It's Friday and the barbecue smoke plumes of the not-so-distant weekend beckon, but if you fancy going to see a film this weekend here's what's just been released.
Friday 12th July has been quite the launchpad for a host of new and exciting films, showcasing the genre spectrum. From action blockbusters to indies, political thrillers to kids animation films, there'll be something to suit all tastes and ages as the summer of film gets hotter.
Well, we'll start off with Trap For Cinderella first because it's the underdog erotic thriller indie with an interesting premise. The Iain Softley film will star young, up-and-coming British actresses Tuppence Middleton and Alexandra Roach as vivacious Micky and shy Do: two girls who are reunited after years apart and reignite a secret passion despite the disapproval they are faced with.
Tuppence Middleton & Alexandra Roach In Trap For Cinderella.
Just what exactly happened between Gibney and Assange?
Alex Gibney is one of his generation’s finest documentary makers, and amidst the flurry of WikiLeaks films, documentaries and books that are set to document the very real thriller that is Julian Assange’s life, he was first to cover it – but where is Assange’s interview?
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange addresses a crowd from the Ecuadorian Embassy
We Steal Secrets: the Story of WikiLeaks is not only the first WikiLeaks documentary, but it’s generally considered to be the best, but, as Gibney confirms, Assange’s absence from the film isn’t due to his busy schedule, or constantly seeking asylum in different countries. Rather, it’s a financial dispute. "Here's this tremendously romantic figure travelling the world with a laptop in his knapsack, exposing abuses of power," says Gibney. "That sounds like a pretty good story to me."
Continue reading: How Julian Assange's $1m Request Drove Alex Gibney Away
Controversy surrounds Alex Gibney's new documentary.
It was only a matter of time before the story of Julian Assange and WikiLeaks got adapted for the big screen. The idea of one man taking on the world’s government with the aid of thousands of anonymous informers seems to capture the zeitgeist of the 21st century so well, that it is perfectly suited for a movie adaptation – or several. Director Alex Gibney’s We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks is only the first of several – Laura Poitras, Ken Loach, Craig Ferguson, even Steven Spielberg are all working on documentaries or adaptations of the story, with Spielberg’s The Fifth Estate having just wrapped. Some have the blessing of Assange himself, while others do not.
Alex Gibney did not have Assange's backing.
We Steal Secrets falls in the second category. While Gibney worked in cooperation with Assange initially, the working relationship broke down when the WikiLeaks founder asked for $1 million for his interview. Gibney, however, doesn’t pay his subjects. He explained for the Guardian: "[Assange] then came up with an outrageous idea: 'How about you spy on the other interview subjects and report back to me, because I want to know what they're saying.' I said, 'No. I can't do that for you. I don't work for you.' [Assange] said in a huff, 'I don't work for you, either.'"
Julian Assange shot to fame in 2010 after using his already controversial website WikiLeaks to publish secret documents from the US military. More recently, he has been under a European arrest warrant following charges of sexual assault on two women in Sweden. Over fears that the UK will send him over and that he subsequently will be extradited to the US and possibly face charges surrounding his releasing of classified American diplomatic cables in 2010, he has fled to the Ecuadorian Embassy in London where he has diplomatic asylum. 'We Steal Secrets: The Story Of Wikileaks' tells his story of computer hacking, public rights to government-classified information and the real ethical nightmare surrounding both issues.
This is a documentary focusing on the real intentions of WikiLeaks and raising various moral issues about its use. It has been directed by Academy Award winner Alex Gibney ('Taxi to the Dark Side', 'Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room') who co-produced the film with Marc Shmuger ('Dead of Winter') and Alexis Bloom ('Frontline/World') and features founder Julian on his rapid journey to global fame. It is set to premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in 2013 with UK release dates yet to be announced.
Director: Alex Gibney
As New York's attorney general, Spitzer was "the sheriff of Wall Street", determined to force bankers to operate within the law. He fearlessly went after the biggest firms, standing up for people who were in danger of losing their hard-earned savings to fat-cat executives. This earned him a reputation that propelled him into the governor's seat and was grooming him to be president.
But it also gave him several formidable enemies. Then the news broke that he was a regular client of a high-priced prostitution firm. And Wall Street celebrated his fall.
Continue reading: Client-9: The Rise And Fall Of Eliot Spitzer Review
Along with the more personal documentary Breakfast with Hunter, Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson stands as a seminal work of talking head biography. It tracks down many of the important people in the Kentucky-born bad boy's life, and lets them wax poetic and profound for almost two hours. Within the reminiscences we learn of his initial love of writing, his time as part of the notorious outlaw motorcycle gang, his experiences with Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters, a run for sheriff of Aspen, Colorado, his eyewitness account of the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago, and his various run-ins and affiliations with members of both the counterculture and Establishment.
Continue reading: Gonzo: The Life And Work Of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson Review
It's for those people in particular that Alex Gibney's deeply unsettling documentary Taxi to the Dark Side should be required viewing, though just about any citizen should feel the film worthy of their time. Gibney, who did a smart job of untangling the tortured and headache-inducing mess that was the Enron case with 2005's Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room, does similarly swift work here cleaving through the morass of obfuscation and half-truths that have veiled the country's involvement in torture and extralegal detention since 9/11.
Continue reading: Taxi To The Dark Side Review
Why anyone would want to win this contest remains a concept outside the actual narrative provided by filmmaker Marc Levin. With access to the actual figures fictionalized in Scott's crime drama, as well as an unusual amount of openness from said participants (most have done their time and are ready to rewrite history), we get the seedier side of the Me Decade in the Big Apple. Barnes describes his own pretend professionalism, taking credit for turning drug dealing into an "above board" case of supply and demand. His associates discuss their designer clothes, outlandish jewelry, and the lovely ladies that hung from their arms like erotic accessories. Thanks to some incredible archival footage, we witness the actual nude dope factories, bare-ass biz-natches cutting and bagging the killer powder.
Continue reading: Mr. Untouchable Review
As a chronicle of stupidity, Ferguson's film is nearly beyond compare. Acting as sort of a Cliff Notes version of many of the better books on the many blunders in planning and leadership prior to the 2003 invasion -- particularly The Assassin's Gate by George Packer (who provides some of the best soundbites for the film) and Thomas E. Ricks' Fiasco -- the film lays out in no uncertain terms what went wrong, whose mistake it was, and what the results were. Fortunately for the film, but unfortunately for the world at large (not to mention thousands of Iraqis and Americans), those mistakes were legion, and hard to comprehend.
Continue reading: No End In Sight Review
However, regarding actual legal action against Kissinger the film isn't convincing beyond a reasonable doubt mainly because there are so many other men (especially Nixon) who could equally take the blame. But unlike Hitchens' book it isn't full of contempt for its subject nor does it have the feeling of a smoking gun conspiracy. The evidence is presented straightforwardly and best of all there are numerous interviews by the likes of the aforementioned Hitchens and Hirsch as well as New York Times writes Elizabeth Becker and William Safire who have studied Kissinger's actions closely. There are also interviews by a good number who worked alongside Kissinger in those years - many of whom were wiretapped by Kissinger in the 1970s.
Continue reading: The Trials Of Henry Kissinger Review
Three Enron executives drive the downfall and the film: Kenneth Lay, the company founder, who in seeking to deregulate the energy market and leave behind the memory of his poor childhood, developed a billion dollar idea that he couldn't leave alone; Jeff Skilling, the nerdy financial whiz who figured out that energy could be traded like stocks and bonds; and Andrew Fastow, the fall guy who organized a series of dummy accounts to essentially keep up appearances.
Continue reading: Enron: The Smartest Guys In The Room Review
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