Last week the LA Times featured Ben Mendelsohn and his charming nervousness at the Sundance Film Festival premiere of Mississippi Grind. The film’s story concerns two gamblers, one down on his luck with financial problems (Ben Mendelsohn), and the other a younger, dynamic, free-spirited risk taker (played by Ryan Reynolds) . They embark on an adventure where they reconnect with past lovers and have an encounter with a loan shark, where they make ill-advised bets. The film has an unorthodox style of narration that typical viewers may not be used to.
Ben Mendelsohn apparently never watches himself on screen, and this film was no exception. As soon as the screening at Sundance started, he left for a cigarette break. His wife, Emma Forrest, acts as his eyes at screenings and helps him judge the quality of his performances.
This isn’t the only film that Ben Mendelsohn is in at Sundance this year; he also appears in Slow West a film about a sixteen-year old rich, Scottish boy who travels to America to find his love, in the 19th century. This film is about surviving and learning how to be a good man in a harsh world. Ben’s career has taken off in Hollywood in recent years, he became well known during his role as John Daggett in The Dark Knight Rises, where he plays Bruce's business rival, yet he started as a leading man in Australia as a teen. In Amy distributed by World Wide Motion Pictures, Ben plays a sensitive musician that helps the titular main character, Amy, connect to the real world through singing. Ben Mendelsohn has said that roles like these suit him better, as he is a naturally sensitive person.
“The British are coming” to US TV audiences and the public is going wild. More and more Americans are enjoying British TV shows such as Doctor Who, Downton Abbey, and Sherlock, and have fallen in love with talented actors like Benedict Cumberbatch and Hugh Bonneville. Another of these TV show treasures is the crime drama Silent Witness, similar in style to Bones, which has been on the air in the UK since 1996 and has a loyal following. While the program hasn’t aired yet in the states, it is just as compelling and deserves to find a new following.
The great Emilia Fox plays a complicated character with a difficult past in her role as Dr. Nikki Alexander. The talented cast of the show also includes William Gaminara, who plays Professor Leo Dalton, and Tom Ward playing Dr. Harry Cunningham, a humorous Forensic Pathologist who solves crime in an unconventional way. While US audiences are no strangers to crime drama, the British crime shows have a style all their own, oftentimes being more realistic and well-crafted. Emilia Fox states in a Digital Spy article that the last two episodes were “the hardest scenes I've had to do.” The episodes are stand alone stories with new detail being revealed about Dr. Nikki Alexander’s personal life. Silent Witness is ending its eighteenth season and its twentieth anniversary, and the cast and crew have grown into a family so much that even Rose, Emilia Fox’s daughter, has a special place on set. Emilia Fox says that she enjoys having her on set and being a mother. Her parental role wasn’t a far stretch from her role as the mother in Ways to Live Forever, distributed by World Wide Motion Pictures, where her character takes care of her son with leukemia.
This week marked the State of the Union address, and boundaries have been broken once again. President Obama spoke about American values and principles of human dignity, justice and civil liberties. While speaking, he said “we continue to reject offensive stereotypes of Muslims, …. or people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. We do these things not only because they are the right thing to do, but because ultimately they will make us safer” Previously, former President Bill Clinton was the first president to say the word “gay” in his State of the Union Address back in the year 2000. It has taken fifteen years to include mention of those who are bisexual and transgender.
The struggles of transgender individuals are also becoming more prominent in popular culture, such as the character of Sophia in Orange is the New Black, incarcerated in a woman’s prison. One of these struggles is also represented in the feature film Pop Kowboy, distributed by World Wide Motion Pictures. The film concerns three diverse characters trying to find themselves and getting entangled in each others lives. Frankie, played by Craig Olsen, is transgender woman in need of money, who meets Vinnie, played by Ronnie Marmo (from General Hospital), an incompetent aspiring gangster, who has been given one last chance to make good with the local mob boss. Pony, played by Shawn Driscoll from America's Sweethearts, is a wannabe cowboy who has trouble finding love. He botches the briefcase delivery with Vinnie and ends up on the run with Frankie, beginning their own special friendship. The LGBT angle is a small portion of the film, and not sensationalized, giving the humorous film a non-stereotypical feel. The film also shows how difficult family life can be for a transgender person, and why President Obama’s State of the Union address was so historic.
While some may think that January is the month of breaking New Year’s resolutions, it is actually the month to celebrate life itself. With technology and the daily grind, most people often forget that life at its core is a beautiful thing. Simple acts, such as hugging a loved one or napping under a tree, need to be treasured because we don’t know what adventures and challenges this year may bring. Take the time this month to actually live, make an effort to go through each day as if it was your last, and make the most of everything that comes your way. Look up from the phone, computer, or tablet and see the amazing world around you. Earth is our little blue planet needs our appreciation, and we need to appreciate ourselves for achieving so much as a whole. Humanity can do better by being kinder, more patient and selfless towards one other.
Celebrate Life in another way by watching The Lovely Patient and Ways to Live Forever distributed by World Wide Motion Pictures.
Both films will show you how lucky you are to be alive and healthy, and make you laugh. Think of it this way: if you live today, you won’t ever worry about tomorrow.
Renowned actor Malcolm McDowell has found himself a role on an Amazon Prime original series. “Mozart in the Jungle” is a comedy about what goes on behind the curtain of a symphony orchestra. Fans of the original source book called “ Mozart in the Jungle: Sex, Drugs, and Classical Music” are right to be confused, as the show goes off in a completely different direction. Instead, the plot revolves around rival conductors of the New York Symphony: one on the way up, Rodrigo played by Gael Garcia Bernal, and one on the way out, Thomas played by Malcolm McDowell. Another central character is a very talented oboist, played by Lola Kirke, who is struggling to get by. She has the attentions of the handsome dancer, played by Peter Vack, and is suspected of using her wiles to get into the orchestra.
Malcolm McDowell plays a likeable villain so well, and his affair with Cynthia, played by Saffron Burrows, is very realistic and deeply felt. Bernadette Peters has another great character in the president of the orchestra, a woman who is looking for a way to bring classical music to the modern century. Perhaps this sex-driven, drug filled, and artistic side of classical music will bring the youth back to concert halls around the world. While some critics think this show only got good after episode six, others were hooked from the pilot and are looking forward to season 2.
The versatile actor has had many recent roles, including Stanton Ingfield on “Franklin and Bash” and Enda Doyle in Red Roses and Petrol.
Director Tom Harper’s War Book is the opening film of the 44th edition of the Rotterdam International Film Festival on Wednesday January 21, 2015. War Book, Starring Ben Chaplin and Sophie Okenedo, is a political thriller written by Jack Thorne, known for episodes of Skins. This will be the second time Harper and Thorne have worked together since 2010’s The Scouting Book For Boys. The drama takes place over a nine day period, where a group of British civil servants plan out scenarios for a possible nuclear attack.All of them must decide what course of action should be used as they discuss war games and policy shaping while they struggle with each others’ different personal and political opinions. While the group of nine works to find solutions, a select few know the truth - that an actual crisis is iminent., the group of nine struggle to understand their nuclear attack situation, while sorting out their differences. Other cast members include Shaun Evans, Kerry Fox, Antony Sher, Phoebe Fox, Nicholas Burns, Nathan Stewart-Jarrett, Adeel Akhtar.
Following War Book’s opening January 21st, A Most Violent Year will be the closing film at the Rotterdam international film festival.
Ben Chaplin plays an authoritative government figure in this film and is involved in many other films this year, including Disney’s 2015 live action Cinderella where he plays Cinderella’s