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Posts Tagged ‘imelda staunton’

Set in 1921, this film stars Rebecca Hall as a sceptic named Florence Cathcart, who makes her living exposing con artists who pose as mediums, or who claim to have witnessed ghosts.  When she is approached by history professor Robert Mallory (Dominic West), who believes that there is a ghost haunting the school where he teaches, and that the ghost is responsible for the death of a student, she travels to the school with the intention of proving that the ghost does not exist.  However, strange happenings start to make her question her own beliefs.

I’m not a huge fan of horror or ghost films – I only watched this because Dominic West, of whom I am a big fan, was in it – but this movie was actually very enjoyable, even if it did get a bit muddled towards the end.  It certainly isn’t a scary film, and there are no bloody or gory scenes, although it is very atmospheric.  There were, as you might expect, a number of ‘red herrings’ to make you question what was happening, and I particularly liked the very end, which provoked some discussion (I’m giving nothing away though!)  The characters each have their own inner struggles to deal with and overcome – Mallory for example, punishes himself for surviving the war in which he fought, while many of his friends died.  Florence has issues stemming from her childhood, and it becomes clear that they are not the only ones with secrets.

Above all, it was worth watching for the excellent performances of the entire cast.  West, Hall, together with Imelda Staunton and Isaac Hempstead Wright are all outstanding, and if you are a fan of any of these actors, I would recommend watching this film.

Year of release: 2011

Director: Nick Murphy

Producers: Jenny Borgars, Will Clarke, Olivier Courson, Robin Guise, Peter Hampden, Norman Merry, Joe Oppenheimer, Peter Raven, Carole Sheridan, Joanie Blaikie, Sarah Curtis, Ed Rubin, Julia Stannard, David M. Thompson

Writers: Stephen Volk, Nick Murphy

Main cast: Dominic West, Rebecca Hall, Imelda Staunton, Isaac Hempstead Wright, Joseph Mawle

 

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This 1995 adaptation of Jane Austen’s novel, won Emma Thompson an Oscar for her screenplay.  It also garnered six further Oscar nominations, including Best Actress (Thompson) and Best Supporting Actress (Kate Winslet – although this is a mystery to me, as she was certainly part of the main cast, and not a supporting actor.  I imagine that Thompson and Winslet may have been put into different categories so that they did not end up competing with each other).

The basic storyline revolves around Elinor and Marianne Dashwood, two sisters who, after the death of their father, are forced to move with their mother and young sister Margaret, to a cottage.  The two very close but very different sisters fall in love with two very different men, but the path of love does not always run smoothly.

As well as Thompson and Winslet (who at the time was not the huge star that she subsequently became), the cast features an impressive array of actors – Alan Rickman as Colonel Brandon, Hugh Grant as Edward Ferrars – to whom Elinor finds herself attracted – Hugh Laurie, Imogen Stubbs and Imelda Staunton, amongst others.

There are some differences to the book, but I think the film is certainly in keeping with the spirit of Jane Austen’s novel.  The story is sensitively told, and there are some moving moments, as well as some comical ones.  It is also beautifully shot, with some gorgeous scenery, and a lovely soundtrack.

As expected from such a stellar cast, the acting is top notch, especially from Emma Thompson, Hugh Laurie and Alan Rickman.  Kate Winslet also shows the talent which elevated her to A List status a few short years after this film was made.

Overall, I would highly recommend this film, especially for fans of Jane Austen, period films, or romantic stories.

Year of release: 1995

Director: Ang Lee

Producers: Sydney Pollack, Laurie Borg, Lindsay Doran, James Schamus, Geoff Stier

Writers: Jane Austen (novel), Emma Thompson

Main cast: Emma Thompson, Kate Winslet, Hugh Grant, Hugh Laurie, Alan Rickman, Greg Wise, Gemma Jones, Imelda Staunton, Imogen Stubbs

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Click here for my review of the 2008 television mini series.

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This review is for the 1996 film adaptation of Shakespeare’s comedy. I had been meaning to watch this for ages, and after seeing the stage adaptation at the RSC, it seemed like the perfect time to finally catch the film.

In this version, Toby Stephens plays Duke Orsino, whose love for Olivia (Helena Bonham Carter) is unrequited. Imogen Stubbs plays Viola/Cesario, and Steven Mackintosh plays her brother Sebastian. Toby Belch is played by Mel Smith, Richard E Grant is the hapless Andrew Aguecheek, and Imelda Staunton plays Maria.

Far more is made of Viola/Cesario’s attraction to Orsino than was made in the play, and also, we do see the eventual marriage of Belch and Maria, which was not in the stage version. It is a most enjoyable film, with plenty of drama and comedy. Each cast member seemed just right for their role – stand outs for me were Toby Stephens – who is exactly the right kind of handsome and noble for this part – Helena Bonham Carter (of course), and Mel Smith, who surprised me with his acting skills. Previously I had only seen him in out and out comedies, but here he was perfect as Toby Belch. Imogen Stubbs also somehow managed to look like a gorgeous woman and still be convincing (enough for the purpose of the film) as a young man. I should also mention Ben Kingsley – an always-reliable actor – who played Feste, with an almost sinister undertone, and Nigel Hawthorne, who played the pompous Malvalio.

I don’t think it afforded me as many laughs as the stage adaptation, but I still thoroughly enjoyed this film, and would recommend it to any fans of Shakespeare, or indeed any fans of comedy in general.

Year of release: 1996

Director: Trevor Nunn

Producers: Christopher Ball, Mark Cooper, Simon Curtis, Stephen Evans, David Garrett, Bob Hayward, Ileen Maisel, David Parfitt, Greg Smith, William Tyrer, Ruth Vitale, Patrick Wachsberger, Jonathan Weisgal

Writers: William Shakespeare (play), Trevor Nunn

Main cast: Helena Bonham Carter, Toby Stephens, Mel Smith, Richard E. Grant, Imelda Staunton, Nigel Hawthorne, Imogen Stubbs, Steven Mackintosh, Ben Kingsley

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Click here for my review of the 2012 stage adaptation, at RSC, Stratford
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