Actor-director Kenneth Branagh has been knighted by Queen Elizabeth who also recognized actress Kate Winslet as a Commander of the British empire. Stage and screen veteran Branagh will now be known as Sir Kenneth. “I feel very humble about it, I feel elated about it,” he told the BBC. Branagh is currently directing and co-starring with Chris Pine in Paramount’s Tom Clancy reboot Jack Ryan. Winslet will be seen next in the ensemble comedy Movie 43 that opens January 25. Additionally Take That frontman Gary Barlow, a judge on the British version of X-Factor, received the Order of the British Empire.
Hong Kong-based director Johnnie To’s first movie filmed in mainland China, Drug War, is the second surprise selection for this year’s Rome Film Festival which started Friday and runs through November 17th. The other surprise entry was Feng Xiaogang’s Back To 1942. Screening this week, Drug War features the prolific To’s signature gritty action style in the tale of a drug-warrior cop (Sun Honglei)who suspects a double-cross when a captured kingpin (Louis Koo) offers his help to bring down a rival. The movie was shot in the port city of Tianjin.
Australian screenwriting team behind local horror hit Acolytes who contributed to international novelty Bait 3D, Shayne Armstrong and S.P. Krause, have formed their production company Rarer Monsters along with Charles Mitchell and Lachlan Madsen. Armstrong and Krause’s first release on their own is their just finished short Huge. It concerns an actor who makes a deal with the devil to lose a massive amount of weight. As a result he becomes aware of a century-old conspiracy involving the untimely deaths of over-sized comedians in Hollywood. Huge will premiere at the Brisbane International Film Festival this month. Armstrong and Krause plan to begin filming horror project The Contents, their first feature as producers, next year.