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“Man Up” review

Have you heard of the rom-com, “Man Up,” starring Simon Pegg and Lake Bell?

We rented it last night, without having any background on what it was about, and found it positively charming. Simon Pegg and Lake Bell have great chemistry and the film features some nice shots of London. Plus, Lake Bell’s British accent is very believable and good (and she’s genuinely likable. Another one to watch with her: “In a World.”)

Oh yeah, and it’s 88 minutes (meeting my “I’ll-give-any-movie-a-try-that is-90-minutes-or-less rule). (I’m a busy lady.)

Check out the trailer! (Or don’t! Go into it blind like I did – that works, too!)

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What the “Love Actually” cast looks like now

Colin Firth

How has Colin Firth fared since “Love Actually” was filmed in 2003? Read on…

We are only weeks away from Full-on Christmas Movie Season (hurray!) and so I bring you this glimpse at what the cast of “Love Actually” actually looks like now via Buzzfeed.

You know, Bill Nighy, Hugh Grant, Alan Rickman, Emma Thompson, Liam Neeson, Keira Knightley and the list goes on… Take a gander!

Why “The World’s End” is my favorite British movie of the past year

The World's End
I finally watched “The World’s End” this week (currently airing on HBO Go) and love love loved it. Have you seen it?

It really was a great ending to the “Shaun of the Dead” and “Hot Fuzz” trilogy, starring Simon Pegg (who also co-wrote it with Edgar Wright, who directed all three).

If you missed this gem, it’s premise is simple: Six friends reunite 20 later to attempt one massive pub crawl – The Glorious Golden Mile – that they didn’t complete in their youth. In the course of hitting 12 pubs in their childhood hometown, they stumble upon the unsettling truth that they are surrounded by residents that are decidedly not human – and must fight for their survival.

It’s so British and so brilliantly written, so smart and funny and nostalgic. It made me ache for the 1990s in Britain again, when I first spent time there at uni (American translation: college). It will make you want to hunker down in a grandpa pub named something like the King’s Head or the Royal Arms on a winter’s day and order a pint (or two or more!) of real ale like Old Peculiar (or maybe that’s just me.)

The soundtrack is especially evocative – tunes like The Housemartins’ “Happy Hour,” The Stone Roses’ “Fool’s Gold” and Primal Scream’s “Loaded” are just golden. As a side note, if you do decide to buy the soundtrack, get the British version of it, which includes an additional 10 songs including The Sundays’ “Here’s Where the Story Ends,” Happy Mondays’ “Step On,” and Kylie Minogue’s “Step Back In Time.” Sigh.

Secret Cinema’s tribute to Robin Williams

Dead Poets Society poster

I’m still heartbroken about Robin Williams’ death. I still can’t believe that we’ve lost such a rare comic talent and, by all accounts, such a wonderful human being, to boot.

I feel like his movies and TV have defined so many stages of my life – “Mork and Mindy” as a child, “Dead Poets Society,” “Awakenings,” “The Fisher King” and “Aladdin” in high school, “Good Will Hunting” in grad school when I was also living in Boston, “Happy Feet” now with my own kids.

And we still have more to go. Our family still hasn’t seen any of the “Night at the Museum” films, “Jumanji” or “Popeye.” His passing has also served as a reminder to me of his really wonderful body of work that he has left behind and that we need to seize the day.

On that note, Secret Cinema (see my previous blog post about Secret Cinema) in London is hosting a film screening in tribute to Robin Williams this Friday at the Troxy in East London. They will be showing “Dead Poets Society,” which will raise money for the mental health charity Mind. The evening will feature live music, food, poetry and other performances, in addition to the film.

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit robinwilliams.secretcinema.org.

Anthony Hopkins’ love letter about "Breaking Bad"

Anthony Hopkins and Bryan Cranston

I’m pretty sure that I’ve blogged before about my obsession with “Breaking Bad.” It is the Best Show in the History of the World (in my book)… and apparently, this is where Anthony Hopkins and I have something in common.

Check out the letter that he wrote to Bryan Cranston, as reported by Gawker.com:

Dear Mister Cranston.

I wanted to write you this email – so I am contacting you through Jeremy Barber – I take it we are both represented by UTA . Great agency.

I’ve just finished a marathon of watching “BREAKING BAD” – from episode one of the First Season – to the last eight episodes of the Sixth Season. (I downloaded the last season on AMAZON) A total of two weeks (addictive) viewing.

I have never watched anything like it. Brilliant!

Your performance as Walter White was the best acting I have seen – ever.

I know there is so much smoke blowing and sickening bullshit in this business, and I’ve sort of lost belief in anything really.

But this work of yours is spectacular – absolutely stunning. What is extraordinary, is the sheer power of everyone in the entire production. What was it? Five or six years in the making? How the producers (yourself being one of them), the writers, directors, cinematographers…. every department – casting etc. managed to keep the discipline and control from beginning to the end is (that over used word) awesome.

From what started as a black comedy, descended into a labyrinth of blood, destruction and hell. It was like a great Jacobean, Shakespearian or Greek Tragedy.

If you ever get a chance to – would you pass on my admiration to everyone – Anna Gunn, Dean Norris, Aaron Paul, Betsy Brandt, R.J. Mitte, Bob Odenkirk, Jonathan Banks, Steven Michael Quezada – everyone – everyone gave master classes of performance … The list is endless.

Thank you. That kind of work/artistry is rare, and when, once in a while, it occurs, as in this epic work, it restores confidence.

You and all the cast are the best actors I’ve ever seen.

That may sound like a good lung full of smoke blowing. But it is not. It’s almost midnight out here in Malibu, and I felt compelled to write this email.

Congratulations and my deepest respect. You are truly a great, great actor.

Best regards

Tony Hopkins.

Benedict Cumberbatch name generator

Benedict Cumberbatch

Looking for a way to wile away your Thursday? Try the Benedict Cumberbatch name generator!

I am Honkytonk Creamsicle! And Bentobox Candygram! And Rinkydink Snickersbar! I can’t stop clicking …

“Philomena”

This new Judi Dench and Steve Coogan movie looks stellar! Its release date is scheduled for Nov. 1 in the U.K. No details yet of the U.S. release.

Thanks to Lillie for sending me this!

2 British films to watch for

I love a good movie trailer, but I have to say that I’m growing irritated by the extended time that commercials and trailers are taking up these days. Twenty minutes? Seriously? Are you with me?

But sometimes, it is great to spot something you’d actually like to see!

Last weekend, we went to the movies and saw “Frances Ha.” along with a couple of British films that I would love to see …

First up, “About Time” written by Richard Curtis of “Love Actually” and “Notting Hill” fame. It’s due out Nov. 8 in the U.S.

Secondly, Simon Pegg stars in “The World’s End,” which looks as good as “Shawn of the Dead” and “Hot Fuzz.” It’s due out Aug. 23 in the U.S.

British teeth, pt. 2 (Electric boogaloo)

Speaking of teeth, I have to share this little clip from “The Graham Norton Show.” He interviews Olivia Colman, who was in “The Iron Lady,” and yes, the topic of “funny English teeth” does come up.

Thanks, Lillie, for sending this!

Will Smith’s London visit

Will Smith and his son Jaden were in London last weekend to promote their new movie “After Earth.” Some highlights from their visit:

Graham Norton interviewed them, but the best part was their impromptu performance of the theme song from “Fresh Prince of Bel Air” with DJ Jazzy Jeff! (Also, love Bradley Cooper and Heather Graham rocking out on the couch with them!)

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