CHICAGO – When faced with adversity, the best way around it is to somehow break into song. That is the feeling behind the Brown Paper Box Co.’s “Positively Present: An Uplifting Cabaret,” running April 7th and 8th at Mary’s Attic in Chicago’s Andersonville neighborhood. The event features company member Kristi Szczepanek as host, and presents song stylings by other company members, including Anna Schutz, plus some special guests. For details and ticket information, click here.
Film Review: ‘Their Finest’ is British Filmmaking at Its Finest
CHICAGO – In a combined BBC Films, Welsh Government and Pinewood (London) Pictures production, the British-based “Their Finest” pairs England’s history with authentic and passionate romance, to create a sly and funny riff on propaganda films and the British movie industry during the early days of World War II.
With a top drawer cast – headed by the great scene stealer Bill Nighy – and perfect construction by Danish director Lone Scherfig (“An Education,” “One Day”), “Their Finest” is righteous and tear-jerking entertainment, especially in the actualization of a wonderfully recreated example of the early 1940s British film industry. This is one of those rare films where women are all at the top of the credit list… besides Scherfig, the screenplay was adapted by Gaby Chiappe (from a novel written by Lissa Evans) and the lead role is portrayed by Gemma Arterton, who has never been better. Additionally, the black shadow of the London bombings during the early 1940s was given a proper connection to the story, and young character actor Jake Lacy (HBO’s “Girls”) did some scene stealing of his own as the lone American cast member. For history, romance and comedy in the face of tragedy, “Their Finest” lives up to its title.
The Second World War is heating up, as Germany continues its bombing raids on London in 1940. With men off to war, clerical jobs need filling, so young writer Catrin Cole (Gemma Arterton) joins the Ministry of Film, propaganda division. She first is used as a script supervisor, but after interviewing twin sisters who rescued soldiers at Dunkirk, she is promoted to full screenwriter to structure the script, under the supervision of Tom Buckley (Sam Claflin).
When the British War Department gets wind of the project, they put their full approval behind it, hoping to lure the Americans into the war with its gung-ho message – they even cast an American RAF flyer named Lundbeck (Jake Lacy) to portray a Yank in the film. Add vain and pompous Ambrose Hilliard (Bill Nighy), and the production is put into full gear.
Sam Claflin, Gemma Arterton and Bill Nighy in ‘Their Finest’
Photo credit: STX Entertainment