Mar 02
2019

The day after the Academy Awards, Helen Mirren was a guest at the Temple Emanu-El Streicker Center in New York to talk about “Woman in Gold” and the story behind the film. Reality became a perfect film plot: A stunning Gustav Klimt portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer, a Jewish society woman in Vienna in the early 20th century, was stolen by the Nazis in Austria in 1941. Six decades later, declaring that theft irrelevant, the Austrian government refused to return the painting to the woman’s niece. But the 81-year-old, who’d fled Vienna during the Holocaust, refused to be a victim again and fought back… all the way to the US Supreme Court. Helen Mirren, who received a Screen Actors Guild Award nomination for playing Maria Altman, discussed the ironic transformation of the portrait of a Jewish woman into an Austrian national treasure, her niece’s long legal battle and the importance of pursuing truth. Pictures from the conversation have been added to the photo gallery.

Feb 21
2019

According to Variety, the executive producer of anthology film “Berlin, I Love You” is engaged in a war of words with Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei, whose contribution to the movie was left on the cutting-room floor. Ai contends that the segment he shot for “Berlin, I Love You” was axed by the producers for political reasons, out of fear of upsetting Chinese officials. But Emmanuel Benbihy, the film’s Shanghai-based executive producer, says that Ai’s segment did not meet the requirements for inclusion and that the award-winning artist is obsessed with criticizing China. “Berlin, I Love You,” whose short takes feature such stars as Helen Mirren and Keira Knightley, was submitted to the Berlin Film Festival but failed to land a slot, even out of competition or in one of the fest’s sidebars. Instead, it began its commercial career with a Feb. 8 theatrical release, handled by Saban Films, in the U.S. To Ai’s surprise, the finished picture left out the segment he shot in 2015, long before contributions from Peter Chelsom, Til Schweiger and nine others went before the cameras. Ai directed his piece remotely, issuing instructions by video-call, while under house arrest in China, to Claus Clausen, the Germany-based producer of the film, who co-directed. (Ai later relocated permanently to Berlin.) The segment focuses on a boy, played by Ai’s son, who discovers a new city and uses unreliable technology to keep in touch with his distant father. The complete story can be read over at Variety.

Feb 13
2019

Can you imagine a Helen Mirren film being released and no one – literally no one – notices? Nope, me neither. But this is the case with “Berlin, I Love You”, the latest (and most probably final) installment of the Cities of Love series, following “Paris, je t’aime”, “New York, I Love You” and “Rio, Eu Te Amo”. It was released on February 8 on-demand, without any kind of promotion. Described as a “collective feature-film”, 12 stories are told, directed by 12 different directors – and not one of the stories feels anything like Berlin. One of the first segments, starring Keira Knightley and Helen Mirren, has been directed by Iranian director Massy Tadjedin. Their story features solid performances, but it’s nothing more than a short subject in a 100 minute bore. After “Collateral Beauty” and “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms”, it seems Knightley and Mirren are not each other’s lucky charm 🙂 You’ll find “Berlin, I Love You” on various on-demand platforms. Screencaptures have been added to the photo gallery.


Feb 13
2019

After a less-than-successful November release on the big screen, Disney has launched “The Nutcracker the Four Realms” on home video and on-demand earlier last January. You’re probably in for a good ride if you enjoy Disney movies. Helen’s Mother Ginger is little more than a cameo towards the end of the film. Screencaptures have been added to the photo gallery.


Feb 09
2019

Few people could introduce a fake documentary called “Bats— Valley” with a straight face. But if there’s anyone for the job, it’s Dame Helen Mirren. Clad in a shin-length orange dress, Mirren, studio host of the parody series “Documentary Now!,” stood resolute at her mark and took a lengthy pause before delivering the introductory line, “This is ‘Bats— Valley,’” deadpan to camera — only allowing herself a brief chuckle when the director called “cut!” “It was a little long, but I wanted it to be frightfully serious,” Mirren said, explaining why she delayed the final expletive. “Bats— Valley” was just one of multiple mockumentaries for which Mirren filmed intros on a hot August day at Walt Disney Studios. Reading from a teleprompter, the seasoned actress knocked each one out back-to-back, only pausing every so often to clear her strained throat (ADR work earlier that day required “a bit of shouting”). The final product will be featured at the beginning of episodes throughout the third season of Bill Hader and Fred Armisen’s “Documentary Now!” Since she began working on the show in 2015, Mirren has solidified her regal hostess look — comprised this season of the long, fitted dress, simple earrings, and sensible nude heels. The complete article can be read here.