With a sweeping, picturesque setting and emotive performances, this dramatic epic will appeal to moviegoers who enjoy beautiful imagery and weepy romance. On the other hand, those who get easily annoyed at melodrama will find all of this a bit thin and pushy. Still, no one will deny that it looks gorgeous, and that the cast performs with raw emotional intensity.
Set just after the Great War, the film follows shellshocked veteran Tom (Michael Fassbender), who has taken over the job as the lighthouse keeper and sole resident of the tiny island of Janus, where the Pacific and Atlantic meet. In the nearest town, 100 miles across the sea, he meets the beautiful Isabel (Alicia Vikander), marries her and moves her to the island with him. But their blissful happiness is shaken when she suffers two harrowing miscarriages. So it seems like fate is intervening when a boat washes ashore with a crying baby, which Tom and Isabel secretly adopt and pass off as their own daughter. Then a few years later Tom discovers the baby's real mother Hannah (Rachel Weisz) in town, and they're forced to grapple with the moral issues.
Tom, Isabel and Hannah all face increasingly difficult decisions as this story unfolds, and the events push every button carefully, removing much of the complexity from the situation. It's painfully clear what must happen, and many scenes are darkly disturbing as a result, especially as characters turn on each other, making some very selfish choices and showing unexpected compassion and understanding. Nothing that happens here is easy, and the actors invest the characters with plenty of passion, plus the complexity that's lacking in the script. Fassbender is stoic, Vikander is wrenching and Weisz trumps them both with her sympathetic yearning. There's also a terrific scene-stealing turn from the young Florence Clery as the daughter in question.
Continue reading: The Light Between Oceans Review
The Light Between Oceans comes as a new drama film and sees the themes of love and loss explored throughout its emotional narrative. Tom Sherbourne (Michael Fassbender) and Isabel (Alicia Vikander) are a couple who are living off the coast of Australia post World War I and are very much in love. However tragedy strikes when Isabel loses the child that she is carrying, which leads to an emotional torture that leaves them both heart broken. In this mist of sadness, a light of hope comes in the form of a baby girl, who is washed up on their beach in a boat with her dead father. Isabel sees this as a gift from God and pleads to Tom that they should raise her as their own child.
Continue: Light Between Oceans Trailer
'Mad Max: Fury Road' and 'Spectre' were also big winners.
Just when you thought film awards season was over, the 2016 Jameson Empire Awards rolled in last night (March 20th 2016) to heap some much deserved praise on the epic of the year 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens'; a film which didn't manage to land an Oscar and wasn't even recognised at the Golden Globes in spite of its enormous appeal.
Daisy Ridley wins for 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens'
The film won Best Sci-Fi/Fantasy, beating 'The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2', 'Jurassic World', 'Mad Max: Fury Road' and 'The Martian'. However, it was beaten to Best Film (presented by Sky Movies) over all by Leonardo DiCaprio's 'The Revenant'. It also lost out on Best Costume Design to 'Mad Max: Fury Road', which was another major winner at the awards show when it also landed Best Soundtrack.
Continue reading: 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' Steals The Show At 2016 Empire Awards
Alicia Vikander, Brie Larson and Mark Rylance also scooped awards.
It would no doubt have been a total travesty if Leonardo Dicaprio didn't win his long-awaited Academy Award for his role in 'The Revenant', but no doubt his very first Oscars victory is a huge cause for celebration. The movie won a further two accolades, but didn't come close to 'Mad Max: Fury Road''s success of no less than six prizes.
So DiCaprio finally has a Best Actor Academy Award to add to his collection, while 'The Revenant' director Alejandro G. Iñárritu wins for the second year in a row. The movie, which explores the vengeful quest of 19th century explorer Hugh Glass after he was abandoned during a bear attack, also scooped the award for Best Cinematography, but it was beaten to Best Picture by 'Spotlight'; a drama about The Boston Globe's investigation of child abuse in the Catholic church. 'Spotlight' screenwriters Josh Singer and Tom McCarthy also took home Best Original Screenplay, whilst Best Adapted Screenplay went to Charles Randolph and Adam McKay for 'The Big Short'.
Director Tom Hooper deploys the same style he used in The King's Speech for this much darker story about the first man to undergo gender-reassignment surgery. It's an odd mix of rather too-pretty visuals with an edgy series of events that perhaps demands a lot more raw honesty. But the story is fascinating, and the cast is excellent, delivering astute, introspective performances that reveal the much earthier narrative under the lovely surface.
It opens in 1926 Copenhagen, where husband and wife painters Einar and Gerda Wegener (Eddie Redmayne and Alicia Vikander) are hoping to start a family as they develop their careers. One day, Gerda talks Einar into putting on a dress to pose for one of her paintings, and the experience triggers long-suppressed yearnings from his childhood. Gerda and their friend Ulla (Amber Heard) encourage him to attend a party in drag, and Lili Elbe is born, Einar's female alter ego who immediately attracts the attention of a lovelorn man (Ben Whishaw). After they move to Paris, they find another friend in Gerda's agent Hans (Matthias Schoenaerts), who was Einar's childhood pal. But while the French doctors think Einar is simply crazy, Gerda sticks by him as he decides to undergo a radical experimental surgery offered by a doctor (Sebastian Koch) in Germany.
Hooper's usual directorial flourishes include off-centre compositions, painterly sets and emotive close-ups, which bring out the internal struggles of the characters in beautiful ways. But this also has a tendency to simplify a story that is seriously complex. By emphasising the social conflicts and relational melodrama, the entire movie begins to feel rather thin, never quite grappling with the more provocative or disturbing aspects of the issues at hand. There are hints of what might have given the film an edgier kick, such as a moment of Hitchcockian obsession or the shifting of power between the male and female characters.
Continue reading: The Danish Girl Review
Strong characters help hold the attention as this overcooked drama develops, but in the end it feels so concocted that it's difficult to believe. While there's plenty of potential in the premise, the film becomes distracted by irrelevant subplots that try to stir up some tension but never quite manage it. And for a movie about food, the cuisine is simply too abstract to be mouthwatering.
At the centre is Adam (Bradley Cooper), a bad boy chef whose partying ways ended his high-flying career in Paris. After a period of penance in New Orleans, he moves to London to start again, with the goal of finally getting his elusive third Michelin star. Since he has alienated his friends, he turns to Tony (Daniel Bruhl), a guy who always had a soft spot for him and happens to be running a posh restaurant, which Adam quickly takes over. He rustles up some old colleagues (Omar Sy and Riccardo Scamarcio) and hires hot-shot Helene (Sienna Miller) as his sous chef. But his demanding perfectionism is keeping things from running very smoothly.
This set-up is ripe for both black comedy and soul-searching drama, and yet writer Steven Knight throws in irrelevant sideroads including a mandated therapist (the wonderful Emma Thompson), a bitter rival (a jagged Matthew Rhys), a couple of randomly violent loan sharks and a precocious little girl. Even though the actors do what they can to make every scene intriguing, none of these story elements add anything to the overall film. Still, Cooper holds the movie together with sheer charisma, even if his sudden transition from absolute tyrant to cuddly sweetheart isn't terribly convincing. At least he adds some surprising textures to his scenes, and indulges in sparky banter with those around him. And while Miller is solid in her thankless role, even she can't breathe life into such a thinly developed romance.
Continue reading: Burnt Review
The Hollywood Film Awards fire the starting pistol on awards season in the movie industry.
British star Carey Mulligan was among the winners at the 19th annual Hollywood Film Awards for her central role as Maud in the new movie Suffragette, a laundry worker who joins the fight for the right for women to vote.
The 30 year old star, who gave birth to her first child with husband Marcus Mumford just a few months ago, won Best Actress at the 2015 edition of the gongs, which are the first major ceremony in a long run of black-tie events leading up to the Academy Awards on February 28th.
The Hollywood Film Awards winners are announced in advance and are not televised, but prominently features movies not on general release and are a reasonable indicator of what will be on offer during awards season.
Einar Wegener is a Danish artist, apparently happily married to wife of the same occupation Gerda. One day, Gerda persuades her husband to assist her as a female model while she paints, dressing up in a dress and stockings. An unexpected wave of clarity washes over Einar, who readily agrees to continue posing for Gerda. Dubbing the female persona Lili, Gerda takes her out for fun - but when it seems Lili is falling for her childhood friend Hans Axgil, she is heartbroken. She eventually understands that her husband is actually a woman in the wrong body, and stands by her woman as she undertakes groundbreaking gender reassignment surgery; a series of operations that could threaten her very life, let alone her marriage.
Continue: The Danish Girl Trailer
Restauranteering is not a profession that should be taken lightly. Indeed, it's less of a job and more of a way of life for Adam Jones, who has wanted to become the greatest chef the world has ever seen since as long as he can remember. He was just 16-years-old when he left school to go to Paris and achieve his dream; becoming a Michelin star chef infamous across the Parisian culinary scene. But his rise to success came much too soon, and it wasn't long before his dream began to crumble around him, beaten by a life of drugs, violence, and volatile behaviour. With many of his opponents thinking him dead, he returns to London a new man to reignite his passion, earn a third Michelin star, and open the best restaurant in the world. All he needs is a talented team behind him, who is willing to give him the benefit of the doubt.
Continue: Burnt - Teaser Trailer
Adopting a deliciously groovy vibe, Guy Ritchie turns the iconic 1960s TV spy series into a flashy action-comedy. There's absolutely nothing to this frothy romp, but it's packed with hilarious characters and lively action scenes that continually surprise the audience with inventive twists on the genre. And it just might turn the suave, fast-talking Henry Cavill and the brooding, engaging Armie Hammer into A-list stars in the process.
It opens in 1963 East Berlin, where ex-con CIA operative Napoleon Solo (Cavill) is trying to help sexy mechanic Gaby (Alicia Vikander) escape to the West, chased by his nemesis, KGB agent Illya Kuryakin (Hammer). Gaby's father is a nuclear scientist on the verge of selling his secrets to a rogue Italian billionaire couple (Elizabeth Debicki and Luca Calvani) so, even though the Cold War is raging, the CIA and KGB decide to cooperate on the mission. This means that rivals Solo and Illya must work together as they travel to Rome with Gaby, making contact with British agent Waverly (Hugh Grant) and Gaby's creepy uncle (Sylvester Goth). And of course, there are unexpected wrinkles along the way.
As always, Ritchie cleverly subverts each set-piece, letting chase scenes unfold in carefully staged but enjoyably inventive ways, often putting the real action in the background while the characters act as if they're above all this nastiness. As popcorn entertainment, this is first-rate, with a cast that's more than up to the challenge. Cavill is particularly smooth, a Bond-style spy who seems unable to resist seducing every pretty woman he meets. Hammer's role is pricklier, since Illya never quite relaxes, although his petulance makes him just as likeable. Their interplay is snappy and often very funny but, unlike Ritchie's similarly toned Sherlock Holmes movies, this strains to avoid being a bromance. Solo and Illya continue to spy on each other right to the end, maintaining their Cold War distance even as they team up to save the world.
Continue reading: The Man From U.N.C.L.E. Review
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