Word has it that a 4-year-old came up with the idea for this unapologetically silly action movie. And it's a proper guilty pleasure. From the director of Ice Age, it never takes itself seriously, so disarms even the grouchiest members of the audience with its energetic mayhem and characters. It's very childish, and sometimes rather too cute, but it's also a lot of fun.
In rural North Dakota, an oil drilling company has unearthed something from deep underground. And it's teenage loner Tripp (Lucas Till) who discovers a huge octopus-type creature that turns out to be friendly, intelligent and rather adorable. It immediately takes refuge in the empty engine cavity of the truck Tripp is building, and it provides more power than Tripp imagined. All of which drags Tripp's popular-girl lab partner Meredith (Jane Levy) into the adventure as the oil company boss (Rob Lowe) sends his henchman (Holt McCallany) to find and dispose of the creature before the environmental officials can shut him down. But his chief scientist Bill (Thomas Lennon) is having doubts about killing the two endearing monsters they've already captured.
Yes, it sounds like a premise a 4-year-old might come up with, mixed with an ecological message for our times and some surprisingly impressive digital effects. The script breezes through all of this, as the cast and crew blithely charge forward through a series of laughably entertaining action set-pieces. It's never terribly thrilling, but the scenes are so good-natured that they keep us smiling. Till and Levy are charming heroes, and their strong chemistry is thankfully allowed to simmer in the background. Pepper is initially the film's antagonist as Tripp's harsh sheriff stepdad, but he hands over these reins to an enjoyably evil Lowe. And Lennon provides some nice moments of comic relief as the sensitive scientist won over by these blobby beasts.
Continue reading: Monster Trucks Review
After teaming up with Will Ferrell for Get Hard and Ice Cube for two Ride Along movies, Kevin Hart takes on The Rock in this entertaining action-comedy bromance. They make a great couple, as Dwayne Johnson's bulk cleverly contrasts with Hart's tightly wound intensity. Even more enjoyable is that they've essentially swapped roles, with Hart as the straight guy opposite Johnson's awkward goofball.
They play characters who knew each other in high school, when Calvin (Hart) was the king of the campus, captain of every sports team, star of every theatre production, top student and boyfriend of the sexiest cheerleader (Danielle Nicolet), whom he went on to marry. On the other hand, Bob (Johnson) was a badly bullied, overweight kid, who now turns up in town for their 20th reunion as a beefy muscleman. Clearly a little unhinged, Bob is also a rogue CIA operative, hunted by his boss Pam (Amy Ryan) for killing his partner (Aaron Paul) and other crimes he insists he didn't commit. So he ropes Calvin in to help clear his name, but Calvin finds this situation so insane that he's not sure who to believe.
While all of this plays out in a blissfully silly way, there's also a bit of an edge to the movie as it explores the issue of bullying with some gentle nuance that includes racism, sexism and homophobia. So even when it's rude or mindlessly corny, the movie is making a point. That said, the message might have been more convincing without the over-the-top violence that fills all of the action sequences. Thankfully, that never drowns out the terrific chemistry between Johnson and Hart, who bounce hilariously off each other as two men who have been emasculated in very different ways and need to prove themselves. This vulnerability makes both of them easy to identify with, especially as they play with their usual on-screen personas.
Continue reading: Central Intelligence Review
Tripp doesn't like the small town life that's currently encapsulating his life. He's a senior in high school and can't wait to make a break for a fresh start as soon as possible. Tripp is a great mechanic and starts building his own monster truck but what happens next was beyond belief for the student.
As Tripp works on his car, he discovers a monster living inside his car. Initially scared of the oddity, the human eventually warms to his unlikely new friend and realises that he must've come to the surface after a recent oil drilling accident.
Tripp calls the monster Creatch and notes that he's incredibly intelligent and loves dining on large quantities of fuel. With hunters hot on the heels of Creatch, Tripp must devise a way to protect his new friend.
Continue: Monster Trucks Trailer
Sometimes the law can get cause problems even for those who wrote them, particularly in the face of war. Thus, when an American spy plane is shot down while covertly photographing Russian bases, the thankfully unharmed pilot is held hostage by the foreign government. He'll only get to go home if America agrees to release their own spy, who's currently serving time in prison. Unfortunately, American law states that they can't just let a Russian spy go free without a proper appeal, and that's where James Donovan comes in. Donovan is a simple New York insurance lawyer not known for high-profile cases, but one thing he is is fair. He's asked to defend the spy and help organise the return of the American pilot, but that becomes a major sacrifice for the lawyer who now faces a struggle against some angry citizens who aren't going to let him forget it if they let the 'traitor' out of jail.
Continue: Bridge Of Spies - He's A Spy Clip
It's the height of the Cold War and things are getting tense between Russia and America. An American U-2 spy plane has been shot down while photographing Russian bases, its pilot held captive. They're willing to release him, however, if only the American government send back an imprisoned spy of their own. However, by American law, that's virtually impossible - and that's where James Donovan comes in. An insurance lawyer who's never dealt with a case of such high stakes, he is enlisted by the CIA to defend the Russian spy in court in order to have him released and sent home without charge. It seems an impossible task when the whole of America are against setting him free and indeed even neighbours turn against Donovan, targeting his family as he tries to give one man a fair trial.
Continue: Bridge Of Spies Trailer
Zach Cooper has just moved to a sleepy town and is looking forward to getting to know his new neighbors. Hannah seems nice enough, but her father is less than willing to be welcoming; he also happens to be R. L. Stine, the author of the famous children's horror book series 'Goosebumps'. Late at night, Zach hears screams coming from their house and decides to check on his new friend - especially given how unstable her father seems. However, Zach is not prepared for what he's about to find inside the creepy abode. Sitting neatly within an old bookcase are locked volumes containing the 'Goosebumps' manuscripts and, curious as he is, he decides to open one of them. Unfortunately, as he discovers, that was really one mistake too many when he unwittingly unleashes those supposedly fictional monsters into the world.
Continue: Goosebumps - First Look Trailer
James Donovan is a simple insurance lawyer from Brooklyn, New York whose cases have never evoked too much controversy. However, all that changes quickly when he is enlisted by the CIA to defend a Russian spy in an impossible mission to have him released from prison without charge and returned home. When an American spy plane pilot is shot down during a task of photographing Russian territory, he thankfully survives; however, the angry Russian government are not planning on handing him over too easily. The only problem is, the law is very much not on the side of the Russian spy and in order for their man to be flown home, the government have to find a loophole to release their own captive. Donovan believes everyone deserves a fair trial, but he's one of very few people who do and by putting his life on the line to help his country during the Cold War, he's risking his family too.
Continue: Bridge Of Spies - International Trailer
In 1960, the hard work of many good people was tested greatly. The height of the Cold War was set to see a series of peaceful negotiation between the Americans and Russians, but a week beforehand, everything changed. An American spy plane was shot down by Russian missiles, carrying pictures of various Russian air force bases. While the US government tried to deny the charges, the Russians were able to provide the pictures, the airplane wreckage, and the pilot - miraculously unharmed. In exchange for his return, they wanted one of their captured spies to be returned. James B. Donovan (Tom Hanks), a simple lawyer, was tasked with creating a case to allow the US government to release the Soviet spy without jail time - a request that seemed almost impossible in the face of Cold War prejudice.
Continue: Bridge Of Spies - US Trailer
With the potential to earn a quick bit of cash here and there, Don Verdean (Sam Rockwell) turned to the life of a "Biblical archaeologist", uncovering and selling works of art and pieces of Biblical history. As he starts to fabricate and lie his way through his 'adventures', Verdean acquires the help of a church that announce their intentions to bankroll his expeditions and help him do whatever he wants to in his quest to find and return The Holy Grail. With the potential of being found out and exposed, Verdean is forced to think inwardly about what is truly most important to him.
Continue: Don Verdean - Clip
Mexican filmmaker Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu continues to reject traditional narrative structures with this whizzy, ambitious exploration of celebrity, art and commerce. And the clever casting of Michael Keaton adds another layer of meaning to the whole film, which is shot as one long wildly entertaining single take and pointedly subtitled "The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance". Blackly hilarious and darkly emotional, this is an exploration of how show business can push a person to the brink of madness. And maybe knock them over the edge.
Keaton stars as Riggan, once a top movie star known for his three Birdman blockbusters. But he hasn't done anything notable since, and is now trying to reboot his career by directing, adapting and starring in a Broadway play based on a Raymond Chandler story. The problem is that no one will let him escape from the iconic superhero character he's best known for, least of all Birdman himself, who mentally haunts and taunts Riggan at every turn. Meanwhile in the theatre, Riggan locks horns with costar Mike (Edward Nortan), a controlling show-off brought in at the request of lead actress Lesley (Naomi Watts). As opening night approaches, Riggan and his producer-friend Jake (Zach Galifianakis) are also struggling with the demands of high-maintenance costar Laura (Andrea Riseborough), plus distractions from Riggan's daughter-assistant (Emma Stone) and ex-wife (Amy Ryan).
Inarritu and ace cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki tell this story as if it's one continuous snaky shot with the camera following Riggan through the maze-like backstage corridors, into the theatre and out into nearby Times Square streets. The virtuoso filmmaking is simply breathtaking, and it works perfectly because all of the characters are packed with pungent details and fully developed inner lives. The actors find all kinds of quirks that are both hilarious and darkly thoughtful, creating jagged interaction as they cross paths with each other, sparring riotously for attention. Every scene bristles with startling revelations and barbed jabs at the Hollywood system.
Continue reading: Birdman Review
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