This delightful and witty adaptation of Elizabeth Von Arnim's novel has a superb cast and a location that creates a magic of its own. In grey rainy 1920s England Lotte and Rose tired of their overbearing husbands decide to rent a villa for a month in Portofino Italy. To share the cost they are joined by two other very different women - Lady Caroline a beautiful but bored socialite and crusty old Mrs. Fisher who has an impeccable literary pedigree. They all want to escape from trapped lives and in this paradise in ways they never imagined possible that is what they all do.
An emotionally powerful and sharply relevant adaptation of JB Priestley's timeless masterpiece. An Inspector Calls is both an enthralling mystery and a scathing critique of a hypocritical, class-obsessed society. Set in 1912, it vividly evokes a thriving industrial age built on crippling social inequality. Taking place over the course of a single night, this taut, affecting and ultimately tragic story centres on the prosperous Birling family. They receive a surprise visit from Inspector Goole (David Thewlis) who is investigating the suicide of a young girl, a former factory worker of Mr Birling's. Interrogating each family member in turn, Goole's incisive questioning reveals that each one not only had a connection to the girl but also may have played a significant part in her demise. As the family's callous actions are brought to light, so are dark and shameful secrets that threaten to tear the Birling household apart and destroy its reputation. David Thewlis (Harry Potter, War Horse) stars as The Inspector, Ken Stott (The Hobbit, Rebus) stars as Arthur Birling and Miranda Richardson (Mapp & Lucia, Parades End) stars as his wife Sybil Birling. Also starring Chloe Pirrie (The Game, Black Mirror), Kyle Soller (Poldark, Anna Karenina), Sophie Rundle (Happy Valley, Peaky Blinders) and Finn Cole (Peaky Blinders).
From the creator of Wallace & Gromit, the animated tale of chickens planning their great escape from a 1950s chicken farm.
Joel Schumacher brings Andrew Lloyd-Webber's long-running stage musical to the big screen.
From the director of Calendar Girls comes the new comedy/drama with an all star British cast, Made in Dagenham.
Gideon Warner is a hugely successful public relations consultant to the wealthy to politicians to businessmen and rising starlets. Their hair their clothes where they go and with whom - Gideon advises them on everything. With all his skills he is the perfect man to package the Millennium celebrations and sell them to the rest of the world. But disillusioned with the world in which he works and increasingly concerned over the growing distance between him and his daughter Gideon
Belle is inspired by the true story of Dido Elizabeth Belle (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) the illegitimate mixed race daughter of a Royal Navy Admiral. Raised by her aristocratic great-uncle Lord Mansfield (Tom Wilkinson) and his wife (Emily Watson) Belle's lineage affords her certain privileges yet the colour of her skin prevents her from fully participating in the traditions of her social standing. Left to wonder if she will ever find love Belle falls for an idealistic young vicar's son bent on change who with her help shapes Lord Mansfield's role as Lord Chief Justice to end slavery in England.
Roundly dismissed as one of Steven Spielberg's least successful efforts, this very underrated film poignantly follows the World War II adventures of young Jim (a brilliant Christian Bale), caught in the throes of the fall of China. What if you once had everything and lost it all in an afternoon? What if you were only 12 years old at the time? Bale's transformation, from pampered British ruling-class child to an imprisoned, desperate, nearly feral boy, is nothing short of stunning. Also stunning are exceptional sets, cinematography and music (the last courtesy of John Williams) that enhance author J.G. Ballard's and screenwriter Tom Stoppard's depiction of another, less familiar casualty of war. In a time when competitors were releasing "comedic", derivative coming-of-age films, Empire of the Sun stands out as an epic in the classic David Lean sense--despite confusion or perceived competition with the equally excellent The Last Emperor (also released in 1987, and also a coming-of-age in a similar setting). It is also a remarkable testament to, yes, the human spirit. And despite its disappointing box-office returns, Empire of the Sun helped to further establish Spielberg as more than a commercial director and set the standard, tone and look for future efforts Schindler's List and Saving Private Ryan. --N.F. Mendoza
Joel Schumacher brings Andrew Lloyd-Webber's long-running stage musical to the big screen.
CHURCHILL follows Britain's iconic Prime Minister Winston Churchill in the days before the infamous D-Day landings in June 1944. As allied forces stand on the south coast of Britain, poised to invade Nazi-occupied Europe, they await Churchill's decision on whether the invasion will actually move ahead. Fearful of repeating his mistakes from World War I on the beaches of Gallipoli, exhausted by years of war, plagued by depression and obsessed with fulfilling historical greatness, Churchill is also faced with constant criticism from his political opponents; General Eisenhower and Field Marshal Montgomery. Only the unflinching support of Churchill's brilliant, unflappable wife Clementine can halt the Prime Minister's physical and mental collapse and help lead him to greatness. CHURCHILL is directed by Jonathan Teplitzky (The Railway Man, Marcella) from an original screenplay by British historian Alex von Tunzelmann (Medici: Masters of Florence) in her feature debut. Starring Brian Cox (War & Peace, Coriolanus) as the legendary Winston Churchill, Miranda Richardson (Harry Potter, The Crying Game) as the Prime Minister's wife and confident Clemmie, John Slattery (Spotlight, Mad Men) as General Eisenhower, Supreme Commander of the Allied D-Day operations, and Julian Wadham (The Iron Lady, War Horse) as British military commander Field Marshal Montgomery.
The Crying Game offers a rare and precious movie experience. The film is an unclassifiable original that surprises, intrigues, confounds, and delights you with its freshness, humor, and honesty from beginning to end. It starts as a psychological thriller, as IRA foot soldier Fergus (the incomparable Stephen Rea) kidnaps a British soldier (Forest Whitaker) and waits for the news that will determine whether he executes his victim or sets him free. As the night wears on, a peculiar bond begins to form between the two men. Later, the movie shifts tone and morphs into something of a romantic comedy as Fergus unexpectedly becomes involved with the soldier's girlfriend Dil (Jaye Davidson) and discovers more about himself, and human nature in general, than he ever dreamed possible. Like Spielberg's E.T. , The Crying Game was supposed to be director Neil Jordan's "little, personal movie," the one he just had to make, even though no studio was willing to give him money because the story was so unusual. Instead, it became a surprise popular sensation, thanks in part to Miramax's cleverly provocative campaign playing up the hush-hush nature of the movie's big secret. The performances (including Miranda Richardson as one of Fergus's IRA colleagues) are subtly shaded, and the writing and direction are tantalizingly rich and suggestive; you're always trying to figure out the characters' true motives and feelings--even when they themselves are fully aware of their own motives and feelings. The Crying Game is a wise, witty, wondrous treasure of a movie. Director Jordan's credits include Mona Lisa, Interview with the Vampire, Michael Collins, and The Butcher Boy. --Jim Emerson
A marvellous reinvention of the costume epic, The Lost Prince is Stephen Poliakoff's absorbing study of the turbulent years leading up to and during the First World War, seen through the percipient eyes of a scarcely remembered royal child. Extensively researched, impeccably cast, beautifully filmed, written and directed by Poliakoff himself with masterly economy and restraint, this is a timely reminder that original, intelligent drama can work as prime time entertainment while appealing on multiple levels; and there isn't an escaped soap star in sight. Johnnie, the prince kept hidden away by his parents Queen Mary and George V for fear that his epileptic fits and idiosyncratic ways might draw unwelcome attention, is not presented as a tragic figure. His view of the great events which shatter his family and change the world forever is direct and uncluttered. Poliakoff celebrates his apartness--and that of all children who are different--as a force for good, without judging the standards, protocols and contemporary medical theories which kept him on the periphery of society. The series makes the most of its well-chosen locations, and from Johnnie's garden at Sandringham to the assassination of the Russian imperial family, it maintains a hypnotic and elegiac quality The acting is first-rate, too. Gina McKee is profoundly moving as Johnnie's devoted nurse Lalla; and Miranda Richardson's Mary is an extraordinary performance, the controlled façade of single-minded focus occasionally fracturing to reveal a flash of humanity. This production is exquisite in every respect. On the DVD: The Lost Prince is presented in its original transmission format of 16:9. The Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack, enhanced by Adrian Johnston's haunting score is crystal clear. Extras include Poliakoff's revealing commentary, with occasional input from Johnston and designer John-Paul Kelly, and a couple of documentary fragments which show the production in progress and place it in context with the rest of Poliakoff's work. --Piers Ford
Based on the novels by E.F Benson, this bitingly funny comic drama, adapted by Steve Pemberton, celebrates and lampoons the snobberies and pretensions of small-town life. Starring an acclaimed ensemble cast led by Miranda Richardson and Anna Chancellor in the title roles. Over the course of a 1930s summer the sly, scheming Miss Elizabeth Mapp and the gloriously haughty Mrs Emmeline 'Lucia' Lucas jockey for social supremacy in Tilling. This quaint English town may seem tranquil on the surface, but its eccentric inhabitants exist in a world seething with gossip, faddishness and petty one upmanship... As Mapp and Lucia go into battle, friends and neighbours rally to the flags. When the smoke clears which of the ladies will have won the dangerously well-mannered fight to be Tilling's finest?
Harold Pinter (1930-2008) was one of the most important and influential British playwrights of the last century. Whilst best-known for his work for the stage, this collection celebrates Pinter's significant contribution to television. His work for the screen shares many of the qualities of that for the stage, from a fascination with the private roots of power and an abiding preoccupation with memory, to a belief in the agency of women. Featuring 10 plays made for the BBC between 1965 and 1988, and previously unavailable on DVD, highlights include Tea Party (1965), Old Times (1975) and 1987's The Birthday Party which sees a rare example of Pinter acting in his own work. A dazzling array of British acting talent is on display, including Michael Gambon, Julie Walters, Leo McKern, Vivian Merchant, John Le Mesurier and Miranda Richardson. THE PLAYS: The Tea Party (Charles Jarrot, 1965) A Slight Ache (Christopher Morahan, 1967) A Night Out (Christopher Morahan, 1967) The Basement (Charles Jarrot, 1967) Monologue (Christopher Morahan, 1973) Old Times (Christopher Morahan, 1975) The Hothouse (Harold Pinter, 1982) Landscape (Kenneth Ives, 1983) The Birthday Party (Kenneth Ives, 1987) Mountain Language (Harold Pinter, 1988) Special Features: Writers in Conversation: Harold Pinter (1984, 47 mins): an ICA interview with Harold Pinter by Benedict Nightingale Pinter People (1969, 16 mins): a series of four animated films written by Harold Pinter Face to Face: Harold Pinter (1997, 39 mins): Sir Jeremy Isaacs interviews Harold Pinter, who discusses the images and events which have inspired some of his most powerful dramas Harold Pinter Guardian Interview (1996, 73 mins, audio only): an extensive interview with the legendary playwright by critic Michael Billington, recorded at the National Film Theatre Illustrated booklet with new writing by Michael Billington, John Wyver, Billy Smart, Amanda Wrigley, David Rolinson and Lez Cooke, and full film credits UK | 1965 1988 | black and white, and colour | 628 minutes | English language with optional hard-of-hearing subtitles | original aspect ratio 1.33:1 | 5 x DVD9, PAL, Dolby Digital 2.0 mono audio (192kbps) | cert 15 (strong language, moderate violence, threat, sex references | region 2
Although now regarded as the opening salvo of a classic series, the original Blackadder series was not considered a great success, either among critics or many viewers, so a major rethink took place when it was recommissioned. On the writing front, future-Four Weddings And A Funeral scribe Richard Curtis was joined by Ben Elton, while the expensive War of the Roses-era sets were replaced by cosier Elizabethan ones. The most important change, however, was with Rowan Atkinson's eponymous character who, in the first series, had been a fairly weak-willed idiot but now emerged as the familiar Machiavellian fiend which would cement Atkinson's place in the pantheon of great British sitcom actors. Moreover, even if so many of the script's lines have been subsequently ripped off by lesser hands that it can't help but occasionally sound dated, the central performances of Atkinson, Tony Robinson (Baldrick), Tim McInnery (Lord Percy), Stephen Fry (Lord Melchett) and, of course, Miranda Richardson as the childishly psychotic Queen Elizabeth ("I love it when you get cross. Sometimes I think about having you executed just to see the expression on your face") remain note perfect. Yet the real pleasure for viewers may be in rediscovering the raft of excellent guest star performances--not least Tom "Doctor Who" Baker's berserk turn as a literally legless old sea dog given to guzzling his own urine long before the drinking water has run out. --Clark Collis
Celebrated directors from around the world have come together to portray Paris in a way never before imagined.
Spider is a man with a fragile grip on reality. He is released from psychiatric care into a boarding house near where he grew up and in an attempt to reconstruct his tortured past he returns to his childhood haunts.
Tim Burton's unique take on the tale of the headless horseman, with Johnny Depp and Christina Ricci.
Trouble is brewing down on Mrs Tweedy's poultry farm: the chickens are revolting (yes, that old chestnut) and clucky hen Ginger (voiced by Julia Sawalha) is planning her latest coop, um, coup. Getting one or two birds out of the farm is no problem whatsoever. Unfortunately, Ginger plans to get everyone out at the same time, and when one of the would-be escapees happens to be kind-hearted but bird-brained Babs (Jane Horrocks), Ginger is fighting a losing battle. Despotic owner Mrs Tweedy (Mir...
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