Anthony Mackie - Guests attend One For The Boys Charity Ball and celebrates the launch of the 2016 campaign film 'The Difference' at Victoria and Albert Museum - London, United Kingdom - Sunday 12th June 2016
After the formulaic thrills of The Winter Soldier and Age of Ultron, Marvel's Avengers were in danger of getting stuck in a rut, but a smart script for this surprisingly focussed thriller kicks everything into a new direction. What's surprising is that the screenwriters have managed to incorporate a wide range of characters without the film ever feeling overcrowded. Each person has a journey to travel, so the actors get a chance to invest plenty of personality into the action.
After the events of Ultron, there's a political debate about the need to oversee the Avengers' missions. Iron Man Tony (Robert Downey Jr.) thinks a special UN council is a good idea, but Captain America Steve (Chris Evans) thinks that will limit the team's ability to help people. Then Steve's best pal Bucky (Sebastian Stan) is framed for a bombing, and Black Panther T'Challa (Chadwick Boseman) is drawn into the fray. The Avengers are forced to take sides, with those supporting Bucky becoming outlaws. Tony recruits Spider-Man Peter (Tom Holland) to his team, while Steve drafts in Ant-Man Scott (Paul Rudd). And as they all face off against each other, none of them realise that this entire situation is being manipulated by a vengeful man named Zemo (Daniel Bruhl).
Watching this film requires the audience to suspend disbelief that these super-powered friends could be pushed to try to kill each other. That never quite makes sense, and indeed the script acknowledges this fact when one person goes down and everyone reacts emotionally. But the high-powered cast is so good at creating these intensely driven superheroes that it's not difficult to go with it.
Continue reading: Captain America: Civil War Review
The Avengers are suffering from an image crisis. As much good that they do and as many lives that they save, the superheroes also cause unlimited amounts of damage to cities and civilisation. The government wish to find an answer to this problem and they decide that all superheroes should be registered and held accountable for their actions.
Tony Stark is brought in to begin talks on behalf of The Avengers, knowing how much damage he's personally done under his superhero disguise, Stark see the government's point and decides that a register wouldn't be entirely unwelcome. Captain America on the other hand has no such wishes; The Cap sees any government intervention as something beyond reasonable requirement. In the middle of all this is Cap's old friend Bucky who could be prosecuted under the new laws. As The Avengers are forced to split into two halves, it looks like there's going to be no way for the old team to form any kind of agreement.
As their opinions deepen and rivalries are deepens, certain members of Hydra begin to tighten their control and their plans for future domination of the world are getting stronger. The Avengers must find a way to put their differences aside in order to beat the real enemy.
After a post-apocalyptic dystopia (The Road) and Prohibition-era America (Lawless), Australian director John Hillcoat brings his edgy Wild West sensibilities to this gritty present-day heist thriller. The film is fierce and stylish, and utterly gripping even though there's the nagging sensation that nothing is happening under the surface. Thankfully, the actors add plenty of terrific texture to their characters.
It's set in Atlanta, where Terrell (Chiwetel Ejiofor) leads his crew of thugs (Anthony Mackie, Clifton Collins Jr., Aaron Paul and Norman Reedus) through a riotously dangerous bank robbery. They're working for the cold-hearted Russian mobster Irina (Kate Winslet), who demands an even bigger heist before she'll pay them. Terrell has a child with Irina, so feels like he has little choice in the matter, but his team is made up of unstable hotheads and corrupt cops who have their own opinions. One of the cops also has a new partner in Chris (Casey Affleck), a tenacious good guy who's the nephew of a cynical detective (Woody Harrelson) who's just beginning to crack this case. So the gang decides to distract the city's police force with a triple 9, code for a downed officer, while they carry out their next elaborate robbery. The question is who will take the bullet.
Matt Cook's script is a bundle of mad twists and turns, usually the result of impulsive gang members who act without thinking. The tension is very high, as each person's morality is warped at every turn. All while Chris tries to remain upright in the middle of a storm he doesn't quite understand. Each character is up against a wall, ready to do whatever it takes to survive in a situation that is getting increasingly out of control. And without more subtext, or at least a sense of these people's back-stories, no one on-screen is very likeable.
Continue reading: Triple 9 Review
This blending of the stoner bromance with the Christmas comedy works surprisingly well, layering gross-out humour with holiday sentimentality. So it's a bit of a shame that the script is thin and ultimately rather pointless. There are observations about the nature of friendship and maturity, but nothing very deep. But along the way, the cast and crew pack in a riotous sense of humour that mainly centres on drugs and genitalia, plus a whiff of Christmas magic.
The movie centres on three best buddies in New York: Ethan, Isaac and Chris (Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Seth Rogen and Anthony Mackie). Over the past several years, they've celebrated Christmas together with a series of traditions including karaoke, Chinese food and loudly festive sweaters. But now Isaac's wife Betsy (Jillian Bell) is about to give birth to their first child, and Chris' pro-football career is beginning to take off. So this will be their last Christmas Eve together, and they plan to make it an epic one. Ethan has secured tickets to New York's most exclusive secret holiday party, which he learns that his not-quite-ex girlfriend Diana (Lizzy Caplan) is attending. Meanwhile, Betsy has given Isaac a box of drugs for a last blow-out, and Chris scores a stash of weed from a mythical dealer (Michael Shannon).
The premise is certainly packed with possibility, and the filmmakers have a ball with the druggy excesses as the night unfolds, including wildly anarchic set-pieces that throw these likeable characters into all kinds of messy situations. The three lead actors make the most of their roles, adding layers of complexity that aren't in the script while indulging in rampant silliness at every turn. And the supporting cast are up for it as well, fully committing to the movie's crazed atmosphere. There are also hilarious extended cameos from James Franco and Miley Cyrus.
Continue reading: The Night Before Review
This may look like it's going to be a zany Christmas romp, but it's really a warm exploration of family connections, essentially an American take on Love Actually's multi-strand comedy-drama. At least it has an unusually strong cast and moments of hilarity scattered throughout the story. And while it's never very deep, the themes are strongly resonant.
The Cooper family is gathering for what Charlotte (Diane Keaton) hopes will be one last perfect Christmas together. She knows that her 40-year marriage to Sam (John Goodman) is on the brink, but is ignoring that to plan a massive dinner. Their son Hank (Ed Helms) is stinging from divorce and unemployment, while daughter Eleanor (Olivia Wilde) has picked up a hunky soldier (Jake Lacy) in the airport and asks him to pose as her boyfriend so her family will stop asking about her love life. Meanwhile, Charlotte's father Bucky (Alan Arkin) is trying to cheer up his favourite waitress (Amanda Seyfried), and Charlotte's sister Emma (Marisa Tomei) is delayed when a cop (Anthony Mackie) arrests her for shoplifting.
Narrated with wry joviality by Steve Martin, the interwoven stories are fairly simplistic, but each touches a raw nerve. And the above-average cast brings out the underlying themes without overplaying their scenes. Keaton and Goodman add subtle shades to the slightly undemanding central roles, while Arkin finds a couple of new textures to his usual twinkly grandad persona. Helms and Wilde strike the right balance in their intriguingly unlikeable roles, while Tomei gets the most complex character as a woman who feels like she's merely watched her life drift along. By contrast, the outsiders played by Seyfried, Lacy and Mackie are much less defined, but each actor brings just enough magnetic energy. The most wasted performer is June Squibb, as a ditzy old aunt who's little more than the requisite gross-out relative.
Continue reading: Love The Coopers (aka Christmas With The Coopers) Review
Terrell Tompkins and his team of officers are corrupt, finding ways to embellish their wage has turned into a habit that's about to land them in a lot of trouble. When a powerful member of the Russian mafia learns of Tompkins' money making ways, she blackmails him and his team into pulling a heist for her. Fearing they'll be exposed, the gang carry out the job for Irene, a woman who might look glamourous but has a dark soul. Once the job's complete, the crew believe they're in the clear but savvy Sergeant Detective Jeffrey Allen has been put on the case and he soon discovers that there's probably more to the robbery than first thought.
That's not the only problem facing Tompkins, Irene tracks the cop down and requests another job - if refused Irene won't hesitate in taking their lives. This job is far bigger than the last and is an almost impossible mission. Feeling their only option is to distract all the cops in their district, the team come up with a plan to pull a Triple 9 call - police code for 'officer down'. However, with Sergeant Detective Allen constantly uncovering more information and being faced with the ordeal of killing one of their own, the job will be far from straight forward.
Triple 9 is directed by John Hillcoat who also directed 2012's Lawless starring Shia LaBeouf and Tom Hardy & the film adaptation of The Road starring Viggo Mortensen.
Paul Bettany makes a strong impression with his first film as a writer-director, exploring the big issue of homelessness from a variety of pointed angles. He also casts his wife Jennifer Connelly and his Avengers costar Anthony Mackie in demanding roles. The resulting film sometimes feels a little overworked dramatically, and relentlessly grim, but it's also provocative and moving.
It's set on the streets of New York, where Nigerian musician Tahir (Mackie) is living, having overstayed his US visa. Then he runs into junkie Hannah (Connelly), and the two have an immediate spark of camaraderie that blossoms into a tender relationship. But Tahir is trying to be a good Muslim, while Hannah is indulging in opportunistic crime to fund her habit. A brief respite squatting in an empty luxury home gets them off the streets briefly, so he can help her through withdrawal. And later when he's ill, she nurses him back to health. But finding somewhere to feel safe as winter bites down isn't easy. And desperation drives them to extraordinary actions.
The film is shot in an earthy, offhanded style that feels improvised, allowing Tahir and Hannah to emerge as complex people with a variety of talents and flaws. As they chat, details from their back-stories emerge, sparking anger and wrenching emotion, and drawing them inexorably together. Both Connelly and Mackie give performances that are full of passion. These are intelligent people who have been beaten down by life and don't have a clue where to turn next. So their sojourn in the empty house offers a glimpse into what kind of private life they would make if they had a chance, including borrowing some clean clothes from the vacationing owners ("I look like a zombie Goldilocks," Hannah observes).
Continue reading: Shelter Review
Ever since Chris, Ethan and Isaac were young, the trio of friends have always spent the run-up to Christmas together, as the years have gone by their Christmas eve reunion has become harder to manage and this year is no exception, with Chris living the highlife as a celebrity and Isaac soon to become a father, the trio decide that this year they're going to have a huge blowout.
The three guys might be approaching middle age but that's not going to stop them from having fun, this year they're convinced that they're going to find the Nutcracka Ball - piece de resistance in Christmas Parties.
The Night Before was written and directed by Jonathan Levine who also directed 50/50 and Warm Bodies starring Nicoholas Hoult. The film also sees the one and only Miley Cyrus making a cameo appearance.
Charlotte Cooper is the family matriarch and all she wants is for her family to be together at Christmas. All her children are now grown up and some have kids of their own. Like most families, their bond over the years might've loosened slightly as day to day life gets in the way but Christmas is different, it's a time to reunite and enjoy the holidays together.
Easier said than done with the Cooper's. Charlotte and her husband have decided to divorce (a secret they plan on keeping from the family as to not destroy the family break) their oldest daughter lives in another state, is out of work and has been dumped by her partner and is hates the idea of going home and facing the family whilst their son is currently dealing with his daughters back-chatting ways. As many problems are there are, there must be a way through in the spirit of Christmas.
Director Jessie Nelson has described The Coopers as The Christmas Von Trapp family commenting: "I like to say The Coopers are The von Trapps of this Christmas. They are the von Coopers,"
Sandra Bullock reminisces about how George Clooney once acted as her wing-man.
Sandra Bullock has revealed how George Clooney once acted as cupid and helped her find a boyfriend. On Monday (26th October), Bullock appeared at the L.A. premiere of her new film, Our Brand Is Crisis, when she detailed how Clooney once helped with her love life.
Sandra Bullock at the L.A. premiere of Our Brand Is Crisis, October 2015.
Continue reading: Sandra Bullock Reveals How George Clooney Once Acted As Her Wingman
After the formulaic thrills of The Winter Soldier and Age of Ultron, Marvel's Avengers were...
The Avengers are suffering from an image crisis. As much good that they do and...
After a post-apocalyptic dystopia (The Road) and Prohibition-era America (Lawless), Australian director John Hillcoat brings...
This blending of the stoner bromance with the Christmas comedy works surprisingly well, layering gross-out...
This may look like it's going to be a zany Christmas romp, but it's really...
Terrell Tompkins and his team of officers are corrupt, finding ways to embellish their wage...
As the world of Marvel super heroes become ever more entwined, Captain America: Civil War...
Paul Bettany makes a strong impression with his first film as a writer-director, exploring the...
Ever since Chris, Ethan and Isaac were young, the trio of friends have always spent...
Charlotte Cooper is the family matriarch and all she wants is for her family to...
Charlotte Cooper is determined to make this Christmas the best holiday the family has ever...
Jane 'Calamity' Bodine makes the brave move to come out of retirement as a top...
The increasingly stale Marvel formula gets a blast of fresh air in this rollocking adventure...
When a young girl's mother dies in childbirth, she is sent to live with her...