As the story snakes south through the United States along the Mississippi River, this movie builds up a bleak, mopey vibe that's difficult to engage with. It's the story of two gambling addicts who think that the answer to all of their problems lies just around the next bend in the river, and it's sharply well written and directed, with astute performances from the lead actors. But it's also relentlessly grim and unsympathetic.
They start their journey in Iowa, where estate agent Gerry (Ben Mendelsohn) is at the end of his rope when he meets cocky gambler Curtis (Ryan Reynolds). There's a spark of recognition between them, as Gerry sees Curtis as himself 10 years younger, thinking maybe he can kickstart his life again. So they hit the road together, heading for a high-stakes poker game in New Orleans. Along the way, they stop to visit Curtis' favourite prostitute (Sienna Miller) in St. Louis and Gerry's bitter ex-wife (Robin Weigert) in Little Rock. And in between, they visit Memphis to win some extra cash. But by the time they reach New Orleans, things are starting to look desperate again.
Continue reading: Mississippi Grind Review
Gerry's gambling addiction has gotten way out of hand. He's already lost everything in his quest for winning, so now he's thousands of dollars in debt to nearly everybody he knows. Continually losing doesn't stop him hitting the casino, but when he meets casual poker player Curtis - who unlike Gerry doesn't let a desire for the win take over his life - he forms an unlikely bond and finds that his luck is beginning to turn, but not necessarily in the money stakes. The pair team up in order to go for the big bucks on New Orleans' legendary poker scene, and Curtis soon finds that Gerry needs something big to pull him out of the rut that is his life. He's got to learn that there's more to life than winning, but is he willing to take a gamble on the advice of his mysterious new friend?
Continue: Mississippi Grind Trailer
The incredible cast of 12 Years a Slave open up on the experiences of making the film
If '12 Years a Slave' doesn’t win a single award from now until the Oscars, it will still go down in history as one of the 21st century’s most important, affecting films. The story of Solomon Northrup’s enslavement and the subsequent hell he faced is as brutal as any ever told, and to truly extract even a modicum of sincerity, the entire cast had to be both honest and befittingly talented.
But when you’re speaking of a cast that comprises Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Dano, Brad Pitt, Pual Giamatti, Quvenzhané Wallis and Michael K. Williams, honesty and talent is never in question.
Continue reading: Meet The Cast Of 12 Years A Slave [Video]
Much more than a film about 19th century slavery in America, this sharply well-told true story has a lot to say about the world we live in today. And as he did in Hunger and Shame, filmmaker Steve McQueen puts us right into the middle of the story so we live it ourselves. Watching this film is a riveting, unnerving and ultimately moving experience.
It's based on a firsthand account by Solomon Northrup (Ejiofor), a musician who is living with his family in 1841 Saratoga, New York, when two friendly men offer him a great gig. But they drug him and sell him to slave traders, who send him to New Orleans and strip him of his identity. He spends the next 12 years working for two masters. Ford (Cumberbatch) is a fair man who puts him under the watchful eye of the cruel Tibeats (Dano). Then he is sold to Epps (Fassbender), a harsh boss who sends him into cotton fields and angrily suspects that Solomon is more educated than he admits.
Made with an earthy, realistic style, there's a clear sense that McQueen and screenwriter Ridley stuck closely to the details of Northrup's memoir, which was published shortly after his release and became a bestseller at the time. By never indulging in Hollywood-style exaggeration, the events remain grounded in the characters, drawing on the spiky interaction between them. At the centre, Ejiofor is utterly magnetic, delivering a transparent performance that takes our breath away. In his terrified eyes, we experience this horror ourselves.
Continue reading: 12 Years A Slave Review
Director Steve McQueen joins the stars of '12 Years A Slave' to praise the immense level of acting skill that went into creating the movie. Among those actors were main star Chiwetel Ejiofor, Alfre Woodard, Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Dano, Michael Fassbender and Lupita Nyong'o.
Continue: 12 Years A Slave - Featurettes
The overwhelming response to the Steve McQueen picture is that it is a deep, sometime difficult watch that prompts the best from the director and actors
12 Years A Slave is the film version of Solomon Northup's account of his kidnap and subsequent sale into slavery until his rescue twelve years later. The real-life account of the tragic fate of Northup and the appalling conditions he and millions of other slaves were forced to endure has been turned into a feature-length epic by British director Steve McQueen, who leads a largely British cast in the film that is being heralded by critics as a must-see film.
Chiwetel Ejiofor is spellbounding in 12 Years A Slave
Starring Chiwetel Ejiofor as Solomon, McQueen adapted the memoirs of the main character along with John Ridley to chronicle Solomon's harrowing twelve years, where he went from being a freeman living in New York, to a plantation slave in New Orleans between 1841 and 1853. Ejiofor has been roundly praised for his exceptonal acting talents, as have the rest of the cast, who include Brad Pitt, Paul Giamatti, Paul Dano, Benedict Cumberbatch, Alfre Woodard and Michael Fassbender, whose role as the heartless slave trader Edwin Epps has also been widely applauded for his unflinching brutality and realism.
The cast of '12 Years A Slave' arrive at the movie premiere at the New York Film Festival including lead actor Chiwetel Ejiofor and director Steve McQueen. Ejiofor plays real life wronged man Solomon Northup in this story about one man's illegal enslavement despite his American citizenship and achievements, based on the autobiography of the same name.
Solomon Northup was a well-educated man from a successful family living in upstate New York with his wife and three children. He was categorised as a free black man and made money through various jobs including as an entertainer playing the violin. In 1841, he was tricked into going to Washington DC with two white men for work where he was instead kidnapped and sold to slavery despite there being laws to protect free African-Americans. He spent twelve years on a plantation in Louisiana serving the brutal and abusive owner Edwin Epps. Determined to live his life again as a free man, he befriended a Canadian carpenter working for Epps by the name of Samuel Bass, whose high-morals turned Solomon's life around forever.
This poignant historical biopic is based on the 1853 autobiography 'Twelve Years a Slave' by the real Solomon Northup. It has been adapted to screen by writer John Ridley ('U Turn', 'Red Tails') and the BAFTA nominated director Steve McQueen ('Hunger', 'Shame'). With themes of freedom, racial inequality and the cruelty of mankind, '12 Years A Slave' could be one of the more heart-wrenching movies to kick of the year on its UK cinematic release on January 24th 2014.
Alice Pratt (Alfre Woodard) and Charlotte Cartwright (Kathy Bates) have been friends for over 30 years. The former runs a small diner. The latter is the CEO of a local construction company. Alice has two daughters -- snooty career gal Andrea (Sanaa Lathan) and honest, hardworking Pam (Taraji P. Henson). Charlotte has a conniving son named William (Cole Hauser) who cheats on his wife Jillian (KaDee Strickland). After marrying the decent Chris (Rockmond Dunbar), Andrea begins a torrid affair with her boss -- who happens to be William. He wants to take over for his aging mother, believing it is his birthright. In the meantime, a new employee (Robin Givens) stirs things up for the adulterous duo. Soon, all the simmering secrets in the Pratt and Cartwright households will be out in the open.
Continue reading: The Family That Preys Review
For starters, Dinosaur is that rarest of Disney animation flicks which is not a musical. There's a thumping James Newton Howard score, but the only singing here comes from trumpeting iguanodons and brachiosaurs. The story, on the other hand, is typical Disney kiddie fare: Iguanodon Aladar (D.B. Sweeney) is orphaned as a wee dino-egg on a remote island, where he is raised, Tarzan-style, by a family of lemurs (er... okay). When a freak meteor strike blows the island away, along with much of the rest of the world, Aladar swims to the mainland with his lemur family on his back, where he meets up with the surviving herbivorous dinosaurs who have banded together to trek to "the nesting grounds," a Waterworld-style vale which hasn't been reduced to desert and ruins like, apparently, the rest of the earth. (And never mind the fallout; there is none...)
Continue reading: Dinosaur Review
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