The Bourne Supremacy director Paul Greengrass is set to be feted with a top prize at the British Independent Film Awards next month (Dec13) in recognition of his global success. The Oscar-nominated filmmaker will receive the Variety prize in London on 8 December (13), as his latest release, kidnap drama Captain Phillips, continues to garner critical acclaim ahead of the upcoming Hollywood awards season.
Actor Jude Law took home the title last year (12), while other previous recipients include Sir Kenneth Branagh, Sir Michael Caine and Dame Helen Mirren.
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.
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Emma Thompson has broken her silence on her one-time love rival Helena Bonham Carter, insisting she forgives the actress for embarking on an affair with her ex-husband Kenneth Branagh. The actor/director enjoyed a fling with Bonham Carter during their time filming 1994's Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and the romance led to the end of Branagh's six-year union to Thompson in 1995.
The Love Actually actress has remained quiet on the matter for almost two decades, but she now admits there is no bad feeling between her and Bonham Carter.
Speaking to Britain's The Sunday Times Style magazine, she says, "That is... blood under the bridge. You can't hold on to anything like that, I just think... pfft. It's pointless. I haven't got the energy for it. Helena and I made our peace years and years ago."
And Thompson jokes that her similarities to the younger star may have sparked Branagh's interest in Bonham Carter: "Oh, we are (similar). Being slightly mad and a bit fashion-challenged. Perhaps that's why Ken loved us both? She's a wonderful woman, Helena."
The trio have since appeared together in the Harry Potter film franchise.
Thompson is now married to Greg Wise, while Bonham Carter has two children with director Tim Burton. Branagh, who dated Bonham Carter for several years after his divorce, is now wed to art director Lindsay Brunnock.
Music Box Films/Everett Collection
In a recent interview with the London Evening Standard, Tom Hiddleston said, "I’m soooo aware of the borderline pretentiousness of my conversation." As his rabid fans (myself included? Not admitting anything here) know, Hiddleston has quite the penchant for esoteric references and waxing poetic when it comes to Shakespeare. Let’s take a look at his most-pretentious-ever quotes:
On Tilda Swinton: "And we read each other Rumi and talked about Einstein’s theory of entanglement and Hamlet and the White Stripes and Fibonacci. It was just an amazing time of sharing all the things that we loved, filling ourselves up with so many references that we were then happy to drop, because we knew what we were talking about." (From NowToronto)
Standard Hiddleston fare: a couple of vaguely academic references, along with a sly mention of that infamous brooding Dane ("There are some other princes I haven’t played yet, too." Hint, hint).
On Loki: "When I was constructing him with ['Thor' director] Ken Branagh — because Shakespeare is a shared passion and shared inheritance — we talked about the reference...he's kind of like Edmund in King Lear, Iago in Othello or Cassius in Julius Caesar. So I was borrowing archetypes from my knowledge of Shakespeare." (From the LA Times)
I suppose Shakespeare isn’t too big of a leap when your director is “Ken” Branagh — especially when Branagh himself states that Henry V was one of his sources of inspiration.
On his work in Midnight in Paris: "I met David O. Russell for dinner when he was in London for Silver Linings Playbook. I just wanted to tell him how much I loved the film. And he basically spent an hour telling me why he thinks Midnight in Paris is the greatest film that’s been made in the last 20 years, and he insisted on taking a picture because he was such a fan of Fitzgerald." (From Entertainment Weekly)
Oh, smooth backdoor brag, Tom. So what we can gather here is that Hiddleston’s hoping to star as Hamlet in David O. Russell’s ground-breaking adaptation – ooh! Jennifer Lawrence can play Ophelia, Melissa Leo can play Gertrude, and – who are we kidding, Russell would pass right over Hiddleston in favor of Christian Bale when it came down to the title role.
When all is said and done? We (the Hiddlestoners? Whatever, at least it’s more politically correct than “Cumberbitches”) love him all the more for his (over) enthusiastic name-dropping and über-academic manner of speaking. Who wouldn’t? He’s so damn irresistible! And if you’re ever feeling down on him, you can always temper this mass of pretentious-ness with the fact that he recently danced to K-Pop and sang Michael Jackson on a recent promotional tour of Seoul. Yeah, that actually happened.
Fire crews raced to R&B singer Kenneth 'babyface' Edmonds' home on Sunday (03Nov13) when a blaze broke out in his bathroom. Emergency teams were called to the Grammy winner's property in Los Angeles but a sophisticated sprinkler system at the home had extinguished the flames before they arrived.
There was no major damage to the building, according to TMZ.com.
It is not known if the singer/producer was at home when the fire broke out.
The longterm partner of late British broadcaster Kenneth Kendall committed suicide after struggling to overcome his grief, an inquest has heard. Kendall, the first newsreader to appear on BBC television in 1955 and a longrunning regular on the network, died aged 88 after suffering a stroke last November (12).
His civil partner Francis Fear was found dead at their home on the Isle of Wight in April (13).
An inquest into his death has heard Fear left a note to his loved ones explaining he couldn't continue without Kendall, who he had been with for 23 years.
Isle of Wight assistant coroner John Matthews recorded a verdict of suicide by hanging, adding that the 55 year old had "suffered a tremendous amount of grief".
Disney star Tiffany Thornton is pregnant with her second child. The actress announced the happy news with a cryptic note on her WhoSay account, accompanying a photo of herself and a group of pals.
She wrote, "Guess what?! Hint: why am I holding my stomach?"
The 27-year-old Sonny with a Chance star and her husband of two years, Christopher Carney, welcomed son Kenneth James last year (12).
Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit has been put into hiding and awaiting further instruction.
The spy thriller starring Chris Pine and Keira Knightley and directed by Kenneth Branagh has been extracted from its original Christmas release date and will now be released on January 17. But Jack Ryan isn't the only movie trying to avoid the holidays like the plague.
December has become cinema's holy month, with a glut of huge film releases packed into the short 30 days. Movies are strewn accross December like Christmas garlands. the month is completely covered in releases with 47 Ronin, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, Grudge Match, American Hustle, Saving Mr. Banks, Anchorman 2, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, and The Wolf on Wall Street all coming out during the final month of the year. And while this may seem like a big bag of presents for film lovers, it's hell on studios that have to weather the holiday deluge.
Film studios are playing a big game of release date Tetris, with many films shifting their dates all across the calander month to try to fit everything in neatly and avoid each other. Some films like Jack Ryan and The Monuments Men have opted out of December entirely, committed to trying their luck in a less cheery and more desolate season of early 2014 where they won't face competition from such a stacked line of high profile and broad appeal films.
While the film's new release date is a good move in some respetcts, it also might be a warning sign as well. January is known to be Hollywood's dumping ground for movies that aren't expected to perform well, critically and commercially. Only time will tell if the move bodes well for the film.
Actress Emma Thompson has confessed to a crush on Prince Charles in a new Time magazine expose on the heir to the British throne, revealing she would have gladly dated him. The Oscar winner counts herself as one of the Prince of Wales' celebrity friends, but there was a time she would have liked to have been much more.
Admitting that dancing with Charles is "better than sex", Thompson adds, "There’s a long history of relationships between Princes of Wales and actors - not just actresses, not just the rude relationships as he would say, though God knows I’ve tried. He wasn’t having any of it."
Thompson, who dated Hugh Laurie at university and was wed to newly-knighted Kenneth Branagh, is married to actor Greg Wise.
Prince William made history at Buckingham Palace on Thursday (17Oct13) when he stepped in for his grandmother to bestow knighthoods and honours on Brits, including Wimbledon tennis champ Andy Murray, for the first time. The new dad, who is second-in-line to the throne, took on his first ever investiture ceremony on behalf of Queen Elizabeth II, and carried out his first sword-waving knighthood, bestowed on educator Kenneth Gibson.
The Duke of Cambridge, who was dressed in his ceremonial Royal Air Force uniform, also knighted Sir Anthony Salz and handed out various medal honours to Professor Dame Nicola Cullum, TV producer Jon Plowman, and Welsh singer-turned-TV and radio personality Aled Jones, who was made a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE).
Collecting his Order of the British Empire (OBE) medal, tennis ace Murray revealed after the ceremony that he and the royal had chatted about a recent hospital visit.
Murray told Britain's ITV News, "He asked me about my recent back surgery, which I had a few weeks ago, and how I was feeling after Wimbledon. I teased him a bit as he had sent me a note before Wimbledon wishing me luck, and his wife had written me a letter afterwards. Her handwriting was beautiful, and I told him how fantastic it was compared to his."