Don’t let the cheery title fool you: Oranges & Sunshine actually tells a harrowing tale that’s all the more distubring for being true. In the first feature by director Jim Loach (son of The Wind That Shakes the Barley helmer Ken Loach), a social worker named Margaret Humphreys (Emily Watson) encounters a woman seeking answers about her past. As Humphreys digs deeper, she uncovers a massive conspiracy to deport thousands of abandoned kids from British children’s homes to brutal work camps in Australia. Hugo Weaving and David Wenham also star.

Though it sounds like something out of a Charles Dickens novel, the events are actually chillingly recent — the real-life Humphreys conducted her investigation in the ’80s and learned that these injustices had taken place during the ’50s and ’60s. Watch the trailer after the jump.

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This isn’t the sort of movie that we normally see Hugh Grant agree to make. The guy is drawn to romcoms of various stripes, with the last vaguely edgy movie he made possibly being the ’96 thriller Extreme Measures.

So it’s a big surprise — and not an unpleasant one — to see Grant booking a role in Cloud Atlas, the century-spanning, genre-hopping literary adaptation from co-writers and co-directors Tom Tykwer and Andy & Lana Wachowski. Read More »

My interest in the Tom Tykwer and Andy and Lana Wachowski adaptation of David Mitchell‘s novel Cloud Atlas just grew even more. We’ve reported on the film a fair few times, and it continues to sound wild. The book is an odd beast, with six stories, each presented in halves and nested within one another, that cover hundreds of years, dozens of characters and quite a few genres from nautical adventure to post-apocalyptic societal reboot.

Then there’s the fact that Tykwer and the Wacowskis are directing the film together, but with parallel film units. And the topline cast, which includes Tom Hanks, Hugo Weaving, Halle Berry, Susan Sarandon, Jim Broadbent and Bae Doona, is all set to play multiple roles. Now actor Ben Whishaw says that the actors will swap gender and race, too. (For Hanks, it’ll be Bosom Buddies 2.0.) How can you not be excited for this movie? Read More »

Jim Sturgess Joins the Cast of ‘Cloud Atlas’

The latest addition to Cloud Atlas is Jim Sturgess, who is currently muddling through the film One Day opposite Anne Hathaway. The film is based on a David Mitchell novel, which is divided into six centuries-spanning tales that embody various genres from nautical adventure to sci-fi and post-apocalyptic rebirth, is quite a piece of work, tying grand stylistic playfulness to genuinely moving ideas about the interconnected nature of all our lives. It sounds like a massive undertaking, and the actor recently spoke about the possibilities of the job. Read More »

Questions about Cloud Atlas, the very ambitious adaptation of David Mitchell‘s novel that was written and will be directed by Tom Tykwer and Andy and Lana Wachowski, are slowly being answered. We know the cast (Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Hugo Weaving, Susan Sarandon, Ben Whishaw, Jim Broadbent and possibly Bae Doona) and we know that many, if not all of those actors will play multiple roles in the six interconnected stories that make up the novel’s unconventional narrative.

But we’ve wondered how Tykwer and the Wachowskis will manage to direct the film together, and now here’s info: they’ll work with two full filmmaking teams in parallel. Tykwer will head one team and the Wachowskis the other when cameras start to roll in Germany next month. Read More »

A new trailer has been released for Happy Feet Two, the sequel to 2006′s dancing-CGI-penguin hit. Featuring the vocal talents of Elijah Wood, Robin Williams, Hank Azaria, and many others, Happy Feet Two tells the theoretically adorable tale of a young penguin who just wants to fly. The film is directed by George Miller, whose previous work includes the Mad Max movies, Lorenzo’s Oil, and the two Babe films. Watch the trailer after the jump. Read More »

‘Captain America: The First Avenger’ Review

In a summer crowded with superhero blockbusters, Captain America: The First Avenger ranks just below X-Men: First Class, and far ahead of Green Lantern and fellow Avengers lead-in Thor. It never quite reaches the highs of First Class or 2008′s Iron Man, but thanks largely to Joe Johnston‘s direction and Chris Evans‘ performance, it is a genuinely enjoyable film that gets right so much of what Thor and Green Lantern couldn’t.

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Last week I got a chance to see Marvel’s Captain America: The First Avenger. I’m not able to write up a proper review at the moment as I just arrived in San Diego and have much to do prepping for the 2011 Comic Con, but I recorded a quick video blog reaction with Alex from FirstShowing immediately following the screening. You can watch that after the jump, along with my quick thoughts.

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