The Incredibles 2 ~ Review

Star rating: *****

It’s been a long time coming, and following the success of the first Incredibles film, I’m surprised it’s taken so long to be reunited with the family of superheroes and my personal favourite, Edna the costume designer (played by Brad Bird who also directs the movie). We re-join the madcap life of the Mr Incredible (Craig T Nelson), Elastigirl (Holly Hunter), Violet (Sarah Vowell), Dash (Huck Milner) and Jack-Jack at a time when non-superhumans have turned against them.

Time has not moved on much since the close of the original film, baby Jack-Jack is still a baby. At the close of the first movie, we knew that Jack-Jack had powers, so did his babysitter, she understandably freaked out and wasn’t inclined to give notice of her intention to leave… hurriedly.

So, with almost everybody within an immediate radius and beyond against them, the five-some are moved into a motel and laying low. Violet’s teenage love-life is still an ongoing ‘issue’ revisited too. However, fortunes take a sudden turn for the better when Frozone (Samuel L. Jackson) bumps into a Super Hero fanatic hell-bent on finding a more positive place for them in the modern world. Winston Deaver (Bob Odenkirk) and his somewhat reluctant sister, Evelyn (Catherine Keener) are responsible for offering an opportunity to be seen as the heroes they are and along with that comes a very stylish gadget-laden home.

With the spotlight on Elastigirl as the super heroes are thrown back into the spotlight, and Mr Incredible holed up at home as a gloomy house-husband – we are left wondering who ‘Screenslaver’ is, the arch enemy whom Elastigirl finds herself up against. Meanwhile, Dash is struggling with Maths homework, Violet is nursing a broken heart and Jack-Jack’s powers are discovered. He has many powers, which make him attractive to super hero costume designer, the quirky and theatrical Edna Mode.

The storyline appears to be more engaging than in the original movie and the characters have lost none of their appeal – so this is a win/win in every way. Disney at its best, go see!

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DC Exhibition: Dawn of the Superheroes

Batman, Superman, The Joker, Wonder Woman and a selection of characters from The Suicide Squad have broken into London’s O2 and they’re running amok!

That’s what I like to think anyway, however in reality there’s a kick-ass exhibition at the O2 which will appeal to the DC super hero fans and indeed any movie buff or comic book aficionado.

Have you ever compared the Superman costumes through the ages? Have you wondered what it would be like to come face to face with Batman’s arch enemies? Are you familiar with the popular characters who’ve stood the test of time and the journey they’ve taken from pencil and paper to digital age? Then this exhibition should not be missed.

Audio commentary is provided in the form of your own hand-held device as the flow of the curation leads a fascinating journey into the world of super heroes. I found it interesting to consider the height of such actors as Christopher Reeve as I admired his Superman costume, compared to that of Jack Nicholson in the Batman section of the exhibition. A full scale model of Jack Nicholson as the Joker and Danny DeVito as the Penguin were two of the highlights for me, personally. Both slightly unnerving to be faced with, yet so intricately replicated. It was also awe-inspiring to view one of Batman’s modes of transport, his motorbike was a work of art to behold.

Suicide Squad is one of my favourite present-day films and the section showcasing the characters from the movie including the transformation of personalities such as Harley Quinn, over the years, drew my attention.

There was plenty to keep all age groups entertained, from our four year old son to us big kids. There’s still time to book tickets to see this spectacle, and it’s an event that can be combined with a visit to the O2 and indeed the Greenwich area, as depending on the pace you choose to take – the length of time taken to complete the full tour is approximately one hour. Don’t forget to check out the merchandise too!

DC Exhibition: Dawn of the Super Heroes will stay at the O2 until 9 September 2018. 

Book your tickets here: DC Exhibition: Dawn of the Super Heroes Tickets

Entertainment Views Interview: Versailles Star, Catherine Walker

BBC Two’s Versailles has recently enjoyed a third series, did you catch it? Based on the life and times of Louis XIV it stars the inimitable Catherine Walker in the role of Madame de Maintenon. Catherine chatted to Entertainment Views about the recent series and the extraordinary character she plays (wonderfully, in our humble opinion!).

Thanks for talking to Entertainment Views, Catherine. Tell me about the latest series of Versailles and how you feel your character has grown.

The latest series of Versailles looks at the path to absolute power. France is expanding its empire and Louis is unstoppable in his ambition. however he comes up against the church and the growing unrest of the protestants and the people of France who are suffering economically as a result of these ambitions. Maintenon is integral to this as she guides Louis on the path of Absolutism with her unwavering and zealot like belief in the divine right of Kings. There is also at the heart of the series the mystery of the man in the iron mask a secret which could unravel the very bedrock of the throne

What was your opinion of your character back when you first read the script?

When I first read the scripts I was fascinated by this women, who when we first meet her is nothing more than a nanny to the kings children, during season 3 she becomes the most powerful women in Europe. Its a fascinating trajectory. She was not of nobility but there’s was a very true love, a meeting of minds and of equals. She was the great strength behind the throne.

Why do you think Versailles has picked up such a strong following?

I think Versailles has picked up a strong following because it is such a rich story with brilliant well drawn characters. When you are working on actual historical figures they are so far beyond what could be imagined fictionally. It is also such an aesthetically beautiful and sumptuous period. It is a visual feat for the audience and the attention to detail is unparalleled.

What are the challenges of your role?

The challenges of my role was getting into the mind-set of someone who is so zealot like in their beliefs. She is a devout catholic and absolutely believes that Louis is in direct line to God. It was important to get to the root of that because all her decision making comes from there and that can lead to some very dark places as you will see in the series.

What would you say to current viewers to encourage them to stick with it?

For current viewers, I would say the series will keep surprising you.  This is the ultimate series and the conclusions for all the characters won’t disappoint. There is much still to come!

What would you say to potential new viewers to entice them to start watching it?

For new viewers I would say it’s a world that has to be seen to be believed, and much of it is based on truth. It is a rich story, beautifully told, with a great cast of characters,  filled with intrigue and darkness – but there was also much fun to be had at Versailles – they knew how to party!

Finally, if you could play any other character in the series, who would it be and why?

If I could play another character in the series it would have to be the Chevalier. Maintenon is so strict in her beliefs she doesn’t get to let her hair down and go to the party…so that would be fun.

Huge thanks to Catherine for a superb interview!

Versailles series 3 and 1-3 box set arrive on DVD 13 August

 

Photo Credits: BBC Pictures

Our Girl: Nigeria, Belize and Bangladesh Tour ~ BBC One

Star rating: *****

Unusually, I’m going to start this review with the season finale – ‘Our Girl‘ offers Michelle Keegan an opportunity to shine in a role I wouldn’t necessarily associate her with. It’s testament to the casting directors that she was sought after for the character of Georgie and she should surely be in line for an award following the latest ‘tour’. Episode eight is such an action packed instalment that I was gripped by the sheer drama, terror and wonder of the top class camera work. There’s a mass shoot out, Georgie is caught in the middle of it, injured and she still has time to consider a relationship with Captain James (Ben Aldridge). As facetious as that may sound, it’s handled so brilliantly and dropped into the context of the episode with subtlety. Add to the mix that the chemistry between Aldridge and Keegan is simmering to boiling point, almost as heated as the shooting! The finale is not disappointing in the slightest.

The danger encountered by Georgie in episode one is horrific enough, with focused medic throwing herself headlong into training the Nigerians. My heart was in my mouth on more than one occasion and it set the pace and overall tone for the series.

Episode four is one of my favourite episodes, I could feel every ounce of fear from both Georgie and Captain James as they awaited rescue and it was also the turning point for their relationship, with their professional relationship in jeopardy. It’s also clear by this episode that a mere training exercise has become an unexpected mission. They’re helped by a teenager called Ezra (James Baller) and I will be keeping my eyes peeled for this young actor in the future, what an engaging character and an outstanding performance.

Episode five was a notable one as we have moved on six months following an incident involving Captain James (no spoilers!). John Michie’s performance as the Brigadier stepped up gear in this episode, meanwhile Inspector Chowdhrey (Navin Chowdhrey) is a target for assassination. Therefore the Brigadier’s gala is not quite the celebration its designed to be!

The locations used for the series are incredible, I often feel as though I’m in Georgie’s shoes seeing the action through her eyes, so innovative is the filming. If you missed the series on BBC One, then don’t hesitate to buy a copy on DVD, you won’t regret it and if you binge watch, guaranteed you’ll feel like you’re watching a movie.


 

Entertainment Views Interview: Deborah Ramsay – Star of Harry & Meghan: A Royal Romance

Deborah Ramsay, an actor whom I’d not ‘met’ before until I spotted her in ‘Harry & Meghan: A Royal Romance’ on Lifetime TV in May this year. As the title suggests, the film is a ‘take’ on the romance of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex on the lead up to their wedding on 19th May. I didn’t expect it to be my cup of tea, I’m a royalist and I was excited about the impending nuptials of Prince Harry and Meghan – but a television movie depicting it? The idea wasn’t floating my boat!

How wrong could I be? Not only did I love the film and I admit I’ve watched it more than once, I was delighted to find an extraordinary actor playing the role of Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall. Deborah Ramsay shone in the role, although her screen time was limited in comparison to other members of the cast. She had perfect chemistry with the wonderful Steve Coulter as Prince Charles and was spot on in all aspects of the portrayal of one of my favourite members of the royal family.

I was delighted that Deborah agreed to an interview with Entertainment Views, so without further ado, let’s here from the lady herself…

Deborah as Camilla with Steve Coulter as Prince Charles
Thanks for talking to Entertainment Views, you recently appeared on our radar when you played the role of Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall in the TV movie Harry & Meghan: A Royal Romance. How did you prepare to audition to play such a prolific figure?
Thank you for this wonderful opportunity to be interviewed by Entertainment Views
Preparing for the role of Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall was a delightful experience because I have admired her courage to follow her passion even in the face of adversity. Being British and Canadian was helpful in understanding Camilla’s essence and the importance of her role in Britain and the Commonwealth countries.
I watched numerous videos and read articles about Camilla who supports many causes and charities –  domestic violence toward women, care and rehabilitation of working animals post war and celebrating Britain burgeoning wine industry to name a few. I explored our common ground  – I’ve always been drawn to the British Royals ever since I found Queen Elizabeth II ‘s Official Coronation Commemorative books at home (my father brought them back after her coronation). I spent what seemed like hours, as a kid, savouring their splendour! Also, like Camilla, I have a passion for animals and their protection – I rode horses,  ran a stable and understand the horsey set!  Camilla’s sense of humour and ability to put others at ease are qualities that inspire me. She spoke so kindly when Meghan Markle became engaged to Prince Harry. 
Can you share what life was like on set? What was the highlight for you personally while filming the movie?
Being on set was especially exciting for me in part because the Director was Menaj Huda who directed 39 episodes of Coronation Street – I’m a Corrie fan through and through! Also, working with the highly talented Parisa Fitz-Henley, Murray Fraser and Stephen Coulter was so much fun! We shared jokes between takes which made the 15+ hour days go so fast!
The highlight of this experience for me was the dedication of cast and crew to make the product spectacular!
I thought you were spot on as the Duchess of Cornwall. What’s your opinion of Camilla? Would you play her again if asked?
I would love to play Camilla again! Maybe she could visit Coronation Street? 
Did you watch the Royal wedding? What did you think?
Of course, I watched the Royal wedding (I’ve watched all of them!) – loved every moment of it! It was moving to see how happy Prince Harry was and what a unique royal wedding it was!
Has acting always been one of your first loves?
I came late to acting and I’m glad that I can bring my life experience to the roles I play. I am excited there are more interesting and complex roles for women of a certain age now.
What are the key elements a script must have to pique your interest?
I love scripts which have well-developed characters showing the full spectrum of human emotion.
Finally, if you could offer one tip to budding up and coming actors, what would it be?
The only acting advice I have at this stage is to be very kind to yourself when you are creating – learn as much as you can about yourself so you can nurture your art.
I’m honoured that Deborah gave up her time for this interview and very excited to see what the future holds for her, I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for her next projects. If you haven’t seen ‘Harry & Meghan: A Royal Romance‘, try and catch it (it may be repeated on Lifetime TV channel) and see for yourself what a marvellous job Deborah does!
Photo sources: IMDB

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