Hopes were high that this film might finally crack the curse of movies based on videogames. There may have been some hits (like Tomb Raider or the Resident Evil franchise), but none has ever been critically acclaimed. So perhaps reuniting the cast and director of 2015's Macbeth might finally break the cycle. But while there's plenty of whizzy stuntwork, this film never finds a story or characters to grab hold of the audience.
In present-day Texas, death row prisoner Cal (Michael Fassbender) is executed by lethal injection and wakes up in a gloomy fortress towering over Madrid. He's been saved by shady businessman Rikkin (Jeremy Irons), whose daughter Sofia (Marion Cotillard) is a scientist experimenting with DNA memory. Rikkin needs Cal to travel back into his own history using a mechanical contraption called an Animus to find out where his 15th century ancestor Aguilar (also Fassbender) hid the Apple of Eden, which holds the key to controlling human will. But Cal discovers that he is the last in a long line of Assassins who have sworn to protect the apple from Knights Templar like Rikkin or his imperious supreme leader Ellen (the fabulously gloomy Charlotte Rampling).
The idea is a clever one, and director Justin Kurzel keeps the visuals grounded with action that feels earthy and real rather than digitally manipulated. Indeed, the combination of sleek sci-fi thrills with medieval fantasy horror is very cool. But there's one huge problem with the premise: all of the big fight sequences and eye-catching parkour acrobatics take place in distant history. Cal can experience these things, but he can't actually do anything, so there's no peril involved. Instead, we get endless explanations of the technology and historical inter-connections, which never quite make sense regardless of how much the characters talk about them.
Continue reading: Assassin's Creed Review
Callum Lynch is a criminal facing the death sentence but is given a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to escape his fate by joining the mysterious Animus Project set up by Abstergo Industries. Abstergo is to its time essentially what the Knights Templar was in the 12th and 13th century, and want to hook Lynch up to an experimental piece of technology that will allow him to experience and explore the memories of his ancestor Aguilar de Nerha who lived as an Assassin in 15th century Spain. He's returning to the age of the Spanish Inquisition which means he must absorb the warrior skills of his long-dead relative - but that only means that he's developing the tools to take down the organisation that pose a threat to him in the modern day.
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Assassin's Creed sees Michael Fassbender cast as the protagonist Callum Lynch, in this action adventure film that is based on the video game franchise of the same name. Lynch's identity no longer exists and he is forced by revolutionary technology to hear, see and feel the memories of his ancestor Aguilar de Nerha, who was an assassin during the Spanish Inquisition.
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David is a single man having just left a 12 year relationship. As per the rules of living in The City, set in a dystopian future, he is forced to check into The Hotel. The sprawling facility is a place where all singletons must find love within 45 days, or else be turned into a creature of their choice and banished into The Woods, as being alone is highly frowned upon. David's only companion is his loyal dog, who happens to be his unlucky-in-love brother who ran out of time when he was a resident at The Hotel. David's chosen animal is a lobster, but he has no intention of living life as a crustacean and makes his escape into The Woods to join up with The Loners. Soon he meets a short-sighted woman who happens to be extremely adept at catching rabbits. As chance would have it, David finds himself falling for her, but this kind of romance is against the law in The City.
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Ariane Labed - On the set of Giorgos Lanthimos movie 'The Lobster'. A love story set in a dystopian near future where single people are arrested and transferred to a creepy hotel. There they are obliged to find a matching mate in 45 days. - Dublin, Ireland - Monday 5th May 2014
It's been 18 years since Hawke, Delpy and Linklater introduced us to Jesse and Celine, and their story just gets richer, funnier and more punchy each time we see them. In 1995's Before Sunrise, they were idealistic 23-year-olds. In 2004's Before Sunset, they were thinking about bigger issues, including their future. Now at age 41, they're approaching middle age and asking questions about their life choices.
We catch up with Jesse and Celine (Hawke and Delpy) on a Greek island, where they're just finishing their summer holiday. As they prepare to go home to Paris with their 7-year-old twins (Jennifer and Charlotte Prior), Jesse's 13-year-old son Hank (Davey-Fitzpatrick) is returning to his still-angry mother in Chicago. But Jesse is wishing he had more time with Hank, and floats the idea of moving to America. This makes Celine furious, since she's just about to start an exciting new job. Clearly it's time to take stock of their relationship and make some important decisions.
Watching these characters (and the actors playing them) age is fascinating, as they encounter different issues at each stage of life. It's not necessary to have seen the earlier films, because they were essentially different people back then. This movie stands on its own as a snappy, deeply resonant look at a crunch-point in a relationship, as a couple tries to decide if their still-burning passion is strong enough to carry them forward. And Hawke and Delpy deliver the dialog impeccably, with razor-sharp wit and artistic sensitivity swirling through everything they say. Watching them is a joy.
Continue reading: Before Midnight Review
Jesse and Celine return, though their love life is not what it once was. They are now married with twin daughters, Jesse is a successful novelist and Celine is contemplating a change of career. However, it's 18 years since they first met on a train from Budapest, 18 years since they wandered around the city of Vienna throughout the night rapidly falling more in love by the strike of each hour, and 9 years since they rekindled that whirlwind romance following the release of Jesse's best-selling book about their encounter. Now in Greece, Jesse feels a little sad about seeing his son Hank fly back to his mother (Jesse's ex-wife) and he and Celine are facing increasing strain on their relationship. Despite wooing the friends they meet in Greece with the romantic tale of their relationship, Celine has doubts as to whether he is the man she once loved and whether she is still the woman he was once so enchanted by. They are given another night alone in which to enjoy each other's company, but will it just turn into a desperate struggle to save their floundering marriage?
Continue: Before Midnight Trailer
From the Greek filmmakers behind the acclaimed anti-thriller Dogtooth, this fiendishly inventive drama is just as complex and telling. But it's also a more difficult film to enjoy, as it doesn't reveal its twisty, freaky secrets until rather late in the story. So before then, we have no choice but to just go along with it. Intriguingly, this leaves us perfectly prepared for a real emotional punch.
But it begins rather confusingly as four people meet up in a gymnastics practice room. The coach (Vekris) berates a gymnast (Labed), telling her that she's not ready for pop music. The other two work in a nearby hospital: a nurse (Papoulia) and a paramedic (Servetalis). And they call themselves "Alps", because it's a name that's deliberately misleading. It turns out that their job is to help people come to terms with the death of a loved one by roleplaying a character in the life of the bereaved. But reality and fantasy aren't that easy to keep separate.
Essentially, this extraordinary film is exploring the roles we all play in everyday life, both at work and at home. And how difficult it can be to tell the difference between who we want to be and who we really are. As the premise slowly comes into clearer focus, the filmmakers also challenge our preconceived ideas of identity and grief, and even gender issues get a work-out as most events are seen through the female characters' eyes.
Continue reading: Alps Review
In her early 20s, Marina (Labed) is struggling with the fact that her intellectual, caring father (Mourikis) has a terminal illness. As she spends time with him - their favourite activity is to watch and mimic David Attenborough's nature documentaries - she begins to ponder life beyond him for the first time, including issues of sex and sexuality. Meanwhile, Marina's lively friend Bella (Randou) continually challenges her to overcome her inhibitions. When she meets an engineer (Lanthimos) in a pub, her inexperience shows, but he too patiently helps her blossom.
Continue reading: Attenberg Review
Hopes were high that this film might finally crack the curse of movies based on...
Callum Lynch is a criminal facing the death sentence but is given a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity...
Assassin's Creed sees Michael Fassbender cast as the protagonist Callum Lynch, in this action adventure...
It's been 18 years since Hawke, Delpy and Linklater introduced us to Jesse and Celine,...
Jesse and Celine return, though their love life is not what it once was. They...
From the Greek filmmakers behind the acclaimed anti-thriller Dogtooth, this fiendishly inventive drama is just...