn
Melissa McCarthy - Bridesmaids
Octavia Spencer - The Help
The Artist - Ludovic Bource
The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo - Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross
Hugo - Howard Shore
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy - Alberto Iglesias
War Horse - John Williams
The Artist - Guillaume Schiffman
The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo - Jeff Cronenweth
Hugo - Robert Richardson
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy - Hoyte van Hoytema
War Horse - Janusz Kaminski
The Artist - Anne-Sophie Bion, Michel Hazanavicius
Drive - Mat Newman
Hugo - Thelma Schoonmaker
Senna - Gregers Sall, Chris King
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy - Dino Jonsater
The Artist - Laurence Bennett, Robert Gould
Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part 2 - Stuart Craig, Stephenie McMillan
Hugo - Dante Ferretti, Francesca Lo Schiavo
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy - Maria Djurkovic, Tatiana MacDonald
War Horse - Rick Carter, Lee Sandales
The Artist - Mark Bridges
Hugo - Sandy Powell
Jane Eyre - Michael O'Connor
My Week With Marilyn - Jill Taylor
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy - Jacqueline Durran
Make Up & Hair
The Artist - Julie Hewett, Cydney Cornell
Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part 2 - Amanda Knight, Lisa Tomblin
Hugo - Morag Ross, Jan Archibald
The Iron Lady - Marese Langan
My Week With Marilyn - Jenny Shircore
The Artist - Nadine Muse, Gérard Lamps, Michael Krikorian
Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows - Part 2 - James Mather, Stuart Wilson, Stuart Hilliker, Mike Dowson, Adam Scrivener
Hugo - Philip Stockton, Eugene Gearty, Tom Fleischman, John Midgley
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy - John Casali, Howard Bargroff, Doug Cooper, Stephen Griffiths, Andy Shelley
War Horse - Stuart Wilson, Gary Rydstrom, Andy Nelson, Tom Johnson, Richard Hymns
Special Visual Effects
The Adventures Of Tintin: The Secret Of The Unicorn - Joe Letteri
Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part 2 - Tim Burke, John Richardson, Greg Butler, David Vickery
Hugo - Rob Legato, Ben Grossman, Joss Williams
Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes - Joe Letteri, Dan Lemmon, R. Christopher White
War Horse - Ben Morris, Neil Corbould
The Orange Wednesdays Rising Star Award
If San Diego Comic-Con is the Frodo of pop culture gatherings, than New York Comic-Con is its Samwise Gamgee. Or, better, if San Diego Comic-Con is the Professor X of pop culture gatherings, than New York Comic-Con is its Cyclops. OK, ok—if San Diego Comic-Con is the Han Solo of pop culture gatherings, than New York Comic-Con is its Chewbacca…is this making sense?
We here at Hollywood are always ready to channel our inner fanboy when it comes to comic conventions, sniffing out the latest and greatest in movies and TV geekery. We braved the crowds of this year's San Diego Comic-Con and we'll do it again this coming weekend, October 14 - 16, to tackle SDCC's east coast companion, New York Comic-Con.
Whether you'll be in attendance or not, you'll want to take a look at what's in store for your favorite properties, as news will be flying from the panels and booths all four days. Here's Part 2 of our NYCC Preview (click the links to find out times/locations):
Saturday, October 14:
Green Lantern: The Animated Series World Premiere Screening
Superhero animation overlord Bruce Timm returns to debut his latest half-hour creation, a CG-animated Green Lantern toon. NYCC audiences will be the first to see the premiere!
Red Tails: A Dogfight from All Angles
George Lucas' decade-in-the-making aerial battle movie heads to the convention with a rep from the legendary special effects team ILM, who will walk attendees through the process of conjuring up an exhilarating dogfight.
Attack the Block
The British alien invasion flick that won over audiences across the country this summer is coming to Blu-ray and director Joe Cornish will be on hand to promote the release. Expect an behind-the-scenes look at this awesome sci-fi flick.
A Liar's Autobiography
The Monty Python troop comes together for a 3D animated film celebrating their late fifth member, Graham Chapman. The film features the voices of all the original members and director Bill Jones (son of Python's own Terry Jones) will be on hand to discuss the film. A real treat for Python buffs.
2012 is shaping up to be a big year for the Dark Shadows franchise. A third volume of the the classic comic book will premiere at the Con and star Kathryn Leigh Scott will be on hand to talk about the show. Expect a few hints at what to expect from the Johnny Depp feature film.
New-Gen with Mark Hamill
Luke Skywalker himself will be in attendance to discuss his latest film New-Gen, plus anything and everything under the two suns.
Smallville: The Complete Series Retrospective Premiere
NYCC gets the exclusive premiere of the 100-minute Smallville documentary that will come paired with the November release of Smallville: The Complete Series DVD.
The movie studio that brought us Batman Begins, Superman Returns and 300 takes a stab at producing its own comic books and graphic novel mainstay Frank Miller will be in attendance to discuss the spin-off company's first ventures.
New York Comic-Con welcomes back stars Maggie Q and Shane West who will be on hand to discuss the next season of the show. Expect plenty of gunfire.
John Landis & Monsters in the Movies
Renowned director John Landis (Americna Werewolf in London, The Blues Brothers) arrives to Comic-Con to walk attendees through the history of movie monsters, which will include a look at hisnew book Monsters in the Movies.
Head of Marvel Television and acclaimed comic writer Jeph Loeb takes the podium to reveal Marvel's upcoming TV plans. Audiences will get their first peak at the Ultimate Spider-Man cartoon plus plenty of other reveals.
MTV creeps into the horror genre with Death Valley, a Reno 911-style comedy that throws in a few zombies for good measure. The panel will feature cast members and creators talking up the unique, new show.
Creators of the crazed Cartoon Network show arrive to NYCC to discuss the show and screen never-beofre-scene footage.
Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance
We got their first taste of the new Ghost Rider at this year's San Diego Comic-Con and now it's New York's turn to feel the fury of the flaming skull superhero. Directors Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor (Crank, Gamer will be on hand to unleash the madness, which should prove itself quite different then the first movie.
The Walking Dead
One of the highlights from last year's NYCC was AMC's Walking Dead panel and this year they're following up with even more momentum then before. Creator Robert Kirkman and producer Gale Anne Hurd will attend the panel to discuss what to expect from Season Two as well as preview new footage from the upcoming season.
Marvel's The Avengers
The superhero team-up is the culmination of years of cinematic planning—but the end product is finally on the horizon. Iron Man, The Hulk, Captain America and Thor join forces and New York Comic-Con will be first to see footage from the massive undertaking. Special guests are expected to appear on the panel, making this one of the Con's hottest tickets.
Beavis and Butt-Head
Creator Mike Judge will preview the latest incarnation of his much-loved animated series, which will see the two deadbeats ragging on everything from current music videos to Jersey Shore to MMA. No topic left un-chuckled over.
Based on the cult blaxploitation starring Michael Jai White, Cartoon Network debuts its animated version that promises to translate the movie's violence and comedy with little to no sacrifice. White and the show's creators will be on hand to screen new footage and take questions. Just don't ask anything silly—Black Dynamite doesn't like silly questions.
Sunday, October 16:
Conan Spolight with Jason Momoa
Conan the Barbarian and Game of Thrones star Jason Momoa brings the rest of his Conan cast, including Rose McGowan and Stephen Lang, to NYCC for a round of bloody fun. No word on whether Momoa will sport a little hat (the man loves little hats).
IFC's Portlandia and Increasingly Poor Decisions
IFC's quickly becoming the premiere place for off-beat humor and, as proof, it's bringing two of its funniest shows to Comic-Con. Two back-to-back panels will host stars David Cross and Fred Armisen, as well as debut new footage from the upcoming seasons. An appearance by laughter confirmed.
Cartoon Network continues its domination of NYCC with a double panel of Adventure Time and Regular Show, each with cast and footage in hand.
Lucky NYCCers will get an advance screening of one the creepiest indie flicks on the horizon. Grave Encounters takes everything you love about ghost hunting shows and turns it into the episode you always wanted to see...
Head Here to See Part 1 of Our New York Comic-Con Preview!
At some point in the early years of the 21st century a bunch of Hollywood executives must have gotten together and decided that animated films should be made for all audiences. The goal was perhaps to make movies that are simultaneously accessible to the older and younger sets with colorful imagery that one expects from children’s films and two levels of humor: one that’s quite literal and harmless and another that’s somewhat subversive. The criteria has resulted in cross-generational hits like Wall-E and Madagascar and though it’s nice to be able to take my nephew to the movies and be as entertained by cartoon characters as he is I can’t help but wonder what happened to unabashedly innocent animated classics like A Goofy Movie and The Land Before Time?
Disney’s Winnie The Pooh is the answer to the Shrek’s and Hoodwinked!’s of the world: a short sweet simple and lighthearted tale of friendship that doesn’t need pop-culture references or snarky dialogue to put a smile on your face. Directors Stephen J. Anderson and Don Hall found some fresh ways to deliver adorable animation while keeping the carefree spirit of A.A. Milne’s source material in tact. Their story isn’t the most original; the first part of the film finds Pooh Piglet Tigger and Owl searching for Eeyore’s tail (a common plot point in the books and past Pooh films) and hits all the predictable notes but the second half mixes things up a bit as the crew searches for a missing Christopher Robin whom they believe has been kidnapped by a forest creature known as the “Backson” (it’s really just the result of the illiterate Owl or is it?).
The beauty of hand-drawn animation all but forgotten until recently is what makes Winnie the Pooh so incredibly magnetic. There’s an inexplicable crispness to the colors and characters that CG just can’t duplicate. It’s a more personal practice for the filmmakers and should provide a refreshing experience for audiences who have become jaded with the pristine presentation of computerized imagery. The film is bookended by brief live-action shots from inside Robin’s room an interesting dynamic that plays up the simplicity of youth ties it to these beloved characters and brings you right back to memories of your own childhood.
With a just-over-an-hour run time Winnie the Pooh is short enough to hold the attention of children but won’t bore the parents who will love the film mainly for nostalgic musings. Still it’s the young’uns who will most enjoy this breezy bright and enchanting film that proves old-school characters can appeal to new moviegoers.
I had fully intended for today’s MindFood to confess my strange relationship with Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings films, but then something interrupted and took hold of me, postponing said confession for one more week. It was the realization that I miss Steven Spielberg. I miss him like a dear old friend that I haven’t kept in touch with for years despite the fact that they were always there for me as a child.
Of course I don’t actually know Steven Spielberg, but I’m not talking about him as a person, I’m talking about him as The Beard; as a director who, when I was a child, not only made the films that made me love movies, but who has consistently made movies that have reminded me of that child-like wonder as an adult. Oh, it’s certainly easy to say that Spielberg has been gone for years, but I don’t buy into the whole Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull raped my childhood bullshit. Yeah, it’s not a good movie, but it did nothing to make me feel like Spielberg wasn’t, deep down, still one of my most beloved directors.
The trailer for War Horse, on the other hand...
I want to be excited for Spielberg making a movie about World War I. I really, really do, but there’s just something about this movie that bugs the hell out of me. I wish it were just the trailer’s crippling reliance on bludgeoning home the fact that this is without question a Spielberg movie by featuring a heartwarming John Williams score and absolutely gorgeous cinematography that’s always in motion but never out of control, but that’s not it. It all comes down to the story. And yes, I will readily admit I haven’t read the Michael Murpurgo children’s book it’s based on, nor have I seen the stage play that is garnering all kinds of acclaim both in the UK and on Broadway, but I just have a hard time getting excited about a sappy story about experiencing World War I through the eyes of a horse as he gallivants around, touching the lives of men, women and children on the battlefield.
That just sounds like a movie that’s been chemically created in a lab to bait in Oscar nominations. I truly hope that this time next year I’ll be writing about how wrong I was, about how War Horse is about so much more than exploiting the easily-exploited sap index people have whenever an animal is put in danger, but I’m not holding my breath. I’m doubtful because I know I’m going to have a hard time caring about a horse when I’m going to be thinking the entire time about how well over 20 million people, soldiers and civilians alike, died in WWI. And I swear I’m not heartless about animals. You’ll be hard pressed to find a film geek who is more enraptured about the animal kingdom than I am (hell, just this morning I was Tweeting about a transparent eel), but I just have a cynical node in my brain that turns on when I watch non-documentaries about animals. It’s an almost cinematic immunological response that involuntarily makes my brain going, “They’re cheaply trying to get to you! Shields up!”
Unfortunately, though, War Horse isn’t the only Spielberg movie that I’m surprisingly jaded toward. I wish I could say I was more excited for The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn, but the spark just isn’t there for me in the trailers:
At least with this film I can chalk up my indifference to my overall indifference to motion capture animated films. I’m all for a world-spanning, rollicking adventure written by Edgar Wright, Joe Cornish and Steven Moffat, but it’s those three names that surprisingly disappoint me the most because they’ve made me realize that they’re the real reason I’m interested in the movie. I want to see this because it was written by a trio who, between them, wrote Shaun of the Dead, Attack the Block and BBC’s Sherlock. However, I feel like the primary reason I should want to see something like this is because it’s directed by the guy who gave the world Jaws, Indiana Jones, Jurassic Park and A.I.
But again, and I know I’m a broken record here, Spielberg’s involvement just unfortunately isn’t the driving factor for me anymore. And if I had to pinpoint exactly why that was the case, I think it all comes down to Spielberg having lost a bit of his anger over the years. That’s not to say he ever made angry movies by any means, rather that his films have always had an edge sharp enough that they feel like he’s working out some issues making them. To me his movies have always been like that family member who is cheerful and chipper 99% of the time, but put him in front of a fireplace and get a few drinks in him, and you can see a subtle streak of pain behind those oh so familiar eyes. But ever since the underrated Munich, it seems like Spielberg has worked out those issues completely. And while I’m sure that’s great for him personally, I’m not sure it’s great for his movies.