Weinstein Company via Everett Collection
Ugh... Mondays, am I right? Every week kicks off with that trademark despair so expertly articulated in Mike Judge's Office Space: you've got a case of the Mondays. Luckily, Netflix has you covered, with plenty of pick-me-up comedies to make the worst day of the week a bit more jolly. To start off our Netflix Hand-Picked Flix recommendations, we suggest Our Idiot Brother.
Is it possible to be too nice? That's the question posed by Our Idiot Brother. Paul Rudd, the nation's greatest resource of pure charisma, puts his all into Ned, an impossibly idealistic man in a world that isn't ready to take in so much goodness. Ned loves everything unconditionally. He's a soft, easygoing spirit, but lacks the tenacity to make it in the modern day, and spends the twilight of his thirties surfing between his sisters' couches. Everyone learns soon enough that even affability has its breaking point, and Ned, who is cluelessly honest in all situations, throws his family into turmoil when he lets loose damaging secrets.
The film is an adorable indie comedy, and features the likes of Zooey Deschanel, Elizabeth Banks, Emily Mortimer, Rashida Jones, and Steve Coogan, all putting in good work, but the true highlight of the film is the completely likable Rudd. The character and his worldview are affecting, and ultimately a bit inspiring. Even when Ned's lack of duplicity causes the film to take one or two unfortunate detours, his charm is pure magnetism.
You can stream Our Idiot Brother on Netflix, and make sure to check back tomorrow for our recommendations for the perfect Bluesday Tuesday movie.
Actor Richard Coogan has died, aged 99. The star, best known for playing the title role in sci-fi TV show Captain Video and His Video Rangers, passed away in Los Angeles on Wednesday (12Mar14).
Coogan began his career on Broadway, appearing in shows such as Diamond Lil with Hollywood icon Mae West, and moved into TV when he was cast in the lead role in groundbreaking series Captain Video and His Video Rangers which debuted in 1949.
After appearing in two series of the show, Coogan moved on to a role in soap opera Love Of Life. He later appeared in films such as Three Hours to Kill and Girl on the Run, and TV shows including Gunsmoke, Bonanza, Maverick and Perry Mason.
He retired from acting in the 1960s and went on to become a professional golfer.
Millennium Entertainment via Everett Collection
There are some days when all you need a movie to be is light and cheerful, but then there are others when all you want to do is wallow in sadness for a little while and have a good cry. For times like those, you need a film that will rip your heart out. Our Netflix Hand-Picked Flix recommendation for this week's Bluesday Tuesday pick, What Maisie Knew, will do just that, and then probably stomp on it a few times for good measure.
The film chronicles the bitter and toxic custody battle between Susanna (Julianne Moore) and Beale (Steve Coogan), told from the perspective of their observant their 7 year-old daughter Maisie (Onata Aprile), who is starting to understand how selfish and immature her parents can be. Luckily, she has some support from her step-parents, her former live-in nanny Margo (Joanna Vanderham) and bartender Lincoln (Alexander Skarsgard), who are just as much a pawn in this game as Maisie is. The film is an unflinchingly depressing look at the toll that such a dysfunctional relationship can have on a child, who the parents begin to treat more like a bargaining chip than an actual human being. The film also features a wonderfully harsh performance from Moore as the self-obsessed, slightly delusional mother.
However, What Maisie Knew is anchored by Aprile, whose Maisie doesn’t throw tantrums like her parents, but is instead quietly heartbreaking as she begins to process where she stands in her parents’ priorities. The ending is somewhat divisive, but whether you love it or hate it, the film will leave you completely devastated – which, sometimes, is exactly what you need.
What Maise Knew is available to stream instantly on Netflix.
"I don't want to abandon Alan Partridge. I just want to show I can do something else... I quite like the Alan Partridge pony - I like riding it occasionally. I'll do something else with Partridge, but I want to do other things. What gets me out of bed in the morning is to do something challenging that might fail." British funnyman Steve Coogan has no plans to abandon his iconic role of fictional radio/TV personality Alan Partridge, despite his recent success with other projects, including his acclaimed film Philomena.
Space drama Gravity scooped a handful of top honours at the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) Awards on Sunday (16Feb14), including a Best Director prize for Alfonso Cuaron. The sci-fi hit, starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney as astronauts stranded in outer space, also picked up awards for Best British Film, Best Cinematography, Best Music, and Best Visual Effects.
It was a disappointing night for Oscars favourite 12 Years A Slave - although the drama took home Best Film and Best Actor for Chiwetel Ejiofor, it lost out in a string of other top categories, including Best Supporting Actor (Michael Fassbender) and Best Adapted Screenplay, which was instead awarded to Philomena writers Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope.
There was also no trophy for Ejiofor's co-star, newcomer Lupita Nyong'o, who missed out on a Best Supporting Actress honour to Jennifer Lawrence; she was also denied the Rising Star Award, which went to We're The Millers actor Will Poulter.
Cate Blanchett was named Best Actress for her role in Woody Allen comedy Blue Jasmine, and Captain Phillips star Barkhad Abdi took home the Best Supporting Actor prize, while Dame Helen Mirren was honoured with a BAFTA Fellowship for Lifetime Achievement.
Collecting his Best Director award, Mexican moviemaker Cuaron said, "You can't tell from my accent but I consider myself a part of the British film industry. I've lived in London for the last 30 years and I've done almost half of my films in the U.K. I guess I make a good case for curbing immigration!"
The award ceremony's emotional highlight came as Blanchett dedicated her Best Actress trophy to her late friend Philip Seymour Hoffman, who died earlier this month (Feb14).
She said, "Phil, your monumental talent, your generosity, and your unflinching quest for the truth, both in art and life, will be missed, not only by me but by so many... Phil, buddy - this is for you, you b**tard! I hope you're proud."
The ceremony at the Royal Opera House was presented by Stephen Fry and featured guests including Leonardo DiCaprio, who presented the supporting actress award, Brad Pitt, Uma Thurman, Prince William, Amy Adams, Emma Thompson, and Stanley Tucci.
The list of 2014 BAFTA film award winners is:
- Best Film: 12 Years A Slave
- Best British Film: Gravity
- Best Director: Alfonso Cuaron (Gravity)
- Leading Actor: Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years A Slave)
- Leading Actress: Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine)
- Supporting Actor: Barkhad Abdi (Captain Phillips)
- Supporting Actress: Jennifer Lawrence (American Hustle)
- Best Original Screenplay: Eric Warren Singer, David O. Russell (American Hustle)
- Best Music: Steven Price (Gravity)
- Best Cinematography: Emmanuel Lubezki (Gravity)
- Best Editing: Dan Hanley & Mike Hill (Rush)
- Best Visual Effects: Tim Webber, Chris Lawrence, David Shirk, Neil Corbould & Nikki Penny (Gravity)
- Best Sound: Glenn Freemantle, Skip Lievsay, Christopher Benstead, Niv Adiri & Chris Munro (Gravity)
- Best Production Design: Catherine Martin & Beverley Dunn (The Great Gatsby)
- Best Costume Design: Catherine Martin (The Great Gatsby)
- Best Makeup & Hair: Evelyne Noraz & Lori McCoy-Bell (American Hustle)
- Rising Star: Will Poulter
- Best Adapted Screenplay: Steve Coogan & Jeff Pope (Philomena)
- Outstanding Debut: Kieran Evans (Kelly and Victor)
- Best Foreign Film: The Act of Killing
- Best Film Not in the English language: The Great Beauty
- Best Short Animation: Sleeping With the Fishes
- Best Short Film: Room 8
- Best Animated Film: Frozen
- Outstanding Contribution to British Cinema: Peter Greenaway
- BAFTA Fellowship for Lifetime Achievement: Dame Helen Mirren
Stars including Keira Knightley, Uma Thurman, Naomie Harris, Steve Mcqueen and Steve Coogan turned out for movie mogul Harvey Weinstein's special dinner for British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) nominees in London on Friday night (14Feb14) ahead of the prizegiving on Sunday (16Feb14).
Philomena Lee, the real-life inspiration for the film Philomena, was honoured by the mayor of Los Angeles on Tuesday (11Feb14) for her adoption rights work. The Irish woman's true story of her search for the son she was forced to give up for adoption in the 1950s was brought to life by Steve Coogan and Dame Judi Dench in the acclaimed movie, and now Lee is garnering her own recognition.
Although L.A. mayor Eric Garcetti was not on hand for the event, he signed a certificate of recognition and noted her good work in a statement that reads: "I am proud to welcome Ms. Philomena Lee to Los Angeles. I am inspired by her story. We hope that this recognition helps in some way to raise awareness of the the issue of forced adoptions and to shine a light on the past to open the way for the healing of so many mothers and their lost children."
Following the ceremony, Lee admitted all the attention she has received over the past few months has been a little overwhelming, telling the Los Angeles Times, "Just a few weeks ago, I was just an ordinary housewife. And then all of a sudden, this has just snowballed. I'm coping with it as much as I can."
The accolade comes less than a week after Coogan and Lee met with Pope Francis in Rome, Italy, where they participated in a press conference as part of a campaign to urge Catholic Church officials in Ireland to release thousands of adoption files.
Lee has a chance to earn even more recognition on 2 March (14) at the Academy Awards - Philomena is nominated in three categories, including Best Picture.
Comedian Steve Coogan and the Irish woman who inspired his new movie Philomena met Pope Francis in Italy on Wednesday (05Feb14). The British star and Philomena Lee are in Rome to participate in a press conference on Thursday (06Feb14) as part of a campaign to urge Irish officials to release thousands of adoption files led by the Catholic Church.
Coogan's film chronicles Lee's search for the son she was forced to give up for adoption in the 1950s.
Then an unmarried mother, she was considered a "fallen woman" by religious leaders and sent to a convent.
Speaking of her encounter with the Pope, Lee says, "I am honoured and delighted to have been in the presence of Pope Francis today... I have always put great faith in the church and the good will to put the wrongs of the past right.
"I hope and believe that his Holiness Pope Francis joins me in the fight to help the thousands of mothers and children who need closure on their own stories."
Lee and her daughter recently launched The Philomena Project to help reunite families separated by adoption.
Coogan adapted BBC journalist Martin Sixsmith's book about Lee's struggle to find her son for Philomena, which is among the films nominated for a Best Picture Oscar. Dame Judi Dench, who portrays Lee in the movie, is also up for Best Actress and Coogan is nominated for a Best Adapted Screenplay prize.
12 Years A Slave continued its winning streak by taking the top prize at the London Film Critics' Circle Awards on Sunday (02Feb14). The film, which went into the ceremony with nine nominations, took home three, including the coveted Film of the Year, Actor of the Year for Chiwetel Ejiofor and Supporting Actress of the Year for Lupita Nyong'o.
However, the movie's auteur Steve McQueen missed out on a trophy in his hometown - the Director Of The Year prize went to Gravity's Alfonso Cuaron.
Cate Blanchett was named Actress of the Year for Blue Jasmine, while newcomer Barkhad Abdi earned the Supporting Actor of the Year award for Captain Phillips.
James McAvoy (Filth/Trance/Welcome to the Punch) and Dame Judi Dench (Philomena) were named British Actor and Actress of the Year.
The ceremony opened with a touching tribute to Philip Seymour Hoffman, whose death was announced hours before the event took place.
Steve Coogan paid homage to Hoffman at the awards, saying, "There are actors and there are movie stars and sometimes they're both but he was an actor first and a movie star second. He did some tremendous work. Everything he was in he raised the quality of his film just by his presence.
"People have different opinions about actors but you wouldn't find anybody who would have a bad word to say about any of his performances, they were all incredibly nuanced."
At the 2013 London Critics' Circle Awards, Hoffman was honoured with the Supporting Actor of the Year prize for his role in The Master.
Weinstein Company via Everett Collection
From Oscar fans to Oscar insiders, everyone knows Harvey Weinstein's annual campaign and nominated films regularly become part of film afficionados' conversations. Studio System News has taken a complete analytical view of The Weinstein Company in a three-part series from (in order) its nomination locks, current nominations and future.