Tagged: Elliot Levey

Florence Foster Jenkins

 

Summary: As the worst opera singer in the world, Florence Foster Jenkins (Meryl Streep) prepares to take her career to dizzying new heights a young pianist, Cosme McMoon (Simon Helberg) finds himself swept up into the world of lies that Florence’s hsuband , St Clair Bayfield (Hugh Grant), has set up in order to protect her feelings.

Year: 2016

Australian Cinema Release Date: 5th May 2016

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: United Kingdom, France

Director: Stephen Frears

Screenwriter: Nicholas Martin

Cast: Nina Arianda (Agnes Stark), Mark Arnold (Cole Porter), Richard Bevan (Stubbs), Dar Dash (Antonio), Carl Davis (Orlando Adams), Paola Dionisotti (Baroness Le Feyre), Rebecca Ferguson (Kathleen), Aida Garifullina (Lily Pons), Hugh Grant (St Clair Bayfield), David Haig (Carlo Edwards), Simon Helberg (Cosme McMoon), Tony Honickberg (Mr. Levi), John Kavanagh (Arturo Toscanini), James Sobol Kelly (Edgar), Elliot Levey (Edgar Booth Cunningham Jr.), Greg Lockett (Chuck), Nat Luurtsema (Tallulah Bankhead), Danny Mahoney (Clifford B Thornton III), Simon Markson (Charlie), Christian McKay (Earl Wilson), David Menkin (Carlton Smith), David Mills (Augustus Corbin), Georgina Morton (Pearl), Josh O’Connor (Donaghy), Sid Phoenix (Corporal Jones), Jonathan Plowright (Ernest Ziegler), Phillp Rosch (Archie), Liza Ross (Mrs. EE Paterson), Meryl Streep (Florence Foster Jenkins),

Runtime: 110 mins

Classification: PG

 

OUR FLORENCE FOSTER JENKINS REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

David Griffiths:

The world of cinema can be a strange, strange place. Whenever a film comes out I hear people talking about what demographic the film will appeal to, whether it will appeal to men or women etc. I’ve never really taken much notice of it because when it comes to films my tastes are pretty varied. While I love my horror and science-fiction I can also settle down and watch a movie meant for kids, like Monster’s Inc. and enjoy it as well. The same with movies meant for older people, take 45 Years for an example, while some said it was for older people I enjoyed it to the point where it has been one of my favourite films of this year.

But now comes a film that is making me re-think whether some films are meant for different ages, and that film is Florence Foster Jenkins. Now I’m not going to sit here and say I hated the film because I didn’t. For me it was just a mediocre film, it didn’t bore me but it didn’t exactly have me labelling it a classic either. What did surprise me was the comedy aspect of the film. Sure the first couple of times Meryl Streep (The Devil Wears Prada) warbled horribly as Florence Foster Jenkins I chuckled, but there were some older members of the audience I was in who laughed themselves stupid every time Florence attempted to sing. Yes it really did have that kind of effect on the older audience.

So why was Streep singing so badly off key? Because in this film she plays Florence Foster Jenkins, a real life character who during the 1940s made a name for herself for literally being a bad singer. And while anyone that every heard her would know she was a dreadful singer she was spared those details by the fact that her husband, St Clair Bayfield (Hugh Grant – Notting Hill) did everything in his power to make sure she never found out the truth. That included paying music critics and making sure anyone who ever laughed during her performances was quickly turfed out of the venue.

During the film we see Florence start off at a small level of singing for small groups of people but as she plans to take her career even further, to the point of recording a single and performing on bigger stages, she decides to team up with a young piano player named Cosme McMoon (Simon Helberg – The Big Bang Theory) who quickly finds himself having to get used to St Clair and Florence’s web of lies.

As far as the film goes despite being very light hearted in style in does get to you emotionally. Such is the power of director Stephen Frears (The Queen) and screenwriter Nicholas Martin’s (Midsomer Murders) style of filmmaking that many of the scenes of the ailing Florence really do start to get you, so much so that you do want her to be happy. That style of filmmaking also raises suspense at times when you wonder how some people will be react to Florence’s singing and how their reaction will affect her.

It is those kinds of scenes that make this film well worth watching but there are also some downsides to Florence Foster Jenkins as well, and those largely centre around a huge issue in the casting. As you would expect from a film like this Meryl Streep puts in a brilliant emotionally driven performance and while Hugh Grant does match her remarkable well for me it felt like he was miscast in the role of Florence’s husband. While the wardrobe department have done all they can to ‘age’ Grant for the role it does come across as very creepy matching at times during the film… yes almost as creepy as the pairing of Catherine Zeta-Jones and Sean Connery in Entrapment. Having said that though Grant does put in a good and charming performance, he’s just in a role that he should never have been cast in.

The other actor who really impresses in this film is Simon Helberg who most people will know as Howard Wolowitz on the successful comedy series The Big Bang Theory. Herlberg has shown throughout his television career that he has impeccable comedic timing and he certainly brings that to his character here – the socially awkward and very innocent McMoon. To his credit Helberg not only matches Streep and Grant’s performances but sometimes even manages to steal the limelight with his creative facial expressions.

Maybe I didn’t find Florence Foster Jenkins as funny as some of the other people screening that I was in but I still found it a heartfelt film that grows on you the longer it goes on.

Stars(3)

 

 

Greg King:

You can hear Greg King’s full Florence Foster Jenkins review on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #175.

Stars(3.5)

 

 

Average Subculture Rating (out of 5):  Stars(3)

 

IMDB Rating:  Florence Foster Jenkins (2016) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment Florence Foster Jenkins reviews: You can also listen to our full Florence Foster Jenkins review on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #175.

Trailer:

Philomena

Summary: Philomena is the true story of an Irish Catholic woman (Judi Dench) who decides to find her son more than fifty years after she was forced, as an unmarried mother, to give him up for adoption. As scornful of ‘human interest’ journalism as he is distressed by the scandal that shortened his career as a political advisor, Sixsmith (Steve Coogan) reluctantly agrees to meet Philomena and hear her story . A true odd couple – the sheltered, elderly woman and the dry, world-weary ex-BBC journo – Philomena and Martin embark on a journey together that takes them from a convent in rural Ireland to the White House in Washington DC.

Year: 2013

Australian Cinema Release Date: 26th December, 2013

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: USA, UK, France

Director: Stephen Frears

Screenwriter: Steve Coogan, Jeff Pope, Martin Sixsmith (book)

Cast: Mai Arwas (Megan), Xavier Atkins (Michael Hess Aged 14), Amber Batty (Marge), Cathy Belton (Sister Claire), Saorise Bowen (Young Mary), Tadhg Bowen (Young Anthony), Sophie Kennedy Clark (Young Philomena), Steve Coogan (Martin Sixsmith), Harrison D”Ampney (Anthony 8-10 Years), Judi Dench (Philomena), Charles Edwards (David), Michelle Fairley (Sally Mitchell), Kate Fleetwood (Young Sister Hildegarde), Donal Haughey (Declan), Peter Hermann (Pete Olsson), Barbara Jefford (Sister Hildegarde), Nicholas Jones (Dr. Robert), Simone Lahbib (Kate Sixsmith), Elliot Levey (Alex), Sean Mahon (Michael), Anna Maxwell Martin (Jane), Amy McAllister (Sister Anunciata), Ruth McCabe (Mother Barbara), D.J. McGrath (John), Nika McGuigan (Bridie), Charlie Murphy (Kathleen),Ronald Reagan (himself), Charissa Shearer (Peg), Sara Stewart (Marcia Weller), Rachel Wilcock (Mamie), Mare Winningham (Mary)

Runtime: 98 mins

Classification:M

OUR PHILOMENA REVIEWS & RATINGS

Greg King: Stars(4)

Please check Greg’s review of ‘Philomena’ that is available on www.filmreviews.net.au

David Griffiths:

If somebody had told me at the start of the year that British comedic actor Steve Coogan would have starred in two of the most heartfelt and emotional films of the year I would have told them they were dreaming. But cinema can be a weird thing and Coogan follows up his portrayal of the uncaring father in “What Maisie Knew” with another strong dramatic performance in one of the surprise hits of the year “Philomena.”

“Philomena” tells the true story of former BBC journalist Martin Sixsmith (Steve Coogan) who after finding himself unfairly publicly disgraced decides to take on one of those dreaded ‘human interest stories.’ Soon he finds himself teaming up with the sweet-but-not-so-innocent elderly Philomena (Judi Dench) who harbors a secret she’s been holding onto for years.

Unknown to her family Philomena gave birth to a son 50 years earlier, however due to the fact that she was single at the time and brought disgrace to her family she was shipped off to a convent where she was placed through an unsafe labour and then told to work off her sin while her son was sold to a well-off American couple for $1,000. As the years go on not a day goes by where Philomena doesn’t think about her lost son or what became of him, so now with Martin in tow they go in search of the son that Philomena never really knew.

To his credit director Stephen Frears (mainly known for his work on “The Queen”) doesn’t just make this heartfelt Oscar bait. Furthermore he also doesn’t full into the same trap as “Closed Circuit” and make the audience feel that they are watching a British telemovie. Instead Frears has delivered a film that does indeed cause an emotional response from the audience but also goes into that ‘buddy’ film territory… a hell of a lot better than the film “The Guilt Trip” did earlier this year.

Yes Frears does tell a story that the world needs to see and exposes yet another crime against humanity committed by the Catholic Church, but at the same time he delivers two likable characters and injects a little humor into the film as the worldly Sixsmith plays tour guide to Philomena, someone who has never ventured out of the United Kingdom before. And while I won’t give away the ending Frears sticks to the true story which may not be what Hollywood would have wanted him to do… credit must be paid for sticking to his guns.

As most film fans already know this film has Judi Dench’s name being bandied around for Oscar contention. Rightfully so as she delivers a strong dramatic performance laced with moments of comedic brilliance, but it does seem a little unfair that Steve Coogan’s name also hasn’t been mentioned in this circles and he puts in one of the few perfect performances of the year. Coogan and Dench rebound their comedy together well, but Coogan doesn’t just rest on getting laughs, no he also has to deliver some dramatic moments and he does it surprisingly well.

“Philomena” is a heartfelt film so get ready to cry when you are watching it, but once again Frears gets the best out of his cast and once again makes a film that is will stand the test of time. “Philomena” is one of the Brits’ finest films for 2013.

Stars(4)

Average Subculture Rating (out of 5): Stars(4)

IMDB Rating:  Philomena (2013) on IMDb

Other Subculture Media Reviews of ‘Philomena′: Please check our Philomena review on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep 63.

Trailer: