Categories Dream Horse Premiere Print Media Review Sundance Film Festival

Dream Horse Review: Variety – Jan 26, 2020

Equal Emphasis is Given to the Excellent Lewis

by Dennis Harvey | Variety | January 26, 2020

Louise Osmond’s 2015 Sundance audience winner “Dark Horse” was one of those documentaries that played like a crowdpleasing fiction, its real-life tale of underdog triumph had such a conventionally satisfying narrative arc. And indeed, the new “Dream Horse” proves that same material is indeed ready-made for dramatization.

Euros Lyn’s feature springs few true surprises within its familiar genre, one that U.K. filmmakers have specialized in at least since “The Full Monty.” Still, this is a well-cast, artfully handled effort that exercises sufficient restraint to really earn its requisite laughter and tears. Likely to have broad appeal, with strong word-of-mouth from its own Park City premiere, it looks to be one of the strongest commercial prospects at Sundance this year.

Toni Collette is in fine form as Jan Vokes, a middle-aged South Wales native whose life in declining former mining town Cefn Fforest has hit a seemingly permanent slump. Her children have left the nest, arthritic husband Brian (Owen Teale) mostly just parks himself in front of the telly, and her two jobs (bartending at the local social club/pub and cashiering at a big-box store) are joyless dead ends. She and Brian have always been keen on animals, each raising award-winning livestock from an early age. But currently they’re down to some geese, a lazy dog and the odd goat.

One day a newish patron (Damian Lewis) at the pub, bragging about his purported glories as part of a racehorse investing syndicate, piques Jan’s interest. After doing some research, she informs the incredulous Brian that they’re buying a brood mare, then actually goes out and does it. The next thing is to draft local investors to fund the considerable costs of orchestrating insemination by a racing stallion, raising the offspring, training, et al., with only the remotest chance of arriving at a winning competitor.

Continue reading Dream Horse Review: Variety – Jan 26, 2020

Categories Dream Horse Premiere Print Media Review Screenings Sundance Film Festival

Dream Horse Review: Toni Collette and Damian Lewis Lead This Crowd-Pleasing Sports Drama – Jan 26, 2020

It Will Make You Chuckle, Cheer, and Maybe Even Tear Up: 7 Out of 10

by Ben Pearson | Slash Film | January 26, 2020

Jane (Toni Collette) is tired. Tired of working multiple jobs in small-town Wales, tired of her boring husband Brian (Owen Teale) who bums around watching TV all day, tired of taking care of her aging parents, tired of the drudgery her life has become. So when Howard (Damian Lewis), a former hotshot racehorse owner, becomes a regular at the bar where she works, Jane is inspired to try her own hand at raising a racehorse – but she needs some help to pull it off. Based on a 2015 documentary called Dark Horse, director Euros Lyn’s Dream Horse is an inspirational, winning sports drama about a small town with big hopes.

The trouble with Jane’s plan is that racehorses are expensive. So she reaches out to the townsfolk to see if they want to form a syndicate, an ownership collective in which they all pay £10 a week for shared rights to the future winnings of their still non-existent racehorse. A coterie of characters shows up to participate, including retirees, local small business owners, and even the town drunk.

Continue reading Dream Horse Review: Toni Collette and Damian Lewis Lead This Crowd-Pleasing Sports Drama – Jan 26, 2020

Categories Dream Horse Horse Racing Print Media Sundance Film Festival

Living the Dream: Why Hollywood Has Taken On Ultimate Rags to Riches Tale – Jan 26, 2020

Damian is a Dream on Dream Horse

by Olivia Buxton | Sunday Express | January 26, 2020

It’s a long way from an old slag heap in a Welsh mining village to the red carpets of Hollywood. But, then again, how often has a horse bought on a whim for £300 beaten the multi-millionaires of the sport of kings?  And all that after undergoing a revolutionary stem cell treatment to overcome a life-threatening injury which was feared would stop him ever racing again.

Now the rags-to-riches story of Dream Alliance and how he brought hope to one of Britain’s most deprived spots is a film with Homeland star Damian Lewis, Gavin & Stacey‘s Joanna Page and hit Broadway actress Toni Collette. It was even screened at the swish Sundance Film Festival in Utah on Friday.

It all began in Cefn Fforest working men’s club when Jan Vokes overheard tax advisor Howard Davies (played by Lewis) saying how he once ran a racehorse syndicate. It had cost him £5,000 and he’d promised wife Angela (played by Page) that he would never do anything like it again. But Jan was interested.

She cleaned at Asda and at a school and worked as a barmaid – but didn’t see why she couldn’t breed a racehorse. She had an allotment on a slag heap, as a child had watched her father breed budgies and had bred pigeons and whippets herself.

Howard managed to convince his wife that they wouldn’t lose money and found an aging stallion for stud.

Joanna Page says it was a joy to star alongside Damian Lewis in Dream Horse,

“Damian Lewis plays my husband, Howard, and we have a syndicate in this Welsh village, where we live and we breed a racing horse. Damian’s character is one of the main ones in the syndicate but Angela is not very supportive.”

“But Damian was so lovely and funny to work with. He’s brilliant.”

Continue reading Living the Dream: Why Hollywood Has Taken On Ultimate Rags to Riches Tale – Jan 26, 2020

Categories Homeland Print Media

Homeland Declassified: An Oral History of Never Told Tales – Jan 16, 2020

Battles, Backlash, CIA Meetings

by Michael O’Connell | Hollywood Reporter | January 16, 2019

Claire Danes, Mandy Patinkin, Damian Lewis and the creators of the era-defining Showtime drama — now entering its eighth and final season — reveal in The Hollywood Reporter’s oral history never-told tales of a show that smashed records, captivated presidents and predicted everything from terrorist attacks to Russian election hacks.

“What keeps you up at night?” That’s the question Homeland showrunner Alex Gansa annually posed to Washington insiders before putting fingers to keyboard on a season of his Emmy-winning Showtime drama.

What began as a slick spy thriller driven by a potent sexual chemistry, courtesy of leads Claire Danes and Damian Lewis, evolved into an exposé on the greatest dangers to an America that finally had some distance from 9/11. Threats from ISIS, the surveillance state and Russian interference punctuated clandestine meetings with the intelligence community — part of a yearly writers and cast symposium in D.C. affectionately dubbed “Spy Camp.”

The series, loosely developed from an Israeli format by Gansa and longtime collaborator Howard Gordon (24), became an instant and bona fide success when it premiered in 2011 to 2.8 million viewers and unanimous critical acclaim. Boasting a murderers’ row of writers, each a showrunner at one time, the drama catapulted Showtime and studio Fox 21 to an echelon of prestige TV they previously couldn’t reach. It swept its first Emmys (with six awards total) and those first seasons had both the Obamas and Clintons soliciting screeners.

Continue reading Homeland Declassified: An Oral History of Never Told Tales – Jan 16, 2020

Categories Poll Print Media

Vote for Damian to be the Next Bond – Jan 11, 2020

Who Will Actually Be The Next James Bond? An In-Depth Analysis

by Tom Nicholson | Esquire | January 11, 2020

Who’s going to take over from Daniel Craig as James Bond when he swaps his Walther PPK for a P45? Who knows. This far ahead of Bond 25’s 2020 release you might as well get the Ouija board out to ask the spirit of Cubby Broccoli what he reckons.

Nonetheless, there are a few orthodoxies to point the way. Traditionally, it’s been a role which elevates actors to the A-list rather than being an A-list vehicle. Look at where past Bonds were in their careers when they got the gig: Sean Connery was an undistinguished jobbing actor best known for fighting leprechauns in Disney’s begorrah-and-blimey Irish tale Darby O’Gill and the Little People; George Lazenby was a car salesman turned chocolate advert mascot who bumped into Broccoli at the barbers; Pierce Brosnan had a perm.

You’ll need a history of hefty, critically respected film parts these days too. Daniel Craig had Layer Cake, Munich and a role as Ted Hughes in Sylvia on his showreel before Bond, and the next will need a similarly solid CV as well as having convinced when jumping out of helicopters and the like. Then there’s the general sense of Bond-ishness: Connery “moved like a panther”, as Cubby’s wife Dana Broccoli put it, and that sense of muscular virility has been an essential part of each Bond actor on screen. These are the 12 frontrunners:

Continue reading Vote for Damian to be the Next Bond – Jan 11, 2020