Showing posts with label ralph fiennes. Show all posts
Showing posts with label ralph fiennes. Show all posts

6 March 2014

Top 10 Ralph Fiennes Performances

No comments: Links to this post

Today Ralph Fiennes is one of Britain’s preeminent acting talents, and a household name. However, like all great actors, there was a time when he was unknown and still searching for his breakthrough performance. In honour of The Grand Budapest Hotel, his latest film, we’re taking a look back to the start of his career, and the notable performances that brought him to stardom.

Schindler’s list (1993)

Originally Fiennes dreamed of becoming a painter and began studying at Chelsea College of Art and Design. Soon, however, he found his passion in acting, and quickly transferred to London’s Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. Here he was taught through Shakespearean theatre, and after graduation in 1987, he performed on live stage for several years. Although he made his first film appearance as a lead Actor in 1992’s Wuthering Heights, his performance in Schindler’s List elevated him to star status. In this role, Fiennes played the chillingly cold Nazi officer Amon Goeth, and for his performance, he was nominated for an Academy Award in the category of best actor in a supporting role, and also won the BAFTA in the same category.

Quiz Show (1994)

Springboarding off his performance in Schindler’s list, Fiennes partnered up with actor-director Robert Redford for the 1994 Academy Awards best picture nominee Quiz Show. In it, Fiennes stars as a fictional version of Charles Van Doren, a quiz show contestant who captivated America in the 1950s by winning week after week. The only problem? Van Doren was being fed the answers the whole time, and when a disgruntled losing contestant reveals the truth, their scheme, along with America’s illusion, came tumbling down—fast.

The English Patient (1996)

Fiennes returned to the Oscar spotlight in 1996, this time leading another Academy Award best picture winner, The English Patient. Fiennes plays an archaeologist during WWII who has been badly burned in a plane crash and is struggling for his life in a French hospital. As the plot turns, and Fiennes’ past is revealed in a series of flash backs, a dangerous love affair quickly unravels. For his performance, Fiennes was nominated by the Academy again, this time in the category of best actor in a leading role.

Red Dragon (2002)

In 2002, Fiennes returned to the villain role to mark another chapter in the story of Hannibal Lector. For Red Dragon, Fiennes donned a fearsome back tattoo and took on the alter ego of the Red Dragon—a serial killing schizophrenic heavily influenced by the work of Lector.

The constant Gardener (2005)

Like a chameleon changing colours, Ralph Fiennes transformed from villain to hero once again, showing his incredible dramatic range in The Constant Gardener. In a film nominated for 4 Academy Awards, Fiennes plays Justin Quayle, a British diplomat living in Kenya searching for the truth behind his wife’s murder. Although he believes her death to be the result of an affair, he soon finds the truth to be much more lethal.

Harry Potter (2005-2011)

Using his previous stints in Schindler’s List and Red Dragon as an audition, Fiennes next transformed himself into perhaps the most notorious villain in young adult literature—Lord Voldemort. As the dark lord, Fiennes brought to life a character feared by both wizards and muggles. On screen, his transformation from the love grieving Justin Quayle in The Constant Gardener to the reptilian Voldemort is truly remarkable, both in physical appearance and performance

The Reader (2008)

Since the end of World War II, many films have used Nazi Germany as subject material, but very few, if any, have told the story from this angle. When a teenage Michael Berg is befriended by a woman (Kate Winslet) nearly twice his age, their friendship quickly turns physical. The affair burns out bright and quick, but nearly a decade later, the two have a chance meeting where Michael Berg discovers that Hannah, the only woman he has ever loved, was once a Nazi guard at Auschwitz. As an older Berg, Fiennes attempts to come to terms with the woman he once loved, and tries to make penance on her behalf.

The Duchess (2008)

Teaming up with Kiera Knightly, Ralph Fiennes put on a wholly convincing performance as The Duke in The Duchess. As the menacing husband of Georgiana (Kiera Knightly), Ralph Fiennes seems to reflect the tranquil nature of his surroundings. When his wife fails to produce a male child however, Fiennes puts on a brutally real performance, slowly abusing his wife both emotionally and physically. Balancing off this performance by Fiennes, the film peels back the surface layers of Victorian era culture, and exposes the sexist precedents of the time.

The Hurt Locker (2009)

In 2009, Fiennes teamed up with Kathryn Bigelow to provide a brilliant cameo in the best picture winning film The Hurt Locker. As Jeremy Renner and his partner make their way across the Iraq desert, they come across Ralph Fiennes and his squad of hardnosed mercenaries. Wearing a headscarf and flak jacket, Fiennes turns out a memorable performance, and gives perhaps the best recitation of the line “Sniper!” on film.

The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)

In the new Wes Anderson film, Fiennes plays Gustave, a legendary Eastern European Concierge during the 1930s. As fictional locations, murders, and Futura typeface pile on in typical Wes Anderson fashion, Fiennes grounds the cast and centres the film. With Wes Anderson directing at the top of his game and utilizing a star-studded cast that includes Jude Law, Bill Murray, Tilda Swinton, and Willem Dafoe—just to name a few—The Grand Budapest Hotel is one of the most anticipated films of the year.


4 March 2014

Film Review - The Grand Budapest Hotel

No comments: Links to this post
Comedy, Drama
Fox Searchlight
Rating: 15
Release Date:
7th March 2014 (UK)
Wes Anderson
Tony Revolori, Ralph Fiennes, Adrien Brody, Jeff Goldblum, Willem Dafoe

A writer does not find their story, instead the story finds its writer. A fresh concept for Wes Anderson's new film, The Grand Budapest Hotel, but ultimately his most ambitious.

The complex structure starts off with a young girl opening up a novel – in the cemetery where its author is buried- named after the eponymous hotel. Cut to 1985, where the acclaimed writer, played by Tom Wilkinson, recalls his stay within the hotel of the film/novel in 1968. Now performed by Jude Law, the nameless writer meets and dines with the establishment owner, Mr. Moustafa (F. Murray Abraham), who shares his personal memories of being a lobby boy during the hotel's heyday before Communism led to its demise. Cue 1932, Moustafa's tale conjures up a pink mansion, nestled within the snow-capped hills of the fictional European country of Zubrowka. From there, a young Moustafa- known as Zero (newcomer Tony Revolori)- is trained under the efficient and titular concierge, Gustave (Ralph Fiennes). With an admiration of the very elderly and wealthy Madame D (Tilda Swinton), her sudden and curious death (murder?) and bequeathing of the priceless painting, Boy With Apple, snowballs into a caper consisting of heists, screwball set-pieces, prison breaks and shootouts.

Immense in its staging, the film packages all of Anderson's recognisable directorial flourishes on a remarkable scale. Although part of Anderson's recognition comes from the use of meticulous framing devices and distinctive colour schemes being combined with lead characters who are in some way fractured or grieving, it is obvious that the intricate design of the fictional doll-house setting of 1930s Zubrowka totally engulfs these characters and any sense of their development. With the intense pink and red colour scheme of the hotel itself, alongside layered and skilful choreography throughout, the huge cast of characters can't help but become mere paper-thin caricatures, within an extraordinarily detailed picture-book fantasy. Although many detractors of Anderson would argue this has been standard practice throughout the director's career, he actually uses this to his advantage. Unlike previous works within his writing and directing canon, Anderson abandons his particular motif of opening a book to a cast of characters, opting to focus on the process of how they are found. It's this idea which makes the moments within the hotel's decaying walls in 1968 particularly interesting and thoughtful. The dinner which the nameless writer and older Zero share injects the film with the appropriate thematic weight which could have gone un-noticed within the melee of the 30s set action. With the idea of how memories and recollections can dissolve with the passage of time, Anderson's typical use of nostalgia looms over the film. Within the walls of this once fine hotel there are now only ceiling cracks and scattered memories.

This section of the film allows Anderson to get away with being caught up in constructing lavish set-pieces, rather than actually developing his characters. Made up of a humongous cast of regulars and new faces alike, what ultimately separates them from each other is brief screen-time and an amusing mannerism. Ralph Fiennes's performance of Gustave may be entertaining with his equally eloquent and filthy world view, however, his character holds no sense of memorable depth when compared to Anderson's previous creations, such as Max Fisher (Rushmore) or Steve Zissou (The Life Aquatic). Yet, this is why the film could be Anderson's most ambitious work. Though a tad slight, the madcap qualities of the characters make for charming creations. A scene in which all concierges from adjoining Grand Hotels assemble to save Zero and Gustave is not only humorous in its presentation of hospitality being an institution, but one of the film's most memorable uses of screwball comedy with an ensemble cast (helped by Bill Murray and other Anderson veterans making an appearance). Combined with the fast pacing and tone of the overall story, the excessive quaintness and imaginative presentation does make moments of melancholy surprisingly effective. With the murmer and slight reminders of the war behind all the action, it brings a chilling sobriety into the story. Although Anderson has always created worlds which are not of our own – Zubrowka is no exception – he handles the barbaric nature of war by saying nothing about it, only showing the destruction it left behind.
Within the amusement of the re-counting of these memories, the barbaric notion of war does introduce a thoughtfully heartfelt sensibility. Like an old shoebox filled with various mementoes, Anderson uses this relic of a hotel hotel to establish how certain surprises within an individual's lifetime can go un-noticed. It's only with the recollection of conflict on a much grander scale that you understand the senseless grief and bitter life-lessons that it could bestow on somebody as apparently insignificant as a lobby-boy.

Similar to the old ruin of the Grand Budapest, Anderson's eighth feature may not be completely perfect at first glance. However, the tales buried within it unveil a timeless joy, completely enthralling you before dragging you back into reality.


David Darley

30 January 2014

Forbidden Love - The Invisible Woman Feature

No comments: Links to this post

The theme of forbidden love has formed the basis of many romantic dramas; fuelling scenes of passion, desire, and devotion. The latest film to add to the line-up is The Invisible Woman, the true story of Charles Dickens and his young mistress, actress Nelly Ternan. Ralph Fiennes directs himself as Dickens, with Felicity Jones as the young beautiful actress. Nelly is forced to remain an ‘invisible’ muse and lover to hide the scandalous relationship from the world. To mark the February 7th release in cinemas, here is a look at eight films about forbidden love.

The Graduate (1967)

Starring Dustin Hoffman and Anne Bancroft, The Graduate tells the story of Benjamin Braddock and his affair the wife of one of his father’s business partners, Mrs. Robinson. Having recently graduated from college, Ben meets Mrs. Robinson upon arriving home and they begin their short-lived affair. However, his past comes back to haunt him as Ben finds himself falling in love with Elaine, Mrs. Robinson’s daughter. The Graduate, a hugely influential coming of age comedy, hilariously tells one of the most tense and noteworthy love stories in film.

Water for Elephants (2011)

When his parents die in a car accident before he finishes his veterinary studies, Jacob Jankowski falls into a new life in the circus. It is here that he meets Marlena, the young wife of the ill-tempered and unstable circus owner, August. Jacob soon falls in love with Marlena, and she with Jacob. August’s violent nature threatens their lives and the livelihood of the circus. Based on the novel, Water for Elephants, starring Reese Witherspoon and Robert Pattinson, depicts the whirlwind love affair of Jacob and Marlena and how two people will beat all obstacles to be together.

Lolita (1997)

In this forbidden love affair based on the famous Nabokov novel, Humbert Humbert falls in love with his land lady’s 14 year old daughter, Dolores “Lolita” Haze. Humbert, a British professor who moved to the US to teach, marries Charlotte Haze, in order to stay close to Lolita. Lolita proving to be much more mature than her age begins a relationship with her step father. The gripping tale of Lolita, starring Melanie Griffith and Jeremy Irons, with Dominique Swain as Dolores, is filled with romance, guilt, jealousy, and perfectly depicts the ultimate price one might pay for forbidden love.

In The Mood for Love (2000)

Newspaper editor, Chow Mo-Wan, moves into a new building with his wife and at the same time, Su Li-Zhen, a beautiful secretary, moves into the building with her husband. Chow and Li-Zhen form a friendship and begin spending time together as their spouses are away. However, they soon find out their significant others are having an affair and vow to not be like their unfaithful spouses, yet find comfort in their growing relationship. Set in Hong Kong in 1962, In the Mood for Love, starring Maggie Cheung and Tony Leung Chiu Wai, beautifully illustrates the growing love between two individuals and their resistance to give into passionate feelings.

The Scarlett Letter (1995)

Seeking independence from 17th century England, Hester Prynne arrives to Massachusetts Bay Colony awaiting the arrival of her husband from England. While befriending other outsiders in the colony, Hester falls for young pastor Arthur Dimmesdale. Soon, Hester bears their child, after rumour of her husband’s death reaches her. On the day Hester is made to wear a scarlet A, her husband arrives very much alive and seeks revenge on her love and his own wife. The Scarlet Letter, starring Demi Moore and Gary Oldman, shows that sometimes love will overcome every rule and all humiliation.

Romeo and Juliet (1996)

Retold in a modern day Verona, Romeo and Juliet remains the timeless story of star crossed lovers. The Montague and the Capulet families are fierce, feuding enemies when their children meet and fall in love. The two have hidden their love from their families and soon meet their tragic destiny. Still preserving the original dialogue from the Shakespeare classic, Romeo and Juliet, starring young Leonard DiCaprio and Claire Danes, is one of the greatest forbidden love stories told.

Titanic (1997)

101 year old Rose DeWitt Butaker tells the story of her romantic adventure on the Titanic, and her discovery of true love, to her granddaughter and the crew aboard the Keldysh research ship. While aboard the Titanic, Rose met Jack Dawson, a spirited artist with whom she soon fell in love. When the Titanic went down, Jack lost his life, but Rose used his name to disappear from her mother and fiancé. 84 years later, Rose recalls this story as the crew searches for remnants of the wreck her nearly priceless lost jewellery. A beautifully told story of love lost, Titanic, starring Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio, is one of the most spectacular stories of forbidden love.

The Invisible Woman (2013)

Set in 19th century England, The Invisible Woman illustrates the illicit love affair between Charles Dickens and young actress, Ellen Ternan. At the height of his success, an older Dickens meets 18 year old Nelly with whom he soon falls in love and begins a secret affair, eventually leaving his wife. To keep her reputation, Nelly must live a life of “invisibility” until Dickens’ death. An epic drama, starring the outstanding Ralph Fiennes and illustrious Felicity Jones, The Invisible Woman passionately depicts what one must pay for love in an entrancing and heart wrenching film.


17 October 2013

Time To Check In And Watch Wes Anderson's The Grand Budapest Hotel Trailer!

No comments: Links to this post
Say what you like about Wes Anderson personally he is one of the many reasons why I love Arthouse/Independent film. Colourful, vibrant, off-kilter, witty most off all charming and tonight we finally get our first look at his next chapter of his visual journey into film The Grand Budapest Hotel!

The Grand Budapest Hotel recounts the adventures of Gustave H (Ralph Fiennes), a legendary concierge at a famous European hotel between the wars, and Zero Moustafa, the lobby boy who becomes his most trusted friend.

All the trademark Wes Anderson traits are here as expected, same with many of the regular cast as well as many new faces, but most of all its essential Anderson and that's all cinephiles need to know!

No official UK release date has been confirmed however US date is set for Easter 2014 so expect the same or late Spring.

The Grand Budapest Hotel also stars Jude Law, Bill Murray, Jason Schwartzman, Saoirse Ronan, F. Murray Abraham, Jeff Goldblum, Willem Dafoe, Adrien Brody, Owen Wilson, Edward Norton, Harvey Keitel, Léa Seydoux, and Mathieu Amalric.

18 September 2013

The Invisible Woman - TIFF 2013

No comments: Links to this post

Release Date:
9,10th September (TIFF) 17th& 19th October (LIFF)
Ralph Fiennes
Ralph Fiennes, Felicity Jones, Kristin Scott Thomas, Tom Hollander,

In 2011 Ralph Fiennes made his brutally impressive directorial debut with Coriolanus, a raw back-to-basics modern retelling of the lesser known Shakespeare play. Fiennes second feature is a brave departure from this, a perfect opposite to Coriolanus. Essentially a love story, The Invisible Woman follows the relationship between Charles Dickens (Fiennes) and his young lover Nelly Ternan (Felicity Jones), the pair had a controversial extra-marital affair that surpassed Dickens own marriage and continued on until his death at the age of 58.

Fiennes pays close attention to the roles of men and woman at the time in this, his carefully crafted essay on Victorian relationships and –more subtly- fame. The doomed role of the lover in a male writer’s life is perhaps the most heart wrenching aspect of the piece, carefully relayed in the fantastic performances of Jones and Joanna Scanlan- who personifies Victorian reserve in her often tragic portrayal of Dickens’ wife. As Nelly and Dickens draw closer and closer to the inevitable affair, the world around them sniffs scandal and forces them to take a more covert approach. Even if Dickens’ London is a man’s world, it is no place for divorce.

Fiennes is as magnetic as ever as the larger-than-life author at the height of his career. Tom Hollander deserves note for an energetic performance as the mischievous Wilkie Collins, the only grievance regarding Hollander would be his lack of screen time. The wonderful rapport between Fiennes and Hollander is electric and constitutes a large portion of the truly enjoyable scenes of the film. Bring on ‘Wilkie and Dickens: the college years’.

Here I have perhaps touched on the problem with Fiennes’ second feature: it is a period drama, and thus flirts consistently with surrendering to a certain brand of tedium. Aside from fantastic performance and Maria Djurkovic’s impressive production design-which ensures Fiennes’ Victorian London is realistic and aesthetically gorgeous, the film does lack that fine daring edge that might maintain the viewer’s absolute attention. Technicality, Fiennes is a good director, but merely good. His keen ear for diegetic sound helps pull the viewer into the world, but an as-of-yet unfound style leaves some of his frames wandering, left to be gathered by his actors. This leads us to another issue: particular scenes of magnetic performance, those between lovers and family, break the softly-spoken jib to deliver moments that surpass a large portion of the film.

The Invisible Woman is unfortunately a meandering film, beautifully realised but lacking in truly riveting subject matter. There are moments of startling clarity and splendour, a stand out performance from Felicity Jones, but by the end a point could be raised that there’s more beauty than brawn at work here.


Scott Clark

27 March 2013

BBC To Premiere Ralph Fiennes Coriolanus This April

No comments: Links to this post
BBC 2 will premiere Ralph Fiennes’ BAFTA nominated contemporary version of William Shakespeare’s political thriller, CORIOLANUS, on Saturday 6th April at 21:45, which will also be simulcast on BBC HD.

Produced by BBC Films withRalph Fiennes directing and stars alongside Vanessa Redgrave, Gerard Butler, Jessica Chastain, Brian Cox and James Nesbitt. CORIOLANUS is a tense and timeless thriller of power broking, political manipulation and the arguments and prejudices of opposing social extremes, set against a backdrop of a republic caught up in a long and bitter war.

Caius Martius ‘Coriolanus’ (Ralph Fiennes), a revered and feared Roman General is at odds with the city of Rome and his fellow citizens. Pushed by his controlling and ambitious mother Volumnia (Vanessa Redgrave) to seek the exalted and powerful position of Consul, he is loath to ingratiate himself with the masses whose votes he needs in order to secure the office. When the public refuse to support him, Coriolanus’s anger prompts a riot which culminates in his expulsion from Rome. The banished hero then allies himself with his sworn enemy Tullus Aufidius (Gerard Butler) to take his revenge on the city.

Read our review of the film here after you check out the trailer below

14 January 2013

Cinematic Master Schindler's List To Get 20th Anniversary Blu-Ray Release

No comments: Links to this post
Experience one of the most historically significant films like never before when Academy Award®-winning director Steven Spielberg’s Schindler’s List marks its 20th Anniversary with a Blu-ray™ including Digital Copy, UltraViolet™, more than one hour of Bonus Features and a 16 page companion booklet on 8 April 2013 from Universal Studios Home Entertainment. Schindler’s List 20th Anniversary Edition has been meticulously restored from the original film negative in pristine high definition, supervised by Steven Spielberg and includes bonus features that shed unprecedented light on the story of Oskar Schindler, a member of the Nazi party who risked his own life to save more than 1,100 Jews during the Holocaust.
 One of the most powerful films of our generation, Schindler’s List tells an extraordinary true story of courage and faith that continues to inspire. Spielberg personally supervised the extensive high-definition restoration of the film from the 35mm film original negative so that viewers can see this powerful story as never before. In addition to the Blu-ray™ the Digital Copy and UltraViolet™ features allow viewers to watch Schindler’s List anytime, anywhere on the platform of their choice for the ultimate, complete viewing experience.

With its initial release in 1993, Schindler’s List rapidly became one of the most honoured films of all time, garnering twelve Academy Award® nominations and taking home seven Oscars®, including Best Director and Best Picture for Spielberg.  The film also earned Oscars® for composer John Williams (E.T., Star Wars), screenwriter Steven Zaillian (Gangs of New York, Mission: Impossible) and director of photography Janusz Kaminiski, as well as art directors Allan Starski and Ewa Braun, editor Michael Kahn and producers Gerald R. Molen and Branko Lustig.

Liam Neeson (Taken, Gangs of New York) received a Best Actor Academy Award® nomination for his portrayal of Oskar Schindler. Ralph Fiennes’ (The English Patient, the Harry Potter series) star-making performance as the cruel Nazi commander, Amon Goeth, was nominated for Best Supporting Actor, as was Oscar®-winner Ben Kingsley (Gandhi, Hugo) in the role of Schindler’s Jewish accountant, Itzhak Stern.

The Schindler’s List 20th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray™ includes:
  • Blu-ray™ disc unleashes the power of your HDTV and is the best way to watch movies at home, featuring perfect hi-def picture and hi-def sound
  • Digital Copy provides consumers with a choice of formats from a variety of partners, including options to watch on iPhone®, Android™, computers and more
  • UltraViolet™ is a revolutionary new way for consumers to collect their movies and TV shows in the cloud. UltraViolet™ lets consumers instantly stream and download to tablets, smartphones, computers and TVs. Now available in both the United Kingdom and Ireland
A 16 page companion booklet with ‘behind the scenes’ information telling more about the incredible stories around Spielberg’s masterpiece

Bonus Features on Both the Blu-rayTM & DVD

  • Voices from the List:  Featuring documentary with testimonies from those who survived the Holocaust thanks to Oskar Schindler.
  • USC Shoah Foundation Story with Steven Spielberg: The director shows how filming Schindler’s List inspired him to establish the USC Shoah Foundation

The Blu-ray™ is also available to own in a Limited Edition Digibook format.
The Schindler’s List DVD is also released with Digital Copy, UltraViolet™ and a 16 page companion booklet

Pre-order/Buy: Schindler's List - 20th Anniversary Edition Digibook (Blu-ray + Digital Copy + UV Copy) [1993]

Synposis:Adapted from the novel by Thomas Keneally, Steven Spielberg’s masterful film tells the incredible true story of the courageous Oskar Schindler (Liam Neeson). Initially a member of the Nazi party, the Catholic Schindler risks his career and life, and ultimately goes bankrupt, to employ 1,100 Jews in his crockery factory during the Holocaust. Schindler’s Jewish accountant (Ben Kingsley) serves as his conscience, as Schindler conducts business with an obstinate and cruel Nazi commander (Ralph Fiennes), who viciously kills Jewish prisoners from the balcony of his villa overlooking a prison camp. Filmed entirely in black-and-white on location in Poland, Schindler’s List does not downplay the faults of its magnanimous and unlikely hero, but relates a story of the triumph of the human spirit in the face of horrific devastation and tragedy.

Liam Neeson, Ben Kingsley, Ralph Fiennes, Caroline Goodall, Jonathan Sagall, Embeth Davidtz
Director: Steven Spielberg
Screenwriter: Steven Zaillian, based on a novel by Thomas Keneally
Producers: Branko Lustig, Gerard R. Molen, Steven Spielberg
Co-Producer: Lew Rywin
Executive Producer: Kathleen Kennedy
Associate Producers:  Irving Glovin, Robert Raymond
Director of Photography: Janusz Kaminski
Production Designer: Allan Starski
Editor: Michael Kahn

Release Date: 8 April 2013
Copyright: 2013 Universal Studios. All Rights Reserved.
Cat Numbers: 8293637 (Blu-ray) / 8294037 (Digibook)
Running Time: 189 mins 64 secs (film) / 82 mins 4 secs (bonus)
Aspect Ratio: Widescreen, 1.85:1 (Disc 1) / various (Disc 2)
Certificate: 15 (UK & Ireland)