Like a 10-years-later follow-up to 28 Days Later, this small British thriller takes a refreshingly original approach to the zombie genre. The most engaging difference is the fact that the central character is infected with a brain-eating virus, so the question has to be whether it's all bad. This introspective approach gives the movie a strong kick, and it looks great despite a small budget. So the film is involving and gripping even if, ultimately, there isn't much to it beyond a cool central idea.
The film opens with a school in an underground encampment, where soldiers guard children who are as heavily restrained as Hannibal Lecter. Their teacher Helen (Gemma Arterton) is friendly and open, as opposed to the sceptical Sergeant Parks (Paddy Considine). Dr Caldwell (Glenn Close) casually experiments on these youngsters to learn more about the virus, arguing that they're no longer human. But Helen has her doubts, especially with her super-smart pupil Melanie (Sennia Nanua). When the compound is overrun by "hungries", it's Melanie who helps Helen, Caldwell, Parks and guard Kieran (Fisayo Akinade) escape. And as they travel across a wasteland into London, they begin to wonder if there's any hope left for humanity as they knew it.
Director Colm McCarthy and writer Mike Carey keep these five survivors at the centre of the film, giving us people we can identify with as things get increasingly desperate. At each juncture, they make yet another grim discovery about this virus, forcing them to revamp their plan. This means that the film has a series of escalating set-pieces that are cleverly designed and very nicely shot and edited to build suspense and sometimes horror. It's also rare for a movie to take such an thoughtful approach to this genre, but then its three lead characters are strong, interesting women.
Continue reading: The Girl With All The Gifts Review
Melanie is no ordinary girl. She spends her days locked away in a cell and her only clothes resemble those of a prison inmate. On the few occasions she is let out of her cell, she must be secured into a reinforced chair with head, arm leg and feet restraints. Melanie isn't the only one who lives like this, she is part of a small class where each child is subject to the same treatment as Melanie. The children live on an army base and have been infected with a fungal disease that's spreading far and wide around the world. Whilst the children are infected, they also display human-like characteristics and emotions which is unlike the rest of the infected beings on roaming the outside world.
Outside of the army base, there are few who aren't infected. The soldiers, Dr. Caroline Caldwell and their teacher, Helen Justineau, are the only ones who come in contact with the children and they are subject to deeply disturbing tests. The only humane person in their life is their teacher, Helen. Though she knows how dangerous the children are, she still has affection for them and looks after them and teaches them to the best of her ability in such limited circumstances. Melanie and Helen are particularly close; out of all the children, Melanie appears to be the most adjusted and lashes out at humans less than the other children.
The army base finds itself under attack by some of the infected humans (known as Hungries) a battle breaks out between the humans and the mutated peers and Melanie and Helen find themselves thrown together. Melanie saves Helen from being attacked and equally, Helen protects her favourite student from the onslaught of Hungries.
Continue: Girl With All The Gifts Trailer
From Training Day to this year's Sabotage, filmmaker David Ayer writes and directs movies about the cathartic power of releasing your inner warrior. And this World War II action thriller is more of the same, with a "war is hell" message stirred in for good measure. The problem is that there's nothing particularly new here. It's a beautifully shot and edited film, with terrific performances and a remarkable sense of scale, but there have been so many movies made about this conflict that it's difficult to find something original to connect with.
It's near the end of the war, April 1945, as Wardaddy (Brad Pitt) leads the crew of a tank named Fury: Bible (Shia LaBeouf) is a true believer, Gordo (Michael Pena) is a relaxed joker, and Coon-Ass (Jon Bernthal) is a hot-headed thug. Having just lost their driver, they're joined by rookie Norman (Logan Lerman), who doesn't yet have a wartime nickname because he never thought he'd end up driving a tank. Together, they head further into Germany, not as liberators but as invaders and occupiers, working with other tank crews to take a strategic town before heading further into the hot zone, where a series of particularly brutal Nazi assaults ensue.
The point of the film seems to be that war erodes a person's humanity over time, and the sharpest aspect is the way each character emerges at some point on the continuum. Obviously, Norman is the naive newbie who still has a strong conscience, while at the other extreme Coon-Ass is virtually a monster. Wardaddy is somewhere in between, a tough guy who still has a sense of perspective, such as when he reasons that Norman should be allowed to have some private time with a young German girl (Alicia von Rittberg) simply because they're "young and alive". All of the actors are excellent, adding telling details to their characters that deepen every scene. And the camaraderie between the five-man crew is remarkably authentic, as is their ease inside the cramped quarters of the tank, which makes submarine movies look spacious by comparison.
Continue reading: Fury Review
Photographs from the red carpet at the premiere of 'Fury' at the 58th British Film Institute London Film Festival
During April, 1945, the final month of World War Two, the Allied Forces are making their final push into German territory. With the recent death of one of the crew of the tank, 'Fury', Norman (Logan Lerman) is inducted into the crew. The other members, 'Wardaddy' (Brad Pitt), 'Bible' (Shia LaBeouf), 'Gordo' (Michael Pena) and 'Coon-Ass' (Jon Bernthal) have been together for the entirety off the war so far, and desperately hope that the new recruit is ready to do his job. The film is brought to us by writer/director David Ayer ('Harsh Times' and 'End of Watch') and will be distributed by Columbia Pictures.
Wardaddy is an army sergeant with years of experience in the horrors and victories of war. He's one of the most effective and most courageous war heroes America has to offer and, now commanding a Sherman tank named Fury with a group of just five soldiers, he must lead his men into a highly risky operation right on their enemies' doorstep. Not only has he and his boys got the threat of serious outnumbering ahead of them, but Wardaddy also has to tutor a terrified new recruit named Norman Ellison, who's less than okay with shooting down hundreds of men in a vehicle he has never used before. It's all about having each other's backs and keeping everyone motivated to keep on fighting, but when a platoon of three-hundred German soldiers strike out, it doesn't look like that will be enough to keep them alive.
Continue: Fury Trailer
A bracingly original approach to both science-fiction and the found-footage genres makes this eerily realistic thriller well worth a look. Director Cordero may indulge in a variety of gimmicky and manipulative tricks, but he keeps everything grounded, as it were, and his expert cast makes sure that we are drawn into the story as it progresses. Which makes the conclusion startlingly intense.
After six months in space, the feed from the Europa One mission suddenly went blank, leaving Earth to wonder what was happening in humanity's first deep-space voyage. Unknown to the mission commander (Davidtz) in Houston, the six-person crew has continued on course to Jupiter's moon Europa, where they plan to explore whether there are conditions that could support life. When they arrive, their landing doesn't go quite as planned, and their experiments reveal things they couldn't possibly have expected. They also finally get a chance to send their video footage back to mission control.
What we're watching is an assembly of this footage, taken both inside and outside the ship as they travel, intercut with the commander's comments. Cordero directs all of this exactly like scenes we've seen from Space Shuttle missions, so it looks all too real, complete with a crew of complex experts. Marinca is terrific as the soulful pilot, with the charismatic Camargo and the curious Wydra as scientists, and the cheeky Copely and the intriguingly shaded Nyqvist as mechanics. This cast of acclaimed actors really raises the bar, adding layers of interest without ever seeming to act at all.
Continue reading: Europa Report Review
Hannah (Fox) is a prosecutor in the International Criminal Tribunal in The Hague, trying a Serbian for war crimes. But when her star witness (Mikic) lies to her, she's forced to rethink the case and turns to the witness' sister Mira (Marinca), who's actually the one with first-hand knowledge of the terrible events. The problem is that, even with solid testimony, the political situation in Europe is making it hard for Hannah to push for real justice. Not only are lives in danger, but it doesn't look like things are getting any better.
Continue reading: Storm Review
Only two years before a coup effectively ended his Communist regime (and subsequently sent him to the gallows), President Nicolae Ceausescu's Romania was a sort of lugubrious police state, as unforgiving and cold as the country's winters. Into one of these bitter winter days walks Otilia (Anamaria Marinca), a polytechnics major making her way over to visit her boyfriend after heading over to a hotel to check on a reservation. When asked why she needs a room when she lives in a dormitory, she explains that it's too crowded and noisy to get any studying done. The truth is far grimmer: Her roommate Gabita (Laura Vasiliu) is pregnant and has arranged to have an abortion, an illegal procedure under Ceausescu's rule.
Continue reading: 4 Months, 3 Weeks And 2 Days Review
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