Posts Tagged ‘Tuppence Middleton’

The Downstairs Revolt

Downton Abbey

Director: Micheal Engler

Cast: Michelle Dockery, Elizabeth McGovern, Maggie Smith, Imelda Staunton, Tuppence Middleton, Hugh Bonneville, Matthew Goode, Allen Leech, Penelope Wilton, Robert James-Collier, Laura Carmichael, Joanne Froggatt, Kate Phillips, Phyllis Logan, Brendan Coyle, Geraldine James, Jim Carter, Max Brown, Stephen Campbell Moore, Michael Fox, Harry Hadden-Paton, James Cartwright  

Lovers of the hit BBC TV series Downton Abbey can now watch all their favourite characters on the big screen, with the highly anticipated film version called Downton Abbey which has just been released. The story follows the wealthy Crawley family in 1927 when they are asked to entertain royalty. King George V and his wife Queen Mary are coming to visit the Yorkshire area and the royal retinue will spend one evening at Downton Abbey much to the consternation of the fiercely loyal staff of Downton Abbey led by Mr Carson and Mrs Hughes.

Expertly scripted by Oscar winner Julian Fellowes (Gosford Park), Downton Abbey is a royal treat with sumptuous costumes by Anna Robbins and gorgeous production design by Donal Woods.

The best lines in the film are given to Oscar winner Maggie Smith (California Suite, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie) who plays the formidable matriarch Lady Violet Crawley who exchanges numerous barbed comments with a mysterious cousin Maud Bagshaw played by Oscar nominee Imelda Staunton (Vera Drake) who has an unnatural attachment to her lady maid Lucy Smith played by Tuppence Middleton (The Current War).

As the Crawley’s entertain the royal couple, there is much intrigue afoot provided by the disgraced butler Barrow played by Robert James-Collier who discovers a secret world to experience his hidden sexuality while the dashing chauffeur turned son-in-law Tom Branson played by Allen Leech (Bohemian Rhapsody) discovers a covert plot to assassinate the king.

Lady Edith played by Laura Carmichael has some exciting news for her husband Bertie Hexham played by Harry Haddon-Paton while the cook’s assistant Daisy Mason played by Sophie McShera (Cinderella) flirts with the hunky plumber Tony Sellick played by James Cartwright much to the consternation of her beau the ambitious footman Andy Parker played by Michael Fox (Dunkirk).

Whilst the upper classes are dining and having balls, there is a downstairs revolt led by Mr Carson played by Jim Carter and Mrs Hughes played by Phyllis Logan who plot to get rid of the royal servants so that they get an opportunity to serve the royal family at an evening banquet held at Downton Abbey with a rather surprising result.

Downton Abbey is ravishingly filmed with a witty script by Fellowes who injects a suitable balance of humour and poignancy into the narrative to make this British period drama both entertaining, thoroughly enjoyable and absolutely thought provoking.

With an existing fan based already created by the hugely popular BBC series, Downton Abbey is a film not to be missed and it’s no wonder it become a Box Office sensation in both America and England on its opening weekend in September 2019. Highly recommended viewing for those that cherish elegant British period films in the vein of The Remains of the Day, Brideshead Revisited and Howard’s End.

Downton Abbey gets a film rating of 9 out of 10 is strictly for fans of the series and beautifully written and acted by a truly noble ensemble cast.

The Ethics of Electricity

The Current War

Director: Alfonso Gomez-Rejon

Cast: Benedict Cumberbatch, Michael Shannon, Nicholas Hoult, Tom Holland, Katherine Waterston, Tuppence Middleton, Matthew Macfadyen, Damien Molony, John Schwab, Conor MacNeill

Film Rating: 8 out of 10 – Highly Recommended Viewing

Director Alfonso Gomez-Rejon served as second unit director to Martin Scorsese, Nora Ephron and Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu and follows his second feature film Me and Earl and the Dying Girl with The Current War featuring a host of British and American stars including Oscar nominee Benedict Cumberbatch (The Imitation Game) as electricity inventor Thomas Edison opposite Oscar nominee Michael Shannon (Nocturnal Animals) as George Westinghouse.

Set in America in the 1880’s and the events leading up to the Chicago World Fair in 1893, Westinghouse develops alternative current electricity while Edison creates direct current electricity. As both Westinghouse and Edison woo the financial support of investment banker J. P. Morgan wonderfully played by Matthew Macfadyen (Pride and Prejudice, The Nutcracker and the Four Realms) they develop electricity and its current at an alarming pace lighting up first the American eastern seaboard and then stretching West to the Mid-West and beyond.

Soon the ethics of producing powerful electric currents are called into question when a New York government official Rudolf Young played by John Schwab is planning the first execution via the electric chair of convicted wife killer William Kemmler played by Irish actor Conor MacNeill.

The conflict within The Current War is between Westinghouse and Edison while the eccentric and penniless immigrant Nikola Tesla wonderfully played by Nicholas Hoult (The Favourite, A Single Man) invents the capacity for electricity to be automated and used in machines. Tesla was also credited with harnessing the power of the Niagara Falls for hydroelectricity which produces limitless amounts of current.

It’s no coincidence that Elon Musk’s electric car company Tesla is named after this enigmatic inventor who never received the credit due to him while alive as he got caught between the rivalry of Westinghouse, Edison and the manipulative banker J. P. Morgan who produced the capital to start one of the most famous electricity companies in the world: General Electric.

The Current War is a fast paced story of how 19th century America was electrified by Edison and Westinghouse and the rivalry which consumed them yet changed society forever.

Director Alfonso Gomez-Rejon smartly employs fast paced editing and some stylistic flourishes to keep The Current War engaging, light and historically fascinating. Audiences should look out for Tom Holland (Spiderman, Far from Home, The Lost City of Z) as Edison’s loyal assistant Samuel Insull and Katherine Waterston (Inherent Vice, Fantastic Beasts) as Marguerite Westinghouse and Tuppence Middleton (The Imitation Game, Jupiter Ascending) as the long suffering Mary Edison.

For history buffs, catch The Current War which gets a film rating of 8 out 10 and is especially relevant today considering that now the human population depend upon electricity.

Queen of the Universe

Jupiter Ascending

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Director: Andy & Lana Wachovski

Cast: Mila Kunis, Channing Tatum, Eddie Redmayne, Douglas Booth, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Sean Bean, Tuppence Middleton, Maria Doyle Kennedy, James D’Arcy, Tim Pigott-Smith

Creators of the marvellous Matrix trilogy and the super confusing reincarnation fantasy Cloud Atlas, The Wachowski’s have returned to their Sci-Fi roots in the deeply ambitious yet slightly far-fetched cinematic offering Jupiter Ascending.

Despite the fabulous visuals and assembling a cast of all the latest hot young stars for Jupiter Ascending including Mila Kunis (Black Swan), Channing Tatum (Foxcatcher) and Eddie Redmayne (Les Miserables), the narrative is so crammed with infinite details paying homage to David Lynch’s film Dune as well as Robocop, Star Wars and Signs that it suffers from the weight of its own ambition.

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Jupiter Ascending focuses on a Russian immigrant to America aptly named Jupiter who is first introduced as a charlady cleaning toilets in Chicago and the next minute is being rescued from insidious almost invisible aliens by a hunky skyjacker named Caine Wise, gorgeously played by Channing Tatum who spends most of the film with his shirt off. Wise’s DNA has been spliced with that of a Wolf so he is a Lycantant.

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Jupiter played by the pouty but gorgeous Mila Kunis who soon learns that her DNA is a re-occurrence of a powerful Queen who once headed up a rather enigmatic and powerful space dynasty, known as the Abrasax who destroy planets and suck the lifeblood out of their inhabitants. Charming stuff, not to mention, it is revealed as the story unfolds that humans are only reaching the eve of the genetic revolution.

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The Queen of the Universe who died recently has three rather malevolent offspring the rather camp and wicked Balem, a fabulous turn by Redmayne, his sister Kalique played by Tuppence Middleton who is searching for immortality and the younger brother Titus wonderfully played by Douglas Booth who in a weird Oedipal way wants to marry the reincarnation of his mother, Jupiter Jones so that he can claim his share of the intergalactic inheritance. The wedding sequence between Titus and Jupiter is a production designer’s wet dream, gorgeous, lavish and filled with spectacle.

Naturally chemistry develops between the exotic Lycsantant, Wise and Jupiter Jones who is thrust from her mundane existence of servitude and elevated to the status of a celestial queen who has to wrangle with three devious offspring that are all out to distinguish her existence in various ways. This is like a Space Opera on acid, the visuals are fabulous, the storyline completely illogical, yet Jupiter Ascending is still riveting to watch but is not in the same league of such brilliant Sci-Fi films as Snowpiercer, Star Wars and the Ridley Scott’s classic Blade Runner.

Jupiter Ascending despite the fantastic special effects suffers the fatal premise that if you are going to introduce viewers to such a gorgeous and extra-terrestrial universe, then the heroine should not be cleaning toilets in downtown Chicago. At least in Star Wars, Princess Leia never had to deal with such lowly tasks and her plight remained infinitely more profound under the threat of Darth Vader’s Deathstar.

As a friend who saw the film with me commented so aptly, Jupiter Ascending should have been broken down into three films with more back story written into the narrative so that at least the plight of this Queen of the Universe could take on a more historic turn especially in her dealings with each of the nefarious Abrasax clan.

That said, Jupiter Ascending is fabulous to watch, but could have been edited better and more coherently written so that at least Jupiter’s circular odyssey to space and back would be plausible especially as the film started off so promisingly in Russia with her father gazing at the planet Jupiter from the banks of the Neva river in St Petersburg.

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Watch out for Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Belle) with big ears as Famulus and an underutilized Sean Bean as Stinger Apini last seen in the Game of Thrones series in brief cameos and Maria Doyle Kennedy (The Tudors) as Jupiter’s mother Aleksa. Jupiter Ascending is recommended viewing only for serious sci-fi fans and those that truly want to escape earth in a steam-punk drug fueled fashion…

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