Katya and Alexander were never meant to fall in love but that's exactly what happened. The year was 1959 and the couple were both living in Moscow, Alexander a Soviet politician and Katya a spy for the US. Katya was tasked with infiltrating Alexander's political circle by targeting him. Initially Katya's mission goes to plan but when the couple fall in love, her plan goes awry.
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Bill Pope is a CIA operative who's been recruited to carryout a very special mission. Pope must hide a hugely valuable asset and protect him from the people who are hunting him. Pope manages to hide the asset but is killed in the aftermath. With none of his collegues knowning where the asset is stored they must find a solution to their problem.
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This fascinating true story is strong enough to hold up against the formulaic Hollywood treatment, boosted by another riveting performance from Helen Mirren. She adds some badly needed prickly humour to the film, which continually resorts to unsophisticated sentimentality as it traces a remarkable series of real events. And it helps that the story has some intriguing things to say about both art and history.
It opens in 1998 Los Angeles, where Maria Altmann (Mirren) has discovered some documents in her late sister's belongings that refer to a beloved portrait of their Aunt Adele (Antje Traue in flashbacks). The problem is that the painting is Gustav Klimt's Woman in Gold, which is regarded as the "Mona Lisa of Austria" and held in pride of place in the national gallery. Since Austria has begun restoring art stolen from its citizens by the Nazis, Maria hires novice family-friend lawyer Randy Schoenberg (Ryan Reynolds), who quickly realises the futility of the case. But they travel to Vienna to begin the process, getting some help navigating the system from local journalist Hubertus (Daniel Bruhl). Sure enough, the Austrian government fights Maria at every step of the way.
The compelling argument in this film is that if Austria acknowledges that this national treasure was stolen, it implicates the government and the population in complicity with the Nazis. And that's something no one is willing to do. There's also of course the issue of greed, since Woman in Gold is worth $100 million. But Maria's simple question is why the painting's value or status matter when its true ownership is so clear. Director Simon Curtis and writer Alexi Kaye Campbell wisely dash through the series of hearings, court cases and appeals, while emphasising this undeniable fact of the case. Although this also simplifies most scenes into little more than "Nazis bad, Jews good". While the flashbacks to Maria's past are moving and informative, Randy's sideplots feel irrelevant and undercooked, featuring his pregnant wife (Katie Holmes) and sardonic boss (Charles Dance).
Continue reading: Woman In Gold Review
When the Nazis took over Vienna prior to the Second World War, they stole countless, priceless artefacts. One of these artefacts was the Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I, and an Austrian Holocaust survivor has the perfect claim to it. Maria Altmann (Helen Mirren) hires Randol Schoenberg (Ryan Reynolds), a lawyer of Austrian decent, to help her become once again acquainted with the famous painting of her aunt. The problem is, that the painting is held in a Vienna art gallery, and the Austrian government are adamant in keeping the national treasure. Altmann, on the other hand, is desperate to get back what is rightfully hers.
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John Gregory is a Spook charged with ridding the country of witches, beasts and malevolent forces. But, as the years tick by, he realises that he must enlist another to keep evil at bay in the form of Thomas Ward, the seventh son of the seventh son who possesses the power to see things others cannot. When the powerful witch Mother Malkin makes her return, after Gregory thought he'd defeated her years ago, Thomas is forced to confront her and slay her once and for all. But things aren't as easy they seem when he befriends a witch girl who convinces him that not all witches are bad. Will Thomas succeed in sending Malkin back to the grave? Or will he find himself putting his trust in the wrong people?
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The cast and crew of 'Man Of Steel' including stars Henry Cavill, Amy Adam, Antje Traue and Russell Crowe, screenwriter David S. Goyer, director Zack Snyder, composer Hans Zimmer and co-producer Christopher Nolan are interviewed on the red carpet at the UK premiere by TV's Alex Zane.
Superman gets the Dark Knight treatment, as Christopher Nolan offers a much grittier, more intensely personal look at the biggest superhero of them all. It's a flawed film that feels far too violent for its own good, but the pungent story holds us in its grip all the way through, cleverly weaving the character's back-story into a series of emotive flashbacks along with massively thrilling action sequences. And along the way there are resonant ethical dilemmas, family issues and pointed political drama.
Some 30 years ago, scientist Jor-El (Crowe) packed his infant son Kal-El into a pod and sent him to Earth to escape certain doom as the planet Krypton imploded after centuries of ecological abuse. This enrages the viciously tenacious General Zod (Shannon) who spends three decades searching for the child. Meanwhile, Kal-El (Cavill) was raised as Clark in Smallville, Kansas, by the Kents (Lane and Costner), who taught him to keep his powers in check. But when he activates a downed Kryptonian ship, he alerts Zod to his whereabouts. And just as nosey journalist Lois Lane (Adams) learns Clark's secret, Zod arrives to launch a full-on attack.
This is a film about internal conflicts, and everyone has to face up to their own desires and responsibilities. Even Zod, whose dedication to his people means that he is willing to wipe out humanity in order to recreate Krypton on Earth. So Kal-El is caught between protecting his adopted planet and being loyal to his birth species. Lois is struggling with keeping a big secret or reporting the news. All of this provides plenty of gristle for the actors to chew on, even if the dilemmas aren't actually that difficult. And even though they sometimes seem consumed by the elaborate sets and costumes.
Continue reading: Man Of Steel Review
The world is facing the biggest global threat that it has ever come across as the Kryptonian villains General Zod and his assistant Faora attack with vengeance in their hearts searching to destroy a lost member of their race. Clark Kent is a journalist for the Daily Planet, adopted as a baby by a loving Kansas family and, though he has always been aware of his extraordinary powers of strength, speed, flight and not to mention intelligence, he has rarely sought to use them preferring to make an attempt to fit in with the rest of human civilisation. However, when his existence threatens the destruction of mankind, he finds he must embrace his true identity and use it to defend the world that has become his home.
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Clark Kent was born on the planet Krypton to two loving parents in the midst of its impending destruction. In a bid to save his life, his parents blast him safely to Earth where he is adopted by a Kansas couple named Martha and Jonathan Kent who raise him as their own son. As he grows older, however, he becomes an outcast having developed extraordinary superpowers that allow him to accomplish great feats of strength. He attempts to conceal his abilities to fit in as a budding journalist for the Daily Planet, but when a threat of galactic proportions threatens to destroy the Earth, he is forced to venture on a path of heroism and become the planet's saviour.
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Clark Kent is a young reporter for the Daily Planet newspaper. He was adopted when he was a child after planetary disaster caused him to be sent down to Earth when his home planet Krypton was destroyed. His adoptive parents, Martha and Jonathan Kent, brought him up in the rural town of Smallville in Kansas. Throughout his life, his super-abilities isolated him from the rest of the population; he had to make a choice about what kind of man he wanted to become equipped with these powers. Naturally, he transforms himself into the Superman, a new found alter-ego, and uses his astonishing faculties to defend the planet when it comes under attack from an evil force that could prove to be a match for his abilities.
'Man of Steel' is the epic DC comic book movie rebooting the original 'Superman' film series from the 80s. It was directed by the award-winning Zack Snyder ('300', 'Watchmen', 'Sucker Punch') and produced by his wife Deborah Snyder (who co-produced many of his movies) alongside 'The Dark Knight' trilogy producers Christopher Nolan, Emma Thomas and Charles Roven. Based upon characters created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster in DC Comics and written by David S. Goyer, 'Man of Steel' was filmed mainly in Plano, Illinois with Chicago and Vancouver as backdrops. It is set for UK release on June 14th 2013.
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'Smalls Change (Meditations Upon Ageing)' arrives in April.
The two awards have made for a great 72nd birthday present for the country music icon.
Katya and Alexander were never meant to fall in love but that's exactly what happened....
Bill Pope is a CIA operative who's been recruited to carryout a very special mission....
This fascinating true story is strong enough to hold up against the formulaic Hollywood treatment,...
When the Nazis took over Vienna prior to the Second World War, they stole countless,...
John Gregory is a Spook charged with ridding the country of witches, beasts and malevolent...
Superman gets the Dark Knight treatment, as Christopher Nolan offers a much grittier, more intensely...
The world is facing the biggest global threat that it has ever come across as...
Clark Kent was born on the planet Krypton to two loving parents in the midst...
Clark Kent is a mysterious young journalist who as adopted as a child by Martha...