FlixChatter Review: OFFICIAL SECRETS (2019)

I’m glad I got to see this film on National Whistleblower Day last July. It was a very early screening to coincide with that day, which I think is appropriate as many whistleblowers are unsung heroes in my opinion, and they risked a lot to do what they do.

As did Katharine Gun, a British translator working for GCHQ (Government Communications Headquarters) in which this film is about. The film’s storyline is based on the book The Spy Who Tried to Stop a War: Katharine Gun and the Secret Plot to Sanction the Iraq Invasion (a mouthful and very descriptive title!) In 2003, she leaked a secret memo to the press about an illegal NSA spy operation designed to push the UN Security Council into sanctioning the invasion of Iraq. Some of the illegal activities involve US National Security Agency eavesdropping on diplomats from countries (the ‘swing nations’ as it were) tasked with passing a crucial UN resolution in favor of the invasion.

The film begins with Katharine leading an ordinary day, cuddling romantically with her husband in bed, watching TV, etc. Filmmaker Gavin Hood (who directed Eye in the Sky, an effective drone warfare thriller) made a point that Katharine vehemently opposed the Iraq invasion—she commented about Tony Blair while watching him on TV. As you recall, he was deeply unpopular when he backed George W. Bush’s foreign policy at the time. Then came the day Katharine stumbled upon that secret memo, and the film shows how she was outraged by that email. There is quite a bit of political jargon and national security info that get over my head a little, but most of the film focuses on Katharine’s journey… how she wrestles with the idea of leaking the confidential memo, thus breaking the Official Secrets Act 1989.

This film could easily be one of those humdrum BOATS (based on a true story) film, but I’m glad to say it’s pretty intriguing. There are some slow parts, and some scenes were overly dramatized, but overall I was invested in Katharine’s story. She sees the Iraq invasion as illegal, and she’s a headstrong woman that she maintains her ground, and her innocence throughout the whole ordeal. She acted to prevent imminent loss of life in a war that she deemed unlawful. There are a few suspenseful scenes, notably the time Katharine was interrogated when GCHQ got wind of the ‘leaked memo’ and another one involving her husband Yasar (Adam Bakri) who’s from Turkey. The fact that he’s an immigrant is being exploited by the UK authorities to get Katharine to yield. I have to admit that deportation scene is highly resonant to what’s going today and it sends a chill to my heart.

The film boasts a terrific British cast. I thought Keira Knightley, who looks nothing like the blond Katharine (they didn’t even make Keira’s hair lighter in the film) delivers a pretty convincing and affecting portrayal. It’s perhaps a less flashy role, yet one of her most nuanced performances I’ve seen so far. It’s quite a nice break to see her being rather deglamorized here. As for the all-star supporting cast, there are Ralph Fiennes as Katharine’s human-rights attorney, Matthew Goode (wish there were more scenes of him) and Matt Smith as journalists for The Observer, and Rhys Ifans as another British journalist. Though they each play a small role, I think they all provide a memorable turn as the people Katharine came in contact with. I find the whole correspondents between the supporting cast quite entertaining, perhaps because I have such a penchant for these fine British thespians!

Some say the Katharine Gun story as a morality tale of the 21st century, as her legal battle ends up exposing the highest level of government in both UK and US. Katharine was asked if she was ‘anti-war’ and she replied ‘no.’ She said some wars serve a purpose, and in hindsight, we know that the Iraq invasion shouldn’t have taken place. I for one am not a political person nor am I into overly political movies that are one-sided, but that’s not what Official Secrets is about. This thought-provoking film certainly made me ponder what I would do if I were in Katharine’s shoes, would I dare to stand up for what I believe in when it really mattered, risking everything I hold dear when the easiest to do would just to keep quiet.

I’m glad I saw this film as I didn’t really remember the actual events. As far as films about whistleblower goes, this one isn’t quite as gripping as say, The Insider (one of my fave from Michael Mann boasting an Oscar-worthy turn from Russell Crowe). Nonetheless it’s still a pretty solid drama in which the cast made it well worth a watch. I appreciate that they show the real Katharine Gun at the end of the film. I know people don’t usually go to the movies to see smaller dramas like this one, but I highly recommend it and I think you’d be pleasantly surprised.


Have you seen OFFICIAL SECRETS? I’d love to hear what you think!

…british

A Birthday Tribute – 44 Reasons We Love Rufus Sewell

On Saturday, 10/29, one of my favorite actors Rufus Sewell is turning 44! So in honor of his b’day, my pal Becky (a.k.a. Prairiegirl, Roof’s number 1 fan) and I thought it’d be fun to list 44 reasons why we love the guy, starting with Becky’s list…

  1. Believe it … he’s just as hot as a cross-dresser in a skirt and knee-high, high-heeled boots (Taming of the Shrew, TV, 2005) as he is in a sharp Italian suit and Persol sunglasses (Zen, TV, 2011)
  2. He is very generous with his time and attention to his fans.
  3. He has no problem baring his lovely bum (Gone to Seed, (TV 1996), Dark City (1998), Helen of Troy (1999)
  4. Because he had a leading role in one of my favorite films ever – A Knight’s Tale (2001) which also includes a hunky bonus in the form of James Purefoy.
  5. He will compel me to watch a genre I rarely, if ever watch: vampires! (Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, coming in 2012).
  6. He has one of the most distinct, easy-to-listen-to voices ever (narration of 12 of Ian Fleming’s James Bonds books, among many of his voice-over projects).
  7. He has one of the best fan sites, with the best fans, with the best name: The Rooftop
  8. There’s no way you can’t fall in love with him as the benevolent Lord Marke during the Bridge scene in Tristan and Isolde (2006). And that scene is more than halfway through the film… whatever took me so long? ;-D
    ,,,

  9. He really mixes up the type characters he plays, and does them effortlessly, even though most don’t know this… everyone thinks he is only a period player or the bad guy.
  10. He’s had three films set in one of my favorite places, Italy. Dangerous Beauty (1998, Venice), The Tourist (2010, Venice)  and, of course, Zen(TV, 2011, Rome). It’s hard to think of a better combination than Rufus AND Italy.

    Rufus as Aurelio Zen
  11. Speaking of The Tourist, another classy bonus along with Ruf in the film was Timothy Dalton.
  12. Even though Eleventh Hour (TV, 2009) only lasted one season on CBS, and Ruf’s part of Dr. Jacob Hood could have had been written with more impact and emotion, I have all eighteen episodes to see him in almost every scene on DVD whenever I need another dose of Dr. Ruf.
  13. Because I’ve had the pleasure of seeing him in his very first role in a film, Twenty-One (1991). As Bobby, he’s one, very, very convincing drug addict.
  14. He has the most amazing, expressive, wide green eyes.
  15. One of his most quoted sayings is “my favorite day is a happy accident.” My favorite day was discovering Rufus!
  16. He makes me laugh out loud when he is woken from a sound sleep by the Italian prosecutor, Nadia Pirot in Zen, the Cabal episode. She asks him if she woke him, and he says, not entirely convincingly, “no, no, I just got back from the gym.”
  17. He looks protective and caring holding a newly-acquired puppy.
  18. He’s as comfortable on a theater stage as he is in a film or on TV.
  19. He can play an addict, a working-class bus driver, renaissance royalty, a Dark Ages king, an adventurous entrepreneur, a scheming knight, an inconsiderate ex-boyfriend, an early American statesman, a detached husband, a brilliant scientist, a Medieval stone mason, an honest but slightly flawed detective, and a vampire… whew!
  20. He has a wonderful sense of humor.  When asked the question, “Looking at your own life, what would most like your legacy to be? Answer: I’d like an omelet named after me.” 😀
  21. He’s hot, hot, HOT in an elevator. (Taming of the Shrew, Zen)
  22. He keeps getting better with age. A very happy 44th birthday, Rufus!
  23. All right, those high check bones certainly deserve a mention. His features look as if they’re carved by Michelangelo!
  24. The soulful and emphatic way he narrated the 9/11 poem Out of the Blue
  25. He was swoon-worthy as Kate Winslet’s crush in The Holiday… he’s a cad yes, but a juicy one at that!
  26. His sexy, throaty voice to match that smouldering look.
  27. I read an article describing his character in Zen as possessing an enigmatic charisma, the same can be said about Rufus himself.
  28. I love how self-deprecating and humble he is. In his interview with Telegraph for Zen, he was asked if he fly economy? ‘Absolutely!’ he says with no hint of shame.
  29. Some men can pull off wearing eyeliners, and Rufus is one of them, as displayed in his drag outfit in BBC’s The Taming of the Shrew.
  30. I kind of like the name Rufus. It actually means “red-haired” in Latin.
  31. Speaking of hair, I LOVE his dark, wavy hair and he looks good w/ pretty much any hairstyle.
  32. Even in a brief cameo (i.e. The Tourist), he still manages to steal scenes and made even a banal movie worthwhile.
  33. He was a vile count in A Knight’s Tale but he you really can’t take your eyes off him… whenever he’s on, he made me forget about the leading man Heath Ledger.
  34. As many British actors do, he’s got stage-cred on top of his movie career. He earned rave reviews in his performance in Tom Stoppard’s Rock and Roll, which he played both at the Royal Court Theater in London and on Broadway.
  35. He looked like a Greek god in the miniseries Helen of Troy… he’s perhaps too ridiculously good looking as Agamemnon, but hey, I’m not complaining!
  36. His dark, almost exotic look makes him versatile enough to play people of different ethnic groups believably.
  37. He proves to be a capable romantic leading man in Dangerous Beauty. I’d love to see him in a sweeping period drama like that again in the future.
  38. There’s a regal air about Rufus that I don’t find in other actors of his caliber.
  39. He’s got an exquisite taste in automobile. Check him out looking like James Bond in his vintage red Alfa Romeo Spider convertible!
  40. He can pull off both a clean-cut look and a full beard one, such as the one he’s sporting in The Pillars of the Earth miniseries
  41. He was perfectly cast in one of the most underrated sci-fi, Alex Proyas’ Dark City
  42. He’s got such an expressive, melancholic eyes… perfect for romantic roles, thus I cast him as a British suitor in my fantasy romantic drama Last Voyage of the Valentina.
  43. I love his professional attitude… it’s as if no job is too small for him. No matter how low-budget the movie, he always gives his all.
  44. And lastly, since this job is not on IMDb yet, I’ll take the time to announce Rufus’ latest movie project!

    ALL THINGS TO ALL MEN
    I first heard about this project from Leo Gregory’s tweet, a British actor who has a supporting part in the film. Rufus will co-star with Gabriel Byrne and Toby Stephens in newcomer George Isaac’s directorial debut.

    According to The Hollywood Reporter, Rufus has agreed to play the maverick law enforcement official. Byrne signed on to play the sadistic crime boss. And Stephens is all set to play Riley, a criminal trying to play both sides of a dangerous situation.

    I LOVE the cast and UK crime thrillers sounds awesome!! Check out the on-set picture of Rufus in London, click on the photo to see more pics. I’ll be sure to blog about this once we hear more about this movie.


So happy, happy birthday, Rufus!! Please join me in wishing this talented actor many happy returns!

In light of news that Gerard Butler & Sam Worthington in talks for Hunter Killer – Top Five Fave Brit/Aussie Actors Combo

Thanks to a tweet from my friend Ted, I learned that my long-time crush Gerry Butler is in negotiation to star in a submarine thriller Hunter Killer. Per LatinoReview, the movie is based on the novel, Firing Point from authors George Wallace and Don Keith, here’s the plot:

An untested submarine captain must work with a Navy SEAL team to rescue Russia’s president, who’s taken prisoner during a military coup. The two sides team to stop a rogue Russian general from igniting World War III.

Butler is in talks to play the submarine captain Joe Glass of the USS Toledo, whilst Avatar and The Debt star Sam Worthington is being pursued to take on the role of the leader of the Navy SEAL unit, Bill Beaman. Director of Training Day and Brooklyn’s Finest, Antoine Fuqua is set to direct.

Now, truth be told I’m not a huge fan of submarine thrillers. Interestingly enough, the only submarine movie I like was The Hunt for Red October which also stars another famous Scot, Sean Connery. I personally would rather see Butler in a non-military-related drama — how ’bout that Robert Burns biopic eh Gerry? — where there are more emotional eruptions than those involving weapons of any kind. But I suppose I shouldn’t complain as Butler continues to mix things up. He balances the bad-ass roles in Machine Gun Preacher and Coriolanus with a soccer comedy Playing the Field and a surfing drama Of Men and Mavericks for L.A. Confidential‘s director Curtis Hanson.

So yeah, I do like this casting combo and both are suitable for tough guy military roles. I’ve liked Worthington ever since Terminator Salvation, and though I’ve complained that he’s not expressive enough, he was rather good in The Debt and no doubt neither one of these two actors is lacking any on screen charisma. But as my friend Dezzy @ HollywoodSpy said, this better be eons better than whatever the hell Battleship is supposed to be, starring Liam Neeson and… Rihanna?? [shakes head]

Anyhoo, the news made me think of other Brit/Aussie actor combos I like in the past. I haven’t seen Warrior yet starring London-born Tom Hardy and Aussie Joel Edgerton, but I reckon that’d perhaps make my list. I think a great combo happens when both actors are able to hold their own but creates a wonderful dynamic together on-screen. Here are five that come to mind:

  • Christian Bale & Russell Crowe – 3:10 to Yuma
    I’m not even a fan of Westerns but with these two, I ended up loving this film. Crowe practically steals every scene as charming villain Ben Wade.
  • Christian Bale & Hugh Jackman – The Prestige
    I didn’t love this film the first time around, but upon second viewing I appreciated it a whole lot more. Both actors exemplify what showmanship is supposed to look like, and the twist and turns are classic Nolan.
  • Christian Bale & Heath Ledger – The Dark Knight
    Yet another film where Bale is sort of upstaged by the villain, but Ledger’s The Joker pretty much outshone everyone else in this Nolan’s Batman saga. But whenever this duo face off each other on-screen, the intensity of this already thrilling film moves up a few notches!
  • Geoffrey Rush & Colin Firth – The King Speech
    This Oscar winner should also be crowned best on-screen duo of the year as their ‘royal bromance’ is just delightful to watch! If it weren’t for Bale’s tour de force performance in The Fighter (and the fact that his win was overdue), Rush deserves to take home the statue along with Firth!
  • Russell Crowe & Paul Bettany – Master & Commander
    Yes, yes, another familiar name, but really, Crowe is easily the best Aussie imports in the biz. This isn’t exactly a ‘duo’ per se, but I feel that the compelling friendship between the captain and the doctor is what gives the movie its ‘heart.’

I realize that this list might as well be called Christian Bale and his Aussie co-stars, ahah. I think Bale is always memorable even in ‘second banana‘ roles. I’m sure there are other Brit/Aussie combos in classic movies but I’m not as familiar with that genre so folks, you’d have to help me out on that one.


Well, any thoughts on this Hunter Killer project? Please also share other Brit/Aussie duo you think deserve a mention.

Guest Post: A Birthday Tribute to James Purefoy!


James Brian Mark Purefoy is the super talented and ultra hunky British actor, and he turns 47 today, Friday, June 3. And “hunky” is not just my opinion: he was voted “Hunk of the Year” by a British television magazine in 1997. Well, as far as I’m concerned, he’s very well-preserved and deserves a “Hunk of the Year” award EVERY year  😀

He appeared on my radar about three years ago, when he had a small but significant part as the benevolent ruler King Edward, aka Sir Thomas Colville in the delightful dramedy A Knight’s Tale. It’s a movie I originally watched because of Rufus Sewell, who played the underhanded Count Adhemar, but Heath Ledger stars as the wanna-be knight referred to in the title. James started out in theater, however, joining the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1988. When perusing his IMDb page, you find out he was the king of TV movies and miniseries in his early career, appearing in no fewer than 17 between 1990 and 1997.
Purefoy in The Mayor of Casterbridge

I haven’t seen even half of all his work, but two TV movies stand out for me. In The Mayor of Casterbridge (TV 2003), he shines as a convincingly savvy 1800s businessman who helps the mayor’s business thrive. The mayor’s daughter promptly falls in love with him, and he with her, and, of course, myriad complications ensue. It’s one of the best period romance/dramas I’ve ever seen, even if it is a sleeper. He is paired in this film with two of his future co-stars. (Ciarán Hinds and Polly Walker in Rome.)

In Beau Brummel: This Charming Man (TV 2006), he plays the real-life dandy Beau Brummel, who is credited with inventing the modern men’s suit worn with a tie in the early 1800s. His extremely suave and cocky manner steals the show. Speaking of suits, ahem, James is not shy about showing off his very own “birthday” suit. He tastefully bares it all (twice) in this movie (see below) as he also does unabashedly splendidly in the HBO TV series Rome (2005 and 2007). At 6′ 2″, dark-haired and fit, his “costume” (e.g., lack of one) is certainly eye-catching. He is quick to point out that he was NOT digitally “enhanced” in his bare-all scene in Rome. “Mine’s all mine,” he says.
Speaking of the Emmy Award-winning series Rome, James ascends to glory as Roman general and politician Mark Antony and eventually falls far from it, in the end, along with Cleopatra, to the ambitious and power-hungry Octavian. He’s impressive as a fierce soldier. Take a look at this YouTube video of his penchant for fighting, tough-guy style, but making it sound amusing at the same time. And his tender side: Antony tells Cleopatra that they have no options left against Octavian, and he sheds a single tear:
I am not at all one for violence and blood, but his suicide death scene in Rome has to be one of the best of that kind I ever witnessed. He certainly brought immense dignity and pathos to it, and it’s one you’ll never forget. In 2009, JP starred in the modern-day NBC TV series The Philanthropist. He almost plays himself in this excellent, unfortunately short-lived show (8 episodes), which was shot in many locations all over the world. He also starred as the lead kick-ass fighter of evil in the 2009 film Solomon Kane, and most recently in another historical drama, Ironclad (2011).
Right now I’m looking forward to receiving the DVD of his latest BBC TV miniseries, Injustice (2011, 5 episodes), which will be released in mid June. He currently has a starring theatrical role in Terrance Rattigan’s WWII play Flare Path at the Theatre Royal Haymarket in London. Mmmmm, should I put all those frequent flyer miles to good use just to see him in person?… ever so tempting… maybe!
So James has been sneaking up on me for a while, and his immense talent and attraction was brought to its pinnacle in his character Mark Antony in Rome. And I must give thanks to the generosity of my colleague Scot, who loaned me the exquisitely packaged DVD set of all 22 episodes of both seasons.
James is extremely versatile and is capable of ANY role – good guy, bad guy. Tough, tender. Modern or back in time. Stage, small screen or big screen. Cheers to you, James, for being such an amazingly talented, beguiling and underrated actor (somehow I always like the under-appreciated ones best). If you aren’t familiar with James Purefoy yet, you should be, you won’t be disappointed.
Happy, happy birthday!

What are your favorite James Purefoy roles, movies or series? Which ones do you look forward to seeing now? Let us know.

British Acting Royalty on Harry Potter Movies: My Top Ten Favorites

Last week, Roger Ebert tweeted ‘Why haven’t Helen Mirren and Judi Dench ever made a Harry Potter film?’ Hmmm, good question, Mr. Ebert… why haven’t they? I certainly would LOVE to see both of them in at least one or two installments.

Fiennes, Bonham Carter, Gambon w/ Radclife on HP set

Then a few days later, I read a piece of news report about Harry Potter beating Star Wars as the biggest movie franchise of all time. The George Lucas sci-fi saga stands at $1.9 billion in worldwide gross over the course of six films, whilst the last six HP films have earned $1.7 billion. Given HP7’s $300+ worldwide gross just on its first weekend alone, no doubt this franchise will take the top spot way before the 2nd final installment is out next Summer.

Well, one thing for sure, I think the Harry Potter franchise has the best ensemble cast in movie history. I must admit that the supporting cast are a huge factor of what drew me in to check out HP movies in the first place. I excluded HP in my top five notable ensemble cast movies because the supporting actors don’t have equal screen time as the principal cast of Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint, but as a franchise, I can’t think of any other one that boasts THAT many award-winning British thespians (you can see all of them on Wikipedia). Nearly all of the who’s who of British cinema seem to have done a Harry Potter film. Man, how fortunate are those young actors to be working alongside such massively talented actors!

My top ten list is based on a combination of the actors’ previous work and their stellar performances in the Harry Potter movies. Here they are on alphabetical order:

Kenneth Branagh as Gilderoy Lockhart

What fun it is to see the Shakespearean actor/director hamming it up as a self-observed celeb wizard.

I first saw Branagh in Much Ado About Nothing, but he’s also known for his other Shakespeare-related work such as Hamlet, Love’s Labour’s Lost, and As You Like It. He’s one of the rare artists who’ve been Oscar-nominated for acting, writing and directing. Talk about a real triple threat!

Jim Broadbent as Horace E. F. Slughorn

As a Potions teacher, Slughorn was a key character in revealing who Voldemort really is and his way of attaining immortality.

Broadbent is one of those character actors whose presence always add something special to any movie. He won an Oscar for his Best Supporting performance in Iris, but he was also adept in comedy, as he displayed in Moulin Rogue! and Hot Fuzz. His most recent movie Another Year has been constantly gaining positive reviews from critics and audiences alike.

Helena Bonham Carter as Bellatrix Lestrange

One of the most powerful evil witches in Voldemort’s inner circle, she’s one of the most loyal ally to the dark lord.

Having just seen her all demure and sweet in A Room with a View, it’s fascinating to see her get her freak on as Bellatrix. She’s done more than her fair share of costume dramas, hence her ‘corset queen’ nickname. But I remember her most from her contemporary fare Fight Club and her small cameo in Terminator Salvation.

Ralph Fiennes as Voldemort

Even if you have not seen a single movie, no doubt you’ve seen his nose-less, pale face spewing all kinds of evil towards Harry & his pals.One of my fave British actors, there are too many movies I remember him for. Perhaps the most iconic is his portrayal in the despicable Nazi Amon Göth in Schindler’s List, but he’s proven his versatility in other dramatic fares. The English Patient, Constant Gardener, and The Reader are just some of my faves.

Michael Gambon as Albus Dumbledore

The wise and caring headmaster of Hogwartz Wizarding School is perhaps one of the most sympathetic of all HP characters.To tell you the truth, I didn’t immediately warmed up to Gambon when he replaced Harris, but by the end of the 3rd film, he’s won me over. His immense theater experience is beyond impressive, but did you know he was asked by Bond producer Cubby Broccoli to audition for the 007 role to replace John Lazenby? I had no idea. Some of his memorable roles pre HP were The Insider, Gosford Park and Amazing Grace.

Richard Harris as Albus Dumbledore

The minute I saw Harris on screen leaving baby Harry upon the doorstep of the Dursley home, I thought he was perfect for the role. I also love him as Emperor Marcus Aurelius in Gladiator, Abbé Faria in The Count of Monte Cristo, as well as his earlier role in Camelot. I had no idea he could sing so well but apparently the late Irish actor was a singer-songwriter who have recorded several albums.

Gary Oldman as Sirius Black

The famed escaped prisoner of Azkaban who’s the loyal friend of Harry’s parents. There’s not many actors as freakishly talented and versatile as Mr. Oldman. I can’t remember when I first saw him, but one thing for sure, he’s always wowed me every time he’s on screen. Famous for playing dark roles (in Dracula, Leon, True Romance, Air Force One) as well as real-life characters (Sid Vicious in Sid & Nancy, Beethoven in Immortal Beloved, Lee Harvey Oswald in JFK). I love his portrayal as Commissioner Gordon in Nolan’s Batman flicks, definitely one of my fave cast of that franchise.

Alan Rickman as Severus Snape

One of the revered professors at Hogwarts, Snape is easily the most layered and complex character in the whole franchise. You never really know whether he’s good or bad and where his true loyalties lie.I’ve mentioned Mr. Rickman numerous times on my blog for good reason. Not only is he an excellent actor, he’s got that perfect, iconic voice. I practically turn giddy watching him deliver his signature inflection, especially when he’s portraying bad guys. Love him as villainous Hans Gruber (Die Hard) and hopelessly romantic Col. Brandon (Sense & Sensibility). Not to mention his hilarious turn in the sci-fi comedy Galaxy Quest.

Maggie Smith as Minerva McGonagall

The warmhearted Deputy headmistress who’s loyal to Dumbledore and his mission to protect Harry. Dame Maggie Smith is practically royalty in the acting territory. She’s won practically every major acting awards, including BAFTA, Oscar, and Golden Globes. I’m not familiar with her earlier work, but her most memorable roles to me are in A Room with a View, Gosford Park, Keeping Mum and Becoming Jane. 

Emma Thompson as Sybill Trelawney

I could hardly recognize her with her frizzy hair, nerdy glasses and gypsy getup as professor of Divination. Her character is sort of a comic relief and pretty fun to watch.As Sense & Sensibility stands as my favorite film ever, I’m always grateful for Thompson’s excellent script. I also love her sensitive portrayal of Elinor Dashwood as well as her roles in Stranger than Fiction and Last Chance Harvey.


Just to go a step further, here are eight other actors (besides Dench and Mirren) I’d love to have seen in Harry Potter films: Sean Connery, Timothy Dalton, Daniel Day-Lewis, Colin Firth, Alfred Molina, Rufus Sewell, Kristin Scott Thomas, and Kate Winslet.


Well, now that’s my list, now your turn. Which British cast are your faves from Harry Potter and whom would you like to have been cast?

X-Men: First Class – The prequel I’m actually excited about!

In a world where there seems to be no cure for Hollywood’s sequelitis and remakitis, there is one prequel I’m hugely excited about! It’s definitely the one to beat in the box office come next Summer 2011 (June 3rd, 2011 to be exact, according to SuperHeroHype). I know perhaps it’s too soon to predict such a thing, but judging from the never-ending popularity of comic-book adaptation and the kind of buzz this one’s been getting, it’s not that far off.

I love the first and second installment of the movie (until Brett Ratner screwed it up), so I’m naturally drawn to this project and the idea of making a young version of the franchise is definitely appealing. But what gets me leaping out of my seat yesterday was learning about Michael Fassbender joining the cast as Magneto, the former BFF-turned-powerful-foe of Professor X and the X-Men. Earlier this month, it was widely reported that he was to choose between the powerful mutant and a yet-to-be-named villain role in the Spider-man reboot. Glad to see he has chosen wisely.

The casting of James McAvoy as Professor X instantly adds some considerable cred to this project. The 31-year-old Scot has proven his acting chops time and time again in The Last King of Scotland, Atonement, and The Last Station. But he’s also got his feet wet in full-throttle actioner like Wanted alongside Angelina Jolie, so this isn’t his first foray in comic-book adaptations. Patrick Stewart is a tough act to follow as the wise and cultured founder of the Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters (Xavier Institute) and leader of the pack, but I have faith that McAvoy will do well in that role. The SuperheroHype site offered a clue into the plot of this prequel on the auction info page that offers an exclusive tour of the set:

Before Charles Xavier and Erik Lensherr took the names Professor X and Magneto, they were two young men discovering their powers for the first time. Before they were archenemies, they were closest of friends, working together, with other Mutants (some familiar, some new), to stop the greatest threat the world has ever known. In the process, a rift between them opened, which began the eternal war between Magneto’s Brotherhood and Professor X’s X-MEN.

I can’t think of a more talented and winsome actors facing off each other, exploring their initial friendship and the unfortunate incidents that lead to them choosing opposite paths. So far, the other cast members that have been announced include Rosamund Pike (Pride & Prejudice), Amber Heard (Pineapple Express), Benjamin Walker (who’s currently starring in the play Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson in his debut film role), and Kick Ass‘ Aaron Johnson rumored to play Cyclops.

I just re-watched the trailer of the first X-Men movie with my hubby and he recalled how excited we were to see it. Remember, this was back in 2000, before a throng of superhero movies popping up faster than you actually have time to watch them. The only comic-book movies were the circus-y and farcical Batman movies, topped by the abominable that was Batman & Robin [shakes head]. So to see a comic adaptation with real actors with gravitas such as Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen and treat it like a serious action drama was a welcome change.

Bryan Singer isn’t returning to direct but will act as producer to X-Men: First Class. The directorial duty will fall on London-born producer/director Matthew Vaughn (Layer Cake, Stardust), fresh out of his pretty decent success with Kick-Ass. According to IMDb, he was set to direct X-Men: The Last Stand but dropped out due to family conflicts. Pity, that might’ve turned out to be a much better movie.

London, here we come! The inevitable Britastic blog series begins today

Photo courtesy of clubquarters.com

Counting down to our London trip in less than two weeks, allow me to be a bit indulgent and in celebratory mood for a bit. From now until our departure Friday, May 7, FlixChatter will feature British-themed posts, whether it’ll be a British movie review or scene spotlight, featured posts on British filmmakers/actors, or whatever UK-related random item that comes to mind.

Hope you can stomach 10 days of all things British, there are so many British actors in Hollywood and tons of iconic scenes are set in the UK, specifically London, so the possibilities are endless.

Just for fun, here’s a scene from The World is Not Enough where the River Thames, as well as other London iconic symbols, are on full display. Surely it’s a preposterous scene, heck the entire Bond flick defies common sense (Denise Richards as a Bond girl? ’nuff said). And why in the world is Pierce Brosnan is adjusting his tie as his watercraft dives under water??! Granted it lacks the whimsy of Moonraker‘s gondola chase in Venice, though both are equally ridiculous, but it’s still pretty fun scene to watch.

I can’t wait to get on a boat tour on the Thames!